Revolution #110 November 25, 2007

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Revolution #110, November 25, 2007

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The Jena 6, the Nooses, And Why We Need a Revolution

Enough is enough! The statement was made again on November 16 when thousands of people—mostly Black people—marched around the so-called “Department of Justice” in D.C. chanting No Justice No Peace! The marchers were demonstrating against the whole wave of oppression going down on Black people: in particular, the rampant police murder and unequal justice; the prosecution—and persecution—of the Jena 6; and the epidemic of nooses that erupted in response to the struggle to free the Jena 6, and which has been winked at by the authorities.

The rally in D.C. came two months after tens of thousands of people marched in Jena, Louisiana on September 20. Nothing like that—nothing like its spirit or turnout or determination—had been seen in a long, long time. Things have been way too quiet in American for way too long when it comes to the situation for Black people. But now a sleeping giant is waking up.

The battle to Free the Jena 6 is shining a light on the reality of the situation for Black people in America: A “whites only” tree in a schoolyard. Lynching nooses hanging from the tree. And then, when Black students stood up, the system hit back with vicious criminal charges against the Jena 6. This is America, 2007.

And then there is the reactionary counterattack. Nooses springing up like dead ghouls coming back to life in a horror movie: Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, Cincinnati, and New London, CT. At Columbia University in New York City, an African-American professor found a noose hanging outside her door. Nooses were hung at the University of Maryland near the offices of several Black campus groups in early September. On September 29, a noose was found hanging in the locker room of the Hempstead, NY police department. On October 2, a noose was hanging on a utility pole at the Anniston Army Depot in Alabama. In Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, parish supervisors refused to dismantle a display in a public works department office that included a noose and a bullwhip. The display came down only after a Black worker expressed outrage and went to the media.

Meanwhile, Mychal Bell was throw back into prison in what amounted to a secret court proceeding supposedly on the basis of “probation violation”—despite the fact that his conviction was overturned, despite the fact that he has already served 10 months of his young life for a crime for which he has not been convicted. On top of that, the establishment has been using the media to demonize Mychal and the rest of the Jena 6 as well, spreading totally unsubstantiated and, frankly, irrelevant rumors as if they were the truth—while covering up and even prettifying the reality that is Jena, Louisiana—and that is also America, 2007.

Yes, things are dividing out. Everyone has to choose where they stand. To stand on the sidelines is to stand on the wrong side, with the white supremacist status quo, with the nooses, with the powers-that-be.

Fight the Power, And Transform the People, For Revolution

Where’s this all coming from, where’s it all going, and what needs to be done?

This system has failed—repeatedly—to deliver on its promise of equality. First there was the Civil War, which was supposed to finally end slavery. But just a decade later, the plantation owners were back in power in the south, and Black people were working in near-slave conditions.

Then, there was the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s, followed by the Black Liberation struggle, aimed at overcoming inequality. But after all the sacrifice, where do things stand? The policeman’s bullet has replaced the lynch mob, and a death sentence still hangs over the head of young Black men in the United States. From the nearly one million Black people in jail, to the apartheid-like educational system, to the relentless and deepening discrimination in every sphere of life and the pervasive demonization of African-Americans in political campaigns and the media, the oppression has taken on new forms, becoming in many respects more entrenched, more grotesque, and both more subtle and more blatant—at the same time.

What politician of any influence at all is even talking about radically changing any of this? Who, anywhere near the halls of power, is calling for freedom for the Jena 6? The Attorney General, the one who is supposed to enforce whatever civil rights laws are left on the books, says he cannot tell that waterboarding is torture. What does that tell you?

The problem is that since Day One in this country, the oppression of African, and then African-American, people has been built into the economic functioning of this system, and this has been reflected in and reinforced by the whole political system and culture. When faced with massive movements of millions to demand change, the system refused to grant Black people equality. As Bob Avakian has put it, “It was not simply a matter that the ruling class would not do this, but more profoundly it was the fact that they could not. They could not because it would have torn up their whole system, it would have undermined their whole economic base and their whole superstructure to do this.” (See “How This System Has Betrayed Black People: Crucial Turning Points,” online at

To really get rid of inequality and the oppression of Black and other minority nationality peoples, as well as all the rest of this system’s outrages and abuses, we need nothing less than a revolution, one that brings in a whole new system—socialism—and a whole new form of state power, which would support the masses in challenging every form of exploitation and oppression.

And as part of that whole revolutionary movement, this has to be clear from the git: the day is long over when these oppressors are going to be able to get away with outrages like the railroad of the Jena 6.

Which Side Are You On?

When ten thousand people got on the bus to Jena on September 20, there were hardly any white people on board. And again, at the march in DC on November 16, there were very few whites or people of other nationalities in the crowd.

A guest editorial printed in this paper (“The UNITY WE DO NOT NEED & the UNITY WE DO NEED,” Revolution #105, October 21, 2007 available at, posed this challenge to people of all nationalities: “Who are you standing with—those standing up against oppression, or with the oppressor? While the vast majority of white people, even those caught up in reactionary things, are not actually the same as the relative handful who actually owns, controls and runs this society and fundamentally benefits from exploitation and oppression, in a basic sense, you can be part of the solution or part of the problem.”

White people who say they oppose racism but are standing on the sidelines need to understand, and act on the fact, that there is no sidelines. Silence is complicity. When you stand by in silence, you are allowing the system to maintain white supremacy. And you are leaving Black people isolated in the just struggle against all this. On the other hand, large numbers of white people standing with the struggle against the oppression of Black people—as happened during the 1960s—would be a powerful thing. It would give heart to people struggling against white supremacy. And this kind of unity—based on opposing white supremacy—can contribute to the revolutionary movement we need.

We Don’t Need to “Clean Up Our Own Backyard” — We Need Revolution!

Ever since the early capitalists kidnapped millions of people from Africa and put them in chains, its apologists have come up with racist excuses to justify what the SYSTEM has done. Back then, they said that it was in the nature of Africans to be slaves—and they quoted from their Bible to justify it. And with every new form of oppression, the system has come up new bullshit to justify it.

Today—when the decent jobs have been taken from the inner cities, when Black people continue to be discriminated against in hiring and housing and health care, when unequal justice puts African-Americans behind bars way out of proportion—flunkies like Bill Cosby run around playing this same game: blaming the people for what the system has done. Cosby may have been a comedian, but today he’s the butt end of a tired ventriloquist act, sitting like a dummy on his master’s lap while his master’s words come spilling out of his mouth.

