Lenny Wolff on The Michael Slate Show:

The Strongest Suit People Have … Guidance to All of Humanity

| revcom.us


Editors’ Note: Following are lightly edited excerpts from remarks by Lenny Wolff (in response to questions) on the Michael Slate Show, which was focused on Bob Avakian’s historic statement, ON THE IMMEDIATE CRITICAL SITUATION, THE URGENT NEED TO DRIVE OUT THE FASCIST TRUMP/PENCE REGIME, VOTING IN THIS ELECTION, AND THE FUNDAMENTAL NEED FOR REVOLUTION. Bob Avakian is often referred to below as BA.

[Fascism] is a different form of rule. ... As BA says, it is based on brutal repression and violation of what are supposed to be the most basic and fundamental rights, so if you read the statement it puts the meat on the bones of those conclusions.

Ask yourself what has this regime meant for immigrants whose children are still in concentration camps and what would its triumph this fall mean?

What has it meant for women in their struggle to be treated as full human beings to have the very right over their own bodies in so many different dimensions taken from them and what would it mean if this regime were able to fully consolidate, or even to make a big leap in consolidation, through the course of the fall?

What has it meant for the environment and humanity’s really desperate effort to save and salvage the web of life?

What has it meant for Black people, for people of color more generally, for Indigenous people? You know, under Obama, and Biden, you know, the Obama/Biden rule, when people rose up in Ferguson, they were met with savage repression and they fought back against it, and they... there was the whole “hands up don’t shoot” and the movement spreading, standing firm in Ferguson and spreading to other cities and coming up against that repression, and that’s an expression of the fact that even in the democratic form of capitalist rule it’s still a dictatorship. It’s still the capitalist power structure, the capitalist state, that is utilizing instruments of force to deal with people’s protest.

But in a fully fascist regime, if Trump fully consolidates, what do you think he would do? What do you think he meant, what do your listeners think he meant when he talked about “dominating the streets,” when he talks about everybody who’s out there in the streets, you know, characterizing them as an “enemy.” What happens when the rule of law is suspended?

What happens... you got a preview of that in Portland, which he was also pre-positioning for forces loyal to Trump for the fall. You are getting a preview of that at the border with the concentration camps that, again, are still going on. So the first thing we have to do is come to terms with the actual reality we face.

Fascism is not a curse word. It is a scientific term that is trying to capture and describe a different form of class rule, under capitalism, in which the dictatorship is naked; it’s open, there are no democratic rights at all within it and that is a matter of grave consequence and concern. It’s that reality and what is driving that forward where we have to begin the discussion I think... with everybody.

I think that, in other words, in the excerpt you said he talks about, in what you played, he [BA] precisely talks about what it’s going to mean if this regime is able to come to power, the annihilation of defenders of democratic rights and proponents of meaningful progressive reforms. Then everything I said earlier about what it is going to mean for masses of people as well, and all the different fault lines or forms of oppression that this system, in its daily functioning, visits on people but which will take another leap further in the event of the imposition, the full imposition of fascist rule....


[W]hy do we need to be in the streets, why is that the way we need to try to, the fundamental way we need to try to, deal with this? And that gets back to... let’s take just a very recent example.

Which did more to awaken people to the reality of what the police do in Black and other oppressed communities and to force people to confront the structures of institutionalized white supremacy and to actually back off, to push back forces of the ruling class and to actually open people’s minds and bring forward people and develop their sense of organization and their ability to resist night after night up against real savage repression. What did more to do that, a year and a half of working for this or that Democratic presidential candidate or the four weeks of the beautiful uprising, the four to eight weeks I guess that began in May and stretched forward through July. Think about it.

This is the strongest suit the people have, is the masses of people aroused and organized and refusing to.... (hello?) I’m trying to get the right word, refusing to let the instruments of the oppressor run roughshod over them. And at the same time raising their heads, and debating and thinking about a whole different world and drawing the energy and the inspiration and the ability to solve problems collectively actually in practice. This is... This has gotta be something that carries over now to actually drive out the regime. ... This is the actual call in the statement for people to actually get out there in the streets now.

If we don’t do this, this is tantamount to just saying we are going to wait to do that until November 4, it’s as if the Los Angeles Lakers said, well, we are going to bench LeBron James and the rest of our starting lineup for the first two quarters, and then we will really come back in the second half, but by the second half you will be so deep in the hole, you won’t be able to come back, or it will be a very, very hard thing to do. You won’t have your team, your guys, or your women if it is, I forget the name of the LA women’s basketball team, but your team is going to be rusty, they’re not going to be on their game. ... And the other team is going to be running roughshod over you. Now that is a very rough analogy and it doesn’t really apply when the other team is moving right now to disqualify voters, to make it impossible to vote, to put its most loyal instruments of repression in the major cities to unleash its very rabid base of supporters in the streets.

These are all... We’ve got to begin moving now, and we can begin moving now. We’ve shown we can begin moving now over the past three or four months. Something very important has been born in this country and now we have to draw from that. And as the part of the statement you played says, what BA says, this is not in conflict... driving out this regime is not in conflict with going forward in the struggle against institutionalized white supremacy and police terror. This is somebody who makes a big deal out of “Trump loves cops and cops love Trump...” ...

This is something that badly, badly has to be done, there is a tremendous urgency to this and that urgency is what we have to bring to people, to bring people forward and bring them out against this threat.


