Bob Avakian has written that one of three things that has "to happen in order for there to be real and lasting change for the better: People have to fully confront the actual history of this country and its role in the world up to today, and the terrible consequences of this."
Posts by issue number/Posteos por número de la edición
If you are outraged by the horrors of the world, if you ache for liberation...
Be at Revolution Books in Harlem on Wednesday, September 29 at 7 pm
Cornel West and the 60th Anniversary Edition of The Wretched of the Earth
In Conversation with Andy Zee
A Brooklyn Book Festival Bookend Event
One of the most influential radical texts of the mid-20th century, The Wretched of the Earth analyzes the dehumanizing effects of colonialism-imperialism on the oppressed of the Third World… and is a powerful call to revolt. Cornel West’s introduction to the 60th anniversary edition addresses the book’s significance and legacy. Dr. West will be in conversation with Andy Zee, spokesperson for Revolution Books and a host of The RNL—Revolution Nothing Less!—Show.
A central question: What is the content of national liberation and revolution in today’s world?
At a time when conditions in the global South cry out ever more for revolutionary transformation… and at a time of acute division in the U.S. heightening revolutionary possibility, this program with Cornel West, the trenchant radical democratic philosopher and activist, and Andy Zee, advocate for the New Communism developed by Bob Avakian, promises to be a critical and engaged conversation.
Revolution Books NYC
437 Malcolm X Blvd @132nd Street, New York, NY
To reserve your seat, go here.
For more info, call 691.3345 or go to www.revolutionbooksnyc.org
Please note: Proof of vaccination required to attend inside the store; outside audience will view event on large screen and participate in Q&A with a mic.
Compare and Contrast: Education Today… and Education In the New Socialist Republic of Tomorrow
The U.S. today rages with debate over what is true—and whether truth even exists. On COVID, global warming, the evolution of life, the history of Black people in this country, and many other issues, there is a whole half of society which insists on a set of “alternative facts”—that is, lies—to refute and ignore well-established truths that have been scientifically established. They have their own school systems that teach these lies, their own media that echo and reinforce them, and they are now passing laws in the states they control to enforce these lies in the public schools and universities (see "The Fight Against the White Supremacist Whitewash and Fascist Suppression of Historical Truth," Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). They are previewing the kind of society they will enforce should they succeed in their goal of fundamentally taking over society.
Ranged against them are liberals and some who call themselves radical who all too often these days may “follow the science” on some of these questions, but then insist that truth itself is “relative”—that is, there is no real way to definitively prove that one theory is basically true, another is utterly false, and while yet a third may be partially true.
The question is: can a society actually bring forward generations that are able to think critically and ascertain what is true and what is false? And the answer is, very definitively and truly(!) YES.
The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, shows how that would actually happen—on the basis of a revolutionary seizure of power by millions, led by a communist vanguard.
The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic addresses education starting on page 31 and goes into four very substantial points on this. (Compare this to the U.S. Constitution, which says… nothing about education.) This section begins with the basic point that all education will be public and compulsory and will give people not only the skills they need but will also provide a “grounding in the natural and social sciences, as well as art and culture and other spheres, and in the ability to work with ideas in general...” Advanced education will be at public expense. This education will be done in a way that aims to overcome the antagonism between mental and manual work, “which is deeply rooted in the development of societies marked by oppressive and exploitative relations and which is itself a potential source of such relations...”
The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic also discusses the need for students to “learn deeply about the reality of, and the basis for, the oppression of whole peoples, and the domination and oppression of women, in [what will be] the former imperialist USA and throughout the world”—for the purpose of overcoming those relations of oppression. And, as an expression of the same fundamental commitment to eliminate all such oppression by the society as a whole, all education will be conducted in Spanish and English and in areas in which there are other languages which significant numbers of people have as their first language, there will be a similar commitment.
So all these subsections (1 through 3) of the section on education are very foundational and should definitely be read. But here we want to focus, again, on what the new educational system will do to bring forward students who can seek out and ascertain the truth, and move to change society on the basis of what is true. This is developed in point 4, and because this is such a fundamental and burning question, we’re going to reprint the entire opening paragraph of this subsection.
4. The educational system in the New Socialist Republic in North America must enable people to pursue the truth wherever it leads, with a spirit of critical thinking and scientific curiosity, and in this way to continually learn about the world and be better able to contribute to changing it in accordance with the fundamental interests of humanity. To this end, in the study of human society and its historical development, and in the social as well as the natural sciences in general, the pursuit of the truth, through the accumulation of facts and empirical evidence and the synthesis of this through logical reasoning and rational discourse, including the testing of ideas against reality, shall be the objective and standard. Scientific and other theories which have met these criteria and have been clearly confirmed and validated through the scientific method (such as evolution, which is one of the most soundly confirmed and well established facts in all of science) shall be presented as what they are–true and valid understanding of reality–and shall serve as a foundation from which to proceed in further learning about and changing the world, while at the same time the ongoing application of the scientific method shall be fostered and supported in order to continue learning more about the dynamics of processes such as evolution and the natural-material world in general. The dialectical materialist understanding that all of reality consists of matter in motion, of various kinds, and nothing else, and the application of this understanding and approach to all spheres of natural and social science shall be the foundation and “solid core” of education. At the same time, as an application of “elasticity on the basis of a solid core,” there shall be provision for other, opposing viewpoints to be presented, including by ardent advocates of those viewpoints, as a part of the overall curriculum and general education. In this regard, too, the orientation of pursuing the truth and the determination of whether something does or does not correspond to objective reality as the standard and criterion of truth, should be applied, while at the same time encouraging an atmosphere in which new and unconventional ideas are not suffocated or suppressed but instead are seriously engaged, with a recognition of the fact that it has been the case throughout history, and will remain the case in the future, that truth is often “in the hands of a minority” and that this applies in particular to newly discovered understanding of reality.
by Rafael Kadaris
Think about it. And since this article is focused on people being trained to be able to discover the truth of things, read this part again:
In this regard, too, the orientation of pursuing the truth and the determination of whether something does or does not correspond to objective reality as the standard and criterion of truth, should be applied, while at the same time encouraging an atmosphere in which new and unconventional ideas are not suffocated or suppressed but instead are seriously engaged, with a recognition of the fact that it has been the case throughout history, and will remain the case in the future, that truth is often “in the hands of a minority” and that this applies in particular to newly discovered understanding of reality.
Subsection 4 goes on to discuss the policy and orientation for education in the realm of art and culture and the need to “foster an atmosphere that promotes and stimulates imagination, creativity and a wide diversity of artistic and other creations, and a healthy wrangling of over ideas and viewpoints.”
And it goes on to conclude the section with the following:
While there must be a definite foundation and “solid core” in the educational system, as discussed above; and while the Revolutionary Communist Party will actively and vigorously promote its viewpoint and program throughout society; there should at the same time be available not only to students but to the broader population a rich storehouse of political and philosophical, scientific, historical, artistic and other works, expressing and reflecting a diversity of viewpoints. This is an important, indeed indispensable part of enabling students, and the people broadly, to be stimulated, sustained and enriched intellectually and culturally and to pursue the truth wherever it leads with a spirit of critical thinking and scientific curiosity, and in this way to continually learn about the world and be better able to contribute to changing it in accordance with the fundamental interests of humanity.
So, again, think about it. Wouldn’t that be a society worth living in? And wouldn’t it be well worth it—and crucial, given the burning question posed by a society awash in religious ignorance and relativist agnosticism at a time when the truth has never been more crucial to our survival—to fight with all your heart to bring that new world into being?
The defeat of the U.S. in its war against Afghanistan has had a complex effect. On the one hand, it is very good that America was defeated in its attempt to further impose its imperialist domination and plunder in the Middle East and Central Asia. On the other hand, the force which defeated it and has now come to power—the Islamic theocratic Taliban—will impose its own form of reactionary domination, including an extremely oppressive form of patriarchy. This painful dilemma and dynamic is captured in Bob Avakian’s description:
What we see in contention here with Jihad on the one hand and McWorld/McCrusade [increasingly globalized western imperialism] on the other hand, are historically outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity up against historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system. These two reactionary poles reinforce each other, even while opposing each other. If you side with either of these “outmodeds,” you end up strengthening both.
While this is a very important formulation and is crucial to understanding much of the dynamics driving things in the world in this period, at the same time we do have to be clear about which of these “historically outmodeds” has done the greater damage and poses the greater threat to humanity: It is the historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system, and in particular the U.S. imperialists.
Note well here BA’s important point that it is the U.S. which “has done the greater damage and poses the greater threat to humanity.” The U.S. media has overall focused on what will happen to the women in the main cities, whose aspirations will be brutally suppressed by Taliban domination. And the fact is that the U.S. in general did not target the cities—though there were exceptions (for example, the bombing of a hospital in Kunduz run by Doctors Without Borders in 2015)—and the U.S.-backed regime did open up certain opportunities for women.
Yet in the countryside—where 70 percent of Afghans live—things have gone down very differently in the past 20 years. With very few exceptions,1 this story has been largely hidden and covered up. But in a recent issue of the New Yorker, Anand Gopal has written a powerful account of one woman’s experience with the U.S. war in the countryside, “The Other Afghan Women.” This article details the truly brutal and absolutely horrific mass murder which the U.S. carried out and/or gave powerful backing to. While there are weaknesses in the way Gopal casts things that could lead to a view that the masses must indeed choose between the two poles of theocratic Jihadism and imperialist brutality, the information he brings forward is important and gives further life to Bob Avakian’s point that, contrary to what the media incessantly hammers at, America most certainly is NOT a “force for good” in the world.
In this context, the Movement of the New Communism of Afghanistan that is for revolution and bringing forward another way against both “outmodeds” (U.S. imperialism and theocratic Islamic jihadism) stands out all the more sharply and is all the more welcome.
On Saturday, September 18, Dr. Alan Braid of Texas published a courageous and defiant op-ed in the Washington Post broadcasting his righteous decision to publicly violate the Texas Abortion Ban and provide an abortion to a woman who needed one later than the approximate six week limit.
