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Articles in this issue (scroll down or click to read article below):

  • In This Issue… May 27, 2024
  • Follow Bob Avakian (BA) on social media!
  • VIDEO:

    Revcom Corps Bay Area - Join Us! Summer 2024
  • International Court Seeks Warrant Against Netan-Nazi for War Crimes, and Genocide Joe Rushes to Defend Him
  • VIDEO:

    Interview with Alan Goodman: Gaza Cut in Two & Starved to Death by Israel/U.S.
  • In the Face of Repression and Slander, Students Refuse to Back Down in Protest Against the U.S.-Israeli Genocide of Palestinians

    “We now face only two choices: silence or resistance.”

     

  • A Crucial Crossroads in the Struggle to STOP the U.S.-Israeli Genocide of Palestinians… A Historic Moment in the WorldHow Do We Go Forward?

    —A contribution from the Revcom Corps for the Emancipation of Humanity

  • From the Revcom Corps for the Emancipation of Humanity, Los Angeles:

    To the Students Standing Up to STOP the U.S./Israeli Genocide of the Palestinians!What You've Accomplished & What's Needed Now
  • T-Shirt Drive: Donate $100 to support the Revcom Corps for the Emancipation of Humanity
  • Ukraine Alert! Russia Begins Nuclear War Exercises,U.S. Moves Toward Direct Confrontation Between Nuclear-Armed Forces 
  • Prisoner Writes on Discovering Revolution and Bob Avakian in the Prison Library
  • Heat Records Smashed on Land and Sea: The Planet Is BOILING Because of the Capitalist-Imperialist System!ONLY Revolution Offers a Future for the Planet and Humanity!
  • SHAME! What the fuck is Barbara Kingsolver doing at the White House?
  • A Call From Revolution Books, Harlem...

    Stop the Execution of Iranian Rapper TOOMAJ

    Stand With Those Risking All for a Whole New World

  • The Sudden Death of Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi: What It Does and Doesn’t Mean for the People of Iran
  • From Atash/Fire #150, Journal of the Communist Party of Iran, Marxist-Leninist-Maoist

    The Reality of Communism

     Part 8: Democracy under Socialism

  • VIDEO

    ISRAEL/US STARVE & CUT GAZA IN TWO, Biden Sends A Billion For Arms, Protests Continue...

    Episode 197 of The RNL — Revolution, Nothing Less! — Show

  • From the Revcoms (Revolutionary Communists)

    REVOLUTIONBUILDING UP THE BASIS TO GO FOR THE WHOLE THING, WITH A REAL CHANCE TO WIN:STRATEGIC ORIENTATION AND PRACTICAL APPROACH
  • A Message to the Revcoms and Everyone Else Yearning for a Better World

    THIS Is A “Game-Changer”: The Bob Avakian Interviews

    Part One

  • A Message to the Revcoms and Everyone Else Yearning for a Better World

    THIS Is A “Game-Changer”: The Bob Avakian Interviews

    Part 2: Build a NATIONAL Movement

  • A Message to the Revcoms and Everyone Else Yearning for a Better World

    THIS Is A “Game-Changer”: The Bob Avakian Interviews

    Part 3: Key Relationships: Getting the Dynamics Right

  • A Message to the Revcoms and Everyone Else Yearning for a Better World

    THIS Is A “Game-Changer”: The Bob Avakian Interviews

    Part Four: Once More on Important Relations and Dynamics

  • Real Revolution, In This Time:What the Powers-That-Be Don't Want You to Know

    A series of social media dispatches from Bob Avakian

  • 2024 SCENARIOS (A SKETCH), AND THE CHALLENGES
  • U.S. CONSTITUTION: AN EXPLOITERS’ VISION OF FREEDOM—ADDED NOTES (AND BRIEF INTRODUCTION)
  • From The RNL Show:

    Bob Avakian on Why He Wrote the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America
  • SOMETHING TERRIBLE,OR SOMETHING TRULY EMANCIPATING:Profound Crisis, Deepening Divisions,The Looming Possibility Of Civil War—And The Revolution That Is Urgently Needed

    A Necessary Foundation, A Basic Roadmap For This Revolution

  • REVOLUTION IS POSSIBLETHIS RARE TIME MUST BE SEIZED

    Important excerpts from “Something Terrible, Or Something Truly Emancipating”*

  • REVOLUTION: MAJOR TURNING POINTS AND RARE OPPORTUNITIES

    Or... Why did Lenin talk about World War 1 as a “stage manager” of revolution?...

    And why did Mao say, We should thank Japan for invading China?

  • REVOLUTION: A REAL CHANCE TO WIN

    Part 1: We Are Serious

  • REVOLUTION: A REAL CHANCE TO WIN

    Part 2: A Scientifically Based Strategy

  • REVOLUTION: A REAL CHANCE TO WIN

    Part 3: Civil War and Revolution

  • REVOLUTION: A REAL CHANCE TO WIN

    Part 4: Hard Core Youth and the Revolution

  • REVOLUTION: A REAL CHANCE TO WIN

    Part 5: Winning and Winning

  • Organizing for an Actual Revolution:7 Key Points
  • BOB AVAKIAN: A RADICALLY DIFFERENT LEADER—A WHOLE NEW FRAMEWORK FOR HUMAN EMANCIPATION

    Bob Avakian (BA) is the most important political thinker and leader in the world today.

  • THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS “TOTALITARIANISM”

    “Totalitarianism” is a thoroughly unscientific—or, really, anti-scientific—“theory” concocted and promoted by intellectual apologists of this system of capitalism-imperialism.

  • Resource Page on the Genocidal Assault on Palestine — And Israel as an Enforcer of Imperialism
  • Genocide Joe Lies, Palestinians Die, as Israeli Invasion Turns Rafah into a Death Camp
  • PUTTING AN END TO EXPLOITATION,AND ALL OPPRESSION
  • EXPLOITATION: WHAT IT IS,HOW TO PUT AN END TO IT
  • Killer Mike, Ice Cube,

    WHY CAPITALIST PROGRAMS and BOURGEOIS ASPIRATIONS CANNOT LEAD TO LIBERATIONandWHY WE NEED A REAL REVOLUTION
  • From the International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners Now (IEC)

    Death Sentence for Toomaj Still Stands: Voices Worldwide Rise Against Execution Surge of Iran’s Political and Other Prisoners
  • From the International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners Now (IEC)

    Amidst Theocrats’ Executions RampageGlobal Outcry Grows: Free Toomaj and All Iran’s Political Prisoners
  • From Atash/Fire #143 

    Journal of the Communist Party of Iran, Marxist-Leninist-Maoist

    The Reality of CommunismBourgeois Democracy Means Class Dictatorship of the Bourgeoisie 

    Part 1

  • From Atash/Fire #144, Journal of the Communist Party of Iran, Marxist-Leninist-Maoist

    The Reality of CommunismThe Reality of Democracy and the Ideal of Democracy

    Part 2

  • From Atash/Fire #145, Journal of the Communist Party of Iran, Marxist-Leninist-Maoist

    The Reality of Communism Democracy and Freedom of Expression—The Economic Base Is the Decisive Factor!

    Part 3       

  • From Atash/Fire #146, Journal of the Communist Party of Iran, Marxist-Leninist-Maoist

    The Reality of Communism What Is Social Democracy and Why Is It a Capitalist Dictatorship?

    Part 4 

  • From Atash/Fire #147, journal of the Communist Party of Iran, Marxist-Leninist-Maoist

    The Reality of CommunismRevisionist Democracy: Socialism in Name, Capitalism in Essence

    Part 5 

  • From Atash/Fire #148, Journal of the Communist Party of Iran, Marxist-Leninist-Maoist

    THE REALITY OF COMMUNISMTotalitarianism: A Yardstick That Cannot Measure Reality 

    Part 6

  • From Atash/Fire #149, Journal of the Communist Party of Iran, Marxist-Leninist-Maoist

    The Reality of CommunismPracticing Democracy, Practicing Compromise with the Status Quo

    Part 7

  • The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show Podcast!!

    A PODCAST for a time when revolution has become more possible...

  • On Democratic Centralism Scientifically Understanding, and Changing the World

    From SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION 
    On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian 
    An Interview with Ardea Skybreak 

  • Raymond Lotta Talk Provokes Spirited Discussion

    Bringing the New Communism to Berklee College of Music
  • The BIG Problem with Netflix 3 Body Problem: Anti-Communist Distortion and Fatalism in a World That Cries Out for the New Communist Revolution
  • The Revcoms Called Out Timothy Snyder's Lies About Communism...Now Yale Wants to Shut Down the Needed Debate...Unchain Your Mind, Join the Revolution for a Whole New World
  • Full Announcement:

    THE RAYMOND LOTTA FALL CAMPUS SPEAKING TOURYou’ve Been Lied To! The First Communist Revolutions Were Liberating...The NEW Communist Revolution Will Be Far Better
  • What is that? Who said that? Say what?
  • ALLEGIANCE
  • ALLEGIANCE: A Special RNL Show Dispatch
  • BOB AVAKIAN FOR THE LIBERATION OF BLACK PEOPLEAND THE EMANCIPATION OF ALL HUMANITY
  • American Crime Case #12: The 1921 Tulsa Massacre and the Destruction of Black Wall Street
  • A Resource Page:

    The Oppression of Black People & the Revolutionary Struggle to End All Oppression
  • RACIAL OPPRESSIONCAN BE ENDED—BUT NOT UNDER THIS SYSTEM
  • Minstrels for Trump
  • IMPORTANT NOTICE:Nominations Now Open for Bootlickers Hall of Shame
  • Rich and Lively Engagement About “‘Woke’ Lunacy vs. Real Revolution” at Two Universities in North Carolina

    A Letter from a Professor 

  • “Woke” Lunacy vs. Real Revolution National Tour Hits Houston
  • “WOKE” IS A DESTRUCTIVE FORCEin the political, intellectual, artistic and ethical life of society
  • VIDEO:

    “Woke” Lunacy Vs. Real Revolution — Sunsara Taylor Speaks at UCLA
  • BASKETBALL AND BIG QUESTIONS

    The Caitlin Clark Controversy—Greats, “Greatest of All Time,” White Stars in a “Black Sport,” Racism and the Fight Against it, and the Kind of World We Should Strive to Have

  • THE TRIALS OF FASCIST DONALD TRUMP,AND THE CRIMINAL NATURE OF THIS WHOLE SYSTEM

    Or: Don’t Be Played for Suckers by Trump’s Posturing, or the Democrats’ Posing as Defenders of Justice—We Need a Revolution and a Fundamentally Different and Far Better System

  • CAPITALISTS, ANTI-COMMUNISTS:BLATANT HYPOCRISY,GLARING CONTRADICTION
  • GOD, PREJUDICE, OPPRESSION, TERRORAND THE WAY OUT OF THIS MADNESS

    Oppressed people who are unable or unwilling to confront reality as it actually is, are condemned to remain enslaved and oppressed.

  • STATE OF EMERGENCY:CHAINS ON PEOPLEWHO DESPERATELY NEED TO BE FREE

    A message from Bob Avakian, revolutionary leader, author and architect of a whole new framework for human emancipation: the new communism

  • VIDEO:

    STATE OF EMERGENCY: CHAINS ON PEOPLE WHO DESPERATELY NEED TO BE FREE, By Bob Avakian
  • A point in response to the (all too common) carping—especially from among people in “the educated middle class”—about our “promotion of one leader”:
  • “Cult”—An Ignorant and Cowardly Slander
  • Bob Avakian Speaks to “Cult”: A Ridiculous, Ignorant, and Irresponsible Accusation

    We Are Applying a Scientific Method and Approach to Understanding, and Transforming, the World To Emancipate Humanity

  • SCIENTIFIC COMMUNIST THEORYAND THE PROBLEM WITH “MASS LINE”
  • ANTI-SCIENTIFIC “ANTI-AUTHORITARIANISM”Serving American Imperialism and Promoting American Chauvinism
  • Reality and Distortions of Reality—Objective Truth and Subjective Influences
  • Translated into English, by revcom.us, from the blog Aurora Roja, of the Revolutionary Communist Organization, Mexico:

    REVOLUTIONARY HOPE

    New Possibilities Are Opening Up for Liberatory Revolution In the Midst of Acute Crises and Upheavals of the Capitalist System — It Is Urgent to Organize the Fight For Revolution

    Revolutionary Communist Organization, Mexico

  • STOP The Patriarchal Degradation, Dehumanization, and Subjugation of All Women Everywhere, and All Oppression Based on Gender or Sexual Orientation!
  • STOP Wars of Empire, Armies of Occupation, and Crimes Against Humanity!
  • STOP The Demonization, Criminalization and Deportations of Immigrants and the Militarization of the Border!
  • Capitalism-Imperialism Is Destroying the Planet...Only Revolution Gives Humanity a Real Chance to Save It

    “...we have two choices: either, live with all this—and condemn future generations to the same, or worse, if they have a future at all—ormake revolution!

    —Bob Avakian

  • ARTICLE:

    In This Issue… May 27, 2024

    Table of Contents 

    NEW This Week:  

    Bob Avakian on Social Media
    The Revcom Corps for the Emancipation of Humanity
    Palestine
    Featured

    Repression, Resistance and the Potential for Revolution in Iran

    Latest episode of The RNLRevolution, Nothing Less!—Show on YouTube:
    [video] U.S./Israel Starve and Cut Gaza in Two, Biden Sends a Billion for Arms, Protests Continue...

     

    Also Available at Revcom.us Home Page

    From the Revcoms (Revolutionary Communists):
    REVOLUTION
    BUILDING UP THE BASIS TO GO FOR THE WHOLE THING, WITH A REAL CHANCE TO WIN
    STRATEGIC ORIENTATION AND PRACTICAL APPROACH
    Read/PDF for pamphlet version

    A major declaration from the revcoms:
    WE NEED AND WE DEMAND:
    A WHOLE NEW WAY TO LIVE,
    A FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT SYSTEM 
    In the name of the people… In the name of humanity…
    We Declare and Demand:
    The Existing Capitalist-Imperialist System And Institutions Of Government In This Country Must Be Abolished And Dismantled—And Replaced By A New, Socialist System Based On The CONSTITUTION FOR THE NEW SOCIALIST REPUBLIC IN NORTH AMERICA

    WE ARE THE REVCOMS (REVOLUTIONARY COMMUNISTS): WE ARE WORKING FOR A REAL REVOLUTION AND A WHOLE NEW, EMANCIPATING WAY TO LIVE
    Read the text of proclamation issued May 1, 2023
    Get PDFs of the broadsheet for printing: Cover/Back/Centerfold

    Climate Devastation... Nuclear War Threatened... The Direct Danger of All-Out Fascism... Times Like These Demand a Revolutionary Answer
    THE BOB AVAKIAN INTERVIEWS
    on The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show 

    Bob Avakian on Social Media

    2024 SCENARIOS (A SKETCH), AND THE CHALLENGES, by Bob Avakian, Revolutionary Leader, Author of the New Communism

    Two Systems. Two Constitutions. Two Futures.

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

    REVOLUTION: MAJOR TURNING POINTS AND RARE OPPORTUNITIES
    Or... Why did Lenin talk about World War 1 as a “stage manager” of revolution?...
    And why did Mao say, We should thank Japan for invading China? by Bob Avakian

    REVOLUTION: A REAL CHANCE TO WIN, by Bob Avakian
    Part One: We Are Serious
    Part Two: A Scientifically Based Strategy
    Part Three: Civil War and Revolution
    Part Four: Hard Core Youth and the Revolution
    Part Five: Winning and Winning
    PDF of pamphlet with all five parts

    Organizing for an Actual Revolution: 7 Key Points 

    BOB AVAKIAN: A RADICALLY DIFFERENT LEADER—A WHOLE NEW FRAMEWORK FOR HUMAN EMANCIPATION
    Bob Avakian (BA) is the most important political thinker and leader in the world today.

    THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS "TOTALITARIANISM"
    “Totalitarianism” is a thoroughly unscientific—or, really, anti-scientific—“theory” concocted and promoted by intellectual apologists of this system of capitalism-imperialism.
    by Bob Avakian

    New compilation from The Bob Avakian Institute: Israel and Palestine, the Middle East and U.S. Imperialism, the Revolution Humanity Needs: A selection of writings from Bob Avakian

    THE REVCOM CORPS
    For The Emancipation Of Humanity
    "WE ARE WORKING FOR A REAL REVOLUTION AND A WHOLE NEW EMANCIPATING WAY TO LIVE"

    Stop the U.S.-Backed Israeli Genocidal War Against Palestine!
    The Palestinian People Must Be Free!

    Down With the Racist Apartheid State of Israel and Its Master, U.S. Imperialism!

    Stop the Repression, Censorship and Blacklisting of Pro-Palestinian Voices!

    From the Imperialist USA to Palestine The People Need Real Revolution Based on the New Communism!

    These two articles by Bob Avakian on exploitation—and putting an end to exploitation and oppression— contain a very concentrated and popularized understanding of basic essentials as to what this capitalist-imperialist system actually is, and what it actually rests on, why it has to be overthrown and replaced by a socialist system aiming for a communist world, and what are essential elements of that new society and world.

    Killer Mike, Ice Cube, WHY CAPITALIST PROGRAMS and BOURGEOIS ASPIRATIONS CANNOT LEAD TO LIBERATION and WHY WE NEED A REAL REVOLUTION 

    Repression, Resistance and the Potential for Revolution in Iran

    The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show

    On Democratic Centralism 
    Scientifically Understanding, and Changing the World
    From SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION: On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian. An Interview with Ardea Skybreak

    The Communist Revolution So Badly Needed... vs. the Anti-Communist Brainwash You're Getting

    Featured from Bob Avakian

    Posters: What is that? Who said that? Say what? Provoke. Inspire. Drive people to Bob Avakian on social media: @BobAvakianOfficial and the BA Interviews on The RNL Show 

    ALLEGIANCE 

    "There would be no United States as we now know it today without slavery. That is a simple and basic truth." Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:1

    Bootlickers Gallery

    “Woke” Is a Destructive Force

     
    BASKETBALL AND BIG QUESTIONS

    The Caitlin Clark Controversy
    Greats, "Greatest of all Time,"
    White Stars in a "Black Sport,"
    Racism and the Fight Against It,
    And the Kind of World We Should Strive to Have
    by Bob Avakian—revolutionary leader, author and architect of the new communism,
    and a passionate fan of basketball

    On the Need to Break the Mental Shackles

    State of Emergency

    A point in response to the (all too common) carping—especially from among people in "the educated middle class"—about our "promotion of one leader"

    "Cult"—An Ignorant and Cowardly Slander

    Bob Avakian Speaks to "Cult": A Ridiculous, Ignorant and Irresponsible Accusation

    SCIENTIFIC COMMUNIST THEORY AND THE PROBLEM WITH “MASS LINE,” by Bob Avakian

    ANTI-SCIENTIFIC “ANTI-AUTHORITARIANISM”: Serving American Imperialism and Promoting American Chauvinism, by Bob Avakian (Download PDF pamphlet)

    Reality and Distortions of Reality—Objective Truth and Subjective Influences, by Ardea Skybreak

    Revolutionary Hope/La esperanza revolucionaria, Revolutionary Communist Organization, Mexico

    5 Stopsfive horrific forms of oppression that this system can’t reform away. Learn more:

     

  • ARTICLE:

    Follow Bob Avakian (BA) on social media!

    Updated

    REVOLUTION 45: More on the crucial question of why this is a “rare time” when revolution is not only urgently necessary but more possible—yes, right in this powerful imperialist country
    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 44: Israel’s continuing genocide against Palestinians—and Joe Biden’s continuing support for this genocide
    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 43: What should be “centered” is scientifically-based truth, and in particular the scientifically-based truth regarding the fundamental interests of the masses of humanity: the need and the basis for a thoroughgoing, emancipating revolution.
    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 42: Imperialism—and Imperialist War: What is, and is not, its fundamental motivation, nature and role, and how it can be finally ended.
    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 41: The fundamental problem we are dealing with is not “white, hetero-normative patriarchy.”
    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 40: “Decolonization”...and revolution.
    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 39: The history of the USA is not just a history of white people exploiting and oppressing non-white people.
    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 38: “Anti-Capitalist”—But Don’t Know What Capitalism Is.
    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 37: Mindless Anti-Communism and Mindless Accusations of “Cult”: Brainwashing to Shut Down Critical Thinking and Fundamental Opposition to this Monstrous System.
    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 36: More Big Lies From Genocide Joe Biden.
    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 35: Ending Apartheid as Part of Ending All Oppression—South Africa is Not a “Model.”
    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 34: Why Israel actually built up Hamas.
    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 33: The powerful positive experience of the 1960s movement—the crucial importance of uniting broadly against injustice and atrocity, with open-minded engagement of different ideas and programs...

    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 32: “Outside Agitators”!—The Cry of Lynch Mob Southern Segregationists— Echoed Today by College Administrators, Politicians of the Ruling Class and its Media Mouthpieces.

    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 31: More disgusting hypocrisy: The biggest bigots, the blatantly racist Trumpite fascists, are now posturing as opponents of anti-Jewish bigotry!

    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 30: Brutal Repression and Blatant Hypocrisy from the Powers-That-Be

    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 29: Capitalism, “brand,” “ownership” and the putrid culture of a parasitic empire.

    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTON 28: An answer to typically lazy and dishonest “snark”
    The "Notes on Political Economy" BA mentions in this dispatch is available here.
    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 27: The Fight for Free Speech, as a Crucial Part of Fighting to Put an End to Terrible Injustice and Atrocity—And to the System That is the Source of These Outrages
    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 26: Crime and Anti-Immigrant Racism
    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 25: High Level Basketball, Opposition to Racism and Other Injustice...And Bigotry in the Name of Religion—Or, Does Dawn Staley Really Want To Be Known As “Taliban Dawn?”

    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 24: Is America a racist country?

    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 23:  Truth is...Truth

    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 22: The Communist Revolution and the Radical Change in Supposedly Unchanging “Human Nature.”

    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 21: There is no such thing as "human nature."

    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 20: Haiti—Horrible Suffering, More Horrific Crimes by U.S. Imperialism.

    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 19: Yes, a radically different and much better world really is possible!

    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 18:  The U.S.—moving toward a "more perfect union?"

    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 17: American Exceptionalism:  further exposing the reality behind the myth

    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 16: Fairy Tales and Real Monsters: America, the myth... and the reality

    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 15: AMERICA: Truly a Model of DEPRAVED RACIST GENOCIDE

    Read more
    Close

    Break The Chains—Unleash The Fury Of Women As A Mighty Force For Revolution! A Special Message
    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 14: What is really to blame for women dying with their children trying to cross the border?
    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 13: "The Super Bowl—and super bad ways of thinking and acting, doing real harm"
    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 12: Madness—and getting beyond all this madness
    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 11: "... the overall developing situation... and revolution..."
    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 10: "Yes, a revolution, to overthrow this system... could win."
    Read more
    Close

    A Special Message: F*CK Snoop Dogg!
    Read more
    Close

    Breaking News

    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 9: "For a revolution to succeed... there must be three basic conditions"
    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 8:  "Revolution... it could happen... right here and right in this time..."
    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 7: Why is the U.S. supporting Israel's genocidal slaughter of Palestinians?
    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 6: Answering the arguments... that try to "justify" the genocidal slaughter of Palestinians
    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 5: Israel and Palestine: a terrible ironic twist of history
    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 4: “Why should I care about Palestine when we've got problems here?”
    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 3: "USA... number one imperialist oppressor"
    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 2: When has the USA been a "great" country?
    Read more
    Close

    REVOLUTION 1: "...those of you who are not afraid of the truth..."
    Read more
    Close

    As BA says in his first social media post, REVOLUTION — NUMBER ONE:
    “...those of you who are not afraid of the truth:
    get ready for messages coming at you...”

    Hear the truth that BA is bringing. Spread the word in real life, and online.
    Get people to follow BA on any and all platforms. Dig into serious discussion and debate... and stay tuned!

    Substack, Instagram, Facebook, X, Telegram, Threads, TikTok, WhatsApp and YouTube

    Download and print these flyers and pamphlets of social media posts:
    REAL REVOLUTION, IN THIS TIME: What the Powers-That-Be Don't Want You to Know.  @BAOfficial REVOLUTION 1-11
    REVOLUTION 17: Further exposing the reality behind the myth of “American exceptionalism”: the ridiculous and outrageous notion that there is something exceptionally good about this country and its “great American democracy”
    REVOLUTION #21 and #22: “There is no such thing as human nature” and 
    “The Communist Revolution and the Radical Change in Supposedly Unchanging ‘Human Nature’”
    REVOLUTION 27: The Fight for Free Speech, as a Crucial Part of Fighting to Put an End to Terrible Injustice and Atrocity—And to the System That is the Source of These Outrages
     REVOLUTION 30: Brutal Repression and Blatant Hypocrisy from the Powers-That-Be
    REVOLUTION 31: More disgusting hypocrisy: The biggest bigots, the blatantly racist Trumpite fascists, are now posturing as opponents of anti-Jewish bigotry...
    REVOLUTION 32: “Outside Agitators”!—The Cry of Lynch Mob Southern Segregationists— Echoed Today by College Administrators, Politicians of the Ruling Class and its Media Mouthpieces.
    REVOLUTION 33: The powerful positive experience of the 1960s movement—the crucial importance of uniting broadly against injustice and atrocity, with open-minded engagement of different ideas and programs, and principled debate over differences.
    REVOLUTION 34: Why Israel actually built up Hamas
    Spread the word about @bobavakianofficial with these flyers:
    Spread these designs from a revcom volunteer. Feel free to make other designs and provocations and send to getorganizedforrevolutiontour@gmail.com.
    See all designs >>
  • ARTICLE:

    VIDEO:

    Revcom Corps Bay Area - Join Us! Summer 2024

  • ARTICLE:

    International Court Seeks Warrant Against Netan-Nazi for War Crimes, and Genocide Joe Rushes to Defend Him

    Thousands of Palestinians wait for aid trucks to cross into central Gaza Strip, May 19, 2024.

     

    Palestinians wait for aid trucks to cross into central Gaza Strip, May 19, 2024.    Photo: AP/Abdel Kareem Hana

    News flash:

    Just hours after the Israeli Knesset (the national legislative body) approved a preliminary decision calling UNRWA (the main UN aid distribution organization for Palestinian refugees) a “terrorist organization,” Israel bombed a camp for displaced people in Rafah. The camp—near the UNRWA logistics base—was a densely packed gathering of tents where tens of thousands of desperate human beings were sheltering. Human beings who were forced into what Israel said was a "safe zone"!!

    As of this writing, over 35 people are confirmed dead, with many more injured and/or unaccounted for. Many were burned alive in the bombings. To look at the pictures is to weep with rage.

    The irony of committing such a genocidal crime after accusing a humanitarian relief organization of terrorism is too obscene to comment on. But this is not only a horror, a truly terrible thing in its own right; it almost certainly signals, along with the designation of UNRWA as “terrorist,” a further descent into unimaginable depths of cruelty. 

    This must—and can only—be stopped by massive outrage.

    Current Circumstances in Rafah: 
    A lethal massacre is unfolding against displaced civilians near the UNRWA logistics base in Tal Al-Sultan, located in the western part of Rafah. Israeli aircraft have shelled several tents in this area, resulting in numerous martyrs and casualties. Many have been transported to the Tal Al-Sultan clinic and the field hospitals near the sea of Rafah. At present, numerous individuals remain stuck under the flames and in the tents destroyed by the bombardment. 
    It is important to note that this location was classified by the Israeli occupation as a humanitarian area, and citizens were coerced into evacuating to it. Credit: Instagram/@mohammed_qndeel1

    ***

    On May 20, Karim Khan, a prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC), after months of investigation, filed an application for warrants charging Israel’s prime minister Netanyahu (Netan-Nazi) and minister of defense, Yoav Gallant, with seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. (The ICC also brought charges against three Hamas leaders for extermination, murder, taking of hostages, rape and sexual assault in detention.)1

    These crimes include “starvation of civilians as a method of warfare” and “extermination and murder [of civilians]… in the context of deaths caused by starvation.” The ICC stated that as a result, over a million people in Gaza are facing “catastrophic hunger” that is already killing “babies, other children and women.”

    In other words, the ICC is charging Israel—which is fully backed by the U.S.—with deliberately starving over a million people, along with other murderous acts.

    What “Outrages” Biden?

    Right away, Genocide Joe Biden fired off an angry statement defending Israel and Netan-Nazi. This initial statement did not even deny, much less attempt to refute, the ICC’s allegations! Instead, Biden treated the very idea of seeking arrest warrants against Israeli leaders as “outrageous.” He railed against what he labeled a “false equivalence” between Israel and Hamas.2  And he ended emphatically with “We will always stand with Israel.” Later in the day, Biden not only added that the ICC’s charges were not true, he claimed that Israel “wants to do all it can to ensure civilian protection.” And then he added that “what's happening [in Gaza] is not genocide.”3

    We will go deeply into the truth of the matter and show without doubt that what is going on is genocide, but we first want to get into why the U.S. and Biden in particular so strenuously deny it. In the recently released social media post “Revolution 44: Israel’s continuing genocide against Palestinians—and Joe Biden’s continuing support for this genocide,” Bob Avakian went into this:

    Biden has been hit with the fact that the genocide Israel is perpetrating against the Palestinian people, with massive military aid and “diplomatic cover” provided by the U.S., has exposed the actual bloodthirsty nature of not only Israel but the U.S. as well. This shines a glaring light on the hypocritical efforts of the U.S. imperialists to present themselves as a force for decency, democracy, freedom, and so on—in opposition to those terrible “autocratic” rulers in countries like Russia and China, who oppress their own people and carry out destructive violence against other countries! It is very important for the ruling class of this imperialist country (the “good ole USA”) to attempt to cover over its own monstrous crimes, throughout its history and right down to today, as sharply manifested now in U.S. support for Israel in its war against the Palestinian people, with a death toll in Gaza that already exceeds 35 thousand, including 15 thousand children, and is continuing to mount every day.

    If What Israel Is Doing Is Not Genocide, WTF Do You Call It?

    Yet Biden continues to insist the Israel is “trying to do all it can to ensure civilian protection." Really?!?! Dropping U.S.-supplied 2,000-pound bombs on apartment buildings, killing dozens or hundreds, with the evidence-free “justification” that some mid-level Hamas person might have been there—that’s “protecting civilians? 

    Palestinian girl mourns loss of leg in Israeli attack. Credit: YouTube.com/Middle East Eye

    At least 36,000 Palestinians have been killed in seven months, including an estimated 15,000 children. And this is not counting thousands of unrecovered dead buried in the rubble of buildings Israel leveled.  Nor does it include those who died from hunger, exposure, or diseases spreading because Israel has destroyed the water system and almost all hospitals. 

    Does that sound like they are trying to “ensure civilian protection”?

    There have been numerous incidents in which clearly unarmed Palestinian civilians—sometimes carrying white flags—were shot down by Israeli snipers. The Israeli military even killed three hostages who had escaped from Hamas, were shirtless, unarmed, waving a white flag. Israel says this was a “mistake,” but the mistake from their standpoint is that they obviously thought they were Palestinians, not Israelis, and so could be wantonly murdered. 

    Doctors in Gaza report many cases of children being shot by Israeli military—shot while collecting water, while playing, while seeking shelter.

    Does any of that sound like they were trying to “ensure civilian protection”?

    Think about this: roughly 80 percent of the population of Gaza—nearly two million people—are refugees living in tents or in the ruins of buildings. 

    February 27, 2024, Rafah displaced Palestinians in tents as far as you can see.

     

    A tent camp housing Palestinians driven from their homes throughout Gaza, in Rafah, February 27, 2024.     Photo: AP

    Food supplies have almost completely broken down. The 400,000 people in north Gaza are surviving on an average of 245 calories a day—less than a can of beans! This is not for a day or two, but week in and week out. Mothers are so malnourished they cannot breastfeed their infants. One mother said, “Before the war, we were in good health and had strong bodies. Now, looking at my children and myself, we have lost so much weight since we do not eat any proper food, we are trying to eat whatever we find—edible wild plants or herbs daily just to survive.”

    In southern Gaza, clean water is in desperately short supply. At one shelter, 10,000 people receive a total of 4,000 liters a day or about two cups per person per day! That’s for drinking, washing and cooking. It is less than 3% of what the World Health Organization says people need for basic survival. 

    Sanitation is nightmarishly bad. One shelter with 8,000 people had only 12 latrines—that’s one bathroom for every 600 people, many of whom are suffering from intestinal diseases from drinking contaminated water. And these are the people lucky enough to be living in a shelter! Aid workers report “literal lakes of human waste” next to the tents where people live. Disease is spreading and there are almost no medical facilities or supplies available to help the sick.

    We could go on and on, but here is the key question: does ANY of this sound like “ensuring civilian protection”? Or does it sound like a war that is targeting civilians?

    The Use of Starvation as a Weapon of War

    International law is very clear: civilians must not be intentionally deprived of food.

    So there is very little doubt Biden would not want the Israeli Minister of Defense, Yoav Gallant, called to the stand. He’s the one who, at the very start of the invasion, openly stated Israel’s genocidal intentions: “I have ordered a complete siege on the Gaza Strip. There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed. We are fighting human animals and we act accordingly.”4 The next day Israel shut down the main entry point for humanitarian aid, through which 500 trucks needed to pass every day to meet the basic needs of Gaza—this shutdown kicked off a downward spiral of hunger, starvation and disease that continues to worsen. (In fact, accompanying this article is a whole list of quotes from Israeli officials, including Netan-nazi, that unabashedly call for genocidal measures!)

    Ten weeks later, under tremendous international pressure, Israel made a show of “re-opening” the crossing—but it allowed fascist protesters to block most trucks from passing through anyway. At the other crossing (the Rafah crossing from Egypt to Gaza), Israeli troops inspected every single truck, causing huge backups, and would turn away trucks for carrying things like medical scissors—which they labeled "potential weapons"! Only a trickle of aid got through each day. Aid workers told the New York Times in March that it took trucks an average of 20 days to make the short crossing.

    And, when aid did get through, aid workers were murdered by Israel. The drone attack that killed seven World Food Kitchen workers in April brought this to light, but there have been at least 260 aid workers killed in Gaza, making it the most dangerous place in the world for aid workers. This “mini-slaughter” serves the larger extermination campaign by crippling aid distribution networks within Gaza. And Israel has also “gone the extra mile” by killing starving people as they line up for food distribution, such as the “flour massacre” in March that killed over 100 Palestinians.

    Does any of this sound “accidental”?

    As part of this policy of starvation, on May 6, Israel completely shut down the Rafah crossing from Egypt as it began its invasion of Rafah, stranding 2,000 aid trucks in Egypt, and sending the whole of Gaza into a deathly tailspin. Last week a UN official said, "We are running out of words to describe what is happening in Gaza. We have described it as a catastrophe, a nightmare, as hell on earth. It is all of these and worse.”

    With the Rafah crossing closed, some Israeli Palestinian truck drivers heroically undertook to bring supplies through the crossing from Israel to Gaza. But before they could even get there, they were attacked by mobs of Israeli fascists, often “tipped off” by Israeli cops or soldiers about the trucks’ routes. The tweet below shows these reactionaries destroying food and supplies as if they were at a party, while a group that appears to be Israeli soldiers stand by and do nothing. 

    Tweet URL

    In another incident, Palestinian truck drivers were attacked by a mob while again, authorities stood by and did nothing. One man said, “The state of terror I experienced is indescribable. Even now I have nightmares at night. My psychological state is broken, I cannot think properly, I can’t sleep. I cannot work.”

    On May 21, UNRWA—the main UN relief agency—suspended its food distribution in Rafah due to lack of food, as well as fuel for deliveries. The UN’s World Food Program (WFP) also ended distribution in Rafah because their warehouses were “inaccessible due to ongoing military operations.” A WFP spokeswoman said that “humanitarian operations in [all of] Gaza are near collapse,” and that if food and other supplies do not resume entering Gaza “in massive quantities, famine-like conditions will spread.”

    Israel’s Assault on Rafah—The Last Remaining City in Gaza That They Have Not Destroyed

    Palestinians inspect residential building in Rafah destroyed by Israeli airstrike, May 7, 2024.

     

    Residential building in Rafah destroyed by Israeli airstrike, May 7, 2024.    Photo: AP

    From the very beginning of the war Israel instructed civilians to flee their homes for the south, often with only a few hours’ notice or even less. People crowded the roads—and even while they were fleeing endured attacks. Then Israel began its assault on Rafah a month ago.

    Residents of western Rafah told the New York Times what it was like: “The airstrikes are continuous and intense, and the smell of smoke doesn’t leave the air.… At night, they advance a few meters at a time, and the people flee immediately…. They shoot and bomb us constantly …but what scares us the most are the drones.” 

    By now, much of the city is deserted as about a million people have fled. A former resident who came back to search for water said, “I was shocked… I found no one. I didn’t even find cats or dogs. There’s no market or shops.… You can’t even buy a bottle of water to drink.… Rafah used to be the best place in Gaza… but now it’s just too much suffering. There is nothing left for us. It’s ongoing suffering that doesn’t stop.”

    A System Built on Ethnic Cleansing and Now Moving to Genocide

    None of this is “accidental.” Israel was built on the ethnic cleansing of the majority of the Palestinian population in 1948, and at every step since has enforced brutal apartheid-style oppression on those who remained within its borders. Now they are clearly aiming at some kind of “final solution”—by utterly crushing and/or driving out the Palestinian people in Gaza.

    This IS genocide, which is legally defined as “acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group," including "killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to them; and/or deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.” [Emphasis added]

    It has been going for over seven months at an unspeakable cost of death, injury and horrendous human suffering, and it is not going to stop unless masses of people are determined to stop it.

    To return to the Bob Avakian post quoted above:

    The resistance against this U.S.-Israeli genocidal slaughter of Palestinians needs to become even broader, stronger and more determined.

    In Their Own Words…:

    Political and Military Leaders of Israel and the U.S. Make Clear Their Support for Genocide

    ***

    Deputy Speaker of the Knesset (parliament), Nissim Vaturi
    October 7, 2023 on X (formerly Twitter)

    “Now we all have one common goal - erasing the Gaza Strip from the face of the earth.”

    ***

    U.S. President Joe Biden
    October 7, 2023, Official Remarks.

    “And my administration’s support for Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering. … And let there be no mistake: The United States stands with the State of Israel, just as we have from the moment the United States became the first nation to recognize Israel, 11 minutes after its founding, 75 years ago.”

    ***

    Defense Minister Yoav Gallant
    October 9, 2023, Times of Israel

    “I have ordered a complete siege on the Gaza Strip. No electricity, no food, no water, no fuel. Everything is closed. We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly.... Gaza won’t return to what it was before.... We will eliminate everything.” 

    ***

    President Isaac Herzog
    October 12, 2023, in ITV News

    “It’s an entire nation out there that is responsible. It’s not true this rhetoric about civilians not aware not involved. It’s absolutely not true. … and we will fight until we break their backbone.” 

    ***

    Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir
    October 17. 2023, on X (formerly Twitter)

    The only thing that needs to enter Gaza are hundreds of tons of explosives from the Air Force, not an ounce of humanitarian aid.”

    ***

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
    October 28, 2023, official statement:

    “You must remember what Amalek has done to you.” (Here Netan-nazi is referencing the destruction of the Amalekites, a people that were depicted in the Bible as persecutors of the Israelites. In Samuel, Chapter 15, “God” commanded the Israelites: “Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.')

    ***

    Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu 
    November 5, 2023, in a radio interview

    "[T]here are no non-combatants in Gaza." Asked if using nuclear weapons in Gaza was therefore an option, Eliyahu replied “That’s one way.”

    He also said that providing humanitarian aid to Gaza would constitute "a failure"

    ***

    Major General in the Israeli Army Giora Eiland
    November 19, 2023, Cited in South Africa’s Application to International Court of Justice charging Israel with genocide, page 64.

    “Who are the ‘poor’ women of Gaza? They are all the mothers, sisters or wives of Hamas murderers. … if they experience a humanitarian disaster, then it can be assumed that some of the Hamas fighters and the more junior commanders will begin to understand that the war is futile . . . The international community warns us of a humanitarian disaster in Gaza and of severe epidemics. We must not shy away from this, as difficult as that may be. After all, severe epidemics in the south of the Gaza Strip will bring victory closer . . . When senior Israeli figures say in the media ‘It's either us or them’ we should clarify the question of who is ‘them’. ‘They’ are not only Hamas fighters with weapons, but also all the ‘civilian’ officials, including hospital administrators and school administrators, and also the entire Gaza population who enthusiastically supported Hamas and cheered on its atrocities on October 7th.”

    ***

    U.S. President Joe Biden
    May 20, 2024: Official response to ICC charging Israel with major war crimes and crimes against humanity:

    “The ICC prosecutor’s application for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders is outrageous. And let me be clear: whatever this prosecutor might imply, there is no equivalence — none — between Israel and Hamas. We will always stand with Israel against threats to its security.”

    _______________

    FOOTNOTES:

    1. Read the prosecutor’s full statement here. [back]

    2. Biden is right—there is no “equivalence.” Bad as Hamas is, Israel is vastly worse! See “Yes, There Can Be No ‘Equivalence’ Between Israel and the Palestinians—But the Reality Is the Reverse of What Supporters of Israel Insist,” by Bob Avakian, at revcom.us. [back]

    3. The ICC has not actually charged Netanyahu with genocide, but what it is charging—intentional mass “starvation” and “extermination” of civilians—strongly bolsters the charge of genocide that is already being raised by thousands of students, human rights activists and others around the world. Another court—the International Court of Justice (ICJ)—has also declared that the charge of genocide is “plausible.” On May 24, the ICJ ordered Israel to halt its military offensive against the south Gaza city of Rafah, indicating that this operation smacks of genocide. Israel has refused to comply. [back]

    4. This is only one of many genocidal statements made by Israeli leaders. [back]

  • ARTICLE:

    In the Face of Repression and Slander, Students Refuse to Back Down in Protest Against the U.S.-Israeli Genocide of Palestinians

    “We now face only two choices: silence or resistance.”

     

    UC Santa Cruz graduate students and UAW 4811 union workers picket entrance and are joined by UCSC Students for Justice in Palestine, May 20, 2024

     

    UC Santa Cruz graduate students and UAW 4811 union workers picket entrance and are joined by UCSC Students for Justice in Palestine, May 20, 2024    Photo: Shmuel Thaler/The Santa Cruz Sentinel via AP

    For almost six months now, fascists in Congress—aided and abetted by most Democrats—have conducted hearings aimed at slandering the student protests against the genocide in Gaza as “anti-Semitic.” They’ve humiliated and driven from office the heads of major universities and made others grovel before them. On Thursday, it was supposed to be the turn of three more heads, including Gene Block, the Chancellor of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). 

    On Thursday morning, learning from what students a month earlier had done at Columbia, the UCLA students flipped the script—and the headlines throughout the day focused on their courageous protest and not Block's reactionary performance. 

