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Travis Morales on the Minutemen and November 2

Revolution #019, October 23, 2005, posted at revcom.us

On Friday, October 14, Travis Morales, from the Revolutionary Communist Party - San Francisco Bay Area Branch, appeared on the show "Un Nuevo Dia" hosted by Javier Salas on the Chicago Univision radio affiliate "La Tremenda," 1200 AM. Travis and Javier discussed how to respond to the Minutemen, racists who attack immigrants in the Southwest, and the increasingly repressive situation. The Minutemen held a convention in Chicago on October 15, and were met by 300 protesters.

Download MP3 (en Español)

From the conversation:

Javier: They say [racism, and killing Blacks and immigrants] is something in the past now, but nevertheless we see the beating that white policeman gave an African-American in New Orleans recently. This is coming out on TV. So, this isn’t something in the past then.

Travis: What does it mean when the governor of California, the biggest state in the U.S, invites racists to patrol its borders? Or when President Bush says, as he did two days ago, that Harriet Miers must be confirmed to the Supreme Court because she’s an evangelical. She’s a religious fanatic. What’s happening in this country? Or when the government is jailing immigrants without charges, without letting them talk to a lawyer, or to see their families. Those are the kinds of things that are going on. Or look at how the government tortures prisoners of war and detainees and then defends it. So that’s why we’re saying to the world, loud and clear: "The World Can’t Wait! Drive Out the Bush Regime!" And that’s why we’re mobilizing for November 2 to launch a movement that can drive this regime out.


Revolution #019, October 23, 2005, posted at revcom.us

"People look at all this and think of Hitler--and they are right to do so. The Bush regime is setting out to radically remake society very quickly, in a fascist way, and for generations to come. We must act now; the future is in the balance."

From the Call for November 2

If you had gone to sleep five years ago and woken up today, you’d be shocked to find that a president had come to power without winning the election and that:

Well, you didn’t go to sleep . . . but it is time to wake up. It’s all going on now and it has to be stopped.

No, American fascism is not goose-stepping down our streets in funny mustaches. But the bedrock convictions, the inner logic, and the compulsions driving it forward are just as serious and deadly as what went down in Germany. And the people in power now--the Bush Regime-- are hell-bent on this course.

Hitler achieved power in January of 1933. But it would be another eight years before he set the "final solution"--the death camps--into motion. In other words, there is a process by which people are led down a path. WE MUST STOP THAT PROCESS NOW. How much further does it have to go before you recognize it for what it is, and act?

Yes, it will take a huge struggle to stop and reverse the horrific direction of U.S. society under the Bush regime. You are not going to "pendulum-swing" your way out of that.

But there IS a way. It begins with facing reality, resisting, and mobilizing others to resist. And it takes a leap on November 2, with thousands and tens of thousands marching through the streets, demanding:



Download PDF version

Debra Sweet: World Can't Wait On the Move

Revolution #019, October 23, 2005, posted at revcom.us

Revolution talked with Debra Sweet, National Coordinator of World Can’t Wait--Drive Out the Bush Regime, about building for November 2, National Day of Resistance.

Revolution: We’ve been hearing of significant new developments in building for Nov. 2, such as important new signatories to the Call, ads on the Air America radio network, and an encampment at the White House. Tell us what’s going on..

Debra Sweet: Since July we’ve distributed three and a half million copies of our Call hand-to-hand. Recently important cultural figures and people of social conscience have been signing on, including Cornel West, Michael Eric Dyson, Studs Terkel, Tom Morello, and Howard Zinn. Two members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors have signed.

Things are really connecting. On October 14 we began an encampment in front of the White House that is going to continue till November 2, to represent the fact that a movement to drive out the Bush regime is being launched on November 2. Every day at noon, the encampment will deliver a counter-press briefing on the news coming out of the White House, turning all the outrages coming from Bush into more and more reasons to drive out the regime. We think it would be very good for people to join the encampment. We’re calling for different days--for instance, people from various religious communities are coming for No Theocracy Day, Tuesday the 18th and Wednesday the 19th. We had a No Genocide Day at the Millions More march, exposing Bush’s crimes around Katrina. We want to have a No Forced Motherhood Day, calling on people from the pro-choice movement. Information on the days will be on our web site as they develop.

R: Travis Morales was on a Chicago Spanish station, linking Nov. 2 with protests against the Minutemen vigilantes. And on worldcantwait.org, people can get audio files of an interview by Air America’s Mike Malloy with Sunsara Taylor talking about the urgency of driving out the Bush regime, starting November 2nd. You’re also running ads on the Air America radio network. What kind of response are you getting?.

DS: We’ve tapped into something in the Air America audience of about 5 million. After running ads on Air America nationally for only two days, we increased traffic on our web site about 800 percent, got many more people to sign the Call, and raised a significant amount of money. We’ve expanded the number of cities where events are going to take place on November 2. We’ve heard from sections of the country where we would not have reached without the ads. For instance, there’s a whole group of people in south Florida who are now organizing around Fort Lauderdale for November 2. This is Broward county, where in 2000 people actually saw an election stolen from under them.

We’re running new Air America ads, available on our web site as MP3s, featuring playwright Jessica Blank ("The Exonerated"), performance poet Koba of Kontrast, Boots Riley from The Coup, and Palestinian poet Suheir Hammad. We want people to rip them and get them on college and community radio stations.

We want to advertise on Comedy Central’s John Stewart show and the Dave Chappell show. It’s going to take hundreds of thousands of dollars. This would be a huge leap for us--you’re talking about tens of millions of people who watch those shows. We have a huge potential, but we’re also far behind where we need to be. This effort to drive out the Bush regime needs to manifest in hundreds of cities 19 days from now. This is only going to happen if thousands and then millions of people decide to take responsibility for driving this regime out. It’s possible to do that, but it’s going to be a fight all the way to the end.

R: Our newspaper is reporting that the Oakland teachers union is going to back up students and teachers who protest on November 2nd. What else is happening with mobilizing youth and students? .

DS: We’re getting emails from high school students all over the country, from most states at this point. In New York youth organizers have dressed up in hideously bright orange jumpsuits and hoods similar to what the detained prisoners in Guantanamo have to wear. These youth are challenging people: every day you don’t protest and mobilize to stop the legal sanctioning of torture, you’re going along with it. There’s significant activity going on in campuses all over the country, including at elite universities.

Somebody called us today from Madison saying they had met a student activist on the campus. This woman, an older social worker, was calling to order WCW stickers so that student activists would have stickers to plaster all over the campus. She had gone to DC for the Sept. 24 antiwar demonstration and lobbying. She said that on the bus ride back home, people were saying, "We’ve gone to Washington, we’ve lobbied, we’ve told this government that the war must be stopped, and now what?" And she said, "Then I ran into these activists yesterday who were telling me that they have a plan, and they told me about November 2. And I want to do what I can to support them, because I think this is the answer to what we were talking about on the bus--what to do next?" These are the types of people we’re hearing from and connecting to.

Two Excerpts

"Preaching from a Pulpit of Bones

- We Need Morality But Not Traditional Morality"

Photo: Chairman Avakian at wall of communards
Bob Avakian at the Wall of the Communards in Paris, 1981

by Bob Avakian

Revolution #019, October 23, 2005, posted at revcom.us

The following two excerpts from Preaching from a Pulpit of Bones... were quoted in a special supplement of this paper, The Truth About the Right-Wing Conspiracy...And Why Clinton and the Democrats are No Answer by Bob Avakian. That special issue is available online at revcom.us.

"It is not surprising that, in the face of changes which tend to undermine or cause upheaval within [the prevailing capitalist] system--to say nothing of direct challenges to it--the ruling class of this society more aggressively asserts the authority of its `traditional morality’ along with sharpening and more ruthlessly wielding its swords of repression. Thus, it is not only William Bennett and other ‘Conservatives’ who are waging a holy crusade for ‘The Family’ and ‘Family Values,’ but they are joined and rivaled in this by the Democrats and ‘Liberals’ of the ruling class.

