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This week America tells us that it cares about children, by giving (some of) them a lot of stuff—while others go hungry and cold. Some people rebel against the consumerism and hypocrisy. They may donate to an organization trying to do something about the great disparities and inequities, or volunteer at a shelter.

But take the time this holiday to confront the true scope and scale of the horror—the needless horror—rained down on children every day by the U.S., here and around the world. Read what follows and then ask yourself: Why does this happen? And what is truly needed to address it?

This system kills children in war. The U.S. armed forces and U.S. arms go all over the world to murder children. For three years the U.S. has supported its “strategic ally” Saudi Arabia in a genocidal war against Yemen, backed first by Obama and then by Trump. The war has led to a famine that has already taken the lives of 85,000 children and threatens more. In August, Saudi forces bombed a school bus full of Yemeni children, massacring 40 and wounding another 56. This was an American-made bomb, sold to Saudi Arabia through the U.S. State Department in a war backed by the U.S. Fourteen days later, Saudi warplanes—made in the U.S.—attacked a refugee camp and killed at least 31 civilians, 22 of them children.1 But this is not an “isolated incident.” Go here, for instance, to learn about the My Lai massacre carried out in Vietnam by U.S. soldiers, in which over 500 women, children, and non-combatant elderly men were murdered, or to the whole American Crime series, which documents case after similar case of this. And these are not “accidental” at all—listen here to former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright justify the U.S. sanctions against Iraq that ended up causing the deaths of half a million children!

These wars and depredations go on because of a system that needs such wars, a system of great powers and empires in which each is driven by the imperatives of expand—or go under.


Within the U.S., this system pens in, locks up, and kills off Black, Latino, and Native American children and teenagers. On any given day, the U.S. has 60,000 children locked up in prisons or other “correctional facilities.” The rate of detention for Black youth is six times that of whites—and that rate is rising. On any given day, between 5,000 and 6,000 of these children and young teenagers are locked up in adult prisons or jails, where they are often victims of violence and sexual predation by guards and other prisoners. The violence and repression perpetrated by this system against these youths ranges from the racist “school-to-prison pipeline”2 to the abuse routinely carried out by police and on up to the outrageous murder of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by Cleveland police.

This system built itself up on the dehumanization of the Native American and African peoples to amass its original wealth, carrying out genocide against one and the enslavement of the other, and this original oppression has never gone away but has morphed its form as a built-in pillar of this system.


This system abuses, imprisons, and traumatizes children when they dare to flee the living hells that the U.S. has created in their home countries. This spring the world witnessed the ripping of children away from parents on the U.S.-Mexico border by the Border Patrol and ICE. These families were desperately fleeing the murderous conditions created by United States imperialism in their countries. Go to American Crime installments #79 and #75 on Honduras, which details what the U.S. has done there.

Today, as you read this, these imperialists have got nearly 15,000 innocent immigrant children locked down in detention centers, presumed guilty for the “crime” of fleeing for their lives, or seeking a better one. A CNN investigation revealed dozens of accounts from young detainees “describing overloaded and secretive shelters, treatment centers and secure detention facilities for undocumented minors, which at their worst have allegedly been home to neglect, assault and other horrific abuse. The allegations in these documents, as well as recent facility inspection reports and other lawsuits, range from unsanitary conditions and invasive monitoring of mail and phone calls to unair-conditioned rooms in hot Texas summers and dosing children with cocktails of psychotropic drugs disguised as vitamins. At one facility, children recounted being held down for forcible injections, which medical records show are powerful antipsychotics and sedatives.”

This system cannot live without dominating and plundering smaller nations, and then that same system demonizes, persecutes, and at the same time viciously exploits the desperate ones it drives here from those hells.


