Revolution #029, January 8, 2006, posted at

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More on "The Coming Civil War"

Revolution #029, January 8, 2006, posted at

Editors Note: The following are excerpts drawn from a talk given by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, to a group of Party members and supporters in 2005. This has been edited for publication here, and subheads and footnotes have been added.

Out of What Could This Civil War Arise?

Bob Avakian at the Wall of the Communards in Paris, 1981

The first question that needs to be spoken to here is: Where is this civil war coming from--out of what combination of factors could it arise? Now in this connection, some of what I'll be speaking to will be in response to something that has been raised--by way of criticism of this overall analysis--the question: "Why would they do that?" In other words, why would the "they" who rule this system let things go to those kinds of extremes? Well, first of all, I have previously spoken to how there is not one single "they"--and I won't repeat all of that here.1 And, secondly, I will talk about why and how this could, in fact, come about, whether or not particular individuals within the ruling class might desire this.

It has also been raised, in response to--again, that is, by way of criticism of--this "coming civil war" analysis, that it is possible to understand why there was a civil war in the U.S. in the 1860s, because you had two different modes of production then, which were increasingly coming into conflict with each other (a slave system, based in the South, and a developing capitalist system, based in the North); but now you don't have that kind of situation, so why would there be such a fundamental antagonism? Well, there have been experiences, for example in Nazi Germany, where sections of the ruling class were crushed by other sections without there having to be different modes of production involved. So conflicting modes of production is not a necessary requirement for there to be an all-out confrontation, in which one side or the other will be crushed, even for this to take place among the powers-that-be, although the Civil War in the U.S. in the 1860s did have a certain definite particularity--it represented the completion of the bourgeois-democratic revolution in the U.S.--that was its historical particularity and peculiarity.

But let's talk about "the coming civil war" in the U.S. today and relate this to the "Pyramid" analysis in different aspects, and what are similarities but also important differences in relation to the Civil War of the 1860s.2 And let's broaden this out to include the question of the Civil War and the "Weimar Republic."3 One of the striking things which comes through every day about the present situation in U.S. society, and in terms of contradictions and struggle within the ruling class--or the relative lack of struggle on the one side within the ruling class--does flow from the "Pyramid" analysis. That is, on the one hand, there is significant paralysis of the liberal imperialists (here I am referring generally to "liberals" within the leadership of the Democratic Party), in terms of contention with the opposing section (or sections) of the ruling class (those more generally grouped within the Republican Party), and at the same time on the part of these "liberals"--and generally on the part of the Democratic Party--there is a conscious and deliberate attempt at demobilization of the masses, particularly those on "their side of the pyramid" (that is, the masses of oppressed people and progressive forces in society, broadly speaking, who generally support and vote for the Democratic Party, even while they are consistently betrayed by it--and many even recognize this, at least to a certain degree, often voting for the Democrats as the "lesser evil"). These two things go hand in hand: paralysis in terms of fighting their "right-wing" rivals within the ruling class (which, yes, involves a definite fascist core) and deliberate demobilization of the "base of the Democratic Party." So that is the present dynamic within the ruling class: the initiative and the coherence, powerfully, around a program is overwhelmingly on one side of the divide in the ruling class (one side of the pyramid, if you will--"the right"), while the other side ("the left") is, on the one hand, paralyzed to a significant degree, putting up feeble and generally backpedaling opposition in relation to "the right," while working deliberately and systematically to demobilize any kind of mass outpouring against particularly egregious policies of the current regime and against the whole direction in which it is taking things.

This relates to the question of the bourgeois-democratic "Weimar Republic" in Germany after World War 1--how it was in many ways ripe for destruction by the Nazis after a certain point, and how the contradictions that were posed in Germany at that time (in the aftermath of Germany's defeat in World War 1) provided a certain favorable "environment" for the Nazis to grow and even to rise to power. Of course, there was an underlying basis of massive inflation, mass unemployment, and the situation of Germany in the international network of imperialist relations, where it had been deprived of territory it had previously held, had its armed forces severely restricted, and generally was put on rations and forced to pay reparations by the victorious imperialists, as a result of World War 1--those conditions, of course, don't exist in terms of the U.S. in today's world. But there still is a similarity with the Weimar Republic and in particular the flabbiness of the Weimar Republic. If you watch the movie "Cabaret" you'll see some of this portrayed. It's a very relevant movie to see now--you see how the fascists were able to play on a certain decadence of the Weimar Republic and on the way in which it was weak and flabby in relation to the interests of the bourgeoisie in that situation, the interests of German imperialism. I have written elsewhere about why and how the Nazis went after the Weimar Republic and what parallels there are with the situation in the U.S. today, which I won't repeat here. But there is that certain dynamic where the relativism and flabbiness, if you will, of the Democratic Party (the equivalent, in the U.S. today, of the Weimar Republic) becomes a perfect foil and target. You could see this in the whole Clinton impeachment crisis: Clinton and what he represented became a perfect foil and target for this whole fascist element of the ruling class in the U.S. today.4

One of the things that is expressive of this, or is part of the picture here, is that we have this whole phenomenon that arose out of the '60s and the contradictions which were set loose or intensified then, and the social changes that went along with that--some of which have been reinforced by changes in the economy, particularly having to do with the position of women in relation to work, and the reverberations of that back within the family and relations between men and women. But there was this whole ensemble of social conflicts that was set in motion by the '60s, which is still unresolved. That's one of the things Pat Buchanan was speaking to when, in his book The Death of the West--and I have given him credit for being far-seeing--he said: right after September 11 there was all this rallying around the flag and expressions of national unity, but it won't last, because there are these fundamental (as he calls them) "cultural divides." An important part of the picture here--and this relates to the analogy to the Weimar Republic and the Nazis going after the Weimar Republic--is that, because in the U.S. there has not been a revolutionary rupture to a whole other system, and a whole new and radically different framework--in terms of the economic base and the superstructure of this country and in terms of world relations--a lot of the things that the '60s set in motion which were positive have turned into their opposites in some important aspects. Some did so sooner and some after a longer period of time; and then they become convenient foils and objects of attack by these fascist forces. Some of this became readily apparent even during the '60s itself--for example, the "sexual revolution" and "free love" became, in significant ways, another form of preying on women. That contradiction asserted itself very rapidly. But a lot of more positive things that came out of that period were not able to find full expression and to become embodied in an actual radical rupture and transformation of society as a whole (and world relations), because they ran up against the limits of what could be accomplished within the confines of this system and its rule over society--this economic base of capitalism and its whole superstructure of political rule by the capitalist class, and of the dominant bourgeois politics, ideology and culture generally--and so these things that came forward through the '60s gave rise to their opposites in many ways. Forms of cultural expression that were positive did turn sometimes into forms of decadence. Things that were going against very strait-laced and confining and suffocating norms, degenerated into forms of relativism. Especially when you add in the defeats of the proletarian revolution internationally (and in particular the restoration of capitalism in China after Mao's death in 1976), then much of the opposition of various kinds to "faultline" forms of oppression in this society, such as the oppression of women and of Black people and other oppressed nationalities, were reduced to "identity politics," with the corresponding philosophical expressions of relativism.

These things have become, in many ways, easy targets and foils for right-wing forces. Because the proletariat is not yet leading and giving shape to the struggle against all forms of oppression, because this is not yet part of a powerful proletarian revolutionary movement and not being transformed in that context, then the ways in which, owing to factors both within the U.S. and internationally, some of these things have turned into their opposites, makes them convenient "cabarets" for the Nazis to go after. And distortions of what was raised through the movements of the '60s also become targets for the equivalent of Nazis in the U.S. So, this is all part of the picture as well.

Now when we think about this, one element that should cause us to become very sober, very quickly--this is something that was actually pointed out by Larry Everest in an article in our newspaper a little while ago5-- is this: If this section of the ruling class, with right-wing Christian fundamentalist forces (the Christian Fascists) as a major and driving force at the core of this section of the ruling class, consolidates its hold on the state of U.S. imperialism, this will be a force not like the Iranian theocratic fundamentalists who are apparently trying to develop nuclear weapons, but will be a theocratic fundamentalist ruling force, in the U.S., that already has an arsenal, a massive arsenal of nuclear weapons. It's bad enough in general that imperialism has these weapons of truly mass destruction, but this will heighten the madness that is concentrated in that.

You can see this, for example, with this Congressman (Tancredo from Colorado) who came out with a statement that if weapons of mass destruction were used by people "we" identified as "Islamic terrorists," we should respond in kind against Mecca and other Islamic holy sites. The State Department issued a mild criticism of this statement, but neither Bush nor Rumsfeld came out and said anything about how this was wrong. This Congressman, from what I understand, has refused to back off of this statement, and in fact it seems that he is being mentioned as a possible candidate for the Republican nomination for president. Just think soberly about what effect a statement like that has in the world, and particularly in the Islamic world. For some guy to make statements like this, who is a representative of the U.S. government--granted, he's a congressman, not the president, but he's a representative of the U.S. government--talking openly about launching nuclear attacks, or in any case massive strikes, on Mecca! Do you know what that means? Do you understand the effect of that in the Islamic world especially, and do you understand how the Islamic fundamentalists will seize on that--put it all over the Internet, and everywhere else? And it's not repudiated by the president of the United States.

"Why Would 'They' Do That?"