[T]he method that underlies it [the BA statement], to go to the deepest... you can’t point to a deeper critique of the role generally played by elections in this system. You can’t point to a deeper understanding of the different contradictions and the different relationships between things that are involved in the whole electoral process as it usually is... but at the same time what does happen, what BA does do, is that he goes and he interrogates, where does this sit in relation to everything we’ve just talked about or everything he’s talked about and laid bare, about the actual situation we face and the actual threat that is posed by this regime making another leap in consolidation through the electoral process.

And in that light, the need, if there is an election, that is if Trump has not either been driven out beforehand, which we do have to strive to do, or if Trump succeeds in canceling or postponing the elections, which will again put a tremendous importance to people being in the streets, going into that possible juncture,... including to prevent that from happening. If that is the case, then yes, people need to vote for Biden; there needs to be the biggest, the most decisive defeat for Trump.

And why? Because doing this, what BA says is, doing this would create far better conditions for continuing to wage the struggle against everything represented by the Trump/Pence regime and all of the oppression and injustices of this system and would be a great gift to the people of the world.

That’s... this is not a sound bite which too often in this society, it’s “what’s the takeaway?” It’s not, you even have a rival show, not a rival show but a show on another network called The Takeaway. “What’s the takeaway?” It’s not about the takeaway. It’s about getting a deeper understanding of the dynamics we are up against, the reality that we live in, and then on that basis, moving decisively to transform it and looking at everything in light of what it is going to take to move, to make the necessary... to make the changes that cry out to be made and to do this in the way that leads to the elimination of all the oppression and injustices of this system; to do this in a way that is consistent with that, and building to that. And that’s what I think... that’s what strikes me about this section of the statement and about the statement as a whole. This is put in the context of a mass movement to... of the need to drive out this regime and then where do the elections fit into that....


If you go through this statement, if you go through the analysis being made, the development of this fascism in the parts you played is very much linked to this system and it’s one reason, one very important reason why we say this system... it cannot be reformed, it must be overthrown.

And not just say it, but Bob Avakian has brought forward a... not just a science with which to understand what we face and the driving dynamics of it, but a strategy for how to make a revolution. A Constitution for what a new society that would be on the road to eliminating these age-old oppressions and injustices and the exploitation that makes this system run every single day and every single minute of its life, no matter who’s presiding over it.

But right now,... the battle for revolution must encompass and must take up the battle to drive out this regime. And this is a life-and-death battle; I can’t emphasize this enough. You are dealing with a Hitler in a fascist party with a Hitler-type at its head. OK? And you have to... if you want to make the debate about that, then let’s have the debate, and what it would be with a Hitler.

If you want to talk about what a different form of rule means, you can look at the early days of Reconstruction in which Black people were still in this country in the South, right after the Civil War, where Black people were still denied very basic rights. Where the Ku Klux Klan was being organized in waging a reign of terror, but where people were fighting and holding, you know, were owning land, where people were voting, where people were developing schools and new institutions, where people could raise their heads. And you compare that to what happened when the federal troops, in an election which went to the House of Representatives, were pulled out of the South in 1876, and what was clamped down in its place was a system of legalized segregation of absolutely no rights whatsoever including voting rights, but even the right to speak, even the right to move off your... the land to which you were chained as a sharecropper, where there was lynch mob terror that was enforcing all this. And this lasted for three or four generations. This was not inconsequential.

So how radical are you when you raise this objection to what is being put forward in this statement and when you take a statement and boil it down to one admittedly very important element of it? It is important because it concentrates a principal. And if you don’t get what is said in the excerpt you played you’re not really getting the gravity of what we face and the strategy with which to drive it out. ... That’s how I see that. I think there are different places people are coming from when they raise it, but I think at its bottom it shares a failure to really come to terms with what we are facing.


[W]e must rely on the struggle of masses of people in the streets and that it would be as Bob Avakian says in the statement, disastrous to just wait to vote, to rely on the voting.

That’s not the main thing, but on the other hand, if you don’t see the need, if you don’t see the importance of a massive repudiation of Trump through the election, you are not getting... you are not looking at this from the right vantage point. You are still from within “who do I like better in the Democratic Party?” or “who do I like worse?” or “can we have a different party?” which would eventually, maybe could influence the Democratic Party or “AOC is better than this one.”

This is not... this is not getting to the root of the problem and it’s not confronting what we are actually facing here... I keep returning to that point, but I think that is the heart of the matter. Are you really confronting that this is fascism and that it is straining, through this election to make a leap in its consolidation? OK? If you get that, then ... a lot of other things will begin to come into sharper focus.

That’s not the only thing you need to get. And again I want to urge you to go to revcom.us. Read this statement, go back to the statement, study it, give it to your friends, talk about it with your friends. Do what you just did, call in and argue with us about it. But this, this is guidance to the whole, to all of humanity right now.

Lenny Wolff on The Michael Slate Show August 21.

Refuse Fascism, Philadelphia.

RefuseFascism.org is a movement of people coming from diverse perspectives, united in our recognition that the Trump/Pence Regime poses a catastrophic danger to humanity and the planet, and that it is our responsibility to drive them from power through non-violent protests that grow every day until our demand is met. This means working and organizing with all our creativity and determination to bring thousands, eventually millions of people into the streets of cities and towns, to demand:

This Nightmare Must End:
The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

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