Revolution #021, November 6, 2005, posted at

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A Critical Time to Act

Bush Regime: Under Siege and Lashing Back

Revolution #021, November 6, 2005, posted at

The Bush Regime is in trouble. Big trouble.

And that makes this moment both extremely promising and extremely dangerous. We stand at a crossroads where the impact of what we do--or don’t do--is greatly magnified.

The past week has witnessed a rapid-fire whirl of events. In Iraq, the 2000th American soldier died--on top of tens of thousands of Iraqis--and people took to the streets in hundreds of U.S. cities to protest. Coinciding with that, two major ruling class figures--Brent Scowcroft, who had been a chief foreign policy adviser to Bush’s father, and Lawrence Wilkerson, who is Colin Powell’s former chief of staff--made blistering criticisms of Bush’s conduct of the war in Iraq. On Thursday, Bush was forced to withdraw his nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. Then on Friday, Irving "Scooter" Libby--a major figure in the regime--was indicted on five felonies connected to the lies used to justify the war in Iraq.

Why is this happening? What class interests are represented in all this swirl? And what does it mean for the people?


We have to recognize that Bush came to power with a sweeping plan to transform American society--both its place in the world and its "social contract." The people who brought Bush to power--and remember, they shamelessly and coercively stole an election to get him in--wanted a much more untrammeled domination of the planet by the U.S. To help effect that and to keep the "home base" itself stable, they needed and wanted a fascist order at home, one propped up ideologically and socially by an extreme, know-nothing brand of Christianity. The end of the Cold War, the tremendous changes brought by globalization, the differences in people’s thinking off of both the struggles of the ’60s and the socioeconomic transformations of the ’90s--all these, and many other things besides, had introduced a lot of uncertainty and instability, and the imperialists saw the need for an iron fist to bludgeon their way through.

This has led to a very radical restructuring in how U.S. imperialism enforces its domination, overseas and domestically. For example: this is not the first time that U.S. intelligence and military personnel have tortured prisoners. But it IS the first time that the president has openly proclaimed that he has the legal right to order such torture! (It is also significant that those within the army who could not stomach the systematic and wide-ranging scope of the "new torture" regimen were forced out.) Nor is this the first time that religion has played a prominent role in U.S. public life. But it IS the first time when Supreme Court nominees must be vetted and approved by religious fanatics and when the president’s "model justice" (Scalia) says that the legitimacy of the government is based on "God’s will," rather than the consent of the governed (even though the "consent of the governed" is itself a myth, the fact that a Supreme Court justice would not even claim it as the source of legitimacy is significant. . . and ominous). And these are just a few examples of many.

Bush does all this not mainly out of perversity and ignorance, but because he represents a section of imperialists--the dominant section--that believes that these "new norms" must be enforced to maintain U.S. dominance abroad and hold U.S. society together while doing so. He and others are convinced that this and this alone can represent the interests of the system in a time of major and unpredictable changes. He is not the whole of the system, nor is he all of what’s wrong; but he is its main representative and the changes he represents will be very bad for the people and their ability to struggle for a better future.


In an article that appeared earlier this year (and is now available in the pamphlet The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era), Bob Avakian outlined how Bush and Cheney must hold together a number of diverse and contradictory forces in their regime.1 The Christian Fascists are the driving and dominant force within this whole thing, but they are not the totality; there are different forces representing different interests and programs within the regime, and these get fought out in different ways. Bush has been known for keeping these conflicts under wraps. But with the Miers nomination, these conflicts came out very sharply, and when the dust cleared, the Christian Fascists emerged even more dominant.

Essentially, Bush had said to these forces, "Hey look, I got some problems with Iraq and Katrina, and I don’t want a big political fight over the Supreme Court right now. But I’m one of you, you can trust me, and I say Miers is okay. So get behind her." And the Christian Fascists, essentially, said back to Bush, "No way. We want someone who can bully like Scalia, we want someone who is openly going to transform the whole legal structure to our liking, and we don’t care if there’s a big fight in the Senate about it--in fact, all the better if there is. Let’s make it clear to the whole society that there’s gonna be big changes around here and people are gonna have to learn to accept those changes."

The past week has called to mind Bob Avakian’s characterization of the Christian Fascists as "monsters demanding to be fed." As if to give life to that very point, Paul Weyrich, one of their chief architects and strategists, was quoted this week as saying that, "If we don’t get a good nominee--if it’s somebody else who is a stealth candidate, and we don’t know what their judicial philosophy is--well then that will be the end of the Bush coalition." The fact that Bush gave in to the theocrats without a fight shows just how powerful and relentless these forces are. More ominously, it shows just how far along the road to theocracy we’ve travelled-- and just how much further we’ll go and how quickly we’ll get there if we fail to do something radical about it right now.


Another big element in the Bush-Cheney axis has been the neoconservatives, or neocons. Here again we want to draw on The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era, and in particular the article "Bush I. . . Bush II . . . And Things Going To Extremes." In broad strokes, Bush the father represented "imperialism as usual"--the maintenance of brutal, openly authoritarian and murderous regimes to enforce the status quo. But the neocons envision a much more wide-ranging transformation of the world. In particular, within the Middle East these neocons want to restructure things to bring in governments that (a) would have at least some democratic forms (though these states would remain even more firmly under U.S. domination, which gives a good sense of the strict "limitations" of the kind of democracy they have in mind), so as to be able to better channel and contain the forces unleashed by modernization in those countries and the rising discontent among the people, and (b) would more openly cooperate with (and subordinate themselves to) Israel in maintaining American domination of the region.

People like Brent Scowcroft and Lawrence Wilkerson opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq not because it would be utterly unjust and brutal--Scowcroft, after all, played a huge role in orchestrating the Iran-Iraq war of 1980s (which took one million lives!), as well as planning the war against Iraq in 1991. Rather, they worried that the wild ambitions of the neocons risked damaging imperialist interests, in a range of dimensions. Scowcroft spoke out against the Iraq war in early 2002, before it began, but then withheld criticism until it became plain that the plans and dreams of the neocons were crashing against the realities of Iraqi society and the resistance of Iraqi people. Now--and again, coming from their viewpoints as dedicated and conscious servants of imperialism--he and Wilkerson object that the Iraq war has at the very least "courted disaster."

We need to be very clear on this: the changes advocated by Scowcroft et al are extremely limited and bound by these same imperialist class interests. They want to maintain U.S. troops in Iraq in the service of U.S. domination over Iraq. But they want this to be part of a different strategic mix and they want much more limited ambitions in regard to actually transforming the social structures of the Middle Eastern states under U.S. domination. Viewed from the standpoint of those under the boot of U.S. domination, neither Bush I nor Bush II is better--they are both worse. And viewed from the standpoint of the world’s people, including the vast majority in the U.S., nothing short of immediate American withdrawal from Iraq is acceptable.

The recently indicted Libby, it should be noted, is a top neoconservative and was a very powerful figure in the Bush administration. He was "Cheney’s Cheney," in the words of one reporter--that is, both the brains and enforcer of the neocon policies within the Cheney clique, just as Cheney developed and enforced these in the regime as a whole. Exactly how and why and by whom Libby got brought down must remain a matter of speculation for now--though it is very much in the interests of the people to force the truth to come out and to defeat any attempts to "close the books" on this whole pattern of lies, deception, fraud, suppression, intimidation, and punishment. In any event, it is hard to imagine that the disagreements over how best to fight the war in Iraq and carry out broader imperialist interests as well did not enter into the whole thing.


So, a few lessons from the past few weeks.

First, the Bush Regime is powerful and determined, but they are not all -powerful. The regime (and beyond that, the system it represents) faces enormous challenges in trying to radically restructure the forms of its domination both worldwide and within the U.S. itself. Especially to the extent that people resist, cracks and conflicts within the regime itself can burst into the open. The withdrawal of Miers, the indictments and resignation of Libby, and the criticism of the war grow out of big centrifugal pressures within the Republican camp, and create serious difficulties for Bush. And these difficulties for Bush--again, if we seize on them and struggle relentlessly on our part to drive him and the whole package he represents OUT--can in turn create more openings for people to "break free" in their thinking and actions.

Second, Bush and the people around him are not about to back off. The Christian Fascists are, to borrow a phrase, hell-bound to ram their agenda ahead, despite the fact that the vast majority of people in this country clearly do not want to live in a fascist theocracy, even one with "democratic trimmings." As to the war in Iraq, Bush himself has been going around the country giving speeches justifying it in very sweeping terms in an effort to both "firm up his base" and "make a case" more broadly for continuing this bloody, brutal occupation.

Third, unless the people come into the streets in powerful resistance, with November 2 as the beginning, the Bush Regime can knit itself back together again, possibly even stronger than before. But if, on the other hand, we do seize on this crisis in the regime to make our case even more convincingly on why we must drive them out; and if, in the words of a very insightful analysis on, 2 we seize on this "to build, ever more powerfully, a movement of massive resistance to do just that, beginning in a big way on November 2 (the first anniversary of Bush's ‘re-election’)," then the possibility of a totally different and much better future can emerge. To continue from that essay:

"Once again it is crucial to understand that the growing difficulties and mounting crises of the Bush regime, and Bush's response to all this, only serve to underline both the urgent need, and the growing possibility, to drive out this regime, through the mobilization of millions of people who know in their hearts that in fact they must, and are coming to see that they can, change the course of history through their own independent historical political action. And, as the 'Call' for November 2 concludes:

"‘The point is this:history is full of examples where people who had right on their side fought against tremendous odds and were victorious. And it is also full of examples of people passively hoping to wait it out, only to get swallowed up by a horror beyond what they ever imagined.

"‘The future is unwritten. WHICH ONE WE GET IS UP TO US.’"


Send us your comments.


Nov. 2 Convergences Across The Country & Local Contact Info

Revolution #021, November 6, 2005, posted at





12 PM Rally at Union Square (14th Street). March west on 14th, up on 8th Ave to Rally at Times Square. , 212-969-0772

Speakers: Rev. Luis Barrios- St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Jodie Evans-Code Pink, Rev. Earl Kooperkamp-St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Lynne Stewart-Criminal Defense Attorney, Tom Duane-New York State Senator, Still We Rise Coalition, Esther Kaplan-author "With God on Our Side," Queers for Economic Justice, ACT-UP

School Walk-Outs

Hunter College West: 11:00 AM, 68th and Lexington;

New York University: 11:30 AM Washington Square Park Fountain; , 310-503-9372

City College of New York: NAC Building 10:00 AM 138 th;

Baruch CUNY:11 am 24th and LexingtonNYC

Westchester Community College:10:30 AM at Court House in White Plains

Midwood High School: 9:30 AM

Roslyn High School: 10:30 AM

Saunders High School: 9-9:30 AM

Beacon High School: 11 AM

Notre Dame School: 11 AM rally 327 w. 13th b/w 8th and Hudson

SAN FRANCISCO , 510-868-0819
Main: 12 PM, Civic Center Plaza, San Francisco, Rally until 1 PM. March at 1 PM.End Rally: 4:30 PM Civic Center Plaza. Join with the "Dia de Los Muertos" procession at 24th and Bryant St at 7 PM

Morning Assembly Points: 10 AM SF City College, 10 AM SF State University Malcolm X Plaza for those who live outside of the city who want to car pool or arrive at the main rally with others. Carpools at 10:30AM in the PPJC parking lot 457 Kingsley Ave, Palo Alto.

North Bay Chapter (Marin/Sonoma) Carpools-Caravans: Mill Valley: Seminary Dr. at Hwy 101, GGT Park and Ride, 9:00 AM. Petaluma: So. Petaluma Blvd. at Hwy. 101, GGT Park and Ride, 8:30 AM; Santa Rosa: Piner Rd. and Industrial, GGT Park and Ride Meet, 8 AM. Contact Marin/Sonoma North Bay Chapter, (707) 774-1960, (415)791-1094,

San Jose Carpool: 10:00 AM, San Jose Cahill St. Diridon Station

Hayes Valley Carpool: Hayes Valley Green (Hayes and Octavia), 10 AM

LOS ANGELES , (323) 462-4771 PM actions on Wilshire Blvd at these cross streets:

Figueroa/Downtown LA: Join Critical Mass, downtown workers,
students, and others.

Alvarado/Park View: Join the Watts Drum corps, immigrants from Pico/Union and high school and college students from the surrounding area for live music.

