"In 'Racial Oppression Can Be Ended—but Not Under This System,' Bob Avakian perfectly presents the case"

From a prisoner in the Southwest

| revcom.us


Editors’ note: We at revcom.us periodically publish letters from prisoners on revolutionary theory and struggle, as well as other aspects of human experience and thought, including conditions and struggle within the prisons themselves. We appreciate and learn from all correspondence from the prisons. The opinions in the letters we publish are those of the writers and not necessarily those of Revcom.us.

In the article “Racial oppression can be ended – but not under this system” Bob Avakian perfectly presents the case and explains how white supremacy and racial oppression is built in / interwoven into the American brand of Capitalism/Imperialism. He does this by diggin deep into the history of the United States and its early stages of capitalism and how it dialectically developed upon those foundations of racism and white supremacy to produce the society that we find ourselves in today. That racism and the oppression of Black People (and other people of color) is not something that sprang out of the blue or something that can be found naturally in humans. But is in fact a tool that was and is continued to be used in order to justify the oppression and brutal exploitation of certain groups of people, thus catering to the inherent nature of capitalism to exploit the masses in its ruthless pursuit to accumulate private capital.

What I like about the article is how Bob Avakian walks you through the whole evolution of racial oppression in the United States, its purpose and how it became incorporated into the overall system of capitalism, and how as a result of that, American society was organized to include the racial oppression and exploitation of Black People and other people of color. And by racial oppression being heavily interwoven into the very fabric of American Capitalism since the beginning, it is impossible to end racism and racial oppression under the confines of this system. To end institutionalized racism and racial oppression, you would have to overthrow the American capitalist/imperialist system and replace its existing societal relationships with something else, something better. Because the priorities of the current system we live under are strictly to favor capital and the capitalist class, attempting to somehow ‘reform’ or ‘amend’ those exploitive and oppressive conditions goes against the nature of this white supremacist country and its capitalist system. So even if a government under this system genuinely wanted to reform and try to end racial oppression and general exploitation, the capitalist system, due to its nature and dynamics, would not allow it. It’s one of its inherent contradictions.

That is why I would say that, in the United States and under its capitalist/imperialist system the slogan ‘Black Lives matter’ would be somewhat like a contradiction if you mean to make this true under the confines of this system and under the white supremacist American government. Since in the United States it’s impossible to deny the fact that Black lives have never mattered. Since the birth of this nation, Black lives didn’t matter as they were enslaved. You saw that Black lives didn’t matter even after the civil war when slavery was supposed to be ended, only to be replaced by a legal form of brutal exploitation. Even after Black lives fought for the imperialists in all its imperialist wars. Black lives still didn’t matter to this country. And now look, we are in the year 2020, and we are still yelling to the wind that Black lives matter! What more evidence do you need to make you realize that Black lives have never mattered to this country and will never matter to this country as long as the same capitalist system and the white supremacist government that uphold it continues to remain intact.

So knowing what I mentioned above, how can you expect to go to this same government and ask them to ‘alleviate’ or ‘reform’ something like police brutality and mass incarceration, when the police and the legal system are set up to reflect the views of the class that rules. This being a dictatorship of the capitalist class, the police, legal system and armed forces will serve the interests of the capitalist class. And that dictates the dynamics and the function of the police and its relationship with society. The police and the legal system, courts, etc. represent the interests of the capitalist class. The police – policies crime, crime being a consequence of poverty. Poverty being a by product of organizing society under a capitalist mode of production, which organizes society to socially produce and make a commodity of the essentials and basic needs of everyday life, and for the sole appropriation of private capital gains, meaning, if you don’t possess capital, you are denied access to the most basic necessities of life. And by the nature and overall dynamics of capitalism not everyone will have access to adequate amount of capital. And many are even excluded from the formal economy due to being in the way and “hindering” the profits of the capitalist class. In the United States that includes a huge portion of Black people and people of color who are excluded and abused on purpose being that this country inherited a society that was founded and based itself on white supremacy to justify racial oppression and exploitation for its own selfish monetary and imperialistic ambitions.

So, those excluded from the formal economy, many of them out of desperation, will turn to crime to accumulate capital in order to obtain those basic necessities of life. The police, legal system, courts, etc. are set up as a reactionary response to that. It’s a reactionary response on the part of society because it doesn’t fix anything. All it does is put people away in prisons, storing them away from society for what we can all agree are sometime ridiculous amount of years and even ”forever/eternity” sentences. If it can kill them they will. Society basically sweeps the problem of crime under the rug. It does this because, being that this is a capitalist society, ending the conditions in society that manifest crime will mean that they have to do away and end poverty in society, which doing so goes against the interest of the capital class and is in fact impossible to ever accomplish in a capitalist society due to the very nature and dynamics of the capitalist mode of production.

The only solution is a Revolution that would end and replace the current mode of production (capitalism) which dictates the relationships in society, which varies in many degrees but can be identified in everyday life, to the smallest scale of everyday interactions to the grander scale of how the state and its institutions operate and interact with society. Those relationships are dictated by the mode of production that we humans are keeping and allowing to be kept in place - but that which we humans are also fully capable of changing if we were to unite and wage definite struggle against this system.

BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian is a book of quotations and short essays that speaks powerfully to questions of revolution and human emancipation.

“You can't change the world if you don't know the BAsics.”

Order the book HERE
Download the book in ePub format HERE


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