Joe Veale Replies to Letters From Prisoners

BREAKING ALL THE CHAINS FOR A REAL REVOLUTION

Editors’ Note: For the past few months, revcom.us has been getting the New Year’s Statement from Bob Avakian (BA) to prisoners and printing some responses. The following from Joe Veale responds to some of those letters. The letters themselves are at the end of the response.

We have received a number of letters from prisoners responding to BA’s New Year’s Statement, “A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity.”

These letters express a strong desire to engage in this statement—they express a real attraction to BA—the scientific method—and revolution.

New Year's Statement by Bob Avakian

 

One person writes: “The statement itself has become an instrument we are using to educate individuals. It has proven to be very enlightening to some. Recently I gave it to a ‘Progressive’ friend that I have engaged with for a couple months now about progressive ideals are dangerous, and why communist revolution guided by the new synthesis is the only real option.”

Another writes: “I’m starting to tell you that I have read the New Year Statement by Bob Avakian, and I have to tell you that not only the New Year Statement, but everything that he has said on every article is the reality that is going on in this country with these politicians that are abusing their power to lynch black, Latino and anyone that is not white.”

Someone else writes: “We face a Perilous road, with many obstacles in the way. But that is no reason to lose hope. We must assess the ground that has been covered. We must keep nurturing the land as the conditions are further advanced for a Revolutionary Situation.

“It is true as Bob Avakian said, time is not on our side, at the moment, [we] lack the necessary numbers of people needed for a successful Revolutionary mobilization... One advantage I wanted to Point out to my comrades is that we have an actual scientifically grounded and disciplined leadership—in Bob Avakian and the Revolutionary Communist Party.”

Others have expressed similar sentiments and there is a lot to unite with in this.

For scientific grounding in the oppression of women, I would strongly recommend these works:

At the same time—these letters also express some sentiments that are in conflict with this desire for revolution. While there is plenty to unite with in these letters there is a lot we need to struggle over if we are really going to make an all-the-way revolution—which is the only kind worth making. To take one important example, some of the same letters which express the strongest desire for revolution also express the strongest opposition to women’s liberation.

A Decisive Point for the Oppressed—Get Rid of ALL Oppression? Or Hold On to Just a “Little Bit” of It?

In the handbook for revolution, BAsics, BA gets right to the point (BAsics 3:22):

You cannot break all the chains, except one. You cannot say you want to be free of exploitation and oppression, except you want to keep the oppression of women by men. You can’t say you want to liberate humanity yet keep one half of the people enslaved to the other half. The oppression of women is completely bound up with the division of society into masters and slaves, exploiters and exploited, and the ending of all such conditions is impossible without the complete liberation of women. All this is why women have a tremendous role to play not only in making revolution but in making sure there is all-the-way revolution. The fury of women can and must be fully unleashed as a mighty force for proletarian revolution.

This is decisive.

After reading BA’s New Year’s Statement, one person writes: “I’ve read the ‘A New Year’ and can see a very comprehensive plan to effect change in a society filled with bigotry; racism; misguidance and hate.” He goes on to say: “I must reiterate...in more detail my opposition in favor of abortion. Though it is never my intention to ever subjugate women in any way, or limit their God given right to free will, I must stress that it is a inhuman, unequal and a completely selfish trait for two people to engage in the act of consensual sex...but only one (the woman) having the right to abort the life of a fetus. What happens to the man in that decision making process...?”

To this, it must be said straight-up: forced motherhood is slavery. You, men, are not carrying around in your body a living and growing embryo—that develops into a fetus—something you carry around for nine months. You are not the one going through all kinds of changes in your body both physically and mentally—this is what women go through—not you, men.

BAsics 3-22 quote with graphic of broken chains

 

What kind of effect will carrying her pregnancy to term have on the rest of her life? What kind of positive effect will it have or what kind of negative effect will it have?

No man has the right to decide for women whether to have an abortion or not. No man has a right to take over any part of a woman’s body, tell her what to do with it, or use it for his own ends.

“Male rights” are, and can only be, the “rights” of men to dictate the social role, the social status of women. It means reducing the humanity of women to the dictates of a patriarchal male supremacist society. Reducing women to a baby-making machine. A breeder. Denying her equality with men.

Denying women the right to abortion is, once again, forced enslavement.