And any conciliation with this crap is poisonous. Even in the form that “well, discrimination is wrong, and Cosby is going too far, but Black people still share some of the blame for their situation.” This is not true, and because it is not true, it cannot lead to liberation, and indeed it can only lead to defeat in the crucial battles we face right now.  It will lead people to confuse right and wrong, to compromise and give in at the very moment they should fight harder, to lower their sites, and to round-off the sharp edges of the truth. This kind of thinking reflects the social position of the petty bourgeoisie, or middle class, which is “caught in the middle” between the basic people and the imperialist rulers. The middle class may have made it a little bit, but their position is precarious, and they still face oppression. They can play an important and positive role in the struggle—but their social position pulls them towards viewpoints and programs that blame the masses for their own oppression and that do not see (or sometimes shrink from and even oppose) the fact that the only way out of this oppression is revolution, and a whole new system.

Cosby and his type say that Black youth need to “take more responsibility for their situation.” Well, the Black high school students in Jena did take responsibility—they stood up against the nooses, and they need to be supported. That’s the kind of “responsibility” people need to take. That’s the kind of “good choice” you can make for real. And the movement to free them has to spread, and become more determined, as part of building a revolutionary movement. Every time youth do the right thing, people need to have their backs. And if you want to be “responsible,” and make “good choices,” then you need to be supporting that struggle.


Battles like the one to Free the Jena 6 are extremely important, and can play a vital role in building a revolutionary movement. We cannot allow the system to crush people, and beat the rebellious spirit out of them. And through this struggle, and through the role that communist revolutionaries play, people can learn about the real nature of this system: who are our friends and allies, and who is the enemy. What is the problem, and what is the solution. And they can begin to see need and basis for revolution.

A pillar of this whole system is the vicious exploitation and oppression of Black people in this country. And the struggle against the oppression of Black people can be—and must be—a powerful component of a whole struggle to end that global system of plunder.

Get involved in the struggle and take up this paper, and as you do get into the works of Bob Avakian. In short, spread revolution and build resistance!

Fight the Power, And Transform the People, For Revolution


Send us your comments.

Revolution #110, November 25, 2007

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Marxism as a Science—Refuting Karl Popper

by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

Editors’ Note: The following is the sixth in a series of excerpts from a talk by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA earlier this year (2007). This has been edited for publication and footnotes have been added (among other things, in preparing this for publication, the author has considerably expanded the section on Karl Popper). These excerpts are being published in two parts. Part 1 is available in its entirety, as one document, online at Part 2 will also be available in the near future, as one document, at; the excerpts comprising Part 2 will also be published as a series in Revolution after the conclusion of the present series of excerpts.
The following is the first part of Bob Avakian’s discussion of Karl Popper. This week’s excerpt examines Popper’s use of the concept of scientific falsifiability and applies it to Marxism; next week’s excerpt turns more directly to Popper’s attempts to discredit Marxism.

Marxism as a Science—Refuting Karl Popper
Marxism’s “falsifiability,” Popper’s falsehoods, and a scientific approach
Now, in this connection, I want to speak to the attempt by Karl Popper to discredit and attack Marxism.1 Popper claims that Marxism is not a science because it is not falsifiable. Or to put it another way, Popper asserts that Marxism is in effect a religious worldview, which makes historical prophecies; and when, as Popper asserts, these “prophecies” turn out to be false—when reality turns out differently than what has been “prophesied” by Marxism—then Marxists simply invent rationalizations to explain away the failure of their “prophecy.”

This deserves to be addressed, because it gets to the heart of what, in fact, the Marxist outlook and method is—and is not—and how it not only meets the standards of science but represents the most consistent and systematic application of the scientific outlook and method, and is in the most fundamental and profound opposition to religious worldviews and approaches to reality.

Let’s begin by discussing the question of falsifiability, and its application to Marxism, and then get into some of Popper’s main attacks on Marxism and how in reality they turn out to be apologies for capitalism-imperialism. In The Science of Evolution and The Myth Of Creationism—Knowing What’s Real And Why It Matters, Ardea Skybreak emphasizes this contrast: “unlike ‘religious beliefs,’ scientific predictions (including predictions made about the processes involved in evolution) are actually testable and verifiable.” (p. 70, emphasis in original) And:

“A good scientific theory puts forward some predictions about what we should expect to find in the real world if the theory is true; and it also makes predictions about some of the things we should not be able to find in the world if the theory is true. This is known as the principle of ‘scientific falsifiability’: a genuine scientific theory, as a matter of principle, has to be capable of being disproved by facts (things which, if discovered, would prove your theory to be wrong).” (pp. 215-17, emphasis in original)

In short, the “falsifiability” criterion means that if something is really scientific, then it can be put to the test of reality. If things emerge in reality which the theory not only doesn’t anticipate, but which the theory would predict cannot happen, then obviously there is something wrong, incorrect, about the theory. If, to take an example cited by Skybreak, it could actually be shown—and not pretended in creationist museums—that dinosaurs and human beings existed at the same time, that would be one means of falsifying the theory of evolution, of showing that it is wrong. In reality, dinosaurs and human beings are separated in time by tens of millions of years; and in reality the evidence, from many different fields, that has been continually discovered and examined since the time of Darwin has increasingly verified the theory of evolution, demonstrating from a growing number of directions that it is in fact true, not false. But the point is that evolution, as a scientific theory, is falsifiable. And so, in a fundamental and essential sense, is Marxism—scientific communist theory.

Of course, it is possible that a scientific theory is true—correctly reflects reality—in its main and essential aspects, but is shown to be incorrect in certain secondary aspects—and, in accordance with that, some of its particular predictions prove not to be true. And when that is the case, the application of the scientific method leads to a further development of the theory—through the discarding, or modifying, of certain aspects and the addition of new elements into the theory. In fact, this happens all the time with scientific theories in all fields—physics, geology, biology, archaeology, medicine, and so on. To determine whether a theory as a whole has been falsified—has been shown, through investigation and analysis, utilizing scientific methods, not to be true—or whether, on the other hand, only certain secondary aspects have been falsified in this way, it is necessary to examine whether those things that have been shown not to be true actually bear on and undermine the main and essential elements of that theory or only secondary aspects which do not go to the essence of the theory as a whole. To put this another way, if the elements which have been shown not to be true can be eliminated, or modified, without calling into question the fundamental assertions of the theory, then it is not the theory itself, but only secondary aspects of the theory, that have been falsified; whereas, if the demonstration that certain elements of the theory are in fact not true causes the theory itself to collapse, then it is the theory as a whole, and in its essence, that has been falsified.

