Coco Das, Texas
The attacks on Bob Avakian, Sunsara Taylor, the revcoms, and Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights are dangerous and extremely damaging to the fight against fascism and any movement for justice.
The attacks on Bob Avakian, Sunsara Taylor, the revcoms, and Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights are dangerous and extremely damaging to the fight against fascism and any movement for justice. They must be opposed, and good people who are falling into this kind of red-baiting cancel culture need to knock it off!
Since February, I took on a leadership role in Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights, largely because of the analysis BA had done on the role of women in society and the importance of the fight for abortion in the overall emancipation of women. I did this while being a “friend” of the revcoms but not calling myself a revcom or a follower of BA, even though I have been very influenced by his work.
For my part, these attacks have clarified the qualitative difference between BA’s leadership and the leadership of these “grassroots” organizations who first launched these attacks. It has clarified for me the difference between reform and revolution, between wanting to find a place within this system and wanting to overthrow the system to put a far better system into place.
BA’s emphasis on a method and principles that are in line with the world you are trying to bring into being, with a thoroughly scientific epistemology that puts critical thinking and truth—which stands up to questioning and evidence and corresponds to reality—as central to making revolution, is completely counter to the lies and petty jockeying for “movement space” represented by these attacks.
Instead of inspiring people to bring the fight for abortion rights to a higher and more determined level, these attacks led people whose hearts were in the right place to give up on the struggle in the streets for legal abortion. It also led many to behave in atrocious ways, with no accountability to the truth or common decency. Maybe these people don’t know what they are doing by launching and joining these attacks. Maybe they don’t know how much they are aiding and abetting the fascists and the rulers of this horrible system. Maybe they don’t understand how damaging anti-communism is to progressive movements, or maybe they do know and don’t care and are only out for themselves. Either way, as stressful and sometimes heartbreaking as it has been to weather this storm, it has brought me to the realization that Bob Avakian is the leader that I want to follow, that the place he has been working tirelessly to get us to is the place I want to go and where humanity needs to go. As I said in my May 14th speech at a Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights rally in Austin, of the something terrible or something truly emancipating that could be the radical resolution of the deep, existential crisis humanity faces under this system, I want the truly emancipating.
John Hedlund, sociology instructor and graduate student
I want to specifically talk about BA’s overall method and approach. As a sociologist (which is a type of social scientist), I find BA’s call for and application of a thorough, rigorous, scientific approach to analyzing both the natural AND (very importantly) the social world to be incredibly inspiring. Simply put, there is no one else who is doing this with the same degree of conviction—of fearlessness, of following the truth wherever it leads you—as BA.
I want to specifically talk about BA’s overall method and approach. As a sociologist (which is a type of social scientist), I find BA’s call for and application of a thorough, rigorous, scientific approach to analyzing both the natural AND (very importantly) the social world to be incredibly inspiring. Simply put, there is no one else who is doing this with the same degree of conviction—of fearlessness, of following the truth wherever it leads you—as BA. In my own work as a researcher, writer and instructor, I consistently try to learn from and emulate BA’s approach: to follow the evidence; to interrogate and self-interrogate; to reject “common wisdom” and not accept established truths without subjecting them to rigorous analysis; to search and fight for what’s true, no matter how uncomfortable (or unpopular) those truths may be; to emphasize epistemological method in how to approach understanding (and transforming) reality; to learn from others, including from those with whom I may strongly disagree on many things; to speak and write in a way that breaks down complex ideas without losing their substance and essence; and to persist, in spite of difficulties, obstacles, criticism, attacks and hardships.
I also want to speak to what I view as one of the “crown jewels” of BA’s work: his radically visionary, awe-inspiring blueprint for a new and liberatory socialist society. As someone who has seriously studied BA’s work, over a number of years, I repeatedly return to the following insight of his: That, in order to uproot all of the deeply seated and interwoven inequalities—between women and men; between different nationalities and races, between those in the imperialist citadels and those of the oppressed nations; between those who can work with their minds and those forced to work, like brute animals, only with their bodies; between those viciously exploited by the workings of the capitalist mode of production and those who benefit from that exploitation—achieving what is sometimes called the abolition of the Four Alls, society under socialism has to be “opened up” on a qualitatively greater plane, which requires a “solid core with a lot of elasticity on the basis of that solid core.” You NEED massive, society-wide debate and wrangling; you NEED to be challenged; you NEED an unleashing of the arts, the sciences, of culture, of women and other formerly oppressed peoples, of youth movements; on a level well beyond anything that has existed in previous socialist societies (to say nothing of the rotten, putrid, dog-eat-dog, “might-makes-right”-ism of capitalist societies such as this one). This isn’t some conciliation to liberal criticisms of socialism: without this—without, as BA puts it, “being willing to go to the brink of being drawn and quartered” but without losing your grip of the whole thing—humanity will never be able to uproot all of the deeply-seated inequalities, divisions, and the ways of thinking that both correspond to and reinforce them. It is a groundbreaking, jaw-dropping, and deeply materialist development of the science of communism that I am continually provoked to revisit and reflect upon.
All of this is completely in contrast to the utterly absurd, dangerously piggish, embarrassingly idiotic, and outright McCarthyite charges of “cult” and “pyramid scheme” that are being hurled at BA and those who follow him. That some of the people who are making these accusations fancy themselves as “socialists” or “radicals” is all the more despicable and stomach churning. These intellectual cowards are (whether consciously or otherwise) doing the very damaging work of the state and political police in actively lying about, and attempting to keep people from engaging with, a world-class revolutionary thinker and leader. And they’re doing it without even the pretense of refuting, engaging, or even presenting BA's arguments, ideas, or body of work!!! It defies belief that this kind of gutter-level, anti-intellectual, substantively vapid garbage is even given a hearing among “progressives” and self-proclaimed “radicals” and “socialists.”
But don’t take my word for it! Engage BA’s work for yourself. Don’t go by what “everybody knows” or what other puffed-up “movement leaders” and people are telling you (talk about “cultish” and slavish thinking!). Go into it deeply. And then read the work of others who are purporting to offer different analyses of the situation we face, and different solutions to those problems. Compare and contrast the different political and ideological programs, lines, and methods. Have the courage of your convictions. Be serious, and do the goddamn work! Let’s raise the level of our sights and of our discourse. If you disagree, offer up your best arguments. What do you think of his argument that THIS is a rare time in which a revolution in a country like this becomes actually possible, based on the deepening divisions among the rulers of this country, with all that implies and entails? What about his analysis of the new two outmodeds: fascist lunacy and “woke-folk” insanity? His argument about means and ends, and how that relates to the fight for emancipation? His point about epistemology and morality? His critique of democracy? The John Stuart Mill point? His full frontal repudiation of “political truth”? I could go on.... But if you wanna talk about BA, then let’s have a discussion on THAT—about the struggle to understand and change the world, and BA’s contributions to that process.
John Hedlund, sociology instructor and graduate student
From a Revcom
I met Bob Avakian (BA) through his memoir and writings during my third prison term. I was caught up in a lot of bad shit, ways of thinking and acting that were really harmful and ran counter to what BA stands for and fights for. I started to follow BA and break with what I had become because I engaged and came to agree with what BA had to say about the need and the possibility for a real revolution, a communist revolution where the whole of humanity could get beyond all forms of exploitation and oppression.
Unlike those who are attacking BA with ridiculous lies and accusations of him being a cult leader, BA has not settled in and made peace with this system. He did what all those who are taking shots at him refuse to do, he’s seriously approached the question of whether a different world beyond this murderous system of capitalism-imperialism, with all its unspeakable horrors is really possible, what has to be done to deal with the whole scope of the problem, not just find some niche within it.
Above all else, and in sharp contrast to everyone else, BA approaches the question of human emancipation and what it will take to get there scientifically, seeking and following the truth wherever it leads, not by “centering marginalized voices” and accepting bullshit as truth because somebody oppressed says it. The masses of oppressed people suffering so unnecessarily under this system deserve more respect than that and no self-respecting person should be willing to be catered to and fawned over solely based on their identity or oppressed condition.
If we want to act in the interests of the oppressed masses of the world, there are real and serious questions that we have to grapple with. What is there a material basis for in this real world, which means not how we think the world should be but what is actually possible? Can we truly get to a society where people’s needs are met without having to go through a global network of sweatshops producing everything, where the environment isn’t being destroyed in the process, where imperialist gangsters aren’t competing for resources and markets and threatening nuclear war? Do we have to just accept the degraded condition of women, the mass incarceration and police murder of Black and Brown people, the persecution of immigrants driven all across the globe by poverty and misery caused by this system? If the current system is maintained and enforced by powerful and vicious repressive forces, under what conditions could it be possible to defeat them and replace this system? What can people do now to help bring about the most favorable conditions where organized revolutionary forces had a real chance to win?