Vermont and Wilshire: Join congregants from First Unitarian Church and Mt. Hollywood Congregational Church

Normandie and Wilshire

Crenshaw and Wilshire: Join people from Leimert Park and South Central, and high school students

Fairfax and Wilshire: Join Axis of Justice, Out Against the War and high school students from the area for actions

Westwood and Wilshire: Join UCLA World Can't Wait!, Code Pink, Veterans for Peace, and college students from Cerritos and from all over

3rd Street Promenade and Wilshire/Santa Monica

Westwood and Wilshire 5:00 PM! for Rally and March through Westwood

Speakers and participants include: Axis of Justice; Rev. Richard Meri Ka Ra Byrd, KRST Unity Center; Code Pink; Critical Mass; Culture Clash; Ed Ellis, President of Veterans for Peace, L.A.; Esthetics Crew; Alan Jones, Dean of Faculty, Pitzer College; Simon Levy, director "What I Heard About Iraq" at Fountain St. Theater; Bill Mitchell, co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace; Topanga Peace Alliance; UCLA World Can't Wait!

CHICAGO , 773-412-8318

12 PM feeder marches from all over the city to convergence at Federal Plaza (Adams and Dearborn)

Columbia College:11:00 AM in Grant Park, along Michigan Ave, directly across from the Columbia College Library building.

Northern Illinois University:12 PM, Martin Luther King Commons

University of Illinois at Chicago:10:00 AM, Walkout and Rally at the Quad behind Student Center East

Roberto Clemente High School:10:56 AM Walkout (after third period) assemble on the Northeast corner of Western and Divison, march down Western to the Blue Line.

ATLANTA , 866-370-5404

Citywide: 1 PM Mass Rally, Woodruff Park, Downtown Atlanta, 1 block north of Five Points MARTA.

After Rally: Massively go through downtown Atlanta calling on the rush hour crowds to JOIN US!

Atlanta University Center Committee: 11 AM Student Walkouts at Spelman, Morehouse, and Clark University, Meet in the Spelman Center Square outside of the Cosby Center

Georgia State Univeristy Committee: 11 AM Student Walkouts at GSU Plaza outside of the Library South and next to Sparks Hall


PHOENIX: 12 PM, Cesar Chavez Memorial Plaza Downtown Phoenix on Washington/Jefferson between 1st Ave and 3rd Ave.

TUCSON: 11 AM March at University of Arizona, Alumni Plaza; 12 PM Rally at Intersection of Church and Congress (downtown, by the Convention Center); 4:30 PM Actions at these intersections:

Speedway/Campbell -No to attacks on Choice and Women's Rights
Swan/Golf Links -No to Endless War and Torture
Swan/Grant -No to Stolen Elections and Police State Measures
Ina/Oracle -No to Theocracy and Fundamentalist Morality
6th/22nd -No to Racist Policies and Demonizationof Oppressed Nationalities


UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY: 9:00 AM Walk Out at Sproul Plaza, Rally and Parade of Resistance

11:00 AM Meet up at Berkeley BART station go to the S.F. Civic Center at NOON.

CHICO: 10:00 AM Rally in the Free Speech Area on the campus of California State University, Chico, march downtown. 310-625-2713

EUREKA: 11 AM Walkout of work and school and JOIN US! at the Eureka Federal Court House; 12 PM Special Die In

LAGUNA BEACH: 3 PM Convergence at Main Beach on PCH and Forest

LOS ANGELES: see above

SACRAMENTO: 5 PM, Cesar Chavez Park (Downtown)

SAN DIEGO: 11:30 AM, Horton Plaza, 4th Ave and Broadway, Downtown. , 619-846-8590



BOULDER: 12 Noon, Line the Streets, Bandshell Park, Canyon & Broadway


NEW HAVEN: 203-498-8185;
8:30 AM Banner drop over the freeways; 4 PM Converge from all parts of the state to the New Haven Green. Gather at the Federal Courthouse (across from the Green) and encircle the Green with alternating signs that say, "The World Can't Wait" and "Drive Out The Bush Regime."

STONINGTON HIGH SCHOOL: 3 PM, Westerly, RI Post Office for people in both Conneticut and RI.


FT. LAUDERDALE: 11 AM March on downtown Ft. Lauderdale. Meet at the Bubier Park and march to the Federal Courthouse 954-857-6738

ORLANDO: 12 PM March through downtown and rally at Orlando City Hall, Orange Ave & South Street; 6 PM Second Convergence After Rally at Lake Eola Park corner of Rosalind Ave and Washington St.


ATLANTA: see above


HONOLULU: , 808-534-2255

7 AM to 5 PM: Action Center at Old Stadium Park (Isenberg & King)
9:30 AM Rally and March begins at McCarthy Mall at Univ of Hawai`i-Manoa
11:30 AM Downtown Convergence at King and Bishop
1:30 PM Protest at Recruitment Centers (Kapi`olani and Pi`ikoi)
6:00 PM-midnight Celebration at downtown clubs


CHICAGO: see above

BATAVIA: 7:40 AM Walkout and March on Dennis Hastert's offices downtown

OAK PARK: 10:00 AM meet across from OPRF High School in Ridgeland Commons, Lake St. and Scoville Ave. to go down on the Green Line train to Federal Plaza to 12 PM convergence. 5 PM, rally at Scoville Park (Lake St. and Oak Park Ave.)

NAPERVILLE: Naperville North High School-Walkout at 11 AM , (630) 689-3094

DEKALB: Northern Illinois University - Rally at 12:00 noon in the Martin Luther King Commons

PEORIA: 4-6 PM Rally, Intersection of University and War Memorial





LOUISVILLE: 12:00 noon Rally at 5th and Liberty.




BOSTON: Boston Common 12 PM in conjunction with military recruitment protests

PIONEER VALLEY, 5 COLLEGES: Mt. Holyoke--10:30 AM Walk-out, converge at Skinner Green, snake march through buildings calling on people to Join Us; 11:20 storm PVTA/carloads go to Amherst

5 College Convergence- Noon at Amherst Center rt 116 side , 215-880-9707

BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY: All-Day Sit-In on Walkway in Front of Main Cafetria


DETROIT: 12 PM, Warren and Woodward


KALAMAZOO: 12 PM Bronson Park for rally and snake march through downtown

ROCHESTER/AUBURN HILLS: Meet at the border of Rochester/Auburn Hills, Michigan, 6-9 PM, southeastern corner of Walton/Squirrel near Oakland U.


MINNEAPOLIS: Student walk-outs at 10:00 AM. Rally 12:00 noon at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus, at the plaza in front of the Coffman Memorial Student Union, 300 Washington Ave SE. March to military recruiting station and a teach-in. Walk Outs sponsored by Youth Against War and Racism, Anti-War Organizing League (AWOL) at U of M.


ST. LOUIS: Rally and March at the northwest corner of Delmar and Skinker at 12 PM. Afterwards there will be a teach-in on "Dissecting the Bush Doctrine."

SPRINGFIELD: 12 Noon, Park Central Square



MISSOULA: University Of Montana-Walk Out of Class and Meet in the Oval at 12:00 PM


LAS VEGAS: 3 PM – 6 PM at the Federal Courthouse 333 Las Vegas Blvd. South , 702-321-6532




ALBUQUERQUE: 12 PM-5 PM, U.S. Federal Court House (Lomas and 4th St. North West)


MILLBROOK: Bottom of Franklin Ave from 9 AM-7 PM

MT. VERNON HIGH SCHOOL: 12:30 PM Walkout, assemble at the flag pole on campus and march to the Mt. Vernon Court House

NEW YORK CITY: see above

SAUGERTIES: Carpool to the demonstration in New York City.


GREENSBORO: 12:00 noon Convergence and rally at Old County Courthouse on Market Street downtown

UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA-GREENSBORO: 10:00 AM UNCG Fountain and March to convergence at Old County Courthouse-Market st; 8:00 PM Anti-Bush Films at The Scene on South Elm (605 S. Elm St.)

11AM Banner drops; 11:45 AM Walkouts from Watauga College; 12:15 PM rest of campus walks out and converges on Sanford Mall; 12:30 PM March; 5 PM Candlelight vigil; 9 PM Benefit Concert at Old Jailhouse Restaurant




CLEVELAND: 12 PM, Public Square. Break off marches through downtown

OHIO UNIVERSITY:10:30 a.m @ The Green, march down Court St to the ROTC


COLUMBUS: 9 AM gather at the 3rd St. side of the statehouse between Broad and State; 10 AM march to Republican Headquarters (1st block of East Gay St.); 11 AM march to the Statehouse; 12 PM march to Federal Building on High Street at Spring; 1 PM march to Ohio Supreme Court Building on Marconi!


TULSA: 12:30 PM, 71st & Memorial (northwest corner)


HOOD RIVER: 12 PM assemble at War Memorial on State

MEDFORD: 3:00 PM-5:00 PM, Corner of McAndrews and Briddle Rd. (Bear Creek Plaza)

PORTLAND: 12 noon, Pioneer Square


PHILADELPHIA: 12 PM Convergence at Rittenhouse Square Park (18th and Walnut St. entrance), march throughout the center of city

WEST CHESTER: 5:00 PM at the Chester County Court House

STATE COLLEGE: 4:30 PM, Penn State Main Gates (College and Allen)




CHATTANOOGA: 11 AM-2 PM Vigil, Miller Plaza at the corner of MLK Blvd. and Georgia Ave.

EASTERN TENNESSEE: 10 AM Greeneville Public Library on Main St., March around downtown. Go to the 11E/81 Bypass, exit 23 with signs from 12 PM until 2:00 PM. Walters State Junior College, Morristown, from 2:30 PM to 4:00 PM.


AUSTIN: 9 AM Day of the Dead joins with World Can't Wait; 1:45 PM Walkout from UT Austin; 2 PM Gather at South Mall; 3 PM, State Capitol for rally and press statement; 4 PM March up Guadalupefor New Orleans style procession!; 5:30 PM converge at Mojo's Daily Grind for open mic; Late Evening, back out to the people with our message in all sorts of creative ways!

DALLAS: Sun Up Until Sun Down. Main meet-up at 10 AM, City Hall Plaza at the Flag Pole at the corner of Akard and Young.(214) 823-7793 (Dallas Peace Center),


HOUSTON: 12 PM, Market Square Park, Downtown at Travis and Preston; 4:30 PM Reconvergence at the Mecom Fountain, Main and Montrose; 6 PM March up Montrose Blvd.

SAN ANTONIO: 4 PM at Travis Park, 301 E. Travis; 5:30 PM, Rally at Milam Park , 210-733-8666


BURLINGTON: 12 PM City Hall Park


NORFOLK: Rally at 3 PM at Town Point Park in front of Nauticus on Waterside



ANACORTES: 12 PM in Causland Parkin Anacortes (8th St. and "N"Ave), march up Commercial Ave. to the south end of town and back.

SEATTLE: 11 AM, Brief rally at Westlake mall; 12 PM, Hit the streets! , 206-312-7398

SHORELINE COMMUNITY COLLEGE: Walk-Out and Rally in Courtyard 9 AM


11 AM at Lafayette Park near the White House



MILWAUKEE: 5:30 PM at the blue Federal building on Wisconsin Ave.

UNIVERSITY of WISCONSIN-MADISON: Rally at Library Mall - UW Campus at the end of State Street (700-800 block) at 12:30 PM, march up State Street to theCapitol.

Send us your comments.


Among the Recent and Notable Endorsers of World Can't Wait Call...

Revolution #021, November 6, 2005, posted at

ACT UP, New York City

After Downing Street Coalition

Tom Ammiano, San Francisco Board of Supervisors

Aris Anagnos, Los Angeles


Edward Asner

Axis of Justice

Mumia Abu-Jamal

Russell Banks, writer

Ed Begley, Jr. , actor

Campus Anti-War Network (CAN)

Tim Carpenter, Director, Progressive Democrats of America

Kate Clinton, humorist

David Cobb, Green Party Presidential Candidate, 2004

Code Pink: Women for Peace

Culture Clash, LA

Chris Daly, San Francisco Board of Supervisors

DC Anti-War Network

Tom Duane, New York State Senator

Michael Eric Dyson, writer

Steve Earle, musician

Edwin Ellis, President, Veterans for Peace, LA*

Jane Fonda

Gary Giddins, music critic

Deborah Glick, New York State Assemblywoman

Sam Greenlee, filmmaker

Haitian Coalition for Justice

Suheir Hammad, poet

Sam Hamill, Poets Against War

Kathleen Hanna, musician

Hip Hop Caucus

Rev. Robert M. Hollum, Pastor of Luther Place, Wash., DC

Bill T. Jones, dancer

Rickie Lee Jones, musician

Casey Kasem

Frances Kissling, President of Catholics for Free Choice

Jonathan Kozol, writer

Ron Kovic, writer, Vietnam veteran

Mark Leno, California Assemblyman

Margaret Lindgren, Fellowship of Reconciliation*, Los Angeles

Bill Mitchell, Co-founder, Gold Star Families for Peace*

Tom Morello, Audioslave

Not in Our Name


Jose Padilla, Exec. Dir., California Rural Legal Assistance*

Peter Phillips, Project Censored, Sonoma State Univ.

