Posts by issue number/Posteos por número de la edición

 

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

  • Welcome to the Revolution, October 25, 2021—A Guide to What’s New This Week
  • “WORKERS’ DEMOCRATIC CONTROL”—A DAMAGING DELUSION: IMPOSSIBLE UNDER CAPITALISM, DESTRUCTIVE UNDER SOCIALISM We Need a Revolutionary Transformation of Society, and the World— Not a Bourgeois-Democratic Continuation, or Restoration, of Capitalism
  • Glasgow Climate Conference Reckoning The Governments, the People, the Planet... In This Dire Situation, Revolution Is Needed...and Possible —An Emergency Correspondence from Raymond Lotta
  • A Living, Not a Scholastic, Understanding
  • A New State Power—How Cool Is That?
  • This Friday the Rulers of the World Will Begin a Massive Flood of Lies About How to Deal with Terrible State Of Our Planet… Be Part of Spreading and Debating the TRUTH
  • Longtime War Criminal and Misleader of Black People Dies

    TWO MAJOR TRUTHS ABOUT COLIN POWELL… AND TWO IMPORTANT QUESTIONS FOR PEOPLE WHO HONORED HIM IN HIS DEATH
  • Colin Powell: Dossier of a World Class War Criminal
  • Supreme Court Again Refuses to Block the Texas Abortion Ban, Schedules Hearing on November 1 to Consider Whether to Allow Legal Challenges to the Ban
  • The GOP Is Now Solidly United Behind—and Under the Leadership of—the Metastasizing Hard Core of Neo-Nazi Fascists
  • Joe Veale’s Tribute to Former Black Panther Party Member Terry Cotton
  • Cheers to San Francisco’s Riordan High School Students for Walking Out During Anti-abortion Assembly
  • Torture and Death in NYC Jails
  • Flyer for Promoting BA's Works
  • ARTICLE:

    Welcome to the Revolution, October 25, 2021—A Guide to What’s New This Week

    Welcome to this issue of the REVOLUTION website—the place where you can learn about and get into the pathbreaking work of the revolutionary leader and author of the new communism Bob Avakian (BA)… where you can find out about key developments across the globe and how they fit into the revolution we need… and where you can learn from insights, experience and plans in building from comrades in the movement to get organized NOW for an actual revolution. 

    Our lead article this week is an important and substantial new piece from Bob Avakian, “‘WORKERS’ DEMOCRATIC CONTROL’—A DAMAGING DELUSION: IMPOSSIBLE  UNDER CAPITALISM, DESTRUCTIVE UNDER SOCIALISM.” This article is another in a series of penetrating critiques of various schemes that all stop short of and lead away from what humanity actually needs: a revolution to break the violent stranglehold of the capitalist-imperialist class and their dictatorship over society and the eight billion humans on the planet and to bring in a whole new socialist state power representing the interests of all humanity, and moving toward the abolition of all class distinctions, all the exploitative production relations which give rise to those classes, all the social relations (patriarchy, the oppression of whole peoples, and the rest), and all the backward, putrid ideas and values that flow out of, correspond to, and reinforce a society based on exploitation. Read this article, get into it, and then go here for others in this current series. And when you’re done, check out these responses (here and here) from members of the National Get Organized For An ACTUAL Revolution Tour to one of the earlier articles in this series, “Why The World Is So Messed Up, and What Can Be Done to Radically Change This—A Basic Scientific Understanding.”

    Articles like these are particularly important now—when the possibility of revolution is posed in a way that it is not in normal times. To find out why this is so, and what to do about it, go to A Declaration, A Call To Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution and to This Is A Rare Time When Revolution Becomes Possible—Why That Is So, And How To Seize On This Rare Opportunity, by Bob Avakian. And if you’ve read these before, take the time to reground yourself in the analysis and framework of these pieces before you take in the rest of the issue.

    From the Revcoms: A Declaration, A Call to Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution

     

    THIS IS A RARE TIME WHEN REVOLUTION BECOMES POSSIBLE— by Bob Avakian

     

    Nowhere is the violent imperialist stranglehold on the world referred to above as urgently and cryingly evident as the deteriorating situation around the environment and what that has called forward already in the scenes of refugees around the planet desperately fleeing increasingly unlivable countries to risk all for a chance at survival. In the six years since the Paris conference of 2015—the last major time before now in their annual gatherings that the world’s ruling authorities convened to “do something” about the environment—the destruction and suffering caused by global warming has actually gotten far worse. Now these rulers are meeting again, beginning Friday in Glasgow, Scotland. Go here in this issue to get what you need to learn about why the planet is burning, what to expect—and not expect—from this meeting, what the solution to this is, and how to act this week as the world’s eyes turn to this summit. 

    Last week, Colin Powell—the noted war criminal and “Black-face-in-high-place” for the powers that be—died. In almost all the commemorations from all corners, be they wholeheartedly celebratory or tepidly critical in some cases, one thing was missing: the unvarnished truth about this monster. Go here to get that truth.

    Also in this issue is coverage by Sunsara Taylor of the latest in the struggle against the savage assaults on the right to abortion, as well as an article that brings together the different streams of attack that show the further hardening of the fascist movement—far from being cowed or divided by their violent but failed coup attempt on January 6, they have taken the offensive.

    Finally, some special news: this week we are posting the extremely important—and powerful—piece by Raymond Lotta, “The ‘Industrialization’ of Sexual Exploitation, Imperialist Globalization, and the Descent into Hell,” as a pamphlet. We urge readers to print this off, study it, get it around, and discuss it. 

    Also in this issue is a tribute from Joe Veale to a former Black Panther comrade and supporter of the Revolution, exposure of deaths and horrific conditions at Rikers Island and other NYC jails, and a report on a walkout of students at a Catholic high school—against an anti-abortion assembly!

    Stay tuned, and come back periodically for postings during the week. And make sure to watch—and get others to watch—The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show on YouTube, every Thursday at 5 pm Pacific time, 8 pm Eastern time.

  • ARTICLE:

    “WORKERS’ DEMOCRATIC CONTROL”—A DAMAGING DELUSION:

    IMPOSSIBLE UNDER CAPITALISM, DESTRUCTIVE UNDER SOCIALISM

    We Need a Revolutionary Transformation of Society, and the World—

    Not a Bourgeois-Democratic Continuation, or Restoration, of Capitalism

    Among some “democratic socialists”—whose program is not really aimed at bringing about socialism, but represents an illusory attempt to make capitalism “more democratic” and less unequal—there is the notion of “workers’ democratic control” of the economy, and in particular the places where they work. (A similar notion is also put forward by some anarchists and other “leftists.”) As the title of this article indicates, this is impossible under capitalism and actually works against a real socialist transformation of society—and ultimately the world as a whole—toward the goal of abolishing all relations of exploitation and oppression, with the achievement of communism throughout the world.

    “Workers’ democratic control” is impossible under capitalism: because capitalism is a system in which units of the economy—enterprises, corporations, etc.—are privately owned by capitalists and operate according to the capitalist principle of maximization of profit that is accumulated by those capitalists through exploitation of the workers they employ. These capitalists are involved in, and are driven by, fierce competition with each other, not just in a particular country but on a global scale. This compels them to seek the most profitable conditions of production, including by seeking out situations, particularly in the poorer countries of the Third World (Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia), where they can most ruthlessly exploit people.

    And “workers’ democratic control” would be destructive of real socialism: because, in a genuinely socialist society, uprooting the remaining elements (or remnants) of exploitation, inequality and oppression that are “left over” from capitalism can only be achieved with the revolutionary transformation of the society overall, on the foundation of an economy in which the means of production (land, factories and other production facilities, machinery and other technology) are publicly, not privately, owned—and the goal is to make these means of production the common property of society as a whole—as opposed to ownership by different groups of people working in different parts of society. On the basis of this public ownership, in accordance with an overall society-wide plan, the wealth produced, and the allocation and distribution of this wealth, is also socialized—embodied in and carried out by a government which actually represents the interests of the masses of people and institutionalizes the means and vehicles for their active and increasingly conscious involvement in transforming society. (And, as I will speak to further in the course of this article, in a genuine socialist economy centralization, at the overall societal level, is—and must be—primary, while decentralization at lower and local levels is secondary and subordinate to centralization.)

    Further, because of the uneven development of things—and specifically because the ripening of revolutionary possibility does not happen at the same time throughout the world—revolutions to establish socialism will of necessity be carried out in different countries at different times. And, while it is possible to develop socialism in a particular country for a time, it is not possible to indefinitely continue socialist development and transformation in any particular country, by itself and unto itself.

    In all this, it is crucial to understand that socialism is, at one and the same time, a system of economic, social, and political relations, and most fundamentally a transition—from the old, exploitative and oppressive system, to the system of communism, with the abolition of all exploitation and oppression—which can only be fully and finally achieved on a world scale, and not within any particular country by itself.

    This understanding is a critical grounding for, and must inform, any discussion and evaluation of orientation, approach, policy and action in socialist society.

    Fundamental Principles of Socialist Development

    As the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, which I have authored, makes clear: The socialist economic system, in which the means of production are publicly owned, represents the highest interests of the formerly exploited and oppressed people, and the masses of people as a whole, and “enables society to consciously and collectively utilize and develop social productive forces in order to transform society and the world and to enable humanity to truly become caretakers of the planet.”1

    This system makes it possible to carry out overall development without the chaotic, destructive and “lopsided” dynamics and consequences that are built into capitalism. As one key part of this, it is possible to support parts of the socialist economy which are strategically important for overall socialist development and transformation but which may not be generating much, or even any, positive revenue at a given time. It makes possible (and the planning must allow for) the necessary flexibility in the development of the economy. Among other things, this provides the basis for shifting resources and funds quickly to deal with unexpected developments, including emergencies due to natural disasters (such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires) and so on.

    But this public ownership, while essential, will not by itself guarantee that economic development will actually be along socialist (and not capitalist) lines. An economy that is developed on a genuinely socialist basis must and can “enable the masses of people to gain increasing collective mastery over economic processes.” This is why the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America also emphasizes this:

    In order to develop the economy along socialist lines it is necessary to put revolutionary politics in command of economic matters. To meet goals and solve problems of production, the state must mobilize the conscious activism of people in accordance with the principles and objectives set forth here and elsewhere in this Constitution.2

    But this is also of decisive importance: This conscious activism must be oriented and grounded, first and above all, not in terms of the particular interests of individuals, or of individual units or sectors of the economy, but in accordance with the larger interests and objectives of transforming all of society, and ultimately all of the world, to put an end to all relations of exploitation and oppression—which will make possible whole new dimensions of freedom for the masses of people and ultimately all of humanity, both collectively and individually.

    In such a socialist society, there is provision for a great deal of local initiative, including by those working in different units and sectors of the economy. But, once again, this is—it needs to be—initiative on the foundation and in the framework of the socialized ownership of the means of production and socialized appropriation of what is produced, and centralized planning with regard to the allocation and distribution of the social wealth: not simply provision for individual income (in the form of payment for work) but, above all for the essential objectives and processes of socialist society, which involves allocation of resources and funds to different parts of the society and different segments of the economy, to spheres such as education, science, art and culture, defense and security, to health care and other social services, to overcoming remaining inequalities—and to support for revolutionary struggles throughout the world, guided by the fundamental goal of achieving communism. And this socialization, in which centralization is primary, makes it possible to do all this on a basis and in a way that enables and promotes sustainable development and addresses the acute environmental crisis confronting humanity.