"The fact is, however, that in this crusade, and more generally these days, the ‘Conservatives’ have the initiative over the ‘Liberals.’ Why? There are a number of underlying factors: major geopolitical changes, in particular the disintegration of the Soviet bloc and the Soviet Union; changes in the world economy--involving the further internationalization of production and of speculative and other parasitic activity by capital--together with changes in the U.S. economy, including significant shifts in the composition of the work force away from ‘blue-collar’ jobs; and a huge increase in debt associated with the unprecedented U.S. military build-up during the 1980s (the cost of ‘winning the cold war’).

"So the waning of liberalism must be seen against a broad canvas. On the one hand, economic and social shifts--like ‘downsizing’ of industry and the decline of unions, suburbanization and the fracturing of the old-line urban political coalitions--have weakened the traditional social props of New Deal politics. On the other hand, intense global economic pressures and looming fiscal crisis are forcing drastic restructuring of government spending and social programs--this following years of restructuring in the private sector. This is an era of ‘lean and mean’ and ever more mobile capitalism. It is about cheapening production, depressing wages and benefit levels, and creating a more flexible and ‘disposable’ labor force. And it is about massively slashing New Deal/Great Society-type social spending--now decried as ‘unproductive cost burdens.’ (Wasn’t it the Democrat Clinton who coined the phrase, ‘end welfare as we know it’?) These and related factors have cut the ground from under the ‘New Deal consensus’ and the concessionary programs (‘war on poverty,’ etc.) which have been the basis for Democratic Party administration of capitalist rule in the U.S.

"At the same time, many of these same factors, together with the struggle waged by the women’s movement, have resulted in a situation where large numbers of women have not only the necessity but also the possibility of working outside the home. All this has been accompanied by a great deal of turmoil and upheaval, and one of its most important consequences has been that, from a number of angles and among various sectors of the population in the U.S., the basis of the traditional patriarchal family and the ‘traditional family values’ associated with it has been significantly eroded. And yet all these changes are taking place within the confines of the same system--on the same foundation of capitalist economic relations.

"This is potentially a very explosive contradiction, and in many aspects this explosiveness is already erupting....

"The polarization and bitter struggle around the right to abortion has been a concentrated expression of this. Clearly, the essence of the anti-abortion ‘movement’--which from its inception has been led and orchestrated from ‘on high’ (I am referring to the role of powerful ruling class figures, not the alleged inspiration from god)--has been to assert patriarchal control over women, including to insist on the defining role of women as breeders of children."


"The changes in the U.S. and in world economics and geopolitics have meant that millions of people on the bottom of American society, particularly those in the inner city ghettos and barrios, face the prospect of being more or less permanently ‘locked out’ of any meaningful, or gainful, employment--except in the ‘underground economy,’ centering largely around drugs, which has become a major economic factor and a major employer in every major urban area (and many smaller cities and towns and even rural areas as well).

"Here again, the need of the powers-that-be is to contain and maintain ultimate control over this situation--and over the masses of people on the bottom of society--and to erect and fortify barriers between them and other sections of society (‘the middle class’). This explains the continuing increase in funds and forces devoted to crime and punishment--the police and prisons, the wars against these masses in the name of ‘war on drugs’ and ‘war on crime’--on the one hand; and, on the other hand, the fact that these wars are never ‘won’ but are always ongoing.

"All this sets the framework and the ‘tone’ for ruling class politics in the U.S. It demands that the ‘leading edge’ of this be an aggressive, mean-spirited assault on those on the bottom of society and the slashing of concessions to them--a war on the poor in place of a supposed war against poverty--along with an equally aggressive and mean-spirited crusade to promote and enforce ‘old-fashioned values’ of patriarchy and patriotism as well as good old white chauvinism (racism).

"One after another, all kinds of ‘theories’ and ‘studies’--claiming to show that there are innate and unchangeable differences between races and genders and other groupings in society which explain why some have and really should have a privileged and dominant positions over others--are spread and legitimized throughout the mass media. This, it is claimed, provides the ‘scientific explanation’ for why programs that purport to overcome such inequalities are doomed to failure and must be gutted. What it actually provides further scientific proof of is the utter bankruptcy of a system and a ruling class that is abandoning even the pretense of overcoming profound inequalities and instead is inventing ‘profound reasons’ why they cannot be overcome. And in all this, while the ‘liberals’ have a role to play, the initiative belongs to the ‘conservatives.’ "

The Miers Nomination... And Two Facts that Are Not Controversial

Revolution #019, October 23, 2005, posted at revcom.us

As we go to press, it appears possible that Bush’s nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court might be in trouble from reactionaries in his own camp who aren’t sure she will be enough of a fascist bully on the Supreme Court. How all that plays out, we shall see. But right now, two facts about Harriet Miers nomination to the Supreme Court are not controversial:

1. Bush has emphasized since he announced Miers’s nomination that she is an evangelical Christian from a church which is almost universally anti-abortion. And he has repeatedly emphasized the importance of both of these things as criteria to be on the Supreme Court.

2. Christian fascist ideologue James Dobson announced that he was part of a private conversation with White House "brain" Karl Rove and said, "I do know things that I’m privy to that I can’t describe because of confidentiality." Dobson and the White House made it clear that Dobson was a kingmaker and key player in approving the next Supreme Court Justice.

Think about the norms that are being instituted:

1. An "ideological litmus test" of being an opponent of a woman’s right to an abortion is in effect.

2. The process of picking the next justice of the Supreme Court is done in an "advise and consent" process with Christian fascist ayatollahs who have veto power over, and are on the same wavelength as, the president. James Dobson!! And who is he? Dobson, in "day job" as a child abuse advocate (supposedly a child psychologist), preaches to his readers and radio listeners that "the inspired concepts [for disciplining children] in Scripture have been handed down generation after generation and are just as valid as for the twenty-first century as they were for our ancesotors." Among those passages, of course, is Exodus 21, which mandates that a child who strikes or even insults a parent should be put to death! (See The Bible, Exodus 21:17--"And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death." Also, see the series "God the Original Fascist" at revcom.us).

By limiting their timid amendments to complaints that if Dobson has inside information it should be made public, Democratic and "moderate Republican" senators have helped shape this new normalcy.

How could you have a theocracy in the United States? Reread the above.

How can you stop it? As a start, and as a basic sine-qua-non--as an essential starting point--you have to throw everything you have into driving out the Bush regime starting with mobilizing on November 2nd in your city, town, or prison.


Revolution #019, October 23, 2005, posted at revcom.us

Two points.

One, they’re not gonna win.

Two, if they did somehow win, it wouldn’t mean a damn thing. The Democrats agree with the Republicans on the questions of war and repression, and they’ve proven that they won’t challenge them on the ones they do disagree over.

The causes and reasons for all that have been explained elsewhere in the pages of this paper. But the real deal itself--that, again, they won’t win, and that even if they did somehow win they have neither the capability nor the intention of fundamentally changing the dynamics of today’s political life--is there.

Stop dreaming; or rather, start dreaming for real, and start fighting to make the dream happen. Throw in with November 2.

October 21-22, New York City:

First Session of the 2005 International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Committed Against Humanity by the Bush Administration of the United States

Revolution #019, October 23, 2005, posted at revcom.us


Keynote Addresses: The Moral Challenge and Responsibility of Our Time

Howard Zinn Historian, special videotaped message to the Commission
Marcus Raskin Institute for Policy Studies and The Nation editorial board
Michael Ratner President Center for Constitutional Rights

Presentation of Indictments

1. Wars of Aggression:
2. Torture and Indefinite Detention:
3. Destruction of the Global Environment:
4. Attacks on Global Public Health and Reproductive Rights:

Jurists, Prosecutors, & Witnesses Include:

James Abourezk, former United States Senator; Amy Bartholomew, professor of law at Carleton University; Steven Bronner, professor of political science, Rutgers University; Dennis Brutus, South African poet; Larry Everest, author of Oil, Power & Empire: Iraq and the U.S. Global Agenda; Thomas Fasy, MD, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine; Denis Halliday,ex-UN Assistant Secretary-General, former head of UN Humanitarian Mission In Iraq; Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst; Camilo E. Mejia, member of Iraq Veterans Against the War; Barbara Olshansky, Center for Constitutional Rights and coordinator of Guantanamo detainee defense; former detainees, and video footage of testimony by Iraqis under occupation.