    The Statement from the Collective for the Liberation of Palestine announcing a second UCLA encampment spoke powerfully to why they refused to back down:

    In 229 days, we have witnessed bodies charred, children dismembered and skulls crushed by U.S. bombs. Mass graves and images of concentration camps are etched in our minds. As the zionist state executes its most vicious assault on Gaza, it displaces Palestinians not once, not twice, but countless times. We have seen over 40,000 massacred and the devastation of countless mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, friends, and neighbors... Today, Gene Block testifies on Capitol Hill. The congressional hearing a textbook example of political theater conflates calls for Palestinian liberation with antisemitism to outlaw pro-Palestine activism.

    It went on to say, “We now face only two choices: silence or resistance.”

    UCLA encampment at Kerckhoff Patio

     

    UCLA encampment at Kerckhoff Patio    Photo: Revcom Corps LA

    Their second encampment did not last long, as it was met with hundreds of police in riot gear, but it began a day of marches involving hundreds of students, faculty and others, and building takeovers that disrupted business as usual on campus throughout the entire day.

    This is one example of how students demanding an end to the U.S.-Israeli genocide have not just continued their protests, but have seized the initiative in the face of vicious slander and violent suppression. Amidst graduations and the last weeks of school, they have continued to sound the alarm about what the U.S. is funding in Gaza, and called out the complicity of their Institutions. 

    This protest has not just inspired people here and around the world, but has shaken people awake, forcing people to pick a side, and ripped off the “veil of democracy” that this system tries to cover up the truth of their ruthless capitalist-imperialist dictatorship.

    In another example, when Harvard University refused to let 13 students graduate, instead of silencing people, it led to more protest and resistance—marking the entire graduation ceremony with outrage against the U.S.-Israeli genocide and the suppression of righteous protest.

    One of the students barred from graduating, Asmer Safi, a senior at Harvard and a Rhodes Scholar, said in an interview on Democracy Now

    [F]or me, as a student, for someone that has had my faith in both the university administration but also the U.S. government at large be completely shaken as a consequence of the actions that I’ve seen at Harvard and beyond, with my peers being met with police repression on campuses across the country, I genuinely lack faith in the ways in which these systems work. And for me, as a student right now, and my peers, the goal is to reimagine the world that we live in and sort of be able to construct it from down below, just so we can be able to aspire to the future of the world that we want to live in.

    This is exactly why this repression is coming down so hard, and what the rulers of this system are desperate to prevent. The revolutionary leader Bob Avakian spoke to this: 

    [T]his repression is happening because representatives of the ruling class in this country have a definite sense that if youth especially at “elite” universities begin to seriously question and act against what this system is doing—if the system “loses the allegiance” of large numbers of those students—that can be a big factor in creating a real crisis for the system as a whole, as happened in the 1960s: a crisis that, now more than ever, this system really cannot afford, when the whole country is already being torn apart by deep divisions, with bitter clashes right among the ruling powers.... The ruling class is desperate to prevent opposition to its fundamental interests from spreading and involving masses of people, from all parts of society. [bold and italics ours] (From @BobAvakianOfficial on social media and substack)

    The Harvard and UCLA protests both show the vulnerability of this system... Vulnerability which must be hammered at—by strengthening and broadening the mass protest to STOP the U.S.-Israeli Genocide of the Palestinian People Now! 

    And we need to do so while opening up the debate about where this horror is coming from and what it will take to end it—to end this genocide of the Palestinian people, and to end the system giving rise to this nightmare, and many other horrors brought down on people here and around the world. 

    To get more deeply into what needs to happen now, read the open letter from the Revcom Corps, A Crucial Crossroads in the Struggle to STOP the U.S.-Israeli Genocide of Palestinians… A Historic Moment in the World: How Do We Go Forward? 

    Here is a roundup of just some of what took place at campuses and graduations this week:

    UCLA Encampment, March and Takeover 

    As UCLA Chancellor Gene Block was testifying before Congress, going along with the lie that pro-Palestinian protests are anti-Semitic, UCLA students were preparing their own response: a second Gaza Solidarity Encampment. Students and others took over Kerckhoff Patio—building barricades to prevent police access. 

    They renamed the building next to the Patio “Bassel al-Araj Hall.” Al-Araj was a Palestinian nationalist activist and writer. He was killed by the Israeli police in 2017. 

    On social media, Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA called on students and people from the community to join them. By 10:30 am, police had created a perimeter trying to prevent this. As students and others were starting to gather, people broke through the police lines—first bringing food and supplies that people had brought in support of the encampment. Then, jumping in to join the encampment itself. Ladders were brought out and people climbed over the walls to join.

    University security officers push students protesting for Palestine at UCLA in Los Angeles, May 23, 2024.

     

    University security officers push students protesting for Palestine at UCLA in Los Angeles, May 23, 2024.     Photo: AP/Damian Dovarganes

    After hundreds of police in riot gear amassed, the people who formed a front line linked arms and backed away together before the police broke through the encampment barricades. Students led a march of hundreds to Murphy Hall (the administrative center at UCLA), then marched to Dodd Hall, which they spontaneously occupied for several hours. Outside, faculty held a banner in support of the protests—a banner that was ripped in half at the police raid of the first encampment, but sewn back together by a faculty member. Inside Dodd Hall, students chanted, talked about why they were there, discussing why they were willing to risk arrest to make a statement that this genocide must stop. And students talked about not wanting their tuition dollars go to funding a genocide. A member of the Revcom Corps for the Emancipation of Humanity in LA was part of all this—talking with people about the importance of this protest and opening up discussion about how to carry this forward.

    May 23, 2024 - Inside the temporary building takeover at Dodd Hall, UCLA

     

    May 23, 2024 - Inside the temporary building takeover at Dodd Hall, UCLA    Photo: RevCom Corps LA

    A number of fascists had made their way into the building and students took each other’s security seriously—encircling the fascists to prevent them from attacking others... or working together to keep them out of the building. As they learned that the riot police were again amassing, students de-occupied the building with chants of “we’ll be back, we’ll be back!”

    The Revcom Corps distributed a statement on campus the next morning that said, in part, “Our salute to these organizers. Instead of the terms being set by the fascists and liberals in Congress, they were set by students acting to STOP THE GENOCIDE! And our salute to the hundreds of students and others who came out to support. Do not underestimate the difference you have made.

    Turning Graduation Into Truth-Telling, Protest and Resistance

    From Columbia to UC Berkeley to Duke to the University of Texas, graduations have been sites of boisterous protests against the genocide in Gaza and the campus crackdowns across the U.S. This past week students and faculty at Harvard, Yale, the City University of New York and more ensured that graduations would not go on as normal in the midst of a genocide.

    Mass Walkout at Harvard University Graduation

    On May 23, as Harvard began its 373rd Commencement, over 1,000 students walked out in protest of Harvard’s complicity in the genocide in Gaza and for its punishment of student protesters. 

    [F]or me, as a student, for someone that has had my faith in both the university administration but also the U.S. government at large be completely shaken as a consequence of the actions that I’ve seen at Harvard and beyond, with my peers being met with police repression on campuses across the country, I genuinely lack faith in the ways in which these systems work. And for me, as a student right now, and my peers, the goal is to reimagine the world that we live in and sort of be able to construct it from down below, just so we can be able to aspire to the future of the world that we want to live in.

    As the protesters left Harvard Yard where the commencement was taking place, many were chanting, “Let them walk” referring to the 13 students who were prevented from graduating by the University as a punishment for protesting the genocide. 

    The punishment of the 13 had sparked outrage in the days leading up to commencement. A member of the Revcom Corps for the Emancipation of Humanity in Boston wrote: “Students at the Harvard Out of Palestine encampment had voted to take down their encampment rather than have the Cambridge cops brought in to forcible evict them, as they had at nearby MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). In return, there was an agreement that no disciplinary charges would be pursued against students in the encampment, in addition to a promise to meet with Harvard Administrators for further discussions around divesting in corporations doing business with Israel.

    “Immediately afterward, however, the Harvard Corporation (the body of individuals who oversee Harvard), voted to prevent 13 graduating students from receiving their degrees. In response, the Harvard faculty voted overwhelmingly for the Corporation to reverse its decision and allow these 13 students to graduate. In a highly unprecedented step, the Corporation ignored the faculty vote and went forward with its decision. This stoked the passions of the protest when graduation came.” 

    As graduates, alongside some family and faculty members, were leaving they chanted, “Disclose, Divest, We will not stop, We will not rest” and “Harvard University, We know what side you’re on, Remember South Africa, Remember Vietnam.” Others waved Palestinian flags. 

    revcom oembed URL

    When the ceremony began, in his opening remarks to the graduating students and their families interim Harvard president Alan M. Garber made a thinly veiled threat against any disruptions—but students did not comply. Shruti Kumar, the graduating senior chosen to address the audience, went off script and passionately called out the Harvard Corporation and Harvard administration for penalizing students for legal and nonviolent protest in response to the genocide in Gaza. She talked about what it meant to be doxed, leaving “our jobs uncertain, our safety uncertain. This semester, our freedom of speech and our expressions of solidarity became punishable, leaving our graduations uncertain. As I stand before you today, I must take a moment to recognize my peers, the 13 undergraduates—the 13—the 13 undergraduates in the class of 2024 who will not graduate today.” Her courageous statement was met with sustained applause and a standing ovation.

    The member of the Revcom Corps wrote about the scene outside Harvard Yard: “The scene was chaotic. Overhead planes flew banners with the Israeli and US flags, while the infamous Harvard doxing trucks circled the campus in a highly funded pro-Zionist campaign. Only this time the doxing trucks were calling for the resignation of the Harvard Corporation members! Apparently, they had not done enough in the eyes of the rabid pro-Zionists funding this effort.

    “At the same time dozens of pro-Palestinian students and other activists, including a crew from the revcoms, were reaching out to the thousands of graduating students, their families and friends who were attending the commencement. In a creative stroke, some students had printed a mock Commencement brochure, whose cover looked exactly like the official brochure except it had changes the lettering of VERITAS (the official Harvard motto) to DIVEST. Inside was a call for Harvard to disclose and divest its holdings with a brief history of Palestine since the Nakba in 1948. They also produced a mock copy of the school newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, renamed The Harvard Crimeson.”

    Harvard Crimeson, published for 2024 graduation

     

    Harvard Crimeson, published for 2024 graduation   

    Once outside, the protesting graduates and their supporters took over Massachusetts Avenue and marched to a nearby Epworth Church for a “People’s Commencement” ceremony, which honored the 13 denied diplomas from Harvard. The revcoms joined the march, unveiling pigs head caricatures of “Genocide Joe Biden,” “Netan-Nazi” and interim president Garber. 

    At the People’s Commencement, one student said, “As a Palestinian who has been betrayed and abandoned by the University, I cannot tell you how much it means to me that all of you walked out in solidarity with the Palestinian people and the 13 seniors who were prevented from graduating.” 

    Members of the Harvard University Band played as organizers honored “the students in Palestine who will not get to graduate because of the ongoing Nakba.”

    Genocide Joe Biden at Harvard Graduation

     

    Genocide Joe Biden at Harvard Graduation    Photo: @therevcoms

    Repression at the University of Chicago

    On May 24, the University of Chicago told four seniors that their degrees are being withheld just eight days before graduation set for June 1. The administration gave no justification for this, other than that these students “may have been involved with complaints” regarding the UChicago Popular University For Gaza Palestine solidarity encampment. A protest letter signed by almost 4,000 students, faculty, alum, staff and others says:

    In the last few weeks, Israel has launched another assault on Rafah where it told people to flee, blocked all aid to Gaza, and attacked northern Jabalia where Palestinians are trapped in a hospital under siege. Yet, UChicago is more concerned with targeting and harassing its students than with addressing its complicity in genocide. After 8 months of genocide, after days of meetings with students from the Popular University for Gaza encampment, UChicago admin refuses to even name Palestine. UChicago’s President, Paul Alivisatos, refuses to acknowledge the undeniable fact that every Gazan university has been destroyed. Over the past 8 months, UChicago has evaded, stalled, and ignored even the most basic demands of its students--hiding behind its bureaucratic structures. But in one email, a single administrator can make the baseless decision to prevent 4 students from graduating.

    In a New York Times video, Youssef Hasweh, a college senior who was arrested at a sit-in and still went ahead to be part of organizing an encampment, despite facing potential disciplinary action said he has “no regrets,” even though he may not be allowed to graduate. In the video, he wears a shirt that says, “I went to meet [UChicago President] Paul Alivisatos and all I got was charged with a class B misdemeanor in the state of Illinois.” 

    Walkout at Yale University Graduation

    On May 20, as Yale President Peter Salovey started to announce the traditional commencement order, over 150 Yale students stood up together, turned their backs on Salovey, and walked out of their graduation ceremony. Some wore red gloves to symbolize the rivers of blood spilled by Israel and the U.S. Others carried small banners saying “Books not bombs" or "Divest from war," “Drop the charges” and “Protect free speech.” Yale students had been demanding Yale divest from any businesses connected with Israel and drop all charges against the 45 people arrested during police assaults on the protests at Yale. Their action drew cheers from many in attendance.

    Yale Students Wear Red Gloves, Keffiyehs as Part of Pro-Palestine Protest During Graduation Ceremony

    City University of New York Law School: “Free them all from Rikers to Rafah”

    CUNY’s Law School banned student speakers at graduation ceremonies precisely to avoid pro-Palestinian, anti-genocide speeches or protests. Yet when commencement came on May 23, students protested anyway.

    They chanted for Palestine, waved signs as they walked across the stage, and turned their backs to the law school’s dean during her speech. Some 50 students held banners with pro-Palestinian messages—including “Free them all from Rikers to Rafah”—as they got their diplomas. Students twice stood and chanted collectively in what they called a “mic check,” in order to reclaim the student address. After the last degrees had been handed out, dozens stood up and walked out, joined by some professors and guests. The two guest speakers CUNY had invited cancelled in protest of the ban on student speakers.

    On the way out, students chanted “disclose, divest, we will not stop, we will not rest.” 

    Tweet URL

    School of the Art Institute of Chicago: “My degree is dedicated to Gaza”

    May 20, graduating students at Chicago’s Art Institute protested the genocide in Gaza as they walked across the stage during commencement by wearing kaffiyehs over their graduation gowns, by holding Palestinian flags or draping them over their their backs, and stitching messages on their clothing like “Liberation for all,” or on Palestinian flags like “My degree is dedicated to Gaza.” 

    Many tore up flyers onstage with images of a crown, bullets and bombs. This symbolized the Crown family, Art Institute benefactors who students say invest in weapons manufacturers. 

    Year-End Protests at Campuses—In and Out of Session

    Encampment at Wayne State University, Detroit

    On Thursday, May 23, 150 students and others held a protest in support of the Palestinian people and then formed a 10-tent encampment. While claiming to uphold free speech and the right to protest, Wayne State’s president is already targeting the encampment. 

    “We need your attendance,” the protesters posted on Facebook. “Every voice and body matters.” “Wayne State is complicit in genocide!! Disclose. Divest. We will not stop. We will not rest.”

    Gaza Solidarity Encampment at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Violently Shut Down

    Ahead of the university president’s appearance before Congress, police violently assaulted the student encampment, beating and pepper-spraying protesters. At least four were arrested and two others hospitalized. 

    Student protesters set up the encampment about a month ago to demand the University of Michigan’s endowment divest from companies with ties to Israel. Students have been holding down the encampment, even after graduation. But school president Santa Ono suddenly claimed this peaceful action had become a threat to public safety. Dozens of officers raided the encampment before dawn, pepper-spraying and pushing students to the ground. 

    “I repeatedly said that my family has been killed, and that is why I am here. And as I was saying that through the megaphone, police officers snatched the megaphone out from my hand,” said Salma Hamamy, a Palestinian student and president of the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at the University of Michigan.

    She said, “not only was it an attack on the encampment, but it was an attack on us as students protesting entirely… we are still standing.…And we are going to continue to fight back, and especially against these charges that have been placed against these students for protesting a genocide and for protesting our university’s funding of a genocide.”

    Tweet URL

    Reunions Weekend Disrupted at Princeton University, New Jersey

    On May 24, as Princeton’s President Eisgruber began his annual address to alumni during Reunions weekend, some 25 student protesters sitting in the front row of the auditorium raised their hands, which were painted in red, and denounced the university. “We are complicit in genocide,” they shouted, as many in the audience tried to boo them down. 

    After a few moments they marched out chanting and continued protesting right outside the hall: “Eisgruber, Eisgruber, we won’t rest,” and “We won’t rest until divest.” 

    This action followed a May 21 vote by faculty members condemning Princeton’s disciplinary proceedings against students (at least 15 have been arrested at previous actions) and calling for amnesty. Earlier in the month, on May 10, some 50 Princeton High School students left school during a class break and marched to Princeton to join protesters at the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” on the university’s Cannon Green. 

    DePaul students disrupt a fundraiser

    DePaul alumni disrupt — and ultimately SHUT DOWN — a fundraiser on campus!

    More Graduations, Student Strikes and Protests Planned

    This next week will see more graduations with students promising “no graduation as usual in the midst of a genocide.”

    At University of California, academic workers have called a strike against assaults on pro-Palestine protesters. On May 21, some 2,000 unionized academic researchers, graduate teaching assistants and post-doctoral scholars at the University of California, Santa Cruz went out on strike against the UC’s attacks on pro-Palestine protests. They are also demanding amnesty for grad students who were arrested or face discipline for protesting. This coming week, academic workers at UCLA and UC Davis will join the strike. University of California officials have declared the strike “illegal” and are demanding union members to “cease and desist strike activity.” A strike and protest are planned for Tuesday. 

    As the statement from the Revcom Corps for the Emancipation of Humanity, A Crucial Crossroads in the Struggle to STOP the U.S.-Israeli Genocide of Palestinians… A Historic Moment in the World. How Do We Go Forward?, says:

    THIS U.S.-BACKED GENOCIDE MUST BE STOPPED. We here in the U.S. have a special responsibility to call forward massive and sustained struggle, uniting all who can be united to create a deep enough political crisis to compel the rulers of the U.S. to back off their support for Israel. This would be a huge contribution to bringing the slaughter to a HALT! Nothing less is required.

    What’s needed right now:

    1. Uniting all who can be united to declare: “Stop the U.S.-Israeli Genocide of Palestinians Now!” The resistance needs to broaden, deepen and grow more determined.

    The protest needs to spread on campus... and taking it off campus, reaching into the ghettos and barrios, the arts districts, the suburbs and beyond. And everyone under attack needs to be defended. 

    2. While we unite from different perspectives, we need to open up the discussion and debate over the deeper causes—of the century of oppression faced by Palestinians, along with the other truly horrific ways that this capitalist-imperialist system oppresses people—and what it will take to finally win real and lasting liberation and emancipation. 

    Everyone who seriously agonizes about the future and wants to see a world without the unjust brutality we are witnessing in Gaza, and in this illegitimate repression, needs to dig in seriously to the source of all this: the system of capitalism-imperialism. And dig into the solution to it: a real revolution. The Revcom Corps for the Emancipation of Humanity invites you to talk with us. Find out about the strategy, vision, plan and leadership for this revolution. Bring the spirit of defiance and your desire to get to a world where these kinds of crimes never happen again to anyone! With this whole system in crisis and society being ripped apart, the revolution that’s needed to overthrow this system could happen not just in some far off place and time, but right here and right in this time we are living in.

    Revcom Corps for the Emancipation of Humanity, LA at protest against the US/Israeli genocide of the Palestinian people, commemmorating the 76th Anniversary of the Nakba.

    Revcom Corps for the Emancipation of Humanity, LA at protest against the US/Israeli genocide of the Palestinian people, commemmorating the 76th Anniversary of the Nakba.    @therevcoms

    Learn about and join the Revcom Corps 
    for the Emancipation of Humanity.
  • ARTICLE:

    A Crucial Crossroads in the Struggle to STOP the U.S.-Israeli Genocide of Palestinians… A Historic Moment in the World

    How Do We Go Forward?

    —A contribution from the Revcom Corps for the Emancipation of Humanity

    Updated

    We confront a moment of great historical import and crossroads.

    The revcoms invite you to talk with us about what's here.  What's your thinking about the situation we face and what's needed? Find us on campus, DM us @revcomcorps_la or call/text 323.671.9839.  It is too late and too serious not to come together to get into these questions.

    A genocidal slaughter, backed and armed by the U.S., with the “Genocide Joe” Democrats soaked in the blood and forced starvation of the people of Gaza, while the MAGA fascist Republicans call for even greater brutality and finality.

    A genocidal slaughter, unleashed by Israel in the immediate wake of the October 7 attacks by Hamas, but in continuity with and escalating the ongoing Zionist-apartheid oppression of the Palestinian people, expanding occupations and repeated expulsions, the dehumanization and daily degradation.

    A genocidal slaughter that threatens to spin even more dangerously out of control. A tense world watches as rival imperialist powers like China and Russia vie with the U.S. for advantage, as do regional powers like Iran.

    We experience the weight of this in different ways. We understand this from diverse perspectives. But we are all profoundly outraged by the genocidal slaughter of the Palestinian people and moved by their courage and resilience in the face of such horror. We all feel a responsibility to act!

    We have the responsibility to grapple honestly and deeply with the difficult reality we face and the way forward. To that end, we offer the following thoughts to stopping the genocide of Palestinians and towards ending the system of capitalism-imperialism that is driving this horror and inflicting a reign of exploitation, oppression and potentially catastrophic extinction on people worldwide.

    We can no longer afford to allow these imperialists to continue to dominate the world and determine the destiny of humanity. And it is a scientific fact that humanity does not have to live this way. (@BobAvakianOfficial)

    1 This Is a Time to Face Reality Squarely and Step Up the Struggle Based on That—NOT for Empty Triumphalism or Despair

    For the last seven months, a “second Nakba” has unfolded before the eyes of the world. What we see is Israel and Netan-nazi seizing on October 7 to attempt a “final solution” to the “Palestinian problem.” Israel aims, at a minimum, to reduce the Palestinians to such a state that they will no longer pose any “problem” for Israel, if not literally killing off and/or driving out all the Palestinians.

    Despite some words of concern and even though it could cost him the election, Genocide Joe's commitment to Israel is—as he himself put it—“ironclad.” The same is true of the entire U.S. ruling class. This is not because of “the power of the Jewish lobby”—or because of some ignorant and outrageous notion that “Jews control everything.” This is because, as the revolutionary leader Bob Avakian (BA) has put it:

    Israel plays a “special role” as a heavily armed bastion of support for U.S. imperialism in a strategically important part of the world (the “Middle East”). And Israel has been a key force in the commission of atrocities which have helped to maintain the oppressive rule of U.S. imperialism in many other parts of the world. [bolding ours] (@BobAvakianOfficial)

    THIS U.S.-BACKED GENOCIDE MUST BE STOPPED. We here in the U.S. have a special responsibility to call forward massive and sustained struggle, uniting all who can be united against the genocide to create a deep enough political crisis to compel the rulers of the U.S. to back off their support for Israel. This would be a huge contribution to bringing the slaughter to a HALT! Nothing less is required.

    In such a high-stakes situation, attempting to buck up our spirits with the empty triumphalism of chants like “Palestine is almost free” or declarations like “victory is inevitable” spread illusions. Illusions do harm. Instead, we have to confront reality as it actually is, meeting real challenges and doing the work—theoretically and practically—to forge the way forward. We need a scientific, evidence-based approach.

    2 “They” Fear Us—U.S. Student Protests, Jewish Voices Uniting with Palestinians Against the Genocide, U.S. Officials Resigning in Protest, and the Struggle Spreading…

    It matters that there has been ferocious resistance and struggle worldwide, and especially right in the belly of the U.S.-imperialist beast... Palestinian Americans giving voice to the anguish of a global diaspora... Jewish voices declaring NEVER AGAIN FOR ANYONE... high-level resignations from the State Department and military... artists and writers voicing their conscience... Genocide Joe unable to appear in public without rebuke... all of this mutually strengthening, and morally legitimizing.

    It matters that a potentially generation-defining wave of students, as well as faculty—particularly at elite universities—have put their futures on the line, defying suspensions, expulsions, vigilante and state repression...

    All this has contributed to ripping the camouflage off the rulers of this country. They are not champions of “freedom and democracy.” They are not “protectors of human rights.” Their claims of “free speech” are mere window dressing. Beneath these claims lies the reality of a ruthless capitalist-imperialist dictatorship, one that cannot easily back off its support for Israel.

    The recent repression, while vicious, also further exposes their nature—and their vulnerability. Bob Avakian explains:

    …this repression is happening because representatives of the ruling class in this country have a definite sense that if youth especially at “elite” universities begin to seriously question and act against what this system is doing—if the system “loses the allegiance” of large numbers of those students—that can be a big factor in creating a real crisis for the system as a whole, as happened in the 1960s: a crisis that, now more than ever, this system really cannot afford, when the whole country is already being torn apart by deep divisions, with bitter clashes right among the ruling powers.... The ruling class is desperate to prevent opposition to its fundamental interests from spreading and involving masses of people, from all parts of society. [bold and italics ours] (@BobAvakianOfficial)

    3 “Escalate4Gaza”—Yes, But HOW? Uniting All Who Can Be United to STOP the U.S.-Israeli Genocide of Palestinians NOW vs. Artificial “Purity Tests”

    It is righteous that the call has come forward to #Escalate4Gaza. But it matters how we mean this.

    Some insist that calls for “ceasefire now” that are not accompanied by calls to “decolonize” are meaningless. Some reject the participation of people who did not join the struggle until students came under attack. Some dismiss what they call “conditional solidarity.” All this is strategically flawed and will only weaken the struggle that is needed.

    Instead, if we are serious about stopping the horrific genocide now unfolding and advancing the fight to win full liberation, we will work to realize the worst fears of the rulers—we will work to deepen and widen their loss of legitimacy in the eyes of millions by drawing ever more people into this struggle against the genocide they are backing.

    This requires uniting all who can be united! Everyone who can be won to declare “Stop the U.S./Israeli Genocide of Palestinians Now!” should be welcomed in this movement!

    Let us make this a “hot summer”—reaching out to and drawing forward the conscious participation and righteous fury of those trapped at the bottom of this society. It’s the same system that impoverishes and unleashes its racist police on the oppressed of this country that is terrorizing and ethnically cleansing the people of Gaza!

    Let us see even more courageous disruptive protest and nonviolent direct action—but these need to be aimed at challenging and calling forward the millions who are still on the sidelines to pick a side and join the fight, not isolated acts of frustration.

    Let us reach out to all those who are having their eyes forced open to this horror for the first time—and call on them to join us... in the streets... with their public platforms... in the arts... in their workplaces... and everywhere!

    Let us answer each new escalation against the people of Palestine with ever more protest and ever fiercer resistance.

    Then, as the eyes of the world are fixed on Chicago’s Democratic National Convention in late August, let us take this struggle to new heights! Let’s bring people from around the country and from all walks of life to flood the streets with the demand:

    STOP THE U.S./ISRAELI GENOCIDE OF PALESTINIANS NOW!

    Another World Is Possible! A Radically Different and Far Better World!

    As we do all this, let us defend all those who come under attack, further exposing the utter illegitimacy of this system’s support for genocide and their repression, and through doing this bring forward even more people to take a stand.

    All this can deepen the crisis the rulers are facing—exposing them before the eyes of people all over the world. In this way each new advance by the people, and each illegitimate attack by the fascists, Zionist thugs, and the “democratic” rulers can be used to draw forward even more support and involvement on our side. Wave upon wave. Demanding a STOP to this atrocity! This lays the strongest possible basis to create the kind of political crisis for the rulers that could compel them to bring this genocide to a halt.

    The Culture, Ferment and Debate Needed, Not “Cancel Culture” and Ad-Hominem Attacks

    Does our emphasis on the need to unite all who can be united mean that debate over the deeper causes—of the century of oppression faced by Palestinians, along with all other forms of oppression—and what it will take to finally win real and lasting liberation and emancipation is unimportant? No! Far from it!

    We need much more substantive and serious debate—and exploration—over what is driving the current genocide, how Palestine can finally get free, and what will be needed to win emancipation for all of humanity. Everyone has the right—and the responsibility—to join in this struggle in a principled way. We will speak and defend our understanding of these questions—as should others. This kind of ferment and debate is much needed. Here, there are lessons that Bob Avakian draws from the great struggles of the 1960s:

    What characterized the truly massive movement of the 1960s, with all its different tendencies, was a determination to actually put an end to the outrages that people were rising up against, along with a broad sense of “being in this together in the fight for a better world,” and the generosity of spirit, as well as largeness of mind, that went along with that. One of the significant expressions of this was meaningful discussion and debate about different ideas and programs, within the broad mass movement, where the actual content and substance of opposing positions was gotten into, instead of petty bickering relying on “cheap shots” and distortion of the views of others—or the refusal to seriously engage views that are different from and might challenge one’s own viewpoint.

    – Bob Avakian, @BobAvakianOfficial 

    As for how we see the situation in Palestine, the answer is not to drive out all the Jews, or the “two state” solution promoted by Biden (which would just be a puppet state divided up and dominated by Israel). To again quote Bob Avakian:

    The answer is the abolition of the state of Israel, and in its place the creation of a revolutionary state in which the government and the laws do not promote any religion and do not favor one people over another, and instead there is equality between Jews and Palestinians.

    5 NO Fascist Trump! NO Genocide Joe! The Whole Damn System Has Got to Go!
    At a Rare Time When This Is More Possible Than Ever, the Revolution We Need

    For good reason, growing numbers cannot cast a ballot for Genocide Joe!

    But neither can we accept Trump’s MAGA future of open white supremacy, enslavement of women and LGBTQ people, genocidal xenophobia and outright fascism.

    That these are the “choices” offered up by this system exposes the system as utterly bankrupt and illegitimate. But it’s even deeper than that.

    The system of U.S. capitalism-imperialism is a global network of worldwide plunder, exploitation, oppression and misery. It is shot through with white supremacy and patriarchy, and it is rapidly destroying our planet. This system cannot be fixed or reformed. It must be overthrown. And it can be!

    In powerful social media messages, Bob Avakian breaks down why we need a real revolution and how this revolution can be made—not in the far-off future, but right in this time.

    Look with fresh eyes at the situation in this country: Polarization and divides in society are unbridgeable. The center barely holds. The rulers—war-criminal Democrats and fascist Republicans—at each other’s throats, even as they are united on U.S.-imperialist support of Israel. Talk of civil war is commonplace. Illusions of normalcy shatter, and people’s lives and cherished beliefs are increasingly upended. The old order is unraveling, its cohering norms shredded.

    The upcoming 2024 election season is shaping up to be pivotal. NOT because of this system’s current “choices”—but because the sharp fissures between these two sides—and all across society—will intensify through this.

    All this could contribute to an opening for millions to be led NOT to choose between this system’s oppressive rulers, but to rise up and overthrow the system of capitalism-imperialism as a whole.

    We urge and invite you to dig deeply into the messages at @BobAvakianOfficial to get more deeply into this and to join the Revcom Corps for the Emancipation of Humanity to fight to make this revolution real in this time, and learn more as you do.

    6 Let us return to where we began. We sit at a historic crossroads. For the people of Palestine. For the direction of this country. For the future of the world. It is no exaggeration to say that the lives of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians now starving in Gaza, the future of the Palestinian people as a whole, and the prospects for an emancipated world for all of humanity will be impacted by what we do. Let us all bring our best understanding to the table and struggle vigorously over the big questions before us. Let us do it with principle and substance and free of ego. Let us measure every idea and program up against the reality we face and whether it will advance the cause of liberation or work against it. Through doing this, let us forge deeper unity of will, lasting relationships, and fighting determination to act with daring and clarity to call forward the broadest, most determined and mightiest struggle seen in generations. Let us settle for nothing less than complete liberation for the people of Palestine and for all the world’s peoples.

    FOLLOW BOB AVAKIAN 
          @BobAvakianOfficial

    Bob Avakian (BA) is a revolutionary leader who has developed a whole new framework for human emancipation: the new communism. He is the author of the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, a visionary and concrete blueprint for a radically new and liberating system (available at www.revcom.us). He has led in forging the strategy for a real revolution in this country (yes, a “physical revolution”). As such, Bob Avakian is loved by many—and he is slandered by people who have a stake in the current system or can see no further than getting such a stake.
    BA has written on the Middle East and the crucial struggle against U.S. imperialism and its “attack dog” Israel for 40+ years. A selection of writings from Bob Avakian, Israel and Palestine, the Middle East and U.S. Imperialism, the Revolution Humanity Needs, is available from The Bob Avakian Institute (thebobavakianinstitute.org). At @BobAvakianOfficial, he is speaking to the hardest questions and bringing truth the powers-that-be don’t want you to have. He breaks down why we need a revolution, and how that revolution could be possible—in this time. If you don’t know this, then you don’t know what you need to know.
  • ARTICLE:

    From the Revcom Corps for the Emancipation of Humanity, Los Angeles:

    To the Students Standing Up to STOP the U.S./Israeli Genocide of the Palestinians!
    What You've Accomplished & What's Needed Now

    Early Thursday morning, Chancellor Gene Block was testifying in front of a Congressional Hearing which slandered and attacked people standing up against the U.S./Israeli genocidal slaughter of the Palestinian people, with the lie that anti-Zionism is the same as anti-Semitism. The pro-Palestinian organizers at UCLA were ready with their response to “Genocide Gene”—a second Palestine Solidarity Encampment! The instagram post announcing this said it was “in solidarity with the Palestinian people and in defiance of the McCarthyist censorship of pro-Palestine voices.”

    Our salute to these organizers: Instead of the terms being set by the fascists and liberals in Congress, they were set by students acting to STOP THE GENOCIDE!

    And our salute to the hundreds of students and others who came out to support.

    Do not underestimate the difference you have made.

    Your actions inspired people here and around the world... they've shaken awake many, many more and they've contributed to ripping the camouflage off the rulers of this country. They are not champions of “freedom and democracy.” They are not “protectors of human rights.” Their claims of “free speech” are mere window dressing. Beneath these claims lies the reality of a ruthless capitalist-imperialist dictatorship.

    The repression has come down on you so hard because, as the revolutionary leader Bob Avakian explains:

    fundamental interests of U.S. capitalism-imperialism are at stake. Because Israel plays a “special role” as a heavily armed bastion of support for U.S. imperialism in a strategically important part of the world (the “Middle East”). And Israel has been a key force in the commission of atrocities which have helped to maintain the oppressive rule of U.S. imperialism in many other parts of the world.

    But that repression, while vicious, also further exposes this system's nature—and their vulnerability.

    …this repression is happening because representatives of the ruling class in this country have a definite sense that if youth especially at “elite” universities begin to seriously question and act against what this system is doing—if the system “loses the allegiance” of large numbers of those students—that can be a big factor in creating a real crisis for the system as a whole, as happened in the 1960s: a crisis that, now more than ever, this system really cannot afford, when the whole country is already being torn apart by deep divisions, with bitter clashes right among the ruling powers.... The ruling class is desperate to prevent opposition to its fundamental interests from spreading and involving masses of people, from all parts of society. [bold and italics ours] [From @BobAvakianOfficial on social media and substack]

    Be very clear: they are afraid of our defiance... and they are afraid of it spreading!

    BobAvakianOfficial on Youtube

     

    The most important way to learn more, and to hear almost daily analysis of key developments and really hard questions from the revolutionary leader, Bob Avakian, follow: @BobAvakianOfficial on all social media platforms or scan this code & subscribe to YouTube.

    Even as the genocide of the Palestinian people continues—with more horrific intensity every day. Over 40,000 people murdered, the people of Gaza forcibly starved, the hospitals, schools, mosques, farms and housing turned to rubble. 

    THIS U.S.-BACKED GENOCIDE MUST BE STOPPED. We, here in the U.S., have a special responsibility to call forward massive and sustained struggle, uniting all who can be united to create a deep enough political crisis to compel the rulers of the U.S. to back off their support for Israel. This would be a huge contribution to bringing the slaughter to a HALT! Nothing less is required. —from our statement, “A Crucial Crossroads in the Struggle to STOP the U.S.-Israeli Genocide of Palestinians… A Historic Moment in the World. How Do We Go Forward?

    What's needed right now:

    1. Uniting all who can be united to declare: “Stop the U.S./Israeli Genocide of Palestinians Now!” The resistance needs to broaden, deepen and grow more determined.

    To all the students who have been inspired and challenged, but don't know what to do or how to help: STOP WAITING! There is no neutral in the face of a genocide, and you are needed in this fight!

    The protest needs to spread on campus... and taking if off campus, reaching into the ghettos and barrios, the arts districts, the suburbs and beyond. And everyone under attack needs to be defended.

    2. While we unite from different perspectives, we need to open up the discussion and debate over the deeper causes—of the century of oppression faced by Palestinians, along with the other truly horrific ways that this capitalist-imperialist system oppresses people—and what it will take to finally win real and lasting liberation and emancipation.

    Everyone who seriously agonizes about the future and wants to see a world without the unjust brutality we are witnessing in Gaza, and in this illegitimate repression, needs to dig in seriously to the source of all this: the system of capitalism-imperialism. And dig into the solution to it: a real revolution. The Revcom Corps for the Emancipation of Humanity invites you to talk with us. Find out about the strategy, vision, plan and leadership for this revolution. Bring the spirit of defiance and your desire to get to a world where these kinds of crimes never happen again to anyone! With this whole system in crisis and society being ripped apart, the revolution that's needed to overthrow this system could happen not just in some far off place and time, but right here and right in this time we’re living in.

  • ARTICLE:

    T-Shirt Drive: Donate $100 to support the Revcom Corps for the Emancipation of Humanity

    Donate for this T-shirt before it's gone!

    Limited run of this shirt made special for attendees of the People's Conference for Palestine in Detroit.

    The first 30 people to donate $100 or more towards the Revcom Corps Summer Organizing Efforts will be gifted a pre-release T-shirt!
    Support the Revcom Corps for the Emancipation of Humanity at the People's Conference for Palestine in Detroit

     

    Support the Revcom Corps for the Emancipation of Humanity at the People's Conference for Palestine in Detroit   

    Members from the Revcom Corps for the Emancipation of Humanity from around the country are making the trip to Detroit to take part in the People's Conference for Palestine.

    Make a contribution TODAY to send them there and to cover cost of materials used at the conference.

    DONATE $100 and receive a limited-availability T-shirt made special for the conference. (See "A Crucial Crossroads in the Struggle to STOP the U.S.-Israeli Genocide of Palestinians… A Historic Moment in the World—How Do We Go Forward?") The shirt says "NO Fascist Trump NO Genocide Joe—THE WHOLE DAMN SYSTEM'S GOT TO GO!"

    Fill out the T-shirt form and send in your donation to hold one of these 🔥 shirts.

    **MEMO: T-SHIRT** in the note for order.

    VENMO - @revolutiontour
    CASHAPP - $revcoms
    PAYPAL - revcom.us

     
    STOP THE U.S./ISRAELI GENOCIDE OF PALESTINIANS NOW!
    STOP CAPITALISM-IMPERIALISM FROM STEALING OUR FUTURE!
    We Need and We Demand REVOLUTION For A Whole New Way To Live, A Fundamentally Different System!

    **MEMO: T-SHIRT** in the note for your order here.

  • ARTICLE:

    Ukraine Alert! Russia Begins Nuclear War Exercises,

    U.S. Moves Toward Direct Confrontation Between Nuclear-Armed Forces 

    We, the people of the world, can no longer afford to allow these imperialists to continue to dominate the world and determine the destiny of humanity. They need to be overthrown as quickly as possible. And it is a scientific fact that we do not have to live this way.

    —Bob Avakian

    Last week Revolution wrote that the war in Ukraine “continues to lurch into an even more dangerous and destructive phase.” Over the past several days the peril of direct war between U.S./NATO forces and Russian forces has increased significantly. This is extremely dangerous.

    Inspecting fragments of a Russian air bomb that hit a living area, injuring ten, in Kharkiv, Ukraine, May 22, 2024.

     

    Inspecting fragments of a Russian air bomb that hit a living area, injuring ten, in Kharkiv, Ukraine, May 22, 2024.    Photo: AP/Andrii Marienko

    Before getting into that, though, some background:

    Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. This followed years of the U.S. developing a foothold within Ukraine, and the increasing prospect of Ukraine joining the U.S.-dominated military alliance of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization, made up of 31 European countries and the U.S.). The U.S. immediately funneled billions of dollars of arms, as well as a great deal of “strategic advice,” into Ukraine. The war became a “proxy war” between the U.S. and NATO and Russia over which imperialist bloc would dominate Ukraine.

    There has not been direct combat between the two powers—though with these new developments, that could quickly change. And this is important: Direct military confrontation between the U.S. and Russia holds the extreme danger of the conflict spiraling out into a nuclear conflict.

    Ukraine’s Military Position Weakens

    Ukraine’s military position in its proxy war with Russia has gotten much worse. Russian forces are advancing into the vicinity of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, and along Ukraine’s southeastern border. U.S. electronic weaponry that was supposed to enable Ukraine to defend against Russian missile and drone assaults “have failed in mission after mission in Ukraine, taken down by Russian electronic warfare.”

    Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, attributes Ukraine’s weakening situation largely to its inability to fire U.S.-made weapons directly into Russia. He says this gives Russia a “huge advantage.” But up to now, Genocide Joe “I’ll-bleed-Russia-dry-to-the-last-Ukrainian” Biden has maintained a policy that avoids direct use of U.S. forces in Ukraine. He also hasn’t allowed Ukraine to fire U.S.-made weapons into Russia. The worry is that if U.S. weaponry is not just used for defense within Ukraine’s borders but offensively strikes Russia, the Russians would view that as a whole other thing. And it would beit would be a direct attack on the Russian territory utilizing U.S. weapons provided by the U.S. In recognition of that, Biden has up to now said doing so could instigate “World War 3.”

    Card--WORLD WAR 3  AND DANGEROUS IDIOCY

     

    Mounting Pressure on U.S. to Raise the Stakes

    But now, it seems, the possibility of the U.S. taking that risk—with all the death and devastation that could entail—is increasingly likely. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken returned from recent meetings with Zelensky, reportedly carrying a “sobering message” about Ukraine’s difficulties. The New York Times reported that since Blinken’s return, “pressure is mounting on the United States to help Ukraine target Russian military sites” to prevent further Russian advances. The U.S. is also considering putting U.S. forces on the ground in Ukraine, to train Ukrainian soldiers in modern warfare. 

    The U.S.’s NATO allies Britain and France both argue that Ukraine “absolutely has the right to strike back at Russia,” as David Cameron, formerly the British Prime Minister, said. In fact, Britain already allows Ukraine to use missiles it supplies to strike targets in Russian territory. And Victoria Nuland, who for years was a top official in the U.S. State Department focused on Ukraine, recently told ABC News that “if attacks are coming directly from over the line in Russia… those bases ought to be fair game” for U.S. provided weaponry. Nuland said, “I think it’s time for that because Russia has obviously escalated this war… So I think it is time to give the Ukrainians more help hitting these bases inside Russia.”

