From the Revolution Club Chicago:

Standing Up… Police Retaliation… Getting Organized for Revolution

July 12, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |


When people in a South Side Chicago neighborhood took a stand against police terror with the Revolution Club last week, police threatened retaliation against the whole neighborhood. Since then, police have been coming down on people hard—to make people pay for their defiance, and to try to stop people from connecting up with the Revolution Club and the leadership of Bob Avakian (BA).

In the neighborhood as a whole, the questions are up: Who is responsible for this police terror? Is it worth standing up against your oppressor if it means they will come down on you harder? Is it possible to stand up against the pigs and change things or will they always win? Who is Bob Avakian and what is this leadership about? Should people be joining the Revolution Club and repping the T-shirt? And for some people, the question is up of who should I be living and fighting for and willing to risk something for: me and mine first, or the masses of humanity?

The threats last week came in response to members of the Revolution Club blowing whistles when they saw police in a yard where normally people are hanging out. First the pigs started to leave and then refused to leave. They threatened to go after people in the neighborhood if they didn’t turn against the revcoms, saying “nobody gets a pass around here anymore.” People were weighing what position to take in relation to this, but overall stood with the revolutionaries, and got firmer in doing that when a couple people in particular walked right up to the revcoms during the standoff with police and hugged and thanked one of the revolutionaries. The pigs left threatening to come back and to go after the people.

Later that night, after many people had gotten whistles and put on “BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!” T-shirts, the hang-out house where the pigs had been in the yard was set on fire. The circumstances and timing of this are very suspicious and most in the neighborhood suspect the police are behind this, and say it’s not the first time police have done this kind of thing in that neighborhood.

Over the next couple days, police started driving their cars through the alleys, stopping people, handcuffing them, then letting them go. On the block where the whistle-blowing happened, they lined up several people and handcuffed them all to each other, then let them all go. Young people wearing the BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! T-shirt were stopped by police who questioned them about why they were wearing that T-shirt.

On July 4th, over 100 pigs from three different police districts raided a 4th of July family party. They came in like an army, kicking in doors, dragging and beating people, terrorizing children who were hiding in fear in the bedroom, and arresting 13 people, some who now face serious charges. The next day the commander, who is Black and is supposed to be a model of “community policing,” showed up to “apologize” (none of the charges have been dropped) and said they raided the house because they look for neighborhood parties on Facebook and raid the largest ones! This is just the boot of oppression straight up, no matter that it’s coming out of the mouth of a Black pig: police consider it a criminal act for Black people to even gather for a party—in this Amerikkkan home of the thief and land of the slave that ironically was being celebrated on July 4th.

The Revolution Club called for a community meeting in the park to talk about all this and what to do about it.

In the three days before the community meeting, the Revolution Club was out in the neighborhood getting into things with all kinds of people. Talking about what the police are doing to people and the need to stand up against this, talking with people about why the police are so afraid of people joining the Revolution Club and getting with BA, and getting into BA with people on the spot, watching BA Through the Years and reading quotes from BAsics. People have been shifting their opinions and positions throughout all this, sometimes day by day and even hour by hour. And people have taken steps into getting organized, in new and beginning ways and in the crucible of heavy efforts by police to stop people from doing this.

A woman familiar with seeing the Revolution Club at first didn’t want to talk to the revcoms when they came to the neighborhood to follow up after hearing the house had burned down. Then a couple guys on the block stopped to talk for a while, filling in the revcoms on some of what was going on with the police and agreeing that people shouldn’t be allowing the police to terrorize people into staying in their place. One of them put on a BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! T-shirt and discussed the Points of Attention for the Revolution.

The woman who hadn’t wanted to talk at first to the revcoms now stopped to talk. She had serious questions. What happens if people here don’t join this? Will you keep going with it? Won’t wearing the T-shirts make things worse for people because the police don’t like it? As we talked, another woman nearby started yelling at one of the revcoms because he told her there is no God. The woman asking the serious questions told the other woman to stop doing that and to respect what these people are doing and are about, even though she believes in God, too. After a deep discussion, she had to go, but later came back and bought cold water for all the comrades there.

Another day, late in the evening when people were out on their porches hanging out, some guys near where the July 4th party was raided wanted to know more about Bob Avakian after hearing a comrade talk about him and why people need to get into him. The Revolution Club members played BA Through the Years for them. They were surprised by the video—one said he was surprised that a white person was saying what BA was saying, another said it had less to do with him being white but that he didn’t expect to actually see somebody that was for real. There was struggle with them over not just liking this, but really getting into it and actually taking up this leadership. The difference was sharpened up over where you think you need to go and how to do that—trying to make some changes within this setup, or working to make revolution to overthrow it and lead a new society. And what role will they play in this. One friend intervened in the discussion with the other to tell him, “She is talking to the right people right now, but you have to go there.” He wasn’t necessarily ready to agree with that, but did say he would look seriously into it.

Earlier that day, a teenage woman about 15 years old opened up to talk for a little while with the revcoms. She responded to what the Revolution Club was saying about the police, and she said she hates the police, they killed her brother, and she named two people she knew who had been killed by police. The revcoms read several quotes from BAsics with her. We also read through the Points of Attention for the Revolution. She was especially attentive to BAsics 5:23 and the six Points of Attention, and a more serious conversation opened up. She raised that people who are stuck in the life can’t get out of it even if they want to, because people will still want to retaliate against them, and putting on a T-shirt can’t change that. She had a hard time seeing that people could start to represent something different among the people and that this could affect what others think and do, even while, yes, there is tremendous risk people are taking when they do that, but also that it is a risk worth taking because now you are fighting for a better world. We told her she could have a big effect on other people by joining the Revolution Club and fighting for the six Points of Attention, that everyone who steps into the revolution is part of forging a path for others to do that, too. She was thinking about all this, but walked away without resolving it one way or the other.