Why would they do that--why would "they" take things to the extreme of replacing bourgeois democracy in the U.S. itself with an openly despotic, in fact fascist rule, particularly in the form of a theocratic (Christian Fascist) state? Because the contradictions in society and the world have given rise to different forces within the ruling class in the U.S. who perceive the interests of the system--as they understand that system, and as they understand those interests--to lie in that direction. They have cohered around such a program, and they have material factors going with them to a significant degree. As one significant aspect of this, they are in accord with the interests of the ruling class broadly, to do away with the New Deal consensus that started with FDR (Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was President of the United States during the Great Depression of the 1930s and most of World War 2) and the "Great Society" programs of Lyndon Johnson during the 1960s. With the heightened globalization and similar factors resulting from the resolution of the "Cold War," the ruling class in the U.S. has both a certain necessity and a certain freedom to abolish these "Great Society" programs--or what remains of them--and the whole "New Deal" orientation.6 I have spoken to this and analyzed it more fully elsewhere--for example in Preaching From a Pulpit of Bones and "The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy, and Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer."7 But to speak here to a key aspect of this: In the U.S. today, unbridled "free market" capitalism goes along with, and is reinforced by, not only a general emphasis on "personal responsibility"--as opposed to the recognition of any kind of societal responsibility for the conditions of the members of society--but, more specifically, this particular "free market" capitalism is served by the notion that if people are in difficult and even dire conditions it is because of their "sinfulness," and they need to seek salvation through religion, and in particular religious fundamentalism.

At the same time, the section of the ruling class which is at the core of power now looks at what they are setting out to do and feels that this new and extreme kind of cohering and "legitimating" norm is what is necessary in the new conditions that U.S. imperialism exists within, in the world, and with the ambitions that they have for U.S. imperialism in the world--to expand and more thoroughly enforce its domination in the world. These people (and this was spoken to in "Right-Wing Conspiracy") understand that there are centrifugal forces in U.S. society, forces which really do threaten to pull it apart, and that if you are going to hold it together while doing what they are setting out to do in the world, you need a "cohering logic" that is not only powerful in a general sense but one which has a definite "absolute" character to it. Look at what's already happening in Iraq. They have a real problem with these National Guard members that they've now put through three tours--they're refusing to let people out of the military when their time is up. They're doing everything to avoid a draft--and doing everything but re-instituting the draft.

In "Right-Wing Conspiracy" it talks about this: There are two major social phenomena working against this dominant program of the ruling class--two major phenomena that they have to try to deal with. One is everything unleashed by the '60s, which I've spoken about--including whole sections of people in this society who no longer accept the assumption that it is the right of the U.S. to go marauding in the world, and that an American life is more valuable than anyone else's life--there are large numbers of people, within the U.S. itself, who question and oppose those assumptions. That's a real problem if you're trying to do what these imperialists are trying to do in the world. Let's call that "the '60s phenomenon" for shorthand. Then you have "the '90s phenomenon"--all this "gold rush" (get rich quick) shit, and the extreme individualism that it gave rise to--which doesn't exactly mesh neatly with the idea that the "Bushites" are pushing, that people should sacrifice for the greater societal (i.e. imperialist ruling class) good. Both these things are working in significant ways against them.

And then there's the point that Edward Luttwak makes in the book Turbo Capitalism about the changing configuration of the population in the U.S. Again, the change in the production relations, and the change in the family structure that's called forth by that, means that you have very few farm families and generally they are much smaller; you don't have this whole group of people that they used to draw much of the military "grunts" from--large rural and farm families in particular, in situations where it was convenient to have a lot of "hands," i.e. kids. And so, Luttwak points out, in the past when you had a family with six kids and maybe three sons, in the days when they only put the sons into the military, which raises another question: what are they going to do if they re-institute the draft, are they going to draft the women?--that's a really tough contradiction for them, they're in a hard place if they do and if they don't--but anyway, now you've got families that have maybe two kids. Well, if you've got six kids, it's not that people don't "mind" giving up one for the "greater national good," but it's not quite the same as when you have two children, as Luttwak points out. It's a much bigger sacrifice for the family to give up one family member to die in a war for "the greater national good," or whatever.

This is another contradiction they're dealing with: how are you going to get people to subordinate individualistic inclinations of the kind that run counter to what these imperialists are trying to do? Not from a communist standpoint, of course, but from an imperialist standpoint, how do you get people to "sacrifice for the greater (imperialist) good"? And how are you going to counter all the assumptions that came out of the '60s? You have to create a situation in which all the foundations from which people oppose these things can be undermined and eliminated. That's why, as I'll talk about later, there's a whole attack upon critical thinking and dissent in academia.8 Although academia is not actually a "realm of leftist and communist dictatorship," unfortunately [laughter], it is the case that it is a place where a lot of dissent and critical thinking goes on--and that is part of what is supposed to go on in that atmosphere as it has existed. You do have broad numbers of professors who, when the U.S. goes to war, question what they're doing and expose the lies. And you have students who are encouraged to do the same. I don't know how many of you saw this, but when Noam Chomsky was on Bill Maher's show about a year ago, Andrew Sullivan (who is a right-wing writer, commentator and "pundit," but not one who generally supports fanatical religious fundamentalism, even of the Christian Fascist variety) was also there in the studio while Chomsky appeared via satellite. And in that kind of a setting Chomsky might not have been as effective as he is in other situations, where he can expand more on his points, but he did sort of start off with a bang, so to speak--saying that what the U.S. did by invading Iraq was a war crime, which of course it was. Andrew Sullivan just went absolutely bonkers, and insisted: "you can't say that." Essentially he was arguing: "That is beyond the pale of discussion; you can criticize how we're handling the war in Iraq, but you cannot question the underlying assumptions of what we're doing, and you cannot question, or raise for discussion, whether what the U.S. is doing is proceeding from foul rather than fair motives."

Academia is where that still does go on. And that's something which--from the point of view of the ruling class, and in particular the section which is bent on undisguised imperialist marauding--has to be brought under attack. And it is being brought under attack with what we can now recognize as a worked-out approach, in one sphere of society after another, particularly on the part of this more fascist and more openly and unapologetically marauding section of the imperialist ruling class. Step one: You claim you are being victimized. For example, David Horowitz comes along and says "conservatives are being discriminated against in the universities--we need academic fairness." Along with this, you promote relativism--for a certain time, within certain spheres, and for a certain definite purpose. You see this around evolution, for example: "let's consider all the different points of view, let's not dictate that one of them is true." Then, when you get in position, you suppress the points of view that are opposed to your point of view, and you suppress those who would express those oppositional points of view. It's like a familiar dance--one-two-three, one-two-three--the same strategy over and over: in the media, in the sphere of science, in the sphere of education, and so on.

This is an attempt to create a "self-contained world" in which there is no foundation to stand on from which you can call into question, in any kind of substantial or fundamental way, what is going on, what is being done on the part of the ruling class. (I'll speak more, at a later point, about a crucial aspect of this: what is at least a "symbiotic" relationship--a mutually beneficial and reinforcing relationship--between the Christian Fascists and the military.9). At a minimum, you have to have a force, which is a mindless force, that can be used as a battering ram and storm troopers to beat down any attempt at opposition. And what is it that they are forging, with these Christian Fascists, other than a mindless, unthinking force?

When people took out our Party's leaflet around the movie "The Passion of the Christ" and challenged people about all these horrendous things that are advocated in the Bible, some of the people said, "well, if that's what the Bible says, I guess that's what we have to do."10 What does that translate into, politically, when that's organized behind a reactionary political agenda?

So, you have a section of the ruling class that's identifying and proceeding from its conception of these contradictions and how they have to be dealt with. We should understand this. William Kristol is a major figure in all this, has major entree into and influence in the highest levels of government, and he was cited in "Right-Wing Conspiracy" saying, flat out: If we cannot succeed in outlawing abortion in the U.S., we will have failed as a conservative movement. What do you think that means?

Why would they do that? Because this particular and now very powerful "they" see this as the way things have to go.

Now what about the other side of the pyramid--at the top of the pyramid--the side generally represented by the Democratic Party? Right now, it's mainly characterized by backpedaling and paralysis in relation to the "conservatives" (or, as we have quite rightly pointed out: "Conservatives, My Ass--These People are NAZIS!"). But there are bigger dynamics at play in the world. There is the whole world situation and what the imperialists--driven by this core right now grouped around Bush--see the need to do. But it is interesting, somebody was recounting how one of these essentially fascist theoreticians (I think it was Paul Weyrich) was talking about how they have to look beyond Bush to a post-Bush conservatism--and start thinking in terms of changing the way the state functions in this society. These people think strategically. And what do you think that means: changing the way the state functions? Partly it's a pseudo-libertarian notion, but it also partly, and essentially, has to do with this whole fascist program.

Still, there are larger things going on in the world. Iraq did not go the way that they expected it to go. In fact, it's interesting that the Clinton administration, apparently, had reviewed all the options with regard to attacking Iraq and doing what the Bush administration did; but it seems Clinton and Co. rejected the idea because they could not come up with a viable "exit strategy." Very interesting in light of what's happening now. And yet, it is true, from the imperialists' standpoint, they can't just get up and leave Iraq. That would cause all kinds of problems for them and unleash and encourage all kinds of opposition forces, including crazy, fanatical forces--people who are the mirror image of them. So they can't let go in Iraq either, but things are not proceeding as they had expected. Now, how is that going to continue reverberating back within the U.S. and in terms of struggle within the ruling class? That's a question that's at play in a significant way.