    An Army Tactical Missile System, a long-range ballistic missile that the U.S. secretly provided to Ukraine, which can strike targets up to 190 miles away.

     

    An Army Tactical Missile System, a long-range ballistic missile that the U.S. secretly provided to Ukraine, which can strike targets up to 190 miles away.    Photo: AP

    Russia Makes Threats of Its Own

    In this overheated and explosive environment, Russia on May 21 released video of major troop exercises near its border with Ukraine. According to The Hill, the exercises demonstrated Russia’s readiness “for the potential deployment of tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield.” The video showed troops placing missiles and warheads onto fighter jets, and the backs of trucks with missile-firing systems. 

    Russia’s Ministry of Defense issued a press release saying that “The ongoing exercise is aimed at maintaining the readiness of personnel and equipment of units for the combat use of non-strategic nuclear weapons to respond and in order to unconditionally ensure the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Russian state in response to provocative statements and threats of individual Western officials against the Russian Federation.” Translation: “We hear your threats, and we are readying our nukes for any attack on what we regard as our ‘territorial integrity.’”

    So-called “tactical” nuclear weapons like those Russia displayed have a lower “yield” (explosive power) than “strategic” nuclear weapons. They are sometimes called “battlefield” nuclear weapons, as if the death and destruction they bring will be limited to combatants in immediate range of their impact—which is horrible enough. The truth is, “[T]hey still can carry up to 100 kilotons of yield, much higher than the U.S. bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” Their use would be a qualitative escalation of this war, with horrific destruction. They also could spiral this war, and the world, into an all-out battle between nuclear-armed capitalist-imperialist powers for world supremacy. The toll of such a conflict is incalculable.

    As Bob Avakian pointed out: 

    The actual reality… is that the use of nuclear weapons by Russia in the context of the war in Ukraine—even “tactical” nuclear weapons—would lead to a massively destructive response by the U.S./NATO. And even if that U.S./NATO response itself were non-nuclear, it would very likely provoke a further escalation by Russia. This dynamic could very easily lead to strategic nuclear war between the two sides, with the prospect of wiping out human civilization as we know it.

    From We Need and We Demand: A Whole New Way to Live, A Fundamentally Different System:

    Abolishing Nuclear Weapons, Finally Abolishing War, and Systematically Addressing the Environmental Crisis

    The new socialist government will not develop or use nuclear weapons and will take concrete steps and wage determined struggle to abolish nuclear weapons everywhere, with the ultimate goal of finally abolishing wars among human beings, with the abolition of the capitalist-imperialist system, and all systems and relations of exploitation and oppression, which are the basis for wars. This new socialist government will move, quickly, systematically and effectively, to address the already acute and fast accelerating environmental crisis, with the aim of bringing into being a world where humanity can truly be fit caretakers of the earth.

    We Need and We Demand : A Whole New Way to Live, A Fundamentally Different System

     

  • ARTICLE:

    Prisoner Writes on Discovering Revolution and Bob Avakian in the Prison Library

    Editors’ note: We at revcom.us periodically publish letters from prisoners on revolutionary theory and struggle, as well as other aspects of human experience and thought, including conditions and struggle within the prisons themselves. We appreciate and learn from all correspondence from the prisoners. The opinions in the letters we publish are those of the writers and not necessarily those of revcom.us.

    Dear PRLF Volunteers:

    Thank you for adding my name to the “Revolution” mailing list. I have already received three of the bi-weekly newsletters as well as the documents: “We Need and We Demand; A Whole New Way…,” “We are the RevComs,” and “Building Up the Basis for Revolution…”5

    I began to realize that there were deep-rooted and seemingly intractable flaws in our society’s dominant political and socioeconomic system about ten years ago. Since that time, I have completed both formal and informal studies in Political Economics & Sociology and began to wonder was there any viable solution at all. In more recent years, I was exposed to and began to study literature from various communist/leftist organizations. I discovered many inspiring ideas and concepts but I still felt that something was missing.

    Then one day I came across a “Revolution” newsletter in the prison library. I picked it up and read it and was fascinated with the complexity of scientific thought and ideology in BA’s [Bob Avakian] writings that had been distilled into a simple to understand message presented in plain language that the average lay person could understand. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was hooked.

    After reading a few library copies of “Revolution,” I decided to request my own subscription. I have also had the privilege to read a friend’s copy of “Science and Revolution” by Ardea Skybreak.6  It was a truly enlightening read. Ms. Skybreak’s elucidation of Bob Avakian’s New Syntheses of Communism, along with BA’s articles I have read in the Revolution newsletters, have shown me what it is that I believe is missing from all other socialist programs I have reviewed. That missing key seems to be non-dogmatic, objective truth-seeking from a foundational level up (as opposed to top-down). I believe that BA’s program is addressing these issues and I am eager to learn more. Towards that end, I respectfully request to be sent a copy of each of the following: “BAsics—From the Talks & Writings of Bob Avakian,” “The New Communism,” & “The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America.”7

    Yours in the struggle.

    Science and Revolution by Ardea Skybreak book cover

     

    BAsics cover 600

     

    Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America

     

    _______________

    FOOTNOTES:

    1. The Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund (PRLF) sends out regular newsletters to thousands of prisoners across the country, with selected articles from the Revolution/revcom.us website and other literature. The documents the prisoner is referring to here are: We Need and We Demand: A Whole New Way to Live, A Fundamentally Different System; We Are the Revcoms (Revolutionary Communists): We are working for a real revolution and a whole new, emancipating way to live; Revolution: Building Up the Basis to Go for the Whole Thing, with a Real Chance to Win: Strategic Orientation and Practical Approach. [back]

    2. Ardea Skybreak is a scientist with professional training in ecology and evolutionary biology, and an advocate of the new synthesis of communism brought forward by Bob Avakian (BA). The work the prisoner is referring to here is Science and Revolution: On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian—An Interview with Ardea Skybreak. [back]

    3. Go here to learn about the availability of BAsics as a free ebook and in print edition. The other two works mentioned here, both by Bob Avakian, are available online at revcom.us: THE NEW COMMUNISM: The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation and the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. [back]

  • ARTICLE:

    Heat Records Smashed on Land and Sea: The Planet Is BOILING Because of the Capitalist-Imperialist System!

    ONLY Revolution Offers a Future for the Planet and Humanity!

    Global map with land and ocean temperature percentiles indicated by color.

     

    Map: NOAA, National Centers for Environmental Information

    For many decades our planet, Earth, has been warming, principally due to the burning of fossil fuel by the capitalist-imperialist system. But global warming has taken a leap. Every single day for the past year, ocean temperatures reached record heights for that day.8  Every month, for the last 11 months, the temperature of the air has been on average hotter in that month than ever before in recorded history. Climate change has a relentless and intensifying grip on our planet. 

    Climate scientists have long said that it would be very dangerous if the overall temperature of the planet reached sustained highs for many years that are 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees in the Fahrenheit scale used in the U.S.) above the levels of the mid-1800s when industrialization began to take place on a major scale. Over the past 12 months, average global temperatures have been 1.58 degrees Celsius above those levels. This is not yet sustained for many years—but what is happening now is extremely ominous.

     

    A marine biologist on the recent rise in global temperatures: “It’s global boiling, not just global warming.” 

     

    This rising heat has enormous impact on the planet and its people. Hotter oceans mean that the ocean water holds less oxygen, suffocating sea life. Hotter air temperatures are killing people across the planet already, right now. Climate change is posing an urgent need for fundamental changes and urgent action, at a time when the capitalist-imperialist order is already under intense stress and tearing apart. 

    Venezuelan migrants walk across the treacherous Darién Gap from Colombia into Panama hoping to reach the U.S., October 15, 2022. 

     

    Venezuelan migrants walk across the Darién Gap from Colombia into Panama, October 15, 2022    Photo: AP

    Texas National Guard corral migrants after they breached barriers set up on the Rio Grande in El Paso, Texas, March 21, 2024.

     

    Texas National Guard corral migrants after they breached barriers set up on the Rio Grande in El Paso, Texas, March 21, 2024.    Photo: AP

    Climate change combined with imperialism’s devastation of the countries of the Global South through reactionary war and exploitation is driving many millions of people to the imperialist citadels seeking a place where they can survive. Those who manage to survive the dangerous treks—facing death on the seas or in scorching deserts—are met with harsh repression and fascist mobilization that deny their right to exist.

    We Will Soon Be at the “Very Limit of What Human Beings Can Tolerate”

    It is the average temperature of the planet that is setting records—some places are cooler than average, some much warmer. But in just the first five days of May, 70 countries or territories broke heat records: Thailand, Vietnam, India, the Philippines, Mexico, and many others. 

    the body of a howler monkey that died amid extremely high temperatures in Tecolutilla, Tabasco state, Mexico, May 21, 2024.

     

    Removing the body of a howler monkey that died amid extremely high temperatures in Tecolutilla, Tabasco state, Mexico, May 21, 2024.    Photo: AP

    In the African country of Mali, one city reached 119 degrees, which may be the highest temperature ever recorded in Africa. This level of heat is deadly. People's liver and kidneys fail, and their brains swell. Here a welder, cools off with water in Bamako, Mali, April, 18, 2024.

     

    In the African country of Mali, one city reached 119 degrees, which may be the highest temperature ever recorded in Africa. This level of heat is deadly. People's liver and kidneys fail, and their brains swell. Here a welder cools off with water in Bamako, Mali, April 18, 2024.     Photo: AP/Baba Ahmed

    Kiswendsida Guigma, a climate scientist based in Africa, said, “We are used to heat, but this level of extreme we have never experienced. We will soon be at the very edge, the very limit of what human beings can actually tolerate.”9  

    Massive Destruction of Coral Reefs

    The extraordinary ocean heat has caused the largest major bleaching of coral reefs, which are vital to ocean life around the world. Bleaching occurs when corals become so stressed from rising heat that the algae that lives in their tissue, serving as the main food source for the corals and giving them their bright colors, dies. Last week the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that nearly two-thirds of coral reefs globally have been damaged just in the past year—and this percentage is rising.

    Coral_Outcrop_Flynn_Reef-600px.jpg

     

    Coral outcrop on Flynn Reef, part of the Great Barrier Reef, July 24, 2010.    Credit: Toby Hudson/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

    A major coral bleaching event on part of the Great Barrier Reef.

     

    A major coral bleaching event on part of the Great Barrier Reef.    Photo: February 2016, courtesy of Oregon State University CC BY-SA 2.0

    Coral reefs are beautiful, and they also nurture an estimated quarter of ocean species at some point during their life cycles. Without coral reefs many fish and other sea life would die.

    Beyond the coral reefs, the heat is doing tremendous harm to all ocean life. Hot water holds less oxygen, and this kills especially small sea organisms that are food to fish and sea mammals. "It's global boiling, not just global warming," said a marine biologist from Thailand

    A System Problem

    Year after year, climate scientists present the evidence that Earth is warming dangerously and that the burning of fossil fuel must be drastically reduced... more people die and more of nature is destroyed as a result of climate change… the governments of the planet gather for “climate talks”…. And year after year, the production, transport, and burning of fossil fuels continue to rise. 

    This is because fossil fuels are a crucial part of the foundation of the global capitalist-imperialist system. And those running this system will not—and cannot—stop the use of these fossil fuels. Climate change is a SYSTEM problem. For a deep look into why this is so, and how the U.S. plays an outsize role in climate change, go here for an important exposure by Raymond Lotta on Biden’s imperialist climate bill legislation.

    A system that prioritizes profits for capitalist enterprises and geostrategic domination of the globe above whether Earth will be habitable for human beings is a system that we can no longer allow to continue poisoning the planet. As Bob Avakian put it in social media dispatch  number 3:

    How long can we let them continue to do what they do—to people here, to people all over the world? How long?! Why should we put up with this, when there is a whole other, much better way the world could be?

    For a sweeping, and concrete, vision and plan for such a radically different and better world, get into the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North Americawritten by Bob Avakian, and We Need and We Demand: A Whole New Way to Live, A Fundamentally Different System, a declaration from the revcoms (revolutionary communists).

    From Revolution Number 19, "Yes, a radically different and much better world really is possible!" @BobAvakianOfficial:

    This capitalist system that we are now forced to live under has long since developed into a system of international exploitation and oppression—the system of capitalism-imperialismThis system is long outmoded—long past its expiration date, long past any circumstances where it could play any positive role.

    And here is the most profound and essential truth in all this: With all the very real horror this has involved, the development of human society, up to and through capitalism, has created the basis for a world without all those horrors. The basis exists now—the technology, knowledge and scientific foundation—to provide a decent and continually enriched life, in an all-around way, for everyone on this earth, without any oppressive divisions among human beings.

    And the basis exists for human beings to finally become fit caretakers of the earth as a whole.

    The fundamental force preventing this from happening is this system of capitalism-imperialism, which rules in this country and dominates the world. This system treats as the “private property,” of a few, the productive capacity and productive knowledge of human beings, which has been produced through the physical and intellectual labor of masses—of billions—of people. This system is driven by ruthless competition and conflict between different capitalist exploiters and different capitalist countries—leading to the ongoing, accelerating destruction of the environment, and the continual wars, posing a growing danger to the future and the very existence of humanity.

    This system has to go—and be replaced by a system based on collective ownership by the people of the productive means that human beings everywhere have created—utilizing this for the benefit of human beings as a whole, now and for future generations: a socialist system, aiming for a communist world where relations of exploitation and oppression, and the culture that goes along with and reinforces those relations, will be eliminated and uprooted, and humanity can truly flourish—with a continually developing scientific approach, building on everything from the past that can contribute to this emancipating future, drawing from the rich diversity of human beings, enabling a flowering of all the people who make up the human race, in the context and on the foundation of cooperation and mutual benefit.

    This is not just an impossible dream. It is a real possibility—a possibility that can be made a reality through the revolution that sweeps away the truly monstrous system of capitalism-imperialism and sets humanity on the road to communism.

    _______________

    FOOTNOTES:

    1. This means, for example, that April 3, 2024 average ocean temperature was the hottest April 3 ever recorded. [back]

    2. Earth’s record hot stream might be a sign of a new climate era, Washington Post, April 19, 2024. [back]

  • ARTICLE:

    SHAME! 

    What the fuck is Barbara Kingsolver doing at the White House?

    Barbara Kingsolver arrives at the Booksellers area of the White House for the State Dinner hosted by President Joe Biden, May 23, 2024.

     

    Author Barbara Kingsolver arrives at the White House for State Dinner hosted by Genocide Joe Biden, May 23.    Photo: AP/Jacquelyn Martin

    Barbara Kingsolver is a writer who has taken good stands in the past. Twenty years ago, she paid a heavy price for speaking out strongly against George W. Bush’s wars conducted in the name of “the war on terror”—wars which ended up taking well over a million lives and creating further horrific misery throughout the Middle East/Central Asian region. She has written many novels and other books of a progressive or generally positive nature—including The Poisonwood Bible that, among other things, did some exposure of the effect of the crimes that the U.S. and the rest of the imperialists had done in plundering and dominating Africa.

    So you would not expect her to go to a White House state dinner honoring the latest U.S. puppet in Africa, President William Ruto of Kenya. (Ruto is “distinguishing” himself not only by cooperating with U.S. schemes to further dominate Africa but by promising to send police to Haiti, carrying out dirty work for the U.S. which is desperately trying to control a country spinning into anarchy.) And you would definitely not expect her to do this at a time when that same White House was not only backing a genocide by Israel, but loudly and shamelessly defending Israel's leaders against a warrant from the International Criminal Court charging those leaders with war crimes and crimes against humanity! But there she was—and you can be sure that the mainstream media made sure to cover the fact. The New York Times said she was “circumspect”—that means, she wouldn’t say much. But the pictures of her presence at the dinner spoke 1,000 words—all of them ugly and shameful.

    By going to this dinner, Kingsolver has given a patina (a cover) of progressivism to Biden, the man financing and backing a horrific genocide and hence the genocide itself. She has blessed by her presence the latest U.S. effort to contend for power and plunder in Africa. She has, with this craven act of bootlicking, covered herself in shame.

    Bootlickers gallery Kodak Black etal

     

  • ARTICLE:

    A Call From Revolution Books, Harlem...

    Stop the Execution of Iranian Rapper TOOMAJ

    Stand With Those Risking All for a Whole New World

    SUNDAY, JUNE 9, 3 PM
    EMERGENCY PROGRAM
    AT REVOLUTION BOOKS IN HARLEM 
    LET THE WORLD KNOW...

    STOP THE EXECUTION OF TOOMAJ... FREE IRAN’S POLITICAL PRISONERS
    AN AFTERNOON OF SOLIDARITY, PERFORMANCE AND DEFIANCE

    Toomaj Salehi is an Iranian rapper beloved by millions in Iran and worldwide because he stands up for, and with, the people. Toomaj is hated by the misogynist mullahs ruling Iran, as he champions the fight against the vicious oppression of women and the whole oppressive system in Iran. Toomaj is a brilliant artist who has defied a brutal system in his songs and videos and participation in protests.

    Toomaj Salehi was arrested for his songs and participation in the “Women-Life-Freedom” uprising that shook Iranian society in 2022-23. Women took to the streets in protest, refusing to wear the mandatory hijab face-covering, with men joining this struggle. Toomaj, along with many other political prisoners, has endured months of excruciating torture and solitary confinement. Every six hours the Iranian government executes someone!

    On April 24, Toomaj was sentenced to death by Iran’s theocrats for his rebel music, for standing up against injustice and for inspiring people worldwide with his courage!

    WE CANNOT ALLOW TOOMAJ TO BE EXECUTED!

    Toomaj’s courage and conviction as a rebel artist stand in sharp contrast to the degrading art that saturates our culture, that keeps people’s hearts and minds locked within this horrific world. Our choices are not U.S. imperialism and its outpost Israel vs. “Dark Ages” Islamic fundamentalism. NO! A whole other world is possible...through an all-the-way revolution!

    STEP INTO THE STRUGGLE TO STOP THE EXECUTION AND DEMAND: #FREETOOMAJNOW!

    Take this to campuses, places of worship, cafes, protests, social media. Sign and circulate the statement ►►

    QR code for statement to free Toomaj

     

    Watch the Video “This is Toomaj Salehi” ►►

    QR code for video "This is Toomaj Salehi"

     

    REVOLUTION BOOKS

    SUNDAY, JUNE 9, 3 PM
    EMERGENCY PROGRAM
    AT REVOLUTION BOOKS IN HARLEM 

    LET THE WORLD KNOW...

    STOP THE EXECUTION OF TOOMAJ... 
    FREE IRAN’S POLITICAL PRISONERS 
    AN AFTERNOON OF SOLIDARITY, 
    PERFORMANCE AND DEFIANCE

    Be there to hear from artists, musicians, writers and others from throughout society and around the world. Showing our love for Toomaj... 

    Expressing our determination to step up the fight to free all of Iran’s political prisoners.

    WEDNESDAY, MAY 29, 7 pm

    Be Part of Organizing for the June 9 Solidarity-with-Toomaj Program

    Bring your ideas, your questions, and your creativity. For more info, call 212.691.3345.

  • ARTICLE:

    The Sudden Death of Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi: 

    What It Does and Doesn’t Mean for the People of Iran

    On May 19, a helicopter carrying Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and seven others crashed over the mountains in Northern Iran, leaving no survivors. In the imperialist-dominated world of intrigues between and within reactionary regimes, there are many rumors, speculations, conspiracy theories and calls for investigations. Clarity on the exact circumstances may or may not emerge in the days ahead even as various class forces are issuing statements. But so far, the evidence and reportage by major media in and outside Iran point to this as a result of “foul weather and not foul play.” The more important question is how this may impact the future for the people of Iran, the region and the world. 

    The Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) immediately ordered an extended period of five days of national mourning for Raisi to shore up national unity among their social base, and legitimacy for their oppressive rule. Hundreds of thousands of Iranians turned out for mass mourning ceremonies. The regime also threatened and unjustly arrested people for celebratory social media posts about the incident. It is reported that some Iranians set off fireworks, danced, sang or otherwise expressed joy as soon as the news of Raisi’s death was announced—demonstrating their anger at what Raisi and this regime has done to the people. News outlets reported many condolences were being offered by various governments, including NATO, the European Union, China, Russia, and also by the administration of Genocide Joe Biden. The United Nations Security Council held a moment of silence in honor of Raisi, who was, in fact, one of their own leading oppressors, even if a rival on the world stage of big and small gangsters.

    BAsics 3-8

     

    Raisi was a fitting leader of Iran’s woman-hating theocratic-capitalist system based on Sharia law. Sharia law is a literal, fanatical religious rule rooted in Islamic scriptures of the Quran (written in 600 CE). Raisi was popularly known as “the butcher of Tehran.” As human rights group Amnesty International summarized in its May 22, 2024 bulletin: 

    Ebrahim Raisi, who at the age of 20 was appointed as Prosecutor General … in 1980, quickly rose through the ranks to assume various senior judicial executive positions, before becoming president in 2021…. Ebrahim Raisi was a member of the “death commission” which carried out the ongoing enforced disappearance and extrajudicial executions of several thousand political dissidents … between late July and early September 1988.

    Raisi’s direct role in the massacre of political prisoners in 1988 is a well-known crime. This is well documented by eyewitness accounts, as well as in films such as The Secret Fatwa and in books such as Voices of a Massacre. Over the decades in his role as part of Iran’s mullah ruling class, he also was in position to oversee the brutal enforcement of its forced hijab (headscarf) laws on women, and the imprisonment, torture, and executions of its opponents.

    What Raisi’s Death Means… and Doesn’t Mean

    Excerpts from a statement by the Communist Party of Iran, Marxist-Leninist-Maoist helps to frame the understanding of the challenges posed by this event posted at cpimlm.org (ed.—translation by revcom volunteers):

    The deaths of Ebrahim Raisi, the executioner and Hossein Amir Abdollahian, the executive arm of the Islamic Republic's belligerent foreign policy, may have many ambiguous strains that will have to wait for clarity to be clearer. However, the important point is that these two criminals did not survive to answer their crimes in a fair trial, but the Islamic Republic is standing and its overthrow is a long way ahead of the people.

    He was the judge of death, but death and crime are the profession of the Islamic Republic. The crime of killing communist and leftist fighters and the PMOI [Peoples Mojahedin Organization of Iran] in the 1980s, the murder of our youth in political and non-political executions, the suppression and existence of political prisoners, crimes against women and assaulting women when arrested, chemical attacks on schools, poverty, environmental destruction, crimes against the people of the region, mass murder and execution of Baloch and Kurdish [minority nationality] youths, etc. These are the disgraceful record of this system and our indictment against this system and all its agents, and at the top of it [Supreme Leader Ayatollah] Ali Khamenei.

    No matter who succeeds Raisi as president, he will follow in Raisi’s footsteps, and it will not bring a better future to the people of Iran…. Raisi was a judge who did not stray, not even an inch, from the character, tradition and the nature of the theocratic capitalist Islamic Republic of Iran. The Islamic Republic must go. The revolutionary overthrow of this government is an urgent necessity that must be taken up by a conscious and determined people, a people aware of the character and principles of the [new] society that will be fundamentally different from what we have experienced over the past forty-five years and earlier, a people determined to overthrow this regime and bring about a new state and a new society. The only way to attain such a society is to achieve victory in a real revolution—meaning a communist revolution—and the establishment of the new socialist republic of Iran. Only that can heal these deep wounds. That and Nothing Less.

    In other words, it is critical to confront the need to be rid of an entire system, Iran’s ruling structure and its foundation under the brutal economic, political and social system based on exploitation and oppression, especially of women, through the most radical, and thorough going revolution in human history. This is a much harder but also much more liberating event to celebrate. The challenge is posed as to what is the future of Iran, the Middle East region, and the world as a whole. Raisi’s death does not fundamentally change the big picture—and the big demand—for the people to “bring forward another way” for Iran that is out of the hell of the Islamic fundamentalist regime AND out of imperialist domination, be it by the U.S. (again), China or Russia. 

    Bringing Forward Another Way, by Bob Avakian

     

  • ARTICLE:

    From Atash/Fire #150, Journal of the Communist Party of Iran, Marxist-Leninist-Maoist

    The Reality of Communism

     Part 8: Democracy under Socialism

    Editors’ note: The article below is posted in Farsi in Atash/Fire journal #150, May 2024, at cpimlm.org. It was translated by revcom.us volunteers.  Bracketed words/phrases, and some of the footnotes were added by translators for clarification.  Part 1, Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6 and Part 7 are also posted at revcom.us. 

    The main source of this series of articles is the book, Democracy: Can't We Do Better Than That? (1986), and this article is also drawn from Part 2 of  Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, But Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon, written by Bob Avakian, and his other works on democracy/dictatorship. 

    In this series of articles so far, we have critiqued all types of democracies within the framework of capitalism. We said that all societies that exist today are characterized by oppressive relations, exploitation and inequality. The long history of society being divided into exploiting and exploited classes has been characterized by the dictatorship of the economically dominant class. Here, “dictatorship” is not the word as it is commonly used, but a scientific description of the state in a class-divided society. The flip side of the coin is that there is democracy for the part of society that exercises this dictatorship.

    Democracy is not and cannot be an abstract thing unto itself or an end in itself. It cannot exist in “pure” form: it always assumes form as part of the state—that is to say, the dictatorship—of one class or another, and specifically in this era, of the bourgeoisie or the proletariat. But there is a profound qualitative difference in the content of democracy under the rule of the one class and the other, that is, between democracy under socialism and democracy under capitalism.8

    In a previous article [in this series] we also noted that the communist approach to democracy is not entirely negative. 

    Democracy: Can't We Do Better Than That?

     

    Democracy: Can't We Do Better Than That?

    2014 edition
    (originally published 1986)
    by Bob Avakian
    Price: $10.95
    Format: Paperback
    Order from:   RCP Publications
    PO Box 804956, Chicago, IL 60680-4111
    rcppublications@gmail.com
     
    With an Introduction by Raymond Lotta:
    “A Landmark Work of Heightened Relevance”

    There is a profound and qualitative difference between these two class-states, i.e., between democracy under socialism, and democracy under capitalism. Even though a socialist state is also a dictatorship/democracy, the exploiting classes (i.e., the minority that monopolizes the economy, exploits the labor of others, and accumulates capital) do not hold power. Furthermore, and more importantly, the mission and goal of the socialist state (proletarian dictatorship/democracy) is to step by step eliminate the conditions that make itself necessary. 

    Socialist society is simply the period of transition from capitalism to world communism. And, despite having ruptured with capitalism, the effects and birthmarks of capitalism’s social divisions and traditional ways of thinking linger for a long time, and become the source of ongoing class struggle. Global capitalism’s encirclement of the socialist society inflates and reinforces the existing bourgeois tendencies in socialist society. All these issues necessitate the existence of the state, the dictatorship/democracy of the proletariat, throughout the period of socialist transition. 

    Preserving the socialist character of this state, however, depends on creating the conditions for it to wither away. This is done by advancing two tasks that have a synergistic relationship:  continually revolutionizing the economic and social relations, the political outlook and the ideology that predominates in socialist society itself; and, serving the growth and development of the world revolution. In this way, as society moves towards communist world, the state does as well.

    The pursuit of this goal (i.e., the establishment of a communist society that is possible only on a world scale) characterizes the socialist state throughout the long period of socialist transition to communism and shapes its policies. Because the capitalist system—its social and production relations, and the ideas that flow from it are a global system, eradicating it is also a global process. Consequently, internationalism is a component of the [proletariat] exercising dictatorship/democracy, whose concrete expression is that a socialist state anywhere in the world acts as a base area for the world revolution.

    In this article, we briefly address two questions: 1) If socialism is a qualitative advance over capitalism and other types of exploitative relations, and if the proletariat represents the interests of the majority of people, and if the socialist era is moving towards the elimination of all exploitation and oppression, then why is dictatorship necessary in a socialist society? 2) How will democracy in the New Socialist Republic differ from democracy under capitalism?

    To answer the first question, let's return to the fundamental point that the political and ideological superstructure of every society is in a dialectical relationship with its economic base, and ultimately it is the economic base that conditions and limits a society’s political and cultural institutions. In the socialist state, the proletariat alters the character of the economic base by seizing control of the political superstructure, and uses this power to abolish private ownership of the means of production, and removes profit and the law of value from a commanding role in the economy. Of course, these changes proceed through a long and complex process of struggle. These developments in the economic infrastructure make a different superstructure not only possible, but necessary. And, with every step that deepens these developments in the economic base, great changes are also made in the superstructure, and vice versa. 

    Eliminating capitalist relations of production and related laws that are an obstacle to the growth of the productive forces (concretely, the private ownership of means of production, and the anarchy of production), and step-by-step rooting out of ways of thinking generated by the previous system of oppression and exploitation—will unleash a great freedom for the people to exercise a sovereignty that meets the needs of society, and overcomes all class distinctions and oppressive social relations. It actually provides the material basis for socialist democracy, but this requires a tortuous epoch of class struggle. Lenin rightfully said that,

     …expropriation alone, as a legal or political act, does not settle the matter…. [W]hen history presents the question of whether age-old and thousand-year-old privileges are to be or not to be—at such a time to talk about majority and minority, about pure democracy, about dictatorship being unnecessary and about equality between the exploiter and the exploited! What infinite stupidity and abysmal philistinism are needed for this!9  

    This is because, as Bob Avakian, the architect of the new communism and revolutionary leader explains, socialist society is a period of transition to communism. Even after the bourgeoisie has been overthrown and the property of previous exploiters has been expropriated, even after the means of production that previously was privately owned (in one form or another) has been transferred to public ownership, the transition to a classless and completely communist society still requires a hard struggle on many fronts.

    The struggle to achieve this goal means confronting and uprooting traditional property relations and traditional ideas; these traditions that have accumulated over thousands of years have deep roots. They are huge obstacles that need to be completely uprooted. One cannot suddenly overcome the kinds of social “…contradictions and inequalities inherited from the old society, which cannot be overcome all at once, but in varying ways and to varying degrees will persist for some time. And on top of all this, experience has shown that it is extremely unlikely that socialism will be established all at once in anything like all, or even a majority of, the countries of the world, but is likely to be established in only one or a few in any particular conjuncture of world contradictions.... So, especially viewed in the light of all this, it becomes clear that not only does the bourgeoisie still retain the upper hand in the world as a whole—and is likely to for some time—but this interpenetrates with, and indeed sets the overall framework and foundation for, the struggle to carry forward the revolutionization of society in any particular socialist country.”10

    In this sense, the socialist state must, in an urgent way, at every stage, and to the maximum degree possible, not only solve the contradictions within society that are left over from the past, and the relations between people—such as male supremacy and misogyny, racism, the gulf between mental and manual labor, the gap between the center and the periphery, etc.—it must solve them as quickly as possible at each stage. But it must solve them in a way that enhances possibilities to advance and deepen socialism among people and to transform people’s thinking—through their involvement and leadership in solving the contradictions in society—as well as by spreading revolution beyond the borders of the socialist state.

    Flowing from the nature of socialist society, including its role as a transition to a world free of exploitative and oppressive relations and social divisions, is the open identification, and constitution, of the socialist state as an expression of the interests, in the largest sense, of a particular class, the proletariat— leading ultimately to the emancipation of humanity as a whole from class divisions and all relations of exploitation and oppression and the destructive antagonistic conflicts to which these relations give rise—and the open role of this socialist state as an instrument of suppression of interests and forces that are, and that act, in antagonistic opposition to this. Yet, while the Constitution of a socialist state—and the governmental institutions, structures, and processes which it provides for—must take into account the social divisions which have been "inherited" from previous societies based on exploitative relations (and which will persist, in varying degrees and in various forms, for a long time in socialist society), at the same time the "rule of law" which must be embedded in the Constitution of a socialist state, as well as the specific laws that are promulgated on the basis of that Constitution (and which must be judged, as to their validity, in accordance with that Constitution) must be applied equally to every person in society. This is another contradiction that is difficult to handle but must be handled correctly.11

    The Differences

    Contrary to bourgeois theorists’ portrayal of the “rule of law” as the antithesis of dictatorship and promoting freedom and democracy as an end in itself, the reality is that in any form, the “rule of law” is a component of dictatorship, and enforces the rule of the dominant class. To put it bluntly, laws and rights are part of the political superstructure of society and have a specific class character. Under socialism, they have a proletarian class character because they serve the socialist transformation of society and open the way to realize a communist society on a world scale.  Once communism is achieved, there will be no need for law. In a socialist society there are institutions to apply its laws (the executive branch and its apparatus), but applying the law is combined with mobilizing the masses and increasingly involving them in advancing the goals of the socialist state.

    The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America is in line with the reality that socialism encompasses an economic system, a specific system of governance (the dictatorship of the proletariat), and a period of transition to communism. In every phase of this process and at every step of this transition, the constitution must take into account two things: first, it must reflect the current level of development of the production and social relations at any given point in the transition process, and the goals suitable to that stage; second, it should promote and foster the struggle to push forward the transition to more advanced stages of socialism, and essentially towards communism (along with the struggle for such a goal all over the world). 

    But this will not be an easy or smooth process, because there is a conflict between the most fundamental and basic need of the people—advancing towards communism—and what the people spontaneously want at any given time. And this contradiction provides the objective basis for the accusation that socialist governments want to force people into impossible utopia! But the correct resolution to this contradiction is not going to be the use of “force,” but for the Constitution to establish the framework and set the general terms in which the functioning of society will take place, at any given point, including encouraging the contestation of opposing views and programs.

    This contention between competing ideas, involving people in debate and struggle over fundamental issues, will play an important role in resolving these contradictions, so that at every juncture, to the maximum extent possible, people's attitudes will come to align with their fundamental interests. In other words, the other role of the Constitution is to provide the framework for continuing struggle against spontaneous tendencies among people. 

    The institutionalized leading role of the communist vanguard spelled out in the Constitution, in the functioning of the government and, in general, in the political process of the socialist society, will provide the “solid core” of this struggle. Based on this solid core, namely the communist leadership, there will be a lot of elasticity or flexibility for the emergence of various and opposing tendencies and orientations in society, to the extent that the socialist state will go to “the brink of being drawn and quartered,”12 but not to the point of being overthrown. 

    The fundamental difference between the Constitution and political processes of socialist society and those of capitalist societies in general, arises from the profound difference in the nature and dynamics of the two systems—differences in economic base and infrastructure, in production and social relations, and in the goals and class character of their political processes. 

    Take elections, for example. In both socialist democracy and bourgeois democracy, there are elections. But as we said in previous articles, in bourgeois democracies elections are merely a means to transfer power within various sections of the ruling class and to create the illusion that the people have a role in the political life of society. But in a socialist democracy, the positive role played by elections is more about getting people to debate the crucial issues of society, and to become aware of how different programs correspond to differing class interests. Elections will also be a tool for the Communist Party to measure its performance in transforming people’s outlooks. But for both kinds of state, elections are not—nor can they ever be—the expression of people's highest aspirations and most fundamental interests.13

    The fundamental difference between democracy in these two kinds of systems is also reflected in the rights of the people. It is not just that under socialism people have more rights—there is a difference in the scope and the framework of these rights. That is because, as Marx pointed out, “Right can never be higher than the economic structure of society and its cultural development conditioned thereby.” 

    With the victory of the communist revolution and the objective changes in how the economic [base] is structured and [related change in the] socio-cultural superstructure of society, new possibilities are created for the people’s rights. As Mao said that the rights of labor are not limited to wages, hours and the quality of the work environment

    …there is no discussion of labor’s right to run the state, the various enterprises, education and culture. Actually, this is labor’s greatest right under socialism, the most fundamental right, without which there is no right to work, to an education, to sick leave, etc. The paramount issue for socialist democracy is: does labor have the right to subdue the various antagonistic forces and their influences? ... In sum, people must have the right to manage the superstructure.14

    The most fundamental right of the people in socialist society—which is not possible in even the most advanced democracies within the framework of capitalism—is the right to exercise political power in accordance with their fundamental interests and to participate in decisions affecting society.   

    In conclusion, we must emphasize that the most characteristic aspect of a socialist society is its role and goal during a historical period of a transition and moving, together with revolutionary struggles around the world, toward the ultimate goal of establishing communism in the world—toward a world in which class divisions and other social inequalities and oppressive relations have been completely uprooted and the state, as an apparatus of oppression whatever its form, will cease to exist. [This will mean the end of] the special institutionalized role the state plays in directing the administration of society, the rule of law and even of rights. As Marx said, this future will mean a leap beyond the narrow horizon of bourgeois right—a profound leap in the historical development of human social relations.15  The socialist state

     is not only a  million times more democratic, it is democratic in a qualitatively new and profoundly different way: it represents and depends on the broadest, and ever-deepening, participation of the formerly oppressed and exploited masses in every sphere of society—and more than that requires their increasing mastery of affairs of state, of economic management, and other aspects of administration, and indeed of the superstructure as a whole, including culture as well as other spheres of ideology. All this goes far beyond—again, it is qualitatively different from—the mere question of formal democracy and formal rights.16

    _______________

    FOOTNOTES:

    1. Bob Avakian, Democracy, Can’t We Do Better Than That? Banner Press, 1982, Chapter 7, “Democracy and the Communist Revolution,” pg. 227-8. [back]

    2. V. I. Lenin, “Proletarian Revolution and Renegade Kautsky,” Lenin’s Collected Works, Vol. 28, pp. 252-254.  Quoted in Democracy, Can’t We Do Better Than That? page 228. This Lenin quote strongly counters the propaganda that calls Marxism's theory of the future utopian. In this polemic and repeatedly elsewhere, Lenin has said that in order to build socialism and advance towards communism, one must start with material conditions and people as they have been "delivered" by the old society (whether or not they have undergone dramatic changes in the process of gaining power through mass armed struggle). [back]

    3. Bob Avakian, Democracy, Can’t We Do Better Than That?, pg. 226.
    For further discussion, see For a Harvest of Dragons, Chapter 3, Part 2; also see  A Terrible End or an End to the Terror, Chapter 2, pages 149-151, and Chapter 4, pages 195-199, as well as Conquer of the World, The International Proletariat Must and Will, Section 2. [back]

    4. Bob Avakian, Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, But Humans Can Soar Beyond the HorizonPart 1: Revolution and the State,  Subhead “Bourgeois Political Philosophy, Its Limitations and Distortions.”   [back]

    5. Ibid Footnote 14 quoting from the Constitution of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA ("Appendix, Communism as a Science") on “solid core with a lot of elasticity”  [back]

    6. Ibid Subhead: The Notion of "Human Nature" —  As a Reflection of Capitalist Society [back]

    7. Mao Tse-tung, A Critique of the Soviet Economy (1977) Monthly Review Press. Pg 61. [back]

    8. See Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, But Humans Can Soar Beyond the Horizon, “Democratic Intellectuals, Idealist Notions, and the Need for Materialism.”  [back]

    9. Bob Avakian, Democracy: Can't We Do Better Than That? pg. 229. [back]

  • ARTICLE:

    VIDEO

    ISRAEL/US STARVE & CUT GAZA IN TWO, Biden Sends A Billion For Arms, Protests Continue...

    Episode 197 of The RNL — Revolution, Nothing Less! — Show

  • ARTICLE:

    From the Revcoms (Revolutionary Communists)

    REVOLUTION

    BUILDING UP THE BASIS TO GO FOR THE WHOLE THING, 
    WITH A REAL CHANCE TO WIN:
    STRATEGIC ORIENTATION AND PRACTICAL APPROACH

    If you don’t understand why we need a revolution, and how that revolution could be possible, then you dont know what you need to know.

    Fundamentally, people cannot imagine this because they are not approaching things with a scientific outlook and method.(Bob Avakian, revolutionary leader, author and architect of a whole new framework for human emancipation: the new communism).

    We Are Serious: We Are Working for a Real Revolution and a Whole New, Emancipating Way to Live.

    We are applying the scientific analysis and the strategic approach in the major work by Bob Avakian, Something Terrible, Or Something Truly Emancipating, which can be found at revcom.us. Here is the heart of what is brought to light in that work. 

    First of all: We live under a systemthe system of capitalism-imperialism (capitalism is an economic and political system of exploitation and oppression, and imperialism refers to the worldwide nature of this system). It is this system which is the basic cause of the tremendous suffering that people, all over the world, are subjected to; and this system poses a growing threat to the very existence of humanity, in the way that this system is rapidly destroying the global environment, and in the danger of war between the U.S. and its rivals in Russia and Chinaall nuclear-armed capitalist-imperialist powers.

    All this is reality, and no one can escape this reality. Either we radically change it, in a positive way, or everything will be changed in a very negative way. Changing it in a positive way means making revolutiona real revolution, to overthrow this system of capitalism-imperialism and replace it with a radically different and emancipating system, a whole new way of organizing society.

    And this is crucially important: This is a rare time when a revolution to overthrow this system of capitalism-imperialism, and bring something much better into being, is not only urgently necessary but is more possibleand this rare time must not be squandered (wasted, thrown away) but must be actively seized on to build up the basis and the forces for revolution, and then carry the revolution through.

    With all the chaos and madness in the worldwith this systems accelerating destruction of the environment and the way it is heightening the danger of nuclear war that could wipe out human life as we know it... with all the craziness in this country, continually disrupting the normal way things have been... with one part of society and one governing party (the Republicans) now made up of fascists determined to crush any opposition to them and their blatantly racist, anti-immigrant, woman-hating, anti-LGBTQ, environment-plundering program and anti-scientific lunacy, that they claim will make America great again... with the other ruling class party (the Democrats) seeking to maintain this horrific system in the traditional form in which it has existed for generations, and has caused so much suffering for the masses of humanity, while the Biden Democratic administration is adopting policies that accelerate the destruction of the environment and acting in ways that heighten the danger of nuclear war... and, very importantly, with these ruling powers deeply divided among themselves, and those divisions becoming sharper all the time, so that they can no longer rule in a unified waywith all this, things that have gone on in more or less the same way for years, and decades, can suddenly and dramatically change, in months or even weeks.

    All this is heading toward, and could soon become, an all-out crisis in this country, with the very nature of society, and how it is governed, being directly battled out in a way that hasnt happened since the Civil War in the 1860s. This could lead to something even more terrible than normal life under this systemmaking life even more unbearable, or even impossible, for the masses of people everywherebut there is also this very important positive potential: In this situation, the forces for the revolution that is urgently needed could grow, quickly, from small numbers to thousands, and then millions, and get in position to go for the whole thingIF the revolutionaries have been getting out the message broadly among the people, shining a light on the deeper reality of what is happening and why, bringing out that there IS an alternative to living this way, and struggling with people to break with all their wrong ways of thinking and get with the revolution.

    And that is what we are determined to do. 

    Here is how we are working to make this real. And if you can’t stand this world the way it is and where it is now headed, then YOU need to become part of working to make this real—to seize on this “rare time” to put an end to this capitalist-imperialist system that we are now forced to live under, with all its madness and destruction, and bring something much better into being, for people everywhere and for future generations.