He began by recounting the horrors that women went through before abortion became safely and legally available:
Newly graduated from the University of Texas medical school, I began my obstetrics and gynecology residency at a San Antonio hospital on July 1, 1972.
At the time, abortion was effectively illegal in Texas—unless a psychiatrist certified a woman was suicidal. If the woman had money, we’d refer her to clinics in Colorado, California or New York. The rest were on their own. Some traveled across the border to Mexico.
At the hospital that year, I saw three teenagers die from illegal abortions. One I will never forget. When she came into the ER, her vaginal cavity was packed with rags. She died a few days later from massive organ failure, caused by a septic infection.
The Texas Abortion Ban is in open violation of the 1973 Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed women's right to abortion up until about 24 weeks into pregnancy, but the way it was written has allowed fascist judges to (wrongly) claim they have no standing to stop it from going into effect. The results of this—desperate women turned away from clinics and forced to have children against their will since September 1 when the law went into effect—are already shattering lives.
The way the law was written explicitly prohibits the state or any of its officials from enforcing the law; instead, it deputizes any person anywhere to sue anyone involved in assisting a woman with an abortion (whether that is the doctor who performs the abortion, an Uber driver who takes the woman to her appointment, a rape crisis counselor or family member who offers emotional support to the woman, or anyone else). The courts have used this peculiar feature of the law to claim that the only way this law can be challenged is for someone to be sued for allegedly violating it and then challenge the law in court.
This makes Dr. Alan Braid's act triply meaningful.
First, he has performed an abortion for a woman who otherwise would likely not have been able to access it, giving her control over her life and future.
Second, he has dared to shoulder the risk and spotlight of defying this gravely unjust law and fighting it in court so that this fascist law can be fought and potentially lifted off the futures and lives of all women in Texas and beyond who are threatened by it. This legal battle must be broadly supported!
Third, and in many ways most important, he has set a standard of courage and noncompliance with a fascist assault on the lives of half of humanity. This example must be learned from and multiplied manifold right now throughout society and in myriad ways. It is not incidental that many of the most courageous, selfless, and committed fighters for abortion rights are those who remember the days before it was legal. Their voices and courage need to be learned from right now and their warnings heeded! People of all backgrounds and walks of life need to publicly denounce and defy this fascist law and wage massive resistance to refuse to allow it to stand. This includes fighting for the October 2 nationwide marches to be as powerful and massive as possible, launching ongoing society-wide protest and struggle (not one-time affairs where people settle back in to a horrific new “normal”).
Dr. Braid ends his op-ed with these words, which we should all learn from and emulate:
I understand that by providing an abortion beyond the new legal limit, I am taking a personal risk, but it’s something I believe in strongly... I have daughters, granddaughters and nieces. I believe abortion is an essential part of health care. I have spent the past 50 years treating and helping patients. I can’t just sit back and watch us return to 1972.
Once Again, the “Good Guys” of America Commit Mass Murder
Backdrop to Mass Murder: At the end of August, the U.S.’s 20-year invasion/occupation/war ON Afghanistan came to a humiliating end. Defeated by the Islamic theocratic Taliban insurgents, the U.S. pledged to withdraw all forces by September 1. But as that date approached, the government and armed forces that the U.S. had propped up to help it fight the Taliban collapsed, and the Taliban’s forces rapidly seized all the major cities including the capital, Kabul. Tens of thousands of Afghan people who had worked with the U.S. or with the pro-U.S. regime swarmed the main airport, fearing reprisals from the Taliban and hoping to get out. This added to the humiliating character of the U.S. withdrawal, which looked more and more like the panicky route of a failing “superpower.”
In the midst of this, Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K), an Islamic theocratic rival of the Taliban, carried out a bombing at the airport, killing over 170 Afghan people as well as 13 U.S. soldiers.
In this context, the U.S. was desperate to strike back at ISIS-K, both to deter further attacks by them, but even more to try and dispel the image of American weakness and vulnerability. (For more on the U.S. defeat, go here.)
At 4:45 p.m. on August 29, Zemari Ahmadi, a 43-year-old electrical engineer employed by an American aid organization2 drove through his densely populated Kabul neighborhood and pulled into the narrow courtyard of the home where he, his two brothers and their families all lived. He had just finished a long day of work and had brought home a trunkful of water from his office because there was none in his neighborhood.
… as [Zemari] Ahmadi pulled into his courtyard, several of his children and his brothers’ children came out, excited to see him, and sat in the car as he backed it inside. Mr. Ahmadi’s brother Romal was sitting on the ground floor with his wife when he heard the sound of the gate opening, and Mr. Ahmadi’s car entering … there was a sudden blast, and the room was sprayed with shattered glass from the window, Romal recalled. He staggered to his feet. “Where are the children?” he asked his wife.
“They’re outside,” she replied.
Romal and his wife rushed out into a scene of horror. A U.S. Hellfire missile with 20 pounds of explosives—fired from an MQ-9 Reaper drone guided by an operator 1,000 miles away—had killed most of their family. Dead were Zemari Ahmadi and three of his children—Zamir, 20, Faisal, 16, and Farzad, 10—as well as his 30-year-old cousin Naser.4 Dead were Romal’s three children—Arwin, 7, Benyamin, 6, and Hayat, 2—as well as two 3-year-old girls from the neighborhood, Malika and Somaya.
The U.S. tried to justify this mass slaughter by claiming that Zemari was an ISIS-K terrorist plotting another attack at the airport, coming home from an ISIS safe house with a car full of explosives… and that those explosives in his car killed civilians, not the drone strike!
But starting the day after the attack, a series of New York Times articles verified—through examination of video, analysis of the scene by blast experts and interviews with dozens of witnesses, family members and co-workers of Zemari Ahmadi—that he and his family were completely innocent, the car had no explosives, and the family had no connection to ISIS or any other terrorist organization, other than the U.S. military itself.
After the Murders, Propaganda Machine Goes into High Gear
Almost immediately, the U.S. propaganda machine swung into high gear. First came the bragging: military spokespeople said this act of mass murder proved their ability to strike at “terrorists” from “over the horizon,” even after having been driven out of Afghanistan. According to New York Times discussions with U.S. military officials, the attack “dealt ISIS Khorasan a crushing blow” and “demonstrated the degree to which American intelligence officials have refined their target list.” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley called it a “righteous strike.”
This was not just about justifying one crime. In pledging to end the “forever war” in Afghanistan, Biden emphasized that America would “maintain the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and in other countries,” but that “we don’t need to fight a ground war to do it.” What Biden is referring to is that the U.S. increasingly relies on drone strikes (as well as Special Forces raids) organized and launched from U.S. military bases around the world, as a crucial element of maintaining domination of its far-flung empire. The “appeal” of this to the imperialists is the belief that this can be done without the intense public scrutiny, financial and human costs of putting U.S. troops on the ground.
But the viability of this strategy rests on the premise that it can accurately identify and take out perceived enemies of the U.S., and can do so without large numbers of civilians being killed, which can also create “blowback.” The on-the-ground reality of the Kabul raid threatened to “blow up” both those premises, so shoring up these premises with boasting and lies was of strategic importance to the U.S.
As usual, most pro-American media went along with this, despite the complete lack of evidence to back up the military’s claims—the same way the media swallows and regurgitates police claims that when they murder unarmed Black people, it is an act of “self-defense” and “justifiable homicide.” But in this case the official story quickly began to come apart, due largely to the Times articles which unraveled the military’s lies.
In response to these exposures, between August 29 and September 13, the military doubled down, concocting a fantastic story to “prove” that the murders were legitimate. The Times reports that although the military admitted that “they did not know the identity” of the man they targeted, they claimed that they had tracked his car as it made “suspicious moves” such as “loading heavy packages into the car,” “possibly” visited an “alleged” ISIS safe house, picked up and dropped off passengers, and so on. Based on all this they decided that they had a “reasonable certainty” that they had an ISIS-K target and “a reasonable certainty” that they could bomb a crowded residential neighborhood and “no women, children or other noncombatant civilians would be killed or injured.”
9/11 and the U.S.'s 20 year War OF Terror
The Lies Collapse
The Times reported on September 17, “Almost everything senior defense officials asserted in the hours, and then days, and then weeks after the Aug. 29 drone strike turned out to be false.” Finally “Senior Defense Department leaders” were forced to admit that “the driver of the car, Zemari Ahmadi, a longtime worker for a U.S. aid group, had nothing to do with the Islamic State,” and that all 10 innocent civilians were killed by the U.S. missile.
But even as they admitted this, U.S. officials essentially insisted that it was not their fault. General Milley said, “This is a horrible tragedy of war and it’s heart-wrenching and we are committed to being fully transparent about this incident.” [Emphasis added] General McKenzie (under whose authority the murders were carried out) said, “We did not have the luxury to develop pattern of life” of their target. In other words, it was necessary to “shoot first and ask questions later.” (Again, the same logic killer cops use to “justify” their murders.)
But this is just more BS. First, they recklessly and wantonly jumped to the conclusion that Ahmadi was an ISIS terrorist based on so-called “evidence” of “suspicious” actions. Then they carried out his execution in the middle of a densely packed neighborhood.
Nor was this a fluke or a “one-off.” During the course of the war, the U.S. dropped more than 38,000 bombs on Afghanistan and launched 12,000 drone strikes. In July of 2002 they bombed a wedding party in Oruzgan, killing up to 30 people. On May 4, 2009, they destroyed the villages of Shiwan and Granai, killing 147. In October 2015 they leveled a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, killing 42 Afghans. It is estimated that at least 111,000, and possibly over 200,000 Afghan people died in the war, tens of thousands of them civilians.
And now again, even as it is run out of the country, the U.S. inflicts mass murder from above—typical of this “heroic” military for which the lives of the Afghan people count for nothing.
As Samia Ahmadi, one of Zemari’s surviving kids put it: “America used us to defend itself, and now they’ve destroyed Afghanistan.”
