Posts by issue number/Posteos por número de la edición

 

Articles in this issue (scroll down to read them):

  • What You Need to Know and Engage This Week About the World and Revolution January 24, 2022
  • In Light of the Urgency Spoken to in 
    “Something Terrible, Or Something Truly Emancipating”

    A RENEWED CHALLENGE: SEARCHING FOR AN HONEST LIBERAL OR PROGRESSIVE
  • On Roe v. Wade at the Supreme Court in DC:

    A New Movement Declares Its Determination to DEFEAT the Fascist Assault on Abortion Rights and Women
  • Yes, Someone Did See This Coming: Bob Avakian: 30 Years of Calling Out the Fascist Attacks on Abortion Rights
  • As Democrats Fail in Half-Hearted Fight for Voting Rights, Fascists Escalate Drive to Dominate or Steal Future Elections
  • Q: What Is the “Filibuster”? A: The White Supremacist Veto Power
  • Letter From Chicago: A Sky-High COVID Death Rate Among Black People
  • Novax “The Joker*”vic Is Doing a Great Deal of Harm
  • Check It Out Sportswriter Howard Bryant on: “Novak Djokovic is a profile in selfishness, and sports leaders are failing us all”
  • Los Angeles: Going to a High School in the Wake of a COVID Uproar
  • As U.S. Rulers Debate Response to Russia in Ukraine: IT’S NOT “OUR” EMPIRE
  • A Question for Katrina vanden Heuvel: What Do You Mean “We”?
  • A Response to “Curious Wavefunction” Wilson’s Sociobiology—Anti-Scientific and Harmful, a Rationalization for this System
  • Statement of Political Prisoners on Hunger Strike, from Evin Prison, Tehran
  • Notice to Revcoms and Supporters of the Revolution
  • Taking on the So-called “Walk for Life” in San Francisco
  • From Los Angeles Revolution Club:

    FLIER: Monthly Revolution Club Mass Meetings
  • Death of poet Baktash Abtin Ignites Hunger Strike by Fellow Prisoners, Mass Protests in Iran, Solidarity Actions Internationally
  • ARTICLE:

    What You Need to Know and Engage This Week About the World and Revolution

    January 24, 2022

    This is a time of huge turmoil, when what people once thought were long-standing reforms are now being ripped away… when the threat of war sounds increasingly louder… when the earth itself burns and freezes in unprecedented ways … when the rights and humanity of women are under assault across the planet… a world in which the old arrangements through which society has been ruled by one or another set of oppressors are increasingly fraying and ripping. 

    A Declaration, A Call To Get Organized For A Real Revolution makes the point that:

    Revolutions are not possible all the time, but are generally possible only in rare times and circumstances, especially in a powerful country like this.  This is one of those rare times and circumstances.  This system is in real trouble, caught up in crisis and conflicts for which it has no easy or lasting solutions.  Throughout this country the workings of this system have given rise to deep divisions which cannot be resolved under this system.  Society is being ripped apart.  Those who rule are locked in a bitter fight among themselves, and they cannot hold things together in the way they have in the past.  Although there are a lot of bad things connected with this and it could lead to something really terrible, it is also possible that we could wrench something really positive out of it— revolution, to put an end to this system and bring something much better into being.

    Bob Avakian, BA, in his new presentation, SOMETHING TERRIBLE, OR SOMETHING TRULY EMANCIPATING: Profound Crisis, Deepening Divisions—And The Revolution That Is Urgently Needed. A Necessary Foundation, A Basic Roadmap for This Revolution, provides a foundation for understanding and a road map for transforming that rare time into a revolutionary time. 

    This week, we are running a new article from BA, one that poses a sharp challenge that takes on acute meaning in this rare time and in this high-stakes context: In Light of the Urgency Spoken to in “Something Terrible, Or Something Truly Emancipating”: A RENEWED CHALLENGE: SEARCHING FOR AN HONEST LIBERAL OR PROGRESSIVE. Read this—and help get this read and engaged out beyond the current reach of this website, sending it to those you know who need to confront this message. 

    This talk, in people’s hands and most of all taken up and wielded, could change everything.

    In Something Terrible, OR Something Truly Emancipating, BA makes the following point:

    Here is another profound truth: Even with all the ways that the heavy chains of hundreds, and thousands, of years of oppressive tradition weigh down on the masses of people—and place a heavy burden particularly on the half of humanity that is female—there is a deep yearning to be free of all this, which not only leads to imaginary hopes of supernatural salvation but also erupts in unrestrained fury right in this real world.  And that fury needs to be fully called forth, given a scientific, revolutionary expression—focused toward the emancipation of all the oppressed and exploited of the world, and ultimately all humanity—directed to fighting against the fundamental source of all the suffering: this system of capitalism-imperialism, with its suffocating and brutal, patriarchal male supremacy, along with all its other outrages. This takes on even more powerful meaning and urgent importance in the current situation in this country (and others), where the forceful assertion of raw misogyny (hatred of women) and patriarchal subjugation of women is becoming more blatant and unbridled, focused to a significant degree now in the escalating moves to even further deny women control over their own lives and their very bodies, with the right to abortion, and even birth control, being brought under mounting attack.  Right now, this slogan and call needs to be taken up broadly and made a powerful material force:  Break the Chains, Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution!

    Last week marked the 49th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision finding that women had a constitutional right to abortion. This right is now under direct and dire threat. Yet so many who purport to speak of the importance of this right turn out to be leading people to “adjust” to a life in which abortion is illegal. 

    But last Saturday, on the 49th anniversary of the decision granting this constitutional right, a new movement announced itself, aiming to do nothing less than bring millions into the streets in relentless struggle to defend this right and defeat the attempts to take it back or gut it. In this issue, we cover that movement’s “opening shot” with an account of their opening rally at the Supreme Court and important speeches from some of the initiators. We also speak to those figures now acting as if nobody saw these attacks coming or took seriously the prospect of actually losing the right to abortion. Go here and find out what BA has been saying on this question for decades.

    Relatedly, last week saw the fascist Republican Party go further in its attack on basic rights of Black people, as well as other “minority” nationalities and the rule of law overall. They killed a very basic bill that would have blocked some of the laws now being passed on the state level to make voting more difficult for Black people, other oppressed nationalities, and more generally people who live in cities. We have covered the many attacks of these fascists on this right because even though voting itself is ultimately almost always a meaningless exercise of voting for which section of the rulers will oppress the masses, the stripping away of the right to vote amounts to a vicious attack. It is a move to lock down an even more brutal fascist dictatorship, deepening the oppression of an already-oppressed people. We get into what happened in more depth here, and also take apart the “white supremacist veto” that they call the filibuster. 

    As COVID continues to rage across the world, a “second pandemic” also rages—the “pandemic” of ignorance and individualism spread by the fascists and those who are acting as their tools. We get into what these twin plagues have meant to Black people in Chicago, as one example; to the world of professional tennis (here and here); and to some of how this played out at a Los Angeles high school, all in the last week.

    This past week saw threats and counter-threats between the U.S. and Russia over the fate of the country of Ukraine. Go here to clearly see where the interests of humanity lie in contrast to what the U.S. propaganda organs of mainstream press trumpet; and here for a call-out on the poisonous chauvinism being peddled as progressivism.

    This week, we are also featuring a letter in response to controversy around the Tale of Two Scientists, of which revised and updated versions are now posted.

    We received news as we went to press of a heroic hunger strike going on now at Evin Prison in Iran. We urge you to go here to read about this hunger strike, and here for an account of a recent program going into the issues of this struggle.

    Finally, go here to learn about and connect with the Revolution Club and here to see the latest edition of The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show on YouTube.

    We want to call your attention to the Revolution Club section on this site's Home page, where articles by club members and about the club are posted. There are a number of new things up this time, including a report on an intervention in a struggle over vaccines and masking at a Los Angeles high school.

  • ARTICLE:

    In Light of the Urgency Spoken to in 
    “Something Terrible, Or Something Truly Emancipating”

    A RENEWED CHALLENGE:

    SEARCHING FOR AN HONEST LIBERAL OR PROGRESSIVE

    There is the story about how, in ancient Greece, a philosopher named Diogenes wandered over a wide territory, with a lantern to light his way, searching for one honest man. Today, I am searching for an honest liberal or progressive.

    More specifically: Last year, I issued a challenge to Bill Maher, who continues to bray about how this is supposedly a great country. Here, I am issuing an updated version of this challenge, for all the liberals and progressives who say they care about justice and are seriously concerned about the situation and the future facing humanity, but still are clinging to the notion that there is something special—something especially good—about this country (even while they may admit that it “has many faults”); all those liberals and progressives who, in any case, say that this system we live under should be preserved while we work to overcome its “faults,” and that it is not necessary, and not a good idea, to overthrow this system and bring into being a radically different system. Here is the challenge.

    Go to the website revcom.us and read the following:

    This recent major work of mine:  

    SOMETHING TERRIBLE, OR SOMETHING TRULY EMANCIPATING: Profound Crisis, Deepening Divisions, The Looming Possibility Of Civil War—And The Revolution That Is Urgently Needed

    A Necessary Foundation, A Basic Roadmap For This Revolution

    The American Crime series

    These papers by Raymond Lotta:

    The ‘Industrialization’ of Sexual Exploitation, Imperialist Globalization, and the Descent Into Hell

    and

    Imperialist Parasitism and Class‑Social Recomposition in the U.S. From the 1970s to Today: An Exploration of Trends and Changes

    And let me call your attention to this astounding, and horrific, fact:

    Because of the way the world is dominated by this system of capitalism-imperialism, in the Third World (Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia) tens of millions of children die every decade from starvation and preventable disease.

    To put this in an even larger perspective: Because of conditions ultimately rooted in and enforced by this system of capitalism-imperialism, just in the lifetime of someone 20 years old, the number of children in the Third World who have needlessly died from starvation and preventable disease is at least 100 million; and, for anyone 75 or older, that number is 350 milliongreater than the entire population of this country!

    So, here again, is the challenge: Seriously confronting the reality captured in the works and facts I have referred to here, try to make the case that this is a great country and great system, and see if you can explain why this system should be preserved, in any form. Or, failing that, acknowledge that it is true that we need an actual revolution to overthrow this whole system, and bring a radically different and much better system and world into being.

    Do any of you have the integrity and concern for humanity to take up this challenge?

    We shall see.