Let’s see how all this applies to Marxism. There are definitely things in Marxism that are falsifiable. For example, dialectical materialism. If the world were made up of something other than matter in motion—if that could be shown—then clearly Marxism in its fundamentals, in its essence and at its core, would be falsified, proven wrong. Or, if it could be shown that, yes, all reality consists of matter, but that some forms of matter do not change, do not have internal contradiction and motion and development — that too would be a fundamental refutation of dialectical materialism. But none of that has been shown.

Another “core element” of Marxism is concentrated in the statement by Marx, cited earlier, concerning the foundation of all society in the struggle of people to produce and reproduce the material requirements of life, and the fact that in carrying out this most fundamental activity people enter into definite production relations, which are independent of their will. That is falsifiable, as is the Marxist analysis of the underlying dynamics of change in society, rooted in the contradictory relation between the productive forces and the production relations, and the economic base and the superstructure.2 That is also falsifiable—but it has not been falsified. It is true—the examination of human society in a scientific way bears out the truth that Marx was concentrating in that analysis.

There is the Marxist analysis of the basic contradictions and the driving forces and dynamics of the capitalist system in particular, including the pivotal element of the production of surplus value through the exploitation of wage-labor by capital. All that is falsifiable—but it hasn’t been falsified—it is true, it corresponds to reality.

There is the Marxist analysis, sharpened by Lenin, of the nature of the state as a decisive part of the relation between the economic base and the legal, political and ideological superstructure. This analysis that the state, of whatever kind, always represents a dictatorship of one class or another—this, too, is falsifiable. Show us a state that is not an instrument of class rule. If anyone could show that—in reality, and not in fanciful illusions—then at least that part of Marxism would be shown to be false (and that is a crucial part of Marxism). But this has not been shown to be false: Everywhere experience has shown, often at the cost of great sacrifice and suffering, that in fact this Marxist analysis of the state—that all states, even the “most democratic” ones, are in fact dictatorships—is profoundly true.

All these are core elements of Marxism—of scientific communist theory. All of them are falsifiable—but the application of a scientific approach and method has shown them not to be false but true, to in fact correspond to reality.

Now, of course, precisely as a science, Marxism continues to develop—to, if you will, refine its analysis and synthesis of reality, both “natural” and social reality. It continues to discard particular aspects which have proven not to be true, or to no longer apply. For example, Lenin analyzed capitalism’s development into imperialism and showed that, while the basic contradictions and underlying dynamics of capitalism remained fundamentally the same, its development into imperialism modified certain features of more “classical capitalism” that Marx had analyzed (that is, capitalism before it had reached the stage where it was defined by the domination of monopolies and other features which, Lenin showed, were characteristic of a new stage of capitalism: imperialism). Lenin also showed how this development (of capitalism into this new stage of imperialism) led to changes in the political realm as well as the economic realm. For example, Lenin analyzed the split in the proletariat, particularly in the imperialist countries, where certain sections of the working class were, to a significant extent, bribed from the spoils of imperialism’s international exploitation and plunder; and he emphasized that, in this situation, the revolutionary movement representing the interests of the proletariat as a class must be based, fundamentally, on the “lower, deeper” sections of the proletariat, as opposed to the more bourgeoisified or “labor aristocratic” sections of the working class. These were modifications in the theory of communism, but they did not constitute an abandoning, or a refutation, of the core and essential elements of this scientific theory.

Marx and Engels had anticipated that the communist revolution would come first to Europe where, in their time, capitalism—and, along with it, the proletariat—was already more fully developed. When that did not happen—because this is a real life struggle and not something pre-determined, not something teleological, heading toward some predestined end—Lenin analyzed this and showed how the potential for socialism was in fact strengthened on an international basis, while the class contradictions and the potential for socialist revolution in the capitalist-imperialist countries themselves were attenuated and retarded in some ways by the development of capitalism into imperialism—revolutionary possibility in the capitalist-imperialist countries was not eliminated but held back, in certain ways and for a certain period of time.

Does all this make Marxism not a science? No. In reality, it demonstrates Marxism’s scientific character: Marxism has continued to refine its understanding of reality, but it has, correctly, retained its core elements, and its basic outlook and methodology—which are falsifiable, but are not false.

Similarly, Mao, on the basis of the development of imperialism and its effects in countries like China (the emergence of semi-colonial and semi-feudal society under the domination of foreign imperialism), applied the scientific outlook and method of communism to analyze this reality and brought forward the conception of new-democratic revolution in these semi-colonial, semi-feudal countries—a revolution that would not be immediately socialist but would first pass through an essentially bourgeois-democratic stage, aimed at defeating imperialism and feudalism, and then, with victory in that stage (which Mao termed “new-democratic” because the struggle was under the leadership of the proletariat, and not the bourgeoisie), the revolution would achieve a new state power—a new form of the dictatorship of the proletariat—which would open the door to establishing socialism and advancing through the socialist transition toward communism. Along with this, Mao developed the strategic conception and road of protracted people’s war as the means for carrying out this revolution. This was a new element added to Marxism—on a scientific basis.

Further, on the basis of the positive and negative experience of socialism itself over more than a half century, first in the Soviet Union and then in China itself—which, when scientifically analyzed, and synthesized, showed that in socialist society itself there continue to be antagonistic classes and in particular that a new bourgeoisie is continually regenerated on the basis of the remaining material conditions left over from the old society, which can only be transformed through a protracted process, and ultimately on a world scale—Mao developed the theory of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. This, again, represented the application of the scientific outlook and method of communism to investigate and to draw profound lessons from historical experience and from reality broadly.

And, over the whole period of more than 150 years since the time when Marx and Engels first formulated communism as a scientific theory, there has also been the continuing enrichment of the understanding of dialectical materialism itself, on the basis of learning from continuing discoveries, in natural science as well as social science and history. It is not that these developments have shown that, after all, reality does not consist only of matter in motion; it is that they have deepened our understanding of what that means, and at the same time have posed new challenges in understanding particular forms of matter and particular aspects of the laws of motion of matter. In the realm of physics, for example, scientists are straining for further synthesis, striving in particular for a theory that will unify the principles of relativity with those of quantum mechanics. I have to admit that much of the particulars of this is beyond my understanding, but it is clear that none of this has pointed to any conclusion other than that all reality consists of matter in motion.

As people who adhere to and seek to apply a consistently and systematically scientific world outlook and method, we communists will continue the struggle to refine and develop our understanding of all of this, including the basic scientific principles of dialectical materialism and its application to nature and to human society as well. But, once again, all of this is on the foundation of certain basic principles and methods which do continue to apply—to conform to objective reality—and which, yes, have been and can be subjected to the criterion of falsifiability but have not been shown to be false, have in fact been shown to be true, in their essential core elements.