Jeremy Pikser, screenwriter, Bulworth

Harold Pinter, Nobel Prize winning playwright

Kevin Powell, writer

Progressive Democrats of America

Malik Rahim, Common Ground Collective, New Orleans

Boots Riley, The Coup

Rosemary R. Ruether, theologian, professor

Sonia Sanchez, poet

Rinku Sen, Colorlines

Cindy Sheehan

Stanley Sheinbaum, economist, LA

Sunsara Taylor, Revolution newspaper

Studs Terkel, writer

Dwight Tribble, jazz vocalist

Gore Vidal, author

Rev. Dave Weissbard, Unitarian Universalist Church, Rockford, IL

Cornel West

Saul Williams, poet

Ann Wright, former US diplomat, resigned in protest of Iraq war

Leland Y. Yee, Speaker Pro Tem, California State Assembly

Robert Zevin, Robert Brooke Zevin Associates, Inc.,Boston

Howard Zinn, historian, A Peoples’ History of the United States


* for identification only

Send us your comments.


Lewis Libby – War Criminal

Revolution #021, November 6, 2005, posted at

Lewis "Scooter" Libby is Dick Cheney's right-hand man. He has been described as "Cheney's Cheney"--at the very center of the Bush Regime and its global war of domination.

Libby rose to power at the Pentagon during the first Bush Administration in the early 1990s. He worked at the Pentagon under war strategist Paul Wolfowitz and then-Defense Secretary Cheney. Libby was responsible for writing one of the most sinister and notorious documents in modern history: The 1992 Defense Planning Guidance.

This was a ruthless plan for the U.S. to grab global domination and hold on to it. It called for aggressively taking advantage of the collapse of the Soviet Union, building an unchallengable military and using unprovoked "pre-emptive war" to prevent the emergence of any nuclear rivals. The neo-conservative "Project for the New American Century," led by Cheney and Rumsfeld, later praised this plan as "a blueprint for mantaining U.S. pre-eminence."

In 2000, Bush brought Cheney and Libby with him into the White House. And after 9/11, this global strategic blueprint was put into full operation--marketed as a "global war on terror." Afghanistan and Iraq were invaded. U.S. operatives carried out assassinations, kidnappings, and torture all over the world. And the threat was put out to all countries: "You're either with us or against us."

As his special contribution to all this, Libby's ''national security team'' worked with the Pentagon to produce fake "evidence" that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Bush justified the attack on Iraq saying that Saddam's attempt to get nukes threatened the U.S.--and key to all that was Bush's claim in January 2003 that Iraq had tried to buy uranium from the African country of Niger.

This whole campaign of lies had Libby's fingerprints all over it. The result was a hundred thousand dead in Iraq and a country under the agony of continuing occupation. And as everyone knows, no weapons of mass destruction were there to find.

U.S. diplomat Joseph Wilson, who had gone to Niger in 2002, announced that his report had told the Bush administration there had been no Iraqi purchases of uranium. In response, the White House mobilized to protect their lies and discredit Wilson's report. Libby gathered information on Wilson and his wife Valerie Plame from at least seven officials, including Vice President Cheney, and then (together with Bush's political top aide Karl Rove) started smearing Wilson to the media.

When accused of these leaks, Libby lied to the grand jury--to protect himself, and the others in the White House who were involved. There is now talk that Libby may get a plea bargain--so the Bush Regime would be protected and avoid the exposures that would come out in a trial. The prosecutor in this case said: "This indictment is not about the war."

But the truth is: All this is about the war--the lies, cover-ups and dirty tricks used to justify the invasion, occupation, and continuation of an unjust war.

The world needs to know all the details of this case--including the FULL involvement of Cheney, Bush and everyone else in this government who lied to justify their war crimes and then lied to cover it all up.

Send us your comments.


Three Alternative Worlds

Revolution #021, November 6, 2005, posted at

This selection, which appears in the new collection Bob Avakian: Observations on Art and Culture, Science and Philosophy, is from the talk Dictatorship and Democracy, and the Socialist Transition to Communism. The complete talk is available online at

As the world exists today and as people seek to change it, and particularly in terms of the socialist transformation of society, as I see it there are basically three alternatives that are possible. One is the world as it is. Enough said about that. [Laughter].

The second one is in a certain sense, almost literally and mechanically, turning the world upside down. In other words, people who are now exploited will no longer be exploited in the same way, people who now rule this society will be prevented from ruling or influencing society in a significant way. The basic economic structure of society will change, some of the social relations will change, and some of the forms of political rule will change, and some of the forms of culture and ideology will change, but fundamentally the masses of people will not be increasingly and in one leap after another drawn into the process of really transforming society. This is really a vision of a revisionist society. If you think back to the days of the Soviet Union, when it had become a revisionist society, capitalist and imperialist in essence, but still socialist in name, when they would be chided for their alleged or real violations of people’s rights, they would often answer "Who are you in the West to be talking about the violation of human rights—look at all the people in your society who are unemployed, what more basic human right is there than to have a job?"

Well, did they have a point? Yes, up to a point. But fundamentally what they were putting forward, the vision of society that they were projecting, was a social welfare kind of society in which fundamentally the role of the masses of people is no different than it is under the classical form of capitalism. The answer about the rights of the people cannot be reduced to the right to have a job and earn an income, as basic as that is. There is the question of are we really going to transform society so that in every respect, not only economically but socially, politically, ideologically, and culturally, it really is superior to capitalist society. A society that not only meets the needs of the masses of people, but really is characterized increasingly by the conscious expression and initiative of the masses of people.

This is a more fundamental transformation than simply a kind of social welfare, socialist in name but really capitalist in essence society, where the role of the masses of people is still largely reduced to being producers of wealth, but not people who thrash out all the larger questions of affairs of state, the direction of society, culture, philosophy, science, the arts, and so on. The revisionist model is a narrow, economist view of socialism. It reduces the people, in their activity, to simply the economic sphere of society, and in a limited way at that—simply their social welfare with regard to the economy. It doesn’t even think about transforming the world outlook of the people as they in turn change the world around them.

And you cannot have a new society and a new world with the same outlook that people are indoctrinated and inculcated with in this society. You cannot have a real revolutionary transformation of society and abolition of unequal social as well as economic relations and political relations if people still approach the world in the way in which they’re conditioned and limited and constrained to approach it now. How can the masses of people really take up the task of consciously changing the world if their outlook and their approach to the world remains what it is under this system? It’s impossible, and this situation will simply reproduce the great inequalities in every sphere of society that I’ve been talking about.

The third alternative is a real radical rupture. Marx and Engels said in the Communist Manifesto that the communist revolution represents a radical rupture with traditional property relations and with traditional ideas. And the one is not possible without the other. They are mutually reinforcing, one way or the other.

If you have a society in which the fundamental role of women is to be breeders of children, how can you have a society in which there is equality between men and women? You cannot. And if you don’t attack and uproot the traditions, the morals, and so on, that reinforce that role, how can you transform the relations between men and women and abolish the deep-seated inequalities that are bound up with the whole division of society into oppressors and oppressed, exploiters and exploited? You cannot.

So the third alternative is a real radical rupture in every sphere, a radically different synthesis, to put it that way. Or to put it another way, it’s a society and a world that the great majority of people would actually want to live in. One in which not only do they not have to worry about where their next meal is coming from, or if they get sick whether they’re going to be told that they can’t have health care because they can’t pay for it, as important as that is; but one in which they are actually taking up, wrangling with, and increasingly making their own province all the different spheres of society.

Achieving that kind of a society, and that kind of a world, is a very profound challenge. It’s much more profound than simply changing a few forms of ownership of the economy and making sure that, on that basis, people’s social welfare is taken care of, but you still have people who are taking care of that for the masses of people; and all the spheres of science, the arts, philosophy, and all the rest are basically the province of a few. And the political decision-making process remains the province of a few.

To really leap beyond that is a tremendous and world-historic struggle that we’ve been embarked on since the Russian revolution (not counting the very short-lived and limited experience of the Paris Commune)—and in which we reached the high point with the Chinese revolution and in particular the Cultural Revolution—but from which we’ve been thrown back temporarily.

So we need to make a further leap on the basis of summing up very deeply all that experience. There are some very real and vexing problems that we have to confront and advance through in order to draw from the best of the past, but go further and do even better in the future.

Now I want to say a few things in this context about totalitarianism. Just as an aside here, I find it very interesting that you can read innumerable books delving deeply into the psyche of Stalin or Lenin or Mao—"What went on in the deranged minds of these people [laughter] that led them to think they could remake the world in their maddened image [laughter] and led them, in the name of some greater moral good, to bring great catastrophe on the humanity that they were affecting?" I don’t know how many books I’ve seen like that. I have never yet seen—maybe there are some, but I have never seen—a study of the deranged psyche of Thomas Jefferson [laughter] or George Washington: "How is it that a person could come to believe in their own mind [laughter] that they were benefiting not only humanity in general, but other human beings whom they owned? [laughter] What depth of psychological derangement must be involved in that? [laughter]. What is more totalitarian than actually owning other human beings?"

Or what about the study of the depths of the depraved minds of Lyndon Johnson or Ronald Reagan [laughter], who murdered millions of people, including vast numbers of children? "What must have gone wrong, somewhere in their childhood or somewhere else in their lives? [laughter] What demented ideas must they somehow have internalized that led them to believe that in the name of the shining city on the hill, or whatever [laughter], they had the right and the obligation to slaughter thousands and millions of innocent people?"

I have never seen those studies. Certainly I haven’t read about them in the New York Times Book Review section. [Laughter]

Still, there are some real questions that are raised about totalitarianism by the ideologues and the "intellectual camp followers" of the imperialists that do need to be taken on. In particular, they make the charge that in a society which they call totalitarian, but which is in reality the dictatorship of the proletariat, there is first of all an official ideology that everyone has to profess belief in, in order to get along in that society. And there is an official politics that everyone has to be involved in, in order to get along in that society and not get in trouble. Well, what about this?

Fundamentally, this is a distortion of what has gone on in socialist societies: why these revolutions were necessary in the first place and what they were seeking to accomplish and to overcome, and how they were going about doing that. The reality is that, for the great masses of people in capitalist (and certainly in feudal) society, they are barred from really being involved in any significant way in official politics and the politics that actually affect the affairs of state and the direction of society. And they are indoctrinated with an outlook and methodology and ideology that prevents them—discourages them and actively obstructs them—from really understanding the world as it is and changing it consciously. And that is what socialist revolutions seek to change, as well as bringing about fundamental changes in the economy and the social relations.

But what about this question of official ideology that everyone has to profess? Well, I think we have more to sum up about that from the history of socialist society and the dictatorship of the proletariat so far.

With regard to the question of the party, I think two things are definitely true. One, you need a vanguard party to lead this revolution and to lead the new state. Two, that party has to have an ideology that unifies it, an ideology that correctly reflects and enables people to consciously change reality, which is communist ideology.

But, more broadly, should everyone in society have to profess this ideology in order to get along? No. Those who are won over to this ideology should proclaim it and struggle for it. Those who are not convinced of it should say so. Those who disagree with it should say that. And there should be struggle. Something has to lead—the correct ideology that really enables people to get at the truth, and to do something with it in their interests, has to lead; but that doesn’t mean everyone should have to profess it, in my opinion. And this is just my opinion. But it’s worth digging into this a bit, it’s worth exploring and wrangling with the question.

Send us your comments.


In Memory of Rosa Parks—Resister

"People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that wasn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was 42. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in."

Revolution #021, November 6, 2005, posted at

On Monday, October 24, Rosa Parks died at 92 years old. On December 1, 1955, she refused to move into the Blacks-only segregated section of a Montgomery, Alabama bus and was arrested. In the space of a few days, the Black people of Montgomery organized a bus boycott, setting off a year-long struggle that ended in desegregated busses in Montgomery and a galvanized people throughout the South.

Rosa Parks was a long-time resister. She had first refused to move to the back of the bus in 1943 and had been evicted by the white driver; but that, in her words, "did not cause anything more than a passing glance." To ride the bus, Black people had to pay up front and then board at the back. If the white section filled up, then Blacks were compelled to give up their seats to whites. And the drivers were often abusive and nasty, and sometimes drove away after people paid their fare but before they could board. The whole thing was an ugly institution, designed to humiliate people and break their spirit, one part of a whole way of life that went by the name of Jim Crow.