    Announcing New work by BA, SOMETHING TERRIBLE, OR SOMETHING TRULY EMANCIPATING:

     

  • ARTICLE:

    On Roe v. Wade at the Supreme Court in DC:

    A New Movement Declares Its Determination to DEFEAT the Fascist Assault on Abortion Rights and Women

    RiseUp4AbortionRights contingent at SCOTUS with banners.

     

    Photo: Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights

    On the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that first established abortion rights nationwide, starkly different futures for women were on display in Washington, DC.

    On January, 22, the actual anniversary, 40 to 50 people rallied at the Supreme Court as part of a new movement announcing itself in the streets for the first time. They declared their determination to call forth and lead a society-shaking fight to defeat the acutely posed assault on women's fundamental right to abortion. Persevering in the face of fascist disruption and bitter cold, this new movement is centered in the statement published at RiseUp4AbortionRights.org, which makes clear its intention to change “the whole political atmosphere throughout society and what women-haters—from the Supreme Court to the State Houses to the streets—feel they can get away with.”

    This was a stark contrast with the triumphalist outpouring the day before when tens of thousands of anti-abortion Christian fascist theocrats and others marched in a so-called March for Life. Their emcee shouted out 18 sitting senators and congresspeople in attendance. Speaker after speaker expressed exuberant confidence that 2022 will be the year that Roe will fall. And they were determined not to stop there. As former Illinois Congressman Lipinski put it, “Hopefully, next year will be a new era of building a culture of life because Roe will be gone! But no matter what happens at the Supreme Court, we will continue to march to protect the unborn. We will continue to march until our nation fulfills its promise of equality and the right to life for all, until all babies and their mothers are protected.”

    At the rally held for abortion rights, Merle Hoffman, the founder and CEO of Choices Women's Medical Center and an initiator of RiseUp4AbortionRights, spoke of her experience providing abortions for fifty years and the need to rise in struggle now to protect this right. She said, in part:

    It's the 49th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision and I am here to announce that women's rights are in a state of emergency. Women's lives are in a state of emergency. Women's freedom is in a state of emergency. The hanger, I want you to look at it. I brought it with me because this represents the past, the present, and the future of women and girls in this country. The past, because this is one of many types of things that women would use before abortion was legal. Very often the hanger was something that was available and they would insert it into their cervix and their uterus and often die or butcher themselves. That was the past

    Currently, in states like Texas and 27 others that are jumping over themselves, the legislatures, to try to do “creative,” anti-choice legislation, like the heartbeat bill, women will once again have to go back. And if the Republicans and fundamentalists have their way, this hanger and what it represents will be the future for women in this country.

    When a crowd of young anti-abortion counter-protesters briefly interrupted and drowned out Hoffman's speech, the pro-choice crowd met them with defiance and discipline, chanting in favor of abortion rights and eventually succeeding in securing the space to proceed with the rally. When she came back, Hoffman was even more determined and defiant, calling on people to shake off the shame and stigma that is put on abortion and women's choices and rise to the challenge of fighting to defend this right now.

    Sunsara Taylor, a follower of Bob Avakian and key initiator of RiseUp4AbortionRights, pointed to the lack of mobilization among those who support abortion rights and women at this moment of emergency. She called out those responsible:

    It's largely because the Dems won't even mention abortion... and because all too many so-called leaders of the so-called women's movement are capitulating in advance. Sure, they dress it up. They say we are “proactively” pushing for legislation to protect abortion in a few local places... for after Roe falls. Or they are “proactively” teaching women how to induce their own abortions... for after Roe falls. But all accept the unacceptable situation where women have lost their legal right to be full human beings! That's not pro-active, that's capitulation.

    If the Supreme Court was about to overturn Brown v. Board of Education and restore the situation where Black people were legally forced back into a “separate but equal” society, would any decent person accept this and just try to prepare to make these newly segregated schools as good as they can be? Hell no! And no decent person should accept the overturning of Roe v. Wade and have the gall to call themselves fighters for women.

    These so-called leaders of the so-called women's movement are so enslaved to this system, that they are willing to enslave women.

    And this is why we are here. It has fallen to us to step into the breach and to summon a society-wide fight to DEFEAT THIS ASSAULT ON WOMEN. And this fight needs to not only go up against these fascist woman-haters, but directly up against the capitulationism of the so-called movement.

    Katea Stitt, the program director at WPFW (Pacifica) radio in DC and an early signer to the RiseUp4AbortionRights statement, told the crowd how critical it had been for her to access a safe abortion as a teenager. She then read from a powerful statement that was first issued in 1989 by a group of Black women, including Shirley Chisholm and others, organized by Donna Brazile. It reads in part:

    This freedom—to choose and to exercise our choices—is what we've fought and died for. Brought here in chains, worked like mules, bred like beasts, whipped one day, sold the next—for 244 years we were held in bondage. Somebody said we were less than human and not fit for freedom. Somebody said we were like children and could not be trusted to think for ourselves. Somebody owned our flesh, and decided if and when and with whom and how our bodies were to be used. Somebody said that Black women could be raped, held in concubinage, forced to bear children year in and year out, but often not raise them. Oh yes, we have known how painful it is to be without choice in this land.

    ...Now once again somebody is trying to say we can't handle the freedom of choice. Only this time they're saying African-American women can't think for themselves and, therefore can't be allowed to make serious decisions. Somebody's saying we should not have the freedom to  take charge of our personal lives and protect our health, that we only have limited rights over our bodies. Somebody's  saying that if women have unintended pregnancies, it's too bad, but they must pay the price.

    Somebody's saying that we must have babies whether we choose or not. Doesn't matter what we say, doesn't matter how we feel.

    Lori Sokol, Executive Director of Women's eNews and an initiator of RiseUp4AbortionRights, called out the way the media soft-pedals the danger of a world without legal access to abortion. She told a harrowing story of a young woman who, even while abortion was legal, was afraid to tell her parents that she was pregnant and instead tried to use a pencil to induce her own abortion, risking her own life. She ended by calling on people to see the connections between the assault on abortion rights and other rights that the Christian fascists are also taking aim at:

    I also represent the LGBT community. I am a gay woman and there are very few gay women, or in the gay community in general, who understand the importance of fighting and defending women's right to choose. Not only because gay women can of course become pregnant, but we have to understand that first it's going to be turning back abortion rights. Then it's going to be anti-contraception. Then it's going to be turning back marriage equality in this country and the rights of people of color. We all need to be in this together! So, thank you. ABORTION ON DEMAND AND WITHOUT APOLOGY! RiseUp4AbortionRights.org! Thank you for being here!

    Tweet URL

    The emcees for the RiseUp4AbortionRights rally called on everyone to start organizing now for major protests and marches on March 8, International Women's Day, in big cities and small towns across the country and urged everyone to register for a nationwide organizing conference via Zoom this upcoming Sunday, January 30, to become part of taking this fight forward.

  • ARTICLE:

    Yes, Someone Did See This Coming:

    Bob Avakian: 30 Years of Calling Out the Fascist Attacks on Abortion Rights

    Over the years, women angry about attacks on abortion rights have been told, “don’t worry, you’re just getting ‘hysterical.’” The day before Anthony Kennedy announced his resignation from the Supreme Court last summer, CNN host Brian Stelter tweeted, in response to a liberal activist, “We are not ‘a few steps from The Handmaids’ Tale.’ I don’t think this kind of fear-mongering helps anybody.”1 The constant attacks on abortion have been called a “stealth war,” as if it is hidden.2 Or “quiet,” as if no one knows about it.3 And each new step to chip away at or completely reverse Roe v. Wade and take away women’s right to abortion is seen as a “surprise.”4 Like it came out of nowhere. An editorial editor at the Los Angeles Times recently wrote in an op-ed, “Never have I imagined that Roe would be in danger of being overturned or irrevocably diminished.”5

    And just this Saturday, in the New York Times, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood in the 2000s, wrote that she “believed that providing vital health care, with public opinion on our side, would be enough to overcome the political onslaught [to outlaw abortion]. I underestimated the callousness of the Republican Party…”

    But it’s not like nobody could see this coming. In fact, as the selected quotes that follow show, Bob Avakian (BA) has been warning of this for three decades and more. The quotes below give a hint of a much deeper analysis that has outlined how these attacks on abortion formed a critical edge of an overall Christian-fascist offensive to radically remake the way in which this society is ruled and organized. Not only that, he’s initiated and given leadership to efforts to actually resist these attempts. And the quotes that follow are not just “for the record”—if anything, they are even more relevant today. For one thing, the very same types of people and forces that have been telling people not to worry for three decades are now telling them there’s nothing they can do. BA, to the contrary, has provided a foundation on the basis of which to understand WHY such extreme attacks are going down and a road map HOW these can be taken on and defeated... and done so as part of making revolution.

    ***

    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.”6 (1985)

    ***

    “One of the things that should be posed is this question: How many of these people who oppose the right to abortion also don't oppose birth control? Very few. So there you get right to the essence of the matter. It's not a matter of ‘killing babies’—they want women to play a certain social role, it's very important to them. The family, as a patriarchal institution, is very important to them, it's very important to the whole bourgeois structure, especially when there are a lot of strains and contradictory trends pulling at society and a lot of changes that are undermining a lot of the traditional, oppressive relations and values.”7 (2002)

    Unbelievable as it may seem quote from Bob Avakian

     

    “[A]round the crucial and pivotal issue of abortion, many liberals—and in this they are ‘led’ by the likes of the Clintons—promote the idea of seeking ‘common ground’ with the Christian Fascists, with arguments like: ‘We can all agree that it is desirable to limit the number of abortions and make abortion rare, so let us unite together to make sure that birth control is widely and easily available.’ Yet experience has already shown that the Christian Fascists are determined to eliminate not only abortion but birth control as well, and that such pleas for ‘common ground’ only make them more fanatical in seeking to do away with both....