Editors’ Note: The installment in the next issue of Revolution, #111, will turn more directly to Popper’s attempts to discredit Marxism.

1. The discussion here of the views of Karl Popper, a 20th-century English philosopher (born in Austria), will focus on one of Popper’s more influential works, The Open Society and Its Enemies, and in particular Volume 2, The High Tide of Prophecy: Hegel, Marx, and the Aftermath, (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, Revised First Edition, 1966 [First Princeton Paperback Printing, 1971]).


2. The statement by Marx referred to here is discussed earlier in this talk, in the section “Changes in Society and in People: A Materialist, and Dialectical, Understanding of the Relation Between People’s Conditions and Their Consciousness. The statement itself is quoted in footnote 4 in that section. See the text of entire Part 1, online at This section of the talk was excerpted in Revolution #106, October 28, 2007.




Part 2 of


Now on Web

Revolution is excited to announce that Part 2 of Bob Avakian’s new talk, MAKING REVOLUTION AND EMANCIPATING HUMANITY, is now available at The second part is entitled EVERYTHING WE’RE DOING IS ABOUT REVOLUTION, and goes into essential thinking on the actual content of building a revolutionary and communist movement. The talk will be serialized in Revolution at the conclusion of the serialization of part 1.

In an important sense this second part of MAKING REVOLUTION AND EMANCIPATING HUMANITY sets out an essential scaffolding for building such a revolutionary movement. There is surely work to be done in construction, and further thinking to do as we carry out and sum up that work, and as the world develops—but this talk sets out a coherent framework and approach for doing that work. It also applies—and exemplifies—a method that everyone can learn from and utilize: it gives a living sense of the multilayered and multilevel and dynamically changing character of reality and a way to comprehend reality in its motion and development and to transform it. In doing this, it builds off the first part of the talk, now being serialized, with its discussion not only of the overarching goal of the struggle, but also of the scientific method.

Every revolutionary and every person intent on, and grappling with, how to make, fundamental social change should get into this talk. We look forward to your comments and response on this work.

Send us your comments.

Revolution #110, November 25, 2007

Current Issue  |   Previous Issues  |   Bob Avakian  |   RCP  |   Topics  |   Contact Us
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Part 2 of


Now on Web

Revolution is excited to announce that Part 2 of Bob Avakian’s new talk, MAKING REVOLUTION AND EMANCIPATING HUMANITY, is now available at The second part is entitled EVERYTHING WE’RE DOING IS ABOUT REVOLUTION, and goes into essential thinking on the actual content of building a revolutionary and communist movement. The talk will be serialized in Revolution at the conclusion of the serialization of part 1.

In an important sense this second part of MAKING REVOLUTION AND EMANCIPATING HUMANITY sets out an essential scaffolding for building such a revolutionary movement. There is surely work to be done in construction, and further thinking to do as we carry out and sum up that work, and as the world develops—but this talk sets out a coherent framework and approach for doing that work. It also applies—and exemplifies—a method that everyone can learn from and utilize: it gives a living sense of the multilayered and multilevel and dynamically changing character of reality and a way to comprehend reality in its motion and development and to transform it.  In doing this, it builds off the first part of the talk, now being serialized, with its discussion not only of the overarching goal of the struggle, but also of the scientific method.

Every revolutionary and every person intent on, and grappling with, how to make, fundamental social change should get into this talk. We look forward to your comments and response on this work.

Send us your comments.



Revolution #110, November 25, 2007

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Jena Youth Speak Out on Racism…

Revolution correspondent Alice Woodward spoke with a group of youth who attended Jena High last year about the situation in the school. The following comments are from that interview:

On the “white tree” in the schoolyard:

We used to sit by the stairs and the white people used to sit under the tree.  And sometimes we feel like we want to go under the tree, and they be actin’ all funny.  Like teachers be acting funny towards us when we go under the tree, they act like we can’t go up under the tree, they act funny towards us, like towards us, making jokes and stuff under the tree and stuff, and we’d go up under the tree.  And one day we told them, we’re gonna take over the tree we told them.  We went under the tree and the white people start scattering, start moving around like they’re scared of us, we told them, “Why y’all gonna be scared of us, we ain’t gonna do y’all nothing? As long as you all don’t do us nothing we’re not going to do y’all nothing, we’re just trying to get under the shade too.”

We used to try to sit under that tree way before [the nooses were hung from the tree].  Before all this stuff ever happened.  It’s the same results every time.  We’d go under the tree, white people moved, there’d be a bunch of tension.  Then they’d be acting like we came to start trouble.  The teachers come ask why you trying to go up under there, why are you trying to start stuff, why are you messin?  We say we’re not trying to start somethin, we’re just tryin to unite the school, ya know what I’m sayin.  On the football team we’re united, in sports we’re united, why can’t we unite students.  Why can’t we be all friends, instead of—this has to sit under the tree, this has to sit over there, this over there.  It don’t make sense, that’s dumb.

On day-in, day-out inequality in school:

Everything you can see just like white people getting treated better.  It’s like you drive to school, white people drive to school they can park their car anywhere. We park our car, like say we don’t have enough room, we park our car across the road off campus, we’ll get in trouble for that, they wouldn’t get in trouble.  They might act like they’re going to say something to them, but they don’t say nothing to them.  It’s just a tension at school, it’s a racist school.  But you ain’t got no choice but to cope with it, because you ain’t got no other place to go but in school so you gotta stay there.

…We don’t get what we deserve down here, we just get treated lower than white people down here.  We don’t get what we deserve, like if we get in trouble.  Like say we’re saggin, we might get suspension.  Say a white person might get caught with hemp in his mouth, and there ain’t no tobacco products allowed at school.  He don’t get nothin but a detention or a slap on the wrist.  And they still keep the tobacco in the back of their mouth as of today. They ain’t gonna do nothin about it.

They try to stop us from—all Black people wear like, tall tees they stop about right there [just above the knee]—they try to stop us one year, told us we couldn’t wear them, talking about, “No y’all can’t wear that.”  They try to make us wear little bitty ol’ shirts and stuff, man I don’t wear that stuff.  White people wear what they want, why can’t we wear what we want?  That’s how I feel.  Ya know they wear they boots and stuff, why can’t we wear what we want?  That’s our fashion.  We gonna wear what we want to wear.  They’re just stupid at that school.

Every day we sag our pants, but we might get a Saturday morning for saggin.  It’s against the rules, but tobacco is really against the rules, I’m talking about it’s supposed to be alternative school, but they get light stuff like detention.  For saggin we might get Saturday morning, we might get alternative school, depending on how many times we’ve done it.