Other Black people had also fought back--including Claudette Colvin, a Black teenager, who in the spring of 1955 had resisted both the bus driver’s demands and the police who came to arrest her. And Rosa Parks herself came out of the tradition of struggle. Her husband, Raymond Parks, had fought against the frameup of the Scottsboro boys back in the 1930s--nine young African-American men who were framed for the rape of two white women and sentenced to death, except for the one defendant who was 13 years old and got life. The Scottsboro Boys spent years in jail and only achieved their release after a massive campaign against this injustice, in which the Communist Party and other progressive forces played a key part, and only after many appeals and retrials. This too was typical of what Black people had to put up with--and resist--in the "Old South."

Rosa Parks had also become active in her own right, working in the local NAACP and attending an organizers’ school in Tennessee run by progessives. By the time she refused to give up her seat in 1955 she was part of an organized network. Moreover, the brutal lynching of Emmett Till in Mississippi just a few months earlier, and the brave stand taken by his mother in demanding an open-casket funeral in Chicago, had fanned the deep anger of the masses of Black people. A new spirit of resistance spread in the South. All this formed the backdrop against which Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat.

Rosa Parks’s refusal did not start out as part of a larger plan, but word of her arrest electrified politically active Black people in Montgomery. By evening people were planning what to do. The very next morning, a Friday, saw 52,000 leaflets go out throughout the city--and this was in the days of mimeo machines! A weekend of activity and spreading the word--which received the unwitting help of the city’s daily paper when it front-paged the story of the planned boycott in the Sunday edition--led to a near-total boycott on Monday morning. Despite having to walk to work for months; despite having to brave Klan violence (which included bombing the homes of the boycott’s leadership); despite facing severe legal and economic reprisals: the Black masses held firm. Slowly--and then more quickly, after the failed attempts to repress the boycott--word of the struggle spread through the South and then the whole nation. After a long battle, on December 20, 1956--a full year after the boycott started--the busses of Montgomery were desegregated. The victory had been won, but the battle against the whole Jim Crow system--or more accurately, a new stage in that battle--had just begun.

The system of segregation that Rosa Parks fought arose out of a specific structure of class and national oppression.1 In 1876, a decade after the Civil War, the triumphant northern capitalists made a deal with the southern plantation owners to force Black people into a condition of semi-slavery on the land. Segregation and Jim Crow terror, including lynching, was put in place to enforce those conditions. Going back further, slavery itself had earlier arisen from the demands of capitalism and the relentless drive for profit, and had generated its own ideas and systems of rule to justify it. And because those underlying roots have never been torn up, new forms of oppression have arisen on top of and in place of the old. The struggle for freedom continues, and can only be resolved by a revolution that aims at doing away with national oppression root and branch, and the capitalist system that sustains and feeds off it.

This week Rosa Parks’s body will lie in state in Washington, D.C. Many honest tears will fall. And there will also be rivers of crocodile tears and much flowery oratory from those who’ve taken advantage of and defended white supremacy at every turn, in even more perverse forms than the Jim Crow south, and from those who just two months ago authored the 21st-century racism of Katrina and its aftermath--most notably George W. Bush. Hypocrisy in America knows no bounds.

But the masses of people can take pride in and draw lessons from the real legacy of Rosa Parks: the moral certitude in the face of unjust authority and the potential power of that sheer defiance when it spreads to and links with the anger, determination, and organization of the masses. Those lessons can and must be applied today.


1 National oppression refers to the oppression of whole peoples, in which all classes of the nation suffer under the yoke of a dominant, oppressor nation. Black people were forged a separate, but oppressed, nation in the Black Belt South after the Civil War, under the domination of the white supremacist United States, and this national oppression endures today, in different forms.

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From RCP, Detroit Branch

Needed: Rosa Parks' Courage

The following is excerpted from a statement by the Revolutionary Communist Party, Detroit Branch:

Rosa Parks worked her whole life to end discrimination and inequality. But the system she fought still exists, led by a regime that is openly racist, even genocidal. She died shortly after the world witnessed the mass murder of mostly Black people carried out by the Bush regime in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Troops were pulled off search-and-rescue to stand in front of stores with rifles pointed at people desperately needing food and medicine. People were prevented from leaving the city, and were herded into a convention center without adequate food or necessities. The superdome reminded many of the hold of a slave ship. Aid sent from all over the world was stopped from going into the city.

In the midst of this Barbara Bush said, "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them." Richard Baker (Rep., 6th Congressional District of Louisiana) said, "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did." And William Bennett, advisor to George W. Bush, only weeks after Katrina, underscored the genocidal thrust to the Bush regime: "If you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country."

Even if there were no other crimes, the Bush regime's actions against African-Americans are crimes against humanity and warrant them being driven out of power right now. But there is also the torture against prisoners of war at Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib, the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghani people killed by U.S. troops, the attacks on women, especially on the right to choose. There is an urgent need to drive out the Bush regime.

On November 2, be one of the tens of thousands across the country taking the first step to change the course of history, acting under the call, "The World Can't Wait: Drive Out the Bush Regime!" Be one of those to say "it stops with me!"

Send us your comments.


. . . And Where Are the Democrats?

Revolution #021, November 6, 2005, posted at

"If you fall into the orientation of trying to make the Democrats be what they are not, and never will be, you will end up becoming more like what the Democrats actually are."

Bob Avakian

In the face of major political conflict and debate last week, where were the Democrats?

Hundreds of cities witnessed demonstrations and vigils against the war in Iraq, but...where was the Democratic leadership? And where were they on September 24, when over 100,000 demonstrated against the war in Washington, D.C.?

Theocratic fascists managed to derail a Supreme Court nomination on the grounds that Harriet Miers was not openly and strongly enough reactionary. As for criticism of theocracy overall, that was left to moderate Republican politicians. Where were the Democrats?

Torture remained a huge question, but no Democrat has dared to touch this since Durban, the Democratic senator from Illinois, was forced to tearfully recant his criticism.

Now Libby has been indicted, but where are the Democratic Party leaders calling for further investigation and questioning the legitimacy of the entire regime? Where, for that matter, are the motions for impeachment?

The answer to these questions is two-fold. One: on some major questions of policy--the war, say, or domestic repression--the Democrats have no essential disagreement. On others--abortion, for example--they may, at times, pay lip service. But they will not fight, and always move to tone things down. This is because in today’s situation they have no real answers to the contradictions confronting imperialism beyond "Republican lite," and they are in fact an imperialist party that shares the fundamental aims and assumptions of the Republicans--openly committed to preserving the capitalist system and pursuing its interests around the world.

Two: more overall, the Democrats play the role of appealing to the oppressed, the alienated, and the disaffected, and giving people just enough hope to stay confined in the framework of the electoral process and bourgeois politics. And as Bob Avakian has observed,

"The thing about [the Democrats] is that they are very afraid of calling into the streets this base of people that they appeal to to vote for them. The last thing in the world they want to do is to call these masses of people into the streets to protest or to battle against this right-wing force that’s being built up."

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Revolution Interview with Cindy Sheehan

Revolution, October 29, 2005, posted at

The Revolution Interview

A special feature of Revolution to acquaint our readers with the views of significant figures in art, theater, music and literature, science, sports and politics. The views expressed by those we interview are, of course, their own; and they are not responsible for the views published elsewhere in our paper.


Travis Morales, who has been part of the World Can't Wait encampment in front of the White House, had an opportunity to interview antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan. This summer Sheehan had caught the attention of millions by setting up camp outside Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas and demanding that Bush say what “noble cause” had sent her son as a soldier to Iraq, wher he was killed. When Travis caught up with Cindy, she had already been arrested twice that week protesting at the White House fence.

Travis Morales: On behalf of Revolution and its readers, I wanted to express appreciation for the important stand you've taken. Could you please talk about why you are here at the White House?

Cindy Sheehan: On the occasion of the 2000th death in Iraq of an American solider, we decided to do vigils every day. We've been doing them from 12 to 8, and we have just been trying to call attention to the fact that our country is waging an illegal and immoral war in Iraq. And every night we've had a die-in, to symbolize the losses that we've suffered in our country. So that's what we're trying to do. Everything I do just tries to build awareness, so the American people will try and force their elected officials to bring the troops home.

TM: And why were you here this particular week?

CS: Because the 2000th soldier was killed on Tuesday.

TM: When you started in Crawford -- you talked about this when I saw you speak a few weeks ago in Oakland -- I think you said you started with very few people with you, and with some lawn chairs and a flashlight. So you were practically by yourself when you started. What kept you going?

CS: I didn't just start this on August 6th. I started it July 4th, 2004. And what keeps me going is the knowledge that there are people in harm's way for the lies and betrayals of our government. People -- Iraqi people and American people -- who are in harm's way for nothing. And so that's what keeps me going every day, is trying to get up and trying to save their lives.

TM: What have you learned over these months since the ranch, the bus tour, and now being at the White House? What lessons would you want to share with people?

CS: For one thing I've learned that I'm a much stronger person than I would have imagined -- that's personally what I've learned. And I've learned that the American people really care about what's going on in our country, and they're willing to put their lives on…I don't want to say their lives on the line, but they're willing to sacrifice to make this world a better place. I mean, people like you, who've dropped everything, and you come across the country to do this. And I have met so many amazing people who have given up so much to make our country a better place. Congressman Rangel said today that history will record us as the true patriots, and I believe that that's true.

TM: What is your view on the need for people to stand up and stop this war in Iraq?

CS: I think that it is imperative that we invest everything we have into this, right now. That we invest our time, our talents, our resources. People say, "Well, you know, you're spending your own money, what about your future?" and stuff like that. And I'm just thinking, if we don't invest everything we have now, what guarantee is there that we're going to have a future? And I would rather spend the rest of my days in poverty knowing that I made the world a better place for my children, and their children that haven't been born yet. I'd rather invest all the time, talent and money right now, than to have it later and leaving my children such a messed-up world. So that's what I believe. I believe it is mandatory for all of us to be doing the same thing.

TM: As you travel across the country, what have you been hearing from people with whom you talk?

CS: Well, you know, I get a lot of support. Very little opposition. People are just sick and tired of what's going on. And when I sat down in Crawford and said "Enough is enough," I believe that galvanized them to do the same thing. So that's just what I'm hearing: We're all just sick and tired of what's going on, but now we're willing to raise our voices to try and stop it.

TM:I remember one of the points you made at the Grand Lake Theater (in Oakland), about when you first started in Crawford. You made a point about how you made that decision on three days' notice, but that you knew a lot in terms of the potential out there.

CS: Like I said, by August 3, 2005, when I made the decision to go to Crawford, I had been working in the peace movement for over a year, and I knew I had a lot of support. I was pretty well known in the progressive peace community. You know, I surprised a lot of people on August 6 when I just showed up in Crawford, but they're the people who just get their news from cable news networks or network news, you know, so Middle America didn't know about me. So I knew when I went down to Crawford I was going to have some support. And by the time I got home the night I sent the email that said I was going to go down to Crawford, I already had hundreds of responses. It had been passed around -- people saying, "What can we do to help?" So I knew it was going to be a very significant event -- but I had no idea it was going to be so significant.

TM: You have endorsed the call for The World Can't Wait--Drive Out the Bush Regime! Mobilize for November 2nd! How do you see that? Why do you think people should be involved, and why should they come out on November 2nd? What difference is it going to make?

CS: Well, it makes a lot of difference. We can't let them continue to make us believe that our voices don't make a difference. And it's not just coming out once on November 2nd, but it's over and over and over again. It's really important for a lot of things -- to show the media that we mean business, to show our government that we mean business, to show the world that not all Americans are robotic idiots. So it's just really important, and it's really important not to sit on your couch and think that “I can't make a difference,” because one person can make a difference.

TM: Right, and I think we've seen that out at the White House, with all the people who come there from all over the world, people from all over the country. Our experience of being out there with the World Can't Wait White House encampment is that there's tremendous agreement among not just people from other countries but a lot of people from this country. But, of course, as you know there's a big gap between agreement and people actually acting. What would you say to people that you meet like that, people who agree but aren't really active at this point?

CS: I believe if you aren't doing something about it, then you're apathetic. I really think that, if people are pro-war, they need to do something about it by enlisting to go fight, to let other people come home that don't want to be there. Or encouraging their children to do the same thing. But I believe that people who are anti-war or for peace, they as much as the pro-war people need to get out. They need to let their voice be heard, and they need to, just like I said, invest everything we have right now in peace, so we make sure our children have a future.


Send us your comments.