The full prosecution of the indictments will take place in a second session to be held by January 2006.



Did the Bush Administration commit crimes against humanity?

Featuring: Witnesses from the Gulf Coast:

Survivor, Kimberly S.: "... if it hadn’t been for the young men they were calling thugs, I would have died; "
Rescuers & Expert testimony, including: Rev. Luis Barrios, assoc professor at John Jay College; Dr. Robert Bullard, author,Quest for Environmental Justice: Human Rights & the Politics of Pollution; John Clark, Professor of Environmental Studies, Loyola University, New Orleans; Mark Krasnoff & Monique Berdin, Cajun community activists and filmmakers; Corlita Mahr, Peoples Hurricane Relief Fund; Malik Rahim, Common Ground Collective, New Orleans; Jeremy Scahill, correspondent for Democracy Now!, and other witnesses.


Tens of thousands of people, desperately poor, mostly Black, waving from rooftops as flood waters rose. Search-and-rescue missions suspended and aid supplies cut off in the name of "security" – leaving people to drown, and die of thirst and starvation. Black people stocking up on necessities like food, water and medicine portrayed as "looters." Police and military guns pointed at survivors’ heads. Ordinary people seeking to help turned back at gun point. For four full days, images from the Convention Center of people suffering and even dying from lack of food, water and medicine. A police-state like atmosphere in the Superdome. Everything spoke to the utter disdain for those, mostly Black and poor, who had lost so much – from family and friends, to livelihood and shelter.

An evidentiary hearing will be held on October 22, 2005 on this question, as part of the first session of The 2005 International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration of the United States [www.bushcommission.org]

The hearing will primarily hear testimony from witnesses, from those who were left stranded instead of being rescued, had the gun turned on them instead of being provided food, water and medicine, and many who saw family and friends die needlessly. We will hear from journalists, examine reports from scientists and government workers who saw warnings about the potential catastrophe being willfully ignored by the administration, and from doctors and others who rushed to help but were thwarted. We are calling on all who can provide testimony or video footage and can contribute to the historic mission of this commission and its proceedings to come forward – with enthusiasm and outrage.

The hearing will seek to determine the truth of what happened. Is it true that the Bush administration had advance knowledge of Katrina’s strength, trajectory and potential destructiveness, and yet did absolutely nothing to evacuate people, mostly Black and poor, from the most risk-prone areas? One hundred thousand people were left stranded – directly in harm’s way – to flooding from the waters of Lake Pontchartrain. Levees meant to keep the waters at bay broke, a scenario predicted by scientists for years, and made worse by massive cuts in funding by the Bush administration.

The commission will also investigate the potential impact of the Bush administration’s plans for "rebuilding" New Orleans. It will inquire into whether the proposals will disenfranchise the displaced, depriving them of their homes, and amounting to what is a coercive deportation

The Commission will then determine, by applying exacting standards, if the Bush administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina warrants an indictment and prosecution under the charter and scope of the Commission. While potential crimes related to the tragedy of Katrina involve consequences of polices and actions that involve state and local authorities, and that predate the Bush administration, including deeply-systemic causes, particularly the national oppression of Black people, it is also clear that there are real and major areas of culpability that are very specific to this administration.

The Grand Ballroom of the Manhattan Center
311 W. 34th Street, New York City

Suggested registration: $30 for both days (or $20 for one day only)
Student and low income: $15 for both days (or $10 for one day only)

To register, e-mail commission@nion.us or phone 212-941-8086

Or register online at bushcommission.org/dateplace.htm

From the Charter of the International Commission of Inquiry

When the possibility of far-reaching war crimes and crimes against humanity exists, people of conscience have a solemn responsibility to inquire into the nature and scope of these acts and to determine if they do in fact rise to the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity. That is the mission of the International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity. The first session will be held October 21-22 in New York City. This tribunal will, with care and rigor, present evidence and assess whether George W. Bush and his administration have committed crimes against humanity...

The holding of this tribunal will frame and fuel a discussion that is urgently needed in the United States: Is the administration of George W. Bush guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity? The Commission will conduct its work with a deep sense of responsibility to the people of the world.

The Commission is sponsored by the Not In Our Name statement of conscience, joined by the following individuals and organizations:

[List in formation]

James Abourezk, former United States Senator

As'ad AbuKhalil, professor of politics & public administration, California State University-Stanislaus

Dirk Adriaensens, BRussells Tribunal executive committee and coordinator SOS Iraq

Dr. Nadje Al-Ali, social anthropologist at the University of Exeter, founding member of Act Together: Women's Action on Iraq & and member Women in Black UK

Anthony Alessandrini, organizer with the World Tribunal on Iraq and New York University Students for Justice in Palestine

Edward Asner

Russell Banks, novelist

The Rev. Luis Barrios, Ph.D., associate professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice & Anglican Priest

Amy Bartholomew, professor of law at Carleton University

Greg Bates, Common Courage Press

Phyllis Bennis, Institute for Policy Studies

Michael S. Berg, grieving father of Nick Berg killed in Iraq May 7, 2004, and one man for Peace

Ayse Berktay, from the organizing team of the World Tribunal on Iraq

William Blum, author of Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II and Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower

Francis Boyle, author of Destroying World Order and professor at the University of Illinois College of Law

Jean Bricmont, Brussells Tribunal executive committee

Marjorie Cohn, professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and executive vice president of National Lawyers Guild

Lieven De Cauter, BRussells Tribunal executive committee

Patrick Deboosere, BRussells Tribunal executive committee

Michael Eric Dyson

Peter Erlinder, William Mitchell College of Law and lead defense counsel, United Nations Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Arusha, Tanzania

Larry Everest, author of Oil, Power & Empire: Iraq and the U.S. Global Agenda and Behind the Poison Cloud: Union Carbide’s Bhopal Massacre

Richard Falk, professor emeritus of International Law, Princeton, and Visiting Professor in Global and International Studies, UC-Santa Barbara

Thomas M. Fasy, MD, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, member, American Academy of Arts & Letters and founder & editor in chief, City Lights Books, San Francisco

Ted Glick, former coordinator, Independent Progressive Politics Network

Dr. Elaine C. Hagopian, former president of Association of Arab-American University Graduates (AAUG) and primary founder of the Trans-Arab Research Institute (TARI)

Sam Hamill. director, Poets Against War

International Movement for a Just World (JUST), Malaysia

Abdeen Jabara, past president, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

Dahr Jamail, U.S. independent journalist who has reported extensively from Iraq since the invasion

C. Clark Kissinger, contributing writer for Revolution and initiator of the Not In Our Name statement of conscience

The Reverend Doctor Earl Kooperkamp, Rector, St. Mary's Episcopal Church, West Harlem, New York City

Joel Kovel, editor-in-chief, Capitalism Nature Socialism: A Quarterly Journal of Socialist Ecology, and author of The Enemy of Nature

Jesse Lemisch, professor of history emeritus, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun magazine and author of The Left Hand of God: Taking Back America from the Religious Right

Rev. Davidson Loehr, Ph.D., First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, Texas

Robert Meeropol, Executive Director, Rosenberg Fund for Children

Barbara Olshansky, deputy legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and author of Secret Trials and Executions

New Jersey Civil Rights Defense Committee

New Jersey Workers Democracy Network

National Lawyers Guild

National Lawyers Guild, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter

Not In Our Name Project

James Petras, professor emeritus of sociology at Binghamton University, New York

Jeremy Pikser, screenwriter

Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights and author with Ellen Ray of Guantanamo: What the World Should Know

Stephen F. Rohde, civil liberties lawyer and co-founder of Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace

Marc Sapir MD, MPH, co-convener of the UC Berkeley Teach In on Torture and executive director of Retro Poll

Sister Annette M. Sinagra, OP

State of Nature on-line magazine

Inge Van de Merlen, Brussells Tribunal executive committee

Gore Vidal

Anne Weills, civil rights attorney in Oakland, National Lawyers Guild

Leonard Weinglass, criminal defense attorney

Naomi Weisstein, professor emeritus of Neuroscience, State University of NY at Buffalo

Cornel West

Howard Zinn, historian

[institutions referenced for identification only]


Bush, Torture... and No Referee

Revolution #019, October 23, 2005, posted at revcom.us

Download, email, print this poster!