BA has given his entire life helping to answer these questions and more. He is someone with tremendous commitment and heart for the people and it is absolutely sickening to see so many attacking him in such a low level way and his groundbreaking work being so facilely dismissed precisely at this historic juncture where huge splits in the ruling class and in society are widening, where the current trajectory is leading to something truly horrible and will continue to get worse unless a growing number of people learn about and take up the leadership, strategy, science, and vision forged by BA.
Everybody mindlessly parroting or falling for piggish lies and slanders needs to get their head out their ass and raise your sights. Don’t worry about whether you will be accepted within the gutter that claims to be “the left” and ask serious questions and demand serious answers. Criticism is fine and necessary when it comes with real substance instead of personal attacks. What is the analysis and what are the opposing views and aims held by different organizations and people in relation to what has to be done about the overturning of Roe v. Wade or whatever injustice moved you to care about the state of the world? Don’t approach the struggle against injustice and looming fascism by shopping for ideas that you can readily agree with while dismissing those that make you uncomfortable. Confront the stakes involved and follow the truth wherever it leads even if that means breaking with your long-held beliefs.
Isabel Cardenas, Salvadoran-American activist since 1960
Why are you attacking Bob Avakian? Someone who is all about justice and making things better for all the people. That’s his goal. That’s how I see Bob Avakian.
Why are you attacking Bob Avakian? Someone who is all about justice and making things better for all the people. That’s his goal. That’s how I see Bob Avakian. We can’t allow rumors to be spread. Anyone who spreads lies about people and groups, such as the lies spread about Bob Avakian and Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights—anyone who spreads disinformation and targets those who are demonstrating on behalf of others being persecuted and oppressed, including half of humanity, women—those people spreading these lies are people who really do not care about stopping this persecution and oppression. It could be said they have infiltrated movements for progress and emancipation.
Bob Avakian is a worldwide leader. Jesus made a revolution against the Roman Empire, telling the truth. Today Bob Avakian is revolutionizing against injustice, and is for abortion rights. I’m not comparing Bob Avakian to Jesus Christ, I’m saying you are spreading lies against a communist. I’m a religious person, and I see Jesus as being the first communist. That is why Jesus was crucified. And with Bob Avakian, you are attempting to carry out a modern-day cancellation of a man trying to do good. Bob Avakian talks about revolution. That is why you are spreading the lie about Bob Avakian being a “cult” leader. If anybody leads a “cult” its Donald Trump. It takes millions and millions of people for there to be a revolution—here is a man who is trying to bring forward a revolution and a new society and people are lying about him, defaming him.
The Supreme Court is part of the dictatorship that exists in the U.S.… ruling and dictating over women! I’m 84 years old, and isn’t this attack on abortion rights about ruling over women? For people against abortions, if you are doing it for religious reasons, just stop. If you believe in religion, then let the women decide what she will face when she dies. It’s her choice. A woman has a right to choose. I do believe that this country has dictators: including the Supreme Court. We can’t allow the dictators to mandate over a woman’s body.
Salvadoran-American Activist Since 1960
From D. Ocean, Health Care Practitioner
"When Bob Avakian and the RevCom’s take a principled position and cut through the bullshit, when they show this attack on women and the overturning of Roe v. Wade is a fascist attack, when they show how the Democratic Party is conciliatory with these fascists (refusing to mobilize the people), when in contrast to giving in and capitulating RU4AR mobilizes thousands of young women… it is at this point these forces go after Bob Avakian because he is telling people what is behind the curtain."
When Bob Avakian and the RevCom’s take a principled position and cut through the bullshit, when they show this attack on women and the overturning of Roe v. Wade is a fascist attack, when they show how the Democratic Party is conciliatory with these fascists (refusing to mobilize the people), when in contrast to giving in and capitulating RU4AR mobilizes thousands of young women… it is at this point these forces go after Bob Avakian because he is telling people what is behind the curtain. Vicious attacks on Sunsara Taylor… because she TOOK A STAND! When Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights started, Sunsara Taylor and others from RevCom made it clear: we have to hit this and we have to hit this hard and mobilize the masses to fight to make sure things don’t get to where they’ve gotten, with Roe overturned and new horrors now happening. The forces who launched this attack have no answer other than to pretend these attacks are not as serious as they are. Their program is… bankrupt.
Which Side Are You On?
But more: this is counter-revolution. Accusations about misappropriation of funds is being spread. This is an attempt to discredit, to delegitimize, to create suspicion. This can do damage by creating distrust among people who don’t know the real. Its all old game but it can be effective. Rather than a solidarity movement, look how the forces spreading lies about BA and RevCom have sunk to the level of Alex Jones! Let’s be real, the forces spreading this disinformation DESPISE the very idea of revolution—so much so that they envy the shock jock Alex Jones and want to be him... spreading lies, slander and disinformation. More than shameful... attempting to destroy legitimate protest? This is what fascism does!
Since when do cults fight to liberate women, Black people, LGBTQ, and wage the fight against capitalism and imperialist war—describe a cult that engages in that?
And because people out there can be lazy and won’t "back check", this bullshit “cult” charge can get over among some. Just blurt out “CULT” and because people don’t practice science that can also take on wings. Isn’t the question whether what BA is saying is true, or not, and where will it lead if its promoted and followed. Of course none of the “leaders” of this bourgeois capitalist set up (or these "self-appointed leaders of the women's movement" who spew groundless accusations) endorse Bob Avakian… they would rather have people turn away. Now their mouthpieces—even some so-called "progressive journalists"—work to cut people off from Bob Avakian before his ideas spread, before BA’s new ideas have a chance to catch on. That IS what is happening here. No way should we allow this.
Why did Malcolm X place the Republican and Democratic Party leadership in the same canine family (foxes and wolves), and why is that relevant today?
This is dangerous. The forces behind these lies and slanders know this. They know about COINTELPRO. They know about Malcolm X. What happened to Malcolm when he said the Republicans and the Democratic Party - they got the same game going. We know what happened and that can’t be allowed to happen now. It’s slander, its libelous, but I say listen and read BA. Look at the facts. Look at his principled approach. Is what BA saying true? Or not? That’s the question. Do you disagree? If so, say so. Debate is welcome, I know this from years of experience with the RevComs. But whether you agree with the need for revolution, or not, these counter-revolutionary attacks must be exposed and denounced; EVERYONE really does need to take a basic stand against this outrage.
Health Care Practitioner
From Gloria Pinex—fighter for justice and mother of Darius Pinex, killed by Chicago police
I know BA personally. The first time I heard him speak I fell in love with him. And I don’t know why someone wouldn’t want to hear from someone who gets down to earth with things. I don’t know who wouldn’t want the truth. Anything having to do with oppression he touches on it. He touches bases on Police Brutality, oppressed women—yeah—he does a lot. All that gibberish they are talking is absolutely absurd. It’s not Bobby—it’s not his character.
Roosevelt—member of the Chicago Revolution Club
Over the years I've seen and heard many leaders who have tried to diagnosis the many issues plaguing the Poor community's . Since 1999 one in particular showed up on my radar, Bob Avakian has been more in tune and aware of the true solutions that's needed to overcome these issues which existed for far too long! Others have came up with their ideas of fitting inside of the same dam System that's caused pain and suffering all over this planet! Sounds crazy but it's true.
Actually Bob Avakian has been fighting against this System of Capitalism and Imperialism since the 60s! And has never gave in to the corruption that has lured numerous others away from the goal of fighting for the people and has published a number of books to enlighten the masses on a real way to defeat this System and its puppets! Visit www.revcom.us for a complete encyclopedia of the books by B.A .
A real leader who refuse to do like so many others is very rare, and should be heard, not ignored. There are those who hear him, take what he says, try to rephrase it to make it their own. What they should be doing is the right thing since they already know that B.A. Is the Architect of the New Communism and like I stated earlier a number of great "Real books" on the subject of Revolution, and the emancipation of humanity. When we have a leader amongst us with this kind information we should be taking it up.
I have heard others and this true, and I've heard Bob Avakian, and this is my leader.
Aurora Roja, voice of the Revolutionary Communist Organization, Mexico
Editors’ note: This was an introduction to the reposting on the Aurora Roja blog of the revcom.us article “Behind the Week of Internet Attacks on Bob Avakian and the Revcoms: Imperialist Fear Mongers and Their Servants.” The translation from the original Spanish is ours.