1. Nutrition and Education International (NEI) a California-based agency. [back]
2. Times Investigation: In U.S. Drone Strike, Evidence Suggests No ISIS Bomb, New York Times, September 10, 2021. [back]
3. In a bitter irony, Naser Ahmadi had worked as a guard at a U.S. military base. After his death, his family produced a letter from his American boss supporting his application to be evacuated out of Afghanistan, stating: “The grave danger that he and his family faced was directly linked to his commitment to American and NATO forces.” Afghan Family Says Errant U.S. Missile Killed 10, Including 7 Children, New York Times, August 30, 2021. [back]
For Nicki “Mirage” and Others Doing Real Harm: Some Straight-Up Scientific Truth
From Bob Avakian
Here are some critically important basic scientific facts:
*Over six hundred thousand (600,000) people have died from COVID, just in the U.S. (more than 4 million worldwide).
* Black people have died from COVID at a higher rate than others in the U.S.
* The vaccines are very effective against serious illness and death. Today, more than 90 percent of the people seriously ill and dying from COVID have not had vaccines (are unvaccinated).
* The vaccines are very safe. Tens of millions of people have gotten the vaccines in this country, overwhelmingly without any serious negative “side effects.”
* Hospitals around the country are strained to the limit with unvaccinated people who are seriously ill and dying from COVID, to the point where these hospitals often can’t deal with patients with other serious conditions, including some emergencies like heart attacks and strokes.
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.
That goes for you, Nicki “Mirage”—and any similar swollen-headed “celebrities” and assorted hustlers, posers, pimps, and other ignorant fools who are out there spreading ridiculous rumors and anti-scientific garbage about the vaccines—singing the same tune as those racist, woman-hating fascists in the Republican Party and professional liars on Fox “News,” who’d be happy to see a lot more Black people, and other people of color, dying.
Look for the upcoming article by Bob Avakian at revcom.us: Why Do People Believe the Most Ridiculous and Outrageous Nonsense?
Discussing and Debating:
Bob Avakian On Fascist Lunacy and “Woke Folk” Insanity: A New “Two Outmodeds”
From a member of the Revolution Club, Bay Area
The Bay Area Revolution Club hosted a discussion on Bob Avakian On Fascist Lunacy and “Woke Folk” Insanity: A New “Two Outmodeds” at Revolution Books in Berkeley. Attendees included about eight students from UC Berkeley, a high school student, and a young woman who said she came because she felt compelled to attend after seeing what's happened in the last two years in this country.
We started with an intro about the Revolution Club—that we are getting organized now for an actual revolution, that people should get into the A Declaration, A Call To Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution and join the Revolution Club now even as they are continuing to learn. We identified the leader of this revolution and architect of the new communism, Bob Avakian (BA). The two of us leading the discussion introduced ourselves by briefly walking through our own political journeys that saw us taking up and fighting for identity politics to becoming revolutionary communists. We shared about finding BA and confronting, as BA himself said, wanting revolution bad enough we became willing to be scientific.
Our introduction focused on reading a few excerpts from BA's work on the current moment, and the importance of science and truth to the struggle for total emancipation. We read from BA's New Year's statement, A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity, on how the recent election bought a little time but not much time so we can't squander the time we have and need to get busy organizing for revolution—nothing less. We then played an audio excerpt from BA's article on CONSPIRACY THEORIES, FASCIST “CERTITUDE,” LIBERAL PARALYSIS, OR A SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO CHANGING THE WORLD (Longer Version—The Truth Elaborated) where he talks about how truth is objective, not whether you like or dislike the person saying it! We wanted to play this to introduce the scientific method and also to respond to the anticipated relativism in the room (which bore out!). And finally, we also read an excerpt from the “Bob Avakian On Fascist Lunacy and 'Woke Folk' Insanity: A New 'Two Outmodeds'” article.
When we opened up for discussion, the contradictoriness of people’s thinking came out immediately—in a good and lively way, with everyone there grappling together. On the one hand, people put out unscientific ideas and thinking: that all “narratives” are valid, that truth is relative, that you can't apply the scientific method to politics. People argued for “standpoint epistemology” vs. science (that your “standpoint” based on your life experience, gender, race etc determines what you understand, in other word; as one woman said, “I think that my perspective is very much based on my own position as a cis-gendered white woman.”) After being provoked by the Revolution Club members present, the same people also admitted that they did agree on some objective truths such as evolution, the pending environmental apocalypse and that Jesus was not in fact going to come down and save everyone. Recognizing this contradiction in their own thinking did force people to go more deeply into these questions of method, and whether and why you need a consistently scientific method to know and change the world.
A lot of the struggle got focused up on why we follow BA, and why they should too! Someone said they agreed with what BA was saying in these articles, but still “I feel like the leader of a successful movement is probably going to be Black and trans.” One of us responded that if that was her criteria, why doesn't she follow Kamala Harris? No, we have to go with the content of where people are leading, not their identity. Another Revolution Club member shared her own initial reaction to learning about BA saying, “I was a feminist, I thought, there is no way I am going to follow a white man.” But she had to confront that BA was the only one really and consistently calling out Trump’s fascism and actually fighting for a revolution to end the horrors of this system. She pointed to the display showing BA’s memoir and shared what a profound effect reading it had on her. She told the young woman raising these differences about leadership, “You have to check BA out.” The young woman responded seriously, “OK, I will.”
The Revolution Club members challenged the students to confront the stakes of the current moment by reading from BAsics and BA’s recent COVID piece. And to show the real potential of applying a scientific framework to objective reality, and what becomes possible with a revolution, we read the section from the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America on the oppression, and liberation, of women.
People appreciated hearing this vision, but there was still an argument: “that sounds great, but I'm sure a Black woman has probably written something like this before.” We interjected that actually no! This line, this understanding, this concrete plan, strategy and vision could not be found anywhere else but in this leadership—Bob Avakian—that, as the Declaration from the revcoms says, “There never has been a leader like this in this country and there is no other leader like this in the world now.”
I think we would characterize the evening as an opening. This was the first time most if not all of the attendees have had to confront the epistemological contradictions of their positions. It became even clearer to us in leading this discussion how this “woke lunacy” is misdirecting and stagnating people. We also learned more deeply that, as it says in the Declaration, we need to struggle hard with people and challenge them to walk through their understanding measured against the science BA is fighting for. We are excited to carry forward from this discussion—continuing this necessary debate and engagement.
At the end of the program, everyone there signed up to continue these discussions, and the woman who argued the hardest for identity politics wanted a copy of BAsics to get more into what BA is actually saying and fighting for.
Emergency Fund Drive to Support the Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour and The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show
Organizing the Break the Chains Contingents!
At the October 2 Marches for Abortion Rights.
Unleash the Fury of Women As A Mighty Force For Revolution!
Contribute and Be Part of Raising $15,00015000.00630.00
Download and print leaflet of this call for funds: PDF
Recognizing that this Texas abortion ban is a stop-everything-moment, the revcoms are providing urgently needed orientation, understanding and a call to act—in determined resistance against this fascist assault AND getting organized for an actual revolution to overthrow this whole system, in a rare moment when this is possible.
** The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show has been sounding the alarm about why this fascist assault is happening, exposing the larger dynamics it's a part of, the extreme dangers for women and all of society... and even more, the positive potential that can be wrenched out of this extreme situation now for revolution, for the emancipation of women as a part of the emancipation of all humanity. Bringing a diversity of voices about the stakes of this fight, along with a depth of analysis from revcom.us and the revolutionary leader and architect of the new communism, Bob Avakian—this show is speaking to this question like nothing else in the world right now! It needs to be supported and further projected.
** The National Revolution Tour, rooted in and spreading the Declaration and Call to Get Organized for a Real Revolution, is working with Revolution Clubs and others across the country to organize Break ALL the Chains Contingents at the October 2 marches for abortion rights. These contingents are calling for “all those who see the need for uncompromising resistance in the streets against these horrible laws AND who hunger for a whole new world” to come together and plant a determined revolutionary pole. Now is not a time for one-day symbolic protest. Contribute to the force bringing this urgent and necessary revolutionary message—to these marches and throughout society to build for these marches, and to build for revolution:
No Going Back—No Surrender! Abortion On Demand & Without Apology!
Forced Motherhood Is Female Enslavement!
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!
Funds are needed for:
** MASSIVE amounts of materials to distribute and spread literature, banners, signs to have a major impact with this revolutionary message, influencing how people broadly understand the stakes of this fight and what's needed
** production costs and promotion of The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show's coverage
** support for the volunteers on the National Revolution Tour who are dedicating themselves tirelessly to the work to organize forces now for a real revolution
Mobilize everyone you know to donate and help raise the funds to meet the $15,000 goal!
Take this call, along with flyers for the Break ALL the Chains contingents: Unleash the fury of women as a mighty force for revolution! on October 2 wherever people are gathered—farmers' markets, festivals, busy intersections.
Email it out widely—to professors, medical professionals, lawyers, pastors—and follow up with phone calls. Reach out to everyone who is fed up with the longstanding passivity on this question, who is agonizing about the future and needs to know about this revolutionary message, and how they can support this impacting society.
Take out big fundraising buckets and signs everywhere you go... starting now and in a major way, at the October 2 marches themselves.
Talk to friends about organizing yard sales, bake sales and other projects to raise funds.
Spread the word through social media and get everyone you know to tune in on
Episode 71 of The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less—Show
Refugees & Imperialism... Abortion Bans & Control Over Women... We Need REVOLUTION, NOTHING LESS!
As 12,000 Haitian refugees live in squalor at the U.S./Mexico border, and Biden resumes deportations, Andy Zee pulls the lens back and connects it all up to the larger refugee crisis in the world and what needs to be done. A clip from a speech by Bob Avakian goes deep into what IS the SYSTEM that's at the root of all the horrors we see in the world today: CAPITALISM-IMPERIALISM. Plus, as Texas bans abortion, forcing women to have children against their will, Sunsara Taylor takes a deep look at the ABORTION RIGHTS EMERGENCY, including an important interview with Slate.com writer Dahlia Lithwick. We INVITE YOU into ways to join in FIGHTING this fascist assault and GETTING ORGANIZED FOR REAL REVOLUTION NOW.