Poster version

Has there ever been a regime, in the history of the world, that openly declared its right to apply “torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”?


There are many regimes that carry out torture—most of them are linked to and working for the United States (many trained at places like the notorious U.S. Army School of Assassins). But these regimes claim, at least, to follow the Geneva Convention’s rules against “torture, and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” With the world shocked by images of torture at Abu Ghraib, and hellish conditions at Guantánamo, Senator John McCain introduced an amendment to a bill in Congress authorizing billions for the war on Iraq, stating that the money would not be used for “torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” McCain, a former (shot down) carpetbomber/ mass murderer bomber pilot in the Vietnam war, explained on ABC’s “This Week” that his issue with all this is that “it is hurting America’s image abroad.” Bush’s response: So what. His Press Secretary Scott McClellan announced that Bush would veto any bill with such language because “It would limit the President’s ability as Commander-in-Chief to effectively carry out the war on terrorism.”

Two things this tells you:

  1. The current regime is headed by a president who believes his “hands would be tied” if he couldn’t openly have his operatives and thugs running around torturing people.
  2. There is no “referee” here. Bush is utterly unaccountable to international law, world (or domestic) public opinion, or anything else that might restrain him. He must be driven from office and if it’s going to happen, it’s people like YOU who have to do it.


Mobilize November 2, 2005!

For November 2 rallying points in your city, go to worldcantwait.org

REVOLUTION newspaper • revcom.us • PO Box 3486 Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654

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Revolution #019, October 23, 2005, posted at revcom.us

When Bush is cornered and desperate, he first firms up his core supporters: the Christian Fascists. Or he makes a desperate gamble to change the equation. Or both. Daniel Ellsberg recently warned against another 9/11 type incident, after which Bush would make "the Patriot Act look like the Bill of Rights."

The November 2 Call points out that, "People who steal elections and believe they’re on a ‘mission from God’ will not go without a fight." Don’t think we can stop fascism on the cheap, or that we can "play for time"--the road to death camps is littered with those sorts of illusions. Get active and mobilize for November 2 like the future depended on it.

Because it does.

Correspondence from the Millions More March

Revolution #019, October 23, 2005, posted at revcom.us

On October 15, hundreds of thousands gathered in Washington, DC for the Millions More Movement. Revolution received the following correspondence from members of the Chicago Revolutionary Writers and Artists Collective.

With a group of approximately 300 people (mostly Black Muslims), we awaited departure from a mosque on the south side of Chicago. There was a team of about 12 people promoting the World Can’t Wait, Drive Out the Bush Regime movement. We watched a reporter from ABC interview only four of hundreds to derive what she felt our sentiment was. She also told me that "these people are not angry." Her view is obviously not the sentiment of the Millions More Movement, and we set out to get the truth.

As the bus convoy arrived in a suburb of DC, where we would be catching a train into the city, we had the opportunity to interview some families from the East Coast who would be attending the march. The people we spoke to hoped to achieve unity in a struggle against oppression and racism. They felt the goal of the march was to bring about awareness through education and to promote involvement in a movement of the betterment of Black people.

As we exited the subway station, we emerged into a busy crowd of people--many religious, nationalist, and political groups--all seeming to have the same sentiment: "We are upset with the way things are in our communities, in our government, and in the world." With the horrors of Katrina still fresh in memory, many, many people were disgusted with the Bush regime. Thousands of people reacted with support for the "Wanted: The Bush Regime" posters and t-shirts. People gathered to buy them and take World Can’t Wait flyers. When people saw us wearing the Wanted shirts with Bush and his crew’s profile printed on it, people stopped to take pictures or asked where they could get some for themselves.

The hundreds of thousands gathered on Constitution Street and on the Mall were not here solely to reminisce the Million Man March many of them experienced 10 years ago. They were here in mass disapproval of the direction the government is taking the United States. Dissatisfied people denounced the war from the stage, reminding hundreds of thousands that "People are dying for a false cause…The government lied…The troops should not be fighting in Iraq and we need to bring them home now…Bush should be impeached!"

In the Mall, you could see hundreds of bright green posters held by spectators and activists, children, and families. The signs stated, "The World Can’t Wait, Drive Out the Bush Regime, Mobilize for November 2nd." A World Can’t Wait supporter told me that there were many here at Millions More "on the brink, ready to throw everything in and get with the people."

Oakland Teachers Back November 2 Protests

Revolution #019, October 23, 2005, posted at revcom.us

The Oakland Education Association (OEA), a local of the National Education Association, recently passed a resolution supporting the right of Oakland students, teachers and others to participate in the November 2 national day of resistance and calling for a policy of no reprisals against those who take off school or work.

In 1994 the OEA sponsored teach-ins to support political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, in the face of attacks from the mayor, the police, and others, and they have opposed the war in Iraq. The union is currently in the midst of sharp struggle against numerous attacks on public education in Oakland. When the war in Iraq began, thousands of Oakland students walked out in protest--and they are now organizing to take part in a major way on November 2. Part of the significance of the OEA resolution is that it lets students and teachers know that they have the backing of the teachers union when they take action on November 2.

The following is a statement from a teacher and OEA site rep at Oakland High who authored the resolution:


November 2nd, 2005 is shaping up to be a major day of protest against the Bush regime, a day which could usher in a whole new movement to change the course of history! There are demonstrations and actions called for in over thirty cities, thousands of endorsements are coming in, and WORLD CANT WAIT/DRIVE OUT THE BUSH REGIME is picking up steam. As educators what we do can make a huge difference. On October 3rd, 2005 The Oakland Educational Association (OEA) representative assembly, in a spirit of righteous solidarity, unanimously passed a resolution I authored which "supports the right to participate in the November 2nd national day of protests and supports the policy of no reprisals against students, teachers and others in the school community who may take-off work or school to take part in protest activities that day."

If this was Germany in the early ’30s and you could see the outlines of the oncoming onslaught of Hitler and the Nazis, would you support a call to build a movement to drive them out? Would you join with or stand up for students and teachers and thousands of others who walk out of schools and jobs to take part in a day of resistance that could spark a whole new path forward against the rising fascism?

If this were Selma or Birmingham or Kent State or San Francisco in the late ’60s, where would you be, who would you stand with? What about Cesar Chavez and the farmworkers, the Rodney King uprisings, the struggle to free Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Battle of Seattle, and the protests against the Iraq Wars I and II? These have all been momentous struggles in which students and teachers have played pivotal roles, and have not only walked out of schools and jobs but put their hearts and souls and bodies on the line. And we are facing just such a critical moment in history right now, with perhaps even more to lose and a whole world to win!

The continuing slaughter of the Iraqi people! The exposure of Bush and the government surrounding New Orleans and the horrendous treatment of Black people. The vicious attack on poor and immigrant youth and youth of color represented by "No Child Left Behind," as well as the attempt to turn our schools into recruiting centers for their wars of expansion and greed! These are outrageous crimes that must be stopped!

