The Righteous Aspiration of LeBron James, the Racist Sneer of Donald Trump, and the Need for an Actual Revolution

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In the nearly 250 years of chattel slavery in America and the 150 years of “old”1 and new Jim Crow which followed it, one of the most vicious practices has been the violently enforced ignorance perpetrated against Black people by the white supremacists who have run this system. For centuries in this country, enslaved Black human beings who dared to learn or teach others to read were routinely tortured, sold away from their families, mutilated, or even murdered. For the century and a half that followed, Black children were either denied schooling outright or sent to segregated schools which were deprived of all resources; and when they dared to try to go to white schools, they were violently attacked by mobs of white racist morons.

Today, with the schools even more segregated than they were in 1954 when segregation was supposedly outlawed and with the disparities and inequalities even greater than they were then, with police locking down and brutalizing students right in school, and with Trump’s secretary of education set on both further slashing resources and channeling African-American children into Christian-fascist brainwashing factories, this “American-as-apple-pie” practice is alive and fucking sick as ever.

As part of this practice, white supremacists then and now have claimed that the results of this systematic, violence-enforced miseducation “proved” that Black people were intellectually inferior. Never mind that the tests they used to supposedly “prove” this were themselves loaded with cultural bias and heavily influenced by actual educational opportunity (and in the case of the SAT and other “scholastic aptitude” tests, influenced by the practice of wealthier, usually white or Asian, parents paying for tutors, test-taking classes, etc.). Every decade it seems, if not more often, some “highly-credentialed” racist comes forth with one more bogus argument which is given tons of publicity and which forces actual scientists and others applying science to yet again shoot down this vicious lie.

All this is background to the latest ugly display of this by Donald Trump, the never-read-a-book-and-proud-of-it apotheosis of American ignorance and arrogance: his attacks on the basketball star and public figure LeBron James.

The Aspiration of LeBron James

Last week, LeBron James opened a school for “at-risk” youth in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. James donated millions to making this a state-of-the-art public school (non-charter). He also dedicated money to give a bike and a helmet to every child going to this school so that they can explore the world around them.

The aspiration behind what LeBron James has done—the urge to do something concrete to at least begin enriching the present and saving the future of these children—is something that should be upheld and respected. It is outrageous that it takes a multi-millionaire to do this and that the scope of what he can do is limited to a single medium-sized city, but that’s the fault of this rotten system, and not James.

It was at the moment of the opening of the school that Donald Trump decided to launch an attack on James as being “dumb”—and to attack the Black CNN anchor Don Lemon as well. This is the same moronic pig who has used the “pulpit” of the presidency to attack Black Congresswoman (and Trump critic) Maxine Waters as “low IQ” and to attack Black football players who have dared to protest during the national anthem. Trump, like the slavemasters from whom he draws inspiration and the baying hounds that he leads, hates the specter of Black people getting educated. He finds it threatening.

So it is no surprise that Donald Trump would go on the attack against LeBron James for doing this and that he would call him “dumb.” Trump has been slashing what meager funds did exist for the public schools and for inner city schools in particular. But what makes Trump different than the string of presidents before him who have done the same is his particular fascist bent. Think about it: Trump says someone with not only the aspiration but the determination to see through an effort to actually educate some small portion of the children that this system has destined to fail is “dumb.” This is Nazi talk for “sub-human”—and deserving to be penned in, beaten down, and ultimately, if the powers-that-be so decide, sent to concentration camps.

Like all racists, Trump fears and hates the very idea of educating (not indoctrinating, but educating) Black children. He fears the potential of the oppressed once critical thinking is unleashed. Do you think it’s an accident that in his rant against the NFL players (mainly Black) who protested by kneeling during the national anthem that he also attacked the attempts to limit brain-damaging concussions in football? This is beyond sick. Trump is the modern-day version of the slavemaster who would cut out a slave’s tongue for learning to read and then ridicule her for being unable to talk; and then when she managed to communicate anyway, attack her once more.

Again: this is potentially a program of genocide and a program right now of greatly heightened draconian repression and privation. This is of a piece with intentionally traumatizing children of immigrants by separating them from their parents and in some cases permanently orphaning them. This not only has to be opposed, but this whole illegitimate fascist regime needs to be driven out.

The Democrats Have No Answer…

But let’s go further. James’s aspiration to educate the youth of Akron should raise a larger question. Why, nearly 65 years after this system so solemnly declared its intent to desegregate and equalize educational opportunities, are schools in many areas still segregated and becoming even more so, and inequalities in educational outcomes for students of different backgrounds barely dented and, again, becoming worse in many cases? Why must people rely on the good intentions and charity of one millionaire to help what is really a tiny, tiny portion of those who could contribute so much and flourish so greatly if the system was designed to foster that?

A further question: while Trump has taken this much further, what have the Democrats been doing all these decades, including when they were in power? What did Obama do as president—besides lecturing Black students to “pull their pants up” and stop “blaming” … a system designed to make them fail? What did the Clintons do, besides demonizing Black children as potential “super-predators,” stepping on the accelerator of mass incarceration, ending “welfare as we know it,” and committing so many other crimes? And where are the prominent Democrats today who are raising hell over Trump’s attacks on LeBron James and others, calling it out as totally racist and unacceptable, and calling for the ouster of such an outright and unapologetic white supremacist?