    “And, as their determination to eliminate birth control, along with abortion, makes clear, what lies at the heart of the issue of abortion, and of the Christian Fascists’ unrelenting attempt to make it illegal, is not the killing of babies (which is scientifically wrong in the first place) but is the chaining of women in oppressive relations in which their essential role is reduced to that of being the property of men and the breeders of their children, according to ‘god’s plan’ and the dictates of theocratic interpreters of “god’s will.”8 (2008)

    ***

    “The forces striving for ‘a post-abortion America’ have, through a combination of tactics—including unrelenting harassment of abortion clinics and providers, and arson, bombings and other attacks, as well as outright murder—made tremendous gains in effectively denying abortion to large numbers of women and in undercutting the training of new generations of potential providers. Beyond that, they have gone a long way in gaining the political and moral initiative and in setting the terms of the debate and struggle. And, it must be frankly admitted, they have succeeded in confusing and disorienting significant numbers of people, including many young women. (They have even made some headway in deflecting identification with the Nazis from themselves and onto abortion providers, through the perverted claim that abortions amount to a ‘holocaust.’)”9 (2004)

    ***

    “It has been pointed out that, with the changing nature of the economy, along with large numbers of women working in lower tier, lower paid jobs, you have a lot more women professionals, a lot more women in the middle class generally who are themselves working, many more women college graduates, and so on. Things like this are vastly different than a few decades ago… But, on the other side, this is clashing up against the traditional relations, and in this country, too, it is calling forth, or is a major factor in calling forth, all this fundamentalist madness, in this case Christian Fascist fundamentalism. For example, the whole assault on the right to abortion. And speaking of this, there is something we really should emphasize: These dark ages fanatics are not just going after abortion, they are moving very directly now in opposition to birth control as well. As kind of an aside, but an important one, this really illustrates what’s actually involved here. This point has been made before, but I want to really drive it home, that this opposition to birth control, as well as abortion, sharply illustrates how much this is about the subjugation of women and treating them as breeding machines, as well as sex objects, and how it’s not at all about ‘the killing of babies.’”10 (2016)

    Break ALL the Chains Full cover 300

     

    “Certainly, all these Catholic reactionaries who are opposed to abortion are also opposed to birth control. It is a matter of official Catholic Church doctrine to oppose birth control, for a fundamental reason that is very much at the heart of this whole issue: according to this reactionary religious viewpoint, a woman's role is to be a subordinate to her husband and a breeder of his children, and birth control as well as abortion can undermine that. And the Protestant fundamentalist fascists are also overwhelmingly opposed to birth control—not only outside the confines of marriage, but even within it... This is not only a crucial issue in an overall sense, but it is being even more sharply posed in the aftermath of the 2004 election, where the Christian Fascists are pushing like crazy to abolish the right to abortion—they are insisting to Bush and the Republicans: ‘You've gotta deliver on this now.’ That is why they went after Arlen Specter (a long-time Senator from Pennsylvania, who is supposedly a more ‘moderate Republican,’ whatever that means), because Specter cautioned Bush about nominating people as judges who would support the outright outlawing of abortion…”11 (2005)

    ***

    “The Christian fascist zealotry in opposition to abortion is not really about the fraudulent notion that abortion amounts to ‘killing babies’ (the overwhelming majority of abortions are carried out during the early stages of pregnancy, when the fetus is tiny and very undeveloped—and, during the whole period of pregnancy, the fetus is part of, completely integrated with and dependent on the body and bodily functions of the woman: it is not yet an actual independent human being). That this opposition to abortion is not about ‘killing babies’ is demonstrated by (among other things) the fact that these opponents of the right to abortion also oppose, with equal fanaticism, birth control which prevents pregnancy in the first place.”12 (2020)

    ***

    “Here is another profound truth: Even with all the ways that the heavy chains of hundreds, and thousands, of years of oppressive tradition weigh down on the masses of people—and place a heavy burden particularly on the half of humanity that is female—there is a deep yearning to be free of all this, which not only leads to imaginary hopes of supernatural salvation but also erupts in unrestrained fury right in this real world. And that fury needs to be fully called forth, given a scientific, revolutionary expression—focused toward the emancipation of all the oppressed and exploited of the world, and ultimately all humanity—directed to fighting against the fundamental source of all the suffering: this system of capitalism-imperialism, with its suffocating and brutal, patriarchal male supremacy, along with all its other outrages. This takes on even more powerful meaning and urgent importance in the current situation in this country (and others), where the forceful assertion of raw misogyny (hatred of women) and patriarchal subjugation of women is becoming more blatant and unbridled, focused to a significant degree now in the escalating moves to even further deny women control over their own lives and their very bodies, with the right to abortion, and even birth control, being brought under mounting attack. Right now, this slogan and call needs to be taken up broadly and made a powerful material force: Break the Chains, Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution!13 (2021)

    Announcing New work by BA, SOMETHING TERRIBLE, OR SOMETHING TRULY EMANCIPATING:

     

    _______________

    FOOTNOTES:

    1. “Our Fury Over Abortion Was Dismissed for Decades As Hysterical,” by Rebecca Traister, May 17, 2019The Cut [back]

    2. “The Stealth War on Abortion,” by Janet Reitman, September 15, 2014, RollingStone [back]

    3. “The Quiet War on Abortion,” by Barry Yeoman, September/October 2001, Mother Jones [back]

    4. “Abortion in US: What surprise Supreme Court ruling means,” by  Anthony Zurcher, May 28, 2019, BBC News [back]

    5. Opinion: Will the 49th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade be the last one? Abortion rights are under assault,” by Carla Hall, January 21, 2022, Los Angeles Times [back]

    6. First published in 1985 and cited in a number of works by BA since then. [back]

    7. The Confusion About Abortion” (from Reaching for the Heights and Flying Without a Safety Net, 2002) [back]

    8. Away with All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, Insight Press2008 [back]

    9. The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy… And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer,” originally published in 1998 and posted October 17, 2004. [back]

    10. The New Communism, The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation, Insight Press, 2016 [back]

    11. The Bible and Baby-Killing: The Right to Abortion and the Whole Direction of Society,” August 28, 2005. Included in the pamphlet, The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era, 2005. [back]

    12. “FASCISTS TODAY AND THE CONFEDERACY: A DIRECT LINE, A DIRECT CONNECTION BETWEEN ALL THE OPPRESSION,” June 29, 2020 [back]

    13. SOMETHING TERRIBLE, OR SOMETHING TRULY EMANCIPATING: Profound Crisis, Deepening Divisions,The Looming Possibility Of Civil War—And The Revolution That Is Urgently Needed. A Necessary Foundation, A Basic Roadmap For This Revolution, by Bob Avakian, Revolutionary Leader, Author of the New Communism, December 13, 2021. [back]

  • ARTICLE:

    As Democrats Fail in Half-Hearted Fight for Voting Rights, Fascists Escalate Drive to Dominate or Steal Future Elections

    For decades the Republican Party has been on a campaign to suppress the votes of Black, Brown and Native people, as well as other groups that tend to vote Democratic. This campaign has sharply escalated since the GOP’s defeat in the 2020 presidential and congressional elections. (For a summary of these laws, see the sidebar.) Early this month, Joe Biden suddenly decided to do something about it. He huffed and puffed, and then he folded. And now the fascists show signs of going on an even more relentless offensive.

    Biden Ignores Assault on Voting Rights While Trying to “Reach Across the Aisle”

    One of Joe Biden’s big pledges was to take all of this on, but for nearly a year after taking office, Biden and the Democratic Party did little to push through two bills1 that would significantly counter the fascists’ assault on voting.

    Biden gave one speech on voting rights—under pressure from the Democratic base—on July 4 in Philadelphia but little else. He had almost no meetings with civil rights leaders, or with activists like Black radio host Joe Madison, now 11 weeks into a hunger strike to demand passage and enactment of the bill. No political arm twisting or deal making to line up needed votes. Certainly no mass mobilizations of protest against the fascists’ white supremacist drive for power.

    Instead, Biden initially focused on “reaching across the aisle” and passing bills that could get bipartisan support, like COVID relief and infrastructure projects. Some of this did pass, but as Bob Avakian pointed out in his 2021 New Year’s Statement:

    Biden and the Democrats cannot “bring the country together,” as they falsely claim, because there can be no “reconciliation” with these fascists—whose “grievances” are based on fanatical resentment against any limitation on white supremacy, male supremacy, xenophobia (hatred of foreigners), rabid American chauvinism, and the unrestrained plundering of the environment, and are increasingly expressed in literally lunatic terms. There can be no “reconciliation” with this, other than on the terms of these fascists, with all the terrible implications and consequences of that!

    So while a handful of Republicans did vote for building highways and bridges, etc., this “bi-partisanship” did not extend to protecting the voting rights of people that these fascists don’t even consider to be Americans.

    Early voters wait in line at Southern Texas University

     

    Texas already has some of the most restrictive voting laws in the country, but Abbott has been pushing for a new assault aimed at effectively disenfranchising still larger numbers of Black and Latina/o people. Here people wait to vote at Texas Southern University, March 2020.    Photo: Allyn West

    Biden Jerks Awake and Puts on an Empty Show

    After months of stalling, on January 11, Biden gave a widely hyped speech to a consortium of historically Black colleges and universities in Atlanta. There he rhetorically challenged Republican senators to decide if they wanted to be on the side of infamously brutal racist sheriff Bull Connor or that of Martin Luther King. This got a lot of praise from liberals and pissed off Republicans. But in reality, acting like this is an open question is a complete and total joke, just spreading illusions about the deeply embedded white supremacist nature of the fascists—they are the modern-day Bull Connors, Jefferson Davis’s, etc.—and they aren’t going to be “shamed” out of that!

    Biden also “modified” his long-time support of the “filibuster,” a Senate rule that functions as a white supremacist veto. But after all the sudden posturing, Biden was either unable or unwilling to use presidential power and prerogatives to pressure even all of his own people to oppose these fascists, and the bills went down to defeat just a week after Biden’s speech.

    Q: What Is the “Filibuster”?
    A: The White Supremacist Veto Power

    Headlines on Thursday, January 20, gave credit to the filibuster for enabling Republicans in the Senate to stop two voting rights bills supported by the Democrats from being passed. Those bills aimed to counter attacks on Black voters' rights by Republican fascists in many states. As a revcom.us article pointed out, these moves against Black voters and other moves to control and subvert elections are “a vital part of consolidating all-out fascist rule.”

    Here, I want to briefly note how, for close to a century, the Senate filibuster was used almost exclusively as a weapon of white supremacy—to protect the Jim Crow South's massive inhumanity to Black people from every attempt to challenge it through federal law. Read more.

    Biden Continues to Pump Out His Bullshit

    The New York Times reported that after the speech: “Mr. Biden was on his way into the Ebenezer Baptist Church when he was asked what he would say to activists who are concerned that his embrace of changing Senate rules may be too little and too late. ‘Keep the faith,’ the president replied, before ducking into the church.”

    “Keep the faith”?!? In what? An unreformable white supremacist system now hurtling toward fascism? What all this boils down to is an effort to convince people who have been enslaved, exploited, lynched and betrayed again and again by America that they should not lose faith in this white supremacist monstrosity, nor in the possibility that the Democratic messiahs will lead them to the promised land. This is a big part of the role of the Democratic Party now—keeping the oppressed believing in the “promise of America” even as it is proven to be a lie, again… and again… and again.