What’s “alternative school”?

Uh, it’s hell.  [All laugh.]  You have to go up there, it’s behind a fence, it’s a little building behind a fence you got to sit up in these dividers and you can’t talk, you have to look forward into these dividers and you have to sit there all day, it’s a school and you have to sit there, they bring you your food, and they bring you your work and you have to sit there all day.  Can’t go to sleep in there, gotta sit there in that one spot all day, can’t do nothin, just sit there, you go to sleep you get an extra day.

About supporting the Jena 6—and punishment for that

Indeed, when you’re up there you can’t talk about it.  They don’t want no students talking about it, like we had wore t-shirts saying Free the Jena 6, they made us take it off, some students got expelled from it because they refused to take it off. They told them they weren’t gonna have that up at their school and said take it off.  Some students they got expelled, got alternative school, cause they wouldn’t take it off.


In sports we always get along, we got to because if you want to get somewhere you got to stay together.  And that’s how it is, and we try to show that, that if we can do it in sports, why can’t we do it every day?  Not just when we playing in sports, in the streets, after school and stuff, why can’t we talk to each other, after school and stuff?  When we’re in school, some of them act funny, but some of them don’t.  It’s not their fault though, it’s their grandparents’ fault.  Most of the stuff that’s happening now, it’s white people’s grandparents saying they don’t want them doing this and that, and they do this or that and they end up getting hurt because of the choices they made.

Yeah, if we just all stick together and forget this other stuff.  Forget what other people are talking about, never mind what other people are talking about, just keep focus, do what we normally do, as one.  Don’t let what other people do stray you away from what you do every day, normally we hang together every day, then somebody say the wrong word then we be against each other, why should we do that?  Forget that, forget that one word and let’s just still be friends. That’s how it happens most of the time.

The march of 10,000 people on September 20th to Free the Jena 6

Oh my god, I was freakin, I was freaked out man, I couldn’t believe it was happenin, I was like cryin it was so... I ain’t ever seen so many Black people in my life!  I swear to god I mean man I never in my life seen so many Black people, I was so happy to feel that ya know what I’m saying.  That for once we weren’t outnumbered, ya know what I’m saying, for once we were like more than them, ya know what I’m sayin, like yeah, I’m feelin like yeah, I feel secure.  But then they left and I’m like, oh man, back to the struggle again.

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Revolution #110, November 25, 2007

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Correspondence on DC Protest Against Attacks on Black People

Thousands Say “Enough Is Enough”

Revolution received the following correspondence:

Many thousands of people converged in Washington, D.C. on Friday afternoon November 16 in response to hate crimes, nooses being hung, police murders and brutality of the youth, racial attacks on Black people on television and in the print media and mainly the vile outrage of the case of the Jena 6. All of this was on people’s minds.

I went to Washington D.C. with 300 people traveling from New York City from Al Sharpton’s National Action Network that called and organized the demonstration. There were people from Atlanta, Chicago, Virginia, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Detroit and California.

I ran into a lot of people whom I’ve met at one time or another in this city who had come to the demonstration. There were three peace activists that I always seem to bump into a lot in D.C. They had happened to hear about this on the radio. They were among the literal handful of white people who came. One of them was this guy who is wheelchair bound and has a peace symbol permanently and prominently mounted on his chair. They were making a point of being in solidarity and looking to build bridges between the different aspects of the struggle against the awful direction that the Bush regime is taking society. One friend from Queens, New York—right out of the neighborhood where Sean Bell was murdered—came with our group. He wore his black hoodie calling out the 50 shots that killed Sean and a white Ku Klux Klan mask with the letters NYPD across the brow. It was a great display and he drew a lot of attention. I was telling people about police murder of 18 year old Khiel Coppin in Brooklyn only two days ago and how just last night another unarmed Black man was executed by the police in Newark, New Jersey. People were chanting “No Justice! No Peace and appreciated how we creatively added, “No Murdering Ass Police” in call-and-response.

I talked with people about what time it is in America. This was Orange Alert Day (people wearing orange to drive out the Bush Regime) and the front page of Revolution said “Who Really Holds the People of the World Nuclear Hostage? Why a U.S. Attack on Iran Must Be stopped.”

I got to agitating about this as people were arriving and entering the main site of the rally after a spirited march around the U.S. Department of Justice building. Some points I brought attention to was the fact that the U.S. is the only country in the world that has ever used nuclear weapons and the president has the nerve to tell people that they should support an attack on Iran on the basis of preventing others (specifically Iran) from doing the same! We are inside the belly of the beast! In our name they’ve massacred over 3/4 of a million people in Iraq to preserve and extend the empire! We cannot stand by and let this outrage continue. The entire world is watching right now and we have the responsibility and the duty to prevent this from happening!”

This was really welcomed by many. A lot of people stopped and listened. More than a few people gave me two, three, or even five dollars for a paper while quite a few barely had a couple of quarters. At one point I had a line of several people buying the paper. I distributed nearly 100 papers and collected $91. I initially had some trouble getting traction with folks and ran into a lot of anti-communist sentiment. There were people who were shocked that I was selling a communist newspaper—like I was some kind of dupe being Black and distributing this paper “for white people”. The agitation really cut through a lot of this and opened up engagement to all kinds of stuff. People would continue to be skeptical of communism but more open to engagement.

Nearly everyone was receptive to the need for revolution (they had different ideas of what this meant). Reading to people the Chairman’s statement (on page 7 in this edition [“Refusal to Resist Crimes Against Humanity Is Itself a Crime” at]) and the “Three Main Points (see page 2)  was a real good way to dig into what we mean by revolution and what kind of world is possible if we were in power. “But can we really do this?” To me a lot of what was revealed by this event was how people are really struggling to go beyond just marching around and protesting stuff that continues to happen to us and moving in ways that will actually stop this. I came up on a guy talking to someone just as he was saying, “We got to have a revolution!” He had believed that we could depend on these elections and the democrats but had become thoroughly disgusted with this especially after the latest Democratic candidate debate which I hadn’t seen but apparently Barack Obama had been particularly awful. A number of people (including this guy) voiced considerable disgust with the Democrats and Obama in particular. “None of these people even bother to mention Jena or the nooses or the police murders and I’m just sick of all of them!”

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Revolution #110, November 25, 2007

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The Jena 6 and the “Freedoms We Enjoy”

On Monday November 12, the Alexandria, LA Town Talk newspaper published a guest editorial “Continue the struggle to free the Jena Six.” The editorial was signed by “Alice Woodward and Hank Brown, correspondents for Revolution newspaper reporting from Jena,” and was the product of consultation with many people in Jena involved in the struggle to Free the Jena 6.