Our world is in crisis—and no one is going to solve this except us, the masses of people here and around the world. We have the science, the strategy, and the leadership to make revolution and emancipate humanity. What's needed is YOU!
For All Those Telling Us to Dig In For a Decades-Long, Gradual Struggle to Preserve a Woman’s Fundamental Right to Control Her Own Body
Question One: What kind of system is it where one party that rules over you passes a law that literally unleashes swarms of bounty hunters and snitches who can shut down abortion clinics for cash money reward—while the other party tells women to accept that your rights are gone, maybe your life is over, but get over it—it’s going to take decades to turn this around through elections?
Answer: One that poses a mortal threat to every woman of child-bearing age. And one that nobody should have to live in.
On September 3, the day after the Supreme Court let stand a fascist Texas law that effectively outlaws abortion, the editors of the New York Times—writing of this law, and of the likelihood that the Supreme Court will further gut and perhaps totally repudiate the Roe v. Wade decision that constitutionally guarantees the right to abortion—advised people to effectively give up hope that the right to abortion can be preserved.
Here’s the Times:
Any long-term success will mean fighting the same way anti-abortion campaigners have for decades—in the political realm, by winning elections at the state and federal levels and changing laws as a result…. It's a long and difficult road, but it’s the one all lasting reforms in a Democracy must take. [emphasis added by us]
Question: How many women is the New York Times willing to sacrifice for the decades that so-called lasting reform must take?
How many will die trying, throwing themselves down stairs or falling into the hands of quacks, back alleys or internet scams? What will happen to the majority of women who need an abortion but cannot afford a trip to another state? How many teenagers will find their first romantic experience turns into an unplanned pregnancy and dreams deferred for a lifetime? How many women who are raped or the victims of incest will be forced into motherhood against their will just as the rape was against her will? How many children will be shuffled through a broken and brutal foster care system, because of a Christian theocratic movement that was never about “babies”—and was always about controlling women?
Answer: Lives counted in decades worth—but that’s not even the half of it if a crime against half of humanity is legitimized as the way democracy works.
Last Question: What kind of system would even put a woman’s right to control her own reproduction—her own bodily autonomy—up for a vote?
And Final Answer: One that needs to be overthrown and replaced with a radically different one where a new state power gives backing and force to the struggle to carry all the way through to the emancipation of women as elemental to emancipating all humanity. With a Constitution that would from the outset ensure this right—as it is ensured in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, where it is clearly stated that:
[T]he New Socialist Republic in North America gives the highest priority not only to establishing and giving practical effect to full legal equality for women—and to basic rights and liberties that are essential for the emancipation of women, such as reproductive freedom, including the right to abortion as well as birth control—but also to the increasing, and increasingly unfettered, involvement of women, equally with men, in every sphere of society, and to propagating and popularizing the need for and importance of uprooting and overcoming all remaining expressions and manifestations of patriarchy and male supremacy, in the economic and social relations and in the realms of politics, ideology and culture, and to promote the objective of fully emancipating women and the pivotal role of the struggle for this emancipation in the overall transformation of this society and the world as a whole. (p. 76)
You can’t reform a capitalist system that has patriarchy built into it and is dependent on it for its basic functioning. YOU NEED A NEW STATE POWER IF YOU WANT WOMEN TO FINALLY BE FREE.
From Bob Avakian
Once Again on Why All Dictatorships Are Not Bad, and Why We Should Want, and Fight for, a Socialist Dictatorship
“Dictatorship” is generally considered a very bad thing. The very word “dictatorship” scares people. But, in fact, as I spoke to in the article Dictatorship And Communism—Facts And Foolishness: “not all dictatorships are bad.”5 It depends on the nature of the dictatorship: who is exercising dictatorship, with what methods, in whose interests and toward what goal. This, of course, is a very controversial statement. So, here I am going to bring out some more basic truth about this.
With a scientific communist understanding, the essence of dictatorship is not absolute rule by a single person, or a small group of people; dictatorship is the monopoly of political power, concentrated as a monopoly of “legitimate” violence, exercised by and in the interests of one ruling class or another.
Let’s dig further into what this means, and why it is so important to correctly understand this.
As explained in the Preamble to the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America,6 which I have authored, so long as society is divided into different classes (and other groups) with interests that are objectively antagonistic (where the interests of the one can only be achieved at the expense of the other), there will be a state. State here refers not to a part of this country like California, New York, or Illinois, but to the institutionalized power over society, embodied in the armed forces and police, the courts and prisons, the executive power and the government bureaucracy. This state will serve the interests of the class which holds the dominant position in society, fundamentally because of its dominant role in the economy, based on its ownership and control of the major means of production (land, factories and other production facilities, machinery and other technology). Such a state is in fact a dictatorship—the power to rule society, backed up and enforced by institutions of armed force.
A bourgeois dictatorship is what we have in this country: this dictatorship is exercised by, and in the interests of, the bourgeoisie: the capitalist-imperialist ruling class.
As also explained in the Preamble to the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America:
This is why in this country today—in this so-called “greatest of all democracies”—no matter what “rights” people seek to exercise, and no matter which politicians people vote for, nothing fundamental changes—horrific oppression and exploitation, and vicious state violence against masses of people continue. And wherever people pose a threat (or are seen as posing a threat) to the rule—the dictatorship—of the capitalist-imperialist class, the violent power of its dictatorship is brought down on them with a vengeance. One very clear and sharp example of this is the continuing murders of Black people, as well as Latinos and Native Americans, by police—an exercise of what is declared the “legitimate” armed force and violence of this system, for which the police are almost never punished, with this brutal violence repeatedly ruled “justifiable.”
What we need, in opposition to this, is a dictatorship that genuinely represents the interests of those who were exploited and oppressed under the capitalist-imperialist system, and the broad masses of people overall—in other words, the dictatorship of the proletariat—or another way to say this is: socialist state power.
The Preamble to the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America also spells out the essential ways in which the exercise of dictatorship in a genuine socialist society is radically different than the dictatorship of the capitalist-imperialist class, under which we are now forced to live. First of all, this socialist dictatorship is brought into being as the result of a revolutionary struggle by masses of people which defeats and overthrows the violent power of the oppressive and exploitative system—a revolutionary struggle whose goal is putting an end to oppression and exploitation. And with this socialist dictatorship there is a profound difference in how dictatorship is exercised, who is relied on in the exercise of this dictatorship, and most fundamentally the goal for which this dictatorship is aiming—the achievement of communism with the elimination of all divisions into exploiting and exploited classes in society, of all oppressive social relations (such as racial and gender oppression), and all the political institutions and processes that enforce this exploitation and oppression, along with the revolutionary transformation of all the ideas and the culture that are an expression of, and serve to reinforce, this exploitation and oppression.
In socialist society it is the masses of people who, through the socialist state and the overall governmental system representing their interests, have ownership and control of the means of production and exercise political power in society.
The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America further explains this about the fundamental nature and purpose of the ruling power in this socialist society:
the governing bodies and processes of this socialist state, at all levels, must be vehicles for the furtherance of the communist revolution; and, as a key dimension of this, they must provide the means for those who were exploited and oppressed in the old society—and were effectively locked out of the exercise of political power and the governance of society, as well as the spheres of intellectual endeavor and working with ideas overall—to increasingly take part in these spheres, with the aim of continually transforming society in the direction of communism. All this is given expression through the principles and provisions, and the institutions, structures and processes which are set forth and provided for in this Constitution.8
In this socialist society, the state power gives backing and force to the struggle to carry out this unprecedented radical transformation of society. So, for example, instead of violently suppressing those in society who are waging the fight against any remaining elements of white supremacy or male supremacy, the power of the socialist state will be wielded to give backing to such a struggle.
And, as set forth in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, there is, within this framework of the socialist transformation of society, the basis and the provision for the broadest expression of democracy, with the right to dissent even for those who oppose this socialist transformation, so long as this dissent does not involve violence (or an active conspiracy to commit violence) against the government of this socialist republic or its citizens and other residents.
Well, then, against whom is this socialist dictatorship exercised, if it is not exercised against, but in fact represents and supports, the masses of people and the struggle to transform society in their interests? It is exercised against the overthrown capitalist-imperialist ruling class and against any forces which attempt to violently overthrow the socialist state and bring back the dictatorship of the capitalist-imperialist system.
At the same time, along with this essential role in backing the revolutionary transformation of the society, and preventing forces within socialist society from carrying out a counter-revolution to overthrow socialism and restore capitalism, this socialist state, through its revolutionary armed forces and people’s militias, defends the country and the people from aggression and attack by any capitalist-imperialist or other oppressive reactionary states which might remain in the world at any given time and which would seek to destroy the socialist state and subject the masses of people once again to the rule (the dictatorship) of exploiters and oppressors.
As also emphasized in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, this socialist state has the responsibility and the basis to provide backing and concrete support and assistance to revolutionary struggles internationally, in line with the orientation of giving “fundamental priority to the advance of the revolutionary struggle, and the final goal of communism, throughout the world.”9
Finally, the fundamental purpose of the socialist dictatorship of the proletariat is
to get to the point where humanity is no longer divided into masters and slaves, where finally there is no need and no basis for dictatorship—no one with the interests and power to dictate to others, and no one in a position to be dictated over—which is precisely the point and the goal of communism.10
The truth is that, with the socialist dictatorship of the proletariat, it is possible to achieve this historic, emancipating goal—and it is impossible to achieve this without this dictatorship.