As the WORLD CAN’T WAIT call puts it:

"The Bush Regime is setting out to remake society very quickly, in a fascist way, and for generations to come. A new movement is now forming to stop this disastrous course by taking action and on November 2nd it begins: a mass political resistance that will not stop until this regime is driven from office."

I urge educators across the country to take up WORLD CAN’T WAIT/DRIVE OUT THE BUSH REGIME activities on November 2nd and to pass similar resolutions of support and no reprisals against those who participate. NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT!

Uprising Against Nazis and their Protectors Rocks Toledo

Revolution #019, October 23, 2005, posted at revcom.us

FLASH: On Saturday, October 15, a major uprising against Nazis and police brutality erupted in the northern Ohio city of Toledo. The rebellion is being slandered as "gang violence" on network news, but it was a just uprising against a state-supported march by Nazis through a North Toledo neighborhood.

Framed by genocidal rants against Black people by major ruling class figures like William Bennett, who posed that "if you wanted to reduce crime . . . you could abort every Black baby in this country," and the way poor and Black people in New Orleans were villified after Hurricane Katrina, a Nazi group called for a march against "black crime" in Toledo. A large contingent of police not only protected their rally, but escorted them through angry protesters to a press conference, where their racist bile was recorded and promoted by the mainstream media.

In the days before the scheduled Nazi march, Toledo’s Black mayor, Jack Ford, and several ministers encouraged people to attend an "Erase the Hate" event at a Seniors Center a good distance from the Nazi event. The Toledo Blade--concentrating the logic of accomodating oneself to the most overt fascist outrage--editorialized that if people ignored the rally, "maybe that would be the equivalent of a tree falling in the forest with nobody around to hear it." Instead of heeding that advice, several hundred protesters confronted the Nazis chanting "Hey hey! Ho ho! This Nazi hate has got to go!" Signs in the crowd read "Black and White Unite," and "No Racists in Toledo." Police on horseback attacked the anti-Nazi protesters, while the Toledo Blade reported that one woman demanded, "Which side are you on? I don’t see you pushing any Nazis back!"

Within an hour, the Nazis had fled the scene. Crowds of angry people, who had gathered along the announced route of the Nazi march, clashed with police. From news reports, the uprising mainly targetted those who protected and promoted the Nazis -- police vehicles and a news van were pelted with rocks. When the mayor went into the neighborhood to try to chill things out, angry residents demanded, "Why were [the Nazis] allowed to be here? That’s what I want to know!"

As clashes erupted between police and the crowd, police attacked with teargas, some of which was thrown back at them. Reportedly over 100 people were arrested, many of them youth. As we go to press, a curfew remains in effect in Toledo.

From A World to Win News Service

Afghanistan: 4 years after the U.S.-led invasion

Part 1

Revolution #019, October 23, 2005, posted at revcom.us

We are running this article from A World to Win News Service in two parts.

October 10, 2005. A World to Win News Service. As the counting of the votes from the September parliamentary election in Afghanistan continues, October 7 marked the fourth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion. Since the election is the last step in the plan worked out by the big power-sponsored conference in Bonn, Germany, shortly after the December 2001 invasion, this is an appropriate time to take stock of what the invaders have achieved.

In addition to moving against its enemies in Al-Qaeda and getting rid of the Taleban, whom the U.S. had brought to power but found unsatisfactory, the invaders declared that their guns would bring much good to Afghanistan--peace, democracy, and the liberation of women. This, they said, was why they had to bomb the people and wreak even greater destruction on an already demolished country. But the U.S. had its own agenda, usually hidden from the people but openly stated in American political and strategic studies journals. They considered Afghanistan a key piece in their quest for global domination.

The U.S. and its allies handpicked Afghanistan’s participants at the Bonn conference, representatives of Islamic fundamentalist jihadi, tribal notables, warlords and other reactionaries no less hated by the people than the Taleban. The conference’s choice for head of the provisional government, Hamid Karzai, a U.S. puppet issued from and approved by the country’s most backward forces, was a signal indicating what sort of regime would be imposed--or in other words, what kind of social system Afghanistan would have and what kind of relationship would prevail between the country and the world’s dominant powers.

The transfer of power from the Taleban to Karzai was not peaceful, as claimed. Instead it was made possible by the British and U.S. forces in the most violent fighting Afghanistan had witnessed in decades. The subsequent steps called for in Bonn--including the December 2003 Loya Jirga (grand council) that approved the constitution and the presidential elections--have brought no change at all to the country’s real status. Now, after the parliamentary elections marking the end point in the Bonn plan, the invaders have announced they will step up the number of occupation troops, with an end to the occupation farther from view than ever.

The political situation

The U.S. imperialists control the Afghanistan government’s foreign and internal policies. Karzai is allowed at most to comment on tactical points or make empty speeches for public consumption. U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad openly led the configuration of the new regime at Bonn, during the Loya Jirga and at other key points. He is now playing the same role in Iraq. The electoral democracy that the occupiers are building for Afghanistan is nothing but a regime that suits their interest and has been enforced on the people of Afghanistan in the same way as similar regimes imposed by the British in the 19th century and the Soviet invaders in the 1980s.

Some people who opposed the invasion of Iraq thought that the occupation of Afghanistan had more justification. One reason is because they very mistakenly believed it could bring at least some good for the people there. Another reason, often related to that, is that unlike the invasion of Iraq this one was sanctioned by the UN and so appeared less like a unilateral U.S. move. But the fact is that the Europeans and U.S. had common interests in occupying Afghanistan, or at least Germany and France wanted to take part in the occupation for their own interests, perhaps because they didn’t dare let the U.S. exclude them. The fundamental point is that the fate and political life of Afghanistan is, right now, being shaped by the interests of imperialists, especially the U.S.

Karzai claims that U.S. and other foreign forces are not occupiers but friends who came at Afghanistan’s request. The traitor khans and emirs (clan and feudal rulers) during the British colonialist era claimed the same thing. The Parcham and Khalq (pro-USSR revisionist parties) made the same argument in favor of the Soviet invasion.

This is a big lie. Karzai didn’t bring the foreign forces to Afghanistan and they have not stayed on at his request--the truth is the other way around. They have all the guns and therefore all the power and Karzai has none. The foreign forces brought him to power and protect him. They can get rid of him if he doesn’t obey or fails to satisfy their interests.

The military situation

These occupiers seek complete control of the space of Afghanistan and have divided it among themselves. They are carrying out the occupation in four forms:

1. The occupiers in the "anti-terrorism" alliance under direct U.S. leadership that controls more than 30 military bases all over the country. They are the main troops fighting fundamentalist insurgents and ex-Taleban.

2. The ISAF (International Security Assistance Forces), led by NATO--which in this case means the European powers. They seized Kabul to provide security for the puppet regime and their own activities and prevent clashes among hostile bands and groups.

3. The Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT). In the name of protecting local reconstruction projects, these military units have widened their activities in many regions and are busy gathering information (spying) to strengthen the occupation. Most are under U.S. leadership, but other invader forces like the British and Germans run some of these teams.

4. Private security forces. Their officers and mercenaries--professional killers and criminals--have a completely free hand and are not accountable to anyone except the governments of their respective countries. They supposedly provide security for personnel and buildings in various projects, although their activities sometimes range far more broadly.

The puppet regime has no air force. The occupation forces are building an Afghan army in a way that cannot challenge them on the ground either. In the name of protecting the electoral process and fighting the increase in pro-Taleban insurgents, and also faced with the rise of mass anti-occupation protests, the occupiers and especially the U.S. have been trying to sharply increase the number of foreign troops. The U.S., however, cannot spare soldiers now fighting an increasingly difficult war in Iraq. In fact, the Bush government would like to be able to bring some American troops there from Afghanistan. Donald Rumsfeld, at a recent NATO meeting in Berlin, asked the NATO countries to increase their forces in Afghanistan. This was opposed by France, Spain, and Germany, which have a different strategy there. But Britain agreed to send 4-5000 more soldiers. Canada and Holland also responded positively, and Australia and New Zealand, though not in NATO, have also indicated that they might comply. In all, NATO recently agreed to boost its forces from 10,000 to 15,000, although there is still a dispute about the degree and way in which they will take part in fighting in the increasingly unstable eastern and southern part of the country.

