SF State Film Screening and Discussion

April 30, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


From readers:

Professor Daniel Phil Gonzales and the Asian American Studies Department—part of San Francisco State’s famous and hard-fought-for College of Ethnic Studies—hosted, along with Revolution Books Berkeley, a screening and discussion of the film of Bob Avakian’s talk, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible. About 10 students from Professor Gonzales’ class, a few other students, and a couple of elder members of the local community attended.

Some of the students had to leave early, but five stayed for the entire discussion. The discussion was relatively short, but became very contentious in response to a man who claimed to be a “Marxist” but was persistently putting forward a really reactionary critique of Avakian’s analysis. He implied that any defense of Muslims who are under attack right now in the U.S. is somehow supporting “Islamic fascism.” He also argued that we have to focus on “class” rather than always talking about “race.” A couple students who had been quiet initially responded that this country was founded on racism, including in the Constitution itself, and that racism continues today as the major social factor affecting all people of color, regardless of class. Professor Gonzales pointed to the powerful way Avakian spoke to the issue of race throughout the talk, and opened up further discussion about the relationship between class, race, gender, and sexuality—which we also expanded to include imperialism and American chauvinism. In opposition to the class reductionism of this one “Marxist,” someone brought up the example of Jews being persecuted in Germany, not because they were “working class” but because they were “other.”

Professor Gonzales referred to the example Avakian cited of fascism in the Philippines under Duterte, making the point that this fascism tapped into the long history of anti-Muslim oppression in the Philippines very much connected to the Catholic majority. Professor Gonzales said that he has seen Revolutionary Communist Party presence at political actions held by a variety of different groups, but is troubled by the lack of solidarity among these groups on common issues and conditions. Asian Americans for Black Lives Matter standing up against police murder of Black people is one rare example of interracial solidarity. He wanted to talk more about how we can get people to understand that they can and should fight against the oppression of other groups than their own. Gonzales brought up the 2016 teach-in that he participated in with Refuse Fascism. He said that some of the other faculty at the University had asked him why he was participating in it, since they didn’t think fascism was happening in the U.S. He explained that fascism is already operating here to a substantial degree, and is increasing rapidly under the Trump/Pence administration.

We talked about BA’s analysis about white people throughout the history of this country (with the important exception of the 1960s) perpetrating or being complicit in the horrific treatment of people of color, and his point about “white silence is violence.” We encouraged people to watch the Q&A where BA speaks to the problems with “identity politics,” and pointed out his challenge to everyone to “think about humanity, first and above all.” In this light, we talked about BA’s point about liberals, and the need for people to step outside of their intellectual and physical comfort zones, to confront the terrifying truth of what is happening and act to stop it. And we talked about the importance of this film, the case that it makes that this IS fascism, the path of struggle it lays out, and the difference it would make if many more people were engaging it.

Unfortunately the conversation was cut short by another class coming in, but a number of students signed up, and we made plans to come back next week to watch some of the Q&A from the film.


Volunteers Needed... for revcom.us and Revolution

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.