    In opposition to this orientation and approach, “democratic control” of the units of the economy, exercised by the people who work there, would actually work against the transformation of society to uproot remaining elements of inequality, oppression, and exploitation that are “left over” from capitalism. Besides any continuing aspects of oppressive relations based on nationality (or “race”) and gender oppression, which may still persist at any given point, those remaining elements (“leftovers from capitalism”) also include the contradictions between different kinds of work, and in particular the contradiction between intellectual and physical (mental and manual) labor; differences between different sectors of the economy (in terms of how “profitable” they are, at any given time); differences between different regions of the country (how developed they are economically, etc.). Of critical importance in all this is the fact that, because of these remaining differences (and other factors), exchanges between enterprises, sectors of the economy, and so on, will for some time have to involve calculations of money value—they will have to take into account the reality that this involves aspects of commodity exchange, and the law of value, even as this must be increasingly restricted as the economy and the society overall advance on the road of socialism (see footnote 3 below).3

    If each unit of the economy is in effect “autonomous”—if the most essential decisions about how such units operate, and how they carry out exchanges with other units, is left primarily and ultimately to those working in these units—then all these contradictions will be intensified. If things are not carried out in accordance with an overall society-wide plan, which sets the basic terms for how the economy as a whole, and different units and sectors of the economy, will operate—including exchanges between different units and sectors—then particular units and sectors will be compelled to “operate on their own” and to pursue their own particular interests. In this situation, what might be beneficial to a particular unit or sector of the economy could well be harmful to other parts of the economy, and to the development of the economy and society overall—on a socialist basis. (For example, a factory that gets its machinery from another factory would be driven to seek a low price for that machinery; and, in turn, it would seek to get the best price possible for the products it sells to another part of the economy. Otherwise, in this situation, that particular factory would be in danger of “going under”—being “squeezed out from both sides”—prices too high for the materials it needs and too low for its products.) Given the kinds of remaining material differences in society spoken to here, as well as the continuing influences of capitalist ideology, including the notion of “looking out for self” above the larger social good, in a situation where units of the economy are “autonomous” the same basic problems could result from raising the wages of the workers in a particular unit or sector of the economy, on the initiative of the workers there, rather than having these wages be determined through an overall society-wide plan and centralized decision-making. For the same basic reasons, inequalities among those working within particular units of the economy—for example, the differences between those involved in management and those carrying out the actual productive labor, and other differences in the type of work—would also tend to be heightened in this situation where units of the economy were in effect “on their own,” in the absence of, or in opposition to, an overall society-wide socialist plan.

    To sum this up, in basic terms: In this situation of “workers’ democratic control” the units and sectors of the economy would have to operate on what is essentially a capitalist basis. Differences embodying inequalities—in the economy and in the society as a wholewould increase, rather than being restricted and eventually overcome. This would undermine the foundation of socialism and propel things in the direction of restoring capitalism in the society overall.

    Beyond that, as also emphasized in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, the orientation of socialist society must be internationalist—and, as an expression of this:

    While giving due emphasis to meeting the material, intellectual and cultural needs of the people within this [socialist] state, on a continually expanding basis, and to promoting the further transformation of this society to continue uprooting social inequalities and remaining aspects of exploitation and oppression, the socialist state must give fundamental priority to the advance of the revolutionary struggle, and the final goal of communism, throughout the world, and must adopt and carry out policies and actions which are in accordance with and give concrete effect to this internationalist orientation.4

    For the same basic reasons that have been discussed here, this internationalist orientation, too, would be seriously undermined if the attempt were made to implement the “democratic control” of units of the economy by those who work there.

    Concrete Illustration of These Basic Truths

    The fundamental orientation, approaches and policies of a genuine socialist economy—operating on the basis of the principles spoken to here, including the correct handling of the contradiction between centralization and decentralization—are set forth in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, in Article I Section 2A, and are elaborated more fully in Article IV.

    To provide further illustration, with living examples, of what has been outlined and emphasized up to this point, it is worthwhile turning to an important article which speaks to the pathbreaking experience in China during the Cultural Revolution there (from the mid-1960s until 1976) when China was a socialist country, with the leadership of Mao Zedong. (Shortly after Mao died, in 1976, socialism was overthrown and capitalism restored through a counter-revolutionary coup, led by Deng Xiaoping, a long-time high-ranking official in the Chinese Communist Party who was, however—as Mao sharply put it—“a person in authority taking the capitalist road.”) This article refutes attacks on the revolutionary experience of socialist China by Alain Badiou, a bourgeois-democratic critic of the Cultural Revolution in China. This focuses on a major city in China, Shanghai, a stronghold of revolution during the Cultural Revolution, and its relation to the surrounding rural areas and the country as a whole.

    Here is a very relevant part of this article, which begins with the critical observation that “particular and higher interests are in objective contradiction, and the socialist state has to lead in correctly identifying and handling this contradiction.” (emphasis added here) Then follows this important discussion:

    Let's take an example from socialist economics, specifically China's socialist economy in the period 1973‑76.

    As a consequence of the Cultural Revolution, China's socialist economy put revolutionary politics in command of economic development. Conscious efforts were made to overcome the gaps between mental and manual labor, between town and country (and more advanced and less advanced regions), and between worker and peasant. This required society‑wide coordination and a planned economy guided by political‑ideological priorities and operating with capacities to make decisions and allocate resources.

    Thus, by the early 1970s, one‑third of the medical staff of China's large cities, like Shanghai, was, at any given time, on the road providing mobile medical services, mainly in the country‑side. Shanghai had also posted over half a million skilled workers to the interior and poorer regions of the country—sharing expertise and learning from other segments and sectors of society. Further, during the years of the Cultural Revolution, Shanghai retained only 10 percent of its locally generated revenue, the rest going to the national budget, helping to subsidize the spending requirements of the poorer regions, like Xinjiang and Tibet.

    But what if these centrally set policies and priorities were subject, in the name of a self‑determining egalitarian politics, to local decision‑making, to local consensus or veto by a Shanghai Commune? Should the workers of Shanghai have the final say—should they fight to maintain and in effect increase their particular (privileged) position relative to the masses in China's countryside—or should they see their role as an advanced force helping to transform the whole country and gradually narrow the difference between town and countryside?

    In a society still marked by significant, and in many ways profound, class and social divisions and the corresponding ideological influences—which is the reality of socialist society, as it emerges out of the old society and for a long period into the socialist transition—the correct handling of the kinds of contradictions and necessary decision‑making spoken to here will not, and cannot, result from reliance on the spontaneity of the masses (who, once again, are divided into different classes and into the advanced, intermediate, and backward at any given time). This has everything to do with the continuing need for and role of a vanguard party and what line is in the leading position, influencing decision‑making and debate among the masses. (In this regard, it is worth noting that after the counter‑revolutionary coup of 1976, the reform policies enacted by Deng Xiaoping included a reversal of budgetary policy. Shanghai and other coastal areas were allowed and encouraged to retain the greater portion of their locally generated revenues so that they could be built up as showcases of capitalist development. This was propounded as a corrective to top‑down and bureaucratic intrusion by central planners!)

    These are examples of some of the crucial questions that, by their very nature, cannot be solved on a narrow local basis. Spontaneity left to itself, including in the form of democratic decision‑making, will lead to the re‑emergence of inequality and the increasing influence of commodity relations—and ultimately will lead back to capitalism.

    The same principles apply to the international responsibility of the socialist society and economy to bend every effort to promote the world revolution. This is another reason why far‑sighted vanguard leadership is required. For example, revolutionary China was sending food and other forms of material aid to revolutionary struggles in various parts of the world. The socialist state must, above all, be a base area for the world revolution. This has to be built into the very fiber of socialist society—into its economic structures, into the planning system and its priorities, into the ability of the socialist state to send people to different parts of the world to carry out various internationalist tasks and responsibilities. All of this requires society‑wide coordination and allocative mechanisms. This has to be the outlook promoted in society. And it has to be a central front of ideological struggle.

    To be clear, Mao's policies generally did put much greater emphasis on local initiative than had been the case in the Soviet Union when it was socialist, and important responsibilities were transferred to the regions, localities, and rural communes. With this came initiatives to simplify central administrative, ministerial, and planning structures, including streamlining of personnel. However, this devolution of responsibilities was only possible on the basis of the centralized leadership of a revolutionary line.

    Alain Badiou, on the other hand, reaches this conclusion: "Eventually, for want of support for the most radical experiments in the decentralization of the state (the 'Shanghai Commune' of early 1967), the old order had to be re‑established in the worst conditions."

    As we have shown, in many different dimensions, this assertion of Badiou's is in fact in direct opposition to—and is powerfully refuted by—the actual experience of the Cultural Revolution in Shanghai and in China as a whole, and the lessons that must actually be drawn from the—scientific, materialist—summation of that experience.5

    This revolutionary experience in China has been deeply learned from—while incorporating the lessons from this into the overall further development of communism with the new communism—in terms of the principles for developing the economy, and the overall approach to the socialist transformation of society, aiming for the final goal of a communist world.

    See also the following writings referred to in this article:

    _______________

    FOOTNOTES:

    1. The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, Article IV. The Economy and Economic Development in the New Socialist Republic in North America, Section 5. This Constitution is available at revcom.us.

    In the Preamble to this Constitution, the principle of “solid core, with a lot of elasticity” is set forth as the guiding principle for the governance and the development of society overall. As applied to the economy:

    The principle of “solid core, with a lot of elasticity” informs the system of economic planning. The planning system operates through mechanisms of centralization and decentralization. Centralization involves overall leadership in drawing up plans and in coordinating the economy; establishment of key economic, social, and environmental priorities; attention to major input-output requirements and technological, sectoral, regional, and ecological balances; centrally set prices and financial policy; unified management; attention to overall coherence and direction of economic development and the needs of the world revolution. Decentralization involves local management and initiative, maximizing to the greatest degree possible collective participation and decision-making at the basic levels of society, and giving wide scope to experimentation and adaptation within the overall framework of the plan.

    Individual units and enterprises of the socialist economy are integrated into the overall plan and must operate within a sense of larger social and global responsibility.

    (Article IV. The Economy and Economic Development in the New Socialist Republic in North America. Section 6. “The Socialist Economy Practices Comprehensive and Unified Planning,” Sub-sections 5 and 6.) [back]

    2. Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, Article IV, Section 3. [back]

    3. As explained in the article Commodities & Capitalism—And The Terrible Consequences Of This System, A Basic Explanation:

    A commodity is anything that is produced to be exchanged (sold). This is different than when someone produces something for their own use (and doesn’t exchange it with someone else). Understood in this way, a commodity can be either a good (such as clothes) or a service (such as health care). Under capitalism, goods and services are commodities.

    Commodities have a basic contradiction built into them: the contradiction between use value and exchange value. Use value relates to the fact that, in order for a commodity to be exchanged for something else (sold), there must be someone (or numbers of people) who find this particular commodity useful (something they need or desire).  Exchange value refers to the fact that the value of anything, as a commodity to be exchanged, is equal to the amount of socially necessary labor time that is required for the production of that thing. In illustrating this, I have used the example of a candy bar and an airplane. The reason that an airplane is much more valuable—contains much more exchange value—than a candy bar is fundamentally because the amount of socially necessary labor time that goes into producing an airplane is much greater than that required to produce a candy bar.

    This article by Bob Avakian is available at revcom.us.