It is for this reason that we can say, without hesitation or apology: Not all dictatorship is bad—and in fact the dictatorship of the proletariat is very good—is, in fact, great—it is what is required, and is urgently needed, to put an end to all exploitation and oppression, and bring into being “a world without white supremacy and male supremacy—a world where no one is regarded as ‘alien’—a world without war, where people from all over the globe, with a beautiful flowering of diversity, act together for the common good and are truly caretakers of the earth.”11
2. The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, is also available at revcom.us. [back]
3. Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. [back]
4. Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. [back]
5. Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. [back]
6. Dictatorship And Communism—Facts And Foolishness. [back]
7. A statement from Bob Avakian, revolutionary leader, author and architect of the revolutionary new communism. This is also part of the collection of articles Bob Avakian: Writings in 2020—A Momentous Year, available at revcom.us. [back]
The International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners and Revolution Books in Harlem and Berkeley present
Heroism for Our Times
Free Iran's Political Prisoners NOW -
An Afternoon of Solidarity and Resistance
Saturday, September 25, 3 pm ET
In person at Revolution Books
437 Malcolm X Blvd @ 132nd, Harlem, NY10037
Mariam Claren – Daughter of Iranian political prisoner Nahid Taghavi (by Zoom)
Kave Milani – Burn the Cage/Free the Birds Movement, Europe (by Zoom)
Talk from former Iranian political prisoner
Special message from Ariel Dorfman, author, Death and the Maiden
Performance by Outernational
Raymond Lotta, Revolution Books and advocate for the new communism developed by Bob Avakian
Larry Everest, International Emergency Campaign, author Oil, Power, and Empire
Solidarity Statements /Film Clips / More
The Islamic Republic of Iran has responded to righteous mass rebellion and protest with a brutal wave of arrests, torture, and executions targeting human rights and women's activists, dissident intellectuals and artists, protestors and revolutionaries.
This vicious repression has been met with courageous resistance, including from within Iran’s dungeons, and a global movement to free Iran’s political prisoners. But the lives of hundreds now incarcerated remain in mortal danger.
Hear from global activists from the International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran's Political Prisoners who will discuss the latest developments in the regime’s brutal crackdown and the resistance, including the powerful full-page ad in the Summer issue of the New York Review of Books, endorsed by over 2,700 people including Cornel West, Noam Chomsky, Gloria Steinem, Ariel Dorfman, Jody Williams, Dan Ellsberg, Judith Butler and many other prominent voices. The September 25th program will discuss how to carry forward the worldwide struggle to free Iran’s political prisoners and its importance for humanity.
Stand in solidarity. Oppose U.S. threats and intervention
The governments of the U.S. and Iran act from their national interests. And, in this instance, we the people of the U.S. and Iran, along with the people of the world, have OUR shared interests, as part of getting to a better world: to unite to defend the political prisoners of Iran. In the U.S., we have a special responsibility to unite very broadly against this vile repression by the IRI, and to actively oppose any war moves by the U.S. government that would bring even more unbearable suffering to the people of Iran.
— From the International Emergency Appeal
Suggested donation for events $5-10 | Proof of vaccination required to attend inside. Outdoor audience will view event on a large screen.
Also view livestream at
Revolution Books, Berkeley (12 pm PDT)
2444 Durant Ave, Berkeley, CA
Show your solidarity by sending statements or videos that may be part of, or help build for this program.
Unleash The Fury Of Women As A Mighty Force For Revolution
At the October 2 Marches for Abortion Rights
Print out these posters of the slogans for the day so you can represent at your local October 2 march. Make extras to invite people to join you on the spot, and use posters to raise funds.
Banners! Or make your own and send us the images at getorganizedforrevolutiontour @gmail.com
The "Break The Chains" banner is laid out in a wider format so it can be hand held at the front of your contingent.
The "Abortion on Demand" banner is skinnier and wider to make it easier to put on poles for the back of your contingent.
Social media graphics and videos! Go to @TheRevcoms on Instagram/Twitter/Tiktok/Facebook for graphics and videos to share and spread the word! Make your own graphics and videos and tag us.
ON OCTOBER 2, MARCH IN THE BREAK THE CHAINS CONTINGENT:
UNLEASH THE FURY OF WOMEN AS A MIGHTY FORCE FOR REVOLUTION!
No Going back - No Surrender! Abortion On Demand & Without Apology!
Forced Motherhood Is Female Enslavement!
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!
On October 2, the Women’s March and other groups have called for powerful demonstrations all over the country in defense of abortion rights. These rights are under relentless attack—and since September 1 have been effectively taken away in Texas. This is the future that the fascist Republican Party and the courts they increasingly dominate are nailing down—a future that is not yet being resisted and opposed anywhere near firmly or defiantly enough. Everyone who cares about the emancipation of the half of humanity that is female should be at one of these marches on October 2 and make this a turning point in building relentless in-the-streets resistance.
The Revcoms are forming a contingent to march on that day...
►Why you should join and build the Break The Chains Contingent
You cannot break all the chains, except one. You cannot say you want to be free of exploitation and oppression, except you want to keep the oppression of women by men. You can't say you want to liberate humanity yet keep one half of the people enslaved to the other half. The oppression of women is completely bound up with the division of society into masters and slaves, exploiters and exploited, and the ending of all such conditions is impossible without the complete liberation of women. All this is why women have a tremendous role to play not only in making revolution but in making sure there is all-the-way revolution. The fury of women can and must be fully unleashed as a mighty force for proletarian revolution.
Bob Avakian, BAsics 3:22
Bob Avakian, "A world of rape and sexual assault"
Toni Redtree on the ABORTION RIGHTS EMERGENCY,
Episode 67 of The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—ShowRead these articles:
Read these articles:
The Right to Abortion: The New York Times Rationale for Surrender and Why There Can Be No Compromise—and No Going Backby Toni RedTree
For All Those Telling Us to Dig In For a Decades-Long, Gradual Struggle to Preserve a Woman’s Fundamental Right to Control Her Own BodyQuestions—And Answers by Toni RedTree
In the Face of the Greatest Assault on Abortion in Nearly 50 Years: Focusing Mainly on “Self-Managed Abortion” Is a Recipe for Catastropheby Sunsara Taylor
The Fascists Are Clearly Coming for Abortion, and Soonby Toni Redtree
So Why Is the Response of “the Movement” to Prepare for When It’s Gone?
The Right to Abortion: The New York Times Rationale for Surrender and Why There Can Be No Compromise—and No Going Backby Toni RedTree
In the Face of the Greatest Assault on Abortion in Nearly 50 Years: Focusing Mainly on “Self-Managed Abortion” Is a Recipe for Catastropheby Sunsara Taylor
The Fascists Are Clearly Coming for Abortion, and Soonby Toni Redtree
So Why Is the Response of “the Movement” to Prepare for When It’s Gone?
Toni Redtree on the ABORTION RIGHTS EMERGENCY, Episode 67 of The RNL—Revolution Nothing Less!—Show
►Join the Contingent
►How can I help spread the word about this?
2. Make a video to post on social media about why you're part of the Break The Chains Contingent and why others should be too. Tag us on social media @therevcoms.
4. Use these slogans to make banners or large signs:
- BREAK THE CHAINS: UNLEASH THE FURY OF WOMEN AS A MIGHTY FORCE FOR REVOLUTION!
- No Going back—No Surrender! Abortion on Demand & Without Apology!
- Forced Motherhood Is Female Enslavement!
- 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!
Take a picture and tag us on social media @therevcoms
Part 3: What IS “Critical Race Theory"? What does it get right, and where does it fall short?
The fight against the fascist suppression of historical truth, in education and beyond, will be a critical and ongoing struggle over the coming period. This battle raises political, legal, and epistemological questions of extreme importance. We will be covering it here at revcom.us and strongly encourage our readers to write in and share your experiences encountering this, research you’ve done on this, or any ideas you have on how to wage this fight. Email: email@example.com
As I wrote in Part 1 and Part 2: In recent months, Republican fascists have launched a nationwide assault on the right of students to learn the true history of this country, whipping their “base” into a frenzy to stop schools from teaching “critical race theory” (CRT)—a catch-all buzzword for any discussion of the actual history and reality of systemic racism against Black people and other people of color. In line with their flagrant disregard for the truth about elections, history, vaccines, and just about everything, most of the Republican fascists attacking CRT don’t even know or care what it is. Others consciously distort it and lie about it.
The truth is, the theoretical framework pioneered in the 1970s and ’80s by law professor Derrick Bell which eventually developed into critical race theory, was an insightful critique of how civil rights law was insufficient to address racial inequality and oppression. Here I am going to briefly sketch out the real problems CRT is addressing, the important truths it confronts about racial oppression in America, and at the same time why it is not scientific about the fundamental problem or the actual solution, and ultimately won’t be able to stand up to this fascist assault.
The Essential Problem That Derrick Bell Addressed
Bell analyzed how civil rights laws targeting overt Jim Crow racial discrimination failed to address the many ways racism and white supremacy manifest in this society, and how the law has continued to reinforce racial hierarchy even when it appears to be equal and “race neutral.”12 This is a profound truth, and something which is explored at great length in Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow. From the conscious policies of the ruling class like the “war on drugs” (which was a way to target and control Black people, while appearing not to), to the structure of the laws themselves (like the crack/cocaine sentencing disparity), to the unequal impact of the laws in a society divided into haves and have nots, to the selective enforcement of the laws by racist police, to the unequal access to a fair trial and juries who are conditioned by the media and culture to view Black people as criminals… the end result is a whole section of people locked up, and millions of lives destroyed.
Bell’s critique of the limitations of civil rights was a direct ideological challenge to “liberalism,” to the idea that the ending of overt legal discrimination was leading to a post-racial society, and the notion of a moral arc bending toward progress, and that racism was now just a matter of individual prejudiced people and isolated incidents. In fact, Bell pointed out, in many ways this framework of “colorblindness” has actually made things worse. It masks the ways in which law and institutions continue to perpetuate white supremacy in new forms, and ends up blaming Black people for their own oppression.
Racial Oppression CAN Be Ended, but Not Under This System
Pulling the lens back, Bell looked at the scope of U.S. history and how progress for Black people has always been limited, temporary, and repeatedly reversed—from the violent betrayal of Reconstruction to the vicious counterattacks on affirmative action in the late 1970s and ’80s (Bell did not live to see the all-out fascism we are seeing now from the Republicans and their rabid MAGA base). He looked at the persistent tendency of most white people to grab hold of the benefits they get from the system of white supremacy, rather than uniting with Black people in a common struggle. And he concluded that racial oppression is not an aberration, not a flaw that would be corrected if only America could be pushed to live up to its promise, but “an integral, permanent and indestructible component of this society.”