Tribunal on Crimes Against Humanity Indicts the Bush Regime

Part 2:

Revolution #021, November 6, 2005, posted at

This week we continue our coverage of this historic tribunal. Click here for previous coverage on

An extraordinary Tribunal came together on October 21-23 to indict the Bush regime for crimes against humanity. The First Session of The 2005 International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration brought four indictments against the regime:

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

And it held a hearing into a fifth indictment--around Hurricane Katrina and the crimes of the Bush regime that have emerged surrounding this disaster.

The Tribunal will reach its findings after a second session to be held early next year.

But meanwhile, it was clear from this first weekend of evidence that the Tribunal already established a series of powerful indictments against the Bush regime.

The following are statements made to the Commission of Inquiry. More testimony from the First Session and information on how to contact the Commission are available at .

On Torture and Holding Captives in Indefinite Detention

photo©Laura Hanifin

From the presentation of indictments by Lynne Stewart

This year, the prominent defense attorney Lynne Stewart was convicted of conspiracy and providing support for terrorism – all for work done in her capacity of defense attorney. Just days after the Tribunal, a federal judge upheld her outrageous conviction, and sentencing is scheduled for December. Stewart, 63, faces 20 to 30 years in prison.

At the Bush Crimes Commission, she addressed several counts of the inquiry's indictment on torture and holding captives in indefinite detention.

I think that I must have been chosen to read these particular charges because there is no doubt, I think, in anyone's mind, that the lawyers upon seeing the condition of our client Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman back in 1995 and up until 2000 and the change in him, doubted that the United States could torture on these very shores...

And I think that is why I was asked to read this: one great things that prevents torture is the intercession of lawyers. This administration...has put a chilling effect on all the lawyers, by the indictment and now conviction of me, to say you really do not want to aggressively fight these cases, even if your client is being tortured.

I particularly want to talk about Count 5 [on indefinite detention of U.S. citizens]. I think it is one of the cases which we are also well aware of: Jose Padilla.

Who would have thought, who can remember a time when an American citizen arrested on American soil and charged not with a crime -- charged with nothing, just held at the will of the government, just held until THEY decide to do something with him, held in some remote jail? And, of course, as we know the most recent ruling on that case has ok'ed--the federal government has ok'ed George Bush to continue that detention and continue it without end as far as Jose Padilla is concerned.

Consider yourself Jose Padilla, because we must at this tribunal let the very air be rent with our cries of indignation.

Count 6 [on CIA assassination]: Today the news is that George Bush is daring to ask the United Nations to convene a special assembly because he has a report that says that Syria was involved in the assassination in Lebanon. This George Bush who inherits [the assassination of Chilean exile Orlando] Letelier and all the history of CIA murders, going back as far as [Iranian prime minister Dr. Mohammed] Mossadegh. And he dares to raise this issue! And while these things make us breathless when we read them -- we say "I can't believe it!" -- well we have to believe it.

This inquiry can focus our attention. This inquiry can give us the wherewithal to go out and fight and organize the resistance to these charges, to these conditions.

The Lies of the Iraq War

photo©Laura Hanifin

From the testimony of former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, with "Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity"

We have now no further need to total up the chronology of how it became possible for this president to start this illegal war. We now have the Downing Street minutes--which many of us, by blogging away for four weeks, even forced the Washington Post and New York Times to take cognizance of.

Those minutes, as probably most of you know, were the records of the briefing that the head of British intelligence brought back after his discussions in Washington with [CIA head] George Tenet, [then-national security adviser] Condy Rice and the rest of them. And he said that the President of the United States has decided to remove Saddam Hussein by war. The war will be justified by the conjunction of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. Translation from the British: we're gonna say that Saddam Hussein has all manner of weapons of destruction and he is likely to give them to terrorists.

And then came the crowning sentence, but the " intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy. " What further need have we of proof?... I mean, fixed is fixed!...

So how did all happen? Well, Cheney goes to the CIA, right? And he beat on the analysts. People ask me, "Is it unusual for the Vice President of the United States to go to CIA to talk? It doesn't sound unusual." No, it isn't "unusual." It's unprecedented!....

Cheney started the ball rolling with his famous speech of August 26, 2002, where he said: You know Iraq, Saddam Hussein is embarked on a nuclear weapons quest and he is likely to have a bomb before we know it, and U.N inspections aren't worth a damn, all they do is give you a false sense of security. Cheney had the chutzpah to cite one of Saddam Hussein's sons-in-law Hussein Kamel, as supporting the notion that they had weapons of mass destruction. Now when I say chutzpah, that's chutzpah folks. Because you know what Kamel told us in 1995 when he defected? He said, "All weapons of mass destruction were destroyed at my order." He was in charge of them...

I think a reasonable question to ask is: How did these people think they could get away with this stuff?

Paramilitary Security Forces in Post-Katrina New Orleans

photo©Laura Hanifin

from the testimony Jeremy Scahill, independent journalist and Democracy Now producer

I think out of the rubble of New Orleans and other devastated areas, we're seeing a model for disaster profiteering that is emerging – similar to war profiteering that we've seen happen in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Balkans....We are getting a glimpse of part of the future for this country, that so many people live as their present. It gives us a window into declarations of martial law, the wiping out of posse comitatus--which prohibits federal forces from operating as domestic law enforces on U.S. soil.

You see the rich and the elite view New Orleans right now as an experiment. Those aren't my words, that's not my term, it's theirs...

James Rice, who heads one of the most powerful business lobbies in the South...flew in Israeli paramilitaries by helicopter from Texas, from a firm called Instinctive Shooting International. I talked to two of these men as they guarded the only privately owned street in New Orleans, the Audubon Place housing community, which is where extraordinarily wealthy people live...When I looked on the website of the company... they make a point of emphasizing that some of their men have served in the...Shin Bet or other Israeli intelligence agencies. So there were these men, from Instinctive Shooting International, Israelis, on the ground with their M-16s slung around their shoulders, operating a check point.

They were just a few of the the hundreds and hundreds of private security forces that fanned out across New Orleans. In fact the people of Blackwater beat FEMA to the scene with their Puma helicopter. They deployed some 200 men in New Orleans. When I encountered them in the French Quarter and asked them, "What is your function here?" they told me their function was to "confront criminals and stop looters"... And as I talked to these men from Blackwater I knew well who they were, because its was because of the four Blackwater mercenaries that the U.S. had its supposed justification to slaughter the city of Fallujah, causing tens of thousands of people to flee their homes, outright killing hundreds upon hundreds of others... Seeing them on the streets of New Orleans stunned me. They sped around in an unmarked car, four of them, dressed in all khaki bullet-proof jackets. One of them showed me a Louisiana state law enforcement badge. They said they had been deputized by the governor of the state of Louisiana... Two weeks earlier they had been in Iraq... They were given the first no-bid contracts to do security for the Federal government...

The Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson said, "It's not going to be as Black as it was for a long time, if ever again." That's the dream of the corporate elite. And what they've done is they've have brought in paramilitary private security forces to back up their agenda. You see its not just about what is happening right now, in New Orleans. It's about what happens when ten thousand Black people want to return to their neighborhood. Who are they going to be facing down? The same men who shoot people in Afghanistan, Iraq and Balkans are deployed on the streets of an American city by the same people who have said explicitly that we don't want Black or poor people to live here any more....

Patrick Quinn is one of the wealthiest hotel operators in the South of this country. He runs a hotel chain called the Decatur Hotel chain... They are contributors to George W. Bush. He brings in private security to guard his hotels.

His head of security, a man named Michael McGommery, brags to me that he had been engaged in a shoot-out with some people he calls "Black gang bangers" on an overpass in the Ninth Ward. He said, "We were driving to go pick up some of Mr. Quinn's associates," on one of the first days they deployed... They claimed they came under fire from an overpath. I said, "What did you do?" He said, "I was on the phone with my business partner at the time. I dropped my phone and we returned fire." He returned fire with an AR-15 rifle and with a Glock 9.

I said, "Did you kill them?" He said, "Put it this way, there was a lot of moaning and screaming and then it stopped. Enough said."

I said, "What happened after that? Was there a report filed?" He goes, "Oh yeah, the army came. They thought we were the enemy and surrounded us. But I explained that we were security. And then they turned around and they left. Then Louisiana state troopers came, and asked us what happened"....

So this guy shot up people he describes as "Black gang bangers" on an overpass in the Ninth Ward, and then left the scene. Two separate agencies had come to the scene and did nothing about it. Didn't file a report. They just left.... This man was nothing but a cheap murderous vigilante, if what he says is true. But he was in the employ of one of the wealthiest citizens of Louisiana.

We can't view what has happened, and continues to happen, and will continue to happen in New Orleans through a narrow lens. We need to view it through a much broader lens – the bigger lens of what is happening in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in the prisons of this country. We've got the vicious and hidden hand of the free market backed up by the iron fist of militarism. We see it in Iraq. And now, the Mississippi has become the Tigris.

Destruction of the Global Environment

photo©Laura Hanifin

From the indictment presented by Ted Glick, co-founder of the Climate Crisis Coalition

Dr. Rajendra Pachauri--Chairman of the official Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, told an international conference attended by 114 governments in Mauritius, this month, that he personally believes that the world has "already reached the level of dangerous concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere," and called for immediate and "very deep" cuts in pollution if humanity is to "survive." He told delegates, "Climate change is for real. We have just a small window of opportunity and it is closing rather rapidly. There is not a moment to lose."

Now, Dr. Pachauri is not a radical. That's not his background. In fact, Dr. Pachauri became the head of this Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the organization of 2000 scientists from 100 countries around the world that has been studying this issue of global warming and climate change since 1989, he became the head of that body when... a memorandum from Exxon to the White House in early 2001 specifically asked it to get the previous chairman, Dr. Robert Watson, the chief scientist of the World Bank, "replaced," at the request of the U.S. The Bush administration then lobbied other countries in favor of Dr. Pachauri, who former Vice President Al Gore called the "let's drag our feet" candidate, and got him elected to replace Dr. Watson, a British-born naturalized American who had repeatedly called for urgent action.

This is an example of both the depth of the crisis, and what the Bush administration has been attempting to do since it came in office. They failed in the case of Dr. Pachauri because apparently he was a man who, whatever his past background, was willing to look at the facts, and came to the position that scientists and people who look at the facts come to, which is that we are in a very deep crisis....

There has been so much melting of ice in the Arctic that the water now, that is exposed, that is no longer ice, is absorbing heat. Because ice reflects heat back, but open water absorbs heat. So, that the process, what this article, what this study came out and said, is that the process of the ice melt over the summer has moved forward to such an extent that it might not be possible, any time this century, for the ice to get back where it was and it may pretty much disappear during the summer, within the next number of decades.

If that happens, there's great concern about Greenland, and the melting process in Greenland. Because, just like there's the West Antarctic ice sheet, that if it melts and goes into the ocean, it will raise sea levels worldwide by fifteen feet or so, there's a similar ice sheet on Greenland, that's on land, it's not in the water. If it melts and goes into the water, it's a very similar thing. So there's various aspects to this crisis, just to give you some examples of what we're facing.

Let me briefly go through what the Bush administration has been doing about this crisis. ... I mentioned the withdrawal from the Kyoto agreement. That was one of the first things that they did, within about two months of their coming into office. They've actively collaborated with energy giants like ExxonMobil to in various ways to confuse people and to keep information from people....

Finally, the last specific that I would like to put forward for consideration is New Orleans. It was not a surprise that New Orleans was hit by a hurricane, and that serious damage was done to it with a great deal of flooding. It's been known for many many years, for decades, that New Orleans was one of the few cities in the United States most in danger of a major catastrophic effect. And that catastrophic event would be a major hurricane. It's under sea level, six or seven feet below sea level. That's why you have all the levees. It was know that the whole development of New Orleans, and the destruction of wetlands that could serve as a buffer to prevent the kind of damage that a hurricane would bring. It was know, one of the two top, or maybe three top cities, with SF being another one in terms of earthquakes, and New York City being one in terms of terrorism, it was one of the top three cities in the United States facing a catastrophe.

This is from Ross Gelbspan, an article he wrote shortly after Katrina hit: "Last year, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported that the Corps of Engineers had determined that the Bush administration was spending less than 20 percent of what was needed to complete the fortification of the city’s levees. While the massive destruction of Katrina left Americans in shock, it should have been no surprise to the federal government. In 2001, the Federal Emergency Management Agency cited a hurricane strike on New Orleans as one of the three most likely U.S. disasters. Nevertheless, by 2004 the Bush administration had cut funding to the corps’ New Orleans district by more than 80 percent."