Unprincipled attacks, based on lies and slanders, on the organization Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights (RU4AR), as well as the revolutionary leader Bob Avakian, are completely unacceptable. RU4AR is the only national organization in the United States that mobilized thousands of people in the streets in defense of the right to abortion for months before the decision of the Supreme Court that eliminates this constitutional right, while others advised not to fight to stop this decision. Bob Avakian, based on 50 years of work, has developed the New Communism, a more scientific, revolutionary and inspiring guide to making revolution and emancipating humanity in today’s world, and leads a determined fight to make an actual revolution amidst the great turmoil and crises that are ripping U.S. society apart now. To those who repeat or get taken in by the orchestrated campaign of lies and slanders against this important revolutionary leader, we want to ask: Are you against a liberating revolution in the belly of the world’s biggest imperialist oppressor? Do you prefer that this oppressor continue? In the real world, disqualifying this revolutionary leader without even reading and knowing his work can only serve the reactionary interests of U.S. imperialism. We welcome debate and reasoned criticism, which helps to clarify opposing positions. On the other hand, every decent person must categorically reject snarky attacks based on lies, slanders and insults, which does so much damage to the interests of the people. As follows, we reproduce from revcom.us one of several articles about these unprincipled attacks.
From D., Revolution Club, Bay Area
"...So when so-called “progressive” haters (coordinating with major media outlets) throw around accusations of “cult” in order to isolate BA and invite repression against him, not only do I find it intellectually dishonest, not only does it tell me that these fools haven’t read with an open mind a damn thing written by BA, not only do I question the intent of these blowhard “woke” sleep-walkers… I also take it very personal. Excuse my language, but these assholes haven’t done shit compared to BA’s work over the last 50 years."
I first ran into the leadership and ideas of Bob Avakian (BA) more than 15 years ago straight out of middle school. I was a rebellious and inquisitive young person who was forced awake by the USA’s wars of terror in Iraq and Afghanistan, combined with the madness that I saw around me growing up in East Oakland. The images of American troops in Abu Ghraib prison smiling as they tortured and dehumanized their victims haunt me to this day and they pushed me to dig for deeper solutions than just “me and my people.” With all this anger at the conditions of masses of people worldwide and with a thirst for radical change, BA was like an oasis in the desert of false ideas.
In 2007, 14-year-old me wrote to revcom.us and described what BA meant to me: “I knew what was wrong at that time. I knew what was needed. But then I didn’t know exactly how to get it. Avakian introduced me to the thought of a Revolutionary Communist revolution in the ‘belly of the beast.’ He gave me a platform—structure and theory—behind what I knew the world needed. He formulated a response from me to the system. He opened my eyes to the idea of how we could accomplish change. I had never seen anything like it! I started looking into the complete ideas of the Party—Marxism-Leninism-Maoism—and really saw the solution to end the oppression. I found something that wasn’t only the liberation of a few, but the emancipation of all of humanity.”
BA’s writings and talks challenged me to think critically and reject any type of religiosity. Not only did I break with the belief in gods through works like his book Away With All Gods!, I was also led by BA to confront dogmatic ways of thinking within the communist movement and within myself. And as I grew up and matured, as my knowledge of the world expanded, BA was also hard at work at forging a whole new framework beyond MLM: the new communism. This groundbreaking new method made a scientific inquiry and summation of the achievements and the shortcomings of the previous wave of revolutions in the 20th century. He grounded the communist movement, and the RCP, on a much more solidly scientific foundation, arguing that all truths are good for oppressed people and the struggle to get free. He led the RCP in deepening the strategy to make revolution in this country with a real chance to win. He made huge breakthroughs in the approach to the future socialist society that we’re fighting to bring into being, insisting that dissent and debate be at the core of continuing the revolution even after we have power (codifying all of this in the Draft Constitution). He’s consistently done all of this with the final goal of ending all forms of oppression worldwide as the guidepost for everything. This had a profound effect on my life and the way I learned to see my role in the struggle to emancipate humanity.
So when so-called “progressive” haters (coordinating with major media outlets) throw around accusations of “cult” in order to isolate BA and invite repression against him, not only do I find it intellectually dishonest, not only does it tell me that these fools haven’t read with an open mind a damn thing written by BA, not only do I question the intent of these blowhard “woke” sleep-walkers… I also take it very personal. Excuse my language, but these assholes haven’t done shit compared to BA’s work over the last 50 years. BA has consistently done the work to break down extremely complex concepts about science, understanding the world in order to change it, to broadly popularize in society. He’s paid particular attention to bringing these ideas to the most oppressed. People denied education, caught up in superstition, harassed day in day out by the powers-that-be, and simply trying to survive. I’m a product of this initiative he’s taken. I came to understand communist theory, world history and cultures, biology, physics, and so much more through the work of BA. And I learned all of these things not for some selfish pursuit to be an armchair intellectual, but BA continually challenged me to dedicate my life to making a revolution to liberate all the peoples throughout the world. And he actively leads the RCP and the masses around it in getting organized and prepared to go all-out to make a real revolution.
BA has a broadness of mind and a huge heart. He is a leader that needs to be taken seriously, defended from attacks, and scientifically followed. These petty attacks that are part of a COINTELPRO-type campaign need to STOP.
Original posted at RiseUp4AbortionRights.org
Karina Aybar, Therapist & Leadership Coach, Advocate, Activist
“…Rise Up’s embracing of the green bandana is not to appropriate a movement, but rather inspiration and guidance from people who were successful in protecting people’s right to bodily autonomy with massive movements in countries with less economic resources than the United States.
Rise Up has been involved in direct actions since February by disrupting, educating, organizing, protesting weeks in front of SCOTUS and other actions, not just electing and supporting Democrats. Is Rise Up provocative style too much for some people? Perhaps.
Again, as we all know, organizing to disrupt a system will certainly bring discomfort and difference of opinions and approaches.”
A message to fellow reproductive rights organizers:
I want to start by admitting that it takes a lot for me to write this, because this is a heavy subject, and so many of us are demoralized and enraged by the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade.
I am disappointed that some folks are basically practicing McCarthyism with the organization that the young lady interviewed by MSNBC regarding her disappointment with the Democrats and I are a part of, Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights.
I am a part of different organizations and movements, but I will focus on Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights in particular.
Rise Up is a coalition of many people with different political views and backgrounds, but are being attacked because one of our initiators is a RevCom (a Revolutionary Communist). So what?
Rise Up is a recently formed organizing and advocacy group, not a direct services organization. People are making false claims about it being a “cult,” and misusing funds. This is just truly sad and disappointing to say the least. Rise Up did outreach to numerous reproductive rights organizations and many of those groups were not receptive. I was personally a part of this effort. However, now, instead of asking and meeting with Rise Up about any of their concerns, these organizers proceeded to spread misinformation at a time when fascists are advancing by the second.
Rise Up has been organizing with Black, white, Brown, indigenous people, Asian, undocumented folks, Latinx people; some who were actually a part of the original green wave in Argentina and Colombia, and with LGBTQIA/gender non-conforming folks.
And as with any recently formed organizing, there is always learning and growing to do of course.
Rise Up’s embracing of the green bandana is not to appropriate a movement, but rather inspiration and guidance from people who were successful in protecting people’s right to bodily autonomy with massive movements in countries with less economic resources than the United States.
Rise Up has been involved in direct actions since February by disrupting, educating, organizing, protesting weeks in front of SCOTUS and other actions, not just electing and supporting Democrats. Is Rise Up provocative style too much for some people? Perhaps.
Again, as we all know, organizing to disrupt a system will certainly bring discomfort and difference of opinions and approaches.
In my experience, Rise Up has never discouraged anyone from supporting and donating to planned parenthood or other abortion funds. One way to look at it is this:
Supporting direct services: If you want to support direct services for people who need access to safe abortions, you can donate to Planned Parenthood, and local abortion clinics.
Supporting mass actions: if you want to support mass organizing and disrupting business as usual in order to now reverse the illegitimate overturning of Roe v. Wade, then you can join and support Rise Up and other community organizing groups.
Remember, no right was won by appealing to the good graces of those in power.
Ideally, wouldn’t it be great for the group of people attacking Rise Up to unite in solidarity to have a greater impact in protecting our communities in need?
There are many of us that don’t agree with some of the practices and electoral decisions of organizations we are a part of, yet, and I can only speak for myself and many folks I organize with—we wouldn’t dare to bring this difference of opinions and disagreements to the general public for the enjoyment of the fascists forces that thrive in witnessing our leftist and progressive movements divide.
However, these allegations are different from mere political disagreements—this is character assassinating and false accusations that have legal and safety repercussions. Many of us at Rise Up, are being harassed by people on the left and right.
I would like to humbly encourage you to please take a step back and evaluate the potential consequences, and safety risks that such allegations and statements have on real people like us with families. We are simply striving for making whatever difference we could make, in a system that was designed to oppress and dehumanize us.
I would be more than happy to connect with and connect anyone interested in engaging in a resolution dialogue with the leadership of Rise Up.
Especially at this time, we must unite to fight for access to safe and legal abortions, and reproductive rights for current and future generations.
Statement in Support of RU4AR by an educator in California
"My only hope is that these phony accusations backfire and help build the movement into a wave that washes away all exploitation of humanity in general and of women specifically in this time of growing fascist actions against so many sectors of society. Bob Avakian and the RCP, RU4AR and the RNL Show are not only hoping, but working to make this happen through correct analysis of the situation behind the sham accusations and by synthesizing powerful solutions in this current phase of the revolutionary struggle for social justice."