The editorial said, “The people must continue to build the struggle and fight on to free the Jena Six! This is not a time to chill. The events that sparked a movement—the protests and resistance of the black people in Jena against the hanging of the nooses, and the authorities coming down on these six youth to enforce the racist status quo—are still playing out today. Jena is a racist and segregated place, in a racist and segregated society where black people are systematically discriminated against. There can be no ‘reconciliation’ with this.”

And, the editorial called for “[A] day of protest, and soon. A day for people across the country and in Jena, to deliver the demands that all the charges be dropped, and that it is completely unacceptable that Mychal Bell or any of the Jena 6 be held in jail or put on trial for one day more. Details of this call to action will be announced. We urge supporters of the Jena Six to contact us to contribute their ideas on this next step and get involved.”

To arrogant white supremacists in the region, publishing this kind of truth in a mainstream Louisiana newspaper was intolerable. One reader wrote, “demanding the dismissal of all charges against the Jena 6 fits the mode and agenda of the communists in their opposition to the freedoms we enjoy under a freely elected government.” Among those, obviously, the freedom to put away the Jena Six for decades because Black students stood up to lynch ropes hanging from the “whites-only tree” in their school, and the freedom to censor and suppress anyone who wants to expose and oppose that.

In another expression of those great “freedoms we enjoy under a freely elected government,” the only copy shop in Jena refused to print this statement. The owner of the store told Hank Brown, “I don’t know you, but I do know Reed Walters and Craig Franklin, and they’re not liars, and I’m just not gonna print it.” A letter to the editor of Town Talk exposed this incident, and set off another round of comments like “The last time I looked, I believe this is still America. They have the right to refuse service to anyone, regardless of color or race.” And white supremacists posted threats like “If you commie ba$t@rd$ and the rest of you Jena haters don’t like it here, pack up and get the he!! out of town,” along with requests for Alice’s address.

Meanwhile, on the streets, people are saying things like “There’s not a word in there that’s untrue.” Alice Woodward reports that, “Overwhelmingly Black people agree that the struggle must continue, that we gotta do something to continue.  That we can’t let the authorities think we just came and had a little march and now its over and they can go ahead.  People see a need for the momentum to continue from the 20th.  People are discussing how to make the next call a massive expression  of our demands, and people felt this had to be on a national level.  In order for this next step to come forward the grassroots movement must continue to grow and broaden everywhere becoming more determined to Free the Jena 6.”

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Revolution #110, November 25, 2007

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Interview with Dr. Ramona Dvořák, Engage! Statement Signatory

The Engage! Statement and “the Better Possibility of a Different Kind of World”

This week, readers of The New York Review of Books, a premier journal among academics and intellectuals, were greeted with a statement calling on people to engage with the work of Bob Avakian and to protect his ability to carry on that work. This statement—”Dangerous times demand courageous voices. Bob Avakian is such a voice.”—carried over 250 signatures, including many prominent artists, intellectuals and activists. You can download a copy of the statement, with its signatures, here.

To give a sense of the mission of this statement and how different people view this, we are reprinting here an interview by Michael Slate, journalist for Revolution and KPFK Pacifica Radio, with Dr. Ramona Dvořák, who serves on the Engage! Committee’s Steering Committee. This interview aired on Michael Slate’s Beneath the Surface on KPFK on Tuesday, November 13. You can download the interview from (Michael Slate’s website) or (go to “shows,” then “archives”).

Michael Slate: For those of you who read The NY Review of Books, you’ll open it up and prominently placed within the issue of the newspaper is an Engage! statement that reads, “Dangerous times demand courageous voices. Bob Avakian is such a voice.” People have been jolted when they looked at this, saw the content of the statement and saw it’s a statement that promotes, projects and protects the voice of Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, signed by a boatload of people that people were shocked to see: Sonia Sanchez, Cindy Sheehan, Fr. Daniel Berrigan, Michael Eric Dyson, Chuck D, Rickie Lee Jones, Harry Lennix, Uli Bella from Ozomatli, Sam Hamill, Prof. Peter McLaren. A boatload of people from all walks of life who’ve stepped up to say, “Yes we want to promote this voice, this voice needs to be heard.” And joining us to talk about this is one of the signers of the statement, Dr. Ramona Dvořák.

Dr. Dvořák is a physician. She teaches at Harvard Medical School, holds a Master’s degree from the Harvard School of Public Health, and is an attending psychiatrist in a community hospital that serves a large immigrant and diverse population in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Why don’t you tell us about the Engage! statement, what it is and why you signed it?

Dr. Ramona Dvořák: The Engage! statement is a statement that puts out into a public arena a declaration that we have a revolutionary voice, the voice of Bob Avakian, that needs to be heard. Also we’re putting this out there because we feel that this is a system that does not allow very much discourse outside of the status quo, and Bob Avakian’s ideas need to be out there and debated in the larger public arena. These are very dangerous and critical times where people need to know about and hear voices outside of the mainstream. And the second part of the reason for this statement is to put the government essentially on notice saying, “This is a revolutionary voice who has a following of people that would protect him and challenge you, government, if you harass him or attempt to silence him.”

Michael Slate: When you talk about how he has a following of people, one of the things people have engaged with Bob Avakian’s work on many different levels, and the list includes people who are more familiar with aspects of the work but also people who in general recognize there needed to be a Malcolm X, the Panthers; there needed to be revolutionary voices in the mix of society or the world was going to be a pretty ugly place. There’s an aspect of this that’s really important—a lot of people are standing up and saying marginalizing Avakian or silencing him in any way is putting a lid, both an ideological lid on what’s allowed to be discussed in terms of possibilities for a different future today, and trying to prevent that discussion altogether.

Dr. Ramona Dvořák: Absolutely, and getting back to your original question, let me speak a little bit from the heart about why I, personally, signed it. Because as you said, there are a lot of signers. They signed for many different reasons. I personally signed this statement because I am in agony about the direction the world is headed in. I am in agony about U.S. policies that are causing the devastation and the suffering of millions of people, not only in this country but all around the world. And within the context of that, we need to be able to have a voice where you can challenge the conventional wisdom and challenge the traditional options—and nowhere was I hearing that. So I was introduced to Bob Avakian’s works and his ideas. I’ve watched the DVD [of Bob Avakian’s talk “Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About”], I’ve
read his memoir [From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist], and he has opened my eyes to understanding this capitalist system at the very foundation of what it’s all about. Why does it do what it does? What’s the necessity of its behaviors and why does it operate the way it does? It opened my eyes to understand the complexity and the motivation of this system in a way that I had never done before.