Security for the people in Kabul is bad, and outside Kabul it is even worse, certainly worse than it was under the Taleban. If anyone leaves town, they do so in convoys. Even the aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres was forced to leave after years of activity even during the Taleban regime. Five of its staff members were murdered last June. But the 17,000 U.S. forces, with their guns and Apache attack helicopters, are controlling the land and they are using the haze of fear and uncertainty that has taken over the country to advance a draconian war against the people.

To justify the invasion, the imperialists and their columnists claimed that because the country had seen war for so long, the people want and need peace more than anything else--more than, for example, having their own country. But the bombers, missiles, and ground forces of the U.S. and its allies have inflicted horrible atrocities on the people without letup ever since. U.S. jets are still bombing defenseless villagers. On July 5, the Guardian reported that American air raids killed "17 villagers, including women and children." On August 11, U.S. warplanes bombed houses in Zabul province in southwest Afghanistan, killing several civilians and wounding others, including a baby. In the version of this incident given out by the American military, "18 suspected guerrillas and one U.S. soldier died in the clash." ( Guardian, August 12.) Some of these continuing incidents are reported in this distorted way and many are not revealed at all. U.S. forces continue launching midnight raids on villages and harassing families. Amid rising anger, the arrest of a woman and two men in predawn raids sparked a massive demonstration in Jalalabad last December.

Coming next week in Part 2: The economic situation, the liberation of women, and rising people’s resistance

Earthquake in Pakistan: Destruction, Suffering and the US Militarization of "Relief"

by Li Onesto

Revolution #019, October 23, 2005, posted at revcom.us

Pakistan, October 8, Saturday morning. People were already up and working and schoolchildren were at their desks when a devastating earthquake struck, followed by more than 100 aftershocks. Officials estimate that 25,000 have been killed. But rescue operations have not even reached many areas hit by the quake and many bodies are still buried beneath piles of concrete, steel and wood. The death toll is expected to surpass 40,000. The earthquake’s epicentre was near Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, which suffered extensive damage, with most of its buildings destroyed. And whole communities have been flattened in the region touching Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan.

The destruction is immense. Four million people have been affected, tens of thousands have been injured, and as many as 2.5 million have been left homeless.

Some people were rescued after being trapped for several days underneath piles of collapsed concrete. A number of countries sent professional search-and-rescue teams, and a French group found five children at one school. But these teams only stayed a couple of days and only went to the more accessible areas.

In such devastation every hour counts. People trapped under rubble can be saved and the seriously wounded need immediate hospital care. But for several days, there was no help for tens of thousands.

People were forced to dig with their bare hands to find survivors. Villagers carried the wounded for hours across rugged terrain, trying to find medical help. In Balakot, a northern town of 30,000, dozens came from surrounding areas to help lift the debris, pull out bodies, and help the wounded. But there was a limit to what they could do without heavy lifting equipment and medical supplies.

People have lost their homes and loved ones and there is no food or shelter. Desperate crowds have descended on military trucks, trying to get food, tents and medicine. Five days after the quake, rescuers had not yet reached hundreds of villages and, according to Pakistani officials, only 3,110 people had been evacuated by helicopter.

The Politics of U.S. Aid

The day after the earthquake, the U.S. contributed $1 million to the Red Cross and $100,000 in aid to Pakistan (see BBC table of international aid offered to Pakistan). Later the U.S. pledged $50 million, the use of eight helicopters, two portable hospitals, and some engineers with earthmoving equipment.

The U.S. has been known to promise aid and then never deliver. John Samuel, Asia director of ActionAid International, told a news conference earlier this year the U.S. aid promised after the Asian tsunami is a classic example of "phantom aid." And Emira Woods, at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., points out that the U.S. government places conditions on foreign aid that require most relief and development assistance materials and services to be purchased from U.S. companies and agencies.

Even if the U.S. actually delivered on its promise to Pakistan -- it would still be only a quarter of what the U.S. spends every day for the war in Iraq. And as trapped and wounded died in Pakistan, just over the border, there was a fleet of U.S. helicopters being used to "hunt down terrorists."

International Aid to Pakistan

EU: $3.6m
Australia: $380,000
UK: $177,000 and 60-strong team
US: $100,000
China: 49 rescuers, dogs, 17 tons of equipment
Japan: 50 rescue workers
Russia: 30 rescuers, sniffer dogs, special equipment
Germany: $60,000

Source: BBC News Website


Pakistan is a poor and underdeveloped country, and much of the area hit by the quake is remote and impoverished. Many wounded and dying have no medical care even in normal times and survivors now face little or no shelter against the cold weather setting in. All this, and the outbreaks of disease, will add to the death toll. And while billions of dollars and huge resources, including massive transport and medical capabilities, are being used to occupy and kill people in Iraq, in the critical days after the earthquake, thousands of people were left to die.

Unlike after the recent Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Bush didn’t wait for days before saying something about the earthquake in Pakistan. But this didn’t have anything to do with saving lives. It had everything to do with U.S. strategic interests in Pakistan.

Pakistan has a 1,400-mile border with Afghanistan and after September 11 it became crucial to the U.S. "war on terror." Bush offered $3 billion in aid and Pakistan’s president Pervez Musharraf cravenly submitted to U.S. requests for military and logistical support in the invasion of Afghanistan. Musharraf has since been a key U.S. flunky in a country where reactionary Islamic fundamentalism is very powerful, including within Pakistan’s military and intelligence apparatus.

The area hit by the earthquake is an extremely unstable region. For over 50 years, India and Pakistan have fought over the contested territory of Kashmir. And the so-called "Line of Control" separating India-controlled and Pakistan-controlled Kashmir is one of the most militarized areas in the world. Musharraf, who has survived several assassination attempts, has been holding together a government with many competing centers of power -- and the U.S. fears the earthquake could further destabilize things and lead to Musharraf’s downfall.

The New York Times reported that one reason for the quick offer of U.S. aid to Pakistan was "the desire to bolster General Musharraf when his help is badly needed in finding Osama bin Laden and repressing Islamic radicals." ( New York Times, "Showing Speed and Loyalty, Bush Mobilizes Aid to Pakistan," 10-10-05)

The Militarizationof U.S. "Relief"

After Hurricane Katrina, we saw how the U.S. treated the people -- how instead of helping survivors, police and national guardsmen shoved guns in people’s faces.

This is no accident. The insertion of military forces as the major force in disaster relief is a military doctrine being articulated and fought for by high-level policy makers in the Bush regime.

Remember what Brig. Gen. Gary Jones, commander of the Louisiana National Guard’s Joint Task Force, said in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina? He said:

"This place is going to look like Little Somalia. We’re going to go out and take this city back. This will be a combat operation to get this city under control."

Reactionary pro-imperialist military analyst Robert D. Kaplan put it straight out in a New York Times op ed piece a couple days after the earthquake ("Next: A War Against Nature," 10-12-05). He said:

"The rest of the world and even quite a few Americans are uncomfortable with the globe-trotting United States military. But in future years they will see much more of it. The causes will be more related to the natural environment than to terrorism… When such disasters occur, security systems break down and lawlessness erupts. The first effect of the earthquake in the Pakistani town of Muzaffarabad was widespread looting--just as in New Orleans. Relief aid is undermined unless those who would help the victims can monopolize the use of force. That requires troops.

"Because of our military’s ability to move quickly into new territory and establish security perimeters, it is emerging as the world’s most effective emergency relief organization… The distinctions between war and relief, between domestic and foreign deployments, are breaking down."