I was shocked and outraged at the vitriolic attacks on Rise Up for Abortion Rights reported on the July 21 installment of the RNL Show. I had seen nothing about these bogus accusations regarding the Revolutionary Communist Party being a cult, of Bob Avakian being the cult’s leader, of RU4AR being a Ponzi scheme, or of any of these fraudulent accusations in the media.
Nevertheless, I was impressed with how the RNL Show not only defended RU4AR but went on a revolutionary offensive to combat the false accusations. Clearly the science of studying the history of political repression in this country tells us the dangers of [people] attempting to sic the institutions of capitalism upon revolutionary-minded organizations, movements and individuals. Just the acronym COINTELPRO should be warning enough regarding how far the state will go to defend itself from reforms, let alone deep, sustainable, revolutionary development.
What we are witnessing with these fake accusations is stereotypical red-baiting/bad jacketing at its worst. The so-called "left" is colluding with reactionaries to attack real revolutionaries because Rise Up is doing solid work and is successful at rallying the masses to defend women's rights.
Dr. King warned us our worst enemies would be "moderates" who are "... more devoted to 'order' than to justice." Or as Rafael Kadaris said of the accusers who are supposedly “left” and “woke,” “You hate revolution more than you hate this system!” And as a real-life Tuskegee Airman once told me, "You only catch flak when you're right on target." Clearly the RU4AR movement is garnering too many followers and making a difference where it counts.
My only hope is that these phony accusations backfire and help build the movement into a wave that washes away all exploitation of humanity in general and of women specifically in this time of growing fascist actions against so many sectors of society. Bob Avakian and the RCP, RU4AR and the RNL Show are not only hoping, but working to make this happen through correct analysis of the situation behind the sham accusations and by synthesizing powerful solutions in this current phase of the revolutionary struggle for social justice.
Original posted at RiseUp4AbortionRights.org
National Radical Women statement by Nga Bui, NYC
August 1, 2022
“At a time when a united mass movement to defend reproductive justice is needed more than ever, NYC for Abortion Rights and nearly two dozen organizations have chosen to launch an anti-communist attack against one of the most visible activist groups, Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights. Radical Women, a veteran socialist feminist organization with decades of experience in the movement for reproductive justice, denounces this dangerous game of divide and conquer.”
No to red-baiting in the reproductive justice movement
At a time when a united mass movement to defend reproductive justice is needed more than ever, NYC for Abortion Rights and nearly two dozen organizations have chosen to launch an anti-communist attack against one of the most visible activist groups, Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights. Radical Women, a veteran socialist feminist organization with decades of experience in the movement for reproductive justice, denounces this dangerous game of divide and conquer.
The “Statement Against RiseUp4AbortionRights” — signed by NYC for Abortion Rights, United Against Racism & Fascism NYC, Brooklyn People’s March, Shout Your Abortion, The Jane Fund, Chicago Abortion Fund, Chicago DSA Socialist Feminist Working Group and others — deplores Rise Up’s connections to the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP). It labels this well-known fixture on the Left as a personality cult. It accuses both Rise Up and RCP of using pyramid schemes to raise money and exploitative methods to recruit. These unsubstantiated claims are bolstered by other “crimes”: wearing white pants stained with fake blood, holding die-ins, using coat-hanger imagery, and describing forced pregnancy as “female enslavement.” The Statement calls on “repro groups to now unite in discrediting Rise Up publicly” and demand that “the group step back from pro-abortion spaces.” This divisive attack is like a dog-whistle to corporate media, which is crawling all over the issue in coverage from Daily Beast and The Intercept.
Imperfect as Rise Up may be, the reality is the group has been out front nationally in defense of abortion — though not the only group as they have claimed. It has consistently organized protests and used audacious tactics such as unfurling huge banners at sports events to draw media attention to the issue. It has broadened its messaging after being criticized that its single-issue focus on women having abortions was transphobic and limiting. Its green wave imagery is omnipresent and its anti-capitalist message is spot-on. Its boldness has resonated with youth.
Truth be told, it has been largely the Left, including Radical Women, that organized rallies, speak outs, marches, and protests throughout last year to draw attention to the impending Supreme Court debacle. Meanwhile, moderate feminist organizations pushed online fundraising and waited for the Democratic Party to ride to the rescue.
One has to think that some of the venom expressed in the Statement is from groups that did much less than Rise Up and may begrudge its appeal to young people. Others may be driven to undermine the influence of the Left in the movement overall. How condescending it is for them to demand that Rise Up disappear rather than trust young supporters to reach their own conclusions about whether Rise Up’s strategies work in the long run.
Radical Women initiated the National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice a year ago in order to build the kind of coalition effort we think is urgently needed to preserve abortion and achieve full reproductive justice. The Mobilization has attracted feminist groups, grassroots organizations, unions, radicals, and individuals coming together in common cause. Though Rise Up in many instances put itself in competition with actions announced by the Mobilization, we managed to work cooperatively with it in various cities, including in NYC. Rather than demanding political conformity, we believe in respectfully debating differences. With the right wing intensifying its attacks on the most vulnerable, a united front of working-class organizations is essential to pushing them back.
Red-baiting, smearing people or groups for their radical associations, is not acceptable in the movement. It needs to be stopped before it further hurts the very women, people of color, non-binary, trans and poor folks looking to find a channel for their rage as their rights are stripped away. There’s no denying that those of us fighting for abortion rights and reproductive justice will have differences of opinions. It is essential we learn to work together with mutual respect instead of excluding, silencing and witch-hunting one another. Organizations and independent activists can unite around issues while maintaining our differences. The future of reproductive justice and all social movements depends on it.
Original posted at RiseUp4AbortionRights.org
Carol Downer, Executive Director of the Feminist Women’s Health Centers and Life-Long Fierce Advocate for Reproductive Rights
“…Before you seek to defame and cast out Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights on serious (but unproven) charges of being a cult and a pyramid scheme which diverts money from social and racial justice movements, you need to seek out the experiences of non-communist feminists who have worked with the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), such as myself. As an anti-racist activist since 1965, and a feminist pro-abortion activist since 1969, I have first-hand experience with the RCP since the 1970’s which refute these charges….”
To: 23 grassroots pro-abortion organizers who denounce Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights.
I am making this statement as an individual. My accounts of the work that the Federation of Feminist Women’s Health Centers (FWHC) have done with the RCP are given solely for the purpose of giving an eyewitness account to give you a fuller picture of the RCP and to directly refute many, if not all, of the charges you made.
Before you seek to defame and cast out Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights on serious (but unproven) charges of being a cult and a pyramid scheme which diverts money from social and racial justice movements, you need to seek out the experiences of non-communist feminists who have worked with the Revolutionary Communist Party, (RCP), such as myself. As an anti-racist activist since 1965, and a feminist pro-abortion activist since 1969, I have first-hand experience with the RCP since the 1970’s which refute these charges. As the Executive Director of the Feminist Women’s Health Centers (FWHC), we have worked with the RCP and with its various ad hoc committees on many occasions and on many social justice issues.
I’ve observed that the RCP often establishes ad hoc grassroots groups to fight on various issues, such as police abuse, abortion rights, and suppression of opponents to the Iranian regime. Non-communists are welcomed to work within or work closely with these groups. The RCP shares its literature and encourages discussion, but there is no pressure to adopt communism or Bob Avakian’s teachings. I have read many of Bob Avakian’s writings, heard him speak and watched his filmed talks. I find them interesting and thoughtful.
The FWHCs, which were founded in the early 70’s, also incorporated issues that were not directly related to the running of our women’s health centers. No one accused us of “glomming on” to these issues, such as home birth, forced sterilization, police abuse, and anti-Muslim violence. And, as regards being a pyramid scheme, RCP-sponsored Refuse and Resist for many years who escorted abortion clients through heavy weekly picket lines at the Eve’s Clinic in El Monte, California and later at the FPA clinic on Westmoreland Avenue. This clearly did not have their bottom line increased.
In 1979, I was a member of the Committee to Send Back the Shah. I, and Rebecca Chalker, also of the FWHC, travelled with the Committee to Iran. The FWHC’s also worked with RCP committees who fought against police abuse, and escorted at abortion clinics. The activities of these ad-hoc groups were mostly funded by donations from the sale of the RCP newspaper. I saw no evidence of large donations from anyone. After our Los Angeles health center closed, I joined Sunsara Taylor in Texas on the Stop Patriarchy tour. We slept on the motel floor and cooked our own meals.
Bob Avakian believes that a communist revolution is needed and that their dedicated efforts will make it possible. RCP members accordingly devote every minute after work hours to make it happen. I believe that females working together can eventually achieve equality, and the resulting egalitarian society will revolutionize the world.