This system sells children for sex. At least 100,000 children and young teenagers a year are pimped out and even sold like cattle, just in the U.S. alone! The average age at which children are prostituted is between 11 and 14 years old. Many of these girls and boys are fleeing abusive homes, in many cases homes run or sanctioned by child welfare or “protective” services. Worldwide, the International Labor Organization estimates that 1,000,000 children a year are sold into sexual slavery. Leaving aside pimps and trafficking rings that work with the connivance of the police, these children are the victims of a system whose sexual relations reflect the patriarchal domination of men over women, whose dominant values and morality reflect the idea that other human beings are objects to be exploited. Put yourself in the place of an 11- or 12-year-old child cast into this hell.

This system came into being in a world in which women and children were dominated and oppressed and it integrates that age-old oppression into the very core of its workings.


This system lets millions of children worldwide each year die of preventable disease. The World Health Organization estimates that 5.4 million children under five years old died in 2017. More than half of these were due to conditions that could be prevented or treated with access to very simple and inexpensive interventions. Children in sub-Saharan Africa were 15 times more likely to die than children in high-income countries—not because children there are genetically weaker, but because of the way that the systems of U.S. and European imperialism have plundered Africa for over 500 years, and continue to plunder and dominate today.


None of this horror is necessary! All these horrors are required, maintained, and driven forward by a system, the system of capitalism-imperialism.

In the face of all that, heartfelt sentiments or prayers, money to charity, and even time volunteering to make things better become at best band-aids that don’t get to the root of the disease, despite your best intentions, your sacrifice, and even the real good you may do for what is after all a relative handful of people. Band-aids may be OK when you have a minor cut; but when you have something deeply wrong, band-aids not only substitute for but can stand in the way of what’s needed. So you may have lifted a few and you may have dealt with your anger, disgust, and anguish at what this system does, at least for a while; but the system itself goes on, untouched, grinding up millions, crushing lives, and mutilating spirits.

If there is a way to end needless suffering, then the point cannot be to just alleviate it. If there is a way to end needless suffering, anything short of that way will ultimately turn into an off-ramp and wind up prolonging it, whatever your intentions.

And there actually IS, in the real world, such a way: socialism on the road to a communist society and the emancipation of humanity, based on the new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian, BA—a whole deeper, higher, and more scientific vision of human emancipation. There actually IS a way to get there—revolution, the overthrow of this system through the defeat of its massive forces of violence and repression, when millions have been mobilized and the system itself is in deep crisis. There is a strategy for that revolution, there is the blueprint for the new society it will bring into being in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, and there is the leadership for it in BA, the architect of a whole new communism and the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party.

This road is hard, but it is real. If you really care—and if you’ve read this far, you do—then to turn away from finding out about that road and deeply engaging the person who brought it forward would be unconscionable. If you do nothing else during this holiday period, see the new filmed speech by Bob Avakian, Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution.

THIS is a system that cannot be reformed—It MUST be overthrown! And there is a place for you in that process.

1. The recent Senate resolution opposing this war, passed when news of the war had finally been dragged into the light of day worldwide and when sections of the ruling class felt the necessity to curb and better control the behavior of Saudi ruler Mohammed bin Salman, will actually have no direct effect on the U.S. military role in Saudi Arabia and, even were the House to back it up, there are loopholes, delaying tactics, and legal areas of dispute that make it highly unlikely such a resolution would go into actual effect.  [back]

2. Black and white youths are roughly as likely to get into fights, carry weapons, steal property, use and sell illicit substances, and skip school. But nationwide, Black youths were more than five times as likely to be detained or incarcerated as white youths were. In six states, Black youths were 10 times as likely to be detained or incarcerated as white youths. Even the minimal Obama-era attempts to curb this disparity, a concession made in the face of public outcry and a mass upsurge of resistance, are now being reversed by the Trump/Pence fascist regime.  [back]



For more on how this system kills children in its wars:

For more on how this system pens in, locks up and kills off Black, Latino and Native American children and teenagers:

For more on how this system abuses, imprisons and traumatizes immigrant children:

For more on trafficking of children under this system:

For more on how millions of children worldwide die each year of preventable disease under this system:


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Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution

A speech by Bob Avakian
In two parts:


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