Then there's the question of what the struggle of the people does--throughout the world, but in particular within the U.S.--and how that has repercussions within the ruling class. We can think here of the dialectical back and forth between the top and the bottom of the pyramid. Here we can draw a certain analogy, although it's a limited one, to the experience of the opposition to the U.S. war in Iraq. Specifically, during the build-up to this war, in 2002 and in early 2003, there was the back and forth between mass resistance in countries all over the world, on the one hand, and the opposition to U.S. war moves on the part of the ruling classes of rival imperialist powers, such as France, Germany, and Russia, on the other hand. And this is something of an analogy to a point I want to speak to here--what happens at the base of the pyramid, if you will, and how that dialectically relates back and forth to what's happening at the top of the pyramid, on both sides. It should be noted, however, in the case of this example I'm speaking of--the U.S. build-up to the Iraq war, the opposition to the U.S. war moves and the picture as a whole leading into this war--that things were reversed from what we need in this situation we are now confronting; because, as important as the mass resistance was--to the build-up of this war and at the beginning of this war--and as much as it really did affect what those rival imperialist ruling classes were doing (in France, Germany, Russia, and so on), they were still acting more out of concern and calculation in terms of their own imperialist interests, in conflict with those of the U.S., than they were being forced to act because of the "pressure" being objectively exerted by the mass outpourings, in their countries and all over the world, against the U.S. moves to war against Iraq.11 What we need in the present situation is the development of a mass movement so widespread and so powerful that every force in society is compelled to respond to this movement and the demands it is raising.

Now, just to be clear, what I'm talking about, what is being posited, and what I'm calling for, is not developing a mass movement whose purpose is to pressure the Democrats to put up more resistance on their side of the pyramid so we can have a civil war out of which we can make revolution. No. There is a crucial difference between "pressuring the Democrats" through mass mobilization and, in fundamental opposition to that, mobilizing masses to take independent historical action, politically. As for our Party, we are seeking to unite, and working to unite, with a broad range of diverse forces which have many different views in terms of what should come out of all this. And (as I have spoken to in a number of talks and writings, and will come back to again) we are very seriously committed to the objective of radically changing the political situation and rupturing things onto a radically different and more favorable political trajectory, even short of revolution. At the same time, yes, from our perspective we are strategically approaching all this from the standpoint of repolarizing things toward the overall strategic goal of revolution (just as others, with different views and programs, are striving to transform the political terrain in line with their, differing, overall and larger objectives). However, it is a fact that the more that mass resistance does develop in the form of masses taking independent historical political action, that will have ramifications within the ruling class, including on "the Democrats' side of the pyramid," so to speak; this will have significant impact on, and can change, the dynamic that's presently at play. It won't just "give the Democrats more backbone"--nor, obviously, is that the purpose, at least not from our point of view. It will cause contradictory effects on the different groupings within the ruling class. But if there is a truly mass outpouring of resistance, this will have an effect up to the top of the pyramid of power, and back down again--and we have to understand these dynamics and not think in linear and static terms.

Another way in which we have to understand the motion of things as they are actually developing, and not in stereotypical terms, is that when you talk about a civil war between two sections of society, if you will, what is presently shaping up, and the basic dividing line, is not between communism and revolution as we embody that and are striving for it, on the one side, vs. everybody opposed to that on the other side. That would be a very bad polarization right now. There is a different polarization that is affecting society and is expressing itself. There is a broad polarization which has been described in various ways. Pat Buchanan spoke to it, as I referred to earlier. It's a real thing, and it does continually assert itself. It was spoken to by Ron Suskind12 in that New York Times article: the reality-based vs. the faith-based communities. This interpenetrates with ruling class divisions, but is by no means identical to that. And the fact is, if this is left to its "own devices"--if this dynamic and trajectory that's presently at play is left as it is, and if we don't intervene by playing a significant part in mobilizing masses and making a material force of our line in relation to this--the outcome of this is almost certainly bound to be very negative and, very likely, very one-sided, including if there is civil war for real, if it becomes literal civil war.

Things Are Going to Extremes

Another thing some people say (even some people who consider themselves Marxists), in an effort (conscious or not) to avoid facing squarely what is going on and what the stakes are, is that maybe the imperialists can just "muddle on through this." Now, especially for someone who considers herself or himself a Marxist, or an anti-imperialist, to say this amounts to saying: "Why don't we help them muddle on through." Because the fact is that they will "muddle on through"--or much worse --if we don't do what we're called on to do. There could easily be a very one-sided resolution of the very deep conflicts in society. This depends on a lot of factors, including international factors. Now, it's not impossible that a different section of the ruling class could come forward and cohere and get more backbone, but "the odds favor"--and the way things are going now, they are pointing to--a one-sided conflict within the ruling class, and the continuation of the present dynamic. And, as for those people who are on the "reality-based" side of things, those who are on the progressive side of things (and these groupings overlap to a significant degree, although are not identical), so long as they continue looking to a section of the ruling class for "leadership," and so long as they go along with the spontaneity of things, they are going to be left leaderless, and to an overwhelming degree unable to recognize the profundity and the stakes of what's involved and what's in motion, and unable to rise to the occasion. So, if you say, "what if the imperialists can muddle on through?--let's not do something that would provoke them"-- you are actually favoring what is objectively the absolute worst resolution of this: that those who rule this system go to negative extremes, armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons, and there's no significant opposition to it. That would be absolutely the worst resolution of this situation, and that is what will happen if we decide to allow them "to muddle on through," in the name of not provoking something worse!

The reality is--and it is crucial for people to grasp this--that even if we don't provoke them, they are going to the extreme with this program. What more evidence do you need? Read the mainstream press, watch the mainstream media, day after day. To cite here just one crucial dimension of this, they are trying to redefine the definition of science--to include religion right within the definition of science--on a societal level. You think that's just going to stay in a little small, confined sphere, in terms of its influence?

And, yes, if things go in a more two-sided way, if there are more positive forces in motion, if there is greater resistance to this whole direction--and if we do our work correctly--there will be many contradictory things in the picture. Many people will enter into objectively important, even historical, independent political action with many different understandings and perspectives on what this is all about and where it all has to go. But it is our responsibility to do everything we can to build this in the most powerful way and to strengthen the unity that is developed in opposition to this whole direction, with the common objective of transforming the political terrain and bringing forward so powerful a movement of political resistance that every force in society will have to respond to it. And it is our responsibility, as communists, to bring forward our own strategic revolutionary objectives in the correct way in relation to that, so that the distinction is clear between our revolutionary objectives and, on the other hand, the objectives of this mass movement of resistance, while at the same time the unity is strengthened among a growing and increasingly diverse array of political forces, including our Party, who share the common objective of transforming the political terrain in a positive way, in determined opposition to the current disastrous direction. Once again, from our overall and strategic perspective, the answer that is required, the resolution that is necessary in relation to all this, is revolution and the bringing into being of a radically different and better society, a socialist society, and ultimately a communist world. And, in the appropriate ways, we must boldly bring forward that perspective, as the viewpoint of our Party. But, at the same time, once again, we must also keep clearly in mind, and make clear to others, the very definite distinction between that and what is, and must be, the basis of unity of the movement of truly massive political resistance that must be built, bringing together a broad diversity of political forces, with many differing views on where the ultimate solution to this lies.

One very important point to grasp and come to terms with, in the context of all this, is the fundamental fact that we are not "setting the agenda " of what is going on in the society and the world. We do not get to sit around and choose when and how things become acutely posed. We do not get to put in a request to the New York Times to stop running articles that give grist to the mill of the Discovery Institute, in attacking evolution--that's out of our control, overwhelmingly. We can effect what happens with that, but we're not setting this agenda. The dynamic that is in play now is not one we have chosen--this gets back to necessity and freedom--it's not one we have chosen, but the reality of it, and the pace of it, is what we have to deal with, to confront and radically transform it, if we are going to be what we are called on to be, and do what we are called on to do.

We need to be very clear, and we need to struggle in a good way with others to win them to understand, that there will in fact be no "pendulum swing," back to "the center" of bourgeois politics and bourgeois rule. And if there were, we must ask: what after all is represented by that "center," that politics, and that rule ? There is no "self-correcting mechanism in the system" to keep it from going to extremes, whether you want it to or not. It's interesting that even a member of the Congressional Black Caucus spoke to this at one of these rallies that was held around the Downing Street Memo13; he got up and he said: Listen, some of you think there's a referee up there somewhere--there's not. [laughter] It is noteworthy that someone coming from that position was able and willing, at least on a certain level, to recognize and acknowledge this. There is no self-correcting mechanism in this system that will keep it from going to these extremes. And, let us never forget, for most of the world, what presently exists actually represents, and subjects them to, great extremes of oppression, exploitation, agony, misery, devastation and destruction, of themselves and of the environment--which, yes, can become even worse but which are never anything but a horror for the great majority. Look around the world.

So in this light I have two things to say to those who insist that, "if we can just keep things from going to extremes, if we can somehow keep things in the general framework where they have been, then things will be alright." First, a question: Precisely looking at the alignment of things right now and the dynamics in society and among the powers-that-be, on what do you base the possibility of "keeping things the way they are"? Where do you see the forces who are going to do even that--are you looking to the "liberals" among the powers-that-be, the "liberal" imperialists? Sorry, but let's be real! Second, and more fundamentally, it is NOT alright to have the world, including U.S. society, stay as they are and have been: To accept that would be to accept the horrors daily visited on the great majority of humanity, including the acute oppression and misery of tens of millions in the U.S. itself.