Earlier this year, a Louisiana congressional delegation got the Congress to provide about sixty million dollars for flood prevention for the city. But the Bush administration reduced that figure to 10.4 million dollars, according to Newhouse News Service. While the Bush administration was cutting funding to strengthen protective dikes and levies, the state's bipartisan congressional delegation was also working to secure money for the restoration of it's coastal wetlands to buffer the impacts of storm surges. Louisiana officials estimated this effort would cost 14 billion dollars but the lawmakers managed to secure only a tiny fraction, 570 million over 4 years according to the Times Picayune.The requested 14 billion dollars was all but erased from the administration's energy bill. So in order to save sort term, for disaster prevention, the administration's lack of planning has yielded what will likely top one hundred billion in damages. Now we're talking 200 billion, most of it uninsured.

These are a number of specifics, and a number of particulars that it seems to me make a very compelling case that the current administration can only be accurately be labelled as climate criminals. And I urge this effort to go forward to to bring out more evidence and take appropriate action.

Send us your comments.


Disrupting the Torture Professor

Revolution #021, November 6, 2005, posted at

Oct. 25, Boalt Law School, UC Berkeley--WCW activists disrupted a class on constitutional law taught by John Yoo, former Bush administration official and an author of the infamous memos that crafted legal justifications for the U.S. to carry out torture. (See the poster series "Conservative My Ass...These People Are Nazis," available online at

One of the protesters, a member of the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade and an astrophysics student at UC Berkeley, wrote about the action:

"Right now I’m supposed to be researching the formation of galaxy clusters. But I can’t do that. My studies have been disrupted. I can’t sleep at night; when I do sleep I dream about the torture that this government and its army is carrying out on people in Iraq, in Abu Ghraib prison, in Guantánamo. I dream about the direction this society is going in--toward becoming a Christian Fascist nation. This is happening right now and a lot of people are OK with that--they privately disapprove but they’re just going along with it. So this is a very dangerous time. I can’t sleep. I can’t concentrate on my classes. And to top it all off, the man who provided the legal justification to carry out this torture is a professor of law here on this campus. My studies are disrupted by this.

"So in response I and two others dressed up as prisoners of Abu Ghraib, as victims of the torture that Professor John Yoo provided the legal justification for. We were led in by someone portraying the army soldiers that conducted the torture. We confronted this law class and the professor. 'This is the reality. What are you going to do about it?' The soldier thanked Yoo for giving him the freedom to carry out the torture. People in the class were upset with us--there were a lot of people who were supportive but a lot of people were upset because we disrupted a few minutes of their class time. We asked them what would they do if they lived in the time when people were fighting for the abolition of slavery or against segregation. And some people said that that was good too, that they love John Yoo and want to go buy him a round of beers. This was the attitude of some of the students. They had the same kind of attitude as the soldiers who humiliated and urinated on the prisoners at Abu Ghraib. There were also a lot of people who said, 'I’m not for torture, I didn’t vote for this.' We asked these people, 'When is it fascist enough for you? When will you consider it intolerable? How can you go and learn constitutional law from somebody like John Yoo?' Then there were people who were interested in our plans for November 2 and for building a movement that can drive the regime from power."

Another Berkeley student with World Can't Wait who took part in this protest said,

"We’ve tried many times to just do passive demonstrations. But we never get any response. And this is getting bigger by the second. Things are getting worse. So now is the time to start taking direct action because you need to start getting people’s attention. You need to find a way and you need to do it. No matter what it takes. How big are we going to let this get? How bad do things have to be before we actually take action? I think we should start off now before things get any worse. We need to stop this before this turns into a situation like Germany in the 1930s. We don’t want that to happen. We want to stop it."

Send us your comments.


Revolution Interviews Chicago High School Students About Nov. 2: Think of the Impact!

Revolution, October 29, 2005, posted at

Revolution talked with three students at Chicago’s Roberto Clemente High School who have been organizing for Nov. 2. Clemente is a heavily Puerto Rican and proletarian school. The following are excerpts from the interview:

Revolution: Why are you participating in World Can’t Wait, and why do you think it is important for others to participate?

I: I have grown up in an environment where I’ve been given this freedom to go and explore different philosophies. And as I’ve grown up I’ve gone through a lot. But I’ve also realized that if I can help with something then I’m obligated to do so. So when I see something like the WCW, I’m perfectly capable to do this for the betterment of my people and for the betterment of everybody...

M: The way I see it there are a lot of injustices and a lot of stuff you can be critical of the government... We get these people and we trust them to guide us and take us in the right direction. But sometimes we have to step up and say no. Most of the time they are not willing to listen to the little people. This is a way of saying we are not small anymore. We are here and you have to listen to us. We have to fight for ourselves and for other people...

E: I see it as rising up for what you think is right and wrong. Look what actions Bush is taking right now. Do you think it’s good or bad?

Revolution: Could you speak on the need and potential to accomplish the goal of driving out the Bush regime?

I: What we are setting out to accomplish right now is kind of a far-fetched thing, but it is possible... To get rid of this whole Bush and Bush administration and Bush cabinet is going to be like tearing down the Berlin Wall but with a couple of people instead of hundreds. It’s something that has never been done...

M: There is a lot of stuff that we thought couldn’t be done like going to the moon, flying an airplane... There is always that possibility that you can do it and it goes down in history. So why not be part of history now? You know, it’s like solving an equation. You have the problem there and you know it’s hard and complicated. But you won’t know if you can solve it or not without trying...

Revolution: Rosa Parks is someone who took a stand. What is the importance of someone taking a stand first even if a lot of other people might not be there yet?

I: Taking the first stand is what gets other people to thinking and gets others to take their stand as well. If let’s say Rosa Parks didn’t get on the front of that bus, she wouldn’t have gotten media attention, she wouldn’t have gotten her people’s attention, she wouldn’t have gotten arrested and she wouldn’t have started that bus boycott there, which forwarded the movement. If we don’t take our own stand here, and get it known among our neighborhood here so they can get their families in on it and their friends in on it, we are not going to do anything... Taking a stand takes a bit of courage — E., M., V. and I are putting ourselves on the line of being expelled by putting this thing together in our school. Security guards and administration don’t really like this right now...

M: People always need a leader. Not everyone is always willing to take a stand. They need to see somebody stepping forward so a massive movement can arise...

Revolution: What would you say to people who are trying to figure out if they are going to take that first stand around the WCW and November 2nd—-to lead a walkout at their highschool, or organize their campus or work place?

I: If you get your friend in on it and they get their friends in on it and they get their friends in on it, all of a sudden you have a nice little mass of people that are ready to go... The whole point of this is to throw off the city and everything going on — to cause such an impact. What if we could shut down the city for a day? Think of the impact.

M: Many are complaining that Bush is an idiot but they are not willing to do anything about it. If you have the time to complain you have the time to do something about it, ‘cause apathy gets you nowhere.

Send us your comments.


From Set the Record Straight

New Mao Biography: Not Historical Scholarship but Hysterical Rant

Revolution #021, November 6, 2005, posted at

The following article about a newly published book on Mao Zedong is a version of a leaflet being distributed by Set the Record Straight.

Mao: The Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday is not historical scholarship but hysterical rant. The purpose of this work is to demonize Mao Zedong and destroy his reputation, pure and simple. The master narrative is that Mao was evil from the day he was born--and committed evil upon evil until the day he died. Chang and Halliday reconstruct and fabricate history to make the case that a scheming and bloodthirsty opportunist hijacked an entire people and country.

Reader beware. You are being lied to. Mao: The Unknown Story plays fast and loose with facts, offers far-fetched theories based not on careful investigation but unrelenting hatred of Mao, and twists reality to fit an anticommunist agenda. The message in the bottle is that the Chinese revolution was not really necessary, and that great revolutionary leaders like Mao are in fact power-crazed tyrants and perpetrators of towering crimes. This book is a brief against revolution and revolutionary leaders. If you swallowed the justifying arguments about "weapons of mass destruction," you’ll adore this book.

Mao: The Unknown Story employs a methodology that distorts reality:

1.) Was a revolution needed?

The authors paint a picture of a revolution based on manipulation and terror. They whitewash the incredible misery and suffering of the old society, and the fact that for more than a century China had been beaten down and dominated by the imperialist powers of the West and Japan. They deny that tens and hundreds of millions of Chinese peasants and workers could possibly take up the revolutionary cause as their own. The masses of people have no agency in the company of Chang and Halliday--they are but pawns and putty.

You would not learn from this book that pre-revolutionary China was a society where arranged marriages and footbinding were widespread social practices. Or that four million people died each year of infectious and parasitic diseases. Or that in a city like Shanghai, young women workers were locked in textile factories at night, and one out of five persons was an opium addict. You wouldn’t know that the revolution in power rapidly transformed these social conditions. The Marriage Law of 1950, one of the first decrees of the new People’s Republic, established marriage by mutual consent and the right to divorce, and outlawed the sale of children and infanticide.

2.) Mao as revolutionary theorist and revolutionary leader.

It borders on the absurd. The authors are consumed with such venom for Mao that they cannot--in all 630 pages of text--bring themselves to treat Mao’s writings and speeches about the revolutionary process before and after the seizure of power. In the sordid psychohistory of Chang and Halliday, Mao’s ideas are simply hypocritical and manipulative means to attain personal domination. In fact, Mao analyzed the nature of Chinese society and developed programs and policies that spoke to the real material and social contradictions of Chinese society; and Mao brought forth a vision of moving society beyond exploitation and social divisions. All this inspired and motivated great numbers of people in China and around the world. This is what the authors find so reprehensible.

3.) Shoddy methods and sensationalistic claims.

The authors bask in the glow of a vast arsenal of references and sources--memoirs, hitherto inaccessible archives, interviews--and ten years of research. Boasting more than 125 pages of notes and sources…what the book says must be true--right? No, this is a snow job, and the relationship between claim and supporting evidence is shoddy beyond belief.

Let’s take three egregious examples:

  • The famous battle at the Dadu River Bridge during the Long March is now declared (pp. 152-55) to be a hoax, a self-serving myth invented by Mao and the Chinese Communist Party. The authors claim that “there was no battle” and “no Nationalist [Kuomintang] troops at the bridge.” They cite as a substantiating source the Kuomintang (KMT) archives. The KMT, which set world standards in corruption, and which suffered defeat at the hands of the Communist Party-led forces, is not exactly the most reliable source. Still, these archives contain useful historiographic materials—but, lo and behold, other scholars who have studied the KMT archives say they do not at all support the Chang/Halliday rewrite of history. Okay, but the authors furnish what they consider to be additional evidence, and key to this are the recollections of a “sprightly 93-year old” local woman they say they met in 1997! This quality of scholarship would be laughable in any other discipline. But somehow you can get away with this when it comes to Mao and the Chinese Revolution.
  • Listen to this gem about Mao’s view on education (p. 438): “Mao’s approach was not to raise the general standard of education in society as a whole, but to focus on a small elite, predominantly in science and other ‘useful’ subjects, and leave the rest of the population to be illiterate or semi-literate slave laborers.” If that were the case, how can you explain the fact that China’s literacy rate vaulted from 15 percent in 1949 to close to 80 percent by Mao’s death? Or that educational resources were vastly expanded in the rural areas during the Cultural Revolution, leading to rise in middle-school enrollment from 15 to 58 million? Or that with the huge opening up of educational opportunities through the Cultural Revolution, worker and peasant students became the great majority of China’s university enrollment by the early 1970s.

4.) The Chinese Revolution on the scales of history.

The Chinese revolution was a turning point in the history of the 20th century. As Mao said in 1949, “the Chinese people have stood up.” They stood up to feudal landlords, the Japanese invaders, the U.S.-financed KMT army, and foreign powers. Despite the authors’ outrageous claims, it was Mao who led in developing a military strategy to surround the cities from the countryside. He led in the development of a socialist society marked by the creative energy and initiative of those who had previously been treated as no more than a pair of hands.

This was a revolution that brought enormous social and economic progress to the great majority of people. Life expectancy more than doubled, from 32 years in 1949 to 65 years in 1975. China under Mao achieved what the U.S. has proven incapable of coming close to: a universal and egalitarian health care system. Industry grew by more than 10 percent a year during the Cultural Revolution. And by the early 1970s, China had solved its historic food problem. This revolution saved untold numbers of lives.

The Cultural Revolution, far from being Mao’s “Great Purge,” was a “revolution within the revolution.” It was a broad movement and upheaval aimed at preventing a new privileged class from taking power and turning China into what it has become since Mao died in 1976: a sweatshop paradise riddled with corruption and inequality. China is no longer socialist.

5.) What’s at stake in the debate over this book?