    “Keep the faith”? Naw. How about using reason and science instead, to figure out the cause of the quickly-worsening problem and the solution? If you did that—and that means going into the work of Bob Avakian—then you’d see that first, you can’t get rid of white supremacy so long as you keep the capitalist system that spawned it and needs it2; second, that a real revolution, aiming to bring forward a society founded on the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North Americacould clear the ground and establish the basis to go to work on eliminating white supremacy3; and third, that the chance to make such an actual revolution exists within the very conditions that today are leading to such ever-sharper conflicts and clashes.

    But instead, they are telling you to go for the “new” and even more hopeless and absurd Democratic strategy to “out-organize voter suppression," win big in the 2022 congressional elections, and then pass these bills. This is like letting your kidnappers tie your hands and feet and throw you in a river on the theory that once you swim to shore you’ll be able to get the better of them.

    The basic conclusion that has to be drawn is this:

    The Democrats will never, and can never, fight these fascists in the way they need to be fought, because that requires getting into the real nature of this system, and bringing out the fact that these fascists, as grotesque as they are, are in fact a grotesque expression of the very system that the Democrats themselves are an expression of, and are working to perpetuate. Most fundamentally: The purpose and aim cannot be simply to defeat these fascists, as an end in itself, with the orientation of somehow returning things to the “normal” way this horrific system of capitalism-imperialism has operated for more than a century. (Bob Avakian, from “Something Terrible, Or Something Truly Emancipating…”)

    Instead of being a tail on the Democratic donkey—with its attempt to keep this monstrous system going, and to deal with the growing fascist danger, by relying on the “normal procedures” of this system and doomed efforts to “heal the divisions” that are deepening every day—people need to work for the revolution that is urgently needed, and deal with the fascist danger as part of doing that.

    From "THIS IS A RARE TIME WHEN REVOLUTION BECOMES POSSIBLE—WHY THAT IS SO, AND HOW TO SEIZE ON THIS RARE OPPORTUNITY," by Bob Avakian 

    Fascists Go On Renewed Offensive

    The Republicans, for their part, are not “shamed” or “chastened” by a few days of public denunciation, nor are they waiting passively for the next election. According to CNN, state legislators are gearing up “to pass a ‘tidal wave’ of voting restrictions ahead of 2022 midterms.” As part of this, Florida governor Rick DeSantis recently asked the legislature for 5.7 million dollars to fund a 52 member “Office of Election Crimes and Security,” including 20 sworn police officers, to "investigate, detect, apprehend, and arrest anyone for an alleged violation" of election laws.

    Trumpites armed to intimidate voters, Maricopa, Arizona

     

    Trumpites armed to intimidate vote counting, Maricopa, Arizona, November 6, 2020.    Photo: AP

    The elections of 2020 saw no significant violation of election laws in Florida (or elsewhere), as DeSantis himself has bragged. But that does not mean, as many Democratic politicians say, that things like the Office of Election Crimes, and the voter suppression bills are “a solution looking for a problem.” These fascists are not confused, they confront an actual problem of establishing full-out fascist rule while preserving some fig leaf of “democracy”—and the “legal” suppression of some voters is an integral part of their solution… which has been working pretty well for them.

    In line with this, what DeSantis is proposing is a voter-intimidation squad, to create an atmosphere where people hesitate to be involved in “get out the vote efforts,” to be neutral election workers, or to vote. As DeSantis himself said, “The first person that gets caught, no one is going to want to do it again after that.”

    By January 20, similar proposals were launched in Georgia and Arizona. This is likely the beginning of a new, more aggressive and blatant phase in the fascist drive to rig the elections in their favor.  The fact that they are now talking of bringing in forces of the statepigs, in other wordsto do this adds a potential new dimension to this. And this drives home what is also said in the potentially historic new presentation by BA, in “Something Terrible, OR Something Truly Emancipating”:

    There are continuing moves, including with the threat or use of violence, to once again prevent Black people and other oppressed people from even exercising what are supposed to be basic rights, such as voting. (With a scientific method and approach, it is both possible, and important, to actively oppose attempts to deny people the right to vote, and at the same time win people to see that their efforts need to go, not into voting for representatives of this system that is oppressing them, but working to build up the basis to overthrow this whole system.)

    All these attacks on people and their rights need to be powerfully opposed, and people on the good side of this need to be actively protected and defended, where they are assaulted with threats and even outright physical attacks.

    _______________

    FOOTNOTES:

    1. The two bills are:

    The John Lewis Voting Rights Enhancement Act would require states with a history of voter suppression to get pre-approval from the Justice Department before enacting any new voting bills;

    The Freedom to Vote Act includes an array of measures, including making it easier to vote by mail, guaranteeing 15 days of early voting, making Election Day a national holiday, and other steps to make it easier for poor and working people to vote. [back]

    2. See "Racial Oppression Can Be Ended—But Not Under This System," by Bob Avakian [back]

    3. Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal). Authored by Bob Avakian, and adopted by the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, 2010 (RCP Publications, 2010). [back]

  • ARTICLE:

    Q: What Is the “Filibuster”?
    A: The White Supremacist Veto Power

    Headlines on Thursday, January 20, gave credit to the filibuster for enabling Republicans in the Senate to stop two voting rights bills supported by the Democrats from being passed. Those bills aimed to counter attacks on voting rights, especially those of Black people, by Republican fascists in many states. As a revcom.us article pointed out, these moves against Black voters and other moves to control and subvert elections are “a vital part of consolidating all-out fascist rule.”17

    Here, I want to briefly note how, for close to a century, the Senate filibuster was used almost exclusively as a weapon of white supremacy—to protect the Jim Crow South's massive inhumanity to Black people from every attempt to challenge it through federal law.

    What Is the Filibuster?

    The filibuster is a way for the minority party in the Senate to delay or stop passage of a bill. The minority party (or even just one or a group of senators) simply insists that the “debate” over the bill continue indefinitely by talking on the Senate floor continuously, until the bill is withdrawn. 

    Unlike the House, where discussion and debate could always be ended with a simple majority vote or “cloture,” there was no procedure to stop a Senate filibuster until 1917. That year a provision, called Rule 22, was added to end the filibuster by a cloture vote—but requiring a vote of 67 (2/3) of the senators. That was changed to 60 (3/5) senators in 1975—still a nearly impossible “super-majority.” And since then it was further changed to the so-called "silent filibuster"—now opponents of a bill don't even have to come to the floor and talk, but proponents still have to come up with 60 votes to "end" the "discussion" that isn't even happening.18

    Limiting Use to the Protection of White Supremacy

    Historically, the filibuster was used only rarely—and almost always by the party representing the interests of defenders of blatant and vicious white supremacy, for the purpose of preventing passage of laws that would touch the open, vicious, and legal white supremacy of the Jim Crow South. For half a century, they blocked passage of laws that would make lynching a federal crime, put an end to legal segregation, remove obstacles like the poll tax and literacy tests used to prevent Black people from voting, and other efforts.

    Thousands march in Washington, DC against lynching and for civil rights, 1922.

     

    Thousands march calling for federal protection of civil rights, Washington, DC, 1922.    Photo: Flickr

    The first major test was in 1922, when the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill was passed in the House and went to the Senate. This was at a time when, as Bob Avakian noted, “every Black male growing up in the South during Jim Crow had a reasonable fear of being lynched.19 A bloc of Southern Democrats carried out a filibuster and stopped the bill from being passed. It became national news. An NAACP leader called the use of the filibuster to stop the anti-lynching bill a “license to mobs to lynch unmolested.” Indeed, in just the eight days that followed, racist vigilantes lynched four more Black men. For decades the anti-lynching bills that followed were likewise killed, most recently in 2020.20 To this day, there is no federal law against lynching!

    The white supremacist Senator Strom Thurmond set the record when he stood up in the Senate for 24 hours to block passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957. The version of the act that was finally passed was described as watered down, without provisions for enforcement. In 1948, when Thurmond was governor of South Carolina, he made a statement that sheds light on why the filibuster was left in the hands of the white supremacist/Jim Crow South: “There's not enough troops in the army, to force the southern people to break down segregation and admit the nigger race into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our homes, and into our churches.”  

    Stop for a minute and let the ugliness of that quote—and the centuries of oppression it concentrates—sink in.

    So the filibuster exception to majority rule in the Senate was the result of an unspoken agreement among those representing the interests of the U.S. ruling class, giving those like Thurmond veto power on matters of white supremacy—at unimaginable cost to generations of Black people in this country. 

    Oh, and who’s Strom Thurmond?  That’s the racist that Biden can’t help bragging about being able to work with—as recently as last week’s defeat of his half-hearted attempt to pass the voting rights bill.

    Three Strikes poster: Gordon; Emmett Till, George Floyd

     

    _______________

    FOOTNOTES:

    1.   Fascists Assault Black Voting Rights and the Rule of Law, Move to Lock Down Power, While Democrats Posture and Dither [back]

    2. For the recent voting rights bill, Senate Majority Leader Schumer tried to pass a minor rule change that would require the Republi-fascists to come to the Senate floor and speak in opposition. When the “talking filibuster” ended, a simple majority could pass the bill. Schumer's motion required only a simple majority, but two Democratic “champions” of the filibuster (Manchin and Sinema) joined the Republicans in stopping it. [back]

    3. ”Lynching, Murder by Police—Damn This Whole System! We Don’t Have to Live This Way!, by Bob Avakian [back]

    4. For 100 years, the filibuster has been used to deny Black rights, Washington Post, 3/18/21 [back]

  • ARTICLE:

    Letter From Chicago: A Sky-High COVID Death Rate Among Black People

    In Chicago, Black residents have been dying at rates four times higher than Asians, three times higher than Latinos and nearly two times higher than white residents since the start of the surge of the Omicron variant of COVID in early December 2021. This is part of a study by the local public radio (WBEZ) and published by the Chicago Sun Times based on data from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

    At the beginning of the pandemic, Black people were dying at alarmingly disproportionate rates. But now there are safe and effective vaccines against COVID. Disturbingly, the article says that among Chicago’s four largest racial and ethnic groups, Black Chicagoans remain the least vaccinated. About one-half of the city’s Black population is still unvaccinated.