    The law of value refers to the fact that (as discussed in “Commodities & Capitalism”) the value of commodities is determined by the amount of socially necessary labor time that goes into the production of those commodities. This law of value is what fundamentally regulates the exchange of commodities and ultimately the operation of the capitalist economic system as a whole. A more extensive explanation of this is contained in a number of works by Bob Avakian, including Breakthroughs: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summary, which is published as an ebook by Insight Press (insight-press.com), is available online at Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and other major retailers (EPUB, MOBI, PDF). It can also be accessed at revcom.us. [back]

    4. The Preamble of the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. [back]

    5. Alain Badiou's "Politics of Emancipation": A Communism Locked Within the Confines of the Bourgeois World, by Raymond Lotta, Nayi Duniya, and K. J. A., Chapter IV, “Rereading The Cultural Revolution In Order To Bury The Cultural Revolution,” Part II. “The Shanghai Commune of 1967,” in particular 4. “Badiou's ‘Egalitarian Maxim’ Conceals Class Contradictions and Cannot Rise Above Particular Interest,” in Demarcations, Issue Number 1, Summer-Fall 2009. Demarcations is available through revcom.us. [back]

  • ARTICLE:

    Glasgow Climate Conference Reckoning

    The Governments, the People, the Planet...
    In This Dire Situation, Revolution Is Needed...and Possible

    —An Emergency Correspondence from Raymond Lotta

    The Glasgow climate conference of world leaders begins on October 31. For 25 years, the United Nations has brought together almost every government on the planet for these COP (Conference of Parties) meetings. Their supposed purpose is to assess the climate crisis and to propose measures to curb global warming caused by carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas and methane). These meetings are an obscene, annual charade of empty promises and pledges, and this year is most likely to be no different. I will be covering this on revcom.us, stay tuned!

    Ranch-Fire-Mendocino-Complex-CA-AP_18220312355616-600.jpg

     

    The Mendocino Complex Fire in California, August 7, 2018.    Photo: AP/Noah Berger

    Since 1990, when the scientific understanding of global warming was already well-established, global carbon emissions have risen 50 percent! Since the first global climate summit of 1995—and the 25 annual summits that have followed—the environmental emergency has become drastically more catastrophic: with melting glaciers and rising sea levels, more devastating floods and wildfires, more extreme weather events, drought-induced crop failures, irreversible loss of biodiversity, and mass displacement of tens of millions of “climate refugees.” 

    Climate refugees lined up for water

     

    Climate refugees lined up for water   

    There is an underlying reason for this disastrous trajectory. The rich governments that issue their pious pronouncements at these summits represent and enforce the interests of capitalist-imperialist ruling classes (go here for more on this). These governments embody and answer to the imperatives of the capitalist-imperialist system whose heartbeat is the competitive drive for profit and more profit. It is this system that recklessly plunders nature, that is at war with nature. It is this system that has brought us to a precipice in which human civilization and life itself are in peril. It is this system that must be utterly transformed through socialist revolution (see revcom.us special climate emergency page for analysis).

    Greenland glacier melt 34 billion tons per year 1992-2001 and 247 billion tons per year 2012-2016.

     

    Greenland glacier melted 34 billion tons/year 1992-2001, and 247 billion tons/year 2012-2016.    

    The Environmental Clock Is Ticking, but the Quest for “Practical” Reforms Is a Dangerous Illusion

    The climate-emergency clock is indeed ticking away. As many committed climate activists and scientists have pointed out: every bit of warming matters, every year matters...what we do and don't do now matters. But where do you go with this understanding? Many honest-minded people argue that the situation is simply too dire to “wait” for revolution...that we need to act now.

    Yes, we need to ACT now—but the question is whether within the constraints of the system—or working to get rid of it! Can we wait for this system to somehow come to its senses? The accelerating environmental crisis is proof enough! Let’s remember the arguments coming from certain quarters of the environmental movement that electing Barack Obama in 2008 was a “practical” and “immediate” step for dealing with global warming. The fruit of that was the “fracking boom” and America becoming the world's largest oil and natural gas producer! Only to be followed by the climate-denying Trump/Pence fascist regime. Again, and more fundamentally, as we have shown repeatedly and scientifically, it is this system that is the cause of this existential crisis facing humanity (see revcom.us special climate emergency page for analysis).

    Some have argued, “socialism through revolution [getting rid of this system through an actual overthrow] might be the ‘ideal’ or fundamental solution—but, we have a responsibility to work within the system ... because every increment of carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere stays there for anywhere between 300 to 1,000 years, and thus worsens the warming crisis.”

    First, and simply put, incremental reforms will not alter the fundamental motion of this system (towards ecological catastrophe).

    It's like you're on an already fast-moving and accelerating treadmill. You knock it down a tiny notch ... but the treadmill is still racing forward (to the abyss). The treadmill is the capitalist-imperialist system. And against what might be the best of intentions, this illusory program of climate reform serves only to prolong the death-grip of the system. For every increment of CO2 restricted by these efforts, there is a multiple of that CO2 being emitted by the system. Is this what we should be constrained by, is this what we should be spending our time on?1

    Let’s look at reality: Just look at the larger trend lines of how the world-imperialist system is functioning. The United Nations report issued on the eve of Glasgow examined future mining and drilling plans of 15 major fossil-fuel producing countries, including the U.S. It showed that, taken together, these countries are currently planning to produce twice (!) as much oil, gas, and coal through 2030 as would be needed if governments were to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. This is the reality as imperialist “world leaders” fall over each other with their proclamations of “net zero carbon emissions.” 

    And, at this time, of what is an existential crisis for humanity, is this what we should be doing: aiming for “reforms within the current system” subject to these rules and rulers? All this, precisely at a time when a breakthrough for revolution is objectively possible in the U.S.! As the RevComs have analyzed in A Declaration, A Call to Get Organized Now For a Real Revolution:

    Revolutions are not possible all the time, but are generally possible only in rare times and circumstances, especially in a powerful country like this. This is one of those rare times and circumstances. This system is in real trouble, caught up in crisis and conflicts for which it has no easy or lasting solutions. Throughout this country, the workings of this system have given rise to deep divisions which cannot be resolved under this system. Society is being ripped apart. Those who rule are locked in a bitter fight among themselves and they cannot hold things together in the way they have in the past [emphasis in original].

    And, at this rare time, should we aim for “reforms within the current system” subject to these rules and rulers? Or aim for a whole different system that can actually give us a chance to solve this problem?

    No One Who Cares About the Planet Can Stand by as the Earth Heats Up

    As the Glasgow climate meeting gathers, protesters in Europe and other parts of the world have taken to the streets, blockaded key sites of the economy that contribute to global warming. This sense of urgency and desire to act, this sense of responsibility to all inhabitants of our planet, especially the exploited and oppressed in the global South who have borne the greatest burden of the climate emergency ... this is something to be welcomed and that people in far greater numbers must join and further energize.

    No one who cares about the planet can stand by as the Earth heats up! But it must be frankly pointed out that much of the climate movement in the U.S.—sickeningly and paralyzingly in thrall to Biden promises and illusory “green” legislative agendas—has been unconscionably quiescent since Biden's election. The spirit of taking to the streets needs to be manifest on a whole different level here in the U.S.

    And to the degree that mass and militant protest forces the powers that be to close an oil pipeline here or expand solar power there, that is a good thing. But that is not going to solve the problem of global warming.

    A Cold but Liberating Truth

    The cold but liberating truth is that there is no solution to the climate crisis and environmental emergency within the system. We need system change in order to carry out the unprecedented transformation in all spheres of human activity necessary to give humanity the only real chance to go to work on this crisis and interact rationally and sustainably with nature. And system change can only be achieved through an actual revolution to overthrow capitalism-imperialism.

    Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America

     

    Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America
    Authored by Bob Avakian, 
    Adopted by the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

    We (the “we” here being ALL who agonize about the future of the planet and the well-being of humanity) have to proceed from what is actually needed. A radically different system that can rapidly and decisively restructure away from fossil fuels and devote the resources and unleash creativity, determination, and know-how to address the environmental emergency is set forth—in a thoroughly concrete and profoundly visionary way—in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America authored by Bob Avakian, the architect of a whole new framework for human emancipation, the new communism.  

    This is an existential crisis confronting humanity—and the planet! The challenge is before us: whether we are going to respond commensurately and scientifically! This is a time to step up our determination to do what is necessary to save this planet. It is a time to raise our sights to the revolution humanity needs. Why should we settle for anything less than this? Another world, a far better world, is possible!

    555-5STOPSpanelsmemes-Environment.jpg

     

    _______________

    FOOTNOTES:

    1. Biden has been forced by opposition from within his own Democratic party to scale back an already insufficient climate agenda that he was going to showcase in Glasgow. This so-called “plan B,” designed to appease people like Senator Joe Manchin from coal-producing West Virginia, deletes the clean electricity program from the latest budget bill being negotiated in the U.S. Congress. See also the polemic about the Earth Day Summit convened by Biden: “Biden’s Climate Summit Chicanery: Poisoning the Planet and Deceiving the People.” [back]

  • ARTICLE:

    A Living, Not a Scholastic, Understanding

    I found the article “Why the World is So Messed Up, And What Can Be Done to Radically Change This—A Basic Scientific Understanding” answered a lot of the questions I have had. It was key in unlocking a lot of my understanding about how societies have developed, and provided me the way to make a leap to a (beginning) scientific understanding of base and superstructure, production relations and productive forces, and where we sit now, as it has been historically developed up to today, through a materialist analysis and understanding. All of this was fundamentally different than my scholastic, eclectic and instrumentalist understanding (framework) of things. This article helped me to begin to see that Bob Avakian’s starting point is not where I have proceeded from, and my confusion with how societies have developed, and where we are now, is something I was able to get a beginning grasp on through this article (while constantly asking “Why?”).

    For a long time, I knew there was a relationship between the forces of production and the... productive relations... wait, is that the same as the forces of production or the relations of production? Where is that footnote by BA about all this in Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy? (Footnote #5, p. 15). WHAT DOES THAT ALL MEAN, and what the fuck does it have to do with anything?!

     

    Okay, so the means of production is the land, factories, and other production facilities, technology, etc., and the “forces of production consist of the means of production, along with the people, with their knowledge and abilities” (emphasis added). Then there are the relations of production, or the productive relations. BA, after defining what capitalism is in such a way that is so concise and accessible to so many different kinds of people, says this:

    But here is something that is crucial to understand: economic systems (or modes of production) are not just something that some powerful people somehow invent and impose on masses of powerless people. The nature of the economic system is basically determined by the relations of production—the way in which people are organized to utilize the forces of production that exist (the forces of production consist of the means of production, along with the people, with their knowledge and abilities). And, again, the mode of production constitutes the foundation, and sets the terms and limits, for what goes on in society overall.

    Like nature, societies develop, but not in any which way that individuals demand or the powerful dictate it to be. Societies develop according to what exists. Birds do not give birth to crocodiles. Human beings cannot fly from building to building and have X-ray vision. A flower doesn’t bloom into any which way it perceives or needs. Things don’t evolve any which way. Societies develop based on what exists.

    There is a relationship between the relations of production and the forces of production that gives rise, or birth to, a different society that is battled out in the superstructure through an actual revolution and overthrow of the existing order by the new mode of production that can utilize the forces of production in a way where the relations of production are no longer a fetter, or a chain, on those productive forces.

    Breakthroughs

     

    Read complete work here

    Download PDF for complete work here

    EBOOK Now Available from Insight Press

    Under the system of feudalism, the masses were tied to the land. You couldn’t go to the grocery store like Trader Joe's and get your organic blueberries. What you ate was what you literally produced, more or less. This is how people came together. And there was a structure, the economic base was enforced through a superstructure. There was religion and a god that said what your class position and role in society would be. But it was really said by men and, ultimately, said by society as a whole according to the mode of production. Everything had to go through the priest to get to god (Catholicism), and so the wealth produced by the labor of the serfs went to the landowners. The landowner had power over the peasants, women were subordinate to men, and while this oppression of class-divided society was very apparent, it was still “the way things are,” or “the way God had intended for it to be.”