To want the world "to stay as it is," out of fear of extremes and/or "the cost" of trying to change things in any kind of essential way, is, at a minimum, to objectively acquiesce to these horrors--to accept and go along with them, even if you don't like them and wish they could somehow be eliminated without great cost and without things "going to extremes." This is bad enough for anyone to do, and for communists to do this would be worse than acquiescence--it would be capitulation and betrayal of everything communists are supposed to, and must in fact, stand for, and fight for. We have to confront the reality that things are heading to extremes. Yes, they could head to extremes with a minimum of civil conflict and civil war--and that would once again be the worst outcome, because it would mean there would be no real opposition to this. But things, one way or another, are heading to extremes, and the answer to this is not to seek to avoid this, or to try to live in denial of it, but to rise to the challenge of doing everything possible to actually determine the direction in which things will go and the character of how all this will get resolved.

So let us be clear once again: Whether or not we do anything, things are already, and increasingly will be, going to extremes--and this can only be in a very negative way if we don't do anything. And that relates to the fact that--well, let's just put it baldly--if we so decided, we could in effect guarantee that there is only one extreme direction in which things can go: the negative, extremely negative, extreme in which they are already heading, in a rapid and even accelerating way.


In concluding this section of this talk, let me just say, specifically from the point of view of those of us who are communists, that, yes, it is true, if we do everything we are called on to do, and rise in the fullest way to the challenges we face, we could be defeated and things could still go to the negative extremes toward which they are now headed. But the point is that if we do what we are called on to do, there will be a chance--not any guarantee but a chance--that things could get ruptured and vaulted onto a different, much more positive trajectory and dynamic, and even a possibility--again, not any certainty or guarantee but a possibility--that, out of this whole "cauldron of contradictions," a revolutionary opening could emerge--yes, right within "the belly of the beast." IF WE DO WHAT WE ARE CALLED ON TO DO!

We must confront, unflinchingly, the situation and the stakes--and not only the negative but the positive potential in this. We must recognize--and not try to hide from, or run away from--the possibility of very negative developments and even of real catastrophe; but we must also recognize the positive possibility--the possibility even of the opening to go for revolution, a possibility that is all too rare, particularly in a country like this, a possibility that it would be a crime, of historic proportions, not to politically prepare for and not to seize on if the chance arose.


1. See The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era (Chicago: RCP Publications, 2005), particularly the article "There is No 'They'--But There Is a Definite Direction to Things: The Dynamics Within the Ruling Class, and the Challenges for Revolutionaries." (Also available online at

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2. See "Elections, Resistance, and Revolution: The Pyramid of Power and the Struggle To Turn This Whole Thing Upside Down," Revolutionary Worker #1237 (April 25, 2004). This article is a transcription of an answer to a question following Bob Avakian's speech Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About (Chicago: Three Q Productions, 2004).

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3. See The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era (Chicago: RCP Publications, 2005), particularly the article "The Fascists and the Destruction of the 'Weimar Republic'...And What Will Replace It." (Also available online at

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4. In "The Truth About Right-wing Conspiracy....And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer" (Revolutionary Worker #1255 [October 17, 2004], available online at, Bob Avakian analyzed what was going on with the drive to oust Clinton (which led to his impeachment, though not his removal from office) and important factors and dynamics underlying this move against Clinton.

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5. Larry Everest, "The Rise of the Christian Fascists: The Specter of a U.S. Theocracy and Why the People Must Stop It," Revolutionary Worker #1263 (December 26, 2004).

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6. The New Deal was a series of programs brought forward under Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the period before World War 2, that included concessions to workers (like recognizing unions). The "Great Society" was a term used by President Lyndon Johnson for a set of programs that included the "war on poverty" and concessions to the Civil Rights Movement, including the Voting Rights Act that removed some overt barriers to Black people voting. Both these packages represented a general consensus in the ruling class--even while there was significant opposition to them within the power structure. The New Deal was implemented in response to the Great Depression and the need to shore up the capitalist system in the midst of that profound economic crisis. The Great Society was a response by the system to the civil rights and Black liberation movements and the overall social upheavals of the 1960s.

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7. Bob Avakian, Preaching From a Pulpit of Bones: We Need Morality But Not Traditional Morality (New York: Banner Press, 1999) and "The Truth About Right-wing Conspiracy....And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer," Revolutionary Worker #1255 (October 17, 2004). Excerpts from this book and the full article "The Truth About..." are available online at

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8. Bob Avakian discusses the attack on critical thinking and dissent, particularly in academia, in the next set of excerpts in this series, "Polarization...Repolarization...and Revolution."

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9. This is discussed in a later excerpt in this series: "The Christian Fascists and the U.S. Military."

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10. This leaflet, "A Passion--for Plunder and Slaughter," a statement on the movie The Passion of the Christ from the Revolutionary Communist Party,USA, New York Branch, was published in Revolutionary Worker #1231 (March 7, 2004). An article reporting on experience in taking out the leaflet, "Protesting the Crimes of Passion," appeared in Revolutionary Worker #1232 (March 14, 2004). Available online at

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11. Footnote by Bob Avakian: Here, by the way, we can see how the addiction to the notion of "classless democracy" gets the better of some progressive people: A number of them have said things like, "in these other countries the governments responded more to the people, there was more democracy in those countries, whereas, in the U.S. there was no democracy." But that's not essentially what was going on. What was essentially going on--the principal aspect of things, for example, in terms of what happened at the UN and the way the U.S. was denied a "mandate" from the UN for invading Iraq in 2003--was the rival interests of these different imperialists being expressed. At the same time, however, there was a significant element of the mass outpourings within those other imperialist countries, and worldwide, including in the U.S., which did have an influence on and affected what these ruling classes (of the other imperialist countries) had to do. They did have to respond to this mass outpouring. It was not an irrelevant factor, even though it wasn't the decisive and determining factor.

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12. This refers to the article by Ron Suskind, "Without a Doubt, Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush," in the New York Times Magazine (October 17, 2004).

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13. The "Downing Street Memo" came out of a secret meeting of British government officials, and revealed that "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy"--proving that the U.S. government was lying, not just basing itself on "faulty intelligence," when it claimed Iraq had "weapons of mass destruction" and other factors that were supposedly the reasons for the invasion of Iraq.

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FISA, Alito, and the High Stakes of the New Year

Revolution #029, January 8, 2006, posted at

January dawns full of danger, and full of promise. What we do--how we live this year, the choices each of us make--will matter hugely, perhaps more than anything any of us have ever done. Our main piece this issue--an extremely important talk given by Bob Avakian called "More On 'The Coming Civil War'"--poses that very sharply. He digs deeply into the underlying dynamics giving rise to and driving forward the acute conflicts of the day, and sets out an overall orientation to this period. We are very excited to start this crucial year this way, and we will be following it up with three further installments over the next month. Here, though, we want to specifically address a crucial juncture within the whole matrix being analyzed by Chairman Avakian: this new year and, even more specifically, this month of January.

Two huge clashes are right now coming to a head. These clashes are very different--and closely interpenetrating. One takes place among the top elite of society--what communists call the ruling class, or the imperialists. There the struggle has sharpened up to the point where, in the week before Christmas, the New York Times printed that someone high up in government leaked news to them that Bush had illegally used the super-powerful and super-secret National Security Agency to spy on millions of people within U.S. borders. Bush and his minions then hit back with thinly veiled accusations of "treason" against his Democratic rivals. In response, some key Democrats began to float the idea of "impeachment" for the first time. Then, going into New Years, the Department of Justice announced they would investigate the leak and, by implication, the Times itself.

But sharp and intense as it is, this struggle takes place within certain very narrow bounds. To begin with, these agencies exist to spy both on the foreign rivals to these imperialists and on the political movements of the people (as other recent revelations have again made clear). Bush's critics within the ruling class almost universally limit their objections to the fact that he didn't follow the rules on how to do this. And they almost all admit that had Bush followed those rules, the judges in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court would have granted the huge majority, and probably all, of Bush's requests. They are NOT really outraged, or even concerned, over the fact that Bush has spied on millions of people. What concerns them is that he both arrogated to himself the right to violate the rules that legally govern that spying AND that he could turn--and probably already has turned--the massive technological spying apparatus of the National Security Agency not just against the people, but against his ruling class counterparts and rivals.

The other clash comes from "below," from those who stand opposed to the Bush program and the direction it represents. This is a potentially huge and powerful force, which has no interest whatsoever in any such spy agency, no matter how many rubber-stamping "watchdogs" are put in place or how many phony safeguards exist. In fact, the real interests of the vast majority of people lie in dismantling all these tools of political repression and, right now, in not only preventing Bush from tightening these still further but in forcing him to step down and driving out his regime.

That's not to say that the FISA violations don't matter; in fact, they matter a great deal! It is extremely important that the state not be allowed even more latitude against the people--including the latitude to openly violate their own laws when these laws pose obstacles to their repressive moves. Bush must NOT get away with this. Moreover, the exposure of this outrage showed even more clearly the truly fascist character of this regime and served to draw new millions into political thinking and activity. So the battle presents both an opening and an urgent challenge to those who do want to change the whole direction of society. But if things stay on the current terms, and with top Democratic politicians or other ruling class figures in leadership, then the struggle will become derailed into forcing one section of the ruling class to play fair in a game that is already fixed against the people. Should that happen, it is almost certain that Bush will in fact get away with this, and we will be that much closer to all-out fascist rule. To put it another way, things like the FISA outrage are too important to be left in the hands of, and on the terms defined by, Bush's rivals in the ruling class.