First of all, Kaplan is lying – widespread looting did not characterized the situation in New Orleans or the earthquake-hit areas in Pakistan. In both cases, the masses of people showed tremendous courage in helping each other as they faced a horrible situation with no government help in sight.

Then Kaplan redefines disaster relief aid. For the U.S., it’s not about rescuing people, bringing in food, water and medical supplies or providing transportation and shelter for the wounded and homeless. It’s about establishing U.S. military control and using this situation to further the aims of U.S. imperialism. In this same op ed piece Kaplan talks about undertaking relief work "to win goodwill and, informally, to pick up intelligence on America’s terrorist enemies."

Robert Kaplan is not just anyone. He’s well connected to the Bush regime and the Pentagon. He is the author of 10 books on international affairs and travel. When George W. Bush was governor of Texas he claimed Kaplan was at the top of his reading list, and Kaplan’s books were also on President Bill Clinton’s bookshelf. Kaplan has been a consultant to the U.S. Army’s Special Forces Regiment, the U.S. Air Force, and the U.S. Marines. He has lectured at military war colleges, the FBI, the CIA, the National Security Agency, the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, and the U.S. State Department.

And how did Robert Kaplan spend his summer? In a recent speech to the Carnegie Council, he explained that he was embedded with a ranger battalion in Nepal. A genuine liberation struggle is going on in Nepal and a Maoist people’s war now controls most of the countryside. The U.S. has provided the reactionary Nepalese regime with millions of dollars, thousands of weapons and military training. Like Pakistan, Nepal sits on the Himalayan fault line. And as in Pakistan, a devastating earthquake would provide the U.S. with new opportunities to break down, as Kaplan says, the " distinctions between war and relief and between domestic and foreign deployments."

"After observing a map in which the Pentagon had divided the world into five areas of command, Mr. Kaplan concluded that even though some may wish to deny the very existence of America’s imperialistic policies, wasn’t this map proof that the Pentagon had appropriated the entire planet, leaving no point of the earth surface unaccounted for?"

From an introduction to a speech by Robert D. Kaplan, consultant to the U.S. military, 10 days before the earthquake in Pakistan (see http://www.carnegiecouncil.org)

From Set the Record Straight


What Is Communism? What Is Its Real History? What Does It Have to Do with the World Today? Part 1

Revolution #019, October 23, 2005, posted at revcom.us

Revolution is running this FAQ in four parts. Contact Set the Record Straight for the full FAQ.

Q Hasn’t the communist movement produced dictatorial figures like Stalin?

A The widely promoted demonization and lies about Stalin stand in the way of gaining a real understanding of the historical role that he played and the great accomplishments of the Soviet Union. After Lenin’s death in 1924, Stalin assumed leadership--and in the decade that followed, the Soviet Union was an exciting and emancipatory society. Stalin led the struggles to carry out collectivization of agriculture and to socialize the ownership of industry. The revolution created a socialist economy based on public-state ownership, social cooperation, and conscious planning. This had never been done before. Throughout Stalin’s leadership, the Soviet Union faced incredible pressures: counterrevolution, encirclement by hostile imperial powers, and invasion by the Nazis during World War 2. Stalin led people to stand up to this. But Stalin also had real weaknesses. For example, as the revolution came under greater pressure in the 1930s, he relied less and less on the conscious activism of the masses and more and more on administrative measures. It was necessary to suppress counter-revolutionary forces. But as threats grew in the 1930s Stalin repressed people who were just raising disagreements and dissent. Bob Avakian points out that if the bourgeoisie can uphold Madison and Jefferson--who played pivotal roles in the bourgeois American Revolution but were unapologetic slave-owners--then revolutionaries can uphold Stalin while also criticizing and learning from his mistakes.

Q What about Mao’s Cultural Revolution?

A Mao was dealing with the problem of a new bourgeois elite emerging within the Communist Party. They wanted to bring back capitalism, seizing on bourgeois aspects in society. For instance, on the eve of the Cultural Revolution, many factories still had systems of one-man management and competitive bonus systems that pitted workers against each other; educational and health resources were concentrated in the cities. Mao called on people to rise up against oppressive leaders and institutional structures. Hundreds of millions of workers and peasants were debating questions of the direction of society, criticizing out-of-touch officials, forging more participatory forms of management and administration, and entering into the realms of science and culture. The divisions between mental and manual labor and between urban and rural areas were being broken down. Middle-school enrollment in the countryside rose from 15 million to 58 million! The Cultural Revolution had coherent and liberating goals: to prevent the restoration of capitalism; to revolutionize the institutions of society, including the Communist Party; and to challenge old ways of thinking--in short, to carry forward and deepen socialist revolution.

Q But wasn’t there great violence, and weren’t intellectuals and artists persecuted?

A Violence was not the main feature of the Cultural Revolution. This was overwhelmingly a political and ideological struggle. And much of the violence that occurred was actually incited by opponents of the Cultural Revolution. Artists and intellectuals were not persecuted as a social group. They were called on to integrate with and learn from the laboring masses, especially in the countryside. Exciting efforts were made to create revolutionary culture and works of art that could serve as models. Secondarily, there were mistakes and errors in how artists and intellectuals were treated; and these issues have to be handled better in future socialist societies.

Coming next week: Part 3--Isn’t communism outmoded? How is it relevant to countries like the U.S.?

Bush “Solution” to Bird Flu: Martial Law

Revolution #019, October 23, 2005, posted at revcom.us

Bush has announced that in the event of a flu outbreak in the US he will consider using the military to "effect a quarantine" and putting National Guard troops under federal, rather than state, control.

Dr. Irwin Redlener, associate dean of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and director of its National Center for Disaster Preparedness, told the Associated Press that a law enforcement role for the military would be an "extraordinarily Draconian measure" -- and unnecessary if the nation had built the capability for rapid vaccine production, ensured a large supply of anti-virals like Tamiflu and not allowed the degradation of the public health system.

Redlener said, "The translation of this is martial law in the United States."

A strain of avian influenza called H5N1 has led to the death of more than 140 million birds in Asia. It has infected 116 people, of whom 60 have died, and health experts predict a flu pandemic, engulfing the world, could hit as soon as three months.

This could lead to millions of deaths around the world. The human mortality rate for this flu has been over 50 percent. In comparison, a bird flu which killed 40 million people worldwide in 1917-1918 had a mortality rate of just 5 percent. This system has huge resources – money, scientists, and factories. But the Bush administration has done little to prepare for such a pandemic. US health agencies reportedly have just two million doses of Tamiflu, an antiviral drug effective in combating the H5N1 virus. This is barely enough for one percent of the US population.

Bush has also asked Congress for the power to use the military for law enforcement in the event of a flu outbreak. The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 bans the military from participating in police-type activity in the U.S. But Bush is trying to find ways to get rid of such constraints. He openly discussed the possibility of changing Posse Comitatus after Hurricane Katrina. And the devastating earthquake in Pakistan has evoked further discussion among U.S. military analysts about the militarization of relief work, internationally and domestically. (see Earthquake in Pakistan: Destruction, Suffering and the US Militarization of "Relief", by Li Onesto)

Deploying troops to enforce quarantines has never been done in the U.S. Sealing off whole regions of the country by military force has more in common with civil war measures than preventive health care. And disease control experts have pointed out that Bush’s plan would result in soldiers getting and actually spreading the flu.

The Bush regime is seizing on every social crisis -- real, potential or made up -- to trample on civil rights, press for unrestricted power, and make things worse. A military quarantine is no more of a helpful solution than quarantining people with AIDS, rounding up Arab immigrants after 9/11, or instituting subway searches after bombings in London. Talk of martial law to deal with the threat of a flu pandemic is a sign of the extreme times we are in and the extreme measures the Bush regime is ready, willing and wants to take.