    Tweet URL

    While there may still be issues of ability to get vaccines easily (for instance, recent high school students’ walkouts demanded sites for vaccines and testing be opened near their schools), there is also a serious problem of what is “infecting” people’s thinking. Why are people refusing to take basic health precautions to protect both themselves and others from getting a virus that is killing Black people in many cases completely unnecessarily? People are refusing to get the vaccines because of a combination of crazy conspiracy theories, other anti-scientific b.s. and rampant individualism promoted by some celebrities, athletes, religious figures and other “influencers.” One of these influencers, headquartered in Chicago, is the lunatic reactionary anti-vaxxer Louis Farra-Con with his crazy conspiracy theories, anti-scientific and harmful nonsense.

    Listen to just a part of what Bob Avakian (BA) has to say in “Something Terrible, Or Something Truly Emancipating,” analyzing this situation (and then read the whole thing):

    We have witnessed statements and actions by influential Black celebrities, in sports as well as the arts, which reflect and encourage anti-scientific ways of thinking, including disinformation about and discouraging people from getting the vaccines against COVID, when Black people (and other people of color) are dying at higher rates than others from COVID, and the vaccines have been proven safe and very effective against serious illness and death from COVID. This spreading of anti-scientific disinformation is very harmful, both in its immediate effects, and in strategic terms.

    Yes, it is true that, in the history of this country, Black people have been the victims of horrific medical experiments, and still today they are subjected to discrimination, and at times uncaring and even harmful treatment, in the realm of health care. And, yes, it is true that Black people have been, and continue to be, subjected to vicious and often murderous oppression at the hands of government authorities. But all that is certainly true of Native Americans as well. Yet they have a much higher rate of vaccination against COVID. What they do not seem to have among them, at least not as a significant factor, is the phenomenon of prominent and influential people spreading anti-scientific disinformation about the vaccines and active discouragement from getting vaccinated.

    With regard to vaccines, and dealing with COVID generally, as with all social problems and their solutions, what is needed is an evidence-based scientific approach.

    Announcing New work by BA, SOMETHING TERRIBLE, OR SOMETHING TRULY EMANCIPATING:

     

    BA goes on to call out the great harm that rampant individualism (looking out for yourself... me, me, me) does and it is such a big problem in the outlook of all sections of the people in the U.S. Influential people promoting anti-vaccine poison is a reflection of this extreme individualism.

    All this contributes directly to causing great harm to people being hard hit by COVID and to COVID continuing to be out of control. If that weren’t bad enough, as BA brings out,

    What a terrible situation where some Black people and other oppressed people can actually find themselves in the same place as those fascists who regard them as inferior sub-humans and want to deny them basic rights, lock them up permanently, or outright exterminate them!

    To anyone who parrots this anti-vaccine garbage among the people—watch this video clip of Trump at an Arizona rally on January 15, 2022, and ask yourself why is that genocidal fascist pig Trump complaining about too many Black people getting vaccinated?” You end up looking like those fools wearing Blacks for Trump T-shirts bobbing their heads as props for this genocidal racists.

    BA tells the scientific truth about how we can get out of this horrific situation:

    In most fundamental terms, what this pandemic has further revealed about the utterly bankrupt and outmoded (“past its date of expiration”) nature of this system—and more particularly how the rare situation that now exists, with the “deepening and sharpening conflicts among the ruling powers,” which have been sharply expressed in relation to the COVID pandemic, and in countless other ways—all this provides a stronger basis and greater openings to break the hold of this system over masses of people.

    The way forward—the only way forward—out of this madness is revolution: a real revolution to overthrow this monstrous system of capitalism-imperialism, and bring something much better into being.

    VACCINES ARE A DECISIVE MEANS FOR DEALING WITH COVID—THEY ARE NOT A “CONSPIRACY” OR A “PLOT” BY THE GOVERNMENT AND BIG CORPORATIONS

    Bob Avakian on the COVID epidemic

     

  • ARTICLE:

    Novax “The Joker*”vic Is Doing a Great Deal of Harm

    Novak Djokovic is the current number one ranked tennis player in the world, and has millions of twitter followers who hang on every word he says. So when he showed up in early January for the Australian Open—one of four major world tennis tournaments—unvaccinated, this was a shameful action that did a great deal of harm to the people of the world. He should really be called Novax “The Joker” vic!

    Bob Avakian called this type of behavior out when he wrote:

    If you are someone who influences people, and you don’t know the scientific truth about COVID vaccines—how they are crucial for saving lives and dealing with this pandemic—the least you can do is not spread dangerous disinformation about this. Just shut up about vaccines until you get real scientific knowledge about this.21

    Look what is going on just in his home country of Serbia, which has a high infection and low vaccination rates. Serbian journalist Marija Vučić said, "Djokovic is a national symbol here. In a way he's a symbol of Serbianhood." As for what was going on in Australia with Djokovic, Vučić says this is

    giving rise to multiple streams of misinformation…Those people, who are already anti-vaxxers, are now even more anti-vax in their beliefs. Not only do they believe vaccines are unnecessary, or even dangerous, because the best sportsman in the world won't receive any, but now they believe even more that this is some kind of devilish work of globalist structures trying to make us receive the vaccine against our will.22

    Because of his long standing anti-vax position, he is supported by the fascist anti-vax movement, where he has been called a “hero” and a “political prisoner” with people carrying protest signs like “Free Novax.” Djokovic has failed to disavow their support, which objectively puts him in their camp.

    Djokovic is anti-science. His anti-vax stand puts him in that category. But to make this clearer, here is what he had to say about people being able to change the composition of food with their minds:

    I know some people that, through energetical transformation, through the power of prayer, through the power of gratitude, they managed to turn the most toxic food, or maybe most polluted water into the most healing water, because water reacts. Scientists have proven that in experiment, that molecules in the water react to our emotions to what has been said.

    In response to that incredible statement, former tennis player and current commentator, Mary Carillo called Djokovic’s statement as “dangerous” and “disturbing,” and tennis writer Ben Rothenberg said that this “pseudoscience” was garnering hundreds of thousands of views because of the world champion’s far-reaching platform.23

    Since the start of the COVID pandemic in early 2020, Djokovic has been one of the high-profile athletes at the center of the anti-vax movement. In April 2020, well before COVID vaccines were available, Djokovic said he was "opposed to vaccination." In June 2020 Djokovic organized a tournament in Serbia, his home country. At the tournament, no one wore masks, there was no social distancing, and players were partying together in crowded scenes. The tournament was a disaster with most players getting infected with COVID. So, from the get-go of the pandemic Djokovic became the first sports vaccination villain by promoting objection to a vaccine, refusing to wear a mask, and failing to social distance.

    Djokovic was ultimately deported from Australia because of his failure to be vaccinated and for lying about the dates when he was infected with COVID during December 2021. Further during that time, Novax held meetings with people, including 25 children, knowing he was infected, maskless, and failing to social distance, again, risking the health and even the lives of the people he came in contact with.

    As an influencer of millions who will take his word to not be vaccinated, Novax is doing great harm to the people of the world who could die from COVID if they are not vaccinated. 5.5 million people worldwide and 865,000 in this country have died from COVID so far, and the pandemic continues, with the new variants developing. Those “celebrities” like Novax “The Joker”vic who are refusing to be vaccinated and influencing others to do the same will cause the deaths of many, many more. This is a horrific situation for the world and should not be tolerated.

     

    * The Joker is a fictional character in DC Comics. He is Batman’s nemesis, a supervillain, and just a bad guy.

    Bob Avakian on the COVID epidemic

     

  • ARTICLE:

    Check It Out

    Sportswriter Howard Bryant on: “Novak Djokovic is a profile in selfishness, and sports leaders are failing us all”

    Bad joke-ovic

     

    Howard Bryant’s article on ESPN.com, “Novak Djokovic is a profile in selfishness, and sports leaders are failing us all,” discusses Djokovic’s refusal to be vaccinated for COVID, the attempts to keep him from competing in the Australian Open tennis tournament because of his non-vaccinated status, and a lot more. (Note: This article was written on January 12, 2022 before Djokovic was expelled from Australia.)

    Bryant compares Djokovic to other high-profile, anti-vaccination athletes—Aaron Rodgers, quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, and Kyrie Irving of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, who have not just refused to get COVID vaccinations but have taken public stands about this that are very harmful. Bryant also discusses LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers, who did get vaccinated but has spread harmful misinformation about COVID-19.

    What I found insightful is that Bryant goes much deeper than just calling out these athletes. He discusses the sacrifices made by people around the world in order to keep not just themselves but also others from getting COVID. And he puts that up against these “high-profile athletes (who) have decided the only name that matters is the one on the back of their jerseys.” Bryant counterposes those athletes who have stood for social justice and those athletes like tennis great Andy Murray, who said, “…the reason why all of us are getting vaccinated is to look out for the wider public." But, Bryant writes, what has happened is that those heroic athletes who stood up for social justice “have been replaced by the pandemic-era player beholden completely unto himself—unburdened by community or responsibility to others, using vaunted platforms to disseminate pseudoscience, to elevate and separate themselves.”

    He looks at how the U.S. under Trump handled COVID, “denigrating mask use as a tool for the weak, and worse, a symbol of fascism, positioning the pandemic as a hoax, even as the health care system overloaded and Central Park served as a portable morgue.”

    A major theme that runs throughout the article is based on Aaron Rodgers promoting Ayn Rand’s book Atlas Shrugged, the anti-science, anti-communist, elitist, individualist, capitalist drivel that promotes “screwing others before they screw you.” I learned how Bryant sees this book as a metaphor for the selfishness and individualism of these anti-vax athletes and how he uses the words “Atlas” and “Shrugged” to inform this point.

    With regards to the pandemic, Bryant locates the pro sports leagues in this Ayn Rand’ world, where “Sports adopted the divisive political rhetoric of vaccine efficacy over health, of the personal over the collective, guided by the specter of the existential moment.” In Bryant’s view, sports did not become an “example but instead an accelerant of the divisions, a reflection of the anti-science, the cynicism, the pandemic as politics.”

    I feel that this article is an important read, as there is a lot to learn here. Check it out.

    Bob Avakian on the COVID epidemic

     

  • ARTICLE:

    Los Angeles: Going to a High School in the Wake of a COVID Uproar

    The ripping up of societal norms hit a small charter school on L.A.’s middle class Westside this week. The school began enforcing a COVID vaccine mandate as decided by a vast majority of the parents of students there. On Tuesday, six students challenging this in the name of individual freedom showed up unvaccinated and did a sit-in outside when they weren’t allowed into school. The next day something like 20 fascists, unmasked and waving a “don’t tread on me” flag, showed up to protest against the school. They pointed bullhorns at the windows with classes inside, calling the school administration “fascists” and telling the students they were there because they “love” them and want to “protect” them. At least two people showed up in opposition, holding signs in support of the school.