    1. A Fundamental Point of Orientation, and Practical Guidance: 

    Everything depends on bringing forward a revolutionary people, from among the most bitterly oppressed, and all parts of society, first in the thousands and then in the millions, as a powerful revolutionary force, organized from the start and consistently with a country-wide perspective, impacting all of society and changing the terms of how masses of people see things and how every institution has to respond. Everything must be focused now on actually bringing forward and organizing this revolutionary force.

    Think of the millions of people, of all races and genders, who rose up with righteous anger, all over the country, in 2020, when the murder of George Floyd by a heartless pig was just too much—something which was not an “isolated incident” but a concentration of the way the police in this country continually carry out cold-blooded murder of people, especially Black people, Latinos, and Native Americans. This uprising in 2020 was powerful and inspiring (so powerful that even some big-time capitalist exploiters and ruling class politicians had to “take a knee” pretending to be with the massive protests!). But there was a big problem: people were divided and pitted against each other by “identity politics” and misled into a dead-end by completely unrealistic demands like “defund” or “abolish” the police—which could never happen under this system. Many became discouraged, disoriented and demoralized, when murder by police kept happening, over and over again, with the fascist Republicans calling for even more brutal action by police, while Biden and the Democrats doubled down on funding the police and backing them in violently “serving and protecting” this system of murderous oppression. The real lesson is not that nothing can change but that we need a revolution to get rid of this whole system. 

    Think what could be possible if millions were mobilized into the streets again—not just to express their anger, but with the understanding and determination to do what needs to be done to really put an end to police terror and murder, to white supremacy, male supremacy and gender oppression, and to all the inequality, discrimination, exploitation, plunder and destruction of people and the environment that is built into this system of capitalism-imperialism—to put an end to all this in the only way it can be done: by putting an end to this system itself, and bringing something much better into being.

    2. In the circumstances of all-out crisis, when the whole direction of society is being called into question, there would be different trends and organized forces seeking to take things in different directions. There would be the fascist Republicans, aiming to seize (or consolidate) power, in order to bring about a more blatant form of oppressive and murderous rule, without the usual disguise of “democracy, with liberty and justice for all.” There would be those, like the leaders of the Democratic Party, trying to maintain (or restore) this monstrous system of oppression in its more “traditional” form. There would be masses of people in favor of some kind of basic change in a positive direction, but with different ideas about what that would mean. And there would likely be some organized forces claiming to be aiming for some kind of “progressive” change—even some calling themselves “revolutionaries” or “socialists”—when in fact their programs would only reinforce, and keep people locked into, the existing system.

    The people who are won, in increasingly greater numbers, to the actual revolution that is urgently needed, must be led to have a clear understanding of the need, and be in position, to wage a powerful struggle to determine the whole direction of things in the midst of such an acute crisis, in order to carry things forward toward the only real positive solution: a truly emancipating revolution.

    EVERYTHING THAT IS DONE, FROM HERE FORWARD, MUST BE ORIENTED TO CREATING THE BASIS FOR THIS.

    3. We are working every day to win growing numbers of people to understand the urgent need and possibility for revolution and to become an organized force that can shake up the whole country—waking people up and changing the way they think about things... working continually to gather forces and build up the organized strength of the revolution... working to powerfully impact the development of things in such a way that a situation can come about where there could be an all-out fight for revolution, with a real chance to win.

    In all that we are doing, all the struggle we are waging, we are applying the overall approach of Fight the Power, and Transform the People—for Revolution, with the aim of achieving the three prepares: prepare the ground (the situation in society), prepare masses of people, and prepare the leadership, for the all-out revolutionary struggle.

    We are uniting with and mobilizing people to stand up against the injustices and outrages constantly perpetrated by this system, defending people from attacks on their rights and their lives, and waging fierce struggle to break people out of the bullshit ways of thinking and acting that they are caught up in, winning them to become revolutionary emancipators of humanity. 

    With “Something Terrible, Or Something Truly Emancipating” as the basic guide, and utilizing the YouTube RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show and the website revcom.us as key resources, we are organizing people to grapple with why an actual revolution is urgently necessary and more possible now, what such a revolution involves, and what kind of society this is aiming for—involving them in the process of building for revolution, in an organized way, and enabling people in parts of the country where the revolution does not yet have an organized presence to link up with others and become part of this revolution. (This is spoken to further in Organizing for an Actual Revolution: 7 Key Points, which can be found at revcom.us.)

    We are spreading far and wide the inspiring vision of how much better life could be, for the great majority of people, if millions of people got behind this revolution and carried it through—making it possible to restructure all of society on a completely different foundation, with a radically different economic system (mode of production) and emancipating relations among people, as spelled out very concretely in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, written by Bob Avakian. 

    In an all-around way, and especially in broadly promoting what are truly extraordinary Interviews with Bob Avakian on The RNL Show, we are doing the necessary work and waging the necessary struggle so that masses of people know about and get with the leadership we have in Bob Avakian: learning about the inspiring vision and concrete blueprint for a radically different, emancipating society he has brought forward, following the concrete guidance he is providing, taking up and applying the scientific method and approach of the new communism he has developed, in order to really make revolution and finally get free. Bob Avakian is completely different than the endless stream of bourgeois (capitalist) “leaders” who are put forward, and others who cannot see, or will not look, beyond the confines of this horrific system. He is hard-core for revolution, with a largeness of mind, generosity of spirit, and lively sense of humor—all of which shines through in these Interviews.

    Through actively taking part in the tremendous radical upsurge of the 1960s and being strongly influenced by the Black Panther Party and other revolutionary forces in that time—especially what was at that time a revolutionary, socialist China—Bob Avakian became a determined revolutionary communist; and he has continued to dedicate his life and devote his efforts to developing a scientifically based theory, strategy and program for revolution whose fundamental goal is freeing people everywhere from every form of oppression. He embodies this rare combination: someone who has been able to develop scientific theory on a world-class level, while at the same time having a deep understanding of and visceral connection with the most oppressed, and a highly developed ability to “break down” complex theory and make it broadly accessible.

    A leader like this has never before existed in the history of this country. Having a leader like this is a rare and precious thing for the masses of people who are so terribly oppressed under this system. It is a powerful positive factor for the revolution that is urgently needed, with the goal of ending all oppression and finally bringing about the emancipation of humanity as a whole.

    4. We have issued a bold Declaration, WE NEED AND WE DEMAND: A WHOLE NEW WAY TO LIVE, A FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT SYSTEM, which raises this demand: 

    The Existing Capitalist-Imperialist System And Institutions Of Government In This Country Must Be Abolished And Dismantled—And Replaced By A New, Socialist System Based On The CONSTITUTION FOR THE NEW SOCIALIST REPUBLIC IN NORTH AMERICA.

    That Declaration provides a basic summary of fundamental principles and specific goals of the revolution and the new society and way of living we are working for, as set forth in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. The Declaration needs to be very broadly distributed and popularized, among millions of people, in all parts of the country, now and throughout the development toward a full-out crisis. It needs to be driven home very clearly how the new socialist Constitution provides the foundation, the framework and practical guidelines for a radically new, emancipating system, really enabling and empowering the masses of people to move to abolish inequality and discrimination, oppression and exploitation, and to provide powerful support for revolutionary struggles throughout the world striving for the same goal, while also moving quickly, systematically and effectively, to address the already acute and fast accelerating environmental crisis, with the aim of bringing into being a world where humanity can truly be fit caretakers of the Earth.

    5. As a crucial part of the three prepares, the revolutionary communist leadership for the revolution, based on the new communism, must be greatly strengthened, with the Revolutionary Communist Party systematically built up as the overall leadership, with a growing core of strategic commanders of the revolution and the expanding ranks of the Party clearly oriented, prepared and organized to lead the whole revolutionary process.

    6. Throughout the period leading to an all-out crisis, mass organization for defense against unjust attacks on people’s rights and their lives, by oppressive and murderous thugs, in and out of government, must be built up, throughout the country, on the basis of the Points of Attention for the Revolution, which you can also find at revcom.us. This mass organization for defense needs to be developed as part of the overall process of carrying out the three prepares.

    In order to achieve the fundamental goal of sweeping away this system of capitalism-imperialism and replacing it with a new socialist system based on the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, as things clearly approach an all-out crisis, with millions won to the revolution, it will be necessary and critically important to transform this mass defense organization—and to steel, strengthen and rapidly expand its ranks—so that it is developed as a disciplined revolutionary force, throughout the country, that is oriented, prepared and led to strategically defeat the armed enforcers of this system, as well as fascist thugs and other murderous reactionaries, who are attempting to violently crush the revolution.

    All this is based on the understanding that the fundamental source of violence in the world is the system of capitalism-imperialism; that by far the greatest perpetrators of unjust violence are the ruling classes of the capitalist-imperialist powers, most of all in this country—and that the fundamental reason why the abolition of this system cannot be achieved peacefully is because of the nature of this system itself, and the fact that those who rule it would never allow their system to be swept away without attempting to violently suppress and crush any such attempt. 

    A serious, scientific approach to how such a disciplined revolutionary force could actually succeed in defeating the unjust violence of this system’s armed enforcers (and others seeking to crush the revolution) is spoken to in a series of articles by Bob Avakian, REVOLUTION: A REAL CHANCE TO WIN, also available at revcom.us. What is put forward in these articles needs to be broadly promoted, discussed and debated, among masses of people.

    7. Large parts of the major institutions of armed enforcement of the currently ruling system are made up of people drawn from the bitterly oppressed in this country. With the immediate approach of an all-out crisis, an appeal should be made to those who have been part of these institutions to join with the masses of people in the struggle to achieve this fundamental and urgently needed demand: to dismantle the existing system and institutions of government—to be replaced by the implementation of the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America.

    To those who have been part of the system of government which is to be abolished and replaced: an offer of amnesty should then be made, except for those who have been the key decision-makers and those who have been responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    8. At the same time, it will be important to continually increase and more powerfully organize the broader ranks of the millions demanding the dismantling of the existing system and institutions of government and the implementation of the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. This revolutionary people, of millions, would need to be mobilized and wielded in such a way as to make clear that it is going for a complete, revolutionary change—that it will not back down from this goal and accept anything less. In this way, it would constitute a powerful pole attracting and drawing forward even broader numbers of people from all parts of society—and it would pose a definite challenge and call to people everywhere in society, including in all the existing institutions of this system, to come over to the side of the revolution.

    This will also strengthen the basis to provide powerful support for, and to continually expand, the organized, disciplined revolutionary force oriented to bring about the victory of the revolution through strategically defeating the unjust violence of the ruling institutions and armed enforcers of this system, as well as fascist thugs and other murderous reactionaries.

    9. This overall strategic approach must also be sharply posed directly against the BEB (Bourgeois Electoral Bullshit) of this capitalist-imperialist system, and in particular the BEB leading into the 2024 presidential election—all of which serves to keep people chained to this system. Here is a crucially important guideline from Bob Avakian that has special significance now: When conflicts among the different sections of the bourgeois (capitalist) ruling class become so deep and hostile that they are no longer able to rule in the “normal way” they have for generations, “that is a sign of extremely deep and acute cracks and fissures in the entire established order; and such a situation must be seized by the oppressed not to side with one section of the bourgeoisie against another ... but instead to rise in revolutionary struggle to overthrow the rule of the bourgeoisie altogether.”

    10. Popularizing the strategy is an important part of carrying out the strategy. The strategic orientation and practical approach outlined here needs to be boldly put forward and broadly popularized, among masses of people, now and throughout the process of carrying out the three prepares: making clear that this is aimed at achieving the profoundly, and urgently, needed revolution, fundamentally through the mobilization of millions and millions of people around this basic demand: to dismantle the existing system and institutions of government—to be replaced by the implementation of the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America.

    Popularizing this, now and in an ongoing way, throughout the period of working to achieve these objectives, will strengthen the basis for masses of people to see, concretely, that there is a definite strategic orientation and practical approach to bringing about the necessary revolution, and what their role can be, and needs to be, in all this. It will strengthen the basis to engage in more focused struggle with people about the possibility—as well as the urgent need, and the truly emancipating potential—of this revolution.

    ACTIVELY CARRY OUT THIS STRATEGIC ORIENTATION AND PRACTICAL APPROACH TO SEIZE ON THIS RARE TIME WHEN REVOLUTION IS MORE POSSIBLE!

    BUILD UP THE ORGANIZED FORCE OF THOUSANDS, AND THEN MILLIONS, OF REVOLUTIONARY EMANCIPATORS OF HUMANITY PREPARED TO GO FOR THE WHOLE THING!

  • ARTICLE:

    A Message to the Revcoms and Everyone Else Yearning for a Better World

    THIS Is A “Game-Changer”: The Bob Avakian Interviews

    Part One

    Editors’ note: Revcom.us recently received a valuable contribution from two readers on how to go out and turn the new interviews with Bob Avakian, BA, into the societal game-changers they can—and urgently need to—be. We will be posting edited excerpts from this letter over the next few weeks. We urge all our readers to write us with your thoughts on this and how we can meet this crucial goal, and your experience—positive and negative—in doing so.

    What is concentrated in these interviews is objectively a game-changer: there simply is no one and nothing else like this, and any decent, honest and intellectually curious person who cares about the state of the world and watches this will be transformed, even as those newer to things will of course not immediately become revcoms, and will have plenty of questions, things they don’t understand and things they understand wrongly.

    But in the process of and alongside thinking about why and how to project these interviews out in society in a big way, anyone who is part of these efforts should take some time—whether they are brand new... or have heard this before and think they already have a deep grasp of this point—to truly and seriously reflect upon what is contained and concentrated in these interviews and what it would mean for the prospects for revolution in this rare time in history to SUCCEED in creating a climate in which these BA interviews and BA himself increasingly make a big societal splash and become known to and a huge reference point for first hundreds, then thousands and ultimately millions—with increasing waves of these people getting deeply into these interviews and into BA and stepping forward into the movement for revolution that he is leading.

    Really being anchored in the above will lead to all kinds of good, exciting, and compelling ideas and to really thinking big in a way commensurate with what and who it is that we’re projecting.

    Part 1: Some Important Principles and Points of Orientation

    These points are informed by the understanding that our forces are currently very small... but also not non-existent. Along these lines, we wrangled, brainstormed and shuttled back and forth between two planes of conception in our thinking:  

    *Pursuing a thought experiment in which the two of us arrived in a new city, were the only two people who had heard of BA and these interviews and were seeking to make as big and broad a splash as possible as quickly as possible... and

    *Stepping out of this thought experiment back into a reality in which we are not, in fact, literally starting from scratch and do have forces, ties and factors to work with, even if starting out they are small in number.

    With this in mind, here are some key principles and points of orientation that we discussed, and that should inform brainstorming, ideas and efforts to break through on making these interviews a huge deal in society.

    Point 1: Strategic confidence and radical simplicity

    Once again, think about these interviews and what it was like to watch them.

    Like, really actually think about that for a moment...

    Think about who and what they feature... what these interviews talk about and how they talk about it... think about their substance... their style... think about how they inspired and moved you... how they challenged you... what they illuminated... what they made you think and what they made you feel.

    Think honestly about whether you have ever seen and heard anything else like this...

    Now, with that still fresh in your mind...

    Think about someone who doesn’t want to watch these interviews. Who makes snarky, dismissive comments... or who does watch the interviews and is “unimpressed.”

    Think what that says about that person’s worldview and priorities.

    Now: Why the hell would we want to be in any way defensive or deferential towards... waste time with... or kiss the ass of people like that?!

    That is what is meant by strategic confidence. That is the attitude we need to be going out with if we are going to break through... it means we go out into the world, whether on the ground or online, knowing that who and what we have and are working to connect people with is special... is vital... is decisive... and that, to paraphrase an old saying, if you don’t know... you better ask somebody!

    No, this doesn’t mean we write people off or give up on them permanently if they don’t immediately respond well—or respond in contradictory ways... but it does mean that we don’t take any nonsense from people who don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about.

    In fact, this kind of strategic confidence on our part is essential for people to be able to transform and get off the bullshit they’re on.

    Existing revcom forces really grasping and applying the above points about strategic confidence—what it means, why it’s essential, and how to apply it—is critical methodologically and epistemologically in its own right; and is also of paramount importance in terms of being able to make advances and accumulate forces for revolution in an accelerated way. Therefore, further discussion, struggle, ruptures and clarity on this point within our existing forces would seem very important. 

    To be blunt: Masses will not really take us seriously, will not be called forth into this revolution and will not be unleashed to transform in the ways that are necessary, unless we do comprehend, project and apply strategic confidence in the ways discussed here.

    Conversely, our forces—including the newer people we are calling forth and accumulating along the way—will get much less discouraged and disoriented by bullshit, attacks, snark, etc. if we are internalizing, applying and projecting this strategic confidence... which will create the basis for telescoped further advances in dialectical relation with the unfolding of events in the world.

    Again, if there is disagreement, discomfort or lack of clarity on these points about strategic confidence—and what this means—among our existing forces, this should be: unearthed, explored, struggled over and transformed. 

    Radical simplicity, meanwhile, is closely related to strategic confidence and flows from it. Radical simplicity means that without in any way watering things down, there is a need to put forward some simple, clearly distilled, easy-to-grasp points about what this interview is... why people need to get into it and contribute to making it a huge societal phenomenon... and why that matters.

    And then, of course, we can and must bring plenty of substance behind that radical simplicity to back it up, which we are more than capable of doing. But there is an importance to getting a good dialectic going between the simplicity and the complexity and to having some key forms where we hit people with the simplicity in a compelling way.

    As one example, in building for the Dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West in 2014, it proved to be an important turning point in our promotion when—a few weeks out from the event—we settled on a few (it might have been three) very succinct and simple points for why this event was so significant and historic and why people couldn’t and shouldn’t miss it. It has been a few years, so I don’t remember the exact phrasing of these points now, but I think it was something along the lines of: you can’t miss this event because of the chance to see this leader (BA), these speakers (BA and CW) and this subject matter—REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight For Emancipation and the Role of Religion: A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST and BOB AVAKIAN.

    We think there is an important role for some similar short, succinct and provocative points for why these interviews are must see, can’t miss, and must spread.

    The points emphasized in the promotional palm cards for the interviews would at the very least provide some good initial ideas, inspiration and material for developing these succinct, radically simple promotional points.

    This kind of radical simplicity infused with strategic confidence—rather than being a substitute for more in-depth explanation of things—can rather help to more quickly distinguish between masses who are or could be fairly quickly won to be seriously interested vs. those who should not be given up on but are at the moment not serious, while also calling forward the more serious masses and creating the basis to work and struggle with them in more depth while avoiding getting bogged down with and by those who are not serious.

    A couple of final thoughts for now on this point about radical simplicity: There is a radical simplicity of this interview at this moment in history and in the world.

    If we really fully understand the point from the interview about how humanity can no longer afford to allow this system and this ruling class to be in power—that this is actually an existential question for humanity, and that it’s not just that “things are really bad and getting worse” but that humanity is truly confronted acutely with the choice between “something terrible OR something truly emancipating,” then there is important radical simplicity flowing from this in terms of the fact that now is the time to bring forward something truly emancipating and making these BA interviews a huge social phenomenon that can play a massive role in relation to that.

    So this is how our people should feel—and project—the urgency in their bones of this interview and the need to project it throughout society in a huge way.

  • ARTICLE:

    A Message to the Revcoms and Everyone Else Yearning for a Better World

    THIS Is A “Game-Changer”: The Bob Avakian Interviews

    Part 2: Build a NATIONAL Movement

    Editors’ note: Revcom.us recently received a valuable contribution from two readers on how to go out and turn the new interviews with Bob Avakian, BA, into the societal game-changers they can—and urgently need to—be. We are posting edited excerpts from this letter over a few weeks. We urge all our readers to write us with your thoughts on this and how we can meet this crucial goal, and your experience—positive and negative—in doing so.

    While our forces are small, the movement for revolution is a national movement. So our small forces should be carrying out work in a way that comprehends this fact—that we are a national movement seeking to have major national influence and impact.

    Think about it: our goal, and what everything we’re doing is working towards, is not to make revolution in one neighborhood or one city. It’s to make revolution in this country as a critical step in ultimately carrying that revolution forward throughout the entire world.

    So, rather than revcom forces thinking in provincial ways—“I’m in Chicago, here’s what’s happening here... that person or event is in L.A., that’s what’s happening there,” there needs to be more conscious thinking, coordination and dynamic synergy that is linking together ideas, plans and practice in different areas throughout the country where the revcoms already have—or need to have, but don’t yet have and are working to create—a presence.

    There needs to be the orientation: Maximize, amplify and magnify every strength... every positive development... all of the forces, even if small, that we do have.

    The dynamic of working consciously with a national perspective, striving to link together our ideas and our work in different areas throughout the country is an important part of how the above orientation can be implemented.

    This way, revolutionary work that initially small revcom forces are doing in one area is not cut off and isolated from the larger, national picture and movement of which it is a part. Relatedly—and importantly—revcom forces themselves, including newer people we are bringing forward, do not feel as isolated because they are not just thinking about what they are doing in one particular area or city but the whole larger canvas it is contributing to.

    The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show, the revcom.us website, and social media work more generally (@therevcoms) can and should all play an important role in the dynamic of sewing together and illuminating the connections between the threads in different areas as part of a coherent national mission.

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    Here is a hypothetical example of the above points in action: Maybe one of the masses from a neighborhood of the oppressed in, say, Chicago, is baking and selling pies in order to raise funds to promote the BA interviews in a big way. Instead of just looking at this as an important but small-scale initiative that one person in one neighborhood in Chicago is doing, let’s be thinking about how to explicitly link this with efforts in other cities and areas as part of a national whole...

    So, first of all, maybe the masses who are doing this in Chicago do a simple post on social media about the BA interviews and why they felt inspired by them, what they are doing to promote them and why... 

    and then The RNL Show does a brief segment highlighting this fundraising initiative, perhaps briefly interviewing the masses involved in it about why the interviews inspired them to raise funds for it and a simple explanation of the steps they are taking to raise funds and why and how it’s been going, how they feel being part of all this...  

    and then the show calls on people in neighborhoods in other areas throughout the country to do something similar, to post on social media, linking to the BA interviews and explaining why they were inspired to raise funds for them and what steps they are taking to do so...

    and then to send a brief video to The RNL Show with permission for The RNL Show to broadcast it showing them baking pies (or whatever specific fundraising step they are taking) and talking about how the BA interviews and the efforts of the masses in Chicago to raise funds to promote them in turn inspired them to do the same in the cities/areas where they live... 

    and then The RNL Show could call on students and artists... as well as those with more means such as professors, medical professionals, lawyers, and others in various spheres of society with more means throughout the country to take a lesson and take heart from what the masses in Chicago and other neighborhoods of the oppressed throughout the country are doing, and get their friends and colleagues together to watch the BA interviews... and each give donations that match... or double... or triple... the funds raised in these neighborhood fundraising initiatives... and to post on social media talk about how they were inspired and moved by the BA interviews and by the masses in Chicago and others who launched similar fundraising initiatives to promote those interviews...       

    and then The RNL Show could feature segments showing people from these strata doing and talking about all of the above...

    This is just an example. But the key point of the example is that with a conscious national orientation, what started asand by itself would have remainedsmall forces in one area doing one initiative can quickly mushroom into something connected to a much larger and coherent national mission that multiplies and generates continuouslypotentially even exponentially—growing momentum

    That example—and the underlying principles and orientation it illustrates—certainly applies specifically to promotion of the BA interviews. And it also applies to our revolutionary work more generally.

  • ARTICLE:

    A Message to the Revcoms and Everyone Else Yearning for a Better World

    THIS Is A “Game-Changer”: The Bob Avakian Interviews

    Part 3: Key Relationships: Getting the Dynamics Right

    Editors’ note: Revcom.us recently received a valuable contribution from two readers on how to go out and turn the new interviews with Bob Avakian, BA, into the societal game-changers they can—and urgently need to—be. We are posting edited excerpts from this letter over a few weeks. We urge all our readers to write us with your thoughts on this and how we can meet this crucial goal, and your experience—positive and negative—in doing so.

    Individual Clips and the Totality of the Interviews

    It is very important to correctly grasp the relationship between individual clips, excerpts and portions of the BA interviews... and the totality of the interviews.

    Individual clips and excerpts can play a very important role in introducing people to this leader, these interviews, and inspiring them to watch the whole thing.

    In addition, there are many clips and excerpts that can play a particularly important role in terms of ideological struggle around major questions weighing on the basic masses or broader strata of people. There are many examples that come to mind, but a few that particularly come to mind are:

    A) Different segments in which BA is speaking directly to/struggling with the oppressed masses who need to be the backbone of this revolution in a simultaneously deeply scientific, visceral and personal way to get out of the shit they are caught up in and get with this revolution.

    B) The segment that opens Part 2 on Ukraine/American chauvinism (to shorthand here).

    C) Segments polemicizing in a very frontal and sharp way against various manifestations of wokeness.

    Again, those are just three important examples of many that could be highlighted here.

    Go HERE for clips from the BA interviews.

    So, that’s on the one hand—there is an important role for excerpts, segments, teasers, etc... and also a potentially important role for nationally coordinated efforts to promote certain segments. For instance, there might be certain weeks where forces in different parts of the country are working to promote certain clips and sending in reports to The RNL Show in real time or as close to that as possible of experiences, lessons, reactions and controversies, so that—once again—these different experiences in different places are connected with each other and linked to a coherent larger national picture and movement.

    On the other hand, there is also an extremely important power, dynamism, breadth, momentum and magnetism to the totality of these interviews that is very important not to lose or inadvertently de-emphasize in the effort to highlight shorter excerpts.

    Otherwise said: segments or excerpts of the interviews should supplement, not substitute for, leading people to watch the full set of three interviews.

    There may be a spontaneity of (or a pull toward) compartmentalizing and separating the particular from the whole that may need to be guarded and struggled against here—including because it’s spontaneously “easier” to get people in this climate and culture to watch something shorter than something longer.

    In my view, it’s not a problem if some people are initially watching individual excerpts or segments, but we definitely need to get a dynamic going where increasing numbers of people are watching and immersing themselves in the full sweep of these interviews.

    Not Proceeding from What We “Know” We Can Do, but What We Can Potentially Unleash

    To really make the breakthroughs we need to make from a starting point of small forces... in relation to projecting and promoting these interviews, and more generally—we need to be thinking not just in terms of what our existing forces can accomplish and who we can bring forward... rather, we need to think of what we can unleash those we are bringing forward to do and how those new forces can themselves accumulate forces for revolution.

    Therefore, we need to be poised and geared towards working to quickly cohere the people who are initially drawn forward and attracted by these interviews. We need to have small groups that we are forging and leading initially who are discussing the interviews together and then are going out to broadly spread them and create their own watch parties/study and discussion groups and inviting many others to join them.

    This way, we’re bringing in and cohering people around us; they are part of what we’re doing; and we’re unleashing them to go out and themselves bring forward newer people: they’re part of forces we’re accumulating but also part of accumulating forces themselves.

    To be able to do this and have it stick...

    Orient People to Understand and Refute the Bullshit by Going on the Offensive

    There will be a need to orient newer people from the start about bullshit, slander, attacks, etc. that they are going to run into... why... what this represents... and the need for and radically simple ways to have backbone, moral clarity, principle, critical thinking, courage and integrity in the face of this rather than cowing or disappearing in the face of utter bullshit. And if people run into shit they’re confused by, ASK US and let’s talk about it instead of disappearing.

    Very, very important: In regards to the above, there should be an approach of orienting on—and from—the OFFENSIVE. NOT the defensive.

    A three-paragraph template/example of how to orient from the offensive, with strategic confidence and radical simplicity:

    You may have a bunch of questions as you get into things. And that’s not only fine, it’s important. It means you’re taking things seriously and thinking critically. And you’re not expected to understand everything all at once, right away. But you also know enough based on what you just saw and heard to know some essential things about BA and these interviews, what this is, and what it’s not... You know enough to understand and begin envisioning the difference it would make if this person and these interviews got out to thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of people and became a phenomenon in society that people were discussing, debating, and thinking deeply about.

    “Now, when you go out and spread the word about this, you’re going to find that some people respond well and love these interviews and love BA, and some people run a bunch of bullshit and hate BA... and in both cases, it’s for the same simple reason: because BA is about everything you just saw in this interview, about completely breaking out of the confines and framework of the way the world is today and radically, fundamentally changing the world through making revolution... he’s about the emancipation not of one identity group, but all of humanity... and some people love this and are attracted by that vision, and some people hate it and feel threatened by it... It’s really as simple as that.

    “So yeah, besides encountering people who are excited about these interviews and about BA, you’re going to run into people who hate this, who make snarky comments or personal attacks on BA or who say this is a cult. And that’s where you have to have some honesty, courage and integrity to think for yourself. You might have a bunch of questions, but you know those kind of nasty attacks are bullshit and have nothing to do with changing the world. You just saw these interviews [or a portion of it] yourself. Did this seem like a cult leader to you?!?! Did this seem like a robotic, dogmatic person who is trying to brainwash you? Or did it seem like a deeply scientific person, critical thinker and flat-out nice person with a strong sense of humor who has dedicated his whole life for decades to taking up big, complex questions as part of making revolution and transforming the entire world? Anybody who watches this interview honestly and is not completely steeped in prejudice knows it’s the second one. So you need to have the honesty and courage to tell the haters that they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about and that they’re spreading lies and poison that have nothing to do with changing the world and that you’re not fooled by them... and then come back and talk to us about the shit we ran into and we can get more into it.”

    * In short: Orient people about the shit they’re going to run into, and do that, yes, by preparing them for what they are going to encounter and why and reinforcing that it is harmful lies and complete bullshit... but also, as a key part of that and even more fundamentally... orient people by bringing them back to, and leading them to anchor themselves in, what they just saw that is the polar opposite of the bullshit, lies and slander that they are going to hear...

    This relates to Sunsara Taylor’s point in a recent episode of The RNL Show about how these interviews provide some of the most most powerful refutations of the lies and slanders, etc.

    This also sets critically important terms about what is and isn’t understandable and acceptable...

    Furthermore, this relates to simple and complex: You (including newer people) know enough to know why this needs to get out there in a huge way and the difference that could make... and that these lies and slanders are completely at odds with what you just saw and experienced... Now, if you have questions about WHY people say this kind of bullshit and where that comes from, we can get into that—the lines and wrong ways of thinking that people have about leadership, about communist leaders in particular...

    But you don’t have to be able to answer every question to know that this needs to get out there and people slandering this are full of shit.

  • ARTICLE:

    A Message to the Revcoms and Everyone Else Yearning for a Better World

    THIS Is A “Game-Changer”: The Bob Avakian Interviews

    Part Four: Once More on Important Relations and Dynamics

    Editors’ note: Revcom.us recently received a valuable contribution from two readers on how to go out and turn the new Interviews with Bob Avakian, BA, into the societal game-changers they can—and urgently need to—be. We are posting edited excerpts from this letter over a few weeks. We urge all our readers to write us with your thoughts on this and how we can meet this crucial goal, and your experience—positive and negative—in doing so.

    In different ways and on different levels, we need to be correctly grasping the dialectic—the back-and-forth, reinforcing relationship—between the particular and the overall... and between different features of our revolutionary work. 

    To raise a few particular examples for further, ongoing reflection and discussion—including by the Revolution Clubs and those more broadly working to promote the BA Interviews... how do we understand the back-and-forth, reinforcing relationship between:  

    • On the ground promotion and social media promotion?
    • Winning over prominent, influential people—including those with huge audiences and social media/online followings—and  generating momentum among the broader masses of different strata?
    • Broad promotion of the BA Interviews and fierce ideological struggle to break people out of the wrong lines and frameworks they are in?  

    Initial thoughts on above point: We need to get these Interviews out in a huge way in front of a lot of people. But we also need to break through on the “ignore-ance” among the not insignificant numbers of people who have already seen the Interviews or who do know about BA. We need to break through the dynamic of people literally or figuratively—online or on the ground—“giving a thumbs-up” and walking away without further engagement. 

    We need to create a sense of social compulsion among blocs of people to watch this...

    And stirring up controversy and fierce ideological struggle is essential to creating this sense of social compulsion.

    See also:

    A Message to the Revcoms and Everyone Else Yearning for a Better World
    THIS Is A “Game-Changer”: The Bob Avakian Interviews
  • ARTICLE:

    Real Revolution, In This Time:
    What the Powers-That-Be Don't Want You to Know

    A series of social media dispatches from Bob Avakian

    Updated

    Bob Avakian Official on youtube recently made a playlist of BA's social media dispatches 1-11 with the title: "Real Revolution, In This Time: What the Powers-That-Be Don't Want You to Know."

    This is an hour-plus audio from the revolutionary leader who has brought forward a framework for human emancipation, for a whole new way to live.  This series provides a powerful introduction that speaks to the basic and urgent questions of why we need this revolution (with extensive exposure of the crimes of this system, right down to today), why this revolution is possible in this ‘rare time,’ and how this revolution could actually succeed (how we could win). 

    They are also a companion to The Bob Avakian Interviews on The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show which take you into the heart and soul and hard-core-for-revolution understanding of this this leader, and the future that is possible.

    Finally, to get alerted as soon as a new social media post is up from Bob Avakian, subscribe to his newsletter on substack.  You can also get the full text of his posts there!

    Leaflet to spread word of @BobAvakianOfficial broadly:

    BA is coming to you straight up, bringing truth the powers-that-be don’t want you to have—truth you need to know—the truth about the revolution we need now: Why is revolution necessary?  Why and how is it actually possible—not in some far off time, but right in this time—with society being ripped apart and the rulers more sharply divided than they've been since the Civil War?  Could we really win?  What is this revolution aiming for?

    Because: If you don’t understand why we need a revolution, and how that revolution could be possible, then you don’t know what you need to know.

    Go to and share:

    Nine icons for BA social media

     

    BA Social Media Youtube Playlist Nos 1-11

     

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    BA Interviews

     

    Bob Avakian is completely different than all the capitalist “leaders” who can't see, and won't look, beyond the confines of this horrific system. He is hard-core for revolution, with a largeness of mind, generosity of spirit, and lively sense of humor—which shines through in these Interviews.

    WATCH * SPREAD 

     

    Follow Bob Avakian on Social Media

  • ARTICLE:

    2024 SCENARIOS (A SKETCH), AND THE CHALLENGES

    Looking ahead, over the course of this year—and specifically as things are very likely to be focused, to a very great extent, in relation to the 2024 election—the following are (not the only possible but are realistically possible) scenarios that need to be anticipated, not in some abstract sense but specifically in terms of the necessity and challenges we will face as things unfold, from the standpoint of the urgently needed repolarization for revolution.

    * The Democrats win the presidential election—and the Republicans refuse to accept the results, with everything that would imply.

    * The Republicans win—“legitimately,” or at least in a way that is ruled “legal.” This is probably the worst-case scenario. In one important dimension, it would pose very sharply the need for overcoming the spontaneity, among significant numbers of people opposed to the Republi-fascists that “nothing can be done” (“what can you do?”). At the same time, along with mass discontent, there would very likely be “spontaneous” mass outpouring of opposition, and the phenomenon spoken to in Revolution—Building Up The Basis To Go For The Whole Thing, With A Real Chance To Win: Strategic Orientation And Practical Approach (and cited shortly below here) of different organized forces in the field, seeking to take things in different directions.

    *There is no election—with all the tumult, chaos, etc., that would accompany this scenario.

    Once again, in relation to all of these (and other possible) scenarios, the challenge will be repolarization—for revolution. (In this regard, it is important to cast away illusions and keep in mind that, especially if the Republi-fascists do win the election, there would be people whom you might expect to be opposed to the fascists who would instead actually rally to their camp—including some basic oppressed people—and this emphasizes from yet another angle the crucial importance of repolarization, for revolution, through ferocious ideological struggle, as well as concrete action, all along the way, as well as specifically in those particular circumstances.)

    This gives particular focus and emphasis to the following (from point 2) in Revolution—Building Up The Basis To Go For The Whole Thing, With A Real Chance To Win: Strategic Orientation And Practical Approach:

    In the circumstances of all-out crisis, when the whole direction of society is being called into question, there would be different trends and organized forces seeking to take things in different directions.  There would be the fascist Republicans, aiming to seize (or consolidate) power, in order to bring about a more blatant form of oppressive and murderous rule, without the usual disguise of “democracy, with liberty and justice for all.” There would be those, like the leaders of the Democratic Party, trying to maintain (or restore) this monstrous system of oppression in its more “traditional” form. There would be masses of people in favor of some kind of basic change in a positive direction, but with different ideas about what that would mean. And there would likely be some organized forces claiming to be aiming for some kind of “progressive” change—even some calling themselves “revolutionaries” or “socialists”—when in fact their programs would only reinforce, and keep people locked into, the existing system.

    The people who are won to revolution, in increasingly greater numbers, must be led to have a clear understanding of the need, and be in position, to wage a powerful struggle to determine the whole direction of things in the midst of such an acute crisis, in order to carry things forward toward the only real positive solution: an actual, truly emancipating revolution.

    EVERYTHING THAT IS DONE, FROM HERE FORWARD, MUST BE ORIENTED TO CREATING THE BASIS FOR THIS.

    This also underscores the crucial importance of the following:

    Everything depends on bringing forward a revolutionary people, from among the most bitterly oppressed, and all parts of society, first in the thousands and then in the millions, as a powerful revolutionary force, organized from the start and consistently with a country-wide perspective, impacting all of society and changing the terms of how masses of people see things and how every institution has to respond.  Everything must be focused now on actually bringing forward and organizing this revolutionary force.

    It does need to be understood that, even if at the beginning of a crisis represented by one of the above scenarios (and/or possibly some others), there is not yet a revolutionary people in the millions, the challenge and responsibility we must strive to meet in those circumstances is to bring such a revolutionary people into being, through the “intense swirl” of the crisis: to take responsibility precisely to repolarize—for revolution—in such intense circumstances. And the following statement from Lenin (part of fuller observations by Lenin cited below) not only applies overall to the kind of situation we are in now, but would especially apply when everything is coming to a head: “people learn in a week more than they do in a year of ordinary, somnolent [sleepy] life.” 

    This speaks to the possibility of winning masses, yes even millions, of people to revolution in a very “telescoped” way, in the circumstances of rapidly intensifying contradictions, when the whole direction of society is being immediately and sharply contested—even when, in immediate terms, the defining contestation is among forces none of which is revolutionary—and even when winning masses of people to revolution had seemed like a remote possibility, or even outright impossibility, shortly before that.

    However, this—it needs to be firmly understood and constantly kept in mind—does not in any way reduce the great need and urgent importance of bringing forward a revolutionary people, in the millions, as soon as possible, in order to be in the best possible position to influence the course of events as things continue to intensify, and likely make leap after leap in the intensification of the crisis. In more blunt terms, this is NOT an “invitation” to the rationalization: “Well, if we don’t bring forward a revolutionary people, first in the thousands and then in the millions, leading into a situation where the whole direction of society is ‘up,’ at least we can try to do so once there is that situation.” NO! and again NO! There is an urgent need to be making the breakthroughs that can result in bringing forward such a revolutionary people before and leading into a situation where “everything is on the line”—or the chances of being able to “determine the whole direction of things” toward a positive, revolutionary resolution, will be greatly diminished.

    The point is that everything, from here forward, must be oriented toward actually achieving this (bringing forward such a revolutionary people, first in the thousands and then in the millions, in a very “telescoped” period, before and leading into a situation where “everything is on the line”). If, despite all our efforts, we do not succeed in meeting this crucial objective, then—and only then—the emphasis must shift to doing so as everything is “on the line,” all with the orientation of getting into position to go for the whole thing, with a real chance to win.

    *****

    The following from Lenin, in Lessons Of The Revolution (summer, 1917) has important bearing on this, and more generally with regard to the understanding of—and the challenges, and possibilities posed by—“rare time”:

    Every revolution means a sharp turn in the lives of a vast number of people. Unless the time is ripe for such a turn, no real revolution can take place. And just as any turn in the life of an individual teaches him a great deal and brings rich experience and great emotional stress, so a revolution teaches an entire people very rich and valuable lessons in a short space of time.

    During a revolution, millions and tens of millions of people learn in a week more than they do in a year of ordinary, somnolent [sleepy] life. For at the time of a sharp turn in the life of an entire people it becomes particularly clear what aims the various classes of the people are pursuing, what strength they possess, and what methods they use. 

    As important and definitely relevant as these statements by Lenin are, they must not be understood in mechanical terms. For example, the revolution in China followed a significantly different path than the one in Russia. At the same time, with regard to that revolution in China there is applicability to what Lenin writes here, including the basic point that “Every revolution means a sharp turn in the lives of a vast number of people.” Notably, the invasion and occupation of China by Japanese imperialism was certainly “a sharp turn in the lives of a vast number of people.” Again, the point is to understand this in a living, and not a mechanical, way.

    This also applies to the last part of this statement by Lenin: As a point of general understanding, and one of particular and acute relevance to our situation now, this part of this statement by Lenin should not be interpreted to mean that “the aims the various classes of the people are pursuing,” etc., will become clear spontaneously, but rather that there is far more basis than in “normal times” to make this clear through scientific analysis—and agitation as well as propaganda based on this scientific analysis—which especially in such times (times, in fact, like these) must be penetrating and compelling, and increasingly accessible to broad masses of people.

    With those caveats, however, this statement by Lenin remains very important and highly relevant.

     

  • ARTICLE:

    U.S. CONSTITUTION: AN EXPLOITERS’ VISION OF FREEDOM—ADDED NOTES (AND BRIEF INTRODUCTION)

    Brief Introduction:

    The following article by Bob Avakian was originally published in 1987. We are republishing it now, because it remains highly relevant in terms of understanding the basic nature of this system we live under—the system of capitalism-imperialism—and the role of the U.S. Constitution as the legal and political basis for this system of ruthless exploitation, murderous oppression and massive destruction. In this republished version, Bob Avakian has provided some Added Notes at the end of the article, to further clarify important points.

    * * * * *

    James Madison, who was the main author of the Constitution of the United States, was also an upholder of slavery and the interests of the slaveowners in the United States. Madison, the fourth president of the United States, not only wrote strongly in defense of the Constitution, he also strongly defended the part of the Constitution that declared the slaves to be only three-fifths human beings (that provided for the slaves to be counted this way for the purposes of deciding on representation and taxation of the states—Article I, Section 2, 3 of the Constitution).

    In writing this defense, Madison praised "the compromising expedient of the Constitution" which treats the slaves as "inhabitants, but as debased by servitude below the equal level of free inhabitants; which regards the slave as divested of two-fifths of the man." Madison explained: "The true state of the case is that they partake of both these qualities: being considered by our laws, in some respects, as persons, and in other respects as property.... This is in fact their true character. It is the character bestowed on them by the laws under which they live; and it will not be denied that these are the proper criterion." Madison got to the heart of the matter, the essence of what the U.S. Constitution is all about, when in the course of upholding the decision to treat slaves as three-fifths human beings he agrees with the following principle: "Government is instituted no less for protection of the property than of the persons of individuals."1 Property rights—that is the basis on which outright slavery as well as other forms of exploitation, discrimination, and oppression have been consistently upheld. And over the 200 years that this Constitution has been in force, down to today, despite the formal rights of persons it proclaims, and even though the Constitution has been amended to outlaw slavery where one person actually owns another as property, the U.S. Constitution has always remained a document that upholds and gives legal authority to a system in which the masses of people, or their ability to work, have been used as wealth-creating property for the profit of the few.