While all this was going on in this neighborhood, in another neighborhood nearby police had destroyed a memorial for one of the 15 people who were killed during the July 4th weekend from violence among the people. For all the crocodile-tear concern from the police and authorities about the shootings among the people, the pigs came through the vigil for Devonte Morgan cutting down the balloons and stomping on the candles. When people didn’t just put up with this, the police brutalized a woman who was dancing in front of their car. People defended themselves and, according to news reports, four people were arrested and a pig was injured. The Revolution Club went out to this neighborhood the day after people stood up, standing with people there, helping to strengthen them by bringing them the Revolution Club communique and whistles, connecting them up with the revolution, backing them up to re-do their vigil, and struggling with them against retaliation and revenge.

The day after the revcoms were part of the re-do of the vigil in the second neighborhood was the day before the planned community meeting in the first neighborhood, and things got more sharpened up. As Revolution Club members were talking to some people in the park, someone down the street called for the revcoms to come because somebody was being arrested. This time, it wasn’t only the Revolution Club members blowing whistles. Several people from the neighborhood were there together with them, actively standing up against and calling out the police. One pig car doing the arrest almost immediately turned into six cars as the Revolution Club and people from the neighborhood came up on the scene to blow the whistle and agitate on the role of the police and the need for people everywhere to stand up to what the pigs are doing. Two other times that day, the Revolution Club had to post up where the police were messing with people, blowing whistles throughout the day. The pigs responded by sticking out their middle fingers to the Revolution Club members, called one of the women a bitch and pointed out a couple of the men in a threatening way, as if to say, “We’re going to go after you.”

Together with the increased activity and hostility by the police was increased controversy among the people about who is responsible for all this pig activity and whether or not people should be joining with and supporting the Revolution Club. Someone who earlier in the week had started off telling the revcoms not to blow the whistles when the pigs were making threats, later donated $20 for people in the neighborhood to get T-shirts, and then another day came back and said the revolutionaries were the ones responsible for the house getting burned down. Overall, wearing the T-shirt began to spread, and became a way to take a stand. At the same time, familiar controversies popped up that are commonly used by opponents of revolution and communism to try to win people to oppose the revcoms—all of a sudden a couple people were calling Bob Avakian a cult leader and several people were saying they can’t get with the revolution because the revcoms don’t believe in God.


Throughout there has been a lot of struggle with people over whether we should be standing up to the pigs or not. Some people who were excited about standing up in the beginning have—at least temporarily—changed their minds since the pigs came back. Some don’t want to rock the boat too much, while others are thinking about how are we actually going to deal with the increased repression coming down from the pigs. It has been put to people that not wanting to cause more trouble with the police, who are there precisely to terrorize and keep the masses of oppressed people in their place, is the outlook of the slave getting used to slavery. There were slaves who didn’t want to run the risk of upsetting the slave master when Harriet Tubman came to talk to them about getting free—and there were those who knew they had nothing to lose but their chains who followed her.

Then there is the life of Harriet Tubman herself, who not only escaped slavery and led others to escape, but also struggled with people to not back down and rush back to the plantation once the dangers were getting real. Harriet Tubman never gave up and didn’t settle for helping a few slaves escape. She fought tirelessly to end the whole system of slavery, including helping to build for and plan an insurrection with John Brown. The work she did was part of what led to the Civil War that finally ended slavery. The real choice before people is whether they are going to have second thoughts about standing up to their oppressors or follow Harriet Tubman’s example in the fight to end the modern worldwide form of slavery that this capitalist-imperialist system has locked people into.

On the day of the meeting, some of the shoots of what is developing in the neighborhood could be seen, even while the turnout was too small. A woman who was angry at what police are doing and had heard of the Revolution Club before came to learn more about what the revolution is about. She participated in the meeting and left with a copy of BAsics and a BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! T-shirt. Two young guys who had stopped to go to a nearby store saw the enlargement of quote 1:24 from BAsics at the entrance to the park (about the role of the police) and came over wanting T-shirts and sat in for a few minutes of the meeting. A young guy who has been checking out the Revolution Club and running with it periodically, walked up to the edge of the meeting at first. He believes in God and has recently started thinking maybe he shouldn’t be involved with people who don’t. A pastor who unites with revolutionaries to struggle for justice, and who was attending the meeting, went over to talk with him and a few minutes later the young guy came all the way into the meeting and stayed for the rest of it. A supporter of the revolution who had come to the defense of the Revolution Club during the standoff with police couldn’t stay for the meeting, but stopped by to show his support. A young man about 12 years old walked over by himself to attend the meeting, saying the Revolution Club members had told him and his friends about it at his house a few days ago and he wanted to learn more.

These were important. And overall, the debate and ups-and-downs of the past week reveal something new. Which is precisely why the pigs have raised the stakes of all this and the questions are getting sharper. But the fact that the meeting did not have the turnout it needed indicated that people are still weighing all that is involved in stepping forward and taking responsibility to figure out how to go forward. The Revolution Club is actively working to figure out why and go more deeply with people around the issues, even as we step up the struggle.



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