I have personally known many RCP members for years. They definitely do not behave like someone belonging to a cult. They are educated, thinking political activists that are working toward establishing a communist society, and they like Avakian’s approach. They take on various issues because they feel strongly about the rights of the poor and the working class, and the rights of women, and they believe that working on the specific issues builds toward a revolution. They don’t “glom on” to these issues because they are popular or to exploit them.
Stop trying to keep people from associating with Rise Up, because you disagree with tactics you consider “theatrical” that alarm people about abortion. I have always believed that it is counter-productive to use coat-hanger imagery, however, many abortion rights advocates find the specter of “back-alley abortions” to be a strong argument for keeping abortion legal. If we threw out everybody who comes to a demonstration or starts a pro-abortion group on such debatable differences, we’d have a very small movement.
Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights has indisputably attracted a great deal of public attention. Their focus on their outrage may make some people uncomfortable, but remember that bold action can be part of successful protest and even the seizing of power.
You may be respectful of the rights of free speech, however there are many in our country who are not. Many equate “communism” with “un-American” and want to persecute and outlaw communists. Your ill-founded attack has enabled opportunistic so-called reporters to build a firestorm of criticism against the RCP and Rise Up4 Abortion Rights. Could it be that you’re concerned that wealthy philanthropists who financially support grassroots efforts such as yours will be scared to associate with a movement that includes communist groups?
The string of decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court in June, 2022 heralds a trend toward outright fascism in this country. Those decisions reveal the ruling class’ overall plan to maintain Western white supremacy and rampant industrialization by destroying sexual and reproductive rights, by doing away with federal regulation on fossil fuels, by unleashing gun violence and by encouraging police abuse on those who protest, especially poor people and people of color. I urge you to keep up your own valuable work and to be inclusive of all who are working for the common goal of protecting our environment, our sexual and reproductive rights and a more equal society.
Life-Long Fierce Advocate for Reproductive Rights
Original posted at RiseUp4AbortionRights.org
Jim Fouratt, gay rights activist who participated in the Stonewall Rebellion, actor, and former nightclub impresario
“These attacks on Rise Up are so similar to the attacks that happened in the 60s and 70s under the Cointelpro program by the FBI. And they’re happening today, I believe, because of the success of Sunsara Taylor and the Rise Up movement with the revcoms.”
As a senior, I’m a contemporary of Bob Avakian. I was in San Francisco at the time of the Black Panther Party. I remember the white people that stood up and supported the Black Panther Party and their programs. Bob Avakian was a young man and he was there. So I know of Bob Avakian for a very long time. I also was the first gay person to be allowed to speak at a left rally, it was at Yale in support of Bobby Seale. Although we were put on last, it was the first time that an openly gay or lesbian person had been visible and spoken from their sexual orientation point of view.
Cointelpro [the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program which spied on, disrupted, and set up revolutionaries and activists during the 1960s and 70s] wreaked havoc on my life. The FBI’s goal was to seek out who they saw as young people who were potential leaders. This was a story of Fred Hampton in Chicago. He was murdered by the police because he could have been the next major Malcolm X, or Martin Luther King. They went after me because I could speak. Most gay and lesbian people did not because they were invisible. They weren’t protected under the law and their jobs, etc. And they were subjected to police harassment of all different kinds.
I came to Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights because they were out there standing up against the Supreme Court overturning Roe from the beginning, with their green posters and their green bandanas. I still wear them. I saw that it was important to find unity on the issue of the right of women to choose and the right of women to control their body. That includes trans people or people who identify as trans people. I own my body. You own your body. No government and no religion should be putting their hands on it. That’s what brought me to Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights.
These attacks on Rise Up are so similar to the attacks that happened in the 60s and 70s under the Cointelpro program by the FBI. And they’re happening today,
I believe, because of the success of Sunsara Taylor and the Rise Up movement with the revcoms.
We don’t all have to agree about lots of issues, but we come together because we feel unity with abortion rights. And I said it when I spoke at a Rise Up protest in February at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan, if you want to disagree with me about someone or some person or history or whatever, let’s go talk over there in the corner. But today we’re here to fight the Roman Catholic Church and other institutions that control our lives today. (I made a point of saying not all Roman Catholics are bad people.)
You know, I went back and read all the papers of Bob Avakian. I knew the name, I knew some things, but I didn’t know his politics of today. I tell you, if you haven’t done that, and you’re out there making these kinds of accusations, you’re being really stupid and dangerous. It’s a kind of anti-intellectual culture. Read the ideas. Discuss them. That’s dialectics. That’s how we learn to talk and listen to each other.
I want to say thank you, Sunsara Taylor, for all the work you did. Rise Up was there in the beginning, making the link with the activists of the past of the women who had spent 20 or 30 years making sure that Roe stayed in place. I remember what it was like when women could not legally get an abortion. I remember how it impacted on poor people of different races and different sexual orientations. The idea that they’re calling Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights “homophobic” is bizarre to me. I have a whole history of being in the frontlines of fighting for civil rights for lesbian and gay people and bisexuals and trans as we went forward. So I say thank you to everyone who was involved in Rise Up, including Sunsara and other revcoms. Let’s just move forward. Those green signs were everywhere in Washington, DC when Roe was overturned. I was sick at the time, but I watched and I thought, they can’t stop showing them because we, and all of the young people and all of us old people that came together to try to stop the Supreme Court have not given up!
Brother Raymond, founder of Brothers Standing Together
I’ve worked with the Rev Club over many years and I’ve never heard BA try to mislead or misguide anyone. They don’t like the fact that BA is a thinker. He has a great mind and people want to know what he is thinking. So therefore people misconstrue and try to say that he has a “cult.” He doesn’t have a cult he has a group of thinkers like himself who are organized and strategizing to lead the masses in the rebellion against violence and Police Brutality. So that’s what’s going on and that’s the BA I know. Anything else they said is just bullshit.
A Concerned Activist
I’m someone who got involved in the early days of building up the October 22 Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. The October 22nd Coalition formed in the late 1990s to fight police brutality and many, many different groups and people joined together, building support for and protesting with the families of children whose lives were stolen by police murder—even publishing a book documenting the many cases of people who were killed by police. For over fifteen years, we worked together with O22, making a difference.
The leadership of Bob Avakian and the Revcoms was key to this fight against police brutality! Because before we built up the October 22 Coalition, I didn’t see anyone else out there fighting against police brutality. No one else was out there on a national scale. O22 was the first out there broadly in this fight. I even went with the October 22nd Coalition to Washington, DC and unfurled a banner on the steps of the US Capitol and I remember Al Sharpton as one of many speaking that day against the 41 bullets shot by police into the body of Amadou Diallo. And it’s still going on, since police shot over sixty bullets into Jayland Walker, murdering him.
I think it is important that we all unite together now—to fight for abortion rights! To attack Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights as disrespectful to Black people and people of color because Rise Up raises the slogan “Forced Motherhood is Female Enslavement” is wrong and goes against the whole history of this country and how people are enslaved in many ways and forms, including that we are now living in the era of the New Jim Crow. As Black people, we know that over generations Black women were being raped and everyone turned a blind eye. So the slogan "Forced Motherhood is Female Enslavement” is very correct and important to raise in our battle for us, as women today, to have the right to abortion.
Original posted at RiseUp4AbortionRights.org
Boston May Day (BMDC)
“[Those attacking] place priority on attacking the presence of the RevComs in Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights. The government and employers have for many decades used red-baiting as a means of attempting to destroy social movements defending the rights of working people and the oppressed… Martin Luther King Jr. was labeled a ‘communist’ by FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover and subsequently assassinated.”
BMDC Denounces Attack against RU4AR
agreed upon July 3, 2022
The Boston May Day Coalition [BMDC] has been involved in the struggles of working people since 2006 and began to gear up for the fight to defend Roe vs. Wade this past winter. Even last fall, we were appalled to see that the forces supporting the Democratic Party and especially those supporting the Women’s March failed to see the need to mobilize a broad based massive visible effort in defense of abortion rights. During that period, we managed to hook up with Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights which was sounding the alarm and mobilizing dozens, hundreds, and later thousands of youth, locally and nationally, in an effort to wake up the rest of the country to the real danger that lay ahead, while so many others on the left were sleeping at the wheel!!
The broadside attack is currently aimed at women, trans folks, and underage girls. But the Supreme Court has now opened the door to eliminating all rights not envisioned by the “founding fathers” who excluded women and African Americans from the constitution! The overturning of Roe vs. Wade calls for the broadest unity of forces who are willing to fight the systemic reactionary monster which seeks to suppress and deny the legitimate rights of working people and the oppressed.
Unfortunately, after all these months we now see the group, NYC for Abortion Rights, initiating a public campaign against Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights. They claim to want a “strong and united” movement but pursue a policy to divide and weaken the movement. They demand that RiseUp “step back from pro-abortion spaces” as if they are entitled to exclude an organization from the movement! Is this any way to build a social movement? This seems utterly juvenile and something you would expect to see in high school.