    The Revolution Tour wasn’t tuned in to the fascists social media enough to be able to get there while the fascists were there (and we’re working to rectify this!), but were able to get to the school the next morning before class. We went with Bob Avakian’s articles about COVID vaccines, and palm cards of his major new work, “SOMETHING TERRIBLE, OR SOMETHING TRULY EMANCIPATING: Profound Crisis, Deepening Divisions, The Looming Possibility of Civil War – And the Revolution That is Urgently Needed, A Necessary Foundation, A Basic Roadmap for This Revolution.”

    Announcing New work by BA, SOMETHING TERRIBLE, OR SOMETHING TRULY EMANCIPATING:

     

    Students, parents and staff were shaken by the encounter with the fascists. Some wanted to downplay it and didn’t necessarily want revolutionaries at the school either, they just wanted a return to normal.

    One student argued that the more we resist the fascists, the more they are going to react and we would be fueling the fire and giving them what they want. She described wanting to not think about all this and just pay attention to school. A comrade responded, “look, ya’ll instituted vaccine mandates which is a good thing to stop the spread of a deadly virus, and these fascists do what they did yesterday. It’s an example that we are not going to be left alone.”

    Others were furious. One student saw us and thought at first glance we were the fascists coming back. She jumped out of the car she was being dropped off to school in, grabbed a flyer from us and immediately ripped it in half. When she got clear we supported the vaccines, she apologized and picked up the ripped flyer.

    Bob Avakian on the COVID epidemic

     

    It made a difference to go there, bringing in that there is another force and side of things standing up and with analysis and answers to what needs to be done. And challenging people to confront reality and act on it. After school, there was an atmosphere of people wanting to sort things out and some engaging more deeply.

    There was struggle with some students over whether it’s acceptable and just a matter of “free speech” for people to fight against vaccination when this is killing other people. Some already had firmer positions recognizing the harm of this, like one student who had lost two relatives to COVID.

    A few handfuls of students were walking around “testing” us to see what side we were on. One came up and asked, “Are you the good people or are you the opps?” Another group went around to each one of us to ask, “do you think Black Lives Matter?” and then, “do you support LGBT rights?” Another group asked, “Do you love Jesus?”

    Several students stuck around to talk a little deeper. One was very concerned about the state and direction of society but also unsure what to believe and what to do and how to figure it out. He was intrigued that we were communists putting forward a way to fight to defeat what is happening now and bring forward a new society that could lead to an end to all oppression. Some others read the title of BA’s talk and agreed that revolution is urgently needed. They said that literally some of the fascists who came to the school were part of storming the Capitol last January and they want to stand up against this. With all the students who engaged, we struggled for them to step into the revolution and invited and encouraged them to watch The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show.

  • ARTICLE:

    As U.S. Rulers Debate Response to Russia in Ukraine: IT’S NOT “OUR” EMPIRE

    Russia has amassed 100,000 troops on the border of its neighbor, Ukraine, in Eastern Europe. There is a wide range of possible next steps, including the possibility that Russia will invade all or part of Ukraine. A CNN analyst said on January 21 that a Russian invasion of Ukraine “could trigger the biggest clash of regular conventional armies in Europe since World War II.” (For more on possible scenarios and dangers, and the hypocrisy of the US stance, see our coverage last week, and for background on the origins and nature of Russia’s moves in relation to Ukraine, see “Ukraine and Kazakhstan: Crises, Volatility and the Danger of War on the Russia Border.”)

    There is heated debate within the ruling class—its sharply divided and different sections—over how to respond to the mobilization of Russian troops on the Ukraine border. Biden insists that the U.S. response must be strategically calculated and factor in changing geo-strategic alignments, and complicated and contradictory economic relationships between U.S. allies in Western Europe (especially Germany) and Russia, even as he ramps up threats, warning that Russia will pay a heavy price if it invades Ukraine.

    Other ruling class politicians and operatives (including media commentators) demand different strategies. Republi-fascist Senator Tom Cotton insists “we could possibly deter Vladimir Putin from invading Ukraine… by providing Ukraine with more anti-tank missiles and with anti-aircraft weapons…”21  Fox Fascist “News” Tucker Carlson insists “Our attention to Ukraine drives Russia into alliance with the Chinese government22.” Ross Douthat, an anti-Trump conservative opinion columnist for the New York Times, the “paper of record,” writes “One of the hardest challenges in geopolitics is figuring out how to conduct a successful retreat…. Now we face the same problem with Ukraine23.” (Emphasis added in all quotes)

    In this sharpening inter-imperialist rivalry, Tom Cotton, Tucker Carlson and Ross Douthat are operatives for the ruling class and its different sections that run this country. When people like that say “we” need to do this to the Russians, or this is in “our” interests, all those with sense enough to understand that this is a system of global exploitation and oppression should respond, “Who you calling we, white man?”24… but the problem is “progressive” liberals also parrot these terms, and whatever their intent, end up objectively shilling for imperialist perspectives and interests, like Katrina vanden Heuvel, the editor of The Nation, a progressive magazine.25

    “We” Don’t Rule This Country and Our Interests Lie with Humanity

    Reality check: the rulers of this country are not fundamentally led in their decisions by what you tell them—even as mass protests, upheaval and rebellions, like the 1960s for example, shape and influence the political climate and context in which these decisions are made. This is a dictatorship of the capitalist-imperialist ruling class, even as it is sharply divided right now.    

    But in terms of the illusions of what some may have, on “we the people” influencing such decisions, an example that shatters this: In 2003, in the face of the largest anti-war protests in the U.S.—and the world—in three decades, involving millions, the dominant section of the ruling class made a call to invade Iraq (an invasion that led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, terrible long-term consequences for Iraq and the world, and ultimately a defeat for the U.S.). They did it because they assessed they had the need and basis then to reshape the whole Middle East to shore up their position at the top of a world of exploitation and oppression. And, as George Bush famously said at the time—referring to the massive protests—that wasn’t a decision that was going to be made by a “focus group.”  

    Think about the questions people unthinkingly parrot opinions on. If you do a deep (or even a relatively superficial) dive into the arguments made by operatives and voices for this system and think critically about what they are saying, you hear things like: Would it be better for the U.S. to throw down with Russia over Ukraine or focus on preparing for war with China that could escalate into a nuclear war? Is Biden being ‘hard’ enough on the Russian leader, Putin, or too ‘soft’? What’s the best way to maintain U.S. domination of the production and flow of fuel in Europe and around the world? How can the U.S. rulers continue to dominate the supply chains that bring the cobalt mined by child laborers in Congo to dominate the electric car industry?

    These are questions NO decent human being should want to help figure out an answer to! They are all framed by how best to maintain a system that crushes spirits and bodies in slums and sweatshops, a system where women are commodified and subject to endemic violence, a system that is pushing the climate crisis to and past the edge of sustaining human life. A system, at whose helm, the United States has committed genocide and slavery, war crimes, violence and torture at a scale unprecedented in history. Like Bob Avakian (BA) says in BAsics 1:7: “These imperialists make the Godfather look like Mary Poppins.”

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    Which Side Are You On?

    The rulers of this country would have you siding with them in their global conflicts. And they (and all too many people who claim to speak for the people) want you to think and feel like you have a stake in the debates they have among themselves over how to tighten their chokehold on the people of the world.

    The interests of humanity lie not in trying to help the rulers of this empire pursue their interests, but in working to overthrow this system. There is no America as we know it without the ghastly history and present-day reality of unjust wars for empire. And the people in this world have no stake in either imperialist coming out on top in the current standoff over Ukraine.

    The dreams of so many that someday (to quote John Lennon) “the world will live as one” can only be made real with an outlook of internationalism. And the process of the emancipation of humanity is and will be a tightly interwoven global process. In BAsics BA gets to the heart of this: Internationalism—The Whole World Comes First.”

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    Standing with humanity means being revolutionary defeatists!, in the event of the U.S.’s conflicts with other forces. As BA explains in The New Communism:

    Revolutionary defeatism means that you oppose the actions of your own government and ruling class in carrying out their wars, which are wars for empire. It means that you welcome any setbacks they suffer in those wars, because that weakens their oppressive hold over masses of people, here and in the world more generally.

    The New Communism

     

    Bob Avakian THE NEW COMMUNISM The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation   

    This holds even in a situation where the “other side” in a conflict with the U.S. Empire is no good either. That is, unfortunately, overwhelmingly the case in the world today, for example in the clash between the U.S. and its allies on the one side, and reactionary Islamic fundamentalism like the forces in power in Iran on the other. This does not mean just standing aside with the attitude that “we have no dog in this fight” while your rulers clash with their enemies. Nor does it mean “my enemy’s enemy is my friend.” BA addresses this challenge in The New Communism:

     

    It is crucial that people come to see what the nature of these wars being waged by their government actually is, and why these wars have to be actively opposed; and even if you can’t, and shouldn’t, support the other side, you still have to have the basic approach of welcoming the defeat of your own government in the wars it is waging. The defeat of these imperialists should be welcomed because, number one, their wars are unjust, even if the people opposing them are also unjust. And, two, every such defeat weakens this system and its ruling class and brings closer the time when people can actually bring it down and bring something liberating into being in its place.  

    So right now, even as it is necessary for people to understand that there are no “good guys” in the confrontation between the rival imperialist powers of Russia and the U.S. over Ukraine, our mission must be to oppose what “our own” ruling class is up to as part of working for a revolutionary overthrow of this whole system and all the misery it brings to the world.

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  • ARTICLE:

    A Question for Katrina vanden Heuvel: What Do You Mean “We”?

    There is a “which side are you on” question posed right now in relation to the danger of war in Ukraine. And it is not a matter of choosing between the rulers of the U.S. or the rulers of Russia. It is a matter of standing with the people of the world or standing with one or another of the powers that oppress them. For people in the U.S., that means opposing “our” own rulers.

    But not for the “progressive” publisher of The Nation magazine. Writing in the Washington Post, Katrina vanden Heuvel argues, "In the technical argot [informal jargon] of diplomacy, what's going on in the Ukraine crisis is nuts." And that "With the United States desperately needing to focus attention and resources on the challenges posed by the pandemic, debilitating economic inequality, severe racial division, and catastrophic climate change, and as the administration positions itself to take on China, the last thing we need is a war by proxy or, God forbid, directly with the Russians over Ukraine."

    Well, just who is the “we” she’s talking about?