    The abolition of slavery through the Civil War meant the elimination of one form of exploitation and the further development and extension of other forms of exploitation. As I wrote in Democracy: Can't We Do Better Than That?, "despite the efforts of abolitionists and the resistance and revolts of the slaves themselves—and their heroic fighting in the Civil War itself—it was not fought by the Union government in the North, and its president, Lincoln, for the purpose of abolishing the atrocity of slavery in some moral sense.... The Civil War arose out of the conflict between two modes of production, the slave system in the South and the capitalist system centered in the North; this erupted into open antagonism, warfare, when it was no longer possible for these two modes of production to co-exist within the same country."2 The victory of the North over the South in the U.S. Civil War represented the victory of the capitalist system over the slave system. It represented the triumph of the capitalist form of using people as a means of creating wealth. Under a system of outright slavery, the slave is literally the property of the slaveowner. Under capitalism, slavery becomes wage-slavery: The exploited class of workers is not owned by the exploiting class of capitalists (the owners of factories, land, etc.), but the workers are in a position where they must sell their ability to work to a capitalist in order to earn a wage. Capitalism needs a mass of workers that is "free," in a two-fold sense: They must be "free" of all means to live (all means of production), except their ability to work; and they must not be bound to a particular owner, a particular site, a particular guild, etc.—they must be "free" to do whatever work is demanded of them, they must be "free" to move from place to place, and "free" to be hired and fired according to the needs of capital! If they cannot enrich a capitalist through working, then the workers cannot work, they cannot earn a wage. But even if they cannot find a capitalist to exploit their labor, even if they are unemployed, they still remain under the domination of the capitalist class and of the process of capitalist accumulation of wealth—the proletarians (the workers) are dependent on the capitalist class and the capitalist system for their very lives, so long as the capitalist system rules. It is this rule, this system of exploitation, that the U.S. Constitution has upheld and enforced, all the more so after outright slavery was abolished through the Civil War.

    But here is another very important fact: In the concrete conditions of the U.S. coming out of the Civil War, and for some time afterward, wage-slavery was not the only major form of exploitation in force in the U.S. Up until very recently (until the 1950s), millions of Black people were exploited like serfs on Southern plantations, working as sharecroppers and tenant farmers to enrich big landowners (and bankers and other capitalists). A whole system of laws—commonly known as Jim Crow laws—were enforced to maintain this relationship of exploitation and oppression: Black people throughout the South—and really throughout the whole country—were subjected to the open discrimination, brutality, and terror that such laws allowed and encouraged. All this, too, was upheld and enforced by the Constitution and its interpretation and application by the highest political and legal authorities in the U.S. And, over the past several decades, when the great majority of Black people have been uprooted from the land in the South and have moved into the cities of the North (and South), they have still been discriminated against, forcibly segregated, and continually subjected to brutality and terror even while some formal civil rights have been extended to them.

    Once again, this is in accordance with the interests of the ruling capitalist class and capitalist system. It is consistent with the principle enunciated by James Madison: Governments must protect the property no less than the persons of individuals. In fact, what Madison obviously meant—and what the reality of the U.S. has clearly been—is that the government must protect the property of white people, especially the wealthy white people, more than the rights of Black people. It must never be forgotten that for most of their history in what is now the United States of America Black people were the property of white people, particularly wealthy plantation owners. Even after this outright slavery was abolished, Black people have never been allowed to achieve equality with whites: they have been held down, maintained as an oppressed nation, and denied the right of self-determination. Capitalism cannot exist without the oppression of nations, and this is all the more so when capitalism develops into its highest stage: monopoly capitalism-imperialism. If the history of the United States has demonstrated anything, it has demonstrated this.

    The Heritage They Won’t Renounce

    The ruling class of the U.S. today—above all the U.S. imperialists, the large-scale capitalists and international exploiters who dominate the U.S. and most of the world—are indeed, as they proclaim, the direct and worthy descendants of their “Founding Fathers.” And this is why the ruling class and its political representatives, while they feel obliged to say that they are opposed to slavery today (at least in the U.S. itself), solemnly praise and celebrate slave owners and upholders of slavery who were so prominent among the “Founding Fathers” and played so central a part in the establishment of the system in the U.S.: men like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison.

    These imperialists will never admit that their “Founding Fathers” established a system of government that, in its very foundation, is based on oppression and exploitation. They will never admit that their Constitution is the legal instrument for enforcing that exploitation and oppression. They cannot admit this, any more than they can admit their much-vaunted wealth and power has been established and built up by stealing land and resources from the native peoples (and Mexico) through extortion and outright murderous means; by trading in human flesh and harnessing human beings in slave labor; by pitilessly exploiting immigrants in their millions as wage-slaves; by robbing and plundering throughout the world, particularly Latin America, Africa, and Asia (what today is generally called the Third World). They cannot acknowledge that, while the forms of slavery have changed, the U.S. has, from the beginning and down to today, remained a society where enslavement, in one form or another, has been at the very heart of the economic system and the very basis of the political structure.

    There are many (including even Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall) who argue that, because of the upholding of slavery in the Constitution—and other injustices, such as excluding women from voting, and the treatment of the Indians—the Constitution was not such a great document when it was written, but it has been made great through the history of the U.S. and the struggles to create a more perfect Union and a more perfect Constitution. In other words, the Constitution may have had defects in some important ways when it was originally conceived, but the miracle of it is that the Constitution has within it provisions for changing and improving it—for extending democracy and rights to those previously excluded. And, some will add, while the Constitution upholds property rights, it also upholds individual and civil rights (even the statement from Madison cited at the beginning of this article stresses that, some might argue). Let’s look more deeply at these questions.

    Extension of the Constitution … Extension of Bourgeois Domination

    The extension of constitutional rights and protections to those previously excluded from them has gone together, in an overall way, with the extension of bourgeois (capitalist) relations and their dominance throughout the U.S. And, at the same time, it has gone hand-in-hand with the continuation of the oppression of Black people, of Native Americans, of Latinos and immigrants from Latin America (and elsewhere), of the oppression of women, and other forms of oppression and exploitation. All this is not in contradiction to but is consistent with the fundamental principles on which the Constitution is based and the way in which it treats the relationship between the rights of property and the rights of individuals.*

    It is noteworthy that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution (echoing the 5th Amendment) has as its pivotal point the provision that no State may “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law.” Especially in the period since World War 2, this amendment has been used as a major part of the basis to extend civil rights for Black people, for women, and for others discriminated against. Yet this amendment was passed right after the Civil War, in 1866; and for many decades this amendment was not used to combat racial or sexual discrimination. Instead, “For many years the Supreme Court applied the due-process clause mainly to protect business interests against state regulatory legislation.”3 It was only beginning after World War 1, and more fully after World War 2, that the 14th Amendment was applied in a significant way to the questions of racial and sexual discrimination. Thus, “in a long series of cases” beginning in 1925, the Supreme Court “gradually expanded its definition of due process so as to include most of the guarantees of personal liberties in the Federal Bill of Rights and has protected them from state impairment. A similar development occurred with respect to the equal-protection clause.”4 These changes in Supreme Court decisions were part of larger changes in ruling-class policy. But these resulted not from some brilliant new legal insight, nor from some sudden flash of moral awakening within the ruling class. Rather, they resulted from the changed situation of Black people in U.S. society and, more decisively, from the situation and needs of the ruling imperialists.

    As noted earlier, the masses of Black people have undergone a dramatic change in their particular conditions of existence—and of oppression—in the U.S. This began during and immediately after World War 1 but developed fully during and after World War 2. Demand for labor in war production and other strategic industry, followed after World War 2 by sweeping changes in Southern agriculture—called forth by technological changes and international economic competition—drove millions and millions of Black people from the rural South to the urban ghettos of the North and South, and into the most exploited sections of the proletariat. At the same time, the U.S. imperialists emerged not only victorious but greatly strengthened from world war that devastated those countries which were much more directly and centrally involved. So, after World War 2 U.S. imperialism was everywhere, scooping up the former colonial possessions of the prior colonial powers and establishing U.S. neocolonial domination in the name of freedom and (usually) in the guise of allowing formal independence. In this situation, it was not so necessary—nor was it so helpful—to openly and blatantly treat Black people as “second-class citizens” in the U.S. itself. So, over the period of the next several decades, concessions were made to civil rights demands and struggles at the same time as deception, vicious repression, and the promotion of “loyal and responsible Negro leaders” were carried out to keep things firmly under the control of the ruling class and in the service of its larger interests. Similarly, recent decades have seen political and legal changes that have brought certain extensions of formal rights to women and certain concessions to their battle against oppression. These have corresponded to significant changes in society and the world, including the fact that in only a small percentage of U.S. families is it any longer the case that the family is supported by just the man working. But, again, these concessions have been confined within limits that fundamentally conform to the interests and needs of the ruling class in the face of changing conditions in the U.S. and the world.

    Would anyone dare say that, because of these changes and concessions, inequality and injustice have been eliminated in the U.S.? The fact is, none of this has in any way eliminated, or come close to eliminating, discrimination against Black people, their overall conditions of oppression, their status as an oppressed nation. Nor have the ruling imperialists ceased to oppress the Native Americans—they have never even stopped trying to cheat and rob them of valuable land and resources. Nor have these imperialists ceased to discriminate against and viciously exploit other national minorities and immigrants. Nor, despite the constitutional amendment (the 19th, in 1919) giving them the right to vote and other concessions to “women’s rights,” have women been granted equality—there has been no end to the subjugation and degradation they have been subjected to: The oppression of women remains a foundation stone of U.S. society, as indeed it must so long as a system of class domination and exploitation is in force. Today, 200 years after the U.S. Constitution first took effect, and after all the changes and amendments, no one can seriously and reasonably argue that the various kinds of oppression that I have spoken to here do not exist or are only a minor aspect of the situation. No one can seriously and reasonably argue that they are not a basic and deeply rooted feature of American society.

    The reason for this is rooted in the very reality and nature of the economic system in the U.S. and the political system that upholds and enforces this economic system, including the Constitution as the legal “cement” of the political structure. The fundamental reason why the “extension” of constitutional rights to those previously excluded from them has not put an end to exploitation, inequality, and oppression is this: The essence of the capitalist economic system is not the competition of commodity owners, all vying equally in the marketplace (equal opportunity for all). The essence is the exploitation of labor as wage-labor, the command by capital over labor power (the ability to do work) as a commodity—a unique commodity—that creates wealth through its use.** (As a dockworker told me years ago: No one gets rich working; the only way to get rich is by making other people work for you.) And the essence of the political structure that goes along with and protects this capitalist economic system is not freedom and democracy for all, regardless of wealth and social position. The essence is the dictatorship of the bourgeois class—its monopoly of political power and armed force—over those it dominates in the economic system, especially the proletariat. Thus, the right to vote and other formal rights for the proletariat and other oppressed masses are in no way in fundamental opposition to the economic and political system of capitalism and bourgeois dictatorship.

    Bourgeois Democracy—Bourgeois Dictatorship

    Bourgeois democracy presents itself as classless democracy: It proclaims equality for all. Thus, the U.S. Constitution does not say that different classes of people shall have unequal wealth and power; rather, it sets forth a charter that appears to treat everyone the same, regardless of wealth and social status. Yet there never has been, and never could be, a capitalist society without tremendous differences in wealth and power, without fundamental class divisions and antagonisms. In fact, a capitalist society without these things is not even conceivable. And in reality, democracy in capitalist society can only be bourgeois democracy. This means there is democracy—equal political rights and the power to make fundamental decisions—only among the capitalist class, the ruling class. For the rest, and for the proletariat especially, bourgeois democracy means dictatorship: It means being ruled over by the capitalists, even while being allowed to vote and even while being governed by a Constitution that sets forth laws that are said to be applied, equally, to all. How can this be?

    First, as for voting, as I pointed out in Democracy: Can’t We Do Better Than That?:

    On the most obvious level, to be a serious candidate for any major office in a country like the U.S. requires millions of dollars—a personal fortune or, more often, the backing of people with that kind of money. Beyond that, to become known and be taken seriously depends on favorable exposure in the mass media (favorable at least in the sense that you are presented as within the framework of responsible—that is, acceptable politics)…. By the time “the people express their will through voting,” both the candidates they have to choose among and the “issues” that deserve “serious consideration” have been selected out by someone else: the ruling class….

    Further, and even more fundamentally, to “get anywhere” once elected—both to advance one’s own career and to “get anything done”—it is necessary to fit into the established mold and work within the established structures.5

    But that is not all:

    If, however, the electoral process in bourgeois society does not represent the exercise of sovereignty by the people, it generally does play an important role in maintaining the sovereignty—the dictatorship—of the bourgeoisie and the continuation of capitalist society. This very electoral process itself tends to cover over the basic class relations—and class antagonisms—in society, and serves to give formal, institutionalized expression to the political participation of atomized individuals in the perpetuation of the status quo. This process not only reduces people to isolated individuals but at the same time reduces them to a passive position politically and defines the essence of politics as such atomized passivity—as each person, individually, in isolation from everyone else, giving his/her approval to this or to that option, all of which options have been formulated and presented by an active power standing above these atomized masses of “citizens.”… [T]he very acceptance of the electoral process as the quintessential political act reinforces acceptance of the established order and works against any radical rupture with, to say nothing of the actual overturning of, that order.6

    And let us remember that one of the main reasons for which the U.S. Constitution was “ordained and established,” as proclaimed in its “Preamble,” was to prevent social upheaval and the overturning of the order upheld by that Constitution—to “insure domestic tranquility.”

    The same can be said of the other aspects of bourgeois democracy and the kind of rights set forth in the U.S. Constitution (including its “Bill of Rights”): They have the purpose and function of reinforcing the rule of the bourgeoisie and keeping political activity within limits acceptable to the bourgeoisie. Thus, “the much-vaunted freedom of expression in the ‘democratic countries’ is not in opposition to but is encompassed by and confined within the actual exercise of dictatorship by the bourgeoisie. This is for two basic reasons—because the ruling class has a monopoly on the means of molding public opinion and because its monopoly of armed force puts it in a position to suppress, as violently as necessary, any expression of ideas, as well as any action, that poses a serious challenge to the established order.”7 The history of the U.S., like the history of all other “democratic” bourgeois dictatorships, is full of graphic illustrations of just how true the above-quoted statement is!

    Formal equality—the treatment of all persons as equal, and specifically as “equal before the law,” without regard to wealth or social position—in bourgeois society actually covers over the relationship of complete subordination, exploitation, and oppression to which the proletariat and masses of people are subjected. If a small group—the capitalist class—controls the important means of creating wealth, then in reality they have the power of life and death over those who control little or none of these. To have such power over other people is, in essence, to hold them in an enslaved condition, whether or not the chains are literal and visible. In such a situation—which is the fundamental condition of capitalist society—how can there be anything but profound inequality economically, socially, and politically? And with such a fundamental division, with such fundamental inequality, there can never be anything but exploitation, oppression, domination, and dictatorship.

    With regard to the law, this will manifest itself in two main ways. First, those who dominate society economically will dominate in deciding, through the political structure, what the laws will be. They will insure that the laws serve their interests. And second, the actual application and enforcement of the law will discriminate in favor of those with wealth and power and against those without them—and even more so against oppressed nationalities, women, and others who are “the last of the last” in society. Everyday life in any capitalist society proves this over and over. Thus, once again, as with the right to vote and other constitutional rights in a bourgeois-democratic republic, formal equality before the law expresses itself, in reality, as profound inequality—and more—as something confined within and conforming to bourgeois domination and dictatorship.

    The basic difference between the bourgeoisie’s view of freedom and democracy on the one hand, and the striving of oppressed masses for an end to oppressive conditions on the other hand, is sharply drawn in recent events in Haiti, the Philippines, and South Korea. The oppressed masses (and students and other revolutionary intellectuals) want some kind of fundamental change in the social system and a breaking of the chains of imperialist domination in their countries. But the bourgeois opposition leaders and parties want only the recognition of bourgeois-democratic provisions and procedures—with elections the highest expression of political activity. Most of all, they want the sharing of power more broadly and “equally” among the upper classes—really, they want their chance to hold the reins of power—while leaving the social system and imperialist domination intact. As for the imperialists, where they become convinced of the need for change in such situations, they make every effort to keep it confined within the framework of imperialist domination and bourgeois rule. Indeed, they try to use such situations to strengthen and perhaps “refine” the apparatus of bourgeois politics—and, above all, of repression—in the countries involved.

    This brings us to a most fundamental point that is so often ignored or glossed over in discussions and debates about democracy in countries like the U.S.: The fact is that even the extent to which rights are allowed to the nonruling classes in imperialist countries depends on a situation where, in large parts of the world under imperialist domination, the masses of people are subjected to much more open and murderous repression. In short,

    The platform of democracy in the imperialist countries (worm-eaten as it is) rests on fascist terror in the oppressed nations: the real guarantors of bourgeois democracy in the U.S. are not the constitutional scholar and the Supreme Court justice, but the Brazilian torturer, the South African cop, and the Israeli pilot; the true defenders of the democratic tradition are not on the portraits in the halls of the Western capitols, but are Marcos, Mobutu, and the dozens of generals from Turkey to Taiwan, from South Korea to South America, all put and maintained in power and backed up by the military force of the U.S. and its imperialist partners.8,***

    But, at the same time, the imperialist rulers and ardent worshippers of bourgeois democracy go to great lengths to try to cover over, or explain away, the brutal repression “at home” that is so essential to the functioning of the system and the maintenance of the established order:

    For there is vicious repression and state terror carried out continually—and not only in times of serious crisis or social upheaval—in the imperialist countries; it is carried out specifically against those who do not support but oppose the established order, or who simply cannot be counted on to be pacified by the normal workings of the imperialist system—those whose conditions are desperate and whose life situation is explosive anyway.

    In the U.S. the hundreds of police shootings of oppressed people, particularly Blacks and other minority nationalities, every year; the fact that jails are overwhelmingly filled with poor people, the greatest number again being Black and other minority nationalities—it is an amazing but true statistic that one out of every thirteen Black people in the U.S. will be arrested each year (and Blacks are incarcerated eight and one-half times as frequently as whites)!—and the widespread use of drugs, surgical techniques, and other means to repress and terrorize prisoners (as well as an astounding number of people not in jail, including allegedly recalcitrant children); the use of welfare and other so-called social service agencies to harass and control poor people down to the most intimate details of their personal lives; this, and much more, is part of the daily life experience of millions of people in the major imperialist countries. Along with all this, of course, is the use of the state apparatus for direct political repression….

    In times of severe crisis and social strain, of course, all this is carried out more intensively and extensively…. Already, right now in the U.S., to cite one important aspect of this, hundreds of thousands of immigrants, “illegal” and “legal,” are being subjected to a campaign of terror—including raids at their places of work and homes, the sudden and forcible separation of parents from children, and the deportation of large numbers of refugees back to the waiting arms of death squads and other government assassins in countries like El Salvador. The same kind of thing is also being directed against immigrants in France, West Germany, England, and other imperialist democracies.

    Through all this, while overt political repression by the state is in one sense the clearest indication of the class content of democracy—in the imperialist countries as well as elsewhere—in another sense the daily, and often seemingly arbitrary, terror carried out against the lower strata in these imperialist countries concentrates the connection between the normal workings of the system and the political (that is, class) nature of the state.9

    A New and Far Greater Vision of Freedom

    In the course of this article so far, in speaking to some essential questions concerning the U.S. Constitution and the system it upholds, I have answered some of the main arguments made in defense of this Constitution and this system, including the argument that the Constitution, if not perfect, is perfectible—that it can be continually improved and the rights it establishes can be extended to those previously excluded. Before concluding, I want to briefly address some of the other main arguments made on behalf of—or in defense of—this Constitution and the principles and vision it embodies.

    “This Constitution establishes a law of the land that is applicable to all—it establishes a government of laws, not of people.” This is closely linked to the principle of “equality before the law.” What is meant by “a government of laws, not of people” is that no one is “above the law” and that what is allowed and what is forbidden are set forth before all, in one set of regulations binding on everyone, and this can be changed only through the procedures established for making such changes. A “government of people” refers to a notion of a government where it is the will and the word of certain people—a king, a despot, a small group of tyrants, etc.—that determine what is allowed and what is forbidden, and where this can and will change according to the dictates and the whims of such rulers: There is no common and clearly spelled-out standard binding on all, even on the political leaders and the powerful and influential in society.

    Like all principles of bourgeois democracy, this notion of “a government of laws, not of people” misses and obscures the essential question. First of all,

    “the rule of law” can be part of a dictatorship, of one kind or another, and in the most general sense it always is—even where it may appear that power is exercised without or above the law, laws (in the sense of a systematized code that people in society are obliged to conform to, whether written or unwritten) will still exist and play a part in enforcing the rule of the dominant class. Conversely, all states, all dictatorships, include laws in one form or another.10

    Most fundamentally, the question is: What is the character and the class content of the laws, what system do they uphold and enforce, which class interests do they represent—of which class dictatorship, bourgeois or proletarian, are they the expression and instrument—and toward what end are they contributing—the maintenance of class division and domination, exploitation and oppression, or the final elimination of class divisions, of all oppressive social divisions, and of social antagonisms? In short, the essential question is not “a government of laws vs. a government of people,” it is which people—which class—rules, and what laws are in force, in the service of what ends?

    “‘We The People,’ that is the heart of this Constitution and the genius of this Constitution: It establishes a government of, by and for all the people.” As a matter of historical fact, this opening phrase of the Constitution, “We the people of the United States,” was not the product of some lofty desire by the “framers” of the Constitution to set forth some universal principle of popular sovereignty. It was the product of their desire to overcome the problem of States posing their own sovereignty against that of the Federal Government—and the desire to avoid the specific problem of not knowing which States would ratify the Constitution: “The Preamble of the Articles of Confederation had named all the states in order from north to south. How was the [Constitutional] Convention to enumerate the participating states without knowing which would ratify? In a brilliant flash of inspiration, the Convention began with the words, ‘We the People of the United States…do ordain and establish this Constitution….’”11

    More importantly, the larger historical context and the actual content of this proclamation—“We The People”—must be made clear. The founding of the United States of America as an independent country represented not just the breaking away from domination by a foreign power. It also meant breaking away from a form of government that vested great power in the person of the monarchy—even while it ultimately served the interests of the bourgeoisie and the landed “nobility.” In general, the rights and the restrictions of power established in the Constitution of the newly founded United States revolved around preventing arbitrary rule by despots and the concentration of too much power in one person or one part of the government. The “separation of powers” and the “checks and balances” of different branches of government was seen as a way of insuring that the government would serve the interests of the capitalist class and (at that time) the slaveowners as a whole. It is in this light that “We the people of the United States,” in the “Preamble” of the Constitution, must be understood. Obviously, “We the people of the United States” did not include all those who were expressly excluded from the process of selecting the government and endorsing the Constitution. For, “Even on the most obvious level, how could the government of the newly formed United States, for example, be considered to have derived its powers ‘from the consent of the governed’ when, at the time of the formation of the United States of America, a majority of the people ‘governed’—included slaves, Indians, women, men who did not meet various property requirements, and others—did not even have the right to vote…to say nothing of the real power to govern and determine the direction of society?”12

    Bourgeois ruling classes generally speak in the name of the people, all the people. From their standpoint, it may make a certain amount of sense: They do, after all, rule over the masses of people. But from a more basic and more objective standpoint, their claim to represent all the people is a deception. If it was a deception at the time of the founding of the United States and the adoption of its Constitution, it is all the more so now. For now the rule of the capitalists is in fundamental antagonism with the interests of the great majority of people, not just in a particular country, but all over the world. Now the decisive question is not overcoming economic and political obstacles to the development of capitalism and its corresponding political system. The time when that was on the historical agenda is long since passed. What is now on the historical agenda is the overthrow of capitalism and the final elimination of all systems of exploitation, all oppressive social relations, all class distinctions, through the revolution of the exploited class under capitalism, the proletariat.

    To get a very stark sense of just how historically conditioned—how long since outmoded and completely reactionary—are the interests and the paramount concerns of the "Founding Fathers" and their descendants, the ruling imperialists of today, let us consider the fact that, in writing their Constitution, Madison and others "For theoretical inspiration...leaned heavily on Locke and on Montesquieu's Spirit of the Laws. Both writers had insisted on the need for separation of powers in order to prevent tyranny; in Montesquieu's view even the representatives of the people in the legislature could not be trusted with unlimited power."13 In reading over Montesquieu's Spirit of the Laws I could not help but be struck by how thoroughly his frame of reference is that of a bygone age and his outlook that of exploiting classes whose period of historical ascendancy is long since past. As a glaring illustration, consider the following:

    If I had to justify our right to enslave Negroes, this is what I would say: Since the peoples of Europe have exterminated those of America, they have had to enslave those of Africa in order to use them to clear and cultivate such a vast expanse of land.

    Sugar would be too expensive if it weren't harvested by slaves.

    Those in question are black from the tip of their toes to the top of their heads; and their noses so flattened that it is almost impossible to feel sorry for them.

    It is inconceivable that God, who is a very wise being, could have placed a soul, especially a good soul, in an all-black body....

    One proof of the fact that Negroes don't have any common sense is that they get more excited about a string of glass beads than about gold, which, in civilized countries, is so dearly prized.

    It is impossible that these people are men; because if we thought of them as men, one would begin to think that we ourselves are not Christians.14,****

    Let the "Founding Fathers" and their descendants draw theoretical inspiration from the likes of Montesquieu! Let them defend slavery and modern-day exploitation on the ground of property rights, taking their lead from the likes of James Madison, the main author of the Constitution. As for the proletariat, our goal is "Marx's view of the complete abolition of bourgeois property relations—and all relations in which human beings confront each other as owners (or non-owners) of property rather than through conscious and voluntary association."15

    For the exploiting classes, and in a system under their rule, the "bottom line" is to reduce the masses of people to mere wealth-creating property—and today, under the domination of the imperialists, the greatest of all exploiters, the mass of humanity is treated as merely a means to amass even greater wealth and power in the hands of, and for the profit of, so few. And at what cost! This cost must be measured in massive human suffering, degradation, and destruction. Imagine the even greater cost in human suffering, degradation, and destruction that will have to be paid unless and until the oppressed and exploited victims of this system, who are the great majority of humanity, rise up and overthrow this system and finally put an end to all social relations of exploitation and oppression.

    In conclusion, The Constitution of the United States is an exploiters' vision of freedom. It is a charter for a society based on exploitation, on slavery in one form or another. The rights and freedoms it proclaims are subordinate to and in the service of the system of exploitation it upholds. This Constitution has been and continues to be applied in accordance with this vision and with the interests of the ruling class of this system: In its application it has become more and more fully the instrument of bourgeois domination, dictatorship, oppression, conquest, and plunder.

    Our answer is clear to those who argue: Even if The Constitution of the United States is not perfect, it is the best that has been devised—it sets a standard to be striven for. Our answer is: Why should we aim so low, when we have The Communist Manifesto to set a far higher standard of what humanity can strive for—and is capable of achieving—a far greater vision of freedom.*****

     

    NOTES

    1. Quotes from James Madison are from the Federalist Paper No. 54 in The Federalist Papers (New York: New American Library, 1961), pp. 336-341, especially pp. 339 and 337. [back]

    2. Bob Avakian, Democracy: Can't We Do Better Than That? (Chicago: Banner Press, 1986), pp. 110-11. [back]

    3. Edward Conrad Smith, editor, The Constitution of the United States with Case Summaries (New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1979), p. 18. All citations in this article are from the essay “The Origins of the Constitution.” [back]

    4. Ibid., pp. 18-19. [back]

    5. Avakian, Democracy, p. 69. [back]

    6. Ibid, p. 70. [back]

    7. Ibid, p. 71. [back]

    8. Lenny Wolff, The Science of Revolution: An Introduction (Chicago: RCP Publications, 1983), p. 184. [back]

    9. Avakian, Democracy, pp. 137-39. [back]

    10. Ibid., pp. 233-34. [back]

    11. Smith, Constitution of the U.S., p. 12. [back]

    12. Avakian, Democracy, p. 100. [back]

    13. Smith, Constitution of the U.S., p. 13. [back]

    14. Charles Montesquieu, De L'Esprit Des Lois, Paris: Garnier, 1927, livre 15, chapitre 5, "De L'Esclavage Des Negres" (The Spirit of the Laws, book 15, chapter 5, "On the Enslavement of Negroes"), my translation. [back]

    15. Avakian, Democracy, p. 212. [back]

    Added Notes by the Author, Spring 2023

    * A major factor underlying this “extension of constitutional rights and protections to those previously excluded from them” has—especially since the second half of the 20th century—been the increasing globalization of the capitalist-imperialist economy, a worldwide system of exploitation ensnaring literally billions of people, and in particular super-exploitation of masses of people, including more than 150 million children, in the Third World of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The relationship of this worldwide exploitation, and super-exploitation, to the situation in the U.S. itself—particularly with regard to the economic structure and social and class relations within this country—is analyzed in depth in the paper by Raymond Lotta Imperialist Parasitism and Class-Social Recomposition in the U.S. From the 1970s to Today: An Exploration of Trends and Changes, which is available at revcom.us. The political dimensions of this are explored in my article Imperialist Parasitism and “Democracy”: Why So Many Liberals and Progressives Are Shameless Supporters of “Their” Imperialism (also available at revcom.us), where the following is made clear:

    [T]his imperialist plunder provides the material basis for a certain stability, at least in “normal times” in the imperialist “home country” (with the U.S. a prime example of this). This relative stability, in turn, makes it possible for the ruling class to allow a certain amount of dissent and political protest—so long as this remains within the confines of, or at least does not significantly threaten, the “law and order” that serves and enforces the fundamental interests of this ruling class.

    At the same time, as sharply demonstrated in mass uprisings which do call into question that “law and order” and/or defy allegiance to the imperialist interests of this system—such as the mass outpouring against police terror in 2020, and urban rebellions and mass opposition to the Vietnam war in the 1960s—the rulers of this country will frequently respond to such opposition with severe repression and murderous retribution.  For example, the city of Wilmington, in Biden’s home state of Delaware, was placed under martial law for months during the 1960s upsurge against the oppression of Black people, and a number of members of the Black Panther Party, most prominently Fred Hampton, were murdered by police, along with many Black people taking part in urban uprisings in that period, while militant mass resistance against the Vietnam war and rebellions among middle class youth and students were in some cases subjected to a vicious, and at times murderous, response by police and National Guard troops.

    It should never be forgotten, or overlooked, that the “law and order” that enforces this relative stability has included the regular murder of Black people, as well as Latinos, by police—resulting in the fact that the number of Black people who have been killed by police in the years since 1960 is greater than the thousands of Black people who were lynched during the period of Jim Crow segregation and Ku Klux Klan terror, before the 1960s. It should also not be overlooked that the U.S. has the highest rate of mass incarceration of any country in the world, with Black people and Latinos particularly subjected to this mass incarceration. [back]

    ** The point here, as emphasized in my work Breakthroughs: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summary, is that the essence of the capitalist economy, and the source of capitalist “wealth” and “economic growth,” is not a bunch of capitalist entrepreneurs and their “innovation,” or their “entrepreneurial genius.” It is the exploitation by the capitalists (the bourgeoisie) of wage-workers (the proletariat). This is different than the question of what is the driving force compelling the capitalists to continue to intensify the exploitation of the proletariat and to continually find new means of doing so. As also pointed out in Breakthroughs:

    Engels, in Anti-Dühring, discussed the motion of the fundamental contradiction of capitalism between socialized production and private appropriation. He pointed out that the working out of this contradiction assumes two different forms of motion that go into the dynamic process of this fundamental contradiction’s motion. Those two forms of motion are, on the one hand, the contradiction between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat that it exploits, and the other form of motion that Engels identified, importantly, is the contradiction between organization and anarchy, the organization of production on the level of, say, an enterprise—which may be highly organized, with lots of calculations going into it, market estimates and all kinds of things, and may be very tightly organized in terms of how the actual process of production is carried out on the level of the particular capitalist corporation, and so on—while, at the same time, this is in contradiction to the anarchy of production and of exchange in the society as a whole (or today in the world as a whole, today more than ever in the world as a whole). So you have these two forms of motion—and I’ll come back later to a crucial distinguishing aspect of the new communism: the importance of identifying the second form of motion of this fundamental contradiction, that is, the anarchy/organization contradiction, or the driving force of anarchy, as overall the principal and most essential form of the motion of the fundamental contradiction of capitalism....

    In this regard, in the article “On the ‘Driving Force of Anarchy’ and the Dynamics of Change,” Raymond Lotta cited this statement of mine:

    It is the anarchy of capitalist production which is, in fact, the driving or motive force of this process [of capitalist production], even though the contradiction between the bourgeoisie and proletariat is an integral part of the contradiction between socialized production and private appropriation. While the exploitation of labor-power is the form by and through which surplus value is created and appropriated, it is the anarchic relations between capitalist producers, and not the mere existence of propertyless proletarians or the class contradiction as such, that drives these producers to exploit the working class on an historically more intensive and extensive scale. This motive force of anarchy is an expression of the fact that the capitalist mode of production represents the full development of commodity production and the law of value.

    And then there is this very important passage:

    Were it not the case that these capitalist commodity producers are separated from each other and yet linked by the operation of the law of value they would not face the same compulsion to exploit the proletariat—the class contradiction between bourgeoisie and proletariat could be mitigated. It is the inner compulsion of capital to expand which accounts for the historically unprecedented dynamism of this mode of production, a process which continually transforms value relations and which leads to crisis.

    (Breakthroughs is available at revcom.us; and the article by Raymond Lotta referred to here, “On the ‘Driving Force of Anarchy’ and the Dynamics of Change,” can be found in the online theoretical journal Demarcations, Issue Number 3.) [back]

    *** As noted in “Imperialist Parasitism and ‘Democracy’: Why So Many Liberals and Progressives Are Shameless Supporters of ‘Their’ Imperialism”:

    Some of the mass murderers in other countries who today play such a crucial role in serving the interests of U.S. imperialism throughout the world, and in making possible the maintenance of bourgeois democracy in this country itself (worm-eaten as it is indeed), are the same as they were 40 years ago, and some are different—but the essential reality remains that the “platform of democracy” in this country rests on fascist terror, along with ruthless exploitation, in the oppressed nations of the Third World (Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia). [back]

    **** In relation to this statement by Montesquieu—and more generally his views on slavery—I am reproducing here the following “A Note from Bob Avakian: On Montesquieu, Slavery and the U.S. Constitution,” which appeared in Revolution #037, March 5, 2006, posted at revcom.us:

    Recently, Revolution ran an excerpt from a pamphlet I wrote, which was originally published in 1987, U.S. Constitution: An Exploiters' Vision of Freedom. In that excerpt, there is a quote from De L'Esprit Des Lois (or, in English, "The Spirit of the Laws") by Charles Montesquieu, an 18th–century French philosopher, who was one of the sources of inspiration for the U.S. Constitution, and in particular the theory of the separation of powers that is incorporated in that Constitution. The quote from this work of Montesquieu's, which was published in 1748, is one in which he recites an extreme and grotesquely racist justification for "the enslavement of the Negroes." In relation to this, it is not infrequently argued that Montesquieu was being ironic here, and deliberately overstating this argument, in order to, in effect, polemicize against the enslavement of African people, and that in general Montesquieu's writings express opposition to slavery. But the reality is not so simple as this, nor does this reflect what Montesquieu was essentially seeking to do in this part of "The Spirit of the Laws." It can be said that in "The Spirit of the Laws" Montesquieu's position is one of general opposition to slavery, and he indicates that slavery is not appropriate in countries like France; but, at the same time, he speaks to various circumstances in which he believes slavery can be justified or reasonable. For example, he argues that in the parts of the world, in particular the southern regions, where the climate is warmer, this climate makes people lazy (indolent), and slavery may be justified in order to get them to work (and he argues that in a despotic country, where people's political rights are already repressed, slavery may not be worse for people in that condition).

    This, and the general discussion of slavery that makes up this part (book 15) of "The Spirit of the Laws," is included in a broader discussion by Montesquieu on the nature of different societies and governments in different countries and parts of the world (this is found not only in book 15 but also books 14 and 16 of "The Spirit of the Laws") in which Montesquieu argues that geography and in particular climate plays a big part in determining the nature of different peoples and the character of their society and governing system. And it is important to understand that, although in this discussion Montesquieu makes logical refutation of certain arguments, including certain defenses of slavery, this is not a polemic for or against slavery, or other forms of government, and its character is not that of moral argumentation, so much as it is an attempt to explain why various practices, and various forms of society and government, have existed (and in some cases continue to exist) in various places.

    Another way to put this is that what Montesquieu is doing, in these parts of "The Spirit of the Laws" (and generally in this work), is attempting to make a kind of materialist analysis of these phenomena, including slavery in many places where it has existed—although it must be emphasized that this is not a thoroughly scientific, dialectical materialism but instead a rather crude and vulgar materialism which is marked, and marred, by a considerable amount of determinism: it is a kind of mechanical materialism that argues for a direct and straight-line (linear) connection between things like geography and climate and the character of society and government. It is a kind of materialism that does not adequately and accurately characterize the real motive forces in the development of human society, and in fact this kind of vulgar materialism has often been used to justify various forms of oppression, including colonial and imperialist domination. While we can, and should, recognize that, in the circumstances and time in which he wrote—about 250 years ago—there are aspects of what Montesquieu was seeking to do that were new and represented a break with the suffocating and obfuscating feudal outlook and conventions, it is very important to understand how Montesquieu's outlook and method were marked, and limited, by the social, and international, relations of which they were ultimately an expression: relations in which one part of society, and of the world, dominates and exploits others. And that is the basic point that was being emphasized in relation to Montesquieu and the U.S. Constitution, in the pamphlet U.S. Constitution: An Exploiters' Vision of Freedom.

    With regard to the specific passage that was cited in U.S. Constitution: An Exploiters' Vision of Freedom, "on the enslavement of the Negroes," there is, in fact, some reason to accept that Montesquieu does not actually agree with the justification for this enslavement that he summarizes, and that he is actually subjecting this kind of justification to some ironic and satirical treatment. A reasonable interpretation of Montesquieu's arguments, as he goes on in this part of "The Spirit of the Laws" (book 15), is that this kind of argument, about the non-human character of the Negroes, is not a valid argument, not one that actually justifies this enslavement. But then he does go on to explore the question of what might actually be reasonable justifications, in certain circumstances, for slavery; and, as spoken to above, he finds such justifications in situations such as those where there is a despotic government, or where—as he concludes, through an application of vulgar and determinist materialism—the warm climate makes people lazy and unwilling, on their own initiative, to work.

    Thus, in looking into and reflecting on this further, I would say that, while it is important to understand the complexity and nuance of what Montesquieu writes here—and it can be said that the way in which I cited Montesquieu in writing this pamphlet on the U.S. Constitution does not really or fully do that—it is not the case that what Montesquieu was doing here was actually making a case against the enslavement of the Negroes, or against slavery in general. Once again, it is important to keep in mind the fact that, although he was opposed to slavery on general principle, and declared that it was a good thing that it had been eliminated in his home country, France, and more generally in Europe, Montesquieu did not think slavery was wrong, or without justification, in all circumstances. And it also seems that Montesquieu did not hesitate to invest in companies involved in the slave trade. In this, there is a parallel with John Locke, the English philosopher and political theorist, who, as I pointed out in this same pamphlet (U.S. Constitution: An Exploiters' Vision of Freedom), was also a major influence in the conception of the U.S. Constitution. As I wrote in Democracy: Can't We Do Better Than That? (p. 29):

    "In sum, the society of which Locke was a theoretical exponent, as well as a practical political partisan, was a society based on wage-slavery and capitalist exploitation. And it is not surprising that, while he was opposed to slavery in England itself, he not only defended the institution of slavery, under certain circumstances, in the Second Treatise, but turned a not insignificant profit himself in the slave trade and helped to draw up the charter for a government headed by a slave-owning aristocracy in one of the American colonies. For as Marx sarcastically summarized: ‘The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins, signalized the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production.’" [back]

    ***** In the years since the writing of this article, I have devoted considerable work to the development of what is meant by this “far greater vision of freedom”—what it would mean “in real life.” One very important result of this is the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, which provides both a sweeping vision and a concrete blueprint for a radically different and emancipating society and world. This Constitution is available at revcom.us. [back]

  • ARTICLE:

    From The RNL Show:

    Bob Avakian on Why He Wrote the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America

    From The RNL Show, Episode 156

  • ARTICLE:

    SOMETHING TERRIBLE,
    OR SOMETHING TRULY EMANCIPATING:

    Profound Crisis, Deepening Divisions,
    The Looming Possibility Of Civil War—

    And The Revolution That Is Urgently Needed

    A Necessary Foundation, A Basic Roadmap For This Revolution

    In the course of this talk, I will be referring to, and digging further into, key points that are put forward in two very important documents which are featured on our website revcom.us: A Declaration, A Call To Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution; and an article of mine, following up on that “Declaration and Call”: This Is A Rare Time When Revolution Becomes Possible—Why That Is So, And How To Seize On This Rare Opportunity. So, for everyone getting into this talk, everyone who cares about the crucial questions it is speaking to, it is also important to take up (or return to) and get deeply into those documents as well—and to go regularly to revcom.us, and watch the weekly YouTube show Revolution—Nothing Less, both of which sharply illustrate why a real revolution is urgently needed, and is possible, what are the goals of this revolution, and how to be part of building for this revolution. What I will be speaking to here is, as the title says, a necessary foundation and a basic roadmap for this revolution.

    One other point: I am going to say what needs to be said about the way things are, why they are that way, where things are headed, and what needs to be done to radically change this in a positive way—and, as part of that, I am going to bluntly speak some truth that is bound to offend some people. I do this because the stakes in all this are so high, and (to refer to a line from Bob Dylan) the hour is getting late, and there is no time to speak falsely now. But I do this, not out of a sense that people are so deeply caught up in, that they cannot break with, ways of thinking and acting which serve to perpetuate their own oppression and degradation, and that of others as well. No, I am doing this precisely out of the understanding that masses of people not only need to, but can, make a profound break with this—that they can radically change themselves as part of, and in the process of, radically changing the world, in an emancipating way.

    So, let’s get to it.

    Bob Avakian

     

    BOB AVAKIAN:
    A RADICALLY DIFFERENT LEADER—A WHOLE NEW FRAMEWORK FOR HUMAN EMANCIPATION

    Learn more about Bob Avakian and the new communism
    A DECLARATION, A CALL TO GET ORGANIZED NOW FOR A REAL REVOLUTION

     

    cover of pamphlet Bob Avakian: This Is A Rare Time When Revolution Becomes Possible—Why That Is So And How To Seize On This Rare Opportunity

     

    Here is the heart of the matter: Many people—including someone like Martin Luther King—have argued that attempting to carry out a revolution to overthrow this system is suicidal, particularly for Black people in this country—when, in fact, Black people, and masses of other oppressed and exploited people, profoundly and desperately need this revolution. The reality is that such a revolution can succeed, but this is possible, particularly up against powerful ruling forces, like in this country, only in rare times and circumstances. And here is a very important truth: This is one of those rare times and circumstances.