    Under the “hybrid” system of sharecropping in the U.S., the productive relations were taking some of the form of feudalism, with Black people now being tied to the land. However, they were working it not in the same way as chattel slavery of being tied to and owned by the slavemaster, who at any point could decide to sell her or him or their children to another slavemaster, who would then have the responsibility of housing, feeding, and providing for a livable means (if you can even put it that way, which we should not, but you know what I mean) for them to come back to work early the next day. Sharecropping came after the Civil War, one of much bloodshed that led to the abolition of the formal form of slavery. Now instead of Black people finding the means to survive (if they did at all) through slavery, they were under sharecropping, where they were not directly tied to a slavemaster but they were tied to the land in a way that they could gain some money working the land but had to pay rent or a debt to their landowners, a lot of whom were former slavemasters.

    And then, here comes the tractor! Before, I’ve understood the development of these tractors was a big thing but I never fully understood what that was. I could see they changed a lot, but now I’m seeing it did change everything. BA says,

    ... after World War 2 (which ended in 1945), new technology had been developed, such as tractors and picking machines, which began displacing large numbers of sharecroppers. With the creation of a larger market for their products, and in a situation of heightened competition, not only within this country but also internationally, it was necessary, and it was more efficient and profitable, for these large landowners to use this machinery in place of sharecroppers.

    It’s helpful to go back to “Racial Oppression Can Be Ended—But Not Under This System”:

    Generations later, during World War 2, because of the needs of the rulers of this country in waging that war, large numbers of Black people were able to migrate to the North and get jobs in industries that served the war effort. And then, largely as a result of the fact that the U.S. was on the winning side of that war—and the fact that the war was not fought on its territory and it experienced no damage to its industrial facilities and infrastructure—there was an expansion of the economy in this country after the war. In this situation, significant numbers of Black people were able to continue getting employment in large numbers, including some better-paying jobs in factories (making steel, cars, and so on).

    BA doesn’t go at this with “Here’s what the rulers of this country wanted to do.” He digs into the necessity they faced. There’s also a lot of historical materialism. There is this thing of digging deeper to the underlying material foundation and the underlying forces, digging through the actual reality and how things have developed, taking an important example here of the oppression of Black people, and how WW2 destroyed a lot of the infrastructure of Europe while the USA experienced no physical damage and expanded its economy after the war, which led to masses of Black people to getting these factory jobs, even though for Black people it was still “last hired and first fired.”

    I’m seeing what this materialist analysis of history is. This is what I mean when I point out how BA gets into necessity. It’s not what Black people desired and wanted with these jobs. It had to do with the economic base (and the fighting through the superstructure). It had to do with the end of sharecropping and the U.S. expansion of its economy, and then on a world scale taking these factory jobs that employed so many Black people and shipping them overseas to the “Third World,” again displacing Black people following the civil rights and Black liberation struggles. The concessions gained by this and the growth of the Black middle class didn’t lead to “a better life” for the masses of Black people who were still tied to this economic base and mode of production, even as they rose up during the '60s with great social upheaval in the superstructure.

    THIS IS A RARE TIME WHEN REVOLUTION BECOMES POSSIBLE— by Bob Avakian

     

    Human beings and societies have confronted necessities, the most basic of which are concentrated in the relations of production. But there are also the means of production and forces of production which include people.

    What is crucially important to understand is that the basis now exists to enable the billions of people on this planet to have the means for a decent life, worthy of human beings—a life that is continually being enriched, not just materially but socially, intellectually and culturally. But, at the same time, the way human society has developed  under the domination of this system of capitalism-imperialism has led to a highly “lopsided” world, where billions of people in the world live in horrific conditions of oppression and misery, with millions of children in the Third World dying each year from starvation and preventable diseases. Quiet as it’s kept:

    All this is the basis on which a relatively small part of the people within this country, and a very small part of humanity as a whole, has the conditions and the “freedom” to develop and apply their initiative and creativity—only to have this serve, under this system, to reinforce the “lopsided,” highly unequal and profoundly oppressive conditions in the world as a whole and for the masses of people in the world.

    And all this is completely unnecessary.

    We have the technology, science, relations of production to come together to work on the biggest problems facing humanity. Look at COVID and how scientists around the world together came along with the breakthrough in the understanding of mRNA. But as the NY Times put it the other day, Moderna is “racing for profits” and the Biden admin is very unhappy that Moderna has not been as available in Third World countries as it has been in the “first world” home countries. What about the company that was making rapid COVID tests and then when COVID was being mitigated, ended up going under, but they still wouldn’t donate them to the people around the world who needed it? The higher-ups complained it wasn’t possible, that there were too many complex logistics in doing so.

    NO! You have all these people around the world, many of them without jobs, even more are a part of a class who have nothing but their ability to work and to sell their labor, tying their blood and their bones to the exploitation of the law of value. With the dictatorship of the proletariat, we could do better. We could come together to produce food, clothing, shelter, etc. and have a common abundance. We could own the means of production and end the private appropriation of wealth and “property.” But that takes an actual overthrow of the existing order, seizing power for a class that cannot emancipate itself without emancipating all of humanity. We are at a point where we can see a class that can make a

    communist revolution which has the basis to resolve this fundamental contradiction, by socializing the ownership of the means of production—moving to make them the common property of society—and, on this basis, carrying out economic development in a planned and sustainable way, revolutionizing the relations of production as a whole, as well as the corresponding social relations (for example, gender and “racial” relations), and the superstructure of politics, culture and ideology.

  • ARTICLE:

    A New State Power—How Cool Is That?

    I’ve been studying and discussing with others, and taking out to people, Bob Avakian’s piece “Why The World Is So Messed Up, And What Can Be Done to Radically Change This—A Basic Scientific Understanding.” I wanted to share a few thoughts.

    In this piece, BA lays out that

    the basis now exists to enable the billions of people on this planet to have the means for a decent life, worthy of human beings—a life that is continually being enriched, not just materially but socially, intellectually and culturally. But, at the same time, the way human society has developed under the domination of this system of capitalism-imperialism has led to a highly “lopsided” world, where billions of people in the world live in horrific conditions of oppression and misery, with millions of children in the Third World dying each year from starvation and preventable diseases.

    What stands in the way of this is “the fundamental contradiction of capitalism—between socialized production and private appropriation.”

    Why is it true that “it is the communist revolution which has the basis to resolve this fundamental contradiction, by socializing the ownership of the means of production…” and on this basis carry out economic development in a planned and sustainable way, making transformations in the relations of production, the corresponding social relations, and the superstructure of politics, culture and ideology? This “why” is what we’ve been wrangling with.

    In order for people to live and provide for future generations, people must come together to produce the necessities of life and produce the next generation. We are all born into a system which has rules and certain basic relations that are independent of any particular individual or groups of people. No one can choose not to be born under any particular system. And the system we now live under is the system of capitalism-imperialism where the rules of this game is profit, driven through the exploitation and oppression of the majority of humanity and the planet. It is an expand-or-die system in a constant competitive drive to survive. If you’re a capitalist, you are forced to exploit to make more profit or you will be driven under by other capitalists. It is a system that compels people into these ruthless relations, it is not simply that people are born greedy!

    The irony is that a handful of capitalists—caught in cutthroat competition, driven to ruthlessly exploit humanity and the planet or face going under—own everything that is produced by millions and billions of people working together all across the globe! Capitalists own the means of production—raw materials, land, machinery, technology and what people produce out of those raw materials, including people’s ability to work, their labor power. No one gets to say, “I made this pair of shoes so I will take them home with me.” NO! At every step of the production process, the capitalists will remind you of the rules of the game, of who owns shit! The materials, the technology, your ability to make a pair of shoes, and what is produced is owned by some capitalist.

    Unlike slavery, capitalists don’t literally own you. As we are always told, people have a “choice” whether to work. But the reality is—those few capitalists who own and control the means of production (machinery, land, factories, technology, etc.) are in a position to FORCE you to work for them, to create wealth for them, otherwise you will not be able to survive. People are forced to seek employment or become homeless or starve if they are not able to work or are not able to find employment.

    It seems ridiculous now to think how feudalism, or sharecropping in this country, worked. Black families in small plots of land, worked the land which was owned by the white land owner. To be able to feed your family and work that land, you bought everything from seeds to food from the store that was also owned by the plantation owner. So at the end of each season, thru fraud or not, most sharecroppers ended up owing the landowners money! And many sharecroppers became indebted and unable to relocate. Also during this time there was not the basis for people to freely move around, to pack their bags and say “enough of this shit, I want to work elsewhere.” Besides racism and white supremacists making sure you didn’t go anywhere, there was not yet the basis (technology, global socialized production) until after WWII, for Black people to leave the South in large numbers and be able to find work according to the way the system was set up.

    Under capitalism, it is not a few plantation owners, but a few capitalists exploiting tens of millions of people in this country and around the world in sweatshops, mines and farms. If you step back for a minute, it does seem silly that there are millions and millions of people working together around the world producing everything in life (socialized production), BUT what is produced and the means to create wealth is privately owned by a few capitalists in the world (private appropriation)! The minerals for our cell phones, the wood to build homes, the steel to produce vehicles, and the land itself is owned by capitalists! And yet, humanity cannot survive if those raw materials are not worked by people!

    WE NEED STATE POWER! WE NEED DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT!

    We need a new economic system, which is the foundation of any human society, AND there needs to be a superstructure to reflect, and enforce and maintain, that new economic system. The superstructure consists of politics, culture and the ideology. Under capitalism, the superstructure reflects and serves to maintain an oppressive and exploitative economic system primarily through the monopoly of legitimate” armed force and violence.

    It is now completely unnecessary for millions of children to go hungry and die from starvation, or for there to be homelessness or the plunder of the planet. There now exists the material basis to produce the necessities to live and to reproduce on a scale where everyone on the planet can have enough to eat and have housing, and to get beyond exploitation and oppression! What is in the way is the private ownership of the means of production! The solution is to take the ownership of the means of production out of the hands of the capitalists and into the hands of the people of the worldto socialize ownership of the means of production.

    This can only be achieved through an actual revolution. We must seize state power. This will provide the basis to transform the economic base and the corresponding social relations and the political and ideological superstructure.

    What can be achieved after revolution, after seizing state power and establishing a new socialist system?

    Under capitalism, the superstructure serves to enforce the oppressive and exploitative economic and social relations. If you do not have the means to purchase food or housing, you cannot survive. So under capitalism, there is no right to eat. Even though human beings require food to survive, one cannot walk into a supermarket and say “I am hungry” and take food and walk away. That would be breaking the rules of the game of capitalism. So this system has enforcers to not allow this to go down. We know what would happen if people went into stores and took food—“looters, shoot them down.” This is what happened after Hurricane Katrina when people, mostly Black, were left stranded and had to enter abandoned stores to obtain food in order to survive. This system gave orders to the National Guard to “shoot looters.”

    Or take another example of how this system reacts to people standing up against the injustices this system perpetuates. When people stood up demanding the murder of Black people be stopped, protesters were met with violence by the police and other institutions—by the brutal law enforcement of this system. It is not to the interest of this country to allow people to rise up against injustice, against their own government in this country, because it gets people questioning the very legitimacy of their system. People need to be fed the belief that “this is the greatest country in the world” with its “democracy for all.”

    On the other hand, why does this country sometimes support people going against their government in other countries, such as when the U.S. supported people protesting the Chinese government in the 1980s in Tiananmen Square? Well, one of the reasons the U.S. supported people in China is because it saw it as an opportunity to attack that country’s government and “communism,” even though China had been capitalist since the death of Mao in 1976!