Basically two things. First, the truth of Mao and the Chinese revolution--what this revolution was about, what Mao stood for and did, and what the Chinese people accomplished. Second, the question of humanity’s future: can we put an end to the horrific exploitation, oppression, and inequality of the world as it is, and radically transform it—or is this the only world possible? Mao: The Unknown Story is character assassination with a reactionary moral writ large: dreams of radical and revolutionary change are doomed; long live the status quo.

Contact Set the Record Straight at
PO Box 981
Chicago, IL 60690-0981

Send us your comments.


The Harrisburg Trial and the Clash over Evolution

"Intelligent Design": Stealth War on Science

Revolution #021, November 6, 2005, posted at

"The objective is to convince people that Darwinism is inherently atheistic, thus shifting the debate from creationism vs. evolution to the existence of God vs. the nonexistence of God. From there, people are introduced to 'the truth' of the Bible and then 'the question of sin' and finally 'introduced to Jesus.'"

Phillip Johnson, architect of the "Wedge Strategy" for promoting Intelligent Design, in a 1999 article for Church and State magazine.


A president who consults religious lunatics about who should be on the Supreme Court... Judges who want prayer in school and the "ten commandments" in the courtroom… Born-Again fanatics who bomb abortion clinics… bible thumpers who condemn homosexuality as "sin"... and all the other Christian fascists who want a U.S. theocracy….

This is the force behind the assault on evolution going on right now in a courtroom in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Last year, the Dover city school board instituted a policy that requires high school biology teachers to read a statement to students that says Darwin's theory of evolution is "not a fact" and then notes that intelligent design offers an alternative theory for the origin and evolution of life--namely, that life in all of its complexity could not have arisen without the help of an "intelligent hand." Some teachers refused to read the statement, citing the Pennsylvania teacher code of ethics, which says, "I will never knowingly present false information to a student." Eleven parents who brought this case to court contend that the directive amounted to an attempt to inject religion into the curriculum in violation of the First Amendment. Their case has been joined by the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

The school board is being defended pro bono by the Thomas More Law Center, a Christian law firm in Ann Arbor, Mich. The case is being heard without a jury in Harrisburg by U.S. District Judge John Jones III, whom George W. Bush appointed to the bench in 2002.

In 1987, the Supreme Court ruled that public schools could not teach the biblical account of creation instead of evolution, because doing so would violate the constitutional ban on establishment of an official religion. Since then Intelligent Design has been promoted by Christian fundamentalists as the way to get the Bible and creationism into the schools.

"This clever tactical repackaging of creationism does not merit consideration," Witold Walczak, legal director of the Pennsylvania American Civil Liberties Union and a lawyer for the parents, told U.S. District Judge John E. Jones in opening arguments. "Intelligent design admits that it is not science unless science is redefined to include the supernatural." This is, he added, "a 21st-century version of creationism."

This is the first time a federal court has been asked to rule on the question of whether Intelligent Design is religion or science. Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, which opposes challenges to the standard model of teaching evolution in the schools, said the Pennsylvania case "is probably the most important legal situation of creation and evolution in the last 18 years," and that "it will have quite a significant impact on what happens in American public school education."

Proponents of Intelligent Design don’t say in the courtroom that they want to replace science with religion. But their strategy papers, speeches, and discussions with each other make it clear this is their agenda.

Intelligent Design (ID) is basically a re-packaged version of creationism--the view that the world can be explained, not by science, but by a strict, literal reading of the Bible. ID doesn’t bring up ridiculous biblical claims like the earth is only a few thousand years old or that the world was created in seven days. Instead it claims to be scientific--it acknowledges the complexity and diversity of life, but then says this all comes from some "intelligent" force. ID advocates don’t always openly argue this "intelligent force" is GOD--they even say it could be some alien from outer space! But Christian fundamentalists are the driving force behind the whole Intelligent Design movement and it’s clear… these people aren’t praying every night to little green men from another planet.

Phillip Johnson, considered the father and guiding light behind Intelligent Design, is the architect of the "wedge strategy" which focuses on attacking evolution and promoting intelligent design to ultimately, as Johnson says, "affirm the reality of God." Johnson has made it clear that the whole point of "shifting the debate from creationism vs. evolution to the existence of God vs. the non-existence of God" is to get people "introduced to the truth of the Bible," then "the question of sin" and finally "introduced to Jesus."

Intelligent Design and its theocratic program has been openly endorsed by George W. Bush. Earlier this year W stated that Intelligent Design should be taught in the schools. When he was governor of Texas, Bush said students should be exposed to both creationism and evolution. And he has made the incredibly unscientific, untrue statement that "the jury is still out" on evolution.

For the Christian fascists, the fight around evolution and teaching Intelligent Design is part of a whole agenda that encompasses reconfiguring all kinds of cultural, social, and political "norms" in society. This is a movement that is fueled by a religious vision which varies among its members but is predicated on the shared conviction that the United States is in need of drastic changes--which can only be accomplished by instituting religion as its cultural foundation.

The Christian fascists really do want--and are working for--a society where everything is run according to the Bible. They have been working for decades to infiltrate school boards to be in a position to mandate things like school prayer. Now, in the schools, they might not be able to impose a literal reading of the Bible’s explanation for how the universe was created. But Intelligent Design, thinly disguised as some kind of "science," is getting a lot more than just a foot in the door.

The strategy for promoting intelligent design includes an aggressive and systematic agenda of promoting the whole religious worldview that is the basis for ID. And this assault on evolution is linked up with other questions in how society should be run.

Marc Looy of the creationist group Answers in Genesis has said that evolution being taught in the schools,

"creates a sense of purposelessness and hopelessness, which I think leads to things like pain, murder, and suicide."

Ken Cumming, dean of the Institute for Creation Research's (ICR) graduate school, who believes the earth is only thousands of years old, attacked a PBS special seven-part series on evolution, suggesting that the series had "much in common" with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks against the United States. He said,

"[W]hile the public now understands from President Bush that 'we're at war' with religious fanatics around the world, they don't have a clue that America is being attacked from within through its public schools by a militant religious movement called Darwinists...."

After the 1999 school shooting in Littleton, Colorado, Tom DeLay, Christian fascist representative from Texas, gave a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives, blaming the incident in part on the teaching of evolution. He said,

"Our school systems teach the children that they are nothing but glorified apes who are evolutionized out of some primordial soup of mud."

The ID movement attacks the very notion of science itself and the philosophical concept of materialism--the very idea that there is a material world that human beings can examine, learn about, and change.

Johnson says in his "The Wedge Strategy" paper,

"The social consequences of materialism have been devastating…we are convinced that in order to defeat materialism, we must cut it off at its source. Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist world view, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions."

Dr. Eugenie C. Scott, the Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, points out:

"Evolution is a concept that applies to all sciences, from astronomy to chemistry to geology to biology to anthropology. Attacking evolution means attacking much of what we know of the natural world, that we have amassed through the application of scientific principles and methods. Second, creationist attacks on evolution are attacks on science itself, because the creationist approach does violence to how we conduct science: science as a way of knowing."

The Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture (another Christian think tank) says that it "seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies."

Teaching Intelligent Design in the schools is part of a whole Christian Fascist movement in the United States that has power and prominence in the government, from the Bush regime on down. And if anyone isn’t clear about what "cultural legacies" the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture wants to overthrow--take a look at the larger Christian fascist agenda that the intelligent design movement is part of: asserting patriarchy in the home, condemning homosexuality, taking away the right to abortion, banning sex education, enforcing the death penalty with the biblical vengeance of an "eye for an eye," and launching a war because "God told me [Bush] to invade Iraq."

The Science of Evolution  and  Anti-Evolution Creationism - An Assault on All of Science, in the Name of God

by Ardea Skybreak

Both series available at:

Includes analysis of Intelligent Design--See: Part 7e, "Creationism's New Wrapper Won't Fool Us: Intelligent Design Theory Is Still Just Religion--It's Still Not Science--And It's Still Wrong.")

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The U.S. at War -- A History of Shame

The First Iraq War 1991:
Mass Murder From A Safe Distance

Revolution #021, November 6, 2005, posted at

On January 16, 1991, the U.S. launched "Operation Desert Storm" against Iraq and its people. The military might of the most powerful imperialist power on the planet, and its allies, was unleashed on a poor, strategic, oil-rich, third world country.

The U.S. got its troops and war machine into the Persian Gulf, attacked Iraq, and destroyed much of its military--using the justification that all this was just for "liberating Kuwait" and "restoring peace and democracy."

In fact, the U.S. landed its troops to restore the Sabah family, a despotic and decadent monarchy ruling a country. Kuwait was an oil-rich country where under 4% of the population had any political rights. The majority of people in Kuwait were considered "foreigners"--and were subject to expulsion, firing, and even jail for any dissent. Women in Kuwait had no rights at all--no right to choose a husband, get divorced, or even testify as the equal to men in court.

Re-establishing this reactionary order was not "liberating Kuwait"--and it was certainly not liberating its people! This invasion restored an oppressive society that was set up by foreign imperialist powers to efficiently extract oil from the Middle East.

Great deception was used to justify the war: After Iraq’s army invaded and occupied Kuwait in August 1990, the U.S. government hid the fact that Saddam Hussein had been their close military ally through the 1980s, and that U.S. ambassador April Glaspie had given Iraq the green light for the takeover of Kuwait.

In a notorious lie, a young woman told a congressional committee that Iraqi soldiers had taken Kuwaiti newborns out of incubators and left them to die on a cold floor. This inflammatory story was fabricated by a U.S. public relations firm and the young woman was the daughter of Kuwait’s ambassador to the U.S.

Mass Murder from a Safe Distance

The attack on Iraq was waged with the brutal and murderous attacks that characterize "the American Way of War." The war started with a month of massive bombing--followed by a four-day ground war. The U.S. coalition dropped 88,000 tons of bombs, equivalent to over seven Hiroshimas. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people, civilians as well as soldiers, were killed or injured.

The U.S. government claimed that they had new "precision weapons" that only hit selected targets. This was a lie. In one incident among many: two U.S. cruise missiles scored a direct hit on the Amariya air raid shelter on February 13, 1991 and killed 408 civilians hiding there.

Bombing destroyed much of Iraq’s infrastructure--including bridges, electrical plants and water treatment plants. Without sewage treatment a large number of civilians died of disease after the war. Air Force strategists admit this was a deliberate strategy--to give the U.S. leverage over Iraq by destroying facilities that could only be repaired with foreign assistance.

Defeated Iraqi troops fled on the highway from Kuwait City to Basra--together with many civilians. Top U.S. General Colin Powell declared, "We shall cut them off and then kill them." For 48 hours U.S. jets attacked this clogged highway with incendiary bombs--turning it into a firestorm. Over 25,000 civilians and fleeing soldiers were killed on this "Highway of Death"--an atrocity almost completely ignored by the U.S. media.

"New World Order"

Before President Bush 1 unleashed this war, he declared a "New World Order." The Soviet Union, the long-time global rival of the U.S., was collapsing. And the U.S. ruling class saw a moment to forcefully establish themselves as the world’s sole superpower-- particularly in strategic areas, like the oil-rich Persian Gulf. Bush moved to do this--wading in the blood of over 100,000 dead Iraqi people.

After this first Gulf war, the U.S. established permanent Army and Air Force bases in Persian Gulf region for the first time. They reimposed the vicious Sabah monarchy on Kuwait. Their nuclear Navy now permanently patrolled the Persian Gulf--threatening countries like Iraq and Iran along its shores. The U.S. and United Nations imposed a set of sanctions on Iraq that caused the deaths of many Iraqis--including half a million children.

This first aggressive U.S. war on Iraq had nothing to do with "peace," or with "liberating" the people of this region. It was about establishing the U.S. as a sole overlord of a strategic region. And it was done ruthlessly, through lies, followed by the murderous bombing and defeat of a poor third world country.

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Christian Fascists at the Air Force Academy

Revolution #021, November 6, 2005, posted at

Think of this: The U.S. Air Force in the hands of religious fanatics who believe in the literal word of the Bible, including the justness of using ruthless violence against enemies in the name of God. Look, for example, at the celebration of brutal conquest in Numbers 31:

"They [the Israelites] took the field against the Midianites, as the Lord had commanded, and slew every male.... And they destroyed by fire all the towns in which they were settled..."

We're not there yet. But Christian fundamentalist forces who seriously aim to establish a theocracy in the U.S. are a relentlessly aggressive force in this society, with position and influence at the highest levels of power. The Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs gives a glimpse into this.

Last month Mikey Weinstein, a 50-year-old attorney in New Mexico, filed a lawsuit demanding that the Air Force prohibit its members from attempting "to involuntarily convert, pressure, exhort or persuade" cadets at the Air Force Academy "to accept their own religious beliefs while on duty." Weinstein, a graduate of the Academy, had been locked in a fight with the Air Force hierarchy since his younger son, currently a cadet at Colorado Springs, revealed that he had been the target of overt anti-Semitism.