Also, by listening to these ideas and reading the works of Bob Avakian, I have come to be opened up about possibilities, of solutions that you don’t read about or hear about from the mainstream: possibilities about making revolution in a country like this, possibilities of living in a different kind of world that is not predicated on brutality and the oppression of people, but where people are actually treated with dignity and there’s social justice. I mean, my goodness, that kind of possibility is not even in the discourse in this society. So for me, I signed the statement because I feel as many people as possible, even if you don’t agree with all of the ideas, which I do not, and I’m struggling with some of them, and I’m still learning, but even if you don’t agree with these ideas, they are provocative. They are intellectually, in my opinion, brilliant. And they really challenge us in a way to kind of break down a lot of the illusions that many people have about this system, and in my way of thinking that the only way this society is going to be transformed is if people are educated, and if they can imagine that a different world can be brought forward.

One of the things that struck me also about the real distortions that are put out there about communists—they’re brutal, and they’re murderers, and Mao murdered millions of people and whatever—when I first watched that tape from Bob Avakian—and I’m African-American—when I first watched this tape of this white guy standing up there talking about freedoms and oppression, I was very skeptical. I thought, “What is this guy going to tell me about the suffering of Black people?” And boy was I just amazed—the guy blew me away. He started talking about the oppression of Black people from the inception of what this entire system is all about, that go to the core of its foundation, both economically, and how that affects the social relations. He traces that history up to the present from the time we were selling postcards of the hanging. That’s where he starts out and that grabbed my heart immediately. He traces it into the history now. Why do Black people continue to be oppressed and what does that have to do with the immigrants? How do you understand that in terms of the global economy and where this system is headed? And here’s a white guy doing all of this, with the kind of humanity and integrity that really stunned me.

The signatories on the statement are from such a wide diversity, every walk of life: academia, artists, political activists, politicians, etc. The New York Review of Books has a target audience that tends to be academics, intellectuals, people who care about and are thinking about various social issues, scientific issues, environmental issues, political issues. We really want to engage that group very broadly. Rightly or wrongly, academics and intellectuals have a disproportionate influence on the society and the direction that the society is headed. So we really particularly think that those people need to be engaged with Bob Avakian’s ideas. The academics, we would like them to get Bob Avakian’s materials in the classroom. For my colleagues at Harvard Medical School and other universities around, we want to ask them to engage and debate and get these ideas into the discourse. Because Bob Avakian, unfortunately, is not well known among academics or intellectuals and this periodical claims to have that target audience, and the content of the periodical tends to address these issues that need to be debated in society. 

They should sign this because we want to influence the direction of society, and the only way that we’re going to do that is to have ideas that are outside the traditional realm and outside the status quo. Bob Avakian is that kind of voice at this critical time. Signing that statement will engage people with these ideas and that will give us the better possibility of a different kind of world.

Michael Slate: Ramona, thank you very much. I really enjoyed talking to you about this.

Dr. Ramona Dvořák: And I’m happy—if people have any other questions—to get on line, get into that Engage! statement, and we’re happy to engage with people in any way we can.

The website is There are a lot of materials there, with many links to Bob Avakian’s talks, papers, books. There are a lot of materials on there.  

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Revolution #110, November 25, 2007

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A Major Fascistic Step: House Passes “Thought Crimes” Bill

On October 23, with little notice in the media, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill called “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007” (HR 1955). Sponsored by a California Democrat, Jane Harman, the bill was approved by an overwhelming vote of 404 to 6 and is now being considered in the Senate.

HR 1955 is an amendment to the 2002 “Homeland Security Act” which authorized the most massive re-organization of the federal government since World War 2 and dramatically increased its repressive powers—for example, the placement of immigration agencies under the Department of Homeland Security and the carrying out of gestapo-like ICE raids around the country.

HR 1955 calls for establishing a national commission to “examine and report upon the facts and causes of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in the United States,” along with a “a university-based Center of Excellence for the Study of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism in the United States.”

If passed by the Senate, HR 1955 itself would not change specific laws or set up new punishments—but it could certainly lead to and legitimize such changes. This bill is another major step in the fascistic moves in this country toward establishing “thought crimes”—making advocacy of radical, anti-government ideas and politics illegal in the name of the “war on terror.” And it’s yet another chilly blast right at a time when, more than ever, people in their millions need to confront the profound, repressive changes taking place before they are cemented even more firmly in place; to take responsibility for radically changing the whole dangerous direction that U.S. society is headed in; and to mobilize politically to end the war in Iraq and stop an attack on Iran.

Giving Academic Veneer to Repression

The National Commission and Center for Excellence that would be established if the “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism” bill became law could give the government further official and “academic” veneer to use the labels of “violent radicalization” and “homegrown terrorism” to go after political activists and groups and dissident thinkers. The ten members of the commission would be appointed by the President and other high-level officials and bodies. And, according to the bill, the university-based Center for Excellence would be charged with tasks like “utiliz[ing] theories, methods and data from the social and behavioral sciences to better understand the origins, dynamics, and social and psychological aspects of violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism.” (See box, “Responsibility and Moral Obligation Not to be Complicit in Crimes”)

Responsibility and Moral Obligation Not to be Complicit

Academia and professionals have a responsibility and moral obligation to refuse to be complicit in government’s repressive efforts, like those called for in HR 1955. And they should be supported when they refuse to be complicit. Currently, many psychologists in and out of academia are fighting the government’s demented use of their field and their professional association in pursuit of the so-called “war on terror.” The military has worked with some psychologists to develop and carry out the programs that torture prisoners held in Guantánamo, and then the military fought to keep the American Psychological Association on board with the programs. The Chronicle of Higher Education recently reported that the American Anthropological Association released a statement expressing its disapproval “of a year-old U.S. Army program known as Human Terrain System, which sends anthropologists and other social scientists to advise military units in Afghanistan and Iraq.” Academics should not allow themselves or their field to become an arm of the government’s unending war for empire.

What is so alarming and dangerous about this bill is the way that “homegrown terrorism” and “violent radicalization” are defined so that further basis would be laid down to attack and criminalize politics and ideologies that have nothing to do with terrorism but are considered dangerous and threatening by those in power.

The bill defines “violent radicalization” as “the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change.” It defines “homegrown terrorism” as “the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily within the United States or any possession of the United States to intimidate or coerce the United States government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” And “ideologically based violence” is defined as “the use, planned use, or threatened use of force or violence by a group or individual to promote the group or individual’s political, religious, or social beliefs.”*>

Who Would Be Accused of “Extremist Belief Systems”?