    Another example of the economic base and the superstructure is what has happened to Black people and unemployment. After shipping most of the manufacturing jobs from the U.S. to other countries, mostly Third World countries where they can exploit people even worse, a huge section of Black people who once occupied those jobs were now out of work. The capitalists didn’t say, “I’m sorry we are shipping your job but here is some money or another opportunity to feed your family.” No, they didn’t give a fuck about all the people and how they would now feed their families. This continues to happen to today where employees don’t even get enough notice that they are being laid off with companies downsizing or shipping their business out of the country.

    The new generation of Black people have not seen that kind of job opportunities since the ’70s, even as then Black people obtained the worst positions, and only a tiny section of Black people were lifted to a middle class status. Since then, those jobs have never returned, and it is highly unlikely they will ever return. So then what do you do with so many unemployed people, especially under a system that has white supremacy woven into capitalism with a fascist section wanting no more than killing Black people off? Since you can’t provide employment, there is an increase in an underground economy and there has since been a huge increase in mass incarceration of Black people because this system is no longer able to exploit them—they have no use for them any longer.

    Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America

     

    Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America
    Authored by Bob Avakian, 
    Adopted by the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

    Under a socialist system, with state power and as it’s laid out in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, the right to employment and income is guaranteed. And there won’t be the situation where Black people and people of color get the shittiest positions. The Constitution says, “The socialist economy enables individuals of diverse capabilities and inclinations to contribute to the development of a liberating society, and to gain in knowledge and capability. Economic-social planning strives to forge the conditions for meaningful and fulfilling work that links people and their creativity to each other and to the goal of emancipating humanity.” To “forge meaningful and fulfilling work” unlike the many sweatshops and factories with their brain-numbing, repetitive motion positions of today. This will be all in effort to reduce, and eventually, get beyond class divisions with the mental-manual labor divisions left over from the old, capitalist system to the emancipation of all of humanity, worldwide.

    It will promote values such as people working together for the common good of humanity through education, music, art, culture and at work. Under capitalism, this system is not able to promote values of collectivity, people working together, or things will fall apart. It must promote and reward selfishness and competition among each other. We’ve heard this bullshit mantra promoted even in educationthat without competition, there wouldn’t be creativity and people won’t want to work. This, of course, is bullshit. All these youth hanging around on corners, would love to be put to work if they had the ability to build homes for people in their community. We have seen how people come together to figure out how to help each other during crisis. Well, this is what will be promoted, and will have the backing of the state. There will be a lot of work, a lot of repairing to be done after the revolution. There will need to be a lot of collectivity, people working together, a lot of figuring out/planning how to best address the needs of humanity.

    And with a new economic system, the people will have the backing of the state to be part of overcoming oppressive social relations such as the role of women and how they are seen and treated under capitalism: PORN WILL BE ILLEGAL! PERIOD! Another example is, females will have the right to free and safe abortion at any stage of pregnancy. Again, all females will have the backing of the state and no individual or group can deny this human right to any female! How cool is that! This is WONDERFUL!

    One more example is how the new society will deal with pandemics. For example, the state will make vaccinations, such as for COVID-19, mandatory and not allow any individual or group to kill people by refusing to get vaccinated. Unlike today, there will be mass effort to promote the importance of getting vaccinated and the importance of scientific understanding and approach. As a principle of internationalism, knowledge will be shared—working together with scientists, doctors and others around the world to make sure everyone, not just people in this country, is provided with vaccines.

    Also as a general rule, under a socialist society, it will be based on principles of sustainable planning, taking the “long view” of what is best for humanity and the planet, not based on short-term gain that is the common principle in this profit-driven capitalist system. Having state ownership of the means of production, enables people in society as a whole to radically transform society. It will provide the means to collectively share technology and knowledge, to work together for the common good of humanity and the planet. For example, to address the environmental emergency, the new Republic will seek to work with scientists, and people from all walks of life in every part of the world to overcome and begin to repair or reverse the damage made and work together to usher in a world where all human beings can truly be caretakers of the planet.

    All with the backing of the state! WOW!

    The Constitution will be the solid core, the foundation of how society will run, and it is the people, masses of people of all nationalities, education levels, and strata who will be responsible for running society. Similar to the factories in China during the revolution, when the employees all worked together to figure out how to best run the factory with the intent to reduce and transform the mental-manual divisions that had been left over from the previous oppressive system. However, with the new communism and the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, we can do much better than past revolutions, learning from their strengths and where they fell short. We have the potential to actually get to communism worldwide. This is only possible through an actual revolution, and this is what we are working toward right nowto achieve state power and ferociously go to work to transform all of human society.

  • ARTICLE:

    This Friday the Rulers of the World Will Begin a Massive Flood of Lies About How to Deal with Terrible State Of Our Planet…

    Be Part of Spreading and Debating the TRUTH

    Beginning this weekend, the eyes of the world will be on the upcoming climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland. That is where official government representatives—and oppressive rulers—of this system will be meeting to debate and discuss agreeing to global and national limits to the use of fossil fuels…fuels which are causing the disaster of climate change. The debate at, and surrounding, this summit will pose burning questions about the nature of the system that has caused such drastic havoc to our planet.

    But the biggest question of all is this: WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?

    Answer: REVOLUTION!!!

    Everyone who sees the need for the solution of revolution to be way out there into the public eye should be on a mission THIS WEEK to be out in society in a major way to reach everyone who cares about the web of human life so they can learn about, and get with, this revolution. We need to reach people with word that there is a force now actively organizing for this revolution. A force waging battle with all the illusions and phony solutions that will keep us hurtling to disaster. A force with real answers to this—in the form of the Constitution For the New Socialist Republic In North America authored by Bob Avakian. A force with a real strategy to actually bring forward millions to make this revolution.

    We need to urgently spread this revolution wherever people are raising their voices and putting their bodies on the line in protest and throughout all of society – on trains and at college campuses, at concerts and at high schools, at farmers markets and busy downtown areas.

    Starting now, and going into this weekend when there are gatherings or demonstrations planned, and over this next week, get with the Revolution Club to make creative plans to spread the revcom statement “As the World Burns and Its Rulers Fiddle in Glasgow…A CALL TO THOSE WHO WANT A RADICALLY DIFFERENT FUTURE FOR HUMANITY” (available as a leaflet here) as well as A Declaration, A Call To Get Organized Now For a Real Revolution from the revcoms. Engage in broad debate, discussion and lively struggle about what is the problem and the real solution. Wield and spread the leadership provided by BA in recent articles, including “Why The World Is So Messed Up, And What Can Be Done to Radically Change This—A Basic Scientific Understanding.” If there is no club in your area, take these materials out wherever you can and write us with your experience.

    Now especially is a time to make a BIG LEAP with the viewership of The RNLRevolution, Nothing Less!Show which is unparalleled in its consistent scientific analysis of the problem, pointing people to the real solution and giving living revolutionary guidance on how to act today to ripen the situation to be able to make revolution. To see the latest The RNL—Revolution Nothing Less—Showthe films of Bob Avakian, and short features produced by The RNL Show including New UN IPCC Report on Climate Change: A More Accurate & Alarming Picture of Peril Facing Our Planet, go to the revcom YouTube channel: https:Youtube.com/therevcoms.

    Practice agitation that brings this situation alive, maybe creative street theater and finding ways to make use of the special segment from The RNL Show on the IPCC climate change report (New UN IPCC Report on Climate Change: A More Accurate & Alarming Picture of Peril Facing Our Planet), including to get broad engagement with students on campuses.

    Get people together, start making plans, and write to us at getorganizedforrevolutiontour@gmail.com.

     

    And as “the normal way” society has been ruled is failing to hold things together—and society is increasingly being ripped apart—this can shake people’s belief that “the way things have always been” is the only way things can be. It can make people more open to questioning—in a real sense it can force people to question—the way things have been, and whether they have to stay that way. And this is all the more likely to happen if the revolutionary forces are out among the people shining a light on the deeper reality of what is happening, and why, and bringing out that there IS an alternative to living this way.

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

    STOP Capitalism-Imperialism from Destroying the planet with scorched earth background.

     

  • ARTICLE:

    Longtime War Criminal and Misleader of Black People Dies

    TWO MAJOR TRUTHS ABOUT COLIN POWELL… AND TWO IMPORTANT QUESTIONS FOR PEOPLE WHO HONORED HIM IN HIS DEATH

    Colin Powell, a Black man who “sunk to the depths” of not only being a major war criminal in the service of the U.S. ruling class but of using his shameful career as proof that even if you are Black in America, “you can make it if you try,” died last week. Last week everyone from Rachel Maddow to Tucker Carlson sang his praises—and even some people who should and often do know better did as well, in one form or another.

    So what is the truth of the matter?

    Major truth number one: Colin Powell was a war criminal, up to his neck in the blood of people from around the world, whose special claim to fame was his usefulness as an “upwardly mobile” lackey. 

    My_Lai_massacre.jpg

     

    My Lai massacre, March 16, 1968.    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

    In Asia, Powell admitted to slaughtering civilians and other horrors—in other words, war crimes—during his tour in Vietnam, justifying this in his memoir that “it all made sense in those days.” During his time there, a soldier alerted him to other massacres, similar to the infamous My Lai massacre, in which U.S. troops slaughtered over 500 unarmed Vietnamese civilians, largely women and children. Powell never interviewed the soldier and tried to cover it up.

    Hiway-of-death-AP-600.jpg

     

    On February 25, 1991, Iraqi forces were retreating north from Kuwait City to Basra in a long convoy of tanks, personnel carriers, trucks, buses, and cars. U.S. planes attacked both ends of the convoy, blocking off any escape, and for the next 48 hours Coalition aircraft and ground forces attacked anything that moved along that strip of roadway. Thousands were slaughtered, and the six-lane “highway of death” was left littered with burnt-out vehicles and charred bodies.    Photo: AP

    Off these crimes in Vietnam, Powell rose through the ranks and not only played a prominent role in the first U.S. invasion of Iraq, he played a key role in justifying the horrendous crime of the horrendous 2003 invasion and war. Waving a phony stage prop of vials of what were supposed to be chemical weapons, he went before the UN to justify what he knew were lies to “sell” that war. The excuse being made by some liberals for Powell that “like a good soldier, he was only following orders” stinks of the justification used by the Nazi war criminals guilty of everything from the invasion of the then-socialist Soviet Union (today Russia) that took the lives of nearly 30 million people to the death camp horrors that murdered over six million Jews, Roma, gay people, disabled people, and political prisoners. 

    Colin Powell lying at United Nations about weapons of mass destruction.

     

    Colin Powell lies about weapons of mass destruction at the United Nations, February 5, 2003.     Photo: AP

    And don’t forget Latin America. Powell served as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama, which unjustly and utterly needlessly slaughtered 3,000 to 6,000 Panamanians. And as George W. Bush’s Secretary of State, he oversaw and covered over the U.S. removal of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from Haiti to exile in the Central African Republic, and Aristide’s replacement by a more pliant servant of U.S. interests.

    A challenge to anyone who wants to justify any part of Colin Powell’s life: How does this record of horrific slaughter and pernicious lies represent anything that anyone decent should want to uphold?

    Major Truth Number Two: Powell did terrible damage to Black people and a great service to the main oppressor of Black peoplethe rulers of America—by serving and promoting himself as a role model for rising in the ranks of that ruling class by slaughtering other oppressed people.  

    Through his books, TV appearances and thousands of other ways, Powell put himself forward as a “role model.” And it is a disgusting commentary on the state of things that very few noteworthy commentators, Black or otherwise, have dared to point this out and some people who at other times have opposed U.S. imperialism have even “commemorated” his death. 