NYC for Abortion Rights and others place priority on attacking the presence of the RevComs in Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights. The government and employers have for many decades used red baiting as a means of attempting to destroy social movements defending the rights of working people and the oppressed. Whether it be the fight for women’s suffrage, the rise of the unions, the civil rights movement, the antiwar movement, the abortion rights movement, the environmental movement, etc., the reactionaries have always used this tool to destroy our fights. Martin Luther King Jr. was labeled a “communist” by FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover and subsequently assassinated. Popularizing these tools from this reactionary tool kit poses an existential threat to the movement today just as it did in the past.
NYC for Abortion Rights and others decry the activity of Rise Up’s members “wearing of white pants painted with fake blood, die-ins, and coat-hanger imagery”. They advocate for “safe self-managed abortion” and “medication abortion as a post-Roe tool”. It seems that these people know little about the history of the mass movement which won abortion rights. At the time of Roe vs. Wade, thousands of women had died from self-performed abortions using clothes hangers and from back-alley abortion providers unfit to practice medicine. Yes, we will see the return of clothes hanger and back-alley abortions in the future. Yes, women have died and will die in the future in spite of proclamations from the affluent wing of the abortion rights movement, because those who reject “die ins” are rejecting the reality of women living in poverty.
Indeed, slavery was ruled legal by the U.S. Supreme Court, but the abolitionists continued to fight until it was overthrown. Segregation was legalized in a supreme court ruling until Jim Crow segregation was overthrown by the Civil Rights movement. The battle for the restoration of Roe vs. Wade and Abortion on Demand Without Apology has only begun and NYC for Abortion Rights and others want to give up without firing a political shot. The Democratic Party has been telling us that we can vote our way out of this crisis. The current “moderate majority” government in Washington may have good reason to celebrate this campaign against Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights.
NYC for Abortion Rights and others are upset because “RiseUp frequently likens abortion bans to “female enslavement”. Unfortunately, the role of “housewife” or “barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen” is where the reactionaries want to place women. It is the duty of the movement to point this out even if it makes some people unhappy. Accusations of RiseUp being homophobic or misusing funds are just out and out lies. RiseUp has done much on a shoestring budget. The reactionary Supreme Court which seeks to drive us all down will not have the last word in the battles ahead around abortion rights.
BMDC rejects these divisive attacks and reaffirms the need to build a strong and united movement that develops a movement building culture which seeks to welcome all currents to the organizing table in an effort to organize joint actions decided upon by all the participating organizations. We reject the notion of a movement following a cult of personalities in the form of NYC for Abortion Rights and those who seek to divide us and weaken our ability to fight back against the attacks coming down from the government and reactionaries who want to take all of us back to 19th century style peonage, poverty, and political atomization.
From Brother B In The Streets, Educator, California
"There is something called objective truth—and people will be played for fools if they refuse to realize there are people who DO speak the truth (and there will be forces who don’t like that and want to stop it). And that includes the truth about what the problem and what the solution is—no one else, other than Bob Avakian, shouts “Revolution—Nothing Less”—with real substance, and over many decades."
Bob Avakian a “cult” leader. I’ve heard this kind of talk for a long time, and each time it comes up what do these forces who spread this accusation reveal about themselves: no engagement… absolutely no serious engagement with anything Bob Avakian has written. Show me where, in anything Bob Avakian has written, or in his talks, where he says his work shouldn’t scrutinized. People mustn’t be intellectually lazy and just swallow this talk about “cult.” There is something called objective truth—and people will be played for fools if they refuse to realize there are people who DO speak the truth (and there will be forces who don’t like that and want to stop it). And that includes the truth about what the problem and what the solution is—no one else, other than Bob Avakian, shouts “Revolution—Nothing Less”—with real substance, and over many decades.
People should ask themselves what is “objective reality”? How to solve the problem of dismantling this capitalist-imperialist system? That’s different from judging people by what they’re ancestry is or promoting the idea that there are many different versions of reality. We hear about micro-aggressions and they are real, but what about the macro-aggressions that tie us all together, and a revolutionary leader who speaks to all of that? These attacks include the accusation Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights and Revcom is a pyramid scheme! Vicious and unprincipled. Well, if your “identity politics” is not connected to dismantling this system, you are shuffling chairs on the Titanic, and for some this also now means joining the camp of counter-revolution. Bob Avakian has pushed a hard scientific line for a long time. Its right for those who grasp it to stand on it, and for those who’ve never seriously engaged Bob Avakian: find out about what Bob Avakian is saying about objective reality, about the problem and the solution, and the principles that must guide the revolutionary struggle.
Brother B In The Streets
Original posted at RiseUp4AbortionRights.org
Fran Luck, host and producer of The Joy of Resistance, Multicultural Feminist Radio on WBAI 99.5 FM in NYC
“When [movements] are really taking off and getting some power and getting some recognition, a whole group of more establishment people… often attack very viciously and slanderously… It’s a very dangerous pattern and it should be fought and it should be exposed. I’m very proud that Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights is standing up to it.”
Big movements do not begin in politicians’ offices. They begin with masses of people in the streets. Later on, after there is some kind of disruption happening, the politicians get rid of it and make it into some sort of legislation usually watering it down. That’s how so-called “progress” is made.
I’ve been following the incremental attacks on abortion for the 20 years we’ve been on the air. But as soon as we got into this chapter of it, I looked around for people who would go out into those streets and start to raise hell. I couldn’t find anybody except Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights who was out there immediately and mobilizing excellently. I was very excited about that. I didn’t see any of the other feminist groups and I’m in touch with a lot of them because a lot of them have been on the radio show I produce. They weren’t there. Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights was there. The crowds they were gathering were getting into the news. The different slogans they were using were getting into the news. I just thought that was really excellent, so I was very happy to sign the statement. I was very happy to join.
Now, when I heard about these attacks, it was a very familiar feeling. It was like: Oh no, here we go again. I had seen these kinds of attacks in other movements. I’d seen them in the housing movement. I had seen them in the feminist movement in the early days, when radicals started the feminist movement. Often women associated with the Left, women who were doing consciousness raising or consulting their own experience, were writing a whole new story for women. This is in the mid-60s. These women really spread it far and wide. There were consciousness-raising groups in towns and cities all over the country. Then, what do you think happened? A whole lot of people, usually women who were very involved with the system, began to feel that, “Oh, this movement is really getting someplace. Maybe it’s time that we took it over. Those crazy people who started it, well they were they’re good for starting things, but we can’t let them run they’re going to ruin it. We need to get it under control. We need to blend it perhaps with existing institutions. We need to water it down before it becomes too disruptive of the status quo.” That is a story that has been told often. You can actually go to The Power of History, an essay by Kathie Sarachild of Redstockings, if you want to find out more about that takeover of the feminist movement and how it was kind of siphoned into the Democratic Party. That doesn’t mean the radicals didn’t continue to fight—they are still fighting—but that was a great, great lesson. At that point, the radical feminist movement was attacked in many ways. A lot of the leaders were kicked out of groups they had started.
You see this kind of thing happen over and over again. Radicals tend to have more vision because they have a broader vision. The word radical really means getting to the root of things, looking at the deeper causes of things. Therefore radicals are pretty creative about what they’re doing. On the other hand, people who are doing incremental kind of one-issue-at-a-time and don’t have much vision beyond that, well, they’re good at co-opting what radicals are doing. But they’re not good at sustaining movements that have a real vision. So as soon as I saw these attacks on Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights, I said here we go again. And I ask people who may not have seen this before to keep a sharp look out for it, because it tends to repeat in many movements. When they are really taking off and getting some power and getting some recognition, a whole group of more establishment people come in and start attacking and they often attack very viciously and slanderously. In those ways they’re going to delegitimize those radical movements in people’s eyes. Sometimes it’s a turf war. Sometimes it’s people who are not maybe classical liberals, they can claim to also have socialist roots, but their socialism is a very establishment socialism if you really look at. So I wanted to pass this on to all of you. It’s a very dangerous pattern and it should be fought and it should be exposed. I’m very proud that Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights is standing up to it.
This is not a transphobic movement. You are right for using the word women in much of the sloganeering. The word women must not disappear and it is not in contradiction to supporting all gender non-conforming people. So that’s basically what I want to say. I very much support you. I’ve put out several tweets that have gotten around. I have worked together with Sunsara at WBAI radio. Once again, I thank you. Carry on. We need to be in those streets. We need to have no-business-as-usual while women do not have our rights. We need to have that as an ongoing inspiring motif and we need to stay with it, so thank you all!
Original posted at RiseUp4AbortionRights.org
Pam Laskin, poet, author, editor, lecturer at the City College of New York
“As an active member of Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights and admirer of the passion, integrity, hard work and commitment of one of its leaders, Sunsara Taylor, I was appalled to read the recent attack waged against Bob Avakian, the revcoms and–in particular–against an institution, Rise-Up, so committed to securing the health and safety of women’s reproductive freedom.”