    This rare time must not be wasted, squandered, thrown away. Rather, revolution must be actively prepared for and vigorously, consistently worked for—now, and in an ongoing wayto build up the scientifically oriented and powerfully organized forces for, and to prepare the ground for, this revolution.

    And that is why we revolutionary communists say:

    [E]veryone who can’t stand this world the way it is ... who is sick and tired of so many people being treated as less than human ... who knows that the claim of “liberty and justice for all” is a cruel lie ... who is righteously enraged that injustice and inequality go on, and on, and on, despite false promises and honeyed words from people in power (or those seeking power) ... everyone who agonizes about where things are headed and the fact that to be young now means being denied a decent future, or any future at all ... everyone who has ever dreamed about something much better, or even wondered whether that is possible ... everyone who hungers for a world without oppression, exploitation, poverty, and destruction of the environment ... everyone who has the heart to fight for something that is really worth fighting for: You need to be part of this revolution.

    We’re talking about a real revolution, not playing around with a few changes that leave this system in place and in power, while benefitting only a small number. As the “Declaration and Call” makes very clear:

    A revolution means a force of millions, drawn from many different parts of society and organized for an all-out fight to overthrow this system and replace it with a radically different and much better economic and political system, a socialist system, based on meeting the needs of the people and carrying forward the fight for a communist world where there will finally be an end, everywhere, to the exploitation, oppression, and destruction of the environment that is built into this system of capitalism-imperialism. Anything less than this revolution will completely fail to deal with the root of all the problems or lead to the actual solution. [Emphasis added here.]

    So let’s get more deeply into why this is one of those rare times and circumstances when this revolution is possible, and what must be done for there to be a real chance for this revolution to actually succeed.

    First, let’s get clear on these BASIC TRUTHS:

    We live under a system—the system of capitalism-imperialism (capitalism is an economic and political system of exploitation and oppression, and imperialism refers to the worldwide nature of this system).

    It is this system which is the basic cause of the tremendous suffering that people, all over the world, are subjected to; and this system poses a growing threat to the very existence of humanity, in the way that this system is rapidly destroying the global environment, and in the danger of war between nuclear-armed capitalist-imperialist powers, such as the U.S. and China.

    All this is reality, and no one can escape this reality. Either we radically change it, in a positive way, or everything will be changed in a very negative way.

    To be very clear once more: Changing it in a positive way means making revolution—a real revolution, to overthrow this system of capitalism-imperialism and replace it with a radically different and emancipating system. For it is also a basic truth that: In today’s world, to fundamentally change society, you must seize power—overthrow the existing state power and establish a new state power.

    And here is another very important truth from the “Declaration and Call”:

    We have seen the potential for revolution powerfully demonstrated in the summer of last year (2020) when millions of people, of all races and genders, all over this country, and all around the world, rose up together against racist oppression and police murder. We have seen this potential in the mass outpourings of women, in countries all over the world, refusing to put up with being abused and degraded. This potential is also revealed in the deep distress being expressed, by scientists and millions of ordinary people, about the continually worsening climate crisis and the threat this poses to the future of humanity—a crisis this system cannot solve, but can only make worse.

    As we have also seen, when millions of people do take to the streets—and, especially when they do this not just for a day or so, expressing their feelings and then going home, with things returning quickly to “normal,” but when they do this with real determination and in a sustained way—this can change the “political atmosphere and alignment” in society as a whole, compelling every section of society, and every major ruling institution, to respond to this. To again cite a powerful example, this was the case with the massive uprising in the summer of 2020.

    But, as important as it is, millions taking to the streets, even in a sustained militant way, cannot by itself lead to fundamental change—which can only happen if the system that they are rebelling against is actually brought down.

    There have been many situations in different countries where a huge part of society has rebelled, even taking to the streets for weeks and months, but the ruling institutions, and in particular the police and military, did not “break apart,” and the people were not prepared to take the struggle to the next level—so there was no fundamental change. There have also been disastrous outcomes when people rising up in a mass revolt have mistakenly believed that, simply because their cause is just, the armed forces of the existing system will sympathize and join with them—when in fact those armed forces continued in their role as violent enforcers of the existing system and sooner or later acted to forcefully suppress the people.

    No, the existing oppressive system must be overthrown—the institutions of violent suppression of this system must finally be broken apart, defeated and dismantled by an organized revolutionary force. That is what is necessary for things to go beyond just mass protest, however militant and determined, and become a real revolution.

    Speaking specifically of this country, even in a situation where millions of people are taking to the streets, in a sustained way, in determined rebellion against oppression and injustice, and even with some among this system’s armed forces sympathizing and identifying with this, it is very unlikely that this, in itself, would lead to those armed forces splitting apart and a significant part of them joining with the people rising up in this way. (This is all the more true of the police, whose ranks are filled with hardcore right-wing brutes.)

    It is a fact that one of the objectives of the revolution—and what would be a necessary part of the strategy of the revolutionary forces—would be to win over significant parts of armed forces that start out opposing the revolution. But the possibility of this, and the way in which it could be achieved, would depend on how the revolutionary process actually unfolded.

    Later, toward the end of this talk, I will speak to this more directly, and get into some key aspects of the doctrine and strategic approach that would need to be applied by the revolutionary forces in order to have a real chance to win, when the necessary conditions for the all-out revolutionary fight had been brought into being—including the approach to winning over forces from the opposing side, in the course of that all-out fight. And, as part of that, I will talk about how, in an actual civil war, fought between opposing sections of society, things could develop in such a way that the armed forces that had been the backbone of state power, enforcing the existing capitalist-imperialist system, would split apart in the context of such a civil war—and what would be the implications of that for carrying revolution to a successful outcome.

    But, before that, it is important to get into this fundamental question: What are the necessary conditions for a revolution? In basic terms, they are:

    A crisis in society and government so deep and so disruptive of the “usual way of things,” that those who have ruled over us, for so long, can no longer do so in the “normal” way that people have been conditioned to accept.

    A revolutionary people in the millions and millions, with their “allegiance” to this system broken, and their determination to fight for a more just society greater than their fear of the violent repression of this system.

    An organized revolutionary force—made up of continually growing numbers of people, from among the most oppressed but also from many other parts of society—a force which is grounded in, and is working systematically to apply, the most scientific approach to building for and then carrying out revolution, and which is increasingly looked to by masses of people to lead them to bring about the radical change that is urgently needed.

    To get into this further, let’s start by focusing on the first of these conditions.

    There is some important historical experience to learn from—situations where a ruling class was no longer able to rule in the “normal way” that people had been conditioned to accept, and a real possibility arose of putting an end to the existing system, even one which had been so powerfully entrenched that such a profound change had long seemed impossible. This has happened especially when the ruling class, or a section of the ruling class, of that system no longer believes in, and more or less openly abandons, what had been the “cohering norms”—the regulating set of beliefs and processes—of that system.

    An example of this kind of thing—which involved a significant change, even though it was not brought about by a real revolution—is the collapse of the Soviet Union in the years 1989-91. The Soviet Union was the world’s first socialist state, brought into being through the Russian Revolution of 1917. The truth, however, is that capitalism had actually been restored in the Soviet Union, in the mid-1950s—even as it continued for some time to maintain the façade of “socialism.” But then, in the 1980s, “reforms” were instituted that began to unravel this whole thing, and finally sections of the ruling class abandoned the pretense of socialism, and the country underwent a transformation to an openly capitalist society, dropping even its outward identity as the “USSR” (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). The same kind of thing happened in some Eastern European countries that had been under the effective domination of the Soviet Union—countries where there were massive uprisings, the ruling structures split apart, and the result was a change from disguised capitalism to open capitalism—a major change, even if not a real revolution.

    This, again, is part of a more general phenomenon where major change, and even a real revolution, can become possible (or more possible) not simply when there is a deep crisis in society, and not just when the ruling forces are seriously divided, but when they actually split apart, and the old way of ruling can no longer hold. Another example of this kind of thing is the creation of the Soviet Union itself, resulting from the Russian Revolution. This occurred during World War 1, in which millions of Russian people died and the masses of people overall suffered tremendous hardship. In this critical situation, the ruling forces of that country split, resulting first in the overthrow of the long-entrenched rule of absolute monarchs (the Tsars), but with an opening created for a revolution that overthrew the exploiting classes as a whole, including the bourgeois forces that were attempting to consolidate capitalist rule without the Tsars.

    Or, to take another important example, this time from the history of this country: Why did so many Black people (nearly two hundred thousand) join the Union Army fighting against the southern Confederacy during the Civil War in the 1860s? Because the country, and those who ruled it, had split apart, and masses of Black people could sense that, in this situation, there was a real possibility of putting an end to their enslaved condition, which did happen as a result of that Civil War.

    How does this kind of thing apply to this country now? As is becoming more clear every day, there are deep, and continually deepening, divisions not only in this country overall but among the ruling powers of this system. And, as I will get into more fully in a little while, one part of those ruling powers, represented by the Republican Party, no longer believes in or feels bound by what have been the “cohering norms” of “democratic” capitalist rule in this country. This is leading, and will increasingly lead, to further, deepening divisions and bitter clashes throughout society, as well as “at the top.” All the ruling institutions of this system will be increasingly affected by this. The polarization will continue to sharpen, with forces grouped around and led by the Republican Party becoming even more aggressive in insisting on imposing, including by violent means, their vision of what “makes America great,” with all the very real horrors, on top of horrors, that this involves.

    All this in itself will have contradictory effects—some definitely negative, but some positive, or with positive potential. And, as this unfolds, this profound truth will be more and more forcefully demonstrated: The crisis and deep divisions in society can only be resolved through radical means, of one kind or another—either radically reactionary, murderously oppressive and destructive means or radically emancipating revolutionary means.

    With all this, what is urgently needed, what is possible—and what must be actively, tirelessly worked for, in order for there to truly be a positive outcome to all this—is a fundamentally different alignment in the country as a whole: a Repolarization that is favorable for, and brings forward the necessary forces for, Revolution—a real revolution to overthrow this system, and bring into being a radically different and much better system.

    But why, and how, could it be possible to bring about such a repolarization for a real revolution?

    This is because of something that is very different, in a very profound way, from what has been, for generations, the “normal situation” in this country. I spoke to how this has come about, in the following from “Rare Time”:

    Even though “democracy, with liberty and justice for all” is a cruel lie, this lie has been crucial for the rulers of this country to keep things together under this system—and especially to keep people who are oppressed under this system believing in the possibility of making this system more just. This is why both ruling class parties generally agreed, for a long time, to work within the same framework for ruling this country—they agreed to accept the results of elections and bring about “the peaceful transfer of power” between the different representatives of this same system, whether Democrat or Republican.

    With changing conditions in this country, and in the world as a whole, over the time since the end of World War 2 (75 years ago), it has been necessary for the ruling class, in order to maintain “order and stability” in this country, to make certain concessions to the struggle against white supremacy, male supremacy, and some other oppressive relations, while at the same time insisting that this is all part of “creating a more perfect union” and “further perfecting the great democracy that has always existed in this country.” This has also been necessary in order for the rulers of this country to continue promoting it as “the leader of the free world,” which they say must remain the dominant power in the world—but which, in reality, is the most oppressive and destructive power, plundering masses of people as well as the earth.

    But a section of the ruling capitalist class, represented by the Republican Party, has all along resisted even these partial concessions to the fight against oppression, and has become convinced that these changes have now gone too far, that they threaten to destroy what has held this country together and enabled it to dominate the world.

    The Republicans have become a fascist party—a party based on open and aggressive white supremacy, male supremacy and other oppressive relations—a party convinced that only it deserves to rule, moving to manipulate elections and suppress votes in order to gain and hold onto power, refusing to accept the outcome of elections it does not win, determined to gut and pervert “the rule of law,” trample on people’s rights, and adopt what amounts to an undisguised capitalist dictatorship, ready to use violence not only against masses of people but also against its rivals in the ruling class.

    These Republicans have mobilized a significant section of people who believe, with an intense, irrational passion, that white supremacy, male supremacy, and other oppressive relations (as well as unrestrained plunder of the environment) must be firmly upheld and enforced. They have been driven to a state of vicious insanity, embracing all kinds of lunatic conspiracy theories, along with a crazed Christian fundamentalism, as a response to the threat they see to their entitled (or “god-ordained”) position and their insistence that further concessions to the struggle against oppression will destroy what has “made America great.”

    Every day, and in a thousand ways, the reality screams out that there is no living together with this fascist lunacy—and no one should want to! There is no way that any decent person should want to live in the society, and world, that these fascists are determined, that they are willing to kill, to bring into being.

    As I wrote in my New Year’s Statement, this January (2021):

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

    Early in his campaign for president, Biden bragged about how, as a senator, he was able to work with white supremacist, southern segregationists! Now, he is still trying to work with the blatant white supremacists and outright fascists of the Republican Party. But, try as he might, they are not willing to work with him—except on their terms.

    Things are not as they were in the past, and the reality is this: The profound divisions, within the ruling class, and in the society overall, cannot be smoothed over—they are only going to become deeper and sharper, more acute and antagonistic. Here is the fundamental truth that needs to be clearly and deeply understood: These divisions

    cannot be resolved within the framework that has existed, and has held things together, for nearly 150 years, since shortly after the end of the Civil War which led to the abolition of slavery—they cannot be resolved on the basis of the capitalist “democracy” that has been the “normal” means of capitalist rule (dictatorship) for so long.

    And:

    This rare situation, with the deepening and sharpening conflicts among the ruling powers, and in the society overall, provides a stronger basis and greater openings to break the hold of this system over masses of people.

    It is extremely important to deeply understand this:

    As this situation develops, and the ruling class is more and more unable to rule in the old way, society and daily life for masses of people, from different parts of society, can become increasingly unsettled and chaotic, with frequent “disruptions” of the “normal” way things have been.

    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.

    This is a crucial part of how a revolutionary situation could be brought into being—a situation where it becomes possible to actually bring down this system.

    On the other hand, “left to itself”—that is, if the current character and dynamics of all this remain on the same course they are now on—this situation, the divisions characterizing it, and the outcome resulting from it are almost certainly going to become even more terribly negative. So, all this must be radically changed, in what is a relatively brief, “compressed” period of time—not just weeks or months, but also not decades. If things have not already fully erupted before then, the scheduled presidential election of 2024 is very likely to be a critical focal point and turning point, through which the fascist Republicans will attempt to gain and lock down power over society, and put an end to any possibility of a future “transfer of power” away from them.

    With the Republicans’ continuation of the Big Lie that the last (2020) presidential election was stolen from Trump, their moves to suppress votes, and their whole orientation that, in any case, with regard to the 2024 presidential election (assuming there is one), the only acceptable outcome is that they are declared and confirmed as the winner—all this has made clear that they will allow no “peaceful transfer of power” in government, unless it results in their coming to power. Growing numbers of fascist-oriented people in this country are prepared to use violence in pursuit of their perverse notion of “making America great again”—and the Republican leadership is ready to resort to this, if they cannot come to power otherwise. Already Republican elected officials, including members of Congress, are whipping up sentiments in favor of such violence and supporting fascist mobs who have engaged in this violence.

    In the situation of the 2020 presidential election, defeating and ousting Trump through that election was possible, and was important to do, as a tactical move to prevent the further consolidation of fascist rule right then. Even with that electoral defeat, however, Trump and his supporters nearly succeeded in pulling off a coup that would have resulted in his remaining in power, in defiance of the outcome of the election and the “peaceful transfer of power” from one section of the ruling class to another. And things have moved, and are continuing to rapidly move, beyond the situation that existed with that 2020 election and in its immediate aftermath.

    Further, this system’s electoral process itself works against the kind of fundamental change that is now urgently needed. Among other things, it lowers people’s horizons, restricting “realistic choices” to what is possible within the confines of this system and conditioning people to view and approach things on the terms of this system. Continuing to vote for Democrats, and attempting, through the electoral process, to prevent a successful Republican-fascist seizure and consolidation of power, will very likely fail, and more fundamentally will contribute to the continuation of things on the disastrous course they are now on, with terrible consequences for the billions of people on this planet—for humanity as a whole.

    As I emphasized in my New Year’s Statement:

    The electoral defeat of the Trump/Pence regime only “buys some time”—both in relation to the imminent danger posed by the fascism this regime represents, and more fundamentally in terms of the potentially existential crisis humanity is increasingly facing as a consequence of being bound to the dynamics of this system of capitalism-imperialism. But, in essential terms, time is not on the side of the struggle for a better future for humanity.

    Time, and with it the current momentum of things toward a disastrous outcome, is moving on. The time that still does exist must not be squandered in what would, especially now, be meaningless maneuvering within the framework of this system and its elections. This time must be seized, with the necessary urgency, to build toward the only resolution that can avoid that disaster, and wrench something truly positive out of all this: an actual revolution.

    Through the rest of this talk, I am going to speak more fully to what needs to be done in order for there to be the basis to actually make this revolution; and toward the end of this talk, I will turn directly to the basic approach to waging the all-out fight for revolution, with a real chance to win. But here a crucial truth needs to be emphasized: Everything depends on bringing forward a revolutionary people, from among the most bitterly oppressed, and all parts of society, first in the thousands and then in the millions, as a powerful revolutionary force, organized from the start and consistently with a country-wide perspective, impacting all of society and changing the terms of how masses of people see things and how every institution has to respond. Everything must be focused now on actually bringing forward and organizing this revolutionary force.

    The basic way to do this is laid out in the “Declaration and Call.” First of all:

    We need to urgently change the situation where not nearly enough people know about this revolution and are with it. We need to get this revolution, and its leadership, known everywhere. We need to challenge and seriously struggle with people right around us, and all over the country, to do something that, yes, requires real heart and will make a positive difference for real—become part of this revolution, and follow this revolutionary leadership. We need to organize more and more people into the ranks of the revolution.

    So what does it mean to go to work now to organize people into this revolution? As the “Declaration and Call” explains:

    Organizing people into this revolution means reaching out to all sorts of people—not just where there are protests and rebellions against oppression and injustice, but everywhere throughout society—spreading the word about revolution and getting people together (in real life and online) to grapple with why an actual revolution is necessary, what such a revolution involves, and what kind of society this is aiming for. This will enable people who are new to the revolution to themselves become organizers for this revolution and to recruit more and more people to do the same. On this basis, and through the growing ranks of the revolution acting together as an increasingly powerful force, it will be possible to attract and organize the necessary numbers, and build up the necessary strength, to be in the position to do what needs to be done.

    We need to struggle hard with people to take up the orientation and strategy, the values and goals, for this revolution, and dedicate themselves to working for this revolution, while we unite growing numbers to fight the abuse, brutality and destruction perpetrated by this system, and through all this get thousands and then millions of people prepared and steeled to do away with this system that brings so much hell to people. We need to wield this growing revolutionary force to stand up to this system and its murderous enforcers and to change the whole “terrain” (the political, social and cultural situation and “atmosphere”) throughout society, in order to weaken the hold of this system over people, win people away from acting to strengthen and enforce this system, and create the best possible conditions for this revolution to succeed.

    Along with that, this basic understanding and approach needs to be consistently applied:

    An important principle and method in organizing people into the revolution is the understanding that, while revolution requires serious commitment, people’s level of commitment will, at any given time, “essentially correspond to and [be] grounded in what aspirations have been awakened, or brought forward [in them], and what they are coming to understand is required in relation to that,” and this commitment “should proceed from what they themselves have been won (yes, won through struggle, even at times sharp struggle) to see as a necessary and essential contribution to the revolution.” People can start with basic tasks that they can readily carry out and feel confident doing which make a real contribution to building the revolution, and can learn to take on more responsibility as they gain more experience and a deeper understanding. The important thing is that they are part of the process of building the revolution, together with others. These principles and methods should be kept clearly in mind and applied at all stages of people’s involvement with the revolution, to enable them to continue advancing in understanding and commitment.

    (That is from Part II of my speech Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution.)

    As the “Declaration and Call” makes clear, in order to win masses of people to revolution, there is a tremendous amount of struggle that needs to go on, not just against the system that is the source of the horrors that people are continually subjected to, but also against ways of thinking and acting among the people that actually “internalize,” and serve to perpetuate, this system and the ways of thinking it promotes, with its monstrously oppressive relations and putrid values—ways of thinking and acting that work against the repolarization that is urgently needed to have a real chance at seizing on this rare opportunity to make revolution.

    In Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis, I pointed to the characterization of the current polarization by the fascist former Republican congressman Steve King—that there is a lot of talk about another civil war, and one side (the fascist side) is heavily armed (with 8 trillion bullets) while the other (“woke”) side can’t decide which bathroom to use. Even as this involves some real distortion, and definite slander against trans people, there is a demented insight, and too much of the truth, in this observation by that fascist King. And, if this polarization remains essentially unchanged, it will have even worse implications, as things develop and further intensify.

    Very much related to and an expression of this, is the reality that today, particularly among the middle classes, things are still way too much in line with the words of the poet Yeats: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” It is fascists who have declared “this is war!”—who viscerally feel that the way things are going is completely intolerable to them, is an existential threat to a way of life and a country that they believe is worth being part of. And, in their demented minds, the government (or government that is in the hands of, or strongly influenced by, the Democrats) is working to continue things on this course, and is therefore completely illegitimate. At the same time, among what can rightly be called “decent people,” who are opposed to these fascists, there is way too much obliviousness, ignorance and ignore-ance—or even continuing denial—of what is going on, way too much being lulled by a sleepy sense that the way things are going is favorable to how they want things to go, or at least that “things will work out” in a way that is in accord with their inclinations. Or, to the degree that there is a recognition that this is not the case (for example, with the accelerating environmental crisis), this has led far too much to defeatism, cynicism, and passivity.

    But that is not all there is to the problem. As I also noted in Hope For Humanity:

    [A]nother element of this that we can’t overlook is that, while a lot of what [Steve] King describes applies in a certain demented way, particularly to progressive or so-called “woke” middle class people, there is another kind of problem with regard to more basic oppressed people, and in particular the youth—a big problem that their guns are now aimed at each other ... this is something that needs to be radically transformed in building a movement for an actual revolution.

    I will have more to say that relates to this, later. But here it is important to call attention to what has been, so far at least, the “soft” treatment of those who took part in the January 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol and Trump’s attempted coup—the low level charges and lenient sentences being handed down in the court cases around this, as well as the fact that there has been no move to indict Trump and other top fascist political figures. This calls to mind the way things were handled in Germany, with the rise of the NAZI fascist movement there, headed by Hitler. In the 1920s, Hitler led what came to be called the “Beer Hall Putsch”—a clumsy attempt to come to power through a poorly organized coup that lacked the necessary planning and support. But Hitler in particular was treated very leniently, and this “Beer Hall Putsch” became in effect a dress rehearsal for the later seizure and consolidation of power by the NAZIs, the crushing of any effective opposition, and all the horrific NAZI atrocities that followed. (The parallel is captured in what some people today have put forward regarding the coup attempt by Trump and his supporters in the aftermath of the 2020 election, and in particular the storming of the Capitol on January 6: “What do you call a failed coup? A dress rehearsal!”)

    Meanwhile, what is the situation “on the other side of the divide,” and particularly among people who claim to be “woke”? It must be bluntly said that “woke” is becoming a joke—a bad joke. The slogan we revcoms have raised, “You Think You’re Woke But You’re Sleepwalking Through A Nightmare,” captures something very important. But it needs to be added that this “wokeness,” with its evading of and diversion from the real struggle that needs to be waged, and its substituting of “word changing” and “cancel culture” in place of this struggle, is actually contributing to and furthering this nightmare.

    A ridiculous, and outrageous, example of this is the ACLU’s butchering of a statement by former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg about a woman’s right to abortion: The ACLU actually replaced “woman” with “person” (and “she/her” with “they/their”)! This is part of a larger phenomenon which, in the name of trans rights, actually pushes in the direction of erasing women, conceptually. But rhetorically erasing the concept of women does not, and cannot, erase the reality of the existence, and the horrific oppression, of billions of women in this real world. What it actually does is undermine the massive, militant struggle that is urgently needed against the mounting attacks on, and the further fastening of the chains of oppression on, the half of humanity that is female.

    If the ACLU, and others, who have done good things in the past, continue on this course, they will undermine much of the good they have done, and much they could still do, and need to do.

    Do these “woke” and “progressive” people really believe that a focus on changing terms (nouns, pronouns, etc.) will actually lead to changing the world, in a positive way?

    Do they really believe that calling oppression “agency” makes it less oppressive (for example, when women are caught up in prostitution and pornography, does calling this “agency” on their part make this something other than horrific oppression to which those women are subjected, and which does great harm to all women)?

    Do they really think that having more “inclusion” of oppressed people in the dominant institutions and the structures of power of this system of capitalism-imperialism will actually change the fundamentally, and horrifically, oppressive nature of this system? (The First Black President... First female Vice-President... First Asian... First Latinx... First Gay... First Trans... First... SAME SYSTEM!)

    Or is the deeper problem that these “progressive” and “woke” people have just given up on, or never really thought about, working for change that would actually lead to ending oppression?

    With regard to “woke folk”—and in particular the whole “cancel culture” thing—it needs be said: Masses of people are being brutalized and savaged, the world is burning (literally as well as figuratively) and you are preoccupied with changing the faces of those who preside over these horrors, and spitting on people if they don’t use nouns and pronouns that you approve of, or in some other way violate the constantly mutating standards of “wokeness.”

    This ties in with the discussion in Breakthroughs of a certain attitude and approach—“striking a pose to intimidate”—that was sharply criticized by Mao Zedong (the leader of the Chinese revolution, and what was a revolutionary socialist state in China until his death in 1976, whose “little red book” of quotations was widely read by people all over the world, including Black people, youth of all nationalities, and others in the U.S.). “Striking a pose to intimidate,” Mao made clear, is useless against the enemy, and does real harm among the people. As I pointed out in Breakthroughs:

    [I]dentity politics, and in particular the posturing that all too often accompanies it, is only “useful” among people who will be intimidated by this, and in fact such intimidation does a great deal of harm. That’s what Mao meant when he said this kind of thing does great harm among the people. Intimidating people rather than winning them to a scientific understanding of reality, and what needs to be done about it, can only do harm among the people, and it’s absolutely useless against those who have real power.

    Along with this, it has to be said that there is too much of people being absorbed in “trauma culture”—where any insult or affront, or challenge to one’s cherished beliefs, is treated as actual trauma, and any real trauma that is suffered becomes a motivation to turn inward to focus on individual “self-care.”

    In Hope For Humanity, I emphasized this:

    The trauma that results from directly suffering horrific forms of oppression and degradation is very real, and no one should deny or underestimate that—but, instead of an individual “turning inwards,” this needs to be transformed into anger and determination to be part of a collective struggle to put an end to all the atrocities, everywhere, whose fundamental source and cause is this system of capitalism-imperialism.

    But, along with “trauma culture”—and I am going to call this out, even though it may “overlap” with some of what is asserted by fascists, coming from a completely opposite place and with completely opposite objectives—it is too much the case that, despite often ill-founded, ridiculous and even cartoonish references to “badass” this and that, too many people are being encouraged and conditioned to be “soft crybabies”!

    Here I have to say: Enough of “woke folk” who act as if it is actually oppressed people (or, as they like to say, the “marginalized”) who are fragile beings constantly in need of the protection of “safe spaces,” lest they fall apart at the mere appearance of a “triggering” phenomenon. And since when are universities and other institutions supposed to be places where you are “safe”—not just from physical violence of one kind or another, and from overtly threatening or clearly degrading verbal assaults, but from ideas, statements, etc., that simply make you uncomfortable?! How are you going to “change the world” if you are in danger of falling apart at things like that? Again, from Hope For Humanity:

    [I]n any real struggle to deal with any real oppression, up against powerful enforcers of that oppression, you are going to have to face the prospect of real sacrifice, including the prospect of being physically attacked. And if you think that you can carve out little safe enclaves, and that this is somehow going to lead to any kind of significant change in society, you are full of illusions and delusions.

    To add to the problem, this is often accompanied by attempts to sideline and silence others who, according to this scheme of things, occupy a “privileged” and not a “marginalized,” status.

    This is all an expression of extremely lowered sights—with a marked tendency to identify the “enemy” as people who may have more “privilege,” rather than the system of capitalism-imperialism, its fundamental relations, and its institutions of authority and power, which embody and enforce the terrible exploitation and oppression that masses of people here, and literally billions of people around the world, are subjected to.

    Here again we are back to Mao’s point about striking a pose to intimidate—that it is useless against the actual enemy and does real harm among the people.

    All this represents the influence of forces proceeding from a bourgeois (or petty bourgeois) outlook and aspirations—seeking a re-arrangement which will provide them (and perhaps some others like them) with a better position within this horrific system of oppression, and trying to force opposition to injustice into the framework and in the service of this objective.

    So, once again, with all this in mind, and with regard to the society overall, what is profoundly and urgently needed is repolarization—for revolution: winning growing numbers of people away from support for either side in the division among the ruling powers that are seeking to maintain and enforce this system, in one form or another, away from those promoting deadly illusions and self-serving goals which are dead-end, non-solutions for the masses of people.

    This goes back to the first of the three conditions for revolution—the deep divisions among the ruling powers—and more particularly that, with the conflicts among the ruling forces increasingly becoming really deep and sharp, masses of people respond to this not by falling in behind one side or the other of the oppressive rulers—not by acting in ways that serve to perpetuate and reinforce the oppressive rule of this system—but by taking advantage of this situation to build up the forces for revolution.

    It is true that there are a lot of very bad things connected with the present polarization and the whole trajectory things are on, and this could lead to something really terrible; but it is also true, and of profound importance, that it is possible that we could wrench something really positive out of it—revolution, to put an end to this system and bring something much better into being. But, once more, this requires recognizing the situation, and the current trajectory of things, for what they are—and responding in a way and on a level that is commensurate with this, is in accordance with the profound stakes involved—acting to change things, urgently, toward the goal of getting rid of this whole system, and replacing it with something radically different and much better.

    The reality now is that the fascist section of the ruling class, represented by and concentrated in the Republican Party, is actively and aggressively engaged in a “two-pronged” move to achieve and consolidate fascist rule. These “two prongs” are: corrupting and controlling the electoral process and key government institutions; and the threat and use of violence, including through the mobilization of violent mobs. These fascists are, for now, relying mainly on the first, but with the second (violence) as an “accompaniment” to this—which could become their main means, if that proves necessary for them. In any case, if they succeed, the full power of the government—including the executive power of the presidency, the courts and legal apparatus, the prisons, as well as the police and the military—will be wielded to crush any effective opposition to fascist rule and to forcefully impose its program of “restoring” America to its mythological “greatness” on the basis of aggressive white supremacy, crude and brutal male supremacy and suppression of LGBT people, xenophobia (hatred and persecution of foreigners and immigrants, particularly from what Trump infamously referred to as “shithole countries”), forceful assertion and chauvinistic trumpeting of American dominance and “the superiority of western civilization,” along with willful rejection of science and the scientific method, especially where it would interfere with unrestrained plunder of the environment, as well as people.

    Given the nature, objectives and actions of the fascists, there is the real possibility of actual civil war. But given the nature, objectives and actions of the “mainstream” section of the ruling class (as represented by the Democratic Party and media such as MSNBC, the New York Times and CNN), and given the current situation with those, from different parts of society, who tend to support, and politically tail behind, this “mainstream” section of the ruling class, it is possible that the fascists could achieve and consolidate power without a civil war, but with all the terrible consequences that would follow this fascist consolidation of power. Or, as emphasized in the “Declaration and Call,” in what would amount to a one-sided civil war, these fascists could carry out a slaughter of those they hate, including Black people and other people of color, “illegal immigrants,” “uppity women” and those who don’t conform to “traditional” sexual and gender relations and “norms.”

    In any case, it is a deadly serious reality that these fascists are determined to crush—as violently as necessary—anyone and anything, anywhere in society, that stands in the way of implementing their horrific objectives.

    This puts an exclamation point on what the “Declaration and Call” says immediately after this:

    This situation needs to be radically changed, to where there are masses of people prepared to defeat these fascists and to do so as part of getting rid of this whole system, which has bred these fascists, along with all the other horrors it continually perpetrates.

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

    This is not the time of the Civil War in the 1860s, when the goal of those fighting against injustice was to abolish slavery, and—in terms of who ruled society—the only possible positive outcome was the consolidation and strengthening of the rule of the rising capitalist class centered in the North. That time is now long gone. And this system of capitalism, which has developed into a system of worldwide exploitation and oppression, capitalism-imperialism, is long outmoded—long past its expiration date, long past any circumstances where it could play any positive role. The goal now must precisely be getting rid of this whole system of capitalism-imperialism.

    The character of a new civil war would have significantly different features from that previous civil war of 1861-65, where one geographic part of the country, the southern Confederacy, attempted to secede and form a separate country in that territory. Today, the forces of fascism among the population are again concentrated in the South, as well as in rural areas throughout the country; but, in the South and throughout the country, they are closely connected, geographically, with sections of the population that are opposed to this fascism. Any new civil war would be fought between opposing forces that would be in close proximity to each other—in a real sense intertwined geographically—around the country. This would have both advantages and disadvantages for the people on the positive side of such a civil war, and this would need to be taken into account in their approach to fighting that civil war.

    (The “Red States/Blue States” picture, which is constantly presented in the mainstream media, is very misleading in terms of the geographic and political divisions in the country. It does not present an accurate picture of population concentration—of which sections of the people are actually concentrated where, and in what numbers, within the existing states. Of particular importance, it downplays the concentration of people in this country as a whole in urban areas, including the suburbs around the inner city cores, and the concentration of masses of oppressed people especially in those inner city cores. It downplays the strong opposition to the fascists that exists among large numbers of people in the urban areas. This mainstream presentation of things is meant to reinforce the sense that the only possibility is the continuation of this system of capitalism-imperialism, and the only choice is between the two parties representing the ruling class of this system: the “red” Republican Party or the “blue” Democratic Party. And, by the way, with the color red historically associated with communism, the “appropriation” of this color in association with the fascist Republican Party is an abomination!)

    The current polarization, even on the positive side, among those opposed to the fascists, is not what is needed, and will not meet the profound and urgent challenge of these times. For the reasons discussed in this talk, there can be no real and lasting defeat of these fascists on the terms of the Democrats, on the terms of what have been, for generations, the “norms” of “democratic” capitalist rule in this country. Fundamentally, there can be no resolution to this, under this system, which will be in the interests of the masses of people, not just in this country but in the world as a whole. Once more, what is urgently needed is a very different polarization than what exists today—a repolarization—for revolution.

    And, once again as well—without being absolute about this—there is a limited time frame within which this repolarization must be achieved. If things continue as they are, with the fascist offensive by the Republican Party and its base becoming even more aggressive and powerful, then it is very likely that their “two-pronged offensive” will succeed, that they will utilize the changes they are forcing through state governments and key parts of the federal government, in particular the courts, to regain and consolidate control of the country as a whole, move forward with a vengeance to implement their fascist program, and forcefully suppress, as violently as necessary, any effective opposition.

    The urgency of this situation—and the urgent need for repolarization, for revolution—must be clearly understood, and forcefully conveyed to masses of people. This must be done in a compelling way, without hype (and there is no need for hype to describe the critical situation and urgent stakes). While it is crucially important to unite with people in rising up against the terrible injustices and outrages constantly perpetrated by this system, and to continually bring alive the possibility of a radically different and emancipating alternative, once again it needs to be stressed: It is necessary to wage a tireless struggle to break people out of the ways of thinking, and acting, that in fact keep them chained to this system and contribute to perpetuating this system, in one form or another.

    Fatalism, and defeatism—the belief that nothing can be done to change the terrible situation and bleak future humanity is now facing, that no positive radical change is possible—this way of thinking itself must be defeated, overcome both through sharp struggle and by bringing alive and popularizing the possibility for a radically different and better world, through revolution, which is grounded in a scientific, materialist approach to and understanding of the real world and the actual possibility for its positive radical transformation. Overall—and above all in terms of the basic masses, the bitterly oppressed people who must become the backbone of this revolution—overcoming this defeatism, and bringing about the necessary repolarization, must be carried out, and can only be achieved, through a powerful combination of fierce ideological struggle among the people, to win growing numbers to a scientific understanding of the situation we face and the actual solution to this, together with determined resistance against this oppressive system—all of which must be led to contribute to building up the forces and creating the political alignment necessary for revolution.

    While masses of people urgently need this revolution, it is all too true that, right now, the great majority of them are thinking in a lot of wrong ways. To put things straight-up, they don’t know shit and have their heads up their asses! This needs to be radically changed—and can be, but only through a tremendous amount of sharp struggle. As I have said before (in “Rare Time”):

    It is the responsibility of everyone who recognizes the profound need for revolution—and the rare possibility in a time like this to actually make revolution—to wage a tireless, and at times fierce, struggle to win more and more people to make a radical rupture with the confining and degrading terms of this system, and to take up, and act on, the revolutionary orientation and motivation that is put forward in the “Declaration and Call.”

    Instead of “staying in your lane,” and “going for self,” while this system is moving to even more decisively crush any hope for a world worth living in, people need to be looking at the bigger picture, focusing on the greater interests of humanity and the possibility for a far better world—and acting to make this a reality.

    Instead of finding excuses to go along with the way things have been, standing apart from (or even bad-mouthing) the revolution, people need to get with this revolution, and not throw away the rare opportunity to be part of bringing something much better into being.

    Instead of lashing out with individual acts of frustration, or attempts to take on this system with small, isolated forces that have no chance of succeeding, people need to pour their anger, and their hatred for injustice, into building a movement of millions that could have a real chance to defeat this system and make a real revolution.

    Instead of fighting and killing each other, what people need to be doing now is uniting to defend each other—opposing all unjust violence, not launching attacks on anyone but at the same time not allowing the police or “civilian” fascist thugs to wantonly brutalize and murder people. And people need to do this as part of building up the forces for revolution.

    Instead of snarking and sniping at each other, and being divided by “identities,” people should be working to unite everyone, from every part of society, who can be united in the fight against oppression and injustice, with the goal of putting an end to this system that is the source of this oppression and injustice.

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

    Running through much of the situation today is the problem of individualism—“going for self” regardless of the effect on other people, and on humanity as a whole—which is encouraged and expressed in extreme forms in this particular society at this time, and is often combined and intertwined with a lack of hope for anything better in this world. Again, from Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis:

    Lack of real hope for a better life in this world is a heavy chain weighing down, suffocating and deeply scarring the masses of humanity, including the youth who are concentrated in the ghettos and barrios of this country as well as its overflowing torture chamber prisons. And the extreme individualism promoted throughout this society, the obsessive focus on “the self,” has reinforced the heavy lid on the sights of people, obscuring their ability to recognize the possibility of a radically different and better world, beyond the narrow and confining limits of this system, with all its very real horrors.

    Along with other negative trends, there is the way that people’s sense that the world is fucked up beyond repair, and things are just going to keep going to hell, leads them to just try to get what they can for themselves now, before it’s too late. So people need hope—not hype but real hope that is based on a scientific method and approach to understanding the world as it actually is and the possibility of changing it, in the way it can be changed, to bring a radically different and much better world into being, through a real revolution. They need the scientifically based sweeping vision, and concrete blueprint, for a radically different and emancipating society that is set forth in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, which I have authored.

    They need the fundamental approach to understanding reality, and the basis and possibility for radically changing it, that is concentrated in the following:

    [T]he systems that characterize the societies that people live in ... are historically evolved. This means that changes in human society are based, and can only be based, on transforming what already exists in that society, on the foundation of the forces of production that have been developed at any given time [the land and raw materials, factories and other production facilities, machinery and other technology, and the people, with their knowledge and abilities].

    And even revolutionary changes—a radical leap from one system to another—can only proceed on the basis of transforming what exists. This cannot be done by coming up with ideas or notions about how society “ought” to be, if those ideas or notions have no basis in the existing reality.

    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....

    It is the productive forces that have been developed under the capitalist-imperialist system that actually provide the material basis to move beyond all this. But, at the same time, it is this system, with its mode of production based on exploitative relations of production, that is the direct barrier to making this a reality—is a chain on the masses of people throughout the world, and on humanity overall.

    That is from the article Why The World Is So Messed Up, And What Can Be Done to Radically Change This—A Basic Scientific Understanding. As I pointed out in that article: The resolution to this howling contradiction between what are now the conditions of the masses of humanity, and what is actually possible—the only resolution that is in the interests of those masses, and ultimately all of humanity—is through the revolution to overthrow this system and replace it with a socialist system on the road to a communist world. Bringing this fundamental understanding to people is crucial, in order for them to really have hope, on a scientific foundation.

    But the fact is that there is not only a lack of hope among many, but also a lack of searching—for an understanding of why the world is so messed up, and can anything be done to really change this. This needs to be strongly and deeply challenged, through the promotion of broad debate about these literally life and death matters, and a tremendous amount of struggle over the big question: what is the fundamental problem humanity is facing, and what is the solution?—or, put in basic terms, reform vs. revolution, working within this system, or overthrowing it and replacing it with a radically different system. This needs to be vigorously taken up and fiercely debated and struggled out among people in all parts of society—including students, academics and other intellectuals, people in the arts and the professions, as well as people with only a limited formal education—all of whom can be, and need to be, seriously engaged with these vital and urgent questions.

    To return to the current lack of searching: this is linked in many cases with self-absorbed individualism, either blindly and blithely oblivious or virulently poisonous. Once more from Hope For Humanity:

    Individualism is a significant factor and “unifying element” in much of the negative trends that play a major role in keeping people from recognizing the reality and depth of the horrors continually brought about by this system—and recognizing the urgent need to act, together with others, to abolish and uproot all this, at its very source.

    And:

    [T]he terrible suffering of the masses of humanity and the urgent challenges facing humanity as a whole as a result of the escalating destruction of the environment by this system of capitalism-imperialism as well as the possibility of nuclear conflagration that continues to loom as an existential threat over humanity—all this cannot be seriously addressed, let alone actually solved, by each person pursuing their particular individual interests, and in fact people acting in this way constitutes a major obstacle to bringing about the necessary solution.

    This individualism, in turn, is based, to a very significant extent, in parasitism—living in this country that is sitting atop the imperialist food chain, deriving benefits from the exploitation and misery of millions and billions of people worldwide. This applies not just to the section of people in this country that is really well off, but also to the large number who are scrambling to make it through the day, the week, or the month: for them in particular there is a kind of toxic combination of having to struggle and scrounge to get through, and at the same time benefitting to some degree from imperialist parasitism. The effect of all this is to make it seem possible, and/or to seem necessary, to ignore what is going on in the larger world. But, in reality, there is, and increasingly there will be, no ignoring what is happening in that larger world, and no avoiding the consequences of failing to confront and radically transform this.