Yes, the history of this country is one of unrelenting horror for Black people, where hopes and dreams have been repeatedly dashed and victories snatched back with a vengeance—where most white people have been the active perpetrators, or passive spectators to this horror, most of the time.13 But within this horror there is the potential for something radically different, IF you take a scientific approach to analyzing the capitalist-imperialist system we are up against, and the possible pathways for revolutionary change that lie within it. The problem with Bell’s “realism” is that it’s a realism trapped within the narrow horizons of this system, that neither gets to taproots of this oppression, nor offers a real solution.
The essential reason civil rights have not brought about fundamental “progress” is because this capitalist-imperialist system is still in place. As Bob Avakian put it in his speech, Why We Need an Actual Revolution and How We Can Really Make Revolution:
Certain government concessions to the fight against injustice—for example, civil rights legislation; DACA, which granted temporary legal status to some immigrants brought here as children; court decisions establishing the right to abortion and gay marriage—were hard-fought victories, but the problem is that they are, and can only be, partial victories, dealing with only some aspects of oppression under this system, but not eliminating the oppression as a whole, or the source of this oppression—which is the system itself. And even where such partial victories are won, so long as this system remains in power, there will be powerful forces who will move to attack and undermine, and seek to reverse, even these partial gains.
For a full discussion of how white supremacy was poured into the foundation and social fabric of this country, how segregation and discrimination has been reinforced by conscious policy of the ruling class and by the basic functioning of the capitalist economy, and why really moving to overcome this would tear this country apart, read this and watch this.
While Derrick Bell and others in the field of Critical Race Theory point to the connection between white supremacy and capitalism, they do not take the next logical step: that you can't eliminate one without eliminating the other. They don’t dig deep enough into the roots of this oppression, and therefore they can only see how to ameliorate this oppression, but not end it.
Harmful Anti-scientific Currents Within Critical Race Theory
Within the broad category of what is now considered “critical race theory” there have emerged some very harmful approaches which lead people further away from a correct understanding of problem/solution and undercut the necessary search for the truth and the fight that must be waged, including against the fascist forces now attacking CRT. These approaches would be damaging at any time—but they are significantly worse at a time when the question of “race” that has been so central to American society will be resolved, to paraphrase Bob Avakian, either in a very reactionary and potentially genocidal way… OR, a revolutionary and emancipating way.
- The idea that people of color have a special grasp and authority to speak about issues of race and racism that others don’t have, including its root causes and solution.
- The idea that the way to challenge the dominant white supremacist “narrative” is with “counter-narratives” from people of color.
It’s one thing to recognize that people of color experience racism, that these experiences should be listened to, and that these experiences can be an important part of deepening the overall understanding of the effects of this evil and how to go to work on it. It is another thing entirely to think that simply being a person of color automatically gives you an understanding of the systemic cause and solution to racism, and that white people cannot arrive at this understanding. The absurdity of this theory is proven every day by people like Larry Elder and Candace Owens.
Racial oppression in America is systemic and objective. It is not just a collection of experiences. And it is not a matter of opinion. If the reality of racism gets reduced to a subjective narrative, how can that stand up to a narrative with more power behind it? It cannot. At a time when Republican fascist forces are aggressively moving to impose a white supremacist whitewash of historical truth, backed by law and the mob, we have to stand on and fight for the truth.
Stop the Attacks on Critical Race Theory!
On one level the fascists attacking CRT are going after a fictional version of it. On the other hand, the things these fascists want to ban from being taught are actually core tenets of CRT: the idea that racial oppression is foundational and integral to this country, not aberrational; the idea that racism is institutional, and not just a matter of a few racist white people; the necessity for a race-conscious approach, rather than a “colorblind” approach, to overcoming this oppression. All of this is anathema to these fascists and an obstacle to the “patriotic” lies they want to brainwash people with, and the false-victimhood they want to claim while they perpetrate even worse oppression and atrocities against people of color.
Even with its limitations and anti-scientific currents, CRT offers important insights into the reality of racial oppression, and as such it is a valid undertaking and should be taught. It should certainly NOT be demonized and banned.
Stay tuned for Part 4: What Is Needed to Defeat the Fascist Offensive In Education, as Part of Ending Racial Oppression and Emancipating Humanity
1. The question Derrick Bell began to confront in the 1970s and 1980s was why, after all the civil rights legislation of the 1950s and 1960s, had the situation of Black people not fundamentally changed. For example, in 1954 the Supreme Court struck down legally mandated school segregation in Brown vs. Board of Education. But rather than leading to full integration on the basis of full equality, this ruling and other similar rulings, ultimately led to discrimination and segregation in new forms. First of all, many white families fled to the suburbs or to private schools rather than integrate with Black people, leaving schools practically as segregated as they had been before, if not more. Second, many Black students had to be bused great distances to go to predominantly white schools, placing a major burden on them. Third, integrated schools typically developed tracking systems, where more privileged white students were funneled into college-bound advanced placement programs, effectively creating two schools in one. [back]
2. With very notable exceptions in the 1960s, when millions of people in the U.S., including millions of white people inspired by the Black liberation struggle and driven by outrage at the genocidal imperialist war against Vietnam, broke with white supremacy and the “patriotic” myths they had been taught and turned toward revolution for an all-too-brief period. And as the Declaration and Call from the Revcoms says, "We have seen the potential for revolution powerfully demonstrated just last summer when millions of people, of all races and genders, all over this country, and all around the world, rose up together against racist oppression and police murder." [back]
An Appreciation of Jacobins Yesterday, Jacobins Today: A Brief Summation by Bob Avakian
by Nayi Duniya
The article Jacobins Yesterday, Jacobins Today: A Brief Summation, by Bob Avakian, is really—really—good! In particular, this opening is a remarkable—and scientifically correct—concentration of the basic outlook, position and program of those calling themselves Jacobins today, in contrast to the original Jacobins of the French Revolution:
The Jacobins at the end of the 18th century in France were bourgeois-democratic revolutionaries who were fundamentally an expression of the rising system of capitalism. Despite any “socialist” pretensions, people calling themselves Jacobins today are bourgeois-democratic reformists and anti-revolutionaries whose effect is to contribute to preserving the outmoded system of capitalism-imperialism, with all the horrors bound up with and enforced by this system. [bolded emphasis ours]
For these “Jacobins Today,” this is especially concentrated in the publication and website Jacobin, its associated theoretical journal Catalyst, and the work of its founding editor and publisher Bhaskar Sunkara. Here, I want to briefly follow up on and highlight one consequence of what Bob Avakian describes above: a profound and ugly imperialist-chauvinism that pervades and governs their program. They take as a given, and reinforce the parasitism of U.S. society—sitting as it does atop the capitalist-imperialist food-chain and system. Here are some examples that briefly illustrate this:
* In their entire corpus of work, the problem is repeatedly described as capitalism. Sounds radical—but there is virtually no mention or description of the system as capitalism-imperialism, with its supply chains of sweatshop and child labor, historical and ongoing plunder of resources of the global South, and wars of conquest and domination.
This is no small omission or minor blind-spot. It erases the decisive fact that capitalism has evolved into a global system of horrendous exploitation. And a marked and defining feature of capitalism-imperialism is the lopsidedness and deep divide between the imperialist countries (the U.S., Western Europe, Japan, and increasingly today, China14), on the one hand; and the oppressed nations of the Third World, on the other, with U.S. imperialism the dominant power.
By obscuring this reality, Jacobin reinforces imperialist chauvinism, a view that proceeds from what benefits America and Americans15—when the question that must be addressed is how America, the greatest oppressor in the world, can be put in the dustbin of history.
* A second example. In a major article on Bernie Sanders’ candidacy and movement, Sunkara writes:
Rather than talking about an entire nation struggling together to restore the U.S. economy and shared prosperity, and rather than seeking to negotiate a better settlement with business leaders, Sanders’s movement is about creating a “political revolution” to get what is rightfully ours from “millionaires and billionaires.” 16
“What is rightfully ours"? Really! In Sunkara’s view, the problem is how to “rightfully” share the U.S.’s parasitic yield from its conquests, dominations, and grinding exploitation, rather than letting it be restricted to the “millionaires and billionaires,” NOT how to end this parasitic oppression as part of emancipating humanity. This brings to mind Bob Dylan’s lyrics from “The Narrow Way”:
We looted and we plundered on distant shores
Why is my share not equal to yours?
Sunkara in outlining his vision of the ideal society states: “…that's [Swedish social democracy in the '70s-'80s] the best model.” 17 Really? Sweden has sat at the imperialist “banquet table” as junior partner, benefiting from its spoils. Sunkara wants to scale up Swedish social democracy18 to U.S. proportions... to U.S. levels of parasitism.
Avakian concludes his article "Jacobins Yesterday, Jacobins Today: A Brief Summation" with the following insight, that “regardless of any 'socialist' pretensions, the Jacobins of today”
… do not represent a fundamental break with what is represented by and enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, with all the horrendous exploitation, oppression, and destruction this has institutionalized and enabled, right down to today, in this country and throughout the world. [bolded emphasis ours]
The imperial-chauvinist outlook and program of Jacobin is a clear manifestation and consequence of this.
1. Genuine socialism was reversed in China, and capitalism restored, in 1976 with the death of Mao. Since the eighties, with Western imperialist investment, China’s sweatshops have been the site of super-exploited labor, manufacturing goods from sneakers to iPhones. With increasing capital accumulation in the world imperialist framework, China is a new and rising global imperialist power, increasingly in contention with the U.S. [back]
2. While Jacobin features a wide variety of guest contributors, what is published is consistent with and promotes the Editors’ overall viewpoint and program. Even while there is some exposure of the effects of global warming and the excesses of U.S. imperialist wars on the people of the world, when it comes to solutions, or what is to be done, the viewpoint proceeds from the people of the U.S. and what benefits them and their interests, not the interests of humanity and its emancipation. For example:
On global warming, after and despite having done exposure on its effects globally, Kate Aronoff states:
...the Green New Deal... bakes in a virtuous cycle in which climate policy has to win… democratic majorities, and the way to do that is to make it clear that climate policy will make your life better. [emphasis ours; from Capitalism Can’t Fix the Climate Crisis, An Interview With Kate Aronoff, 08.25.2021, Jacobinmag.com; Retrieved Sept. 19, 2021]
This is a naked appeal to imperialist economic-social privilege in the homeland... never mind the existential horror confronting billions, especially in the Third World.