Allowing men to decide this is to make her and her body the property of men. It’s the other side of the patriarchy that reduces women and girls to sexual playthings for men, forcing them into the role of “mothers” or “bitches and ho’s.” Roles where women are less than human.

Who wants to live in a world like that? We do not have to live in such a world.

Not only that, forced motherhood is a cornerstone of the fascist program.

Why? Because it fits their drive to totally dominate women, to reduce them to breeding machines, sex objects, emotional supporters, child raisers and on and so on, for men. All this denies women their humanity. If the fascist program is able to fully succeed—and women lose the right of abortion—women will still fight to assert their freedom—but then they will have to rely on the illegal underground market where they risk mutilation and humiliation—they will risk injuring internal organs causing them hemorrhage—from ruptured blood vessels or organs—they will risk death from having abortion done in unsanitary conditions... all of which can and do cause women to die unnecessarily.

If fascism is able to win out and consolidate itself, women who are lucky enough to survive the scenario outlined above will go to prison for giving themselves an abortion. For killing a so-called “unborn child”! Much of this is what happened to women when abortion was illegal. It happens today in Latin America, where abortion is illegal.

It is now happening and being reasserted by the fascists—even though they no longer control the executive branch—still, it is happening with a vengeance.

Reducing Women to “Mamas” Goes Against Revolution

But one person contends that “...it is the female who often plays the most important role in the family...” He goes on to argue that women need to be “Mamas” and he is alarmed that so many have joined the fascist movement.

Speaking to the point about women joining the fascist movement: again, BA addresses this in the New Year’s Statement; after discussing the tight connection between militant masculinity and fascism—and why some, (clearly a minority) of Black and Latino men have given support to Trump, he goes on to say: “It is also not surprising that even significant numbers of women (mainly white women but also some Latina and other women of color) have been drawn to this fascism, as the phenomenon of the oppressed clinging to ‘tradition’s chains’ that oppress them is unfortunately all too common.”

In this context, BA calls attention to Candace Owens, the Black female fascist who calls for “manly men” to enforce traditional gender relations—the traditional way men dominated women through the family. “There is no society that can survive without strong men,” says Owens. “In the west, the steady feminization of our men at the same time that Marxism is being taught to our children is not a coincidence. It’s an outright attack. Bring back manly men,” she says.

As BA goes on to say: “Of course, for fascists like Owens ‘strong’ and ‘manly’ men are those who embody and enforce traditional gender relations, exercising domination over women who submit to this domination—and men who do not conform to traditional gender roles and relations, men who support equality between men and women are somehow ‘weak,’ ‘effeminate,’ ‘emasculated.’”

Glorifying women as mothers actually works against what is needed.

Once again, the fascists, especially the Christian fascists, make a whole cult out of motherhood. In order to force women into that role and no other—and all too many men who are NOT Christian fascists make a division between “mama” (the so-called good ones) and all those whom they deem to be “bitches” and “ho’s”(the so-called bad ones)—terms which should have no place among revolutionaries or anyone claiming to be a decent human being.

Many women do want to be mothers. Get great enjoyment from it. But many women do NOT. ALL of them have the equal right to be respected and treated as full human beings whose freedom to choose is respected and who must have all the rights granted to men.

It is not a question of respecting “mama” but unleashing the fury of WOMEN, and uniting men and women to break every chain of gender oppression as a mighty force FOR REVOLUTION.

Go Deeper into the Scientific Understanding

To go further, I encourage you to study, and re-study BA’s “A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity.”

In part 3 it says:

...the elimination of male supremacy is impossible within the confines of this system. This is true because male supremacy has been deeply woven into the fabric of this society, and because this system is based on capitalist commodity relations and exploitation—things are produced to be exchanged (sold), through a process in which masses of people work, for a wage or salary, to create profit that is accumulated by capitalists who employ them and control their work—a system in which the patriarchal family unit remains an essential economic and social component and requirement, even as it is being put under increasing strains.

Drawing heavily from points 3 and 4 of the “A New Year” statement, I leave you with this:

The Democrats and liberals are no alternative. They represent the same system whose rule involves the enforcement of the exploitation and oppression of masses of people in this country and throughout the world (including 150 million children in the Third World who are cruelly super-exploited in sweatshops and mines). Enforcing all this, and beating out their global competitors and rivals, is what they mean when they talk about the “national interest.” And this is the foundation from which they seek to lure in the masses with their “progressive” approach of “diversity” and “inclusiveness,” especially women, and people of color, in this worldwide plunder.