    Role model? For what? This is someone who devoted his entire life to slaughtering oppressed people around the world and who, because he excelled at that and knew how to “market himself” to those who had use for a Black face, rose for a time to the top of the worst oppressors in the world. 

    Bob Avakian, BA, the revolutionary leader and author of the new communism, has said what NEEDS to be said about this aspect of Colin Powell here and here, and goes deeply into the ramifications for oppressed people and the extreme dangers of the kind of thinking that Powell stood for and promoted. As BA points out, it is hardly coincidental that Powell revered and promoted the Buffalo soldiers—Black Civil War veterans who were manipulated and misled by the powers that be of the time into slaughtering Native American people who were trying to resist the genocidal onslaught of the U.S. military.

    The lesson that Colin Powell drew from this is NOT that oppressed people should aim to end all oppression and not get manipulated into fighting each other; quite the opposite. For Powell, this murderously tragic use of these Black soldiers was something to be celebrated.

    For those woke folk and militant nationalists who have stooped to honoring Powell in any way, shape or form, you have to ask yourself a question—am I just for “my people”? Or for humanity? You cannot both be for humanity and at the same time hold the slightest shred of respect for a lifelong war criminal against humanity.

    For those claiming to oppose unjust U.S. aggression, but who still grope and grasp for some reason to excuse or “honor” him—how long will you hold onto the myth that America is the “good guy” in the world, a well-meaning force that somehow blunders into mistakes—instead of coming to grips with what even a brief review of Colin Powell’s life makes clear is really true: that America is the most monstrous and dangerous oppressor on the planet and its “fighting men and women” are the enforcers of that oppression?

    THIS IS A RARE TIME WHEN REVOLUTION BECOMES POSSIBLE— by Bob Avakian

     

    A FINAL, FURTHER POINT:

    Colin Powell dies at a time when two major forces in the U.S. ruling class are locked in a deadly conflict over how this empire should be ruled. As Bob Avakian has written,

    These divisions have already become deeply rooted in the major institutions of this country, including the military, and they will increasingly become sharper and burst out into the open, as things continue to sharpen up in society overall and within the ruling class.

    These deep divisions, this intensifying conflict, cannot be overcome—all this cannot be “put back together”—on the terms, and in the way, that the country has, up to now, been held together under the rule of a more or less unified capitalist class. (From THIS IS A RARE TIME WHEN REVOLUTION BECOMES POSSIBLE—WHY THIS IS SO, AND HOW TO SEIZE ON THIS RARE OPPORTUNITY)

    Today both sides are trying to use Powell’s legacy to serve their own agendas. But something could develop or come to light that would change this and turn Powell’s funeral into an occasion for sharp contention between these two sides. Should that happen, it would be a time when everyone who yearns for a future not hemmed in by the choice between the outright fascist dictatorship being fought for by the Republicans on the one hand, and the more familiar form of that violent bloody rule that has characterized America for 150 years and that nurtured and promoted the likes of Powell, should strive to break through the “confining and degrading terms of this system,” and fight for what humanity really needs: revolution, and a whole new future.

  • ARTICLE:

    Colin Powell: Dossier of a World Class War Criminal

    • Forged as a War Criminal in U.S. Genocidal Mass Murder in Vietnam
    • Covered Up U.S. Genocide in Vietnam
    • 1989-1990–Invasion of Panama
    • 1991 Gulf War–Destruction of Iraq
    • Lying about WMDs to Justify 2003 War on Iraq
    • Kidnapping President of Haiti to Orchestrate a Pro-U.S. Coup

    Forged as a War Criminal in U.S. Genocidal Mass Murder in Vietnam

    From Powell’s book My American Journeywriting about being a U.S. soldier in Vietnam:

    On February 18, we came upon a deserted Montagnard [a minority nationality in Vietnam] village. The people had fled at our approach, except for an old woman too feeble to move. We burned down the thatched huts, starting the blaze with Ronson and Zippo cigarette lighters. The ARVN [pro-U.S. Vietnamese] troops slashed away with their bayonets at fields of corn, onions, and manioc, a Montagnard starch staple. Part of the crop we kept for ourselves. On latter occasions, the destruction became more sophisticated. Helicopters delivered fifty-five -gallon drums of a chemical herbicide to us, a forerunner of Agent Orange. From the drums, we filled two-and-a-half-gallon hand-pumped Hudson sprayers, which looked like fire extinguishers. Within minutes after we sprayed, the plants began to turn brown and wither.

    Why were we torching houses and destroying crops? Ho Chi Minh had said the people were like the sea in which the guerrillas swam. Our problem was to distinguish friendly or at least neutral fish from the VC [short for Viet-Cong, the name the U.S. gave to Vietnamese freedom fighters] swimming alongside. We tried to solve the problem by making the whole sea uninhabitable. In the hard logic of war, what difference did it make if you shot your enemy or starved him to death?

    However chilling this destruction of homes and crops reads in cold print today, as a young officer, I had been conditioned to believe in the wisdom of my superiors, and to obey. I had no qualms about what we were doing. This was counterinsurgency at the cutting edge. Hack down the peasants’ crops thus denying food to the Viet Cong, who were supported by the North Vietnamese, who, in turn were backed by Moscow and Beijing, who were our mortal enemies, in the global struggle between freedom and communism. It all made sense in those days.

    (Source: My American Journey by Colin L. Powell, Joseph E. Persico, 2010, pages 86-87)

    Covered Up U.S. Genocide in Vietnam

    On Saturday morning, March 16, 1968, 100 soldiers from Charlie Company, U.S. Army Americal Division, entered and took over My Lai, a small hamlet in Vietnam’s countryside. “We met no resistance and I only saw three captured weapons... It was just like any other Vietnamese village—old papa-sans, women and kids,” a soldier said.

    “The order we were given was to kill and destroy everything that was in the village,” another soldier later testified. “It was clearly explained that there were to be no prisoners.” An order was given to push all the Vietnamese who had been forced into the area into a ditch. “I began shooting them all. I guess I shot maybe 25 or 20 people in the ditch,” one G.I. later recounted, “men, women, and children. And babies.” A baby crawling away from the ditch was grabbed and thrown back into the ditch and shot.

    “Over four hours, members of Charlie Company methodically slaughtered more than five hundred unarmed victims, killing some in ones and twos, others in small groups, and collecting many more in a drainage ditch that would become an infamous killing ground,” Nick Turse, author of Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam, writes. “They faced no opposition. They even took a quiet break to eat lunch in the midst of the carnage. Along the way, they also raped women and young girls, mutilated the dead, systematically burned homes, and fouled the area’s drinking water.”

    During Powell’s second tour of duty in Vietnam, he played a key role in covering up massacres like this by U.S. soldiers. Powell was assigned to investigate charges contained in a letter by a young specialist fourth class named Tom Glen, which exposed My Lai–like atrocities. Glen's letter said that he had seen Vietnamese civilians shot in the back by U.S. soldiers who for mere pleasure, fire indiscriminately into Vietnamese homes and without provocation or justification shoot at the people themselves. Glen’s letter also exposed torture as part of soldiers interrogating suspects.

    Powell’s response was a complete cover-up. He never questioned Glen or assigned anyone else to talk with him. Powell claimed that Glen’s charges couldn’t be true because U.S. soldiers in Vietnam were taught to treat Vietnamese courteously and respectfully and that the soldiers had gone through an hour-long course on how to treat prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions. Powell concluded saying that, “relations between American soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent.”

    (Source: History.net, Colin Powell, the Vietnam Years)

    1989-1990In Charge of Massive Destruction in U.S. Invasion of Panama

    43-Invasion-of-Panama.jpg

     

    On December 20, 1989, the U.S. military invaded Panama with 27,500 troops and 300 aircraft, killing thousands of civilians and removing Manuel Noriega. Powell, as head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, played a key role in planning and leading the invasion.     Photo: AP

    Powell, as head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, played a key role in planning and leading the U.S. invasion of Panama to overthrow the rule of Manuel Noriega. Noriega was perceived to be an obstacle to U.S. interests, including control of the economically and strategically critical Panama Canal.

    The invasion was characterized by mass destruction and murder in impoverished neighborhoods where many supporters of Noriega lived. The Central American Human Rights Commission (CODEHUCA) reported, “The most devastated civilian neighborhoods—such as Chorrillos and San Miguelito—were extremely poor, densely populated areas. Half of the neighborhood of Chorrillos—which had a pre-invasion population of approximately 25,000—was literally destroyed by US troops and civilian residents were victims of direct attacks.”

    (Source: revcom.us, American Crime Case #43: The U.S. Invasion of Panama, 1989-1990.)

    1991 Gulf War—The Destruction of Iraq

    U.S. soldiers run past dead body in the street of Fallujah.

     

    U.S soldiers run past dead body in Fallujah, March 22, 2004.    Photo: AP

    Powell committed towering war crimes and crimes against humanity in his role as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the first war against Iraq, in 1991, which led to the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis and the destruction of much of Iraq’s civilian infrastructure—which in turn led to many more deaths.

    Powell insisted that it was justified for the U.S. to attack civilian targets like the Amiriyah air raid shelter in Baghdad, killing hundreds of civilians including many children. Powell repeatedly insisted that this air raid shelter was a legitimate target—claiming that it was a “military bunker”—in the face of the undeniable fact that it was inhabited by civilians who were mercilessly slaughtered by this U.S. attack.

    (Source: NEEDLESS DEATHS IN THE GULF WAR, Civilian Casualties During the Air Campaign and Violations of the Laws of War -  A Middle East Watch Report.)

    Lying about WMDs to Justify 2003 War on Iraq

    The George W. Bush regime, facing massive opposition to an invasion of Iraq at home and abroad, deployed Powellat this point Secretary of Stateto lie to the world, through a speech to the United Nations that there was “solid intelligence” that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and that the regime there had ties to al-Qaeda.

    (Source: The InterceptLIE AFTER LIE: WHAT COLIN POWELL KNEW ABOUT IRAQ 15 YEARS AGO AND WHAT HE TOLD THE U.N.)

    Iraq Body Count documented between 168,239 and 187,378 civilian deaths from violence, and total violent deaths including combatants at 251,000 from the beginning of the invasion in 2003 through September 2016. Other studies of the direct and indirect toll of the war (due, for example, to the destruction and disruption to water and power systems, health care and food production): 655,000 according to a 2006 Lancet study; 1 million according to a 2008 Opinion Research Business study; and other current estimates reaching 1.2 to 1.4 million. More than 4.2 million Iraqis were injured and at least 4.5 million driven from their homes. Women suffered terribly, directly from the war and from the new, U.S.-backed governments imposition of reactionary Sharia law with separate, unequal laws for women.

    (Source: revcom.us, American Crime Case #70: Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2003.)

    Kidnapping President of Haiti to Orchestrate a Pro-U.S. Coup

    U.S. Marine walks past residents while on patrol on the outskirts of the Cite Soleil district in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. March 22, 2004.

     

    U.S. Marine walks past residents while on patrol in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, March 22, 2004.    Photo: AP

    In March 2004, Secretary of State Powell orchestrated the kidnapping of elected Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide who was sent to the Central African Republic as part of a U.S.-backed coup. Powell’s “denial” of the U.S. role included claiming Aristide was a man who was democratically elected, but he did not democratically govern or govern well.” And, “Now we [the U.S. military] are there to give the Haitian people another chance.