These Democrats have shown both yesterday and today that they have no answer to this, no way to stop this ugly practice at the very heart of white supremacy.

But the Revolution Does…

This system of capitalism-imperialism grew up with, and remains joined at the hip with, white supremacy. It has had 400 years to answer this and today, as we said, schools are more segregated than ever, Black youth and other youth of color continue to be channeled into the “school-to-prison pipeline,” and the virulent racism of America is openly exalted from the highest office of the land and barely opposed.

In fact, there IS a blueprint for a whole new system in which education would be specifically designed, among other things, to overcome the inequities and scars of the past, as part of producing a society of critical and creative thinkers, steeped in the scientific method. A society in which the oppression of Black and other oppressed nationalities would be taken apart and abolished, as part of emancipating all of humanity. This can be done—through REVOLUTION which overthrows this system.

THIS—not the fascist catastrophe represented by Trump, nor the “usual” capitalist-imperialist disaster which at its best still consigns millions to the meatgrinder—is the future we urgently need and that is actually very possible (go here to see how such a revolution can be made). The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, sets forth, as a whole and in many different specific sections, why and how the new revolutionary state will, to quote the preamble, “be based on the principle of equality between different nationalities and cultures and [will have] as one of its essential objectives fully overcoming national oppression and inequality, which [is] such a fundamental part of the imperialist USA throughout its history. Only on the basis of these principles and objectives can divisions among humanity by country and nation finally be overcome and surpassed and a world community of freely associating human beings be brought into being. This orientation [will also be] embodied in the various institutions of the state and in the functioning of the government in the New Socialist Republic in North America.” And speaking of education, it lays a blueprint for education in the new society that is as lofty and inspiring as it is practical.

Get with the revolution. Get into BA.



1. The fact that the “old” Jim Crow still lives has been shown over and over again this summer with white people deciding to put Black people “in their place,” sometimes with murder, and now with the Mississippi memorial marker for the lynching victim Emmett Till again being vandalized and shot up by racists. Read more here. [back]

Determination decides who makes it out of the ghetto—now there is a tired old cliché, at its worst, on every level. This is like looking at millions of people being put through a meatgrinder and instead of focusing on the fact that the great majority are chewed to pieces, concentrating instead on the few who slip through in one piece and then on top of it all, using this to say that “the meatgrinder works”!

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:11

Little Rock, Arkansas, 1957. One of nine African American students who enrolled in Little Rock Central High School, the first to integrate the school, attacked by a mob of white racist morons.

South Carolina, 2015. A Black high school student assaulted by cop—in the classroom.

CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America
(Draft Proposal)

Authored by Bob Avakian, and adopted by the Central Committee of the RCP

Read and Download (PDF)

From Article 1, Section 2, F. Education

1. Education in the New Socialist Republic in North America shall be based in accordance with, and contribute to, the principles and objectives set forth in this Constitution. All education shall be public education, provided for financially through the allocation of funds from the central government and other levels of government, under the overall direction of the Executive Council of the central government.

Education providing not only for literacy and other basic skills and abilities but also for a grounding in the natural and social sciences, as well as art and culture and other spheres, and in the ability to work with ideas in general, shall be provided, at government expense, and shall be compulsory for all youth (both citizens and residents) within the New Socialist Republic in North America, in accordance with policy and guidelines that shall be adopted by the appropriate government bodies for this purpose. Advanced education, combining specialization with the continuance of overall, well-rounded learning, shall also be provided at government expense for those who meet the criteria and standards for this more advanced education, as set forth in policy and guidelines developed by the appropriate government bodies, in accordance with the principles and objectives embodied in this Constitution. And, on the basis of and in tempo with the development of the socialist economy and society overall, it shall be the orientation of the state to provide such advanced education to increasing numbers of the adult population. In furtherance of these ends, museums relating to history, natural history and science, art, and other spheres, as well as other institutions and programs, shall be developed in accordance with the basic principles and objectives set forth here, and shall be made available widely to the population as a whole.

Education, while valuing and giving expression to the circumstances and atmosphere that are favorable and conducive to learning and intellectual pursuit, shall avoid and combat an “ivory tower” environment and mentality and, on the contrary, shall promote interchanges between students and the broader ranks of the people, on the basis of and in keeping with the principles and policies of the educational system. At the same time, education at all levels shall combine intellectual pursuits with various kinds of physical labor, in ways and forms that correspond to and are appropriate for students of different ages and different levels of development, in order to foster the development of new generations of people with well-rounded experience, knowledge and abilities, and as part of working to transform the relation between intellectual and physical work so that this no longer constitutes the basis for social antagonism.

Overcoming, in society (and ultimately the world) as a whole, such antagonism relating to the division between mental and physical work, which is deeply rooted in the development of societies marked by oppressive and exploitative relations and which is itself a potential source of such relations, shall be a concern of the state overall, and attention shall be paid to this in all spheres of society. (pp 31-32)


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