On U.S. wars, Jason Brownlee, after and despite detailing the horrors of these wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan, concludes:
…the ultimate question for Biden and his personnel is: Which side are you on? The president has pledged a “foreign policy for the middle class.” If he and his chief advisers do not end the proxy wars and drone strikes around West Asia, they will be perpetuating a foreign policy that serves the superrich while pummeling some of the world’s most impoverished countries. [emphasis ours; from "Shadow Wars and Corporate Welfare," Catalyst, Vol. 4 No. 4, Winter 2021, by Jason Brownlee, Jacobinmag.com; Retrieved Sept. 19, 2021]
Biden’s Democratic Party is a machine of massive war crimes, presiding over some 750 military bases in some 80 countries, with the genocidal U.S. military called forth by the strategic need to keep the U.S. atop and in contention with other imperialist powers, not just misbegotten foreign policy. In chauvinistically inverting this reality, the question posed of “which side are you on?” is not between U.S. “middle-class” and “superrich” but between U.S. imperialism and the billions it oppresses around the planet, including within the U.S. [back]
3. "The Exercise of Power," by Bhaskar Sunkara, 02.25.2019, Jacobinmag.com; Retrieved Sept. 19, 2021 [back]
4. "The Social Democratic Road to Socialism, An Interview with Bhaskar Sunkara", June 3, 2019, Europenow Daily, europenowjournal.org; Retrieved Sept. 19, 2021; While there is lauding of Swedish social democracy and its “massive welfare state,” and “its coherent industrial policy [that turned] Sweden into a wealthy, high-wage country,” there is no mention of the overall Western imperialist workings which facilitated this, and within which this was achieved. [back]
5. Social democracy is a program of advocating “changes within the capitalist system, to be achieved by working through the established political process.... when it is made somewhat more concrete it focuses on things like increased taxation of the super-rich and corporations to finance government programs to pay for universal health care, college tuition, and the creation of renewable energy.” For more on this, on why social democracy in an imperialist country is ultimately and fundamentally “pro-imperialism” and the limitations of Bernie Sanders, see DAVID BROOKS—THE NOT SO GREAT PRETENDER—AND THE PROFOUND DIFFERENCES BETWEEN TRUMP, SANDERS AND ACTUAL SOCIALISM, by Bob Avakian, March 2, 2020. [back]
September was a tipping point in the fight over whether women will be able to control their own bodies and reproduction. The Texas abortion ban tore up 50 years of Constitutional precedent, effectively nullifying the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade which legalized abortion. Even more ominously, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case involving a 15-week abortion ban out of Mississippi, a case that could overturn—or radically undercut—Roe v. Wade outright.
This cannot be allowed to stand. It needs to be met with a massive response by people refusing to let this go down. People need to hit the streets and be doing all they can to have the October 2 march being called by the Women’s March be enormous, uncompromising and militant—and not just a symbolic one-day act where everyone goes back to normal the day after—because normal is over!
The shock of this, the deliberate cruelty of it, the theocratic intentions of it which has people rightly comparing this to the Taliban, is raising existential questions.
What are women who are about to lose reproductive freedom to do? What should everybody who cares about a society where there is any justice do?
Deadly Advice from the New York Times and Too Many Pro-choice Voices
According to the New York Times, we should accept that abortion rights are gone and prepare for the long patient slog of winning elections to eventually reverse this.
The editorial board for the Times put this in a nutshell:
For the majority of Americans who support a woman’s right to comprehensive reproductive health, the Supreme Court is now an adversary. Any long-term success will mean fighting the same way anti-abortion campaigners have for decades—in the political realm, by winning elections at the state and federal levels and changing laws as a result. Unlike justices, elected leaders can be voted out if they don’t listen to their constituents. It is a long and difficult road, but it’s the one all lasting reforms in a democracy must take.
Kathryn Kolbert, reproductive rights attorney and co-author of Controlling Women: What We Must Do Now To Save Reproductive Freedom, argued the same in an NPR interview on September 3:
The federal courts in particular are not our friends. And we need to return to the legislative process to restore the rights that will be taken away probably in the Mississippi case that will be heard sometime this fall.
The interviewer challenged her, posing: “But abortion rights supporters have lost ground in state legislatures, which is what led to laws like the one in Texas and the one in Mississippi. It seems like if that's your strategy, things are going in the opposite direction of where you would like to see them go.”
Exactly. The anti-abortion movement had a 40-year strategy. We need to have a long-term one as well.
How Many Women Are You Willing to Sacrifice?
40 years! First, telling people they should resign themselves to this—as if this is a legitimate, if undesirable, part of the process—is an act of capitulation that has to be measured in its cost to the lives of people here and around the world. This cost began mounting the day after the Texas law went into effect when a woman lucky enough to have a sonogram showing she was only five weeks pregnant tested positive for COVID and was turned away. Where clinic staff had to hold back their own tears as a woman about to go to jail with three kids at home who did not want to carry another pregnancy to term dropped to her knees begging them for help.
What will be the cost for the entire half of humanity that is born female and to all LGBTQ people who are now in the crosshairs of a fanatical Christian fundamentalist war that aims to outlaw birth control and lock in discrimination against LGBTQ people? For all who oppose the fascist nightmare that this assault on abortion is a linchpin of—with its open white supremacy, science-denial, accelerated climate destruction, and the hatred being stoked against immigrants—we do not have 40 years to wait!
This approach of leaving it to the long process of elections, and conceding ground to the anti-abortion movement time and again to “get elected” has tied the hands of the reproductive rights movement for decades. It has paved the way to the very dangerous place we stand now. To continue the same thing is the textbook definition of insanity.
Not How These Rights Were Won, Not What Is Driving This Attack
Second, the New York Times's insistence that the “long and difficult road” of winning elections is the “one all lasting reforms in a Democracy must take” is fundamentally wrong. This flies in the face of demonstrable history.
The rights now being taken away were concessions made to the great social upheavals of the 1960s. They were not a result of work over decades to elect legislators, but of a generation fighting outside the confines of the system and increasingly against it—students burning draft cards and willing to go to jail for draft evasion, urban uprisings and university shutdowns, women taking over the suites of major magazines until they were hired as journalists, not resigned to clerical work. These rights were the result of upheaval creating the kind of multi-front political crisis that had the ruling class worried their system was losing its international standing as “the greatest Democracy in the world” and its legitimacy at home.
In reaction to these concessions, and accelerated by the globalization of capitalist exploitation that has resulted in changes in the economy and social composition of the country,19 a fascist movement has been built up over decades led by very powerful sections of the ruling class who are intent on changing the form of rule to an undisguised dictatorship and naked brutality. They hate and want to reverse abortion rights because of what it has opened up in terms of women's ability to participate fully in society... and because opposition to abortion has long been a gateway to a broader program to violently reverse all the social gains since the 1960s.
As the revolutionary leader Bob Avakian has written in a recent article, THIS IS A RARE TIME WHEN REVOLUTION BECOMES POSSIBLE – WHY THAT IS SO, AND HOW TO SEIZE ON THIS RARE OPPORTUNITY, which everyone trying to figure out why this is happening should read:
[A] section of the ruling capitalist class, represented by the Republican Party, has all along resisted even these partial concessions to the fight against oppression, and has become convinced that these changes have now gone too far, that they threaten to destroy what has held this country together and enabled it to dominate the world.
The Fascists Are Blowing Up the Institutions the Times Wants You to Rely On
Third, the New York Times's strategy is a losing one that will completely fail to stop the slide towards a nonfiction Gilead.20 But, persisting in this losing approach now—when the Republicans have purged their ranks, hardened and become what is now a fascist party—is a fast track to catastrophe!
While the New York Times and Biden are playing by the rules and telling people they have 40 years to slowly bend the arc of history towards justice, the fascist GOP is tearing up the rules and ripping the country apart. Trampling over people’s rights and any pretense of “democracy for all,” this fascist party is openly telling you that if they lose the next election they will not fail at having Republican legislators decide the election instead. Even this Texas ban is an example of this—open defiance of the rule of law.
Those who have ruled over us, with their Democratic and Republican parties, are in bitter conflict over how to hold this country and their capitalist system together. This conflict has not been put to bed by Biden’s election or his futile attempts to “unify the country.” It’s intensifying.
As Bob Avakian, confronting the actual reality of this, has analyzed:
The Republicans have certain significant advantages over the Democrats in this conflict.
The Democrats are committed to “playing by the rules” and “relying on the norms” of “democratic” capitalist dictatorship, while the Republicans are moving to tear up those norms and rule through an open, undisguised capitalist dictatorship.
The peculiar nature of this country—with its history of genocide, slavery, and continuing white supremacy, and repeated “compromises” that have given disproportionate power (power greater than what is represented by their populations) to southern states of the former Confederacy, and other states with significant rural populations of “conservative-leaning” people—this is another advantage that the fascist Republicans have.
If this battle remains on the terms of this system, not only will there be horrific consequences overall, but this could very likely lead to a triumph for the Republican fascists, which would accentuate and accelerate the looming disaster, for humanity as a whole.
Only a Real Revolution Can Fundamentally Resolve This
The hard but liberating truth is that under this system, elections and the “proper” institutions you are supposed to exert your political will through are built to thwart any fundamental change. These institutions serve the system of capitalism imperialism. Because this system depends on exploitation and inequalities, its institutions are NOT bringing and CAN NOT bring real or lasting justice. And the New York Times’ honeyed words about electing representatives who will “listen to their constituents” as the real road to lasting change is bullshit.
But the full emancipation of women is possible through a real revolution—overthrowing this system and replacing it with a radically new system and new institutions.
So, what should people do now, when the Supreme Court is controlled by theocratic fascists?