    (Source: CNN, Aristide says U.S. deposed him in 'coup d'etat')

    After the coup, hundreds of U.S. Marines controlled the capital, and waves of attacks, often by U.S. soldiers, were unleashed on the people. In June, they were replaced by a force of 7,000 UN troops (mainly Brazilian) who have been cited by Human Rights groups as widely practicing summary executions.

    (Source: revcom.us, The U.S. in Haiti: A Century of Domination and Misery)

  • ARTICLE:

    Supreme Court Again Refuses to Block the Texas Abortion Ban,

    Schedules Hearing on November 1 to Consider Whether to Allow Legal Challenges to the Ban

    People, including woman in handmaid's red dress, protest anti-abortion law in Austin, Texas.

     

    October 2, women's march against anti-abortion laws in Austin, Texas.    Photo: AP

    On Friday, October 22, the Supreme Court refused for the second time to even temporarily block the near-total abortion ban (SB8) that has been in effect since September 1 in the state of Texas.1 Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor's dissent to this decision captures well the reality that confronts the six million plus women of child-bearing age in Texas:

    There are women in Texas who became pregnant on or around the day that S. B. 8 took effect. As I write these words, some of those women do not know they are pregnant. When they find out, should they wish to exercise their constitutional right to seek abortion care, they will be unable to do so anywhere in their home State. Those with sufficient resources may spend thousands of dollars and multiple days anxiously seeking care from out-of-state providers so overwhelmed with Texas patients that they cannot adequately serve their own communities. Those without the ability to make this journey, whether due to lack of money or childcare or employment flexibility or the myriad other constraints that shape people’s day-to-day lives, may be forced to carry to term against their wishes or resort to dangerous methods of self-help. None of this is seriously in dispute.

    Indeed, none of these facts are in dispute. Yet, the majority fascist Supreme Court has, for the second time, given the green light to depriving women of a right that is not only fundamental to their treatment as full human beings, but is supposed to be guaranteed by a long-standing precedent made by the very court they sit on!

    Also on Friday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments on November 1 over whether to allow the federal government and/or private plaintiffs (like abortion providers) to sue Texas and state officials to permanently enjoin (stop) the Texas Abortion Ban. The reason this is even up for debate is that Texas's Abortion Ban was drafted intentionally to evade judicial review (to make it difficult for the courts to stop the law) by outsourcing enforcement of the law to private citizens instead of the state. But, as I have written about previously, constitutional rights are supposed to be protected by the federal government against being violated not only by states, but also by private citizens and mobs.

    If the Supreme Court decides against letting these lawsuits go forward, this will not only further endanger the lives and fundamental rights of women, it will undermine the rule of law2 and constitutional protections with potentially much farther-reaching implications.

    If the court decides to let these lawsuits go forward, which is the only just decision, the question of the ultimate fate of the Texas Abortion Ban will be kicked back down to the lower courts to consider. This could take some time. In the meantime, the Supreme Court is considering a case on December 1 that could potentially nullify abortion protections nationwide by overturning the 1973 Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision that first legalized abortion nationwide. If this happens, abortion will no longer be a constitutionally protected right and the lower courts will have no power to block the Texas Abortion Ban.

    From a number of angles, womens fundamental right to abortion—to not be forced to have a child against one's will and enslaved in that way—is under severe attack in this country. There is no reason to expect or rely on the courts to protect this right. It is imperative that people from many diverse parts of society wake up to the monumental danger we face and wage massive, society-wide resistance to refuse to let this assault on half of humanity go down.

    Oct 2 march for abortion rights in Bay Area, Abortion on demand and without apology banner.

     

    October 2, 2021, San Francisco Bay Area protest against anti-abortion laws.   

  • ARTICLE:

    The GOP Is Now Solidly United Behind—and Under the Leadership of—the Metastasizing Hard Core of Neo-Nazi Fascists

    January 6 fascist rioters in capitol building in attempted coup

     

    On January 6, a group of thousands, with armed and organized fascist forces at its core, stormed Congress in an attempt to stop it from confirming Joe Biden as the new president.    Photo: AP

    After the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6—an attempted coup that could have succeeded and which should sound the alarm for what is possible—there was a brief period when a significant section of Republican elected officials backed away, distanced themselves from or even publicly condemned the attack and Trump himself. Even loyal lackeys like Vice-President Pence and Attorney General Barr didn’t go along with the coup. There was talk in the mainstream media of the Republican Party assessing “a future without Trump,” and there was a lot of delusion and self-delusion among genuinely progressive people that the fascist threat was over, or at least on the downswing.

    Here’s where we are now:

    On January 20, Donald Trump wrote that “The insurrection took place on Nov. 3, Election Day. Jan. 6 was the protest!” In other words, the election—and by implication, Biden’s presidency—was illegitimate, “stolen.” And therefore, the violent attempt to reinstall Trump as president was legitimate, just.

    Virtually the entire “official” Republican Party is closing ranks around that position. Speaking of the Capitol riot, Congressman Paul Gosar said that federal authorities were “harassing peaceful patriots”—and here he means the thugs who stormed the building, beat people senseless, waved Confederate flags and threatened to “Hang Mike Pence” and to shoot House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Representative Andrew Clyde said it was like “a normal tourist visit.”

    But maybe that’s just the wacko fringe of the House Republican delegation? No! Steve Scalise, the second leading Republican in the House, even now refuses to admit that the election wasn’t stolen, instead alleging that “the states that did not follow the laws” had illegal elections. And almost the whole delegation, from leadership to the most junior member, has worked to sabotage any investigation of the January 6 coup, even as mounting evidence surfaces that J6 was a well-planned and financed effort from the highest levels of the fascist movement, including Trump himself, to overturn the 2020 election. Influential GOP congressman Jim Jordan denounced the investigation: “You’re involved in political activity? They’re going to investigate you.”

    Think back to January after the attack. At that time, according to CNBC, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said that the attack on the Capitol was “un-American”; Florida Senator Rick Scott called for the attackers to be prosecuted; Tom Cotton of Arkansas said, “This violence is unacceptable and must be met with the full force of law.” On January 7, close Trump ally Senator Lindsey Graham said he was “done” with Trump. “All I can say is ‘count me out. Enough is enough.’” On February 13, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that Trump was “practically and morally responsible” for the Capitol violence, and that Trump was “determined to either overturn the voters’ decision or else torch our institutions on the way out.”

    But by January 29, McCarthy had made a pilgrimage to grovel before Trump at Mar-a-Lago, and in the months since, every one of these Republicans, and countless others, has climbed back on board the Trump-train. They overwhelmingly voted not to impeach Trump in February. Willingness to promote Trump’s “stolen election” lies has become the litmus test for whether any Republican has a political future. And with two exceptions, the Republicans boycotted and tried to block the formation of a House committee to investigate the Capitol coup—during which, let’s not forget, a lynch mob descended on these same politicians, looking to kill some of them.

    Obstructing Investigations

    As noted above, relatively quickly after the coup attempt top Republicans began to oppose first the impeachment of Trump, and then the congressional investigation of the coup. Any Republicans who didn’t go along with this came under heavy attack. Even Liz Cheney—an extremely conservative figure from a powerful Republican family—was driven from her leadership position in May because she openly condemned Trump.

    Cheney is now one of two Republicans who defied McCarthy’s effort to keep all Republicans off the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 coup; their presence in a sense makes this a “bi-partisan” committee. But more fundamentally it reveals that the right-wing neofascist Republican Party in which Liz Cheney was a star is now dead, replaced by one inspired and led by hard core fascists who hold such ideas as “bi-partisanship”—not to mention “peaceful transition of power”—in complete contempt. And that party—the vast majority of Republicans, and all of its leadership—is actively working to sabotage the House Committee’s investigation.

    A major form of this obstruction is that Trump publicly urged witnesses called by the House Select Committee investigating the coup to refuse to appear, even if subpoenaed, which is blatantly illegal4 and reduces “Congressional oversight” of the executive branch, and the rule of law itself, to a joke.

    When Steve Bannon—an all-but-open Nazi5 who has been a key advisor to Trump at various points, and who appears to have been integral to planning the coup—took Trump’s cue and openly defied his subpoena, the Select Committee recommended that the full House vote to find him in contempt and refer him to the Justice Department for prosecution. Out of 214 GOP congresspeople, only nine supported this. 202 voted against it, signifying their determination to protect the coup plotters by crippling the investigation.

    New Year's Statement by Bob Avakian

     

    Stripping People of Color of the Right to Vote, Moving Towards Empowering Republican Legislatures to Overturn Elections

    On another front, since January, Republican controlled state legislatures in 18 states have passed 33 laws aimed at suppressing voting among Black, Latino and Native people especially. For more on this, see “Republi-fascists Intensify War Against Voting by People of Color.” Some bills have also been proposed—and a few passed—that would allow Republican officials or legislatures to simply disregard the vote in districts that didn’t vote the “right” way.

    The fact that so far the most outrageous of these bills have not (yet) been passed should offer little comfort. The clear intent of all these bills is to institutionalize a different form of rule—one in which the fascists, concentrated in white rural sections of the country, are in position to overturn votes that go against them. This is a major leap towards full fascism, and they are quite determined to get there.

    In addition to these laws, these state legislatures are also redrawing congressional and legislative districts in such a way as to lock in Republican majorities for the foreseeable future. And election officials who have shown an unwillingness to go along with these and other anti-democratic moves (even Republican officials) are being forced out and replaced by more compliant operatives.

    But again, maybe these are just local extremists in places like Texas and Georgia? No! Democrats tried for nine months to get two bills passed in Congress that would counter these state laws and guarantee voting rights, and have been blocked at every turn by the Republicans. On October 20, all fifty Republican senators voted to prevent the “Freedom to Vote Act” from even being put on the floor for discussion. The chair of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, contemptuously declared that “The ‘Freedom to Cheat’ Act is another federal overreach from power-hungry Washington Democrats who have no business dictating to states how to manage their own elections.”

    Think about it—this is the entire Republican Senate delegation putting its stamp of approval on a concerted drive to functionally deprive millions of people, with a particular targeting of oppressed people, of the right to vote!

    Certifiable Lunatics and Open Fascists Take the Spotlight

    Another element of this is that hard core fascists—many with known ties to fascist, white supremacist and lunatic conspiracy groups (e.g., Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Three Percenters, QAnon) are playing an increasingly aggressive role within the halls of Congress.6 Lauren Boebert insists on carrying firearms onto the House floor and bullying “progressive” congresspeople. In the midst of the debate over holding Bannon in contempt, Marjorie Taylor Greene angrily confronted Reps. Jamie Raskin and Liz Cheney, telling Cheney “You’re done. You’re a joke, Liz.” These lunatics are not senior members with powerful committee posts, but they are increasingly and objectively setting the terms and tone in Congress, and other Republicans (and Democrats, for that matter) are adapting to that.

    And all this is in a context where the one fascist mob from January 6 has now metastasized into mini-mobs all over the country, menacing and threatening public health officials who support masks and vaccines, election officials who simply say that Trump lost the election, and education officials who want to teach children the truth about America’s unbroken record of slavery, Jim Crow and white supremacy. Even harassing parents walking their kids to school, screaming that they are child abusers because their kids are masked!

    All of this is increasingly part of a package—a cohered fascist movement behind the leadership of Donald Trump with “legal” and “extra-legal” wings that mutually support each other in the drive to beat, cheat and terrorize their way back to power—and to make sure that this time it is unrestrained power.

    This has particular relevance to Trump’s demand that everyone running for office in 2022 go along with his lie that the 2020 election was “stolen.” In doing this, he is uniting people both around himself AND around the total denial of truth.  The fact that “according to polls” Trump has gained in this since January indicates just how far this has gone since January 6.