    Yes, it is true: YOLO. But, since you only live once, you should make it count for something—something much bigger than yourself—being part of an historic revolution to free all oppressed people, and bring in a new day for all humanity, with whole new horizons of freedom and life with meaning for human beings, way beyond what is possible now, when we are still forced to live under this monstrosity of a system which denies a decent life to billions of people on this planet and has no decent future, or no future at all, for those of the younger generations.

    Parasitic individualism needs to be directly, sharply, and deeply challenged, as it is a major obstacle in the way of people seeking out the answers to the profound and accelerating crisis and potential catastrophe that people, not just in this country but in the world as a whole, are facing (whether or not they recognize, or acknowledge, it). And this individualism prevents people from acting together, as a revolutionary force, to wrench something positive out of all this ongoing madness.

    In both immediate and overall strategic terms, very much bound up with challenging this parasitic individualism is waging substantial, determined, relentless struggle against American chauvinism—the disgusting notion that America and Americans are better and more important than everybody else. As I have pointed out before, this is a poison infecting people broadly in this country, even among the bitterly oppressed; and a positive, revolutionary resolution to the current course of things cannot be brought about unless masses of people break with this American chauvinism. One of the main, and most ugly, manifestations of this American chauvinism is the sickening support, even among large numbers of “progressive” and “woke” people, for the U.S. military—with all this nauseating “thank you for your service”—a “service” which consists of horrific war crimes and crimes against humanity in enforcing the interests and objectives of the most exploitative, oppressive, and destructive social force in the world: U.S. capitalist imperialism. Combating this, and winning people to reject and repudiate this—among all sectors of society—is crucial now, and has definite strategic implications, in building for and then carrying out the revolution that is urgently needed.

    So people need to be jolted awake, to reality—to the reality of this system of capitalism-imperialism, the reality of where things are heading right now, with terrible consequences if things continue on this course—and the reality of the possibility, and the urgent need, to wrench something positive out of this, through a real revolution.

    Another important dimension of the straight-up, hardcore struggle that needs to be waged with people, including bitterly oppressed people, is spoken to in the following in Part 3 of my New Year’s Statement:

    Given the tight connection between militant patriarchy and fascism, it is not surprising that some (though clearly a minority of) Black and Latino men have been drawn to support for Trump, despite his overt white supremacy. (This includes some who are or have been prominent in rap music. While there have been positive forces and elements in rap and Hip Hop overall, what has been increasingly promoted is a culture that is full of, not to say dominated by, misogynistic degradation of women, as well as admiration for the kind of hustler gangsterism that is one of Trump’s defining “qualities.”) It is also not surprising that even significant numbers of women (mainly white women but also some Latina and other women of color) have been drawn to this fascism, as the phenomenon of the oppressed clinging to “tradition’s chains” that oppress them is unfortunately all too common.

    There must be determined struggle against the “macho” bullshit of all too many Black and Latino men—a “warrior mentality” of the wrong kind, which also characterizes far too many Native American men, in their own particular way, with their utterly misplaced, and frankly perverse, pride in being part of the same U.S. military that carried out the genocide against these original peoples in America. There must also be sharp struggle against the ways that, among the other half of humanity, which is female, the phenomenon of the oppressed acting in ways that oppress them not only involves clinging to highly oppressive patriarchal religious tradition but also takes the form of aggressively reveling in and flaunting what is objectively highly demeaning “sexualization” and commodification of sex. This is actively promoted among Black and Latina women—and is a definite negative trend in popular culture, including Hip Hop. It is also noteworthy that, as surprising as it might seem when looked at superficially, this self-degrading hyper-sexualization often goes hand-in-hand with its “mirror opposite”: religious obscurantism—a fundamentalist form of religion that blocks, obscures the light of reason. There is also a similar phenomenon among gang members, where gang-banging and other acts of degradation and self-degradation are combined with a heavy religious obscurantism, in one form or another.

    To far too great a degree, the “education” that masses of basic people get—and in particular the “education” that tends to “stick”—comes through religious institutions, and the promotion of obscurantist religion. This is a real problem, a significant part of why far too many basic oppressed people are susceptible to anti-scientific thinking, including crazy conspiracy theories.

    This “religious impulse” continues to exert a significant influence—is a significant phenomenon—among many in the Black middle class as well, including many who acquire a more “cosmopolitan” education, even at the more “elite” universities.

    All this is promoted and reinforced by the continually propagated notion that the very identity of Black people is somehow inextricably bound up with religion and religious institutions, in particular the Christian Black Church (the idea that this religion and Black identity are so tightly and essentially woven together, that they cannot be separated) and that, without religion and the Black Church, Black people could not survive, or thrive, in racist America. But, for the masses of Black people, “thriving” within this monstrous system is impossible—and merely surviving, while still being terribly oppressed, tormented, tortured and repeatedly brutalized and murdered, under this system, cannot be, and is not, the most that can be hoped for, or achieved.

    It is true that, although Christianity in particular was imposed on Black people by the slave system, the Black Church has at times, and to a degree, played a positive role in the struggle of Black people; but it is also true that it has placed very definite constraints on this struggle, channeling and limiting it within the confines of this very system that is the source of the oppression and suffering to which Black people have been subjected throughout the history of this country.

    As another dimension of this problem, especially with the undermining and outright gutting of public schools, particularly in the inner cities, in the realm of athletics—one of the very few arenas in which a few basic Black people can attain wealth and prestige—there is the fact that significant numbers of Black athletes now go through private Christian fundamentalist schools for their basic “education” (in fact, mis-education). And then, even as they take stands in support of struggles against injustice, many of these athletes also utilize their “platform” to promote the religious obscurantism with which they have been indoctrinated—which contributes to the situation where masses of people, who are influenced by these prominent figures, are vulnerable to all kinds of distortions of reality.

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

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

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

    Besides the great harm it does to people who are hit hardest by COVID, and to the overall efforts to “get on top of” this COVID pandemic, another very damaging effect of this anti-scientific, anti-vaccine disinformation is that it plays directly into the hands of the white supremacist fascists, who have been quick to pick up on, praise and promote this. As I have said about this:

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

    To a great degree, this spreading of harmful, even deadly disinformation is also an expression of rampant individualism—the notion that “it is my right, and an expression of my personal freedom, to do whatever I want, and no authority should be allowed to restrict that.” As I have also pointed out:

    This is nonsense—very harmful nonsense! Individual freedom is not absolute—as almost everyone will agree when this is posed to them in terms that do not run up against their individualism. For example, few will argue that someone should have the freedom to drive 100 miles an hour through a school zone when children are crossing the street. And any reasonable person will agree that it is not okay for white supremacists to lynch Black people—or for the police to wantonly murder Black people—simply because they feel like it—because they see it as an expression of their “individual freedom” (and “personal choice”)....

    It would be impossible to live in any society where “individual freedom” (or “personal choice”) were absolute. The question is: Are expressions of individual freedom, or restrictions on individual freedom, good or bad—do they make for a better, or worse, society?

    On the part of at least some of these Black celebrities, this irresponsible spreading of anti-scientific nonsense is also part of self-promotion—is an expression of the dominant culture overall, where opinions are “re-branded” as “my truth” and are put forward as being the same as (just as good as, or perhaps even better, than) facts, and people seek to build a following by spouting opinions, including many which are wildly in conflict with reality.

    But, again, the influence of religion, and especially crudely anti-scientific obscurantist religion, is also a significant factor in these harmful positions taken by some influential Black celebrities. In the absence of, and especially in opposition to, a scientific approach, people are left groping in the dark, unable to determine what is actually represented by different forces and where different paths will lead. Any rebellion in these circumstances is rebelling blindly, believing that you are striking out against things that oppress you (and others like you), when in fact you are playing into the hands of, and actually strengthening, the most vicious oppressors and ultimately the whole system of oppression.

    The religious obscurantism that is far too widespread among the basic masses is another chain of oppression on them, which needs to be vigorously and resolutely struggled against.

    And, while it needs to be recognized that there are many religious people who play a positive role in the fight against many injustices and forms of oppression, and it is important to unite with them in this fight, it is also important to struggle against the religious outlook in general. Why? Because putting an end to injustice and oppression, and uprooting the basis for all this, requires a revolution led by a powerful and growing force of people who are grounded in a scientific method and approach, in particular the scientific method and approach of the new communism.

    What is said in the book BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian is a fundamental truth—and there is a need to unsparingly drive home this truth: “Oppressed people who are unable or unwilling to confront reality as it actually is, are condemned to remain enslaved and oppressed.” (This is BAsics 4:1.) And the religious outlook and approach—with its misplaced belief in the ultimately decisive role of non-existent supernatural beings and forces—is an obstacle to applying a consistently scientific method to confront reality as it actually is, and transform it in an emancipating way.

    To put things in deliberately provocative terms: It’s time to leave that “god stuff” alone—that will never lead anybody to get free. We need a lot less of this “god talk” and a lot more talk, and action, for revolution—real revolution.

    Some people may not like my saying all this, but I’m going to say it anyway, because I’m not here to please people, or to make them feel better about their enslaved and degraded position—I’m here to bring them a scientific method and approach to making revolution, in order to free themselves and all humanity, and I’m here to tell them the truth about everything that stands in the way of that.

    And one big reason why I say what I say, regardless of whether some people like it or not, is because Black people, who have so long been subjected to the most horrific oppression under this system, can and must play a decisive and tremendously powerful role in bringing about the revolution that will not only put an end to their oppression, but will strike a powerful blow for ending all oppression, of everyone, everywhere. As I have stated before:

    There is the potential for something of unprecedented beauty to arise out of unspeakable ugliness: Black people playing a crucial role in putting an end, at long last, to this system which has, for so long, not just exploited but dehumanized, terrorized and tormented them in a thousand ways—putting an end to this in the only way it can be done—by fighting to emancipate humanity, to put an end to the long night in which human society has been divided into masters and slaves, and the masses of humanity have been lashed, beaten, raped, slaughtered, shackled and shrouded in ignorance and misery.

    But this can happen only as growing numbers of Black people, together with others, take up a scientific, not a religious, viewpoint, method and approach.

    So, am I saying that there is no place in this revolution for people who continue to hold religious beliefs? No. It is an objective fact, which needs to be understood, that many people who take part in this revolution will still hold religious beliefs, of one kind or another—and of course religious people who want to be part of this revolution should be welcomed into the broad ranks of the revolution. The casting off of religious belief by masses of people must be a conscious, voluntary act, which will advance in tempo with the overall development of the revolutionary process and the transformation of society, and the world, toward the goal of ending all oppression and exploitation, all division of society into masters and slaves. But, again, there must be a leading force, and a growing force of the revolution that is solid core/hardcore based on a scientific, not a religious viewpoint, method and approach, and there must be generous-minded but consistent, determined, compelling struggle, waged broadly—sharply posing the need for people to take up the scientific viewpoint, method and approach of the new communism, in opposition to everything that is an obstacle to that, including belief in gods or other supernatural forces which in reality do not exist, and religious tradition which upholds oppressive relations.

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

    In relation to all this, these observations of mine, from a number of years ago now, not only have great importance in general and at all times, but are especially important now:

    The religious fundamentalists, of various kinds, make a point of recruiting in the prisons, and they come with a heavy ideological message.... It is not at all the case that people can only “lose their religion” by replacing it with another religion in some form. But there does have to be another explanation about the world and existence and why this is the way it is, and how it could be different.... If you want to rupture people out of shit, not only stuff that lands them in prison, but the daily shit they are caught up in, in the society, you have to have a really strong hardcore ideological thing to bring to them.... [I]t has to be coherent and systematic. It has to explain the world—and in our case we can actually explain it in a scientific way. That’s an advantage of communism over religion, even though religion has certain short-term advantages.... But we have the advantage of actually being able to make reality make sense for people. That’s a very powerful thing.

    We should not underestimate the importance, not only with prisoners but in general, of doing a lot of ideological work to really enable people to see the world in a wholly different way—really the way it is. To take the pieces of this puzzle that are all out of whack and don’t fit together—it’s like looking through a weird kaleidoscope the way most people see reality. And then it’s misinterpreted for them by all these different bourgeois and reactionary ideologies and programs, and so on, including various religious views. But communist ideology and its application to the world is a way of taking reality and having it make sense for people.

    At the same time, winning basic people, and in particular the youth, to revolution also requires making further critical breakthroughs in what I have called the “George Jackson question”—the problem sharply posed by George Jackson, a prisoner who became a militant revolutionary associated with the Black Panther Party during the upsurge of the 1960s, and who grappled deeply with the question of revolutionary possibility, before he was assassinated by the authorities. To a slave who does not expect to live beyond tomorrow, Jackson said, the idea of gradual change, and revolution in some far-off future, has no meaning and no appeal.

    This takes on particular and special meaning in a rare time like this—a time when revolution could actually be possible, exactly not in some vague far-off future, but through the swirl of the sharpening events and conflicts that are happening right in this present time.

    Here, again, is the decisive question of how much the organized forces of revolution are built up and have an impact on all this, in the direction of the revolution that is so urgently needed.

    To appeal to masses of people, and in particular basic youth, the revolution must become a growing, organized, disciplined, bold and fearless force which, through its scientifically based method, its sweeping vision, its emancipating program and goals, and its actions, is an increasingly powerful pole that will attract these youth—and fighters for revolution from all parts of society.

    There is plenty that needs to be done, and urgently, which requires real boldness and heart, in working for this revolution: powerfully spreading the word about this revolution, challenging people to get into this revolution, recruiting and organizing them into this revolution—going up against and breaking through all the bullshit that people are caught up in that goes against their own real interests—doing the work that needs to be done to transform people’s thinking, and their actions—standing up against the forces oppressing the people, waging the fight that needs to be waged against the atrocities of this system—doing all this to get ready, and to have the basis, to wage the all-out fight to finally overthrow this system, as soon as the necessary conditions for that have been brought into being.

    And, as the revolution grows in this way: There is plenty that needs to be done, and urgently, which requires real boldness and heart, to stand up against the fascists, and any other oppressive force, in their moves to threaten and intimidate, brutalize and even murder people. Let me make clear that I am not calling for launching unprovoked and unjustified attacks on anybody; but there is a right, and a need—and there is the responsibilityto defend the people who are oppressed and brutalized under this system, and those who represent and stand for what is right, and are being attacked because of that.

    In the six Points of Attention for the Revolution—which are basic principles that the Revolution Clubs, a key form of organization for this revolution, base themselves on and fight for—the final point is this:

    We are going for an actual overthrow of this system and a whole better way beyond the destructive, vicious conflicts of today between the people. Because we are serious, at this stage we do not initiate violence and we oppose all violence against the people and among the people.

    Yes, this is something very serious: going for an actual overthrow of this system and a whole better way. And, yes, a big part of this is overcoming how people who are already messed over, in so many ways, by this system, get caught up in yet another way this system messes them up: fighting and killing each other. This needs to stop.

    But it doesn’t need to just stop. People who have been caught up in this need to become part of something really positive—they need to become part of the forces for the revolution that is so urgently needed now.

    The frustration and anger that so many feel, especially so many basic youth, because they can sense that life under this system has nothing good for them—that, from the time they are born, they are locked down and surrounded by forces that regard and treat them as alien objects of fear and hatred—and that those with power look at them as scum who deserve nothing more than a boot up the ass and a bullet in the brain—this frustration and anger needs to be redirected to fighting the system that treats them this way, and has robbed them, and so many like them throughout the world, of a decent life and a decent future, or any future at all.

    Once more, there is plenty that calls, urgently, for great courage and boldness in doing what needs to be done: to be part of rising up against this system and getting ready to go all the way with revolution as soon as the time is right—and, as an important part of that, supporting, and defending, people who are constantly being subjected to unjust attacks on their rights and their very being.

    There are the continuing attacks on people and movements that are rebelling against racist oppression.

    There are threats against, and physical attacks on, health care officials and providers, local government officials (and their families!), as well as employees in stores, and so on, when they are advocating and implementing much-needed and life-saving measures, such as mask and vaccination mandates to deal with the continuing COVID pandemic. There are attacks on school board members not only for adopting these basic health measures but also for things like approving the teaching of some truth about the white supremacy that has always existed in this country, or allowing rights for trans people.

    There are the threats, harassment and attacks on women seeking abortions, and on clinics and medical personnel working to provide those abortions, along with the escalating assault on the right to abortion by the Republican-fascist party, and those it has placed in the courts.

    There are brutal and often murderous attacks on LGBT people.

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

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

    There is the need to prevent the police from brutalizing and just coldly murdering people. Let us remember what was said by some people who witnessed, and even recorded, the slow-motion vicious execution of George Floyd: They agonized over whether they should have done more, should have acted to stop this blatant assassination of a defenseless Black man. Now, again, what I am pointing to is consistent with point 6 of the six Points of Attention for the Revolution—and, in what I am saying here, I am not calling for launching an attack on anyone. But there is no right for anyone, including police, to just murder someone—and there is a right and responsibility to defend and protect people from unjust attacks on their rights, and on their very lives.

    Imagine if, in these different kinds of situations, there were a force of hardcore revolutionaries, including basic youth, whose presence in a disciplined and organized formation made clear that no unjust attacks on people would be tolerated. But this must not just be imagined—it must be developed as one important part of the overall process of preparing for, and building the organized forces for, revolution.

    This must be taken up in a serious, scientific way—not attempting, at any given point, to do what there is not yet the basis to do, but actively working to bring into being the conditions where what was not possible before becomes possible, as the organized ranks of revolution continue to grow and become steeled as a disciplined force. Taken up in this way, this can increasingly have dynamic effect—with “reverberations” and impact far beyond the immediate situation, attracting more people to this revolution... which, in turn, will make it possible to have even greater impact... and attract even larger forces.

    All this is an important part of the overall approach that I have laid out in the course of this talk, which will enable what are today the small organized forces of this revolution to continue to grow—increasingly by leaps and bounds—in numbers, organized strength, and impact on society as a whole. This is what more and more people must be challenged, and enabled, to become part of.

    This brings up another important dimension of working for revolution—and opposing the fascists as part of doing that: It is necessary to sharply expose and oppose—and fight to politically and practically overcome—the reality that for white supremacists and fascists generally the Second Amendment, the “right to bear arms,” has been regularly upheld and given the backing of the law and the courts, and the support of the police and other institutions of the state; while for Black people, other oppressed people, and generally those opposing the oppression and injustice of this system, the “right to bear arms,” even in self-defense, has been actively opposed and suppressed.

    This is made graphically clear in the book by Carol Anderson focusing on the Second Amendment—The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America. This book contains (yet more!) searing exposure of the depraved violence visited upon Black people throughout the history of this country, and speaks to how the “right to bear arms” has never applied to Black people, and instead there has been the perverse “right to kill” Black people, on the part of the powers-that-be and racist whites generally. This cannot be allowed to continue!

    And it is not just around what is represented by “the Second Amendment” that a determined fight must be waged, but around the many ways in which the approach to rights that are supposedly guaranteed to people is applied in a highly unequal way, so that oppressed people, and those acting against the oppressive relations of this system, constantly find their rights attacked, “abridged,” or outright denied and suppressed. In waging this fight, it is important to recognize and, to the degree possible, take advantage of this contradiction: In reality, under this system of capitalism-imperialism, rights and liberties are determined, and limited, in accordance with what serves the interests of this system and its ruling class; but, we are constantly told that, under this system, there is “liberty and justice for all,” and the rulers of this system, or at least some of them, feel it is important to maintain this myth. Again, to the degree possible, this contradiction must be seized on, in waging the fight to defeat attempts by the enforcers of this system to violate what are supposed to be basic rights, in their moves to suppress people rising up against this system and its profound injustice.

    But, most fundamentally, this fight must be waged with full awareness, a scientifically grounded understanding, of the essential nature of this system, with the orientation and goal of working toward the overthrow of this system and the dismantling of its relations and institutions of vicious exploitation and blood-soaked oppression and repression.

    Once again, in order to make all this a reality, as this revolution is being brought to growing numbers of basic youth, and others, and they are being challenged to get into it, they need to be struggled with, hard, to get rid of the ways of thinking and acting that keep this system going. People need to “get their head right,” get their head out of their ass, and take up the scientific method and approach of the new communism to understanding reality, and transforming reality in a fundamental way, through revolution. This means not being just out for yourself, or those you can identify with in a narrow way (whoever that may be), but becoming revolutionaries in the fullest sense—revolutionary communists, emancipators of all humanity—becoming part of the organized and disciplined forces for this revolution, and nothing less.

    As we say, to “everyone who has the heart to fight for something that is really worth fighting for: You need to be part of this revolution.”

    So, on the foundation of everything that has been said so far, and in moving to the conclusion of this talk, it is worthwhile returning to, reviewing, and elaborating briefly on some key aspects of these big questions: Why this is one of those rare times and circumstances when revolution becomes possible, even in a powerful country like this, and how to seize on this rare opportunity to actually make this revolution.

    * There is the sharpening conflict at the top, and throughout the country, with society and the “ruling norms” of this system being torn apart, driven especially by the relentless offensive of the fascist forces. Yes, as the “Declaration and Call” makes clear, there are a lot of bad things connected with this, and it could lead to something really terrible; but, if it is seized on and correctly worked on by growing organized forces of revolution, guided by the scientific method and approach of the new communism, it is also possible that we could wrench something really positive out of this—revolution, to put an end to this system and bring something much better into being.

    * Bringing into being a revolutionary people in the millions—with an organized force of thousands at the core, leading these millions—is the key objective and necessary focus of revolutionary work now, in preparing to go for all-out revolution, with a real chance to win, as soon as the conditions for that have been brought into being.

    And here is another very important requirement in all this. In order for there to be the necessary force of thousands, able to lead millions—and more particularly in order to defeat the vicious repression that is bound to be brought down on a seriously developing revolutionary force, including the ability to replace leaders who are killed or imprisoned by the repressive force of the existing state power:

    It is a matter of strategic importance to develop a large core of experienced and tested leaders—not just “tens” but at least hundreds of such leaders, on all levels—firmly grounded in the line, above all the scientific method and approach of [the new communism], and capable, on that basis, of taking initiative to lead, including in situations of sharpening contradictions and the intensification of repression and even attempts at violent suppression by the powers-that-be, throughout the process of advancing the “three prepares” [prepare the ground, prepare the people, prepare the vanguard leadership for revolution]; and then, when the conditions come into being, this core of tested leaders needs to be capable of giving direction to thousands, and in turn millions, to fight all-out, in a unified way, for the seizure of power. Whether or not such a cadre of leaders—in the hundreds, at least—is developed, will have a significant bearing on whether or not all the work we are doing now is really preparing for revolution, and whether there is a real chance of winning when the time comes.

    (That is a crucial point I have emphasized in the book The New Communism, Part IV, “The Leadership We Need.”)

    This development of hundreds of such leaders must be carried out in the crucible of intense struggle in the tumultuous time before us, as a crucial part of bringing forward the thousands to lead millions. And, as the work of building for revolution is developing, these hundreds, together with the thousands they are leading, must be forged into a disciplined vanguard force, capable of leading the overall revolutionary process of preparing for and then, when the time is right, carrying out the all-out fight for the seizure of power.

    * Transforming the people is decisive in order for there to be a positive outcome to all this—and transforming the thinking of masses of people is crucial, is pivotal, in doing this.

    * At the same time, there is real importance to fighting the power—building powerful, massive resistance to the continuing atrocities of this system—and actively defending, and opposing moves to intimidate, and attack, those who are targeted by “official” enforcers of this oppressive system and “civilian” fascist forces.

    * The key, the most decisive thing: All this must be for revolution: carried out to build toward, and get in position to have a real chance to win, an all-out fight for revolution, as soon as the conditions for that have been brought into being.

    Once more: Everything depends on bringing forward a revolutionary people, from among the most bitterly oppressed, and all parts of society, first in the thousands and then in the millions, as a powerful revolutionary force, organized from the start and consistently with a country-wide perspective, impacting all of society and changing the terms of how masses of people see things and how every institution has to respond. Everything must be focused now on actually bringing forward and organizing this revolutionary force.

    And then, once this revolutionary force is brought into being, everything would be focused on how to actually fight to win.

    At that point, this force of millions would need to be mobilized and wielded in such a way as to make clear that it is going for a complete, revolutionary change—that it will not back down from this goal and accept anything less. In this way, it would constitute a powerful pole attracting and drawing forward even broader numbers of people from all parts of society—and it would pose a definite challenge and call to people everywhere in society, including in all the existing institutions of this system, to come over to the side of this revolution.

    And, through the swirl of this intense process, concrete work would need to be carried out to organize, train and prepare the initial fighting forces for the revolution, while actively, vigorously combating and defeating attempts to violently suppress this.

    Here, again, is something that is crucial to understand, something that is a hallmark of a serious, scientific approach to fighting to win, when the time comes: No matter how much the situation in society overall is changed, and no matter how much even the most powerful institutions of violent repression of this system are affected by this, with significant splits very likely occurring among them, the revolution will still be confronted with powerful armed forces of counter-revolution, from among sections of the official institutions, along with fascist “civilian forces” aligned with them. And it would be extremely unlikely that, particularly at the beginning phase, the revolutionary fighting forces would be able to confront and defeat those armed forces of counter-revolution by directly and frontally taking on anything close to their full force. That is why, in the doctrine and strategic orientation that has been developed to enable the revolutionary forces to fight to win, when the time is right, it is stressed that:

    [T]he revolutionary forces would need to fight only on favorable terms and avoid decisive encounters, which would determine the outcome of the whole thing, until the balance of forces had shifted overwhelmingly in favor of the revolution.

    This doctrine and strategic orientation is spoken to in some depth and spelled out more fully in my speech Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Could Really Make Revolution, with additional thinking provided in my article A Real Revolution—A Real Chance To Win, Further Developing the Strategy for Revolution, both of which can be found at revcom.us. This sets the basic groundwork for how, when the necessary conditions have been brought into being, a revolutionary force, mobilizing masses of people, could actually approach the overthrow of this system in such a way as to effectively neutralize and eventually overcome what would almost certainly be, at the outset, the overwhelming power of the armed forces seeking to defeat and pulverize this attempt at the revolutionary seizure of power. It speaks to how, when the revolutionary situation has been ripened, revolutionary fighting forces, with the backbone drawn especially from youth who have been won hardcore to this revolution, could be organized and trained, and provided with the means to engage and defeat forces of counter-revolution in encounters, beginning on a small scale, which would be favorable for the revolutionary forces—and how, on that basis and through the course of doing that, they could grow in strength and win over growing numbers among those who had been part of the counter-revolutionary forces, and then finally defeat the remaining forces of counter-revolution.

    At the same time, the development of this basic doctrine and strategic approach is an ongoing process. And throughout this period of preparing the ground, preparing masses of people and preparing the leading forces for this revolution, this basic doctrine and strategic approach for the all-out fight must be continually developed and made more “operational” in conception—that is, it must be further elaborated and further concretized, particularly in terms of what will constitute the actual pathways to victory—and, flowing from and serving that, what should be the specific nature and features of the encounters with the other side, particularly in the beginning phases, and (as far as possible) overall.

    As spoken to earlier, a big factor in regard to all this is the real possibility of civil war between opposing sections of society, and how this could impact the key institutions of state power of this system. If such a civil war were to erupt—or even if the deepening divisions in society were moving more directly toward such a civil war—this could have a profound effect on such institutions, with the real prospect of splits among them, and even the splitting apart of such institutions, with some parts siding with the fascists and others with those on the side opposed to the fascists.

    This possibility is something that the basic doctrine and strategic approach for the revolutionary fighting forces would need to take into account and encompass. But, in order for the revolutionary forces to win over, and incorporate into their ranks, significant numbers from among the ruling and repressive institutions of this system, and to do so in a way that would actually maintain the emancipating character of the revolutionary forces, and strengthen them on that basis, it would be necessary for the revolutionary ranks to be tempered and steeled, not just in terms of fighting capacity but in terms of their fundamental ideological and political orientation, as fighters for the emancipation of humanity.

    Here again is the very important point that

    This is not the time of the Civil War in the 1860s, when the goal of those fighting against injustice was to abolish slavery.... The goal now must precisely be getting rid of this whole system of capitalism-imperialism.... which has bred these fascists, along with all the other horrors it continually perpetrates, here and throughout the world.

    So, in the event of, and in the context of, a new civil war, the approach of the revolutionary forces, led by the new communism, would be to carry out the necessary political work, in combination with the actual fighting, to develop such a civil war into a revolution to achieve the goal of getting rid of this whole system, and replacing it with a radically different and emancipating system based on the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America.

    Above all, right now, this further emphasizes the crucial importance of working actively, boldly and tirelessly for the necessary political repolarization in society as a whole, and among all sectors of society, in a direction favorable for all-the-way revolution.

    In this same light, it is also necessary to take into account how a revolution in this country would have important international dimensions and interconnections. First of all, this revolution would of course not be bound by the present territory and borders of this country, which have been forged through wars of conquest and genocide. This revolution will inevitably be influenced by, and will in turn significantly influence, what is happening in countries to the south (and north) of it, with which the USA has historically been closely interconnected, and which in many cases it has dominated and plundered.

    And more generally, there will be the ways in which this revolution will be viewed, and responded to, by different forces, far beyond the present borders of this country. A serious fight for revolution in this countrythis country—would have the effect of a powerful political earthquake, sending seismic shockwaves throughout the world. It is true that one reaction to this would be that oppressive governments and forces throughout the world would see this as a serious threat to their position and objectives, and there is a real possibility that there could be moves by some of these forces to aid, or join in, attempts to crush such a revolution. At the same time, such a revolution would shake awake and provide a powerful positive shock to literally billions of people everywhere, shattering the sense that no alternative to this terrible world is possible. Overall, it would almost certainly contribute, in a very significant way, to a repolarization on a global scale.

    All this would need to be taken into account by the leading forces of this revolution, as an important part of its strategic orientation and objectives.

    In all this, and in everything I have spoken to in the course of this talk, this fundamental principle stands out: Revolution is a very serious matter, and it must be approached seriously and in a consistently scientific way.

    In Conclusion: Everyone who really wants to see the world changed, in a profoundly positive, emancipating way, and everyone who thinks about whether this is actually possible, or wishes it could be, needs to seriously engage what has been spoken to here, take up the scientific revolutionary orientation, method and approach of the new communism; become part of, and work tirelessly to build up, the organized forces for this revolution whose goal is nothing less than the emancipation of all oppressed people, everywhere, and ultimately all of humanity, from the horrors of this system and from any way in which people are exploited, oppressed, degraded and treated as less than human.

    To return to this crucial and urgent truth:

    This is one of those rare times and circumstances when revolution becomes possible, not just because this system is always a horror, but because the crisis and deep divisions in society now can only be resolved through radical means, of one kind or another—either radically reactionary, murderously oppressive and destructive means or radically emancipating revolutionary means.

    There is a great challenge that must be met, and a tremendous amount of work and struggle that must be carried out, with scientifically grounded determination and boldness, in order to make possible the emancipating revolutionary resolution.

    There is no guarantee of achieving all this, but there is a real possibility. And what we do—what all those who want to see a world and a future worth living in, where human beings everywhere can truly flourish in the fullness of their humanity—what we all do can make a tremendous difference in what the outcome of all this will be.

    There is the possibility, there is the challenge.

    Dare to become part of the forces for this historic revolution. Dare to work resolutely to make this a reality. Dare to struggle, dare to win.

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

     

    Bob Avakian

     

    BOB AVAKIAN:
    A RADICALLY DIFFERENT LEADER—A WHOLE NEW FRAMEWORK FOR HUMAN EMANCIPATION

    Learn more about Bob Avakian and the new communism

    A DECLARATION, A CALL TO GET ORGANIZED NOW FOR A REAL REVOLUTION

     


    cover of pamphlet Bob Avakian: This Is A Rare Time When Revolution Becomes Possible—Why That Is So And How To Seize On This Rare Opportunity

     

  • ARTICLE:

    REVOLUTION IS POSSIBLE
    THIS RARE TIME MUST BE SEIZED

    Important excerpts from “Something Terrible, Or Something Truly Emancipating”*

    The reality is that such a revolution can succeed, but this is possible, particularly up against powerful ruling forces, like in this country, only in rare times and circumstances. And here is a very important truth: This is one of those rare times and circumstances.

    This rare time must not be wasted, squandered, thrown away. Rather, revolution must be actively prepared for and vigorously, consistently worked for—now, and in an ongoing way—to build up the scientifically oriented and powerfully organized forces for, and to prepare the ground for, this revolution.

    And that is why we revolutionary communists say:

    [E]veryone who can’t stand this world the way it is ... who is sick and tired of so many people being treated as less than human ... who knows that the claim of “liberty and justice for all” is a cruel lie ... who is righteously enraged that injustice and inequality go on, and on, and on, despite false promises and honeyed words from people in power (or those seeking power) ... everyone who agonizes about where things are headed and the fact that to be young now means being denied a decent future, or any future at all ... everyone who has ever dreamed about something much better, or even wondered whether that is possible ... everyone who hungers for a world without oppression, exploitation, poverty, and destruction of the environment ... everyone who has the heart to fight for something that is really worth fighting for: You need to be part of this revolution....

    We’re talking about a real revolution, not playing around with a few changes that leave this system in place and in power, while benefitting only a small number. As the “Declaration and Call” makes very clear:

    A revolution means a force of millions, drawn from many different parts of society and organized for an all-out fight to overthrow this system and replace it with a radically different and much better economic and political system, a socialist system, based on meeting the needs of the people and carrying forward the fight for a communist world where there will finally be an end, everywhere, to the exploitation, oppression, and destruction of the environment that is built into this system of capitalism-imperialism. Anything less than this revolution will completely fail to deal with the root of all the problems or lead to the actual solution....1

    There is some important historical experience to learn from—situations where a ruling class was no longer able to rule in the “normal way” that people had been conditioned to accept, and a real possibility arose of putting an end to the existing system, even one which had been so powerfully entrenched that such a profound change had long seemed impossible. This has happened especially when the ruling class, or a section of the ruling class, of that system no longer believes in, and more or less openly abandons, what had been the “cohering norms”—the regulating set of beliefs and processes—of that system....

    As is becoming more clear every day, there are deep, and continually deepening, divisions not only in this country overall but among the ruling powers of this system....One part of those ruling powers, represented by the Republican Party, no longer believes in or feels bound by what have been the “cohering norms” of “democratic” capitalist rule in this country. This is leading, and will increasingly lead, to further, deepening divisions and bitter clashes throughout society, as well as “at the top.” All the ruling institutions of this system will be increasingly affected by this. The polarization will continue to sharpen, with forces grouped around and led by the Republican Party becoming even more aggressive in insisting on imposing, including by violent means, their vision of what “makes America great,” with all the very real horrors, on top of horrors, that this involves.

    All this in itself will have contradictory effects—some definitely negative, but some positive, or with positive potential. And, as this unfolds, this profound truth will be more and more forcefully demonstrated: The crisis and deep divisions in society can only be resolved through radical means, of one kind or another—either radically reactionary, murderously oppressive and destructive means or radically emancipating revolutionary means.

    With all this, what is urgently needed, what is possible—and what must be actively, tirelessly worked for, in order for there to truly be a positive outcome to all this—is a fundamentally different alignment in the country as a whole: a Repolarization that is favorable for, and brings forward the necessary forces for, Revolution—a real revolution to overthrow this system, and bring into being a radically different and much better system....

    Things are not as they were in the past, and the reality is this:  The profound divisions, within the ruling class, and in the society overall, cannot be smoothed over—they are only going to become deeper and sharper, more acute and antagonistic. Here is the fundamental truth that needs to be clearly and deeply understood: These divisions

    cannot be resolved within the framework that has existed, and has held things together, for nearly 150 years, since shortly after the end of the Civil War which led to the abolition of slavery—they cannot be resolved on the basis of the capitalist “democracy” that has been the “normal” means of capitalist rule (dictatorship) for so long.

    And:

    This rare situation, with the deepening and sharpening conflicts among the ruling powers, and in the society overall, provides a stronger basis and greater openings to break the hold of this system over masses of people.

    It is extremely important to deeply understand this:

    As this situation develops, and the ruling class is more and more unable to rule in the old way, society and daily life for masses of people, from different parts of society, can become increasingly unsettled and chaotic, with frequent “disruptions” of the “normal” way things have been.

    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.

    This is a crucial part of how a revolutionary situation could be brought into being—a situation where it becomes possible to actually bring down this system.

    On the other hand, “left to itself”—that is, if the current character and dynamics of all this remain on the same course they are now on—this situation, the divisions characterizing it, and the outcome resulting from it are almost certainly going to become even more terribly negative. So, all this must be radically changed, in what is a relatively brief, “compressed” period of time—not just weeks or months, but also not decades. If things have not already fully erupted before then, the scheduled presidential election of 2024 is very likely to be a critical focal point and turning point, through which the fascist Republicans will attempt to gain and lock down power over society, and put an end to any possibility of a future “transfer of power” away from them.

    With the Republicans’ continuation of the Big Lie that the last (2020) presidential election was stolen from Trump, their moves to suppress votes, and their whole orientation that, in any case, with regard to the 2024 presidential election (assuming there is one), the only acceptable outcome is that they are declared and confirmed as the winner—all this has made clear that they will allow no “peaceful transfer of power” in government, unless it results in their coming to power. Growing numbers of fascist-oriented people in this country are prepared to use violence in pursuit of their perverse notion of “making America great again”—and the Republican leadership is ready to resort to this, if they cannot come to power otherwise. Already Republican elected officials, including members of Congress, are whipping up sentiments in favor of such violence and supporting fascist mobs who have engaged in this violence.

    In the situation of the 2020 presidential election, defeating and ousting Trump through that election was possible, and was important to do, as a tactical move to prevent the further consolidation of fascist rule right then. Even with that electoral defeat, however, Trump and his supporters nearly succeeded in pulling off a coup that would have resulted in his remaining in power, in defiance of the outcome of the election and the “peaceful transfer of power” from one section of the ruling class to another. And things have moved, and are continuing to rapidly move, beyond the situation that existed with that 2020 election and in its immediate aftermath.

    Further, this system’s electoral process itself works against the kind of fundamental change that is now urgently needed. Among other things, it lowers people’s horizons, restricting “realistic choices” to what is possible within the confines of this system and conditioning people to view and approach things on the terms of this system. Continuing to vote for Democrats, and attempting, through the electoral process, to prevent a successful Republican-fascist seizure and consolidation of power, will very likely fail, and more fundamentally will contribute to the continuation of things on the disastrous course they are now on, with terrible consequences for the billions of people on this planet—for humanity as a whole. 

    As I emphasized in my [2021] New Year’s Statement:

    The electoral defeat of the Trump/Pence regime only “buys some time”—both in relation to the imminent danger posed by the fascism this regime represents, and more fundamentally in terms of the potentially existential crisis humanity is increasingly facing as a consequence of being bound to the dynamics of this system of capitalism-imperialism. But, in essential terms, time is not on the side of the struggle for a better future for humanity. 2

    Time, and with it the current momentum of things toward a disastrous outcome, is moving on. The time that still does exist must not be squandered in what would, especially now, be meaningless maneuvering within the framework of this system and its elections. This time must be seized, with the necessary urgency, to build toward the only resolution that can avoid that disaster, and wrench something truly positive out of all this: an actual revolution....

    Everything depends on bringing forward a revolutionary people, from among the most bitterly oppressed, and all parts of society, first in the thousands and then in the millions, as a powerful revolutionary force, organized from the start and consistently with a country-wide perspective, impacting all of society and changing the terms of how masses of people see things and how every institution has to respond. Everything must be focused now on actually bringing forward and organizing this revolutionary force. 

    ~~~~~~~~~~~

    As the “Declaration and Call” makes clear, in order to win masses of people to revolution, there is a tremendous amount of struggle that needs to go on, not just against the system that is the source of the horrors that people are continually subjected to, but also against ways of thinking and acting among the people that actually “internalize,” and serve to perpetuate, this system and the ways of thinking it promotes, with its monstrously oppressive relations and putrid values—ways of thinking and acting that work against the repolarization that is urgently needed to have a real chance at seizing on this rare opportunity to make revolution.

    In Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis, I pointed to the characterization of the current polarization by the fascist former Republican congressman Steve King—that there is a lot of talk about another civil war, and one side (the fascist side) is heavily armed (with 8 trillion bullets) while the other (“woke”) side can’t decide which bathroom to use.3 Even as this involves some real distortion, and definite slander against trans people, there is a demented insight, and too much of the truth, in this observation by that fascist King. And, if this polarization remains essentially unchanged, it will have even worse implications, as things develop and further intensify.

    Very much related to and an expression of this, is the reality that today, particularly among the middle classes, things are still way too much in line with the words of the poet Yeats: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” It is fascists who have declared “this is war!”—who viscerally feel that the way things are going is completely intolerable to them, is an existential threat to a way of life and a country that they believe is worth being part of. And, in their demented minds, the government (or government that is in the hands of, or strongly influenced by, the Democrats) is working to continue things on this course, and is therefore completely illegitimate. At the same time, among what can rightly be called “decent people,” who are opposed to these fascists, there is way too much obliviousness, ignorance and ignore-ance—or even continuing denial—of what is going on, way too much being lulled by a sleepy sense that the way things are going is favorable to how they want things to go, or at least that “things will work out” in a way that is in accord with their inclinations. Or, to the degree that there is a recognition that this is not the case (for example, with the accelerating environmental crisis), this has led far too much to defeatism, cynicism, and passivity.

    But that is not all there is to the problem. As I also noted in Hope For Humanity:

    [A]nother element of this that we can’t overlook is that, while a lot of what [Steve] King describes applies in a certain demented way, particularly to progressive or so-called “woke” middle class people, there is another kind of problem with regard to more basic oppressed people, and in particular the youth—a big problem that their guns are now aimed at each other ... this is something that needs to be radically transformed in building a movement for an actual revolution.

     

  • ARTICLE:

    REVOLUTION: MAJOR TURNING POINTS AND RARE OPPORTUNITIES

    Or... Why did Lenin talk about World War 1 as a “stage manager” of revolution?...

    And why did Mao say, We should thank Japan for invading China?

    Let’s begin with this: In the most fundamental sense, communist revolutions do not come about simply as a result of the revolutionary work and struggle of the communists.

    Why am I raising this? To argue that what communists do is unimportant?! No—obviously not. It is of definite and vital importance for communists to work consistently, and struggle vigorously, with determination and creativity, to win masses of people to see the need for and become actively involved in preparing for and then carrying out the overthrow of the oppressive system, in order to bring into being a radically different and emancipating system. (And clearly revolutions could not come about as a result of the revolutionaries carrying out something other than consistent revolutionary work and struggle.)

    But revolutions do not proceed in a straight line—and it is crucial to grasp, and act decisively in relation to, those rare times when a profound, qualitative change in the situation opens up the possibility for major advance for revolution, perhaps even the possibility of carrying things all the way to the overthrow of the existing system and the establishment of a radically different and much better system.