In part 3 of his “A New Year” statement, BA makes this incisive observation and analysis:

Over the past several decades in the U.S. there have been profound changes in the situation of women and the relations within the family. In only one of ten families is there the ‘model’ situation where the husband is the ‘sole breadwinner’ and the wife is a totally dependent ‘homemaker.’ With these economic changes have come significant changes in attitudes and expectations—and very significant strains not only on the fabric of the family but of social relations more broadly.... The whole question of the position and role of women in society is more and more acutely posing itself in today’s extreme circumstances—this is a powderkeg in the U.S. today. It is not conceivable that all this will find any resolution other than in the most radical terms and through extremely violent means. The question yet to be determined is: will it be a radical reactionary or a radical revolutionary resolution, will it mean the reinforcing of the chains of enslavement or the shattering of the most decisive links in those chains and the opening up of the possibility of realizing the complete elimination of all forms of such enslavement.

In addition to this, over the last several months revcom.us has covered a rising tide in Latin America of women in rebellion against femicide, against rape, against forced motherhood and patriarchy—do we stand with that, and transform it through struggle into a key element of the struggle for revolution, or do we stand aside from it or, still worse, against it?

Everyone must decide.

* * * * *

Letters from Prisoners:

My Thoughts On: “New Year’s Statement By Bob Avakian: A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity”

With the recent acquittal of Donald Trump’s second impeachment hearing/trial, Bob Avakian’s message is even more relevant, urgent, critical and necessary.

I’ll begin with a quote from page 3, “And a defining characteristic of these fascists is their fanatical allegiance to demented distortions of reality, which is extremely difficult (and in many cases impossible) to penetrate with reason and fact, because these distortions serve to reinforce their sense of threatened entitlement and render long-standing prejudices and hatreds even more virulent.” And from page 2: “The unavoidable truth is that this country, the much-proclaimed ‘Shining City on a Hill,’ is full of fascists!—in the government at all levels and in large parts of the society as a whole.”

With both the riot on capitol hill and most of the republicans agreeing to acquit Donald Trump we see, “in the government at all levels and in large parts of the society as a whole,” a unification of a “fanatical allegiance to demented distortions of reality.” This unification both in the streets and in the government presents a very real and virulent problem. We know of those we seen in the streets and those in government positions, but what about the many more millions who aren’t in the streets or in the government? The millions who fund, donate, and support both those in the streets and in the government? This “fanatical allegiance” is real and pervasive. And as Bob Avakian goes on to say on page 3: “This fascism is deeply rooted, in the underlying dynamics of the capitalist-imperialist system that rules in this country and in the whole history of this country, from its founding in slavery and genocide.”

Bob Avakian has described this problem as “deeply rooted.” This is very significant because roots are connected. So this unification of a “fanatical allegiance” has history and roots. One of the definitions of the word root is: quantity to be multiplied by itself. Also: become fixed. So we could safely say that this system has multiplied in its hate, racism, and oppression and is “fixed” on doubling down on it. So when Bob Avakian says this problem is “deeply rooted,” we are talking about science and a system.

Now if we know anything about systems, systems aren’t easily changed. Science teaches that in order for a system to change, there must be many forces at work. You can’t just “vote” a system out of place/order.

We also must understand that the fascists have a lot invested. They have centuries of oppression that they are willing to defend. When we seen confederate flags flying all over the capitol, that’s an investment. When the republicans voted to acquit Donald Trump, that’s an investment. So if we’re going to turn this thing around we must be seriously invested. Roots of a tree are investments. Our actions are our investments.

On page 12 we read: “... The whole question of the position and role of women in society is more and more acutely posing itself in today’s extreme circumstances—this is a powderkeg in the U.S. today.” This statement brings to mind the many women who were also at the capitol riot. We seen mothers, aunts, nieces, cousins, and daughters all believing Trump’s lies. One woman was even shot and killed. Women represents a balance that can’t be replaced. If we lose the women, all hope is lost. This “powderkeg” that Bob Avakian is speaking about, to me represents what will happen if we can continue to lose women. If we look at science and nature, it is the female who often plays the most crucial role in the family. Many communities in nature have gone on and thrived without males. But I have never seen any family/community thrive without the female. One example is that of elephants. The matriarch holds the most important position in that community. And as a Blackman in Amerika today, I made it without my father but doubt seriously if I could’ve made it without my mother. (Listen to Tupac’s “Dear Mama.”) We know George Floyd’s last words were “Mama,” not father, but “Mama.” I hope that women of all colors around the world remember that. So “Mama” at the capitol, “Mama” at home, “Mama” at work, “Mama” in prison, “Mama” we can’t lose you.