    We will write more on this as things continue to develop. We’ll close now by noting this, from Bob Avakian’s THIS IS A RARE TIME WHEN REVOLUTION BECOMES POSSIBLE—WHY THAT IS SO, AND HOW TO SEIZE ON THIS RARE OPPORTUNITY:

    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.

    But things do not have to—and must not—remain on the terms of this system.

    THIS IS A RARE TIME WHEN REVOLUTION BECOMES POSSIBLE— by Bob Avakian

     

    _______________

    FOOTNOTES:

    1. Even if a witness has some legitimate basis to refuse to testify (like the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination) they still have to show up. Failure to appear is contempt of Congress, potentially carrying a penalty of up to a year in jail and $100,000 fine. [back]

    2. See “The Fascist Resumé of Trump’s Chief Strategist Steve Bannon” [back]

    3. Including, Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz; Representatives Louie Gohmert, Lauren Boebert, Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz. [back]

  • ARTICLE:

    Joe Veale’s Tribute to Former Black Panther Party Member Terry Cotton

    Terry Cotton has died. Terry was a good friend of mine, a very good friend of revolution, of the Revcoms.

    As former members of the Black Panther Party (BPP), in January 2017 Terry and I wrote a letter calling on everyone to take up the call of Refuse Fascism to say NO! to a fascist America.

    Terry Cotton in 1969

     

    Terry Cotton, 1969    Photo: Jerry Teller

    Though he had little money Terry would send what he could to support the work the revcoms were doing in developing a movement for revolution amongst those who catches the hardest hell from this system in Chicago and Los Angeles—Terry knew we are building this revolution nationwide—amongst all sections of the people—to overthrow this system—he was excited about this and it would bring out the best in him.

    Though he was on the other side of the digital divide, Terry would make it to Revolution Books in Berkeley or receive material through the postal service that he would take out to different sections of the people in the Bay Area—and at his work place.

    Terry had tremendous respect for Bob Avakian (BA). From back in the day and most especially for what BA has continued to do—for the revolutionary communist leader he has become.

    He would regularly ask for writings by Bob Avakian to read and study and to share with others.

    He would call in reporting on different response he would get. He would make new plans to spread what he was learning further.

    Terry made a statement and gave money to the Revolution Tour. 

    The last materials he received were A Declaration, A Call To Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution from the revcoms and This Is A Rare Time When Revolution Becomes Possible—Why That Is So, And How To Seize On This Rare Opportunity by BA.

    He was planning to send money so that more copies of these materials could be printed before his health took a sudden turn.

    From the Revcoms: A Declaration, A Call to Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution

     

    Terry joined the BPP in the 1960s. He was with a group of Panthers who one night in 1968 were collecting food for a picnic they were having the following day.

    They were stopped by the Oakland pigs who riddled 17-year-old Bobby Hutton's body with bullets—killing him—as he was ordered by these murdering pigs to walk toward a police car with his hands up. Terry and others who survived faced a number of trumped-up charges. 

    Even though I had not seen Terry in decades, we stayed in touch over the phone. No matter what city I was in I would get a call from him.

    I always enjoyed talking with him because he still had so much enthusiasm for revolution.

    Revolution continued to burn deep in his belly.

    He refused to live content on what we had did in the ’60s.

    He knew we had unfinished business to tend to.

    Though we did not see eye to eye on everything about revolution...

    Though his health was rapidly fading—Terry was inspired and made stronger by the revolutionary activity of the revcoms—he did all he could to support this revolution, the revcoms, and BA.

    Terry Cotton
    ¡PRESENTE!

    THIS IS A RARE TIME WHEN REVOLUTION BECOMES POSSIBLE— by Bob Avakian

     

    Terry Cotton's statement of support for the National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour:

    April 19, 2020

    Dear friends and comrades,

    I was one of the first members of the Black Panther Party, along with Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. I was with Lil’ Bobby Hutton when he was murdered by the Oakland Police Department on April 6, 1968. This was two days after Martin Luther King was murdered. About 50 Panther members were murdered due to their political beliefs and activities between 1968 and 1970. The book Reappraisal of the Black Panther Party: Selected Essays for the 21st Century by J. Vern Cromartie has my story and photo in there.

    I want to do what I can to support you all for the National Tour for an Actual Revolution. We did a lot of programs in the Black Panther Party. We organized. I will send what donation I can when me and my wife are able to. But I want to call on others now, especially people who have the means and money to do so, to contribute to this movement for an actual revolution. I had met Joe Veale of the RCP at a BPP reunion in Oakland some years back and I have some of Bob Avakian’s writings and books.

    We got to get the message out about the need to organize for this movement for revolution. We need to keep it real.

    All Power to the People,

    Terry Cotton, ex-BPP member

  • ARTICLE:

    Cheers to San Francisco’s Riordan High School Students for Walking Out During Anti-abortion Assembly

    From a reader:

    On Friday, October 22, hundreds of students of all genders at Archbishop Riordan High School2 in San Francisco walked out of a presentation being given by an anti-abortion speaker. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that only “a few dozen of the school’s 800 students remained in the theater for the entire presentation.”3

    Claire Iballo, a senior, said, “It’s been so hard to go from an environment of female empowerment to someone telling me what I can do and can’t do with my body.”

    The Chronicle reported that “Ashley Coleman, a senior, said she was compelled to walk out when (the speaker) began comparing the number of abortions in the U.S. to deaths in the Holocaust.”

    This righteous walkout of hundreds of high school students comes at a time when the right for women to choose to have an abortion is under attack across the nation, has effectively been abolished in Texas, and there is a distinct possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn its Roe v. Wade decision that constitutionally protects abortions.4

    Forced Motherhood Is Female Enslavement!

    Abortion on Demand and Without Apology!

    _______________

    FOOTNOTES:

    1. Riordan High School is a coed Catholic high school. [back]

    2. “SF’s Riordan High students walk out during anti-abortion assembly,” San Francisco Chronicle, October 22, 2021 [back]

    3. Toni Redtree, Michelle Xai and Sam Goldman on the Abortion Rights Emergency [back]

  • ARTICLE:

    Torture and Death in NYC Jails

    Fourteen people have died in New York City’s jails this year—the deadliest count since 2016. Most of the 14 deaths happened in the Rikers Island jail, known for especially brutal and horrific treatment of prisoners. The huge Rikers complex is located on an island in the East River between the Bronx and Queens. Most people held at Rikers have NOT been convicted of any crime and are there simply because they cannot afford bail.

    Four of the deaths in NYC jails occurred in the last two months, in September and October:

    • 58-year-old Anthony Scott had autism and struggled with mental illness. He was accused of punching a nurse in the face, was arraigned on an assault charge, held on $15,000 cash bail, and was waiting to be transferred to Rikers Island. He was found hanging in a holding pen in the Manhattan Criminal Court, taken to the hospital, and taken off life support on October 19.
    • 64-year-old Victor Mercado died at Rikers on October 15. He had been at Rikers since July after being arrested on gun charges, unable to pay his bail. Mercado had serious health problems, had contracted COVID, was in a wheelchair and spent most of his time at Rikers in the infirmary.
    • 24-year-old Stephen Khadu died on a city jail barge near Rikers on September 22 after suffering seizures. Pamela Roth, an attorney for Khadu’s family, says he had ingested too much of a chemical spray known as “Selbuster,” used by guards against prisoners. Roth says guards failed to give Khadu any medical attention.
    • 42-year-old Isa Abdul-Karim died at Rikers on September 19. He was in Rikers for minor parole violations and died days before he was to be considered for release. Karim’s partner, Felicia Huff Bullock, says he told her, “They’re not feeding us… They are treating us like animals; worse than animals.” Karim had contracted COVID-19 in the intake “bullpen” and then fell in the shower. He complained of chest pain but got no medical care.
    Isa Abdul-Karim died in Rikers Island jail, NY

     

    Isa Abdul-Karim died in Rikers Island jail, NY   

    Stephen Khadu died on a jail barge near Rikers Island jail.

     

    Stephen Khadu died on a jail barge near Rikers Island jail.   

    Victor Mercado died at Rikers Island jail.

     

    Victor Mercado died at Rikers Island jail.   

    Anthony Scott died at Manhattan Criminal Court.

     

    Anthony Scott died at Manhattan Criminal Court.   

    Deadly Conditions at Rikers Island

    Rikers held over 20,000 prisoners in the early 1990s. This went down to 12,000 in 2010. Then in 2020, due to the rampant spread of COVID, hundreds were released, bringing the number of prisoners to below 4,000. But Rikers’ population has now gone back up to nearly 6,000.

    In 2017, after protest and outcry the City Council voted to close Rikers, and Mayor de Blasio said it would close within 10 years, to be replaced with smaller jails. But even if Rikers closes on schedule, this would mean at least six more years of thousands being subjected to hellish brutality every day.

    People are supposed to spend only 24 hours in jail intake areas but are often held there for weeks, forced to defecate into plastic bags, fight over clean spots on the floor, and deprived of adequate food, showers, or medicine. Overcrowded and inhumane conditions create a situation where violent incidents among prisoners break out—170 percent more in August 2021 than August 2020. One man said after being jailed at Rikers, “It looks like a slave ship in there…. People were laying beside each other all the way up to the wall, under the bench, and all the way up to the bars.”

    Rikers was supposedly designed for prisoners to stay short term before being transferred to state prisons or serving a short sentence. But as of May 2021, officials said that more than 900 people at Rikers had been there for over 600 days, and more than 1,600 people, have been there for more than a year.

    An article in the New York Times about Rikers says, “If there’s a hell on earth, it’s in the middle of the East River” and describes a situation of chaos, with prisoners seizing control of entire units and guards participating in beatings or standing by as violence breaks out. One guard was charged with providing a razor blade to a prisoner to use as a weapon against another prisoner.

    The brutal and deadly conditions in NYC jails are not an exception to the rule. Groups like the ACLU have documented similar cruel, inhuman, and degrading conditions in jails and prisons across this country.7

    Millions of people in prison and jail dungeons in the U.S. are subjected to a living “hell on earth.” This is a product of the system of capitalism-imperialism, a system under which the masses of people are treated as just so much “material” to exploit for profits or to be discarded if they are considered not “useful”—a system where millions are locked up and brutalized to maintain control and a status quo of oppression and exploitation.

    __________

    Sources:

    N.Y.C. Jail Deaths Climb to 14 as Detainee Is Taken Off Life Support,” Jan Ransom, New York Times, October 18, 2021

    ‘Abject neglect’: critics report chaotic and deadly conditions on Rikers Island,” Erum Salam, Guardian, October 19, 2021

    Rikers Inmate-to-Be Dies by Suicide as New Report Raises Alarm on Ongoing Jail Crisis,” NBC News, October 19, 2021

    A Rikers Island inmate with coronavirus was granted emergency release. He died that afternoon,” Paulina Villegas, Washington Post, October 18, 2021

    Rikers Island and the Shapeshifting Monster of Reform,” Kelly Hayes, Truthout, October 21, 2021

    Inside Rikers: Dysfunction, Lawlessness and Detainees in Control,” Jan Ransom, Jonah E. Bromwich, and Rebecca Davis O’Brien, New York Times, October 18, 2021

    _______________

    FOOTNOTES:

    1. See, for example, ACLU website page on Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Conditions in prisons. [back]

  • ARTICLE:

    Flyer for Promoting BA's Works

    The National Revolution Tour is distributing this flyer among different sections of people (on the backs of flyers with local information and how to get organized for revolution). What's here is just a small selection of BA's recent works. Write to us at getorganizedforrevolutiontour@gmail.com for a Canva link if you'd like to put in different articles based on who you're trying to reach and what questions you want to provoke.