The following is a copy of the letter Pam Laskin sent to the editor of the hit-piece published at The Intercept attacking Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights, as well as Bob Avakian, Sunsara and the Revcoms.
Dear Ms. Renner,
As an active member of Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights and admirer of the passion, integrity, hard work and commitment of one of its leaders, Sunsara Taylor, I was appalled to read the recent attack waged against Bob Avakian, the revcoms and—in particular—against an institution, Rise-Up, so committed to securing the health and safety of women’s reproductive freedom.
I have been at many of the rallies organized by this group, and their honest and transparent commitment to this cause is to be revered, not bashed. What struck me at one of the earlier rallies—in March, before the Supreme Court came out with their decision, is how willing Sunsara, a spokeswoman, was willing to join forces with all the other organizations marching to defend this sacred right. Though Rise Up has a particular stance (which you naively and disparagingly attacked), she realized that it was critical to inspire revolution as a catalyst to overturn this decision, while also working with any other group after the same goal.
My guess is that you have never even heard her speak or bothered to interview her, because—if you had—you never would have waged a verbal assault on her goals. A new nation of young people are joining forces with this group because they are inspired by her powerful message.
During these awful political times, when truth is a commodity and our current rhetoric is based on lies, wouldn’t you—as a journalist—want to fully investigate your piece, so you are not perpetuating the negativity, lies and danger of our current world?
Shame on you for not doing otherwise.
Pamela L. Laskin
Director, Poetry Outreach
Lecturer, The City College of New York
Original posted at RiseUp4AbortionRights.org
Rachael Wachstein, anti-fascist fighter who worked with Refuse Fascism
“While the far right is rallying disparate groups from bible-banging Evangelicals to gun-loving white supremacists, the left and progressives prefer to fight amongst themselves. When you attack the Revcoms because you don’t like their tactics or how they organize, you are hastening our country’s authoritarian, fascist takeover.”
While the far right is rallying disparate groups from bible-banging Evangelicals to gun-loving white supremacists, the left and progressives prefer to fight amongst themselves. When you attack the Revcoms because you don’t like their tactics or how they organize, you are hastening our country’s authoritarian, fascist takeover. You aren’t fighting the good fight when you spend your time and energy knocking down those on your own side. Stop this holier than thou BS! If you don’t like how the group organizes, you are free to do it your way. It’s all hands on deck people! There’s a place for all of us who are needed if we stand a chance of surviving the fascist surge that is sure to ramp up heading into the 2024 elections, which we can guarantee will not be free or fair. What is needed now is a united people’s front. We need to lock arms and push back. Shame on anyone who distracts from this common mission. You can either be right and stand alone or you can see our common cause and link arms to resist. Next time you want to lash out at Revcoms because they aren’t doing what you would do, maybe you should take that energy and direct it against the real forces of Christian fascism taking our country by storm.
Original posted at RiseUp4AbortionRights.org
Bay Area Youth with Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights
“Now is not the time to start fighting within this ‘movement’. We might not all have the same ideologies, but we’re all fighting for the rights of women & all people who can give birth.”
Statement Addressing The Allegations Towards RU4AR On account of the Bay Area Youth who’ve worked with RU4AR since April 2022.
We work to get as many people in the streets with us as possible. The women & everyone who helped fight in Argentina won their right to abortion & other essential healthcare through protests with masses of people. Simply voting blue & claiming to be pro-choice isn’t enough. SCOTUS has already stated that they’ve got queer marriage and the right to contraceptives on the chopping block next.
The use of imagery including bloody pants, coat hangers, etc. is based off of the women who were severely injured or died from a lack of safe & legal abortion. This is the reality of what will occur. The argument that now there’s alternatives such as abortion pills or that people can just travel is invalid. Not everyone has the money or situation to fly to another state for an abortion, or to purchase an abortion-inducing pill. It is extremely important to both highlight & recognize the fact that this issue affects black, latinx, low-income, and other further oppressed people disproportionately
When you donate to the Bay Area Rise Up4 Abortion Rights Chapter, the money goes towards the printing & creating of our signs, stickers, banners, and other items used in protest. Many of our banners are made by us (the youth) on our downtime, and sometimes even just hours before protests. In order to create these, we have to invest in fabric, paint, stencils, etc. To make ourselves heard, we need megaphones & batteries for them.
All in all, we need to stand united in this fight. Now is not the time to start fighting within this “movement”. We might not all have the same ideologies, but we’re all fighting for the rights of women & all people who can give birth.
Original posted at RiseUp4AbortionRights.org
Nina Felshin, contemporary art curator, writer, activist.
“The attack on RU4AR is utterly malicious, shocking, and scary…”
The attack on RU4AR is utterly malicious, shocking, and scary. One can only wonder what other McCarthyite weapons will be used to target the RCP and other dissident voices on the left… It would seem to me that the funders of the signatories probably set them up to do this, no? The attack is so transparently stupid—but dangerous, nevertheless—and it seems obvious that the real target attack is on the RCP…
Americans are taught who the enemy is—and it’s always those who refuse to be taken in by the US narrative, including China, Russia, Syria, Venezuela, Iran, Cuba, and Nicaragua; independent journalists; and organizations like the RCP. Now, maybe more than ever, communism—and socialism—has once again been turned into a threat. The plot sickens.
Original posted at RiseUp4AbortionRights.org
Peter Switzer, activist, videographer, editor
“Is the Intercept actually going to allow slimy McCarthy type hit pieces like the one McMackey scratched out with zero reporting done and just lazy BS hearsay from others who really don’t know much, if anything at all, about Rise Up 4 Abortion, or the RevComs, or Bob Avakian? How much do they know about CoIntelPro or the McCarthy hearings?”
The following is a copy of the letter Peter Switzer sent to the The Intercept in response to their membership email (at times he quotes their letter). Switzer addresses the hit-piece they published attacking Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights, as well as Bob Avakian, Sunsara and the Revcoms.
July 22, 2022
You’re certainly not helping democracy “survive” in any way… that’s a fact, something you folks seem to be in extremely short supply of over there.
You’ll have to lose the gaslighting, mudslinging, libelous non-“journalist” Robert Mackey before I would ever think about reading your slanderous rag ever again.
Is the Intercept actually going to allow slimy McCarthy type hit pieces like the one McMackey scratched out with zero reporting done and just lazy BS hearsay from others who really don’t know much, if anything at all, about Rise Up 4 Abortion, or the RevComs, or Bob Avakian? How much do they know about CoIntelPro or the McCarthy hearings?
What a joke, so old, so tired, such complete BS. RU4AR was organizing and agitating in the streets with NO “cameras” back in January 2022, straight through into DC well before the “cameras” came out there, and are still organizing actions and protests in the streets today. Where the hell were you? Where was McMackey?
RU4AR organized most of the actions in the streets across the country, that’s why they were/are there at most of them, with the microphone. Imagine that fact…
Rise Up was even ignorantly criticized for adopting green as the color of resistance for abortion rights when they began. There is a reason Rise Up chose green that most others didn’t have a clue about. Low and behold RU were criticized for “co-opting” that too when folks were made aware, a color, “co-opting” a color! Any allegations of “co-opting” are such a freaking joke, it would be painfully hilarious if it wasn’t so freaking sad and down right counter-revolutionary.
The same people who didn’t know where or why the green was chosen, are now all wearing green BECAUSE of Rise Up’s foresight and understanding, back in December/January to follow the women of Argentina and Colombia, where abortion rights were won in the streets, by the people. Even your pals in congress are now wearing green, (pic below) seen while Chu spoke on the steps of the house. The Dems weren’t wearing green before Rise Up adopted and popularized it here. Clearly RiseUp influenced many other groups in this way in the US, and elsewhere, as was its intention.
Mackey is ridiculous. Mackey’s putrid fact free rambling so called “journalism” belongs in the toilet, at best.
From The Intercept fundraising email:
– “Journalism will play a key role in the fight to restore sanity to the Supreme Court.”
The Intercept’s “journalism” certainly won’t.
– “It’s up to us to explicate the impact of these decisions, illuminate the forces that unleashed them, and demand action from those with the power to check the court’s excesses and repair the damage.”
Did it even occur to McMackey or the Intercept what RU is actually calling for??
Do you even know now, almost eight months into it?
If anyone over there truly believed only half of the content in this email you’ve sent along with your quest for “lavish” cash, then you would cease to publish what is the worst representation of “journalism” the internet has to offer.
I won’t be reading or accepting anymore stories or emails from your lower than swill you somehow label “dogged investigative journalism” site any time in the future. Unsubscribing today.
Get real, or GTFO.
Original posted at RiseUp4AbortionRights.org
A medical professional, after reading Sunsara Taylor’s rebuttal to the hit-piece by Robert Mackey at the Intercept
“Detailing the complete lack of journalistic integrity, both by Mackey and by [the Intercept’s] editorial staff, is important. Illustrating the trumpian methods of ‘argument’ he employed to extremely dangerous ends, here directed by ‘progressive’ journalists against some of the only organized forces that mobilized protest and resistance.”