When Weinstein looked into what was happening at the Academy, he confronted a whole culture of official promotion, including from the top levels, of evangelical Christianity and the intense pressuring of cadets to take up those beliefs.

What is pushed at the Air Force Academy is not Christianity in general. "It’s not a Christian-Jew thing," Weinstein said. "It’s evangelical Christian vs. everybody else. The viciousness is as bad against mainline Protestants as it is against Catholics as it is against Jews."

Here are just some of the other things that have been taking place at the Academy:

  • Brigadier General Johnny Weida, Commandant of Cadets, has endorsed religion generally and evangelical Christianity in particular... For example, he officially endorsed ‘National Prayer Week’ in a mass email message instructing cadets to "ask the Lord to give us the wisdom to discover the right, the courage to choose it, and the strength to make it endure" and declaring that "He has a plan for each and every one of us."
  • The Academy's head football coach put up a banner in the players’ locker room that read, "I am a Christian first and last. I am a member of Team Jesus Christ."
  • During a basic cadet training session, an Academy chaplain led a Protestant service in which he encouraged attending cadets to proselytize other cadets by telling them that the penalty for not being "born again" was to "burn in the fires of hell."

This promotion of a "Christian Air Force" is part of a broader phenomenon. According to Esther Kaplan, author of With God on Their Side, How Christian Fundamentalists Trampled Science, Policy, and Democracy in George W. Bush's White House,

"They've really allowed Christian evangelizers to move in on the heels of American troops... We've seen members of the U.S. military pushing Christianity on their own soldiers. In the book I mention a piece that appeared in a Florida newspaper that was quickly denied--and no other reporters followed up on it--about a chaplain that was actually forcing soldiers [in Iraq] to get baptized if they wanted the chance to dip in a bath while there was this incredible water shortage among U.S. troops... I actually met one of the soldiers who had come back from Iraq who was on that base with that chaplain and who confirmed to me that was what had gone on. So, if it's not a holy war, it sure smells a lot like it."

And Bush's Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence is Army General William Boykin--a man who openly and in uniform calls the Iraqi people the "face of Satan," declares that the Christian God is the only true and "real" god, and says that "God himself" put Bush in the White House.

Those who say that the Christian fascists won't get too far because the majority doesn’t share their outlook should think about the strength of the Christian right in the military and should understand that these forces are preparing to forcibly ram their agenda through if need be.

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God the Original Fascist

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

Revolution #021, November 6, 2005, posted at

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.


As mentioned earlier in this series, passages spelling out the policy for occupying and annihilating the peoples of Canaan mark only one main theme of Holy Conquest in the Bible. The other way in which the Bible repeatedly upholds such conquest is found in passages that speak in general terms about the supposed justification and necessity for wiping out any people along the way who are not God's "chosen people." For instance, the following passage in Deuteronomy explains that God has chosen his followers to rule over all others:

"For the Lord your God will bless you as He has promised you. You will extend loans to many nations, but require none yourself; you will dominate many nations, but they will not dominate you."

(Deuteronomy 14)

Is it any wonder, given passages like this, that so many Evangelical nutcases insist that not only military conquest, but also a global economic order based on imperial dominance, is all part of "God's plan"?

Or let us once again consider Deuteronomy 20, which contains the passage referenced earlier in this series:

"When you approach a town to attack it, you shall offer it terms of peace. If it responds peaceably and lets you in, all the people present shall serve you as forced labor. If it does not surrender to you, but would join battle with you, you shall lay siege to it....You shall put all the males to the sword. You may, however, take as your booty the women, the children, and the livestock, and everything in its town--all its spoil--and enjoy the use of the spoil of your enemy which the Lord gives you....Thus shall you deal with all the towns that lie very far from you, towns that do not belong to nations hereabout. In the towns of the latter people, however, you shall not let a soul remain alive."

(Deuteronomy 20)

So, to review, the best that invaded peoples can hope for, according to the logic of this passage, is a lifetime of "forced labor"--i.e., slavery. And conquered peoples will only be this "fortunate" if they both surrender immediately to their invaders and if they are lucky enough to be located a safe distance from their attackers. If, on the other hand, they do not wish to be enslaved for the rest of eternity, and/or if they dwell in close proximity to their conquerors, they are doomed to total annihilation.

It is perhaps worth noting again that the Bible does not merely encourage God's followers to engage in wholesale slaughter against other peoples--it actually requires it, lest God's followers themselves be wiped out! For instance, in Deuteronomy 12, Moses reminds the Israelites,

"You must destroy all the sites at which the nations you dispossess worshipped their Gods, whether on lofty mountains and hills or under any luxuriant tree. Tear down their altars, smash their pillars, put their sacred posts to fire, and cut down the images of their gods, obliterating their name from that site."

(Deuteronomy 12)

Or how about the passages cited earlier in this series, describing in vivid detail the consequences for those who refuse to conquer others. Perhaps it is worth revisiting these passages briefly. Numbers 32 was referenced, where Moses tells the Israelites, in essence, that their only two choices are to conquer or become conquered:

"If you do this, if you go to battle as shock troops, at the instance of the Lord, and every shock fighter among you crosses the Jordan, at the instance of the Lord, until He has dispossessed his enemies before him, and the land has been subdued at the instance of the Lord, and then you return--you shall be clear before the Lord and this land shall be your holding under the Lord. But if you do not do so, you will have sinned against the Lord; and know that the Lord will overtake you."

(Numbers 32)

Or how about Numbers 34, where God instructs Moses,

"Speak to the Israelite people, and say to them: When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan, you shall dispossess all the inhabitants of the land; you shall destroy their figured objects; you shall destroy all their molten images; you shall demolish all their cult palaces...If you do not dispossess the inhabitants of the land, those whom you allow to remain shall be stings in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land in which you live, so that I will do to you what I planned to do to them."

(Numbers 34)


The series concludes next week: Letting God speak for himself; the horrific nightmare that would result if the Bible were taken literally and made the "law of the land."

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From Set the Record Straight: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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

Part 4

Revolution #021, November 6, 2005, posted at

Revolution is running this FAQ in four parts. The full FAQ is available online at or

Q Socialism might be good as an idea but has it really worked in practice?

A The socialist revolutions in the Soviet Union (1917-56) and China (1949-76) made tremendous advances towards a liberated world. With state power in their hands, the former have-nots were taking hold of and transforming society. The rule of profit and exploitation was ended. Basic social needs were met. Life expectancy in Maoist China doubled between 1949 and 1976, from 32 to 65 years. Unprecedented strides were made in uprooting the oppression of women and minority nationalities. These revolutions did not fail but were defeated by bourgeois and reactionary forces.

Q Won’t socialism or communism come up against the realities of human nature and selfishness?

A There is no innate or unchanging "human nature." People’s thinking, behavior, and values are shaped by the economic structure and corresponding institutions and culture of a given society. Ancient Greek society and America’s "founding fathers" regarded slavery as perfectly "normal." Capitalism is organized around the private accumulation of profit and economic competition. Selfishness, greed, and individualism are rewarded by the workings of capitalism and promoted by the institutions of capitalist society. They are not "hard-wired" into our genes, and neither is racism or male supremacy.

Q Will people be able to practice religion under socialism?

A Yes. People will have the right to worship and hold religious services (as well as the right not to believe in god). But the schools, and the government generally, will promote a scientific-materialist understanding of the natural world and of human society. People will not be forced to give up religion, but there will be society-wide ideological struggle to help people voluntarily cast off enslaving religious belief.

Q Will people still have personal possessions under socialism?

A Yes. But socialism will not be the same kind of "consumer society" we live in today. For example, it will move away from an environmentally destructive "automobile culture." People in the working and middle-class will have the right to live in the homes they currently occupy. But segregation and speculative real estate markets will be ended; and decent housing for those who had been on the bottom of society will be a priority.

Q Will there be democracy and elections under socialism, and will dissent be allowed?

A There will be real and unparalleled democracy for the masses of people. There will be dictatorship over the old exploiters and those organizing to overthrow the new system. This dictatorship of the proletariat gives the masses the right and the ability to change the world and participate in society in an all-around way. Communist leadership will unleash diverse thinking and action from the bottom up and everywhere else. It will also foster dissent, including opposition to the government itself, and provide the means and resources for such viewpoints to be heard. Elections will have a role as one means of selecting and developing leadership, and keeping it accountable to the masses. But one thing that will not be up for vote is whether society should go back to capitalism. A revolution to completely change society requires firm and visionary leadership to enable the masses to hold on to power and to guide the challenging and liberating struggle to get to a communist world: where the division of people into ruler and ruled, and between leaders and led, is finally overcome.

To Learn More About Socialism and Communism

Read the Writings of Bob Avakian

“Dictatorship and Democracy, and the Socialist Transition to Communism,” at
Phony Communism Is Dead...Long Live Real Communism, at
Observations on Art and Culture, Science and Philosophy, at
“REVOLUTION: Why It’s Necessary·Why It’s Possible·What It’s All About” DVD at


Contact Set the Record Straight:

Donate funds:
Set the Record Straight
P.O. Box 981
Chicago, IL 60690-0981


Come hear Raymond Lotta speak on why and how “Socialism Is Much Better than Capitalism, and Communism Will Be a Far Better World”

Tour dates and locations at

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ACLU Report:

U.S. Interrogators Killed Prisoners

Revolution #021, November 6, 2005, posted at

On October 24, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) published a report based on the autopsy and death reports of detainees held by the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Their analysis shows that many U.S. captives had died while being interrogated. According to these reports, detainees were repeatedly hooded, gagged, strangled, beaten with blunt objects and subjected to sleep deprivation and extreme temperatures.

"There is no question that U.S. interrogations have resulted in deaths," said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the ACLU. "High-ranking officials who knew about the torture and sat on their hands and those who created and endorsed these policies must be held accountable. America must stop putting its head in the sand and deal with the torture scandal."

The documents were released by the Department of Defense in response to a Freedom of Information filing. They included 44 autopsies and death reports as well as a summary of autopsy reports of people seized in Iraq and Afghanistan. This covers just a fraction of the total number of Iraqis and Afghanis who have died while in U.S. custody.

According to the documents, 21 of the 44 deaths were homicides. The ACLU found that eight of the homicides appear to have resulted from abusive techniques used on detainees. The autopsy reports list deaths by "strangulation," "asphyxiation" and "blunt force injuries" – meaning that prisoners were choked, suffocated or beaten until they died.

According to the ACLU, "While newspapers have recently reported deaths of detainees in CIA custody, these documents show that the problem is pervasive, involving Navy Seals and Military Intelligence too."

One day after this ACLU report was released, it became known that Vice President Cheney made a special appeal in early October to argue for changes in a Senate amendment that would "bar cruel and degrading treatment of any prisoners in U.S. custody." Cheney wanted the Senate to change the bill so that the new rules would not forbid the CIA and any "anti-terrorism" operations from torturing their captives.

This U.S. government is torturing people TO DEATH and openly claiming that it must have a free hand to do this.

Can you stand by and let this go on?

Documented Death by U.S. Torture

The following cases come from the ACLU analysis:

  • A 27-year-old Iraqi man died while being interrogated by Navy Seals on April 5, 2004, in Mosul, Iraq. He had been hooded, flex-cuffed, sleep deprived and subjected to heat and cold, including by pouring cold water on his body and hood. Autopsy notes say he "struggled/interrogated/died sleeping."
  • An Iraqi detainee died on January 9, 2004, in Al Asad, Iraq, while being interrogated by "OGA" (military code name for CIA). He was standing shackled to the top of a door frame with a gag in his mouth when he died. The cause of death was given as asphyxia (suffocation) and blunt force injuries. Notes on the autopsy said "Q by OGA, gagged in standing restraint."
  • A detainee died during an interrogation by Military Intelligence (MI) on November 26, 2003, in Al Qaim, Iraq. The autopsy report lists "asphyxia due to smothering and chest compression" as the cause of death and cites bruises from the impact with a blunt object.
  • A detainee at Abu Ghraib Prison, captured by Navy Seal Team #7, died on November 4, 2003, during an interrogation by Navy Seals and "OGA." The autopsy report shows cause of death as "blunt force injury complicated by compromised respiration."
  • An Afghan civilian died from "multiple blunt force injuries to head, torso and extremities" on November 6, 2003, at a Forward Operating Base in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
  • A 52-year-old male Iraqi was strangled to death at the Whitehorse detainment facility on June 6, 2003, in Nasiriyah, Iraq. His autopsy revealed bone and rib fractures and multiple bruises.

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