Not going back will require fighting outside the terms of this system as is laid out by the editorial board of the New York Times. It will take refusing counsel to lay your rights down. Even more than that, it will take heroism, sacrifice and daring based on not just what is right but is actually possible.
Unjust laws should not be accepted but defied and fought. We should take inspiration not from the those who have kept us passive, demobilized and blinded, but from the literally millions of women all over the world who have taken to the streets from Poland and India to Latin America against femicide and rape and attempts to take away birth control and abortion. Ask yourself why, just as we are looking at the reality that women could lose the right to abortion in the U.S., women in Mexico and Argentina who have been unrelenting in the streets and taking on the major institutions ruling society are winning advances in these rights.
At the same time, and urgently, we must work towards a real revolution. A revolution possible now, even in a powerful country like this, because of the unprecedented extremity of the circumstances we now confront where those who rule this country can no longer do so in the way things have been held together under the rule of a more or less united capitalist class. So to all the sisters and brothers who must now rise in relentless struggle—as you do—you need to seriously look into why a revolution is needed, what this revolution involves, and what kind of society it is aiming for and get actively organized into the revolution that is needed to move humanity to a far better world.
1. There have been profound changes in the situation and social position of large numbers of women, both within this country and internationally, that are analyzed in New Year’s Statement from Bob Avakian: A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity, January, 2021. The volatile implication of these changes were pointed to in a statement by Avakian 30 years ago. The full assessment of this in 2021 is included in the New Year’s statement under point 3:
With these economic changes have come significant changes in attitudes and expectations—and very significant strains not only on the fabric of the family but of social relations more broadly.... The whole question of the position and role of women in society is more and more acutely posing itself in today’s extreme circumstances—this is a powderkeg in the U.S. today. It is not conceivable that all this will find any resolution other than in the most radical terms and through extremely violent means. The question yet to be determined is: will it be a radical reactionary or a radical revolutionary resolution, will it mean the reinforcing of the chains of enslavement or the shattering of the most decisive links in those chains and the opening up of the possibility of realizing the complete elimination of all forms of such enslavement.
2. In the novel The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood and the TV series based on it, the "Republic of Gilead" is Christian fascist society in which biblical law and patriarchal values—as updated and interpreted by the new rulers—are increasingly imposed. [back]
The Revolution Club is organizing now for an actual revolution in a rare time when revolution is possible. This system of capitalism-imperialism can't be reformed, it must be overthrown! Read the Declaration and Call from the revcoms to Get Organized Now for a Real Revolution.
Find out about the Revolution Club. Dig into why capitalism and patriarchy are completely bound together, and why you can't end one without ending the other. Talk with others about why the Republicans are moving to lock in a fascist future... why the Democrats have no answer... and why this is a rare time when a real revolution becomes possible.
Make plans for October 2, and the Break the Chains Contingent: Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution!
Locations for September 26 Revolution Club Mass Meetings:
Revolution Club Organizing Center Parking Lot
2716 S. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, California
Washington Square Park
East Side of Arch, Manhattan, New York
Revolution Club Organizing Center
1857 E 71st Street, Chicago, Illinois
S.F. Bay Area
2444 Durant Ave., Berkeley, California
Editors’ Note—The situation with tens of thousands of Haitian immigrants trapped at the U.S. border erupted suddenly this week and has been escalating by the hour throughout the week. Revcom.us will continue to monitor and report on this situation as it develops.
As of Friday, September 17, about 12,000 migrants remain forced into a makeshift encampment along the U.S.—Mexico border. They are packed under a bridge that crosses the Rio Grande and connects Del Rio, Texas, and Ciudad Acuña, in the Mexican state of Coahuila. The migrants are mainly Haitians seeking asylum in the U.S., but include people from several countries in South America. Many of the Haitians are reported to have been living in different South American countries for several years before they set off on their perilous journey. They are not allowed to leave the squalid border encampment until they have been “processed” by U.S. immigration authorities.
Entire families, including pregnant women, infants and young children, are suffering in temperatures that reach 100 degrees. USA Today reported that “Some migrants built cave-like shelters within the reeds along the river ... Trash piles were 10 feet wide and at least two women have given birth, including one who tested positive for COVID-19 after being taken to a hospital...”.
They have no running water, and only a few portable toilets to serve the entire encampment. They are compelled to wade back and forth across the Rio Grande into Mexico to try to buy food for themselves and their families, since federal and state authorities have turned the surrounding area into a virtual police state. A 41-year-old Black man from Cuba said that he crossed the treacherous wilderness of Panama’s Darien jungle to get to the U.S., and now needed to cross back into Mexico to receive money wired by his family in the U.S. He said, “Without money, you are nothing here”.
A 23-year-old Haitian man told a reporter from the Houston Chronicle that, along with his partner and their six-month and four-year old children, he had traveled thousands of miles by bus, taxi, and foot across South and Central America, trying to reach a cousin in New Jersey. “We went through the jungle. We walked about four days on foot from Colombia to Panama.” He said they had passed bodies of people who had died along their trek.
Bruno Lozano, Del Rio’s mayor, told reporters that “You can feel the desperation ... of these individuals. They're getting aggressive, rightfully so, they've been in the heat day after day and it's something that — it's very challenging to describe — but it is extremely chaotic. ... They're angry. There's people having babies down there. There's people collapsing out of the heat. There's babies in diapers. They haven't bathed".
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has barely provided the most minimal food, water, shelter and means for basic hygiene. Starving, tormented people, including children, are being forced to live penned up, in squalor and filth. CBP even claimed that it is keeping people under the bridge to “prevent injuries from heat-related illness”! It has provided only “20 portable toilets”, and some water and towels—for 12,000+ people. Over the past week the number of migrants grew daily. Tiffany Burrow, the Val Verde Humanitarian Border Coalition’s operations director, told the New York Times, “The city under the bridge could become bigger than Del Rio,”—a city of over 35,000 people.
Maximizing Deportation, Pressuring Mexico, Turning the Screws of Repression
The U.S. response to this crisis has been sadistic, cold-hearted inhumanity. Joe Biden entered the presidency in January claiming he would immediately end Trump’s “cruel” immigration policies. That was then. Now the U.S. under Biden is moving quickly and violently to expel many of these migrants who have reached the U.S., and to pressure Mexico into aggressively preventing more from arriving.
On September 17 ABC News reported that “The Biden administration plans the widescale expulsion of Haitian migrants from a small Texas border city (Del Rio) by putting them on flights to Haiti starting (September 19)”. The Washington Post reported that “Biden officials want to maximize deportations to break the momentum of the massive influx into the encampment in Del Rio, Tex., ...”
It is not now clear how many of the desperate people arriving in Del Rio will be allowed into the U.S. to continue their appeals, and how many will be sent back to Haiti, nor what the criteria for determining that will be. If people with Haitian citizenship are not allowed into the U.S., they will also be very unlikely to be allowed into Mexico or other countries where they may have been living, and will be returned to Haiti.
On Friday, September 17, the Los Angeles Times reported that “tens of thousands” of Haitians trying to reach the U.S. have been trapped in the southern Mexican city of Tapachula by Mexican armed forces, as a “result of U.S. pressure on Mexico to keep migrants from reaching the United States”. Jessica Bolter of the Migrant Policy Institute told a reporter that “Even though the Biden administration may be doing it more quietly, they are certainly putting as much pressure on Mexico as was put on Mexico in the last administration. They are still relying on Mexico to prevent people from getting to the U.S.-Mexico border.”
Meanwhile, Texas governor Greg Abbott, a Republi-fascist, ordered the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Texas National Guard to “... shut down six points of entry [in Del Rio] along the southern border to stop these caravans from overrunning our state". Abbott backed down from that order, but said the DPS and National Guard would “assist” federal forces in “closing the Del Rio Port of Entry”. The state of Texas has also authorized its police agencies to enforce criminal law against migrants along the border, including arresting people for “criminal trespassing” for their presence within the U.S. In the first month of its application, beginning in late July, almost 6,000 people were arrested for criminal trespassing, and a state prison dedicated exclusively to that was maxed out—so Abbott ordered another. And on September 17, Abbott signed a bill that will nearly triple the amount the state spends on “border defense” (meaning—more prisons, walls, police, and National Guard at the border).
Wake the Hell Up!
Crimes against humanity, on a massive scale, are happening right now, right here. Anyone who thought abominations like these would stop with Trump out of office needs to wake the hell up. The horrific oppression facing all immigrants and all those arrested at the border is deeply embedded into the system of global plunder and exploitation called capitalism-imperialism, a system that routinely feasts upon and destroys the lives of millions, and enforces with murderous brutality, regardless of who the political leadership of the system is.
These crimes are being orchestrated and carried out by an administration that promised to carry out a “fair and humane” policy toward immigrants. Even more bloodthirsty fascists in the Republican Party demand much more violence and repression to carry out and enforce the interests of “making America great”.
Both of them have no real answers other than carrying out massive and escalating repression.
Both of them represent the interests of the capitalist-imperialist system that feasts upon and destroys the lives of billions of people, worldwide.
These atrocities must be strenuously condemned and opposed. More fundamentally, as the recent document by Bob Avakian, THIS IS A RARE TIME WHEN REVOLUTION BECOMES POSSIBLE—WHY THAT IS SO, AND HOW TO SEIZE ON THIS RARE OPPORTUNITY, puts it:
The relations of exploitation and oppression that are built into this system are enforced through its institutions of official power and violence—the Congress and the presidency, the courts, and especially the police and the military.
Only a revolution—a real revolution, to ultimately defeat and dismantle these institutions of official violence and power, and bring into being a radically different economic and political system, with the goal of eliminating exploitation and oppression—only this revolution can deal with all this in a way that is truly in the interests of the masses of people and all of humanity.
For Background on Haiti
There are deep roots to the suffering of the people in Haiti and the intolerable situation they find themselves in today. These roots are not a mystery, nor are they the fault of the Haitian people—in fact, their source is the system of capitalism-imperialism and, especially, U.S. imperialism. To get a sense of the character, history and source of this horrific and needless suffering, read these articles elsewhere on this site:
• “Sean Penn, COVID-19 and Mass Murders” by Bob Avakian