“A very comprehensive plan to effect change in a society filled with bigotry, racism, misguidance and hate”

First and foremost I would like to thank you for keeping me informed about the current events out there. Furthermore, by giving me the news raw and uncut. As it were, I am a big supporter of your universal movement and I encourage my little brothers to also lend their support. Moreover, I’ve read “A New Year” and can see a very comprehensive plan to effect change in a society filled with bigotry; racism; misguidance and hate.

Nevertheless, I must reiterate my opinion in more detail, my opposition in favor of abortion. Though it is never my intention to ever subjugate women in any way, or limit their God given right to free will, I must stress that it is a inhuman, unequal and a completely selfish trait for two people to engage in the act of having consensual sex together, but only one (the woman) having the right to abort the life of a fetus. What happened to the man in that decision making process? Did the woman create this fetus alone? No, of course not, so why is it possible that she should have the final and only say so in the decision to either kill or carry a fetus to full term, that by the way she didn’t create on her own. I am pro-life, and believe that if two responsible adults decide that now is not the time to have a baby they should take preventative measures, for we do not live in a time when condoms were outlawed or women being oppressed to the point when she doesn’t have the right to take birth control pills or require that her lover use protection before making love to her.

Nevertheless, let me get back on subject. What do I think about “A New Year!” I think it’s great because it’s all inclusive. Bob doesn’t distinguish between Black or white, but refers to all as humanity. We share the views that nothing will change absent the realizations that we are one people. All of us come from the same source. Moreover, we cannot think to effect true change using a system, constitution or government that openly authorized the oppression, subjugation, murder and wholesale slavery of their fellow man. Further, we must have that conversation, no matter how hard that there exist a people who has benefitted and still are benefitting from the slavery of Nubian people.

Nevertheless, I question how can there be reform of a system whose life blood is capitalism; slavery; oppression of those who are other than white? How can a people (Nubian people) ever trust a people (white people) when in all examples of history we are being murdered, oppressed, raped and enslaved in every encounter? It is examples such as the Tuskegee experiment that makes Nubians (Blacks) in this country distrustful of whites in this country sticking needles in their arms claiming it to be a vaccine for Covid-19.

So, I pose the question would you trust a people who stole you from your homeland (Africa), forced you into a cramped, unsanitary ships, subjected you to be shitted on literally for months at sea, raped you; your women and children; enslaved you and aborted fetuses in public by savagely cutting them out. Then stomping the baby underfoot? How can you trust 198 Nubian people being openly murdered by white cops in a single year?

Sincerely, XXXXXX


“Everything BA had said… is the reality of what is going on in this country”

I’m starting to tell you that I have read the New Year’s Statement by Bob Avakian, and I have to tell you that not only the New Year’s Statement, but everything he had said on every article is the reality of what is going on in this country with these politicians that are abusing of their power to lynch black, Latinos and anyone that is not white. But everything that Mr. Avakian had said, it happen the same he been saying all this time and what make me angry is that they start protesting now when all this is happening for decades. This officers have being killing innocent people and getting away with it, because no one want to speak up. I have to say, that don’t matter who is the President in this country. Our problem are the people in that Capitol, because they are the ones who make this laws and keep this officers for being try in court for the crimes committed against those innocent people that was kill by Police. I see the way Trump have act in that White House, and I ask myself, how he win the election in the first place because he was very disrespectful in every presentation about women, LBTG people, Latinos and in my opinion he bought his way to be the President and all those people who attack the Capitol are on his payroll and this officer and Proud Boys that was target people to intimidate them to help Trump win again and the ones that kill all those people. We have to keep fighting without violence to change this Congress because is not only about racism that we are dealing with and we got to stop these labels—high, middle and low class—because that’s another problem with discrimination and profiling people, just because some are living better than others or got more money than others. Another thing people have to fight for this background checks on the jobs, because is a lot of people that have criminal record and want to work to avoid going back to the street life that only leads to prison or death. We have the right to work like everyone else and we are discriminated because our background or race…

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