This month will also witness the hearings on whether Samuel Alito should become a justice of the Supreme Court. Alito has a record of ruling in favor of untrammeled "executive power"--that is, he favors letting Bush trample over not only the people but other sections of the rulers with impunity. . . and immunity. He has been trying for years to figure out how to overturn Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that makes abortion legal. His rulings have severely curtailed the rights of defendants in criminal cases, while favoring the kinds of schemes that will enable the Republicans to go further in making the U.S. a one-party state, and he is seen by the Christian Fascists as an ally in enabling government to impose religious worship on people.

All this, along with the war and other running sores of this system, will come to a head at the end of the month. Then Bush will command the public stage with his yearly State of the Union address, and he will try to regain the political initiative and re-set the terms of debate. And here is the danger: all Bush need do is to weather the storm and he will emerge from this round triumphant. Then everything that's come to light--the massive spying, the nomination of a Supreme Court justice who's been strategizing to overturn the right to abortion for 20 years, etc.--will become somehow "legitimized." Yesterday's outrage will become today's "new normal," and the momentum will accelerate for new horrors as yet unimagined by most.

That is the road to the death camps, to theocracy, to fascism, and to even more vicious horrors being rained down on people all over the world. And that is exactly the road that will be paved, whatever anyone's intentions, should the struggle of the people be tied to or determined by one or another faction of the ruling class (and specifically the Democratic Party leadership). If by the end of the month Bush is able to give his State of the Union address without a major and dramatic groundswell demanding his ouster, the people will have been dealt a real and serious setback.

On the other hand, should people seize this moment to mount a massive demand for Bush to step down--should people join together and make this whole month a staging ground for organizing the seething anger in society into a massive movement demanding that Bush step down, climaxing with powerful political expressions at the time of the State of the Union, then that could change the whole political dynamic in society. Struggle coming from the grassroots, struggle coming from organizations and prominent individuals from every walk of society, struggle that uncompromisingly demands that Bush step down and is NOT tied to what this or that top politician is or is not calling for, struggle so powerful that it compels every political and social force in society to relate to its demands, one way or another--that and only that can carve out a different road. If the movement succeeds in that, then a giant step will have been taken off the road toward fascism and onto a road where people broadly can begin to imagine the future and struggle in the present without a claustrophobic horror setting in.

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Religious People Sound the Alarm on Christian Fascism

Revolution #029, January 8, 2006, posted at

There is a crying irony in American political life today. A growing and powerful fascist movement has increasingly set the terms for the political discourse in this country and has put its followers into key positions in the legislatures, courts, army, and White House.

This fascism dresses itself in religious, indeed Christian, clothing. And yet some of the people who take this threat of theocratic fascism the most seriously, and often sound the alarm the loudest, are from the ranks of the religious--while all too many secular people fail to get the depth of the threat.

Listen to these three thinkers and writers. First, Dr. Hubert Locke, the African-American theologian, and the former trustee and acting president of the Pacific School of Religion, speaking last May:

...I am persuaded we face in our country a movement that is trying its best to hijack this nation in the name of a set of ideals and values it claims to be Christian but which, on examination, are the very antithesis of the Gospel that our Lord preached and by which we, as Jesus' disciples, are challenged to live our lives in the world. If this movement is successful--if it is not stopped in its tracks--it will transform the United States into a political and cultural nightmare that not only turns its back on two hundred years of American history, it will also be one that leaves this nation unrecognizable from all that we have been and all that we might aspire to be as a democratic society.

Now Bill Moyers, speaking at the Union Theological Seminary, this past September. While conceding that religious people "have always tried to bring their interpretation of the Bible to bear on American law and morals," he went on to say that:

...[W]hat is unique today is that the radical religious right has succeeded in taking over one of Americas great political parties--the country is not yet a theocracy but the Republican Party is--and they are driving American politics, using God as a battering ram on almost every issue...

What's also unique is the intensity, organization, and anger they have brought to the public square. Listen to their preachers, evangelists, and homegrown ayatollahs: Their viral intolerance--their loathing of other people's beliefs, of America's secular and liberal values, of an independent press, of the courts, of reason, science and the search for objective knowledge--has become an unprecedented sectarian crusade for state power.

Moyers went on to say that the "radical Christian right... now control much of the United States government and are on the verge of having it all."

Finally, there is Chris Hedges, writing in the May Harpers on the immense power of the right-wing Christian media network:

I can't help but recall the words of my ethics professor at Harvard Divinity School, Dr. James Luther Adams, who told us that when we were his age, and he was then close to eighty, we would all be fighting the "Christian fascists." He gave us that warning twenty-five years ago, when Pat Robertson and other prominent evangelists began speaking of a new political religion that would direct its efforts at taking control of all major American institutions, including mainstream denominations and the government, so as to transform the United States into a global Christian empire. At the time, it was hard to take such fantastic rhetoric seriously. But fascism, Adams warned, would not return wearing swastikas and brown shirts. Its ideological inheritors would cloak themselves in the language of the Bible; they would come carrying crosses and chanting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Revolution has and will continue to highlight the voices of religious thinkers and writers, as well as clergy people, who are sounding the alarm on and exposing the depths of this threat.

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Drawing Lessons for Today from Hitler's Rise

Revolution #029, January 8, 2006, posted at

"People look at all of this and think of Hitler, and they are right to do so. The Bush regime is setting out to radically remake the world, in a fascist way, and for generations to come."

From the Call for The World Can't Wait - Drive Out the Bush Regime

"The Bush Administration is the most dangerous force that has ever existed. It is more dangerous than Nazi Germany because of the range and depth of its activities and its intentions worldwide. I give my full support to the Call to Drive Out the Bush Regime."

Harold Pinter, Nobel Laureate of Literature

Each time people attempt to draw lessons for today from the rise of Nazi Germany, hysterical pundits and politicians break into a chorus of condemnations. When Congressman Dick Durbin suggested that the accounts of Guantanamo could easily have been describing Nazi prisons, he was forced to tearfully apologize on the floor of the Congress. And not long ago, when The World Can't Wait Drive Out the Bush Regime ran a paid full-page ad in the New York Times, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly blew a gasket and argued that the Times should have refused the ad because it included this comparison.

Even among those who hate the Bush regime, many feel that making this comparison is too extreme.

But the question must be asked, is it true? Are there similarities that merit recognition? How did a nation of millions come to widely embrace and otherwise go along with Hitler's openly genocidal, brutally misogynistic, virulently racist, hatefully anti-gay regime?


It is easy to look back today and believe that the Nazis were a unique evil without parallel. But during their rise it was very controversial for people to correctly identify the direction and the logic of society as it became dominated by the Nazis, a once-fringe group of extremists. Even after the first nationwide action where Nazi Brownshirts were posted at Jewish businesses, it was still the case that, in the words of one observer, "the majority of the people on the street were inclined to treat the matter as more or less of a joke."

And despite the Nazis increasing dominance over society and their long history of fierce anti-communism and anti-Semitism, when the escalation of terror would taper off for a while people would tell themselves that the worst was over. For instance, while 60,000 Jews left Germany during 1933 and 1934, by mid-1935 10,000 of them returned. All the way to the gates of the death camps, people took false comfort in the assumption that such things "could never happen here."

People also told themselves that the traditions of a nation that had given the world Beethoven, Kant, and Marx, could never do such a thing. They told themselves that the real powers in Germany were merely using Hitler and would never let him do anything really destructive.

While the Nazis certainly didn't harbor any moral qualms with it, they did not actually start out with a plan for mass extermination of Jews. Their first years of terror were aimed at annihilating the communists (whom they correctly saw as a political threat) and other political dissidents and at forcing Jews out of public life. It was not until 1941, eight years after Hitler became Chancellor, and after Hitler launched WWII, that the Nazis began systematically killing prisoners and Jews. It wasn't until January 1942 that the "Final Solution" was discussed by the Nazis at the Wannsee Conference and another six months before the gas chambers were in operation that took the lives of millions. Still, the logic and moral justification for such a program was discernible even in the early days.

Today, as in Nazi Germany, when political rhetoric is extreme and even barbaric, this is not a reason to dismiss it but to take it on all the more seriously, especially when it is gaining influence.


When he was still a marginal figure, Hitler would openly rant about his desire to kill Jews and to "purify the German Volk." But when he became Chancellor he was acutely aware that this would alienate many. So he retooled his public image, dropping almost all references to race and instead focusing on the cause of uplifting the German people and defending them against all enemies.

The vicious anti-communism and anti-Semitism continued throughout Hitler's Party, but Hitler was seen by millions as much more reasonable and moderate! When Hitler orchestrated the first boycott against Jews he projected it as a defensive action, taken to stop an international Jewish campaign against German products and the Nazi regime.

By creating a false sense of victimhood, Hitler was able to put his political opponents on the defensive and confer a sense of selfless bravery on his Nazi thugs who fought forcefully, often cruelly, to impose absolute Nazi authority.


Nazi Germany is known for its brutal Brownshirts and its virulent anti-Semitism. But while these were integral to the establishment of the Third Reich and in gluing together the base of the Nazi Party, there was another dynamic at play which helped secure the active support or tacit compliance of millions more.

In The Nazi Conscience, Claudia Koonz describes: "A fateful pattern was established: after devastating physical violence against Jews, the regime curbed unsanctioned racial attacks and in their place enacted anti-Semitic laws. Many victims and bystanders failed to appreciate the threat of these bureaucratic strategies that in the long run proved far more lethal than sporadic attacks."

