Further Points of Orientation on the Killings in San Bernardino and Their Aftermath

December 4, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


Editor’s note: The following updates and supplements the posting “Point of Orientation on the Events in San Bernardino, California,” posted December 3, 2015 at revcom.us.


1) As we emphasized in the immediate wake of the killings, the murders of 14 people at a holiday social event for environmental health inspectors in San Bernardino, California, and the injuries to 21 more, are a terrible outrage. They were men and women, with a wide range of backgrounds, interests, outlooks, and of many different nationalities―including people who immigrated to the U.S. from the Middle East, Africa and Asia. There can be no justification for targeting these people. Their deaths, whatever the motives behind the killing, are a terrible crime and a painful tragedy.

At the same time, pain and outrage are being channeled by the powers-that-be and their politicians and media to train people to see the world through a grossly warped lens. The killings in San Bernardino are being used to enlist people behind an agenda that will escalate the cycle of death and terror in the world. In the name of “safety,” people are being whipped up into xenophobia (irrational fear and hatred of “outsiders” including people from other countries) aimed especially at Muslims, paranoia, and a program of repression that actually makes people here and around the world much less safe.

People are being trained to see only American lives as being precious, when in reality, American lives are not more important than other people’s lives. The million plus people who died as a result of the U.S invasion of Iraq; the people killed by an ISIS bomb attack in Beirut, Lebanon; the people who died when U.S.-ally Saudi Arabia bombed a hospital in Yemen; the people being tortured for years in Guantánamo… these were human beings too!

2) And people are being trained to look at the world from this incident out, instead of seeing what happened in San Bernardino as a manifestation―in some form―of a global phenomenon that has fueled that death and terror. The global conflict that this incident appears―in one way or another―to have been shaped by brings death by drone, torture, assassination, invasion, and massacres to a wide swath of the world on a daily basis. This global dynamic is best understood and defined in the following quote from Bob Avakian:

What we see in contention here with Jihad on the one hand and McWorld/McCrusade on the other hand, are historically outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity up against historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system. These two reactionary poles reinforce each other, even while opposing each other. If you side with either of these “outmodeds,” you end up strengthening both.

While this is a very important formulation and is crucial to understanding much of the dynamics driving things in the world in this period, at the same time we do have to be clear about which of these “‘historically outmodeds’” has done the greater damage and poses the greater threat to humanity: It is the "historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system," and in particular the U.S. imperialists...

It is interesting, I recently heard about a comment that someone made relating to this, which I do think is correct and getting at something important. In relation to these “two historically outmodeds,” they made the point: “You could say that the Islamic fundamentalist forces in the world would be largely dormant if it weren’t for what the U.S. and its allies have done and are doing in the world—but you cannot say the opposite.” There is profound truth captured in that statement.

(From Bringing Forward Another Way)

3) In the way supposed “evidence” from the killings is being trickled out, people are being trained to suspend critical thinking and put sheep-like faith in the powers-that-be. For example, a deleted Facebook page that nobody can see is being cited as evidence of motive. And what is supposed to be a critical crime scene was not secured by law enforcement authorities, but instead opened up to reporters who trampled the entire scene and corrupted any possible evidence on the site.

4) Within all this, different sections of the ruling class and their political representatives are spinning this incident in their own interests and with their own conflicting agendas. But while there are sharp conflicts within the ruling class, they are over how―not whether or not―to maintain the U.S. empire of exploitation and oppression, and how to enforce their rule in the “homeland.” None of them even claim to represent the interests of humanity.

5) There is a way out! There is a viable and visionary alternative to, and strategy to break out of this deadly dynamic, and into a world where people can dream and breathe. That way out is being led by Bob Avakian, and the Revolutionary Communist Party, which he leads. This is a movement for revolution aimed at getting to a world without any exploitation and oppression, and the horrible conflict and bloodshed that is a product of, and enforces exploitation and oppression.

6) As part of fighting to break out of the terrible “choices” of Western imperialism or Islamic Jihad, and for everyone with a conscience: there needs to be a visible spirit of looking at the world from the interests of humanity. People in this country need to resist the crimes of “our” government, and support people around the world who oppose both the U.S. empire and Islamic Jihad (for more on what that means, see “Why We Should NOT Root for Our Own Rulers... And Why It’s Better If They LOSE Their Wars” by Larry Everest at revcom.us).

Critical to breaking out of the disastrous cycle of escalating death and terror: It must become clear to the world that millions of people in the U.S. do not accept the actions and crimes of “our” government, however they are “justified,” that ratchet up intolerance and repression at home, and a cycle of death and terror in the world. Millions need to visibly manifest that these actions are not being carried out in our name.



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