A Couple Thoughts on the Recent DC Protests in Light of What We Are Preparing For: AN ACTUAL REVOLUTION

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From a member of the Revolution Club NYC:

In reflecting on last weekend in DC with the Revolution Club, I have been thinking about the point in HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution (HWCW) where it says, “We need to take into account the actual strengths of the system, but more than that its strategic weaknesses, based in its deep and defining contradictions.” The protests in DC revealed some very “strategic weaknesses” of this system in different ways, on different levels. In listening to the Revolution Club and RefuseFascism.org describe some of the experience on the ground in their report back at Revolution Books in NYC, along with the experience I had there, as well as during the drive with others to and from DC, this point stands out. And it is something we need to sum up for everyone, from the people who ran with us in one way or another to the people who are reading about all of this and are checking out the movement for revolution.

Even though some stories from the Revolution Club and Refuse Fascism talked about the fear that some people expressed, and despite the fact that there should have been many times over the amount of people that did show up to the DC protests, at the same time the people who actually attended came from different strata, not only from among “those who catch the worst hell” but also from those “who are sickened by the endless outrages perpetrated by this system.” And as several of the stories reflected, many of these folks were both challenged by the Revolution Club’s agitation around our basic message—that this system can’t be reformed and must be overthrown, and that we have the leadership in Bob Avakian (BA) and the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) as well as the strategy and plan to make an actual revolution—and the chants and slogans, but also there was attraction to this. The chant “This system can’t be reformed—it must be overthrown!” resonated with many in the crowd, including among people from the middle strata. A number of them reached out for HWCW and took up the chant (as well as other chants we led). A number of people put on the BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! T-shirt, joined and marched with our contingent, and took up the challenge from the Revolution Club to step into this.

One of the comments from one of the volunteers at the report back was instructive in terms of this point from HWCW about disrupting the moves of the ruling powers to “isolate, ‘encircle,’ brutalize, mass incarcerate and murderously repress the people who have the hardest life under this system and who most need this revolution.” A young intellectual of Haitian background said this experience (his first major protest) taught him that maybe the whole world is not against the people of the Caribbean. Similarly, another volunteer recounted her interpretation of the positive response she thought many of the folks marching with Black Lives Matter (BLM) had when they ran into Refuse Fascism and the Revolution Club (and the other 200 or so people who took to the streets with us). She said she thought maybe many of the Black people in the BLM contingent thought, “OK, this is going to just be Black people standing up,” but then felt even more emboldened when they ran into the Refuse Fascism and Revolution Club contingent, which was very multinational and very radical and revolutionary, with a lot of substance. Anyway, the Haitian brother said, “Perhaps I was wrong about that; that may not be the case.” This is a small example, but an important one, of disrupting the ruling powers’ attempts to “encircle” the most oppressed... and instead mobilizing to “encircle” them, “by bringing forth wave upon wave of people rising up in determined opposition to this system.” This is strategic in terms of winning when the time comes.

This reminds me of the point from BA about how we will not be able to do what needs to be done if you have a large section of people in the middle strata who generally go along with what is done (what the system does) to Black people and other oppressed masses and go along with the notion that the youth and others from these sections of the masses are all “monsters” (I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the essential point from what I remember). These are some of the things we need to be summing up with people, bringing alive what is in HWCW, wielding it, applying it, etc.

The last thing (for now) is how the Revolution Club, and in a different way Refuse Fascism, were uniting and contending with many frameworks out there about what is the problem, the solution, and what needs to be done. This was challenging and attractive, and again you can get a sense of this from the report back. There was some agitation that challenged the notion of “American exceptionalism” and the U.S. being a “force for good” in the world, but this could have been more sharper (I think). The chant, “1-2-3-4, Slavery, Genocide, and War; 5-6-7-8, America Was NEVER Great!” was important in terms of setting different terms (in particular among the broader middle strata). I also did want to highlight that there was one point when some of the basic Black youth from DC in the march seemed ready to throw down in ways that weren’t actually that strategic. It sounded like one of the brothers from the Chicago Revolution Club did a good job of asserting revolutionary authority and challenging these youths to make their sacrifice towards the emancipation of all humanity.

That’s it for now.

Report Back from Washington DC held in NYC August 14


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