    American Crime Ad for whole series with image of U.S. airstrike in Gaza.

     

    Katrina vanden Heuvel is promoting the idea that the interests of the masses of people lie with the interests of those who rule this system of capitalism-imperialism. But why should “we” be advising the rulers of this country which rival to “take on” to maintain a death grip on humanity? First of all, they don’t give a fuck what “we” think, other than to manipulate and contain it. Second, you don’t control any nukes or troops or drones or CIA agents or any of the other terroristic agents of brutal repression that they control to manage and extend their empire. And third, if you have a shred of morality you absolutely should NOT consider yourself part of this empire, or think that your morality should in any way be bound up with their brutal calculations of "national interest.” The rulers of this country have carried out the most horrific and egregious crimes against humanity in history (as documented in the American Crime series at revcom.us). Just take one minute and read Bob Avakian’s “In Light of the Urgency Spoken to in ‘Something Terrible, Or Something Truly Emancipating,’ A RENEWED CHALLENGE: SEARCHING FOR AN HONEST LIBERAL OR PROGRESSIVE,” and think about what it means to consider yourself a part of this.

    A piece like this from Katrina vanden Heuvel acts as a shill for imperialism. When someone is running a hustle, the shill is the person working with the hustler but pretending to be part of the crowd hanging around, working to draw people into the game. The difference here is that this hustle involves the fate of humanity.

    Announcing New work by BA, SOMETHING TERRIBLE, OR SOMETHING TRULY EMANCIPATING:

     

  • ARTICLE:

    A Response to “Curious Wavefunction”

    Wilson’s Sociobiology—Anti-Scientific and Harmful, a Rationalization for this System

    In response to the publication of the letter “Human Beings Are Not ‘Ants’—E.O. Wilson and the Junk Science of Sociobiology,” Ashutosh Jogalekar, who hosts the “Curious Wavefunction” blog, tweeted the following:

    “Another drive-by job on Wilson that superficially mentions his work while completely missing what he actually said. Wilson never said that genes determine biological destiny. In fact he had the following to say in ‘Consilience’. Clearly the last sentence isn’t being heeded.

    Redefined with more precise concepts of genetics, nurturists can now be seen to believe that human behavioral genes have very broad norms of reaction while hereditarians think the norms are relatively narrow. In this sense the difference between the two opinions is thus one of degree, not of kind. It becomes a matter that can be settled and agreed upon empirically, should adversaries agree to take an objective approach.’ E.O. Wilson, Consilience 1998”

    This tweet packs in so much garbage into 288 characters it is hard to know where to begin, but here are some basics:

    First, Wilson argued (and never publicly retracted) that genetic differences between men and women were so great as “to cause a substantial division of labor in even the most free and egalitarian of future societies.... Even with identical education and equal access to all professions, men are likely to continue to play a disproportionate role in political life, business and science.” (1978)

    This is sociobiology in practice—where the genes of women pre-determine their subordinate position in society—i.e. not only their “biological destiny” but their social position as well.

    Second, Jogalekar wants the reader to blindly accept E.O. Wilson’s construct that the debate over sociobiology is between “nurturists [who] can now be seen to believe that human behavioral genes have very broad norms of reaction while hereditarians think the norms are relatively narrow. In this sense the difference between the two opinions is thus one of degree, not of kind.” (my emphasis)

    WRONG! In referencing Not in Our Genes and Ardea Skybreak’s review of that book, the letter exposes the BAD SCIENCE Wilson employed to make his arguments for sociobiology—“reductionism” as a method, which Skybreak defines in her review:

    Reductionism seeks to understand the properties of complex wholes solely in terms of the properties of their component parts, which are themselves analyzed in isolation from the larger process. Such analytical reductionism typically fails to recognize the emergence of wholly new properties of matter at the level of the more complex whole and, conversely, does not recognize that even the component parts of a whole can manifest properties stemming from interactions within the whole which they simply do not have in isolation.

    This exposure of Wilson’s reductionism, which Jogalekar completely avoids, is central to understanding why sociobiology is junk science—and this is not a matter of difference in “degree” on a continuum, but ultimately of “kind” in its dynamic interactions with the rest of the biological processes, environment and society, leading to qualitatively different outcomes.

    Further and finally, there is no “coming together” between sociobiologists and those fighting for a scientific understanding of human society. Wilson revealed this himself in Consilience when he wrote:

    There is a biologically based human nature, and it is relevant to ethics and religion. The evidence shows that because of its influence, people can be readily educated to only a narrow range of ethical precepts. They flourish within certain belief systems and wither under others. We need to know exactly why.29(my emphasis)

    Once again, more sociobiology-bullshit!—where biology determines our social being, our fixed “human nature,” our “destiny”—and a rationalization for this system, where people “flourish within certain belief systems,” and its dominant ethical precepts of “dog-eat-dog, conquer or die.” This is what Wilson fought for—with great harm—and what Jogalekar is defending!

    In contrast, Ardea Skybreak and the authors of Not in Our Genes (others), as referenced in the original letter, have brought forward a much more dialectical and scientifically based approach to understanding our social behavior, spoken to in the conclusion of Ardea Skybreak’s review:

    Finally, there is no such thing as a rigidly predetermined, biologically based human nature, a collection of fixed individual and social traits which lead inevitably to particular forms of social organization and especially to various types of hierarchies. In fact what stands out in human evolution is the tremendous flexibility of individual humans who are typically capable of a wide range of behaviors in response to changing social circumstances; furthermore this flexibility and variability is qualitatively greater at the level of human society, which greatly amplifies individual human capabilities and whose organizing principles cannot be understood solely (or even mainly) as collections of individual properties and acts. Thus it is not our biology which stands in the way of the emancipation of humanity from outdated social relations.

    This potential for transformation, on every level of human social behavior, is part of what constitutes hope for humanity on a scientific basis. This potential is what Bob Avakian addresses in Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, But Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon which I want to end with again:

    So here, once more, I want to return to the question of "human nature"—specifically in relation to the advance to communism, which represents a transition not just beyond capitalism, and its remnants in socialist society, but in a larger sense a transition from a whole prior epoch of human history—including early communal society as well as different forms of class society—to an entirely new era in human existence. This new era, of communism, represents not some kind of "perfect state"—one in which, somehow, there are no contradictions, in human beings or in human society—but a whole new "plateau" upon which human beings will continue to interact, with each other and with the rest of nature, on a qualitatively, radically different basis from how such relations have found expression in the past. (Bob Avakian in Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, But Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon)

    _______________

    FOOTNOTES:

    1. E.O. Wilson Consilience, p. 264, 1998 [back]

  • ARTICLE:

    Statement of Political Prisoners on Hunger Strike, from Evin Prison, Tehran

    Editor’s Note:  Revcom.us received the following from the International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners Now (IEC):

    January 20, 2022

    The following is the IEC’s translation of a message from political prisoners now on hunger strike inside Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison.  It was conveyed to supporters in Iran who recorded it, produced the video below, and are circulating it internationally with the hashtag #ChainHungerStrike. 

    This hunger strike was triggered by the January 8 death of beloved Iranian poet Baktash Abtin at the hands of his Islamic Republic jailers, who deliberately denied him medical care even after he fell ill with COVID.  On January 12, after sitting in for five days, six political prisoners in Ward 8 of Evin Prison went on hunger strike to protest “the role of prison officials in Baktash Abtin’s death,” and to demand an investigation and apology. 

    Abtin’s death and that of political prisoner Adel Kianpour days before, as well as the regime’s escalating abuses against other political prisoners have sparked protests in Iran and internationally, and intensified the need to step up the struggle to free Iran’s political prisoners.  (See www.FreeIransPoliticalPrisonersNow.org for further updates.)

    Although I have been dead for a hundred years,
    I will stand at my grave
    To take the heart out of the devil’s body,
    By my fiery cry!

    Only a day after the death of Baktash Abtin, a wave of support and an outcry for justice has begun for him and other prisoners killed in Iran.

    The transfer of prisoners and their abduction to unknown places in order to break this solidarity continues, but solidarity with our hunger strike continues in Iran and abroad.

    Hunger strikers Hamid Haj Jafar Kashani and Mahmoud Ali Naghi as well as Mohammad Abolhassani have been transferred to the Greater Tehran Prison.

    We just found out that political activist and journalist Keyvan Samimi was transferred from Ward 4 of Hall 1 in the middle of the night on Thursday, January 20, without any prior notice.  He was inhumanly and forcefully beaten and threatened, according to his cellmates, in a brutal physical assault by guards who tore his clothing off.  He was then transferred to Ghezel Hesar (Golden Cage) Prison.

    Keyvan Samimi is a political activist and journalist who has been arrested many times in previous years, before and after the revolution, and spent years in prison, for publishing exposures of the government in newspapers and magazines.

    Because of the regime’s fear of unity and solidarity among prisoners, active prisoners are deported to other prisons. After the torture and killing of Sattar Beheshti in prison, the regime was forced to apologize and expel the entity’s police chief and the head of Evin prison.  The regime has never again accepted any responsibility for the killing of political activists in prison. The regime declares that all of them died of illnesses.

    However, if prisoners who were ill had been taken to the hospital on time, these catastrophes could have been prevented.  The question has arisen, why is it only these political prisoners who are so easily killed in prison? Therefore, we felt that to enlighten the public that the political prisoners are on a hunger strike, starting after the death of Baktash Abtin, to communicate to the outside world in hopes of preventing the deaths and transfers of prisoners who are on hunger strike in Tehran and Evin prisons and other prisons throughout the country. 

    Statement by Political Prisoners Mohammad Abolhassani, Sina Beheshti, Hamid Kashani, Mohammad Turkman, Mahmoud Ali Naghi, Hossein Qashqaei, Reza Salavati, Milad Arsanjani, Shahab Soltanian, Mehran Delfan Azari, and Akbar Faraji

    Regarding Iran political prisoners, list of five thins to do presented at Revolution Books Program.

     

  • ARTICLE:

    Notice to Revcoms and Supporters of the Revolution

    While we are still collectively wrangling with, and beginning to formulate, ways to implement the road map laid out in BA's major new talk, “Something Terrible, Or Something Truly Emancipating,” we are not waiting to have everything sorted before we can identify some key things that we need to get working on now.

    1) If you are in an area where you can be part of the Revolution Club mass meetings on February 5 or 6, check out this flyer here.  These mass meetings are one important form for “Organizing people into this revolution... reaching out to all sorts of people… spreading the word about revolution and getting people together (in real life and online) to grapple with why an actual revolution is necessary, what such a revolution involves, and what kind of society this is aiming for.” (From A Declaration, A Call To Get Organized NOW For a Real Revolution)

    2) One focus will be setting our sights on having major impact on International Women's Day (IWD). Please share any thinking you have on how this IWD needs to be marked in a way that manifests: Break ALL the Chains! Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution.