The worst crimes committed by the Nazis came when they changed the laws and when Hitler grabbed unrestrained power unto himself. This legality and the sense of order it provided imbued the Nazis use of force with legitimacy, and disarmed many who otherwise would have objected. But ease of mind was the last thing that any moral person should have found in the tightening grip of the Nazis repressive laws.

Today, just as in Nazi Germany, the restructuring of laws and institutions should provoke more alarm, more resistance, and fiercer opposition because it is these structural changes that are the most absolute and which could take the greatest toll.


There is also little understanding about the resistance that was waged against the Nazis. It was neither the case that no one objected, nor was it the case that the Nazis were just too powerful and that their victory was inevitable.

During his rise, Hitler and his regime were filled with vulnerability. Large sections of people were turned off by his hateful rhetoric and aggressive tactics. Many thousands poured into the streets to protest and object. But, too many people either waited too long to resist or confined their objections to the effect of the Nazis only in one sphere of society.

Martin Niemöller was a pastor who originally enthusiastically supported Hitler. Besides his unconscionable support for Hitler, Niemöller made a second major error. When he did finally oppose Hitler, he restricted it to trying only to prevent the Nazis from interfering with his church. The idea that any arena of society could be protected from Nazi influence without driving out the whole Nazi regime proved false.

After eight years in Nazi prisons and camps, Niemöller spoke around the world, teaching the lessons he had learned. He is famous, in part, for this poem: "First they came for the communists, but I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the Jews, but I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, but I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, but I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then, they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up."

This poem explains the situation that prevailed by 1943, when a brave student resistance arose called The White Rose. Though they were heroic, these students were up against a regime that had consolidated its fascist state apparatus. And such a chill had set in throughout society that their movement couldn't take hold on a scale large enough to challenge the Nazis. Tragically, the leaders of the White Rose were hunted down and killed.

It is urgent that we deepen our understanding of what allowed the nightmare of Nazi Germany to destroy so much and so many. There are parallels to the situation we face in the U.S. today. And there are invaluable lessons we must draw and act upon that can shape the future for hundreds of millions worldwide.

The point is not that Bush is exactly the same as Hitler in some arbitrary or mechanical sense. Nor is the point that Bush and his program today are the same as Hitler and his Nazis in their most gruesome end years.

No. As it says in the Call for The World Cant Wait Drive Out the Bush Regime, "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."

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Tom Tancredo, Republican Congressman, fascistic leader of anti-immigrant movement

Conservative My Ass! These People Are Nazis!

Revolution #029, January 8, 2006, posted at



On a July 15, 2005 radio show broadcast on WFLA-AM:

Tancredo: "If [a terrorist attack] happens in the United States and we determine that it is the result of extremist, fundamentalist Muslims, you could take out their holy sites."

Host Pat Campbell: "You're talking about bombing Mecca?"

Tancredo: "Yeah."


Quoted in the Boston Globe, June 12, 2005

"[Immmigrants] need to be found before it is too late. They're coming here to kill you, and you, and me, and my grandchildren."


Tancredo in effect argues for repealing the 14th Amendment (passed after the Civil War to give former slaves citizenship) which says "All persons born or naturalized in the United States...are citizens of the United States." He said:

"Citizenship in this country should not be bestowed on people who are children of folks who come into this country illegally."

-- UPI, Nov. 4, 2005

Conservative My Ass!



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Socialism Is Much Better Than Capitalism and Communism Will Be a Far Better World

Part 5: The Soviet Experiment: Building the World's First Socialist Economy

Revolution #029, January 8, 2006, posted at

Editor's note: Revolution is serializing the speech "Socialism Is Much Better Than Capitalism, and Communism Will Be A Far Better World" by Raymond Lotta.

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Communism and Socialism
Part 3: The Bolsheviks Lead a Revolution That Shakes the World
Part 4: The Soviet Experiment: The Social Revolution Ushered in by Proletarian Power

Lotta is on a national speaking tour as part of the Set the Record Straight project. Information on upcoming speaking dates and related materials are available at www.

After Lenin died in 1924, Joseph Stalin assumed leadership of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union. The social revolution that I have been describing (see Revolution 28) was inseparable from his leadership. The question had been posed in the mid-1920s. Could you build socialism in the Soviet Union? Could you do this in a society that was economically and culturally backward? Could you do it when the Soviet Union stood alone as a proletarian state and there was no certainty that revolutions would take place in other countries?

Stalin stepped forward and fought for the view that the Soviet Union could and must take the socialist road in these circumstances. Otherwise, the Soviet Union would not be able to survive. It would not be able to aid revolution elsewhere. With this orientation, Stalin led the complex and acute struggles to socialize the ownership of industry and to collectivize agriculture.

What was the economic situation in the Soviet Union in the mid-1920s? Farming as it was conducted could not reliably feed the population. Industry was limited and could not furnish the factories and machines needed to modernize the economy. Russia had been a society where intellectuals were a tiny segment of the population, where only a narrow slice of the population had higher technical and liberal arts education. And, always, there was the looming threat of imperialist attack. These were the real economic and social contradictions faced by real human beings trying to remake society and the world.

And what was the rest of the world like in the 1920s? There was feudalism in most of the world’s countryside. And capitalism was flooding the globe in cruel and unplanned ways.

But now in the Soviet Union, in this one piece of liberated territory, a new proletarian movement had come to power and was going to plan an economy to serve the people. This was outrageous: nobody before had ever said the phrase a socialist "five-year plan."

Planning an Economy

A socialist revolution creates a new kind of economy. The means of production are no longer the private property of a minority of society. They are placed under society's collective control as expressed through the proletarian state. Economic resources are no longer employed to maximize profit. Rather, they are utilized to meet the fundamental needs and interests of the masses and to serve the world revolution. Social production is no longer carried out without prior plan or social purpose but is now shaped according to consciously adopted aims and coordinated as a whole.

The First Five-Year Plan in the Soviet Union was launched in 1928. It focused on iron and steel. Massive new industrial complexes were built from scratch. Tractor plants had a very high priority. Tractors were needed in the countryside. And tractor plants could, in the event of war, be converted to produce tanks. Machine tool production was rapidly expanded so the economy would not have to depend on imports.

The slogan of the First Five-Year Plan was "we are building a new world." Millions of workers and peasants were fired with this spirit. In factories and villages, people discussed the plan: the difference it would make for their lives--and for the people of the world--that such an economy was being built. They deliberated on what they wanted, what they could make, and what they needed in order to make it.

Local plans were drawn up and submitted to the central planning agencies, to be meshed with the national plan and sent back down to the localities. At factory conferences, people talked about how to reorganize the production process. People volunteered to help build railroads in wilderness areas. They voluntarily worked long shifts. At steel mills, they sang revolutionary songs on the way to work. Never before in history had there been such a mobilization of people to consciously achieve planned economic and social aims.

And let’s ask again: what was happening in the rest of the world? The world capitalist economy was languishing in the Depression of the early 1930s--with levels of unemployment reaching 20 and 50 percent. But the Soviet Union had ended mass unemployment. In fact, there were labor shortages in the Soviet Union…with so much work to be done in building the new society. Industry grew by 20 percent a year, and the Soviet share of total global industrial output rose from less than 2 percent in 1921 to 10 percent in 1939.

Collectivizing Agriculture

In 1929, the Communist Party launched a great drive to collectivize agriculture. The anticommunist story line is that this was another case of "Stalinist totalitarianism." Stalin, we are told, wanted to consolidate total power--and to do so, he had to crush and starve peasants.

But this is a gross distortion. The reality is that collectivization was a response to the economic and social contradictions in the countryside and to the pressing needs of the revolution. And the real hidden story is that collectivization ignited a genuine mass upheaval of peasants who had been locked into poverty and enslaving social relations.

Let’s look more closely at what collectivization was a response to.

There was a serious problem of whether food could be reliably supplied to the cities, especially with industrialization taking off and the urban population growing rapidly. Also, a major economic and social problem was growing in the countryside. After the Revolution, land was redistributed to peasants. But rich peasants, called kulaks, had been gaining strength in a rural economy marked by small private agriculture. The kulaks had larger land holdings. They owned flourmills. They controlled much of the grain market. They were moneylenders. This was leading to intensifying social and class polarization in the countryside.

There was a real danger of agriculture going back to the conditions that existed before World War 1. And these kulaks were not just innocent proprietors. They had gangs to enforce their rule. They organized against the regime. They rallied other social forces in the countryside.

The response of the revolutionary leadership to this was collectivization. Land and farm implements were turned into collective property. Between 1930 and 1933, 14 million small inefficient peasant holdings were combined into 200,000 collectively owned large farms. The state provided tractors and machinery to these new farms. And the farms were providing grain to the state. This was the basic exchange relation that was established.

Collectivization touched off different social responses. It was welcomed by large numbers of poor peasants. Other sections of peasants didn’t want to go along with it. Collectivization involved coercion against many of these peasants. But collectivization was a huge social movement. Dedicated worker-volunteers from the cities went to the front lines of the struggle against the kulaks. These workers took leading roles in administering new farms.

Farm hands and poor peasants in many areas rose to seize land. Where before they had been cowed and intimidated by the kulaks--now they had the state behind them to take on the kulak gangs. Women, whose lives had been determined by oppressive tradition and patriarchal obligation, became tractor drivers. Traveling libraries were sent to teams in the agricultural fields. In some regions, farms had their own drama circles. Religion, superstition, and mind-numbing tradition were challenged. People lifted their heads and became tuned in to what was happening in society overall. They discussed the national plans and national developments.