    This possibility may not be, and generally is not, immediately apparent, and on the contrary what is often more readily seen on the surface is the way in which, in the short term, the situation is worsening.

    The point is that all this can only be correctly grasped, and acted on, with a consistently scientific method and approach.

    One of the most important things that such a scientific method and approach makes clear is this: Revolutions are made possible, in the most fundamental sense, as a result of the intensification of the contradictions of the oppressive system, leading to crucial turning points, providing rare opportunities for major revolutionary advance, even potentially opening the way for the victory of the revolution. And the prospects for revolution hinge to a great extent on whether the conscious forces for this revolution not only carry out consistent revolutionary work and struggle, but more specifically whether they recognize—and on that basis act boldly and with scientifically grounded determination, to take full advantage of—these crucial turning points and all-too-rare opportunities.

    Of course, the role of communists is not to wait around passively for such crucial turning points and rare opportunities. On the contrary—and this is a basic point of orientation in the new communism which I have brought forward—communists must continually work to maximize the development toward, and accumulate forces for, the revolution that is needed: applying the approach of hastening while awaiting the necessary conditions that make it possible to go all out in the fight for revolution, with a real chance to win. And then, when the necessary conditions have come into being, it is of crucial importance to act decisively—to lead masses of people, in their millions, to actually seize power.

    But simply going along carrying out “routine” work in the name of revolution, actually lacking any revolutionary orientation and sense of urgency—“tolling the bell” timelessly, like monks in a monastery, paying no attention to the larger developments in the world, and in particular the way the fundamental contradictions of the ruling system are becoming much more acutely posed than in “normal times”—this will result in failure to grasp the potential this opens up for revolutionary advance and will lead to throwing away the rare opportunity.

    The successful communist-led revolutions, first in Russia and then in China, during the first half of the last century, illustrate these crucial lessons. (Even though the socialist systems that were established through revolution, first in Russia/the Soviet Union and then in China, were eventually overturned and capitalism restored in both countries, the essential points I have emphasized here are highlighted by the experiences of these revolutions in leading masses of people in overthrowing the oppressive old order and establishing a new, revolutionary society and government.)

    Russia: World War 1 as a “Stage Manager” of Revolution

    For the Russian revolution, it was World War 1, beginning in 1914, that greatly heightened the contradictions of the capitalist-imperialist system overall and in a particularly acute way within Russia. (This was a war between rival imperialist powers for the dominant position in the world, and in particular the domination and exploitation of vast colonial empires especially in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.) As this war unfolded over several years, and intensified the contradictions that led to the war, it made the objective basis and possibility for revolution more favorable, although this possibility had to be firmly grasped and actively worked on—and the opportunity to overthrow the old order had to be decisively seized, when that opportunity arose toward the end of this war. 

    But it is worth noting that for some time before the start of World War 1, and then during much of that war, the Russian communists (the Bolsheviks) were severely weakened—with their leader Lenin and some other leading figures in exile, desperately hanging on in extremely difficult circumstances (with some comrades living, and even dying, on the streets). This difficult situation was to a large degree the result of the defeat of a revolutionary uprising in Russia in the decade before the start of World War 1 and the severe repression that followed that defeat. In those circumstances, many former supporters, or intellectual sympathizers, of the revolution adopted “philosophical” rationalizations for turning away from Marxism, and more than a few people within the ranks of the Bolsheviks retreated into self-indulgent individualism. Further, for much of World War 1, because the Bolsheviks took and maintained the principled stand of refusing to support their own imperialist ruling class in that war—while exposing and denouncing the war overall as imperialist—they were very unpopular among large sections of the Russian people, who especially at the start of the war were swept up in patriotic fervor in support of Russia’s involvement in the war.

    But as the war dragged on, with the Russian ruling class continuing to be actively involved in this war that was causing enormous casualties for the Russian troops and terrible suffering for the masses of people in Russia, the Bolsheviks were able to increasingly win growing numbers of people and organize them into a powerful revolutionary force—including a section of the government armed forces that came over to the side of the revolution—and in the latter part of 1917 this revolutionary force succeeded in seizing power as the contradictions continued to intensify, largely as a result of the continuation of the war and the way it concentrated the underlying contradictions of the system of capitalism-imperialism.

    That is what Lenin meant when he said that this war, with all of its massive destruction and terrible suffering, was a “stage manager” of revolution. But this did not happen “automatically” as a result of the mounting horrors of the war. There would have been no revolution in Russia then if the Bolsheviks, led by Lenin, had not, first of all, maintained a principled stand in opposition to the war—going against the powerful tide of patriotic fervor at the beginning and for a good part of the war. Beyond that, there would have been no revolution in 1917 if Lenin had not provided decisive leadership in making the scientific analysis of the ways in which this war was greatly heightening the contradictions of the capitalist-imperialist system, overall and in a particularly acute way in Russia—or if the Bolsheviks had failed to apply this analysis and seize on the rare situation toward the end of the war when, as Lenin also put it, years and even decades of “normal times” became concentrated in months or even weeks of intensified contradictions and accelerated developments.

    The Chinese Revolution and the Japanese Invasion and Occupation of China

    In the late 1920s, after the slaughter of large numbers of Chinese Communists by reactionary forces headed by Chiang Kai-shek in Chinese urban areas, Mao Zedong led in making a crucial leap for the Chinese revolution: he headed a force of revolutionaries, recruited especially from among desperate sections of Chinese youth, to retreat into remote mountains and launch an armed struggle—a people’s war—against the oppressive and murderous government headed by Chiang Kai-shek (backed by “western” imperialists, including the U.S.). For several years, this people’s war succeeded in establishing and extending revolutionary base areas in the Chinese countryside and defeating successive attempts of the counter-revolutionary forces to suppress and liquidate these base areas and the revolutionary forces leading them. But, finally, in the mid-1930s, the Chiang Kai-shek government adopted new military strategy and tactics, which succeeded in forcing the revolutionaries to abandon the base areas and embark on what became known as the Long March, covering thousands of miles and ending up with the establishment of a new base area centered in Yenan in the interior of China.

    Particularly with the eventual victory of the Chinese revolution—with the final defeat of Chiang Kai-shek’s forces and the establishment of nationwide revolutionary political power in 1949—the Long March has come to be seen as a great revolutionary achievement. And it was. But it is also the case that, although this Long March did make possible a new and crucial stage in the Chinese revolution, the great majority of the revolutionary forces that embarked on this Long March—numbering in the tens and tens of thousands—died in the course of it. And it is entirely possible that not only those massive numbers of revolutionary fighters, but the revolution itself, could have been killed off—at least for a whole period of time—as a result of having to abandon the original base areas and carry out the tortuous Long March.

    As it turned out, even with the great losses, a significant force survived the Long March, and this force—having fought many battles and overcome many hardships—was further tempered and steeled. Then, as a result of the invasion and occupation of large parts of China by Japanese imperialism, it became both necessary and possible to rally broad sections of the Chinese people in opposition to this invasion and occupation. And the need for the broadest possible resistance against the Japanese occupation, as well as the weakened position of Chiang Kai-shek’s government as a result of this occupation, established both the necessity and the basis to enter into a united front with this Chiang Kai-shek government to fight the Japanese invaders. (Because of “the reality on the ground” Chiang Kai-shek was forced to agree to this united front, even though, during the course of the war of resistance against Japan, Chiang continued his attempts to wipe out the communist-led forces, while giving up more and more ground to the Japanese.)

    The result of all this was that, through the course of World War 2—which began in 1939 and finally ended in 1945 with the defeat of Japan and its allies, including Nazi Germany—the revolutionary forces in China led by Mao grew in numbers and strength; and, after a relatively brief interlude of attempted but failed negotiations with Chiang Kai-shek, through three more years of people’s war the revolution succeeded in thoroughly defeating the reactionary forces of the old order in 1949, capturing power throughout the Chinese mainland and forcing Chiang Kai-shek to flee to the island of Taiwan.

    As was the case with World War 1, this second world war came about because of the intensification of the basic contradictions of the system of capitalism-imperialism. But the course of World War 2, including the Japanese occupation of China and the war of resistance waged against that occupation, in which the revolutionary forces led by Mao played a decisive role—all this resulted in a major change in the power relations within China, in a direction more favorable for the revolution; and this prepared much of the ground for the fight for the final victory of the revolution in 1949. In a real sense, the Japanese invasion and occupation of China constituted a kind of “fulcrum,” shifting the terms of the revolutionary struggle and providing the objective basis for a crucial advance of the revolution, after the devastating setback (the need to abandon the initial base areas of the revolution) which made necessary the Long March, with not only its real achievements but also its great losses.

    This is what Mao meant when he said that Japan should be thanked for invading China. Obviously, Mao was not unaware of, or unconcerned about, the terrible atrocities which Japan’s occupation forces imposed on the Chinese people. His point was that the Japanese invasion and occupation, with all the destruction and suffering it brought for hundreds of millions of Chinese people, and for the Chinese nation as a whole, ended up contributing, in a major way, to the eventual victory of the Chinese revolution, and with it the possibility of uprooting the fundamental and overall causes of the horrific exploitation and oppression to which the masses of Chinese people had been subjected not just for years and decades but for centuries and millennia.

    Mao’s ironic statement—we should thank Japan for invading—reflects the reality that the invasion and occupation of China by Japanese imperialism ended up contributing, in a major way, to the success of the Chinese revolution. But this revolution could not have succeeded if those leading it, and in particular Mao, had not grasped and acted in accordance with the changing objective conditions brought about by the Japanese invasion and occupation, particularly as this took place in the overall context of World War 2—and then the qualitatively changed conditions again, within China and in the world as a whole, with the end of World War 2, in which Japan was defeated and its occupation of China ended.

    Crucial Lessons for This Rare Time When Revolution Has Become—More—Possible

    Of course, no one can say with certainty that the Chinese revolution could not have eventually succeeded even if Japan had not invaded (or that there could never have been a communist-led revolution in Russia without World War 1). As Mao also emphasized, Marxists are not fortune-tellers. Marxism—communism—is a continually developing science, which proceeds on the basis of analyzing a continually changing objective reality.

    The point, once again, is that revolutions do not proceed in a straight line, but through many twists and turns, including setbacks and defeats, sometimes very serious setbacks and defeats, along the way. The actual process is in line with another statement by Mao, which applies to even a successful revolution—that it is a matter of fighting and failing, repeatedly, until victory is finally achieved. And, all along the way, there is a need to apply a scientific method and approach to learn not only from advances, and from what prove to be correct policies, but also from mistakes, difficulties, setbacks and defeats, to continually make a scientific analysis of the constantly changing situation, and to recognize and seize on openings for advance, especially situations where there are profound, qualitative changes in the objective situation providing the potential for major advance, even perhaps the victory of the revolution.

    Through the application of this scientific method and approach, it can be, and has been, firmly established that there is a basis and a possibility—not a certainty or “inevitability” but an actual basis and possibility—for revolution aiming for a communist world to ultimately triumph. And even while today the conditions in the U.S. and the world are vastly different than they were during the different phases of the Chinese revolution, in the first half of the last century, or the Russian revolution in 1917—and revolution in this country obviously will not and cannot come about as some kind of “copy” of either of those revolutions—especially in these tumultuous times now, the possibility of an actual revolution is real, yes right in this powerful imperialist USA. But this possibility cannot be grasped without the scientific method and approach of communism, as it has been further developed with the new communism. And a revolution will not, and cannot, be brought about without applying this method and approach to continually make, and act on, a scientific assessment of the constantly, and now rapidly, changing objective reality—including the daunting challenges and vexing difficulties, but most fundamentally the development of the contradictions of the system of capitalism-imperialism and the consequences of this, on a world level as well as within this country itself.

    This scientific approach is especially crucial in those times when the contradictions of this system are changing in a major way—and, above all, those rare times when, as Lenin noted, years and decades of “normal times” become concentrated in months or even weeks, when contradictions are repeatedly intensified and changes rapidly accelerated, heightening the prospect of great disaster for humanity but also the possibility of wrenching a radically different and far better future, through revolution.

    This is one of those rare times.

    Why? As explained in Organizing for an Actual Revolution: 7 Key Points,

    Brutal and murderous white supremacy, male supremacy, and other oppressive relations, the deepening crisis in society and the world overall, including the constant wars and the continuing destruction of the environment: all this cannot ultimately be resolved, in any positive way, within the confines of the system that rules in this country and dominates in the world as a whole—the system of capitalism-imperialism. Under the rule of this system, all this will only get worse. The deepening divisions within this country now, from top to bottom, mean that those who have ruled in this country for so long (the capitalist-imperialist ruling class) can no longer rule, as a “unified force,” in the “normal” way that people have been conditioned to accept—with a system of government that has an outer shell of “democracy” to cover over the fact that it is an actual capitalist dictatorship at its core, relying fundamentally on the armed force of the institutions of “official violence,” the police and the military. Because of big changes in this country and the world overall, one part of the ruling class, represented by the Republican Party, has become fascist: they no longer believe in or feel bound by what have been the “norms” of “democratic” capitalist rule in this country. And the other section of the ruling class, represented by the Democratic Party, has no real answer to this—except trying to maintain the “normal way” that the oppressive rule of this system has been enforced for hundreds of years, while the fascists are determined to tear up those “norms” and rule through more openly and aggressively oppressive means, without the traditional disguise of supposed “democracy for all.”

    The crisis and deep divisions in society can only be resolved through radical means, of one kind or another—either radically reactionary, murderously oppressive and destructive means, or radically emancipating revolutionary means. And this resolution could quite possibly happen, one way or the other, within the next few years. This rare situation, with the deepening and sharpening conflicts among the ruling powers, and in the society overall, provides a stronger basis and greater openings to break the hold of this system over masses of people. In a situation like this, things that have basically remained the same, for decades, can radically change in a very short period of time. This rare time must not be wasted— it must be seized on to have a real fighting chance to bring about a truly emancipating revolutionary resolution, and not be subjected to a terrible, reactionary, murderously oppressive and destructive resolution.17

    This, once more, requires resolutely “going against the tide” of spontaneous mass sentiments, including the stubborn tendency of many to remain stuck in the well-worn rut of relying on “the way things have always been,” even as that “way” is being profoundly disrupted and shattered by the intensifying, and even potentially existential, “earthquakes” erupting in this country and the world overall. As I have emphasized before, people—masses of people, in different parts of society—need to be shaken awake, through sharp, and at times fierce, struggle to get them to confront the very real horrors shaping up on the near horizon but also the real possibility for a revolutionary way forward out of this madness. This means breaking with the dominant relations and ways of thinking of this putrid system of capitalism-imperialism, including its quicksand trap of elections to choose between the Democrat and Republican representatives of the ruling class of this system.

    The following, which I wrote years ago now, has greatly heightened and urgent meaning today:

    Indeed, if and when conflicts among different sections of the ruling class reach the point where they are beginning to assume antagonistic proportions themselves, that is a sign of extremely deep and acute cracks and fissures in the entire established order; and such a situation must be seized by the oppressed not to side with one section of the bourgeoisie against another—thus helping the ruling class to “repair” the rupturing old order and reinforce its dictatorship, in one form or another—but instead to rise in revolutionary struggle to overthrow the rule of the bourgeoisie altogether.18

    Masses of people: all those who suffer so horribly in the “normal times” of living under the rule of this system of capitalism-imperialism...all those who hunger for a more just world and a future worth living in, but whose future will be something truly terrible if things are allowed to continue on the terms set by this system... Masses of people, in continually growing numbers, must be made aware of the meaning and implications of this rare time, including through fierce struggle as necessary to win them to raise their sights and recognize not only the necessity but the possibility to seize on this rare time to make revolution and wrench something really positive, yes something truly emancipating, out of this rare time.

    _______________

    FOOTNOTES:

    1. Organizing for an Actual Revolution: 7 Key Points is available at revcom.us. A fuller analysis of why this is a rare time when revolution becomes more possible, even in a powerful imperialist country like the U.S., is contained in the major work by Bob Avakian Something Terrible, Or Something Truly Emancipating: Profound Crisis, Deepening Divisions, The Looming Possibility Of Civil War—And The Revolution That Is Urgently Needed, A Necessary Foundation, A Basic Roadmap For This Revolution, which is also available at revcom.us. [back]

    2. This statement by Bob Avakian is from his book Democracy: Can’t We Do Better Than That? (published by Banner Press, 1986); emphasis added. [back]

  • ARTICLE:

    REVOLUTION: A REAL CHANCE TO WIN

    Part 1: We Are Serious

    "REVOLUTION: A REAL CHANCE TO WIN" is being published in a series. Part 1: We Are Serious was published July 31, 2023. Part 2: A Scientifically Based Strategy was published August 7, 2023. Part 3: Civil War and Revolution was published August 14, 2023. Part 4: Hard Core Youth and the Revolution was published August 21, 2023. Part 5: Winning and Winning was published August 28, 2023.

    Introduction:

    Some people have argued that an attempt to make an actual revolution, to overthrow the ruling system of capitalism-imperialism in this country, up against the powerful armed forces of this system, would be suicidal. This is something I spoke to, a number of years ago now, in the talk Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution:

    Many people, including many who say they would like to see a radical change in society, insist that revolution is not possible because “they” are too powerful, and “people are too messed up.” Well, it is true that, shaped as they are by this system, the masses of people, in any part of society, don’t know shit and have their heads up their asses, when it comes to an understanding of how things really are, why they are the way they are, and what could and should be done about this. But this stands in sharp contradiction to another important truth—that millions of people really do care about one or more, and many care about all, of the “5 STOPS.” This is a contradiction that we have to go to work on, to move masses of people in the direction of the revolution that is needed to finally put a stop to those “5 STOPS” and the horrific conditions to which the masses of humanity are constantly subjected. [The 5 STOPS refers to five major social contradictions and forms of oppression and devastation that are built into this system of capitalism-imperialism and which can only be eliminated through a revolution to overthrow this system.]19

    It is also true that the ruling powers of this system, with the machinery of death and destruction they wield to enforce this system, are indeed very powerful. But a big part of people’s difficulty in imagining that we could actually defeat them is the inability to conceive of a situation that is radically different than the “normal” functioning of this system, a situation where, for large parts of society, the “hold” of the ruling class over people—its ability to control, manipulate, and intimidate them—is broken, or greatly weakened. Fundamentally, people cannot imagine this because they are not approaching things with a scientific outlook and method.20 (Emphasis added.)

    This series of five articles speaks more fully to why such a revolution is not only urgently necessary now but why, with the right scientific approach, such a revolution could in fact have a real chance to succeed—and why anyone who really wants to see a radically different world, without all the horrors that are continually brought about, and the even greater horrors for humanity that are now threatened by this system of capitalism-imperialism needs to be actively involved in working tirelessly, with scientifically based determination, for this revolution.

    The following is the first in a series of selections from my talks and writings speaking to how to go about carrying out a revolution in this country, mobilizing millions of people, with the goal of actually defeating the violent enforcers of this system of capitalism-imperialism, abolishing this system altogether, and bringing into being a radically different, emancipating system based on the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America.21

     This part one contains an excerpt from “Something Terrible, Or Something Truly Emancipating” (which is available at revcom.us); and then an excerpt from a presentation to a gathering of revcoms (revolutionary communists) in 2022.

    Everything depends on bringing forward a revolutionary people, from among the most bitterly oppressed, and all parts of society, first in the thousands and then in the millions, as a powerful revolutionary force, organized from the start and consistently with a country-wide perspective, impacting all of society and changing the terms of how masses of people see things and how every institution has to respond. Everything must be focused now on actually bringing forward and organizing this revolutionary force.

    And then, once this revolutionary force is brought into being, everything would be focused on how to actually fight to win.

    At that point, this force of millions would need to be mobilized and wielded in such a way as to make clear that it is going for a complete, revolutionary change—that it will not back down from this goal and accept anything less. In this way, it would constitute a powerful pole attracting and drawing forward even broader numbers of people from all parts of society—and it would pose a definite challenge and call to people everywhere in society, including in all the existing institutions of this system, to come over to the side of this revolution.

     

     

    Something Terrible or Something Truly Emancipating - Square, wo "NEW"

     

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    As I said in the Dialogue with Cornel West: It is important that we are right, and righteous—it is important that we stand with the wretched of the Earth and stand up against their oppression—but we have to win. We have to actually shatter the rule of this monstrous system, and bring something radically different and much better into being. Or else, we will at best “fight the good fight” but the horrors will continue, and get even worse.22

    The sixth point of the Points of Attention for the Revolution says this: “We are going for an actual overthrow of this system and a whole better way beyond the destructive, vicious conflicts of today between the people. Because we are serious, at this stage we do not initiate violence and we oppose all violence against the people and among the people.”23

    I have highlighted the words “Because we are serious” in order to emphasize that this Point of Attention is not a declaration of some idealist pacifist notion that the struggle against this system can and must always remain non-violent. First of all, while we are against all violence against the people and among the people, and at this stage we do not initiate (and we do not encourage others to initiate) violence, at the same time we strongly recognize and uphold the right of people to defend themselves against unjust attacks. And, more strategically, we scientifically understand that: the fundamental source of violence in the world is this system of capitalism-imperialism, that by far the greatest perpetrators of unjust violence are the ruling classes of the capitalist-imperialist powers, most of all this country—and that the fundamental reason why the abolition of this system cannot be achieved peacefully is, once again, because of the nature of this system itself, and the fact that those who rule in it would never allow their system to be swept away without attempting to violently suppress and crush any such attempt.

    This is what it means that we are serious about all this.

    It is with this understanding, and this orientation, that we have to very seriously approach the question of how to actually win—win in the more immediate fight, historically speaking, to seize power—and win in a way that lays the basis for winning in the largest sense, with the goal of uprooting all oppression and exploitation, all over the world, bringing into being a communist world in which human beings can truly thrive with the fullest expression of their humanity.

     

    Next >>

    _______________

    FOOTNOTES:

    1. The 5 STOPS are:

    STOP Genocidal Persecution, Mass Incarceration, Police Brutality and Murder of Black and Brown People!

    STOP The Patriarchal Degradation, Dehumanization, and Subjugation of All Women Everywhere, and All Oppression Based on Gender and Sexual Orientation!

    STOP Wars of Empire, Armies of Occupation, and Crimes Against Humanity!

    STOP The Demonization, Criminalization and Deportations of Immigrants and the Militarization of the Border!

    STOP Capitalism-Imperialism from Destroying Our Planet! [back]

    2. A film and the text of Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Actually Make Revolution are available at revcom.us in BA’s Collected Works. [back]

    3. The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America is available at revcom.us. [back]

    4. REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN. This film of the Dialogue is also available at revcom.us/BA's Collected Works. [back]

    5. The Points of Attention for the Revolution are available as well at revcom.us. [back]

  • ARTICLE:

    REVOLUTION: A REAL CHANCE TO WIN

    Part 2: A Scientifically Based Strategy

    "REVOLUTION: A REAL CHANCE TO WIN" is being published in a series. Part 1: We Are Serious was published July 31, 2023. Part 2: A Scientifically Based Strategy was published August 7, 2023. Part 3: Civil War and Revolution was published August 14, 2023. Part 4: Hard Core Youth and the Revolution was published August 21, 2023. Part 5: Winning and Winning was published August 28, 2023.

    Introduction: 

    Some people have argued that an attempt to make an actual revolution, to overthrow the ruling system of capitalism-imperialism in this country, up against the powerful armed forces of this system, would be suicidal. This is something I spoke to, a number of years ago now, in the talk Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution:

    Many people, including many who say they would like to see a radical change in society, insist that revolution is not possible because “they” are too powerful, and “people are too messed up.” Well, it is true that, shaped as they are by this system, the masses of people, in any part of society, don’t know shit and have their heads up their asses, when it comes to an understanding of how things really are, why they are the way they are, and what could and should be done about this. But this stands in sharp contradiction to another important truth—that millions of people really do care about one or more, and many care about all, of the “5 STOPS.” This is a contradiction that we have to go to work on, to move masses of people in the direction of the revolution that is needed to finally put a stop to those “5 STOPS” and the horrific conditions to which the masses of humanity are constantly subjected. [The 5 STOPS refers to five major social contradictions and forms of oppression and devastation that are built into this system of capitalism-imperialism and which can only be eliminated through a revolution to overthrow this system.]24

    It is also true that the ruling powers of this system, with the machinery of death and destruction they wield to enforce this system, are indeed very powerful. But a big part of people’s difficulty in imagining that we could actually defeat them is the inability to conceive of a situation that is radically different than the “normal” functioning of this system, a situation where, for large parts of society, the “hold” of the ruling class over people—its ability to control, manipulate, and intimidate them—is broken, or greatly weakened. Fundamentally, people cannot imagine this because they are not approaching things with a scientific outlook and method.25 [emphasis added here]

    This series of five articles speaks more fully to why such a revolution is not only urgently necessary now but why, with the right scientific approach, such a revolution could in fact have a real chance to succeed—and why anyone who really wants to see a radically different world, without all the horrors that are continually brought about, and the even greater horrors for humanity that are now threatened, by this system of capitalism-imperialism needs to be actively involved in working tirelessly, with scientifically-based determination, for this revolution.

    The following excerpt from Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution is the second in this series of selections from my talks and writings speaking to how to go about carrying out a revolution in this country, mobilizing millions of people, with the goal of actually defeating the violent enforcers of this system of capitalism-imperialism, abolishing this system altogether, and bringing into being a radically different, emancipating system based on the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America.26

     

    Let’s begin with the statement from HOW WE CAN WIN that everything we are doing is “aiming for something very definite—a revolutionary situation: Where the system and its ruling powers are in a serious crisis” and “millions and millions of people refuse to be ruled in the old way—and are willing and determined to put everything on the line to bring down this system and bring into being a new society and government that will be based on the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North AmericaThat is the time to go all-out to win. That is what we need to be actively working for and preparing for now.”27 Key components and signs of a revolutionary crisis are that the violence used “to enforce this system is seen by large parts of society for what it is—murderous and illegitimate” and that “the conflicts among the ruling forces become really deep and sharp—and masses of people respond to this not by falling in behind one side or the other of the oppressive rulers, but by taking advantage of this situation to build up the forces for revolution.” This underlines the great importance of ongoing work and compelling struggle to break people away from the “hold” of the political operatives and media mouthpieces of this system.

    I will speak more fully to how we need to be actively preparing now for a revolutionary situation. But, first, in order to have the fullest sense of this, we need to work back from that situation and what would be required then—how the all-out fight would need to be waged—to have a real chance to defeat the powerful, violent forces of this system. Here again, it is crucially important to approach things in a serious and scientific way. This is what is done in “On the Possibility of Revolution,” which (as noted in HOW WE CAN WIN) “sets forth the foundation—the strategic conception and doctrine—for how to fight with a real chance of winning,” once the necessary conditions have been brought into being. “On the Possibility of Revolution” (which is available at revcom.us) is an important document that deserves serious study.28 Here, I am going to examine some of the key points that are gone into in depth in “On the Possibility of Revolution” and are summarized in a more concentrated way in HOW WE CAN WIN.

    A big problem for the revolution is what could be called the “encirclement and suppression” of the people at the base of society who are subjected to one injury and insult after another under this system, and who yearn for an end to all this madness, but who are, in a certain sense, “surrounded” in the society at large by sections of people who do not directly suffer the same daily outrages. To put it simply, there are large numbers of poor and bitterly oppressed people in this country, but there is also a big middle class. Although much of this middle class is not doing as well economically as in the past, there is still a big gap between the middle class and the people at the base of society, and this big divide is one of the main reasons why people—even people who say they would like to see a revolution, but who just look at things on the surface and do not analyze the situation scientifically—say that revolution is not possible. And it is something that the ruling class, and its institutions of repression and control, have seized on, in their efforts to isolate and contain, as brutally as they deem necessary, those whom they most viciously oppress and who represent potentially the greatest threat to their system. This is something these ruling powers would seek to do in an even more systematic and greatly intensified way in a situation where they were confronted by an organized revolutionary struggle aimed at overthrowing their whole system. It is one of the main obstacles the revolutionary forces would need to overcome in order to have a real chance of winning. Not only the strategic approach and basic operational principles, but also certain particular tactical measures of the revolutionary forces—including concentrating forces to repeatedly break through and break down the other side’s physical encirclement of areas of revolutionary strength—would need to be developed and applied to address this major contradiction once the all-out struggle were underway. But confronting this basic problem cannot be left until the time when the all-out struggle is raging. This is something I spoke to in very plain and stark terms in THE NEW COMMUNISM, where I emphasized that we need to “transform this situation so that, when the time comes, it’s not going to be the case that they can easily contain this revolution to those sections of the people that they’d... just as soon kill off anyway.”29 And, as is also emphasized in Part 2 of Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, But Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon: “political and ideological work with this contradiction in mind would need to be carried out during the whole period before the emergence of the necessary conditions and... [the all-out] struggle is launched.”30 The more this work is carried out, from here forward, the more the revolutionary forces would be able to counter and defeat the military “encirclement and suppression” of the strongholds of the revolution when the time came for the all-out fight.

    As I put it in THE NEW COMMUNISM, a defining contradiction of this all-out fight is the fact that, at the start, the other side “would likely still be very powerful in military terms, although weak, and in crisis, politically”; while the revolutionary side “would be weak, at the beginning, in military terms, but strong, and on the rise, and having a great deal of initiative, politically, which then would have to be transformed into initiative militarily.” The operational principles and stratagems that are outlined in the final part of HOW WE CAN WIN, speaking specifically to “How We Could Defeat Them,” are particular applications of the approach to dealing with this contradiction.

    An overall principle that flows from this contradiction is the fact that, once underway, the all-out fight would need to be protracted but also finite. “Protracted” means drawn out—it would not be a situation where the outcome, if it were favorable for the revolution, could be decided in a very short period of time. “Finite” means having definite limits—not extended indefinitely. Given that, at the beginning, the balance of power would almost certainly be heavily in favor of the forces of counter-revolution (the forces of the old ruling class and those fighting with it to defeat the revolution) in terms of their military organization and experience, as well as their armaments, the revolutionary forces would need to draw out (protract) the conflict for a certain period, in order to transform the situation into one in which they could overcome those strategic disadvantages. At the same time, because this all-out fight should only be launched by the revolutionary forces in a situation marked by a deep and acute revolutionary crisis and a revolutionary people in the millions and millions, if it were protracted over too long a period, without the revolution advancing in a fairly limited period of time toward the situation where it began to have the upper hand, then the advantages of a revolutionary situation would tend to be lost, the overall initiative would return to the counter-revolution, and the allegiance of significant sections of society, including in the middle classes, that was lost by the old ruling class, would be regained to a degree that could spell defeat for the revolution. This touches on a very important point of strategic orientation: When it comes down to it, what happens on the battlefield will be decisive in determining the outcome but, for the revolutionary forces, one of the key objectives of the fighting would be to demoralize and disintegrate the ranks of the other side, both their actual fighting forces and their broader “civilian support,” leading to further loss of allegiance and of initiative on the counter-revolutionary side; and, to the degree this succeeded, it would be a key element in shifting the balance of forces in favor of the revolution. The all-out struggle will not just mean going up against the institutional forces of the old ruling class but will also involve “a civil war between two sections of the people,” requiring the revolution to both defeat and disintegrate but also, as far as possible, win over parts of the armed forces among the population that started out on the other side....

    To begin, “backbone forces”—especially youth strongly committed to and actively involved in the revolution—would need to be transformed “into organized fighting forces in key strategic areas” and provided with the necessary training and equipment. Doing this would depend on the recognition that the revolutionary situation is clearly emerging. On the one hand, trying to do this before the immediate approach of a revolutionary situation would almost certainly lead to this effort being easily targeted and quickly crushed. On the other side of things, once a revolutionary situation were at hand, the shattering of the “normal conditions” and “normal functioning” of the system that such a situation would involve, would make it possible not to easily and smoothly organize, train, and equip fighting forces for the revolution, but to wrench, out of the intensifying situation, the basis for doing this. The point is that doing this, without being wiped out, would be a process of very intense struggle, but the dramatically new situation would provide the possibility for waging, and winning, this beginning struggle.

    Similarly, providing for the basic logistical needs of this revolutionary fighting force, to enable it to initiate the all-out fight, without being immediately crushed, and then to quickly regroup and once again take the initiative and maintain momentum overall, without being “fixed” and annihilated, would also involve intense struggle, and would require defeating enemy blockades and attacks and penetration directed against strongholds of the revolution and focused on locating and destroying those who make up the revolutionary fighting forces and their logistical sources. All this would require “misdirection” and surprise in operations. And all this would depend on millions more, beyond the backbone fighting forces, being organized concretely as “reserves” and as networks of support and supply for these fighting forces, and the willingness and ability of these “reserves” to “absorb” and protect the fighting forces and their equipment and logistical supplies, and enable them to repeatedly regroup and seize the initiative. This would also require continual “calibration” of the size of fighting units and their operations, at any given time, to enable these fighting units, upon completion of an engagement, to “melt back into” the larger revolutionary “reserves,” while at the same time the conditions are being created to allow them to remain active, in training and in initiating further engagements with the enemy.

    The approach of capturing equipment from the enemy is important for any revolutionary force which starts out facing an enemy with an overwhelming advantage in destructive power and, for some time, a much greater capacity to produce more of this. But HOW WE CAN WIN also emphasizes that utilizing equipment captured from the enemy must be done in ways that “fit the fighting strategy of the revolution.” Not all equipment that might be captured from the other side would be usable by the revolutionary forces—to try to use some captured equipment could put requirements on the logistical capabilities of the revolution that could not be met or sustained, and/or propel the revolutionary forces into fighting in ways that would run counter to the strategy the revolution would need to follow, and/or violate the basic principles and goals for which the revolution is being fought. It has everything to do with what the revolution is all about in the first place, as well as whether or not it has a real chance of succeeding, that HOW WE CAN WIN emphasizes that the revolutionary fighting forces must, “Always conduct operations and act in ways that are in line with the emancipating outlook and goals of the revolution.” Still, in addition to developing means to enlist masses of people in creating equipment the revolutionary forces could utilize, ways could be developed to utilize a great deal of equipment captured from the enemy that are consistent with the strategic orientation, the ways of fighting, and the goals of the revolution. All this would be vital for the advance and ultimate success of the revolution.

    As stressed in HOW WE CAN WIN, the revolutionary forces would need to fight only on favorable terms and avoid decisive encounters, which would determine the outcome of the whole thing, until the balance of forces had shifted overwhelmingly in favor of the revolution. This flows from what has been discussed regarding the overwhelmingly superior destructive force of the counter-revolution at the start of the all-out fight. What is also very important to underline is that this is not merely a question of orientation and intent on the part of the revolutionary forces. Given its overwhelming superiority of force, for some time the enemy would continually seek precisely to force the revolutionaries into situations where they would either be compelled to fight decisive battles that they were bound to lose, or they would have to surrender outright—leading to the total defeat of the revolution, or putting it well on the road to defeat. The point is that being able to avoid potentially disastrous decisive encounters with the enemy would itself be a matter of intense struggle, including that the revolutionary forces could often find themselves having to wage a determined struggle just to avoid being trapped in a situation where they would have to fight such a decisive encounter, or surrender. This is why HOW WE CAN WIN speaks of actively avoiding unfavorable decisive encounters and fighting only on favorable terms. It is why it also emphasizes that, even when the “balance of forces” has shifted in favor of the revolution, it would still be necessary, when conducting operations aimed at achieving final victory, to continue to “calibrate” those operations, “so that decisive encounters are still avoided until the forces of the old order have been brought to the brink of total defeat”—which would then be the time to “fully, finally, rout and dismantle the remaining enemy forces.”

    And it is because of the same concerns that HOW WE CAN WIN, while speaking to the importance of building up political and logistical bases of support for the revolution, at the same time stresses that the revolutionary forces should “not attempt to openly control and govern territory, until the necessary ‘favorable balance of forces’ has been created.” To attempt to do so prematurely would make this territory, the people within it, and the revolutionary forces defending and governing it, highly vulnerable to attack from an enemy that, again, would have overwhelming destructive power; and it would put the revolutionaries in the position of having the responsibility—and what, under the circumstances, would be an unsupportable burden—to meet the basic requirements of a functioning society, and the people within it. The point, the goal, is to carry forward the fight to thoroughly defeat, and dismantle, the forces of the old order, and on that basis to bring into being a new, revolutionary state that can embark on the thorough transformation of society with the ultimate aim of overcoming and eliminating all relations of exploitation and oppression, everywhere in the world.

    This ultimate aim and internationalist orientation of the revolution is also why HOW WE CAN WIN speaks to the need for the revolutionary forces in this country to correctly handle the relation between the all-out fight, when the time comes, and the situation—including the character and level of revolutionary struggle—in countries to the south (and the north). As we know, this country was created through and amidst warfare; and, as I spoke to earlier, it has continually expanded its territory and extended the reach of its empire through armed conquest, enslavement and other forms of extreme exploitation. In carrying out the fight to overthrow the violent rule of this system, both as a matter of orientation and principle, and in terms of strengthening the basis for succeeding, it will be crucial to refuse to be bound by the borders that have been established and the walls that have been erected through the murder and marauding of the ruling capitalist-imperialists of this country, but instead to actively unite with peoples to the south, and the north, in the struggle against this capitalist-imperialist monster, and advance the revolution overall, in this part of the world and in the world as a whole.

    In contrast to the revolutionary forces, the forces of the old order, especially when faced with the prospect that their oppressive system could actually be overthrown and dismantled, would resort to all kinds of barbarity to preserve this system. As it is put in “On the Possibility of Revolution”:

    It is not that the imperialists would hold back from bringing down terrible destructive force against the revolutionaries and the masses of people who supported them—given their reactionary nature, it would be necessary to reckon with the fact that the imperialists would do this—but the decisive question would be whether, through doing this, the imperialists would be able to isolate and destroy the organized forces of the revolution; or whether, on the contrary, these barbaric actions of the imperialists would deepen the hatred of growing numbers of people for the imperialists, stiffen the resolve of those already supporting the revolutionary side, and win more of the people to sympathize with, and to actively support, the revolutionary cause....

    “Decapitating” the leadership of the revolution, and destroying or crippling the means of coordination and overall direction for the revolutionary forces, would also be one of the major objectives of the counter-revolution. HOW WE CAN WIN correctly emphasizes the importance of “Relying on mass support, the intelligence this provides for the revolution and the denial of intelligence to the enemy, [to] counter the enemy’s efforts to find, fix and annihilate revolutionary leadership and key fighting units” and the importance of combining “strategic direction and coordination for the fight as a whole, with decentralized actions and initiative by local units and leaders.” Here again stands out the importance of all the work, from here forward, to build the revolution, among masses of people in many different parts of society. But it has to be squarely faced that, when it comes down to it, even with broad and deep mass support, protecting leadership, in particular the top leading core of the revolution, maintaining overall coordination and strategic direction, and being able to rapidly replace leaders and forces that are lost, is, and will remain, a serious challenge; and this, too, must be actively prepared for and struggled for, including by bringing forward growing ranks of revolutionary leadership now, who are trained and tempered through the combination of being actively involved in building the revolution and becoming more and more deeply grounded in the scientific outlook and methods of communism as it has been further developed with the new communism.

    This brings us back to the decisive point that everything that has been spoken to in terms of how we could defeat them, when the time comes, “depends on winning millions to revolution in the period that leads up to the ripening of a revolutionary situation.”....

    Here, it could be helpful to look at the similarities, and the differences, between the revolutionary process in a country like this and, on the other hand, what has happened in some Third World countries where conditions have allowed the revolutionaries to wage an armed struggle from the beginning of the revolutionary process—to start by fighting battles against small parts of the enemy forces, and to wage war over a long period of time, to wear down the enemy and build up their own forces, with the aim of reaching the point where the “balance of forces” has shifted in their favor, and they can then fight larger-scale battles to finally defeat the forces of the old order. This does have some things in common with how the all-out fight would be waged in a country like this, once the conditions for that had been brought into being. But there are important differences. In this kind of country, an armed struggle would not—should not—be launched until a revolutionary situation had been brought into being in society overall, and then this struggle, while having a certain aspect of being protracted, would also be considerably shorter (more finite) than the overall process of protracted revolutionary wars that have been carried out in Third World countries. In a country like this, there needs to be a process of political, ideological, and organizational work to carry out those “3 Prepares,” to hasten the development of things toward the revolutionary situation, when it would then become possible to launch an all-out struggle with a real chance of winning, through a somewhat protracted but also finite process. [The “3 Prepares" are: prepare the ground (the situation in society overall), prepare the people, and prepare the vanguard leadership for the revolution.]

    To summarize briefly: Third World revolutionary wars—armed struggle from the beginning, over a whole protracted period, to create the basis for the final decisive battles; revolution in a country like this—a process of political, ideological, and organizational work to hasten and prepare for the development of a revolutionary situation, whereupon the all-out fight could be launched, and carried out over a somewhat protracted but also finite period.

    In both types of situations, there is an aspect of “awaiting” as well as “hastening.” Even where revolutionaries in Third World countries have been able to wage warfare from the beginning, they have had to wait for, while actively fighting to bring into being, the situation where they can successfully fight large-scale decisive battles (and in some cases things have become protracted to the point of being bogged down, without any prospect of success). In both situations, everything the revolutionaries are doing needs to be aimed at getting to the point where they can go all-out to finally defeat and dismantle the violent enforcers of the old oppressive system; but the paths and the processes are different because of the different conditions. The point is that everything we are doing, at all times, is part of making revolution—actively working, according to a strategic approach and plan, to move things, as fast as possible, toward the time when it will be possible for millions to fight, all-out, with a real chance to win.

    So, with this understanding and orientation, how do we go about hastening while awaiting? The means for doing this is concentrated in the formulation: “Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution.” Let’s start with the aim of all this—Revolution. In BAsics 3:1, I put it like this: “Let’s get down to basics: We need a revolution. Anything else, in the final analysis, is bullshit.31 That is another simple and basic truth. We need to go to people—not just one or two people, not just a small number of people, but masses of people, reaching all over the country, in every part of society—straight up with revolution—instead of just letting “where they are at” set the terms, and trying to somehow “bring in” some idea about revolution within that limited framework. As BAsics 3:1 goes on to say: We do need to unite with people in all sorts of struggles short of revolution; but it is frankly ridiculous to think that something short of revolution could solve all the monumental problems and monstrous outrages that people face under this system. On the basis of going to people straight up with revolution, then, coming from that place, we need to unite with people in fighting injustice and oppression, and struggle to win more and more people to see the need and the possibility for revolution, and to get with this....

    This goes back to the important contradiction that millions and millions of people really do care about one or more, and many care about all, of those “5 STOPS,” but in terms of understanding where all these outrages come from and what is necessary to really put a stop to them, most of the same people don’t know shit and have their heads up their asses. So, while uniting with and working to bring forward still greater numbers of people in protesting and resisting the atrocities of this system, there is a need for sharp struggle to win them to confront and grasp the fact that, in fundamental terms, this system is the source of all these horrors, and it cannot be reformed but must be overthrown.

    This is revolutionary work that must be carried out, by continually growing numbers of pe