God: the Original Fascist

Part 4a: Holy Wars—Manifest Destiny in a Biblical Setting

a series submitted by A. Brooks, a reader of REVOLUTION newspaper

Revolution #019, October 23, 2005, posted at revcom.us

EDITOR’S NOTE: This series of articles was submitted by a reader who was inspired by Bob Avakian’s writings and talks on religion and, further provoked by discussions and arguments with friends about the Bible, engaged in a systematic study of the first five books of the Bible. These books, which are known as the "Mosaic Books" (and which contain such crucial passages as that outlining the Ten Commandments), lay out the foundation for some of the Bible’s most important themes. After having read these five, Mosaic books of the Bible, the reader was struck even more deeply by how profoundly the essence of the Bible’s message has been distorted and hidden.

Parts 3a and 3b in the previous two issues showed how, according to the Bible, God consolidates his rule by total fear and terror.

Throughout history, horrible atrocities have been committed by one people against another in the name of God. These atrocities have been characterized by the highest degree of sadistic savagery, and have usually been fueled by two related notions: the notion of superiority as a people (with religion--and in particular, Christianity--frequently offered as the supposed justification for this designation of superiority); and the notion of entitlement to occupied land that comes with this notion of superiority. In other words, the philosophy driving conquest throughout history can often be boiled down to a notion that one people are entitled to the land of another because they are superior, with the religion of the invaders often serving as the means by which these invaders convince themselves of their superiority.

As mentioned earlier in this series, this type of logic has been used to justify horrific slaughter and destruction against innocent people--including in the "modern era," from the time Columbus first set foot in the Americas, to the enslavement of Africans in those same Americas, to the unspeakable horrors perpetrated upon Jews during the Holocaust, to the colonization of native peoples in Africa, Asia, and the Americas by European rulers.

It is again important to understand that it is no accident that brutal conquests such as these have so often been done in the name of a Christian God, or that religion has been cited as the means by which invaders shall dominate others, plunder their land, and then justify the whole thing. No, instead, the blueprint for this sort of Holy Conquest can indeed be found early and often in the Bible itself. The essence of the narrative found in the Five Mosaic books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) is this: God has "chosen" certain people and he is entrusting, instructing, and demanding that they follow absolutely his teachings and Commandments. Any of those within this "chosen people" who violate this absolute rule and its absolute commandments--and certainly any human beings who do not belong to this chosen people to begin with--had better take cover!

The understanding that conquest is a key theme of the Bible can be reached following two general paths: One is by studying the story of God’s chosen people as they trek towards the land of Canaan, which God has promised to give to this people and their descendants. In tracing this story, it quickly becomes apparent that this "promised land" is not vacant, but rather is occupied by a variety of peoples, including the Amorites, the Hittites, the Canaanites, and the Jebusites. The other main way to arrive at a full picture of the brutality committed in God’s name is to simply study what God repeatedly says should be done to any peoples--in general, in any time or place--whom his chosen people encounter, especially if, in any way, they pose an obstacle to god’s great plan.

Let us begin with the first theme: God’s ruthless ethnic cleansing in the land of Canaan. We first read of God’s plan to annihilate all inhabitants of this land in order to clear the way for his chosen people in Exodus: "When my angel goes before you to the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, and I annihilate them, you shall not bow down to their gods in worship, to follow their practices, but shall tear them down and smash their pillars to bits." (Exodus 23) Here we see the clear justification that God is offering behind his total destruction of foreign peoples and towns: the fact that the people of these towns are worshipping other Gods besides Himself. In the next passage, the Bible makes it clear that the peoples whose fate is annihilation are, at the time he is speaking, the inhabitants of the very land he has promised to his followers: "I will send forth my terror before you, and I will throw into panic all the people among whom you come....I will send a plague ahead of you, and it shall drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites... I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hands and you will drive them out before you. You shall make no covenant with them and their gods. They shall not remain in your land, lest they cause you to sin against me." (Exodus 23)

In the above passage, we see one of the first instances of an insidious and recurring theme that the Bible offers up: Refusal to make peace with other peoples, even if these peoples are willing to make peace with God’s followers! Further on in Exodus, God again commands his followers that under no circumstances must they make peace with those who inhabit Canaan: "Beware of making a covenant with the inhabitants of the land against which you are advancing, lest there be a snare in your midst. No, you must tear down their altars, smash their pillars, and cut down their sacred posts." (Exodus 34)

In Leviticus, God refers again to one of his favorite practices--inflicting plagues as a punishment on those who do not follow him: "When you enter the land of Canaan that I give you as a possession, and I inflict an eruptive plague upon a house in the land you possess," God begins, before outlining the proper procedure for cleaning a house that God Himself infected with the plague! (Leviticus 14) In Leviticus 20, God again offers a supposed justification for the brutality he is inflicting upon the inhabitants of Canaan: That justification, once again, is that the inhabitants of the land deviated from or resisted his ways: "You shall faithfully observe all my laws and all my regulations, lest the land to which I bring you in to settle spew you out. You shall not follow the principles of the nation that I am driving out before you. For it is because they did all these things that I abhorred them and said to you: `You shall possess their land, for I will give it to you to possess.’" (Leviticus 20)

In Numbers, God speaks to Moses and employs a familiar trick device used by conquerors and imperialists throughout history: casting the conquered in the role of the aggressor, and the invaders in the role of the attacked. God provides to Moses a series of instructions for the proper procedure for when "You are at war in your land against an aggressor who attacks you." (Numbers 10) Notice the way in which God has distorted the equation here: His followers have assembled armies to invade a land that is already occupied, yet God refers to it as "your land" by mere virtue of the fact that God has decided that things are so. Proceeding from this assumption that the land of Canaan is naturally "theirs," God’s followers are then supposed to be imbued with some sort of legitimacy that makes any attack on them by "aggressors" (i.e., those already inhabiting the land) illegitimate. Taking a look at the current U.S. occupation of Iraq, as well as the countless other wars waged by American and other imperialist powers, I must return to my refrain: Sound familiar?

Next week: Part 4b: How God also relies on his chief foot soldiers to articulate his philosophy of conquest.

Assembly Points for Oct. 22, 2005

Revolution #019, October 23, 2005, posted at revcom.us

Los Angeles

1 p.m., Olympic & Broadway


New York City

2 p.m., Madison Square Park at 23rd Street and Broadway, Manhattan, marching to Times Square




San Jose

11 a.m., Assemble at Emma Prusch Farm Park, marching into neighborhoods and back to Emma Prusch at 647 S. King, near Story Road



Tucson, Arizona

2 p.m., Armory Park Ballroom, 220 S 6 th Avenue

Migra Patrol-Copwatch 520-770-1373



Fresno, California

5:30 p.m., Mariposa and N. Street across from the main library

Rev. Floyd D. Harris Jr 599-288-0828 or Comite NO NOS VAMOS: Gloria Hernandez 559-498-6033/268-2261 or Mai Summer Vue 559-227-4631; xyfloyd@aol.com or iwapgh@aol.com or sunrisevue@earthlink.net

Minneapolis, Minnesota

2:00 p.m., Rally and March, from Peavy Park, Franklin & Chicago Aves.; 10 p.m., Cop Watch at 1 st Ave. and Fifth St. Downtown

612-874-STOP (7867); mgresist@minn.net

Cleveland, Ohio

3:30 p.m., Tower City, Public Square, marching to Justice Center and City Hall

216-451-1968; Billswain68@hotmail.com

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

11 a.m., Freedom Corner (Centre Avenue & Crawford) in the Hill District, marching to downtown County Courthouse

412-241-1339; taylorceleste@hotmail.com

Seattle, Washington

12 p.m., Westlake Park (4 th and Pine)

206-264-5527; oct22seattle@hotmail.com

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

10 a.m., North side meet at Ziegler Union Square (4th & Michigan), South side meet at the Cesar Chavez Center (718 S. 6th St.); Rally at 6th St. Viaduct

414-333-9468; Eddie.Perez@citizenactionwi.org