The kulaks resisted with a vengeance. The story told by the opponents of socialism is always one-sided. The kulaks were simply "victimized," they say. But this is a lie. The kulaks killed communists, organized raids against the new collectives, sabotaged harvests, and unleashed gangs that raped women. The kulaks were eventually defeated, many were arrested, many were deported, and many were killed.

But this was not because of a "Stalinist bloodlust." This was a battle over the future of the countryside. There was a battle over whether industrialization and social transformation could go forward or would be blocked and capitalism restored in the countryside. This was intense class struggle--and state power hung in the balance.

Collectivization is an important part of building a socialist economy. But Mao had serious criticisms of how Stalin approached this. Mao pointed out that collectivization under Stalin took place before the peasants themselves had gained experience in cooperating with each other in working the fields and using tools and it wasn’t based on a firm political and ideological foundation of peasants acting consciously to achieve collective social ownership. Another criticism Mao had was that the state took too much grain from the countryside. This damaged relations between the urban and rural areas. Mao had other criticisms, and Maoist China went about collectivization very differently--and I’ll talk about that later.

But the collectivization drive in the Soviet Union was part of a bold and visionary and pioneering attempt to find a way out and forward from the old system of small private agriculture. It gave hope to the poor in the countryside. And without collectivization, the Soviet Union would not have been able to defeat the Nazis.

NEXT WEEK: World War 2 and Its Aftermath

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Defiant New York Transit Workers Strike

Revolution #029, January 8, 2006, posted at

Over 33,000 New York City transit workers walked out in a defiant strike in December. A strike like this would be important and daring at any time. But in this moment and in that place, it had the feel of a manifesto against the whole direction of these times.

To demand pensions and health care, when everyone else is told to live without... To defy the law that forbids strikes by government workers... To disrupt business as usual in this time of mania for security. How out of step! How fresh!

New York Governor Pataki declared the strike illegal. Mayor Bloomberg called the strikers "thuggish" in a blatant appeal to racism that was immediately protested. And imagine this shameless billionaire mayor daring to denounce the workers for being "greedy"! And (natural for these times) the strikers were labeled "terrorist" in some mainstream press articles. A court imposed a $1 million a day fine against the union local. And fines against each striker reached over $1,000. Court action was started to jail union leaders.

And, in the face of all that, the workers struck. These heavily African American and foreign-born workers said "No!" in a way you couldnt miss. They stopped the city busses and subways that move millions in and out of work.

Automation has wiped out thousands of job on the busses and subways. The MTA is on a rampage of outrageous harassment, dishing out a phenomenal 15,000 disciplinary actions just in the last year. Daily News columnist Juan Gonzales described cases where workers taking chemotherapy to fight cancer were accused of "sick leave abuse."

A track worker told our correspondent: "We keep giving back and giving back, and they keep taking back, but we said to our ourselves, not this time."

Out in the streets, in the ghettos and barrios, the workers of Transport Workers Union Local 100 were seen as heroes by many. Polls showed that Black people overwhelmingly supported the strikers, while a majority of all nationalities "disapproved" of the governors handling of the contract negotiations. The letters to the editor of the New York Times, with its mainly middle-class and upper-middle-class readership, mostly supported the strike, despite the hostile editorials of the Times. Given the mainstream press attacks on the strikers, and the inconvenience from the bus and subway stoppage, there was more than a little narrowness in how some people responded--but that makes the mass support all the more remarkable.

The issues at the center of this strike were undeniably just and important: The workers wanted guaranteed pensions and medical benefits, not just for themselves but for the workers who followed them. The MTA was promoting a sinister "two tier" system--the kind that has swept through U.S. industry--where todays workers get cut, but future hirees get slashed much deeper. Such schemes guarantee a bitterly divided and weakened workforce.

The political power structure and mainstream media considered attacks on pensions and benefits to be normal and even visionary. After all, it is said, if workers here dont accept less, "how will the U.S. successfully compete in this globalized world economy?" This is a sign of the downsized future that capitalists are planning as they respond to the dynamics and changes of their own capitalist system.

The transit workers decided to make the two-tier plans for cutting pensions into a battle line. As one striker told Revolution: "I will not sell out the next generation."

Their stand resonated widely. One young nursing student spoke for many people:"How did pensions become a luxury? Why shouldnt people be able to take this for granted? Whats so wrong with that?"

At a post office waiting line, one woman complained out loud that the strike was disrupting her life, saying, "It didnt make any sense. They arent even fighting about their own pensions, for themselves, but for future generations." Someone shot back, "Whats wrong with that?!"

One striker told Revolution: "They talk about 'illegal,' about our strike. But when Rosa Parks did something, it was illegal. When King did it and Malcolm X did it, it was illegal. And look where they are now; theyre heroes. Slavery was legal, but people fought for something in those days."

After three days, the strike ended. MTA negotiators said the "two tier" demand would be "taken off the table." The union officials called off the strike--even though the MTA has not abandoned its demands for major concessions and the state has not withdrawn its outrageous fines.

Conservative columnists and think-tanks still complained that all this had ended in a way "extremely favorable" for the strikers, and that this would encourage more resistance. And the fact that these forces are furious over anything that isnt a cold crushing of the workers is a sign of where they are determined to take things in this society.

This is a good moment for millions of working people in New York City--in the much-demonized "Babylon by the Hudson"--to be stirred against the power structure, inspired by organized law-breaking, and openly debating where the future is going.

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Important Science Exhibit

Darwin: "Discover the Man and the Revolutionary Theory that Changed the Course of Science and Society"

Revolution #029, January 8, 2006, posted at

On November 19, 2005 "Darwin," an important new exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History, opened in New York. In the midst of attacks on science and a sharpening clash of civilizations between the so called "faith-based" and "reality-based" communities, the AMNH has mounted a significant show that takes on one of the questions where some of the battle lines are shaping up in some of the debate over this clash--evolution.

There are four significant things about this exhibition worth noting.

1) The exhibit itself is remarkable, irrespective of the swirling debate more broadly in society.

2) The exhibition couldnt be more welcome given the battles raging about evolution right now. The week the exhibit opened a judge heard a court case to determine whether the Dover, Pa. school board has the power to mandate the teaching of Intelligent Design (a religious "explanation" for the existence of life on earth) as part of the science curriculum. In late December the judge affirmed that ID was religion and thus could not be taught as science. The battle also raged outside of court, days after the court case was heard, when people in the district voted out the board that mandated the teaching of ID. In the same month as "Darwin" opened, the Kansas State Board of Education, changed the academic standards, rewriting the definition of science so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena. And in another incident, Kansas University Professor Paul Mirecki received death threats; was reportedly stalked, brutally beaten, hospitalized, interrogated like a criminal by the police after being beaten; demoted from his job and had his career ruined; for daring to teach a course--equating intelligent design with mythology--which was specifically designed to challenge the wave of creationism sweeping the land. And a recent CBS News poll found that 51 percent of those polled said they rejected the idea of evolution. At a time when there is such ignorance of basic science and the scientific method and when basic science is sharply contested and threatened, it is significant the AMNH, one of the most well-respected science museums in the country, decided to enter into the debate and give people broadly the opportunity to learn some of the basic facts so many have had kept from them.

3) The exhibit didn't get corporate funding. When museums want to develop and present new exhibits they need to raise funds to do so. Typically with an exhibit as large and important as this one, museums get corporate sponsorship. While it is problematic that museums must rely on corporations to present ideas, it is stunning and an ominous sign of the times that no corporation wanted to be associated with this show. What does it say about the times we are living in when not a single corporation wanted their name attached to an exhibit about the person who developed one of the most established and rigorously analyzed scientific facts in history and in effect attempted to censor it through the financial workings of the system? What does it mean that corporations feel that it is too controversial to have their name associated with evolution? Science is under attack and the Christian fascists have other sections of the bourgeoisie (as well sections of the people as well) so on the defensive that key pillars of knowledge are threatened with being erased and suppressed, and even corporations who depend on some of the developments that Darwin pioneered wont defend basic truths. It is outrageous and intolerable that this show wasnt funded. And it is an even more dangerous indication of how far the assault on critical thought has advanced that this has not been a major story in the U.S. media and there has been very little outcry about this or movement to defend and support the AMNH.

A perverse flip side to this: at the very time AMNH was having trouble securing funding for "Darwin," the Creation Museum, a $25-million, 50,000-square-foot center dedicated to promoting creationism in opposition to evolution, is under construction near Cincinnati and set to open in 2007.

4) People are flocking to see the Darwin exhibit and carefully studying the show. People want to know how the world and the universe around them works. Many are denied access to a basic scientific understanding and method and when they have the opportunity to get one, they take it. The day I was there, there was a long wait to get into the exhibit and many of the visitors who were allowed in at the same time as I was stayed as long as they were allowed, carefully reading every sign and observing all the displays.

The exhibit tells the story of the life and times of Darwin. It shows his development, how he closely observed the world around him and how this led to his discovery of his theory of evolution and natural selection. It takes us on his voyage on the HMS Beagle and his studies on the Galápagos Islands. It features ephemera from Darwin (journals including one where he first sketched the tree of life, magnifying glasses, personal letters), drawings, fossils, live Galápagos tortoises and iguana, and lots of signs exploring and explaining Darwin's life, time, and revolution in thinking. Speaking about the show, museum President Ellen V. Futter said, "The exhibition re-creates Darwin's fantastic journey of discovery. Visitors will experience the sense of awe and curiosity about nature that led to the formulation of Darwin's groundbreaking theory that remains the cornerstone of modern biology."