    3) We urge you to pull together discussion circles that are regularly watching The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show together as part of applying the organizational model in the Declaration—groupings that are making plans together to spread the revolution, and grappling with why a revolution is necessary, what a revolution involves and what it's aiming for... training people to become organizers (and leaders in this revolution) themselves.

    To the greatest extent possible, we should immediately be watching with people, including new people we are just meeting, last week’s episode of The RNL Show. This was a particularly strong episode, especially on the role of the Revolution Club. And overall, we want to develop a much closer relationship between the show and our work.

  • ARTICLE:

    Taking on the So-called “Walk for Life” in San Francisco

    San Francisco RiseUp4AbortionRights continent confronts the March for Life protest.

     

    San Francisco RiseUp4AbortionRights contingent confronts the March for Life protest, January 22, 2022.    Photo: @ProtestPix

    For several decades, thousands of Christian Fascists have invaded San Francisco every year for a so-called “Walk for Life” on the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. This year’s march comes at a decisive juncture as the Supreme Court stands poised to overturn or drastically restrict the right to abortion. Going up against this fascist parade, the Revolution Club called for a protest to call on people to STOP this onslaught on this basic and fundamental right and to raise “Break the Chains! Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution”—to call for people to step forward into the struggle to put an end to this system that enforces the oppression of women and so many other horrors.       

    The Revolution Club, Bay Area, called on people to join the counter-protest: “Everyone who believes that women and girls are full human beings deserving dignity and respect should join us now.” Another member of the Revolution Club challenged people that women will lose this basic and fundamental right unless, in the comings months, millions of people come into the streets to stop it. People brought out that the clash over abortion was part of a bigger clash where this system cannot rule in the same way and, while that holds the prospect of a terrible future, it also holds the possibility of revolution and bringing into being a truly liberating society. Copies of the palm card advertising the recent talk by Bob Avakian, Something Terrible, Or Something Truly Emancipating,” were widely distributed.

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    One woman who was in tears after passing by the anti-abortionists ended up joining the protest and leading chants on a bullhorn. Another young woman brought out that seeing the reactionaries brought to mind growing up in a Pentecostal family where her father beat her and her mother.

    As the march passed by about 50 people holding signs lined the barricades that had been set up by the police. “Christian Fascist Theocrats Get Your Laws and Vigilantes off Our Bodies!” “Patriarchy and Capitalism, You Can’t End One Without Ending the Other! Revolution Nothing Less!” “Break the Chains! Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution!” Angry chants rang out: “We won't back down! We Won't Submit! Fuck your women hating shit!” Women in Chains or Revolution? I Choose Revolution.”

    What happened in San Francisco pointed to the potential for the emergence of a force that is determined to STOP the attacks on abortion and fight for a different future.

    San Francisco RiseUp4AbortionRights protest with signs.

     

    San Francisco RiseUp4AbortionRights, January 22.    Photo: @ProtestPix

  • ARTICLE:

    Death of poet Baktash Abtin Ignites Hunger Strike by Fellow Prisoners, Mass Protests in Iran, Solidarity Actions Internationally

    Editors’ Note: Revcom.us received the following from the International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners (IEC):

    The cruel January 8 death of beloved poet and filmmaker Baktash Abtin at the hands of Iran’s jailers has sparked a wave of outrage and protest in Iran and internationally, including, courageously, by his fellow political prisoners. (See Baktash’s last video, below.)

    After he fell ill with COVID, prison authorities at Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison deliberately denied Abtin life-saving medical care.

    Kave Milani of the Burn the Cage / Free the Birds movement in Europe tweeted, “His unjust imprisonment by the Iranian state was an effective death sentence. We will forever remember Abtin’s creativity and commitment to free expression.”

    The night Abtin died, enraged shouts from political prisoners’ Ward 8 could be heard, calling for justice for Baktash and death to the “Supreme Leader” Khamenei. A candlelight vigil and protest outside the hospital where he died was forcibly dispersed by authorities. At least six political prisoners immediately staged a sit-in to protest “the role of prison officials in Baktash Abtin’s death,” and to demand an investigation of and apology from the officials responsible.

    On January 12, after sitting in for five days, six or seven political prisoners in Ward 8 went on a dry hunger strike (no liquid or food intake). According to a January 19 audio message from one of the strikers to Iran Wire, the regime retaliated by removing three hunger strikers for “medical care,” and then beat them and transferred them to Greater Tehran Prison. To avoid this “medical” pretext, the hunger strikers have now switched to a “wet” hunger strike (liquid intake, no food).

    On January 20, these courageous prisoners issued a statement to the world announcing that “a wave of support and an outcry for justice has begun for [Abtin] and other prisoners killed in Iran,” and that while the regime was transferring prisoners and abducting them to “unknown places in order to break this solidarity,” “solidarity with our hunger strike continues in Iran and abroad.” (See full statement.)

    Their courageous action has inspired other prisoners to join them (according to reports, there are 20+ who are taking part in a “chain” hunger strike—#ChainHungerStrike, #HungerStrike4Life). British-Iranian dual national, 67-year-old Anoosheh Ashoori, illegitimately imprisoned for four and a half years, has joined, as his daughter Elika announced. (Elika and her mother and brother have all signed the IEC’s Emergency Appeal.)

    Habib and Vahid Afkari, the imprisoned brothers of wrestling champion Navid Afkari, have also reportedly joined the strike from Shiraz Central Prison. The brothers have been held in solitary confinement for over 500 days, since the regime executed their brother in September 2020 for his support of the November 2018 rebellion in Shiraz.

    Cries of Outrage at Baktash Abtin’s Death Ring Outside Evin’s Walls, Beyond Iran’s Borders

    The regime’s callous killing of Abtin came on top of the death of political prisoner Adel Kianpour days before in tumultuous Khuzestan province, the precarious health of imprisoned journalist Keyvan Samimi, and many instances of political prisoners on bail or furlough being called in for trial or returned to prison in Iran’s COVID super-spreader dungeons. Human rights defender Narges Mohammadi was sentenced to another eight years in prison and transferred to notorious Qarchak Prison. Mass abuse of Kurdish prisoners has been reported.

    All this—and the heroic example of the hunger striking prisoners—has sparked outrage and inspired protests beyond Evin’s walls and Iran’s borders.

    Abtin’s funeral drew hundreds of mourners—even though the Islamic Republic of Iran had pressured his family to suddenly hold his funeral ahead of schedule to head off an outpouring. Many of them shouted “Hail to Abtin, Death to tyrants,” “Abtin is alive, his path is lasting” and “This freedom-minded poet is nightmare for injustice.”

    In Vienna, Austria, in front of the venue for renewed nuclear talks between Iran and the U.S. and other world powers, a sit-in and hunger strike has attracted a variety of forces, among them journalist Jamshid Barzegar who joined to protest Baktash’s death and demand freedom for all foreign and dual-national political prisoners.

    In San Francisco, California, 15-20 people gathered in front of the U.S. Federal Building on January 22 to express their solidarity with Iran’s hunger strikers and to demand “the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners held by the Islamic Regime.”

    The Human Rights Working Group of the First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco read a statement condemning both the Islamic Republic’s treatment of political prisoners and the U.S. history of crimes against Iran (full statement below).

    Revcom.us readers in Houston took the Emergency Appeal out to an Iranian film festival. (Read their report.)

    Step Up the Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners Now!

    The Center for Human Rights in Iran sums up that the regime is intensifying its campaign to “squash growing dissent in Iran by imprisoning activists and human rights attorneys after grossly unfair trials, shooting to kill protesters in the streetimposing death sentences on dissidents and protesters, and causing the death of political prisoners by egregiously neglecting their medical needs.”

    This escalating brutality by the regime, the ongoing heroism of these prisoners and the Iranian people, and now these hunger strikes more broadly underscore the urgent need to greatly step up the struggle to FREE IRAN’S POLITICAL PRISONERS NOW!

    Last video from Baktash Abtin embodies his heroism

    Baktash Abtin made this video just before entering Evin Prison to serve a six-year sentence for being a board member of the banned Iranian Writers Association (IWA).

    From the video: “When you read this message, probably my dear friends Mr. Reza Khandan Mahabadi and Kehvan Bazhan and I are in jail.”… “Have these pressures caused any disruptions in our strong will? No! …Even if they throw 30 active members of IWA into jail, I’m sure our passionate young generation and senior members will not allow the light of IWA to be extinguished … But I need to thank all of you for your kindness toward my friends and me and being with us. Farewell with hope for better and brighter days.”

    Statement from the Human Rights Working Group of the First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco

    On January 8 of this year Baktash Abtin died in an Iranian prison. Baktash was a poet and filmmaker widely respected in his country and beyond. He was jailed for speaking out for justice in his country, for the right to speak, for speaking the truth. His incarceration was unjust. His death, a result of criminal neglect by his jailers, was nothing less than murder.

    Prisoners in response to this crime have begun a hunger strike. This statement expresses our support for these hunger strikers.

    The government of Iran is guilty of grotesque injustices against workers, artists, writers, lawyers, democratic activists, socialists and others who protest or speak out and protest against their patriarchal and fascist like regime. It is therefore our responsibility as human rights advocates in this country to speak out and act in solidarity with this growing movement of protest among Iran’s courageous prisoners.

    It is doubly important for us to do this since the United States government, represented by this building we stand next to, carried out crimes against the Iranian nation going back to the 1950s, and continues to do so with sanctions that cause great harm to the ordinary people of Iran. And this government does this not to defend democracy or people’s rights as they claim, but to help the U.S. maintain a grip on the Middle East, all the better to exploit the people there.

    Furthermore, in our country we are witness to the great efforts from powerful interests to rile up the people with U.S.A. first chauvinism, whose most disgusting manifestation is MAGA, with which fascists in this country wish to harden the people here to accept any manner of brutality to, in their words, “make America great again.” This poisonous ideology represents the deadening of the spirits thus infected by it, and, as an outlook, if not challenged and defeated, will be a death sentence to humanity generally.

    Therefore our solidarity is not only for the sake of our courageous sisters and brothers in Iran but for ourselves and for all our human kind trapped as we are at this time in an immoral and unjust social order.

    None of us are free, until all of us are free.

    Free Iran’s political prisoners now.

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