When I checked this morning, the Intercept still had the original story [attacking Rise Up and the Revcoms] featured prominently (middle of the page, one of the top stories in the “politics” section) without a printed rebuttal. The article by Sunsara was very well constructed. Detailing the complete lack of journalistic integrity, both by Mackey and by editorial staff, is important. Illustrating the trumpian methods of “argument” he employed to extremely dangerous ends, here directed by “progressive” journalists against some of the only organized forces that mobilized protest and resistance.
Continuing to press for the Intercept to publish the rebuttal should be seen by MANY as a just demand given the embarrassing lack of journalistic standards in Mackey’s article, and if they don’t do so soon, finding ways to make this a point of controversy among people who would generally read the Intercept could serve an important role, especially linking their article to the other unprincipled attacks published around the same time and with remarkably similar content, as the “Behind the week of internet attacks…” piece [by the revcoms published at Revcom.us] does. And doing this with the aim of exposing the putrid values and impoverished political vision and program that these attacks stem from and serve, and showing by way of contrast what a difference it makes to seek to understand the nature of this attack on abortion rights and the objectives of those pushing it, a scientific analysis that shows the way to fighting these outrages today and does not turn away from what is needed to take on the source of these regenerating horrors at their root!
I thought the section [in Sunsara’s rebuttal] “Canceling Bob Avakian to Erase Revolution” was especially powerful. It opens by tackling head on why these accusations of “cultishness” are not only shameful and have nothing to do with honest reporting or discourse, but have the effect of placing “out of bounds” any engagement with BA’s work on these crucial questions of the basic nature of this system, whether there is a path beyond all of this system’s horrors through revolution, what makes that possible and what characterizes the radically different society that would take its place—all questions of critical importance, that any reader of the Intercept who honestly confronts the magnitude of the crises and crimes of this system should want—or be challenged—to engage. I also think it’s helpful to enumerate the ways that the charge of “cult” plays with people, the labels that get affixed (“Everyone knows that cults are creepy and unthinking and dangerous. Everyone knows they are predatory.”). It places what people think out in the open, allows it to be taken on directly, and allows the hollow accusations and the whole innuendo-laden to be torn apart.
From a photographer who covered the Ferguson uprising, the Stockley verdict and the Black Lives Matter Uprising in 2020
This is something that’s been on my mind anyway. I've been having to deal with this since it happened. Me and a few other people—we had to defend the work of the RCP, Ferguson, Refuse Fascism, Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights – we’ve had to defend all of that. And that’s ongoing.
The first thing I want to say is I felt totally insulted—and that’s what I felt about this. I felt totally insulted for somebody to say I’ve been working with a cult all these years. Because working with the RCP and following the leadership of BA who I think is the leading thinker in the world right now, not that I agree with everything he says but I will say he is the leading thinker in the world forging forward the strategy of liberation for all mankind. Working with the RCP and following the leadership of BA has done nothing but test my thinking, made me stretch my thinking—my imagination—to grapple, to understand different complex situations that we get in the world today. My mind has been stretched, has been tested to the limit in trying to understand complex situations like thinking how revolution is possible.
If this was a cult, a cult is based on certain unchanging religious principles. There’s no religiosity in this movement. BA and the RCP, particular people like Sunsara Taylor & Andy Zee raised alarms around the coming onslaught, the emergence of fascism, in the U.S. before anybody else saw it. To be able to see the oncoming of fascism before anybody else did and then start preparing people for it—I commend the RCP and Bob Avakian for doing that. And to ask people to get into the streets to stop the reversal of Roe v Wade, abortion rights was, I think, kind of remarkable. And I think BA and the RCP are to be commended for that.
I think what people need to do despite this onslaught by a lot of the so-called left, then the so-called “Woke” movement that’s full of identity politics. People, like BA says—people need to be scientific. People need to get up into these questions about today, what’s going on. Particularly regarding the strategy to reverse the Supreme Court Decision against abortion rights. BA and the RCP have been instrumental in pointing the way how to deal with this problem—the streets.
A cult wouldn’t have done all that. A cult is the philosophy of religion. RCP, BA, is the philosophy of growth. Of analyzing life, and the objective situation as they are developing. So in the end I say like BA—are we headed for a horrible end or is humanity headed toward a much better future?
Statement in response to the attacks on Bob Avakian from Freddie J. McGee, father of Freddie Latrice Wilson, shot 18 times by Chicago Police.
Someone trying to volunteer to help you, trying to save you. And you seem like you don’t care. You have to criticize the person trying to help you. If you want to use a recent example there is Martin Luther King, he was for the righteous. He was trying to support the people. He got murdered because he was trying to tell people the truth, he was trying to get people together. And they killed him for it. We still have someone like Bob Avakian risking his life, taking his time trying to help people.
Stevie Wonder can see this shit—I’m a man, but I see how a woman feels about her rights. You’re damn right a woman has the right to say whether she is going to have a baby. It is so wrong that people have the power to tell people how to live their life. And to have someone strong enough to stand up and support you—there should be more people in the world today out here supporting Bob Avakian and the revolution. Anyone who cares about people.
From a Black filmmaker
They say RCP is working in “its own interest.” Which is in the interest of Revolution, who is in everybody’s best interest. When you get too effective, here comes the hit.
A Supporter of Bob Avakian
We are talking about Leader Bob Avakian, the leader of the RCP. A very charismatic leader. A very forthright leader. He is before his time, dead on point with his analysis born out of the Black Panther Party. Very committed to what he does—and he does it like none other.
If you look at him and judge him by the white skin you need to look a little bit deeper because he’s lots more than white skin. You have to look at the circumstances that gave birth to him and what he stands for for all those years and continues to stand for.
Bob Avakian is a very great leader and he will do his absolute best whether you get behind him or not. He’s committed to the movement. He’s committed to making sure we have a better world to live in and committed to getting rid of oppression.
You know, when you talk about getting rid of oppression you live in a world that is kind of like a glass cylinder. They are going to throw bricks when the person is pulling the shade, or exposing their deeds. And Bob Avakian has done that like none other. He has exposed their deeds and they are not in the least appreciative of it.
So naturally they will try to throw their darts and attack him at any level and at any point they can. They are trying to pick, prick and find a weakness in his mantle but he has none. He knows that the only way to beat this system is to dismantle this system and break this system and get free of this system. And to create a new system that is above the oppression of all people. He wants a world where all people can exist free of oppression and free of crushing one another to get on top as the capitalist-imperialist does.
None has exposed this movement like Bob Avakian. I learned SO MUCH under my short tenure and studying under the revolution about the way this system operates and the things that they do that are maniacal. Forthright maniacal and deviant in their nature to undermine a populace that has already been downtrodden.
We know the tricks of COINTELPRO—divide and conquer. We know the history. We know how they killed Fred Hampton, Mark Clark, the various Black Panther Party leaders. And not only how they killed the Black Panther Party leaders—how they moved on all of the political organizations of that time to dismantle, disrupt and destroy those movements. So we have history of this.
And Bob Avakian has not been silent about it. He’s not held his tongue. He’s not kowtowed and kissed ass like many other leaders do to appease the government. You’ve got to respect a man like that. You’ve GOT to respect a man like that.
I myself was leery at the first onsight of coming in to the movement. But as I began to read the material and become immersed in the material and do my studies with the RCP I found out that the man was just unmasking a very wicked, wicked capitalist-imperialist bourgeoisie nation that downtrods and grinds the bones of the less fortunate. How do you build yourself on the crushed bodies of others? And this nation has done that like none other nation.
This nations, if ever brought to bear for the crimes—it’s crimes it’s done against the Native American people, it’s crimes it’s done against the African-American people alone! If they were brought to bear for just THOSE crimes they’d have enough to pay. But yet and still Bob Avakian exposes that there is a continued process—they haven’t given up, they haven’t given way to the way they do things, to the ways they operate.
So it’s important to immerse yourself in the knowledge of the movement of Bob Avakian and to support this leader. And to protect him at all costs. Protect him at all costs. Because they have killed enough of our leaders. So we have to form a strong web around him and protect him. Thank you.
My name is Hannibal Salim Ali and I’m a supporter of Bob Avakian.
Behind the Week of Internet Attacks on Bob Avakian and the Revcoms: Imperialist Fear Mongers and Their Servants
Bob Avakian Is Not a “Mad Cult Leader”: He Is a Deep Thinker and Profoundly Thoughtful Leader
An Open Letter to Fighters for Abortion Being Hit by This Accusation—And Others Who Are Hearing It
by Sunsara Taylor
In the 1960s, the Government Spread Lies to Foment Violent Conflict Within the Movement
The Lessons of That Time Need to Be Learned Anew Today