After careful observation and much wrangling, Darwin discovered and then developed his theory of evolution. Yet after discovering the theory, Darwin kept evolution a secret for 21 years, knowing that his ideas would challenge the church of his day and fearful that this challenge could lead to his own peril. But when another scientist had come to similar conclusions, Darwin had the courage to eventually come forward with his theory. And once presented, it revolutionized peoples thinking about everything. Obviously it challenged humanity's view of itself and how life developed on this planet and established a new foundation for biology. And almost as importantly, it set change and relationships within a given system at the heart of our thinking. No longer would it be possible to think of life existing in an unchanging way on earth for however long--Darwin's theory not only destroyed the biblically proscribed view of life created, unrelated, and unchanged for a mere 6,000 years but it also challenged the thinking of scientists, geologists, paleontologists and others, many who were coming to understand that the earth was millions and millions of (in fact 4 billion+) years old. Life changed over those millions of years.

Beyond demonstrating that life changes and evolves, Darwin also grasped the interconnectedness of things in a given system. For example, he recognized and his theory explained the dependence of and mutual development between a particular moth (a giant hawk moth) and a particular orchid ( Angraecum sesquipedale) in the evolution of each. His understanding allows us to understand how bacteria make people ill, how to develop antibiotics, and understand how some germs evolve to become resistant to our medicine. This interconnectedness is apparent in development of speedy gazelles and the even quicker cheetahs that hunt them. And it is apparent in our everyday living: roaches and "Combats" and roaches that become resistant to the poison.

Darwin's revolution in thinking also revolutionized many other areas of human thought. Seeing change over time within systems enables people to ask questions like: how old is the universe? Is it expanding? When did time begin? And the understanding of interconnectedness enables people to grasp the connection between greenhouse gasses, the destruction of the rainforest and global warming. And it provides a framework for further investigating theories that explain this. The breakthrough in thinking ushered in by Darwin also enables people to recognize the current global mass extinction that we are living through and which many scientists believe humanity is causing.

Darwin, evolution, and his observational method is foundational to biology and most areas of science more generally. Everyone should have a basic knowledge of this. "Darwin" provides a way for many people to gain or deepen a rudimentary understanding of not only evolution, but the method in thinking that enabled Darwin to develop his theory. In a socialist society, evolution would be an essential part of school curricula and everyone of all ages would have access to this knowledge. For now, most people must seek this out on their own. Wars over science are raging and powerful forces, including in the White House, are trying to plunge the world in to a high-tech Dark Ages. A fascist movement is unleashed in which science professors are beaten with pipes, outrageous laws are written that redefine science, and legal cases are heard that could codify and establish new norms. It is also possible that people may have the chance to rip a different future out of this moment. Having a major exhibit enter into this debate in society is a significant step in making the battle over science more two-sided and having a broader section of society with a greater grasp some of the basic science and scientific method at the heart of this.

The exhibit continues at the AMNH until May 29, 2006. From there it will travel to the Museum of Science, Boston (specific dates not set yet); the Field Museum, Chicago (June 15, 2007 to Jan. 1, 2008); the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada (March 8, 2008 to Aug. 4, 2008); and the Natural History Museum, London, England. For more information online about the exhibit, go to

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U.S. Stages Elections in Iraq -- Results Pose New Problems and Dangers

Revolution #029, January 8, 2006, posted at

Elections took place in Iraq on December 15 literally under the gun.

The polling places were packed with U.S.-trained Iraqi police and soldiers -- who have earned themselves a reputation as corrupt death squads and torturers in many parts of the country. U.S. troops were typically stationed on surrounding roofs or gathered within striking distance. And the streets in many cities were criss-crossed with armed checkpoints.

Immediately, people in the U.S. were told that this election showed that they should all support this bloody and unjust occupation -- however long it took to reach victory. President Bush reached new heights of hype saying that this election was one of the most "amazing achievements in the history of liberty" and a "major milestone" toward U.S. victory over the insurgency. In fact, this election was none of these things -- and attacks on U.S. forces increased sharply in the days after the voting.

In Iraq itself, the U.S. intended to use the election to prove their control over the country, and to legitimize a new government of political forces that could help the U.S. stabilize its permanent domination.

A coalition of fundamentalist Shiite Islamic forces, the United Iraqi Alliance, won almost exactly half of the seats in the new Iraqi national assembly. The rise of Islamic theocratic forces, especially in the Shiite south, and the arrangements the U.S. occupiers have worked out with these forces and their militias has meant that in growing parts of Iraq, the people are now subject to the harsh theocratic rules of armed fundamentalists. This has meant intensified oppression of women. And it has mean the growth of merciless and deadly attacks on people who do not share their religion -- which are sometimes carried out through fundamentalist militia and sometimes by the U.S.-armed Iraqi army. And now that the U.S.-staged elections of December 15 have brought these theocratic forces even more prominence in the Iraqi puppet government there is a real danger that these kinds of reactionary and murderous attempts at repression and ethnic cleansing will accelerate.

The various Sunni and what are described as "secular Shiite" forces that the U.S. had been promoting suffered devastating defeats in the voting. For example, the coalition associated with former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi won only about 6.5% of the assembly seats.

On one level, no matter what the results of these elections were, it remains a basic fact of life that U.S. guns dominate Iraq. Nobody got to vote on whether or not they wanted that. Since its invasion in 2003, the U.S. has staged three elections and one "transfer of national sovereignty" -- but the truth is that power remains firmly in the hands of the U.S. government whose armed forces dominate Iraq. And, as a vivid example of what that means in practical politics, the notorious U.S. agent Ahmed Chalabi was (despite a humiliating defeat in the Dec. 15 election) suddenly elevated to the highly strategic post of Iraqi oil minister two weeks later, on Dec. 30.

And on another level, the U.S. imperialists have serious concerns about the domination of Shiite theocratic forces over the new central Iraqi government. One of those worries is that this will fuel the anti-U.S. insurgency among Sunni people and accelerate the disintegration of Iraq as a unified country--destabilizing the region in ways the current U.S. occupation force would find extremely difficult to contain.

The U.S. invasion in 2003 shattered the largely secular ruling Baathist party that cultivated support among Sunnis and kept Shiites especially oppressed. The U.S. imperialists have worked out arrangements with a number of theocratic Shiite forces -- including training their militia forces within the puppet ranks of so-called "Iraqi National Army." These forces have been documented carrying out brutal ethnic-cleaning and torture of Sunni people in the name of the Iraqi national government and in alliance with the U.S. occupation forces. The U.S. has allowed and sponsored all this as as a way of setting Iraqis against each other and suppressing elements of the resistance to the occupation. [See the article "Bush's Plan for Victory Part I: Ethnic Cleansing and Stone Age Bombing, Revolution 26 at]

Now the election victory of these theocratic forces, and the prospect of their open domination of the central government, raises serious questions about whether the country as a whole can hold together.

The other concern the U.S. has is that the dominant parties in the new government are closely aligned with the theocratic government of neighboring Iran. The election victory of this Shiite religious coalition might increase the influence of the Iranian government in southern Iraq, and its power throughout the whole strategic Gulf region. After Iraq's election, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, who heads the Iranian government's powerful Guardian Council, said: "We are happy with all that has happened in Iraq, including the elections and the victory of the encompassing and Islamist alliance. Considering this trend, we can determine that a stable Islamic rule is being established in this country."

The ruling regime in Iran is a major impediment to the agenda of U.S. imperialism in Middle East, and in particular to the neo-con vision of radically reshuffling the whole region. Iran is involved in negotiating its own deals with other imperialist powers like Russia and France, and its own attempts to strengthen its position in the region. And so the rise of Iran's allies to power in Iraq puts Iran in the position of deepening the quagmire for the U.S. And it raises the danger that Bush will feel all the more compelled to escalate aggression against Iran. [See Seymour Hersh, Where is the Iraq war headed next?, New Yorker, Dec. 12, 2005]

This raises extremely acute concerns that Bush may be about to launch a major new military aggression against Iran itself -- drawing even more countries into a widening war within the Middle East. Der Spiegel and other German press are reporting that the U.S. government has plans in place for an air strike against Iranian nuclear and military facilities quite possibly now in early 2006. Their preparations reportedly included a heavy series of high level U.S. consultations with its allies -- including Turkey, the European Nato powers and regional allies like Pakistan, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. It is also alleged that the U.S. has given a green light to Turkey's military to cross its eastern borders into Iran during such a U.S. attack, supposedly in order to destroy Kurdish nationalist encampments there.

Already over 100,000 Iraqi people have died since the U.S. launched its 2003 invasion. U.S. forces constantly rage through the country, punishing whole towns and neighborhoods with ground assaults and intense air bombardments. In the buildup to the December 15 elections, U.S. marine warplanes bombed the town of Husaybah killing 97 civilians, during the brutal two-week U.S. offensive in Anbar province. U.S. forces and their allies have rounded up captives, often literally at random, with over 15,000 now brutalized and tortured in prison camps like Abu Ghraib that are so notorious around the world.

While the election didn't offer the Iraqi people any option for ending all this, for true self-determination, and was staged to legitimize the U.S. occupation of the country, the results created complex problems for the U.S.

While Bush may claim the election legitimizes the war, the results deepen the real quagmire Bush has plunged into in Iraq, and also present real dangers that the U.S. will "up the ante" and attack Iran. All of which increases the necessity of the people to struggle to end this unjust war and occupation, right now.

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