The deliberately broad and ambiguous language used in HR 1955 is potentially a net that could be used by the government and the political police to go after a wide range of oppositional groups, individuals, and political trends. Who would be accused of “adopting or promoting an extremist belief system” and therefore considered subject to legal suppression—protesters demanding an end to police brutality, people calling for impeachment of Bush, those who advocate communism and revolutionary change? It’s not hard to see the sweeping implications of this logic—and it is very bad.

One part of HR 1955 states: “The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.” This language in the bill points to possible future moves by the government to restrict flow of information on the Internet in the name of combating “violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and homegrown terrorism.”

Along with this warning about the Internet, the website of Jane Harman, the bill’s main sponsor, targets youth in particular: “In recent testimony before our Intelligence Subcommittee, some common traits and characteristics emerged. Said RAND Corporation’s Bruce Jenkins: ‘…it is the same age group that is susceptible to being recruited into gangs.... These are young men who are going through…identity crises, looking to define themselves….[If you have] a narrative that exalts violence, that attempts to project that violence as a personal obligation…that offers the tantalizing prospect of clandestinity, identity, all of those are very appealing to that specific age group.’ Combine that personal adolescent upheaval with the explosion of information technologies and communications tools—tools which American kids are using to broadcast messages from al Qaeda—and there is a roadmap to terror, a ‘retail outlet’ for anger and warped aspirations.”

This bill sheds further light on what continues to take monstrous shape—and makes it clear the Democrats will not only not stop it, they are the vehicle for making it happen! This year, federal prisons already tried to purge all religious books except a few pre-approved titles based on the same logic that is in HR 1955. They temporarily had to back off due to suits and the out-cry against this move. This month, during a talk by the director of campus safety and security at Chicago’s Columbia College, a film and video faculty member asked “for advice on dealing with law enforcement officials” because “she had recently been contacted by a FBI agent who wanted her to ‘report any students that have anti-establishment, anti-government sentiments.’” (“College Council focuses on security issues, And there have been cases where those carrying out political protest have been targeted as “terrorists.” (See box, “Government Agency Says: Political Dissent=Terrorism”)

Government Agency Says: Political Dissent=Terrorism

In 2003 a government agency called the California Anti-Terrorism Information Center (CATIC) issued a warning to the Oakland police of “potential violence” at a protest against the U.S. war in Iraq. The spokesman for the CATIC said at the time, “You can make an easy kind of a link that, if you have a protest group protesting a war where the cause that’s being fought against is international terrorism, you might have terrorism at that (protest). You can almost argue that a protest against that is a terrorist act.” He also said, “I’ve heard terrorism described as anything that is violent or has an economic impact, and shutting down a port certainly would have some economic impact. Terrorism isn’t just bombs going off and killing people.” In other words, for this government official any political action that challenges the U.S.’s so-called “war on terror”—even a strike or civil disobedience—can be considered a “terrorist” act. (See “CATIC: Political Dissent=Terrorism,” online at

There have also been increasing moves by police agencies to target Muslim people as a whole for monitoring and suppression, in the name of “combating terror.” A recent study by the NYPD declared “unassimilated Muslims” as possible “terrorists”; included as supposed signs of “radicalization” were things like giving up smoking, drinking, and gambling. And the “counter-terrorism” bureau of the LAPD announced a plan to map Muslim communities in the L.A. area. An LAPD spokesman said the mapping would help promote “moderates” in opposition to “fanatics.” The director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said, “Who is going to decide who are the moderates? Are Muslims who criticize the war in Iraq moderate?” As we go to press, the LAPD says it will at least temporarily scrap the plan due to the outrage it touched off.

The bill gives lip service to protection of people’s rights: “Any measure taken to prevent violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence and homegrown terrorism in the United States should not violate the constitutional rights, civil rights, or civil liberties of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents.”

This little paragraph in the bill would be laughable, if it weren’t so chilling, in the context of the accelerating moves toward fascist clampdown in this country, as the U.S. rulers have invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and now are aiming at Iran. Note that the wording here specifically excludes people who are not citizens or legal residents—undocumented immigrants, those in the U.S. on student or other temporary visas, and others. And look at how Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen, was convicted on conspiracy charges earlier this year for what amounted to thought crimes—one legal scholar said, “As the Bush Administration is conceptualizing and implementing this [conspiracy] law, the fact that Padilla thought bad thoughts about the United States and its Government is enough to lock him up for life.” Look at the broadening of warrantless wiretapping, legalization of torture, the official and unofficial fascist offensive against immigrants, the surveillance and detention of protesters, the firing of professors for holding dissenting and critical views of U.S. policy, and so on.

All this is moving very quickly—and there is urgent need for massive political resistance to stop this dangerous trajectory before it is too late.


* This bill closely follows the framework set by the FBI and outlined in a June 2006 speech by FBI head Robert Mueller in which he interchangeably uses the terms “radical” and “extremist” and pinpoints campuses and prisons. In the 1960s, the FBI and other police agencies spied on, disrupted, and attacked mass political movements and revolutionary currents among students, Black people, and others. The kind of language being used by Mueller and others in the power structure has ominous implications for escalating repression today against movements of resistance. [back]


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Revolution #110, November 25, 2007

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Who is the Greatest Proliferator of Nuclear Weapons?

On October 17, Bush said, “If you’re interested in avoiding World War 3, it seems you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.” On November 7, Bush told a German interviewer that his “World War 3” statement was justified “[B]ecause this is a country that has defied the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency].”

The “them” Bush was talking about  in his World War 3 comment was Iran. Since secret elements of Iran’s nuclear program were revealed in 2002, Iran has had a contentious relationship with the IAEA. Recently, Iran appears to be cooperating with the IAEA. In late October, the agency’s deputy director, Olli Heinonen, told reporters that Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA was “good.” Iran has not ratified all components of the IAEA that would restrict its nuclear energy program. Iran’s nuclear program could provide the basis to develop nuclear weapons at some point. And the Islamic Republic of Iran does have aspirations to regional power, and with such ambitions comes the compulsion to develop nuclear weapons.

But no country comes close to the United States in defying international agreements against the spread and use of nuclear weapons—agreements administered by the IAEA. The IAEA enforces the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), supposedly an agreement of the world’s governments to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. The NPT does not ban nuclear weapons, or their use. In large part, the point of the NPT is to maintain the monopoly of nuclear weapons in the hands of a handful of world powers—mainly the United States and Russia. Nuclear powers supposedly agree not to spread nuclear weapons to other countries, and non-nuclear states promise not to acquire or develop them. The incentive for this is supposed to be that countries with nuclear technology share that technology with non-nuclear countries for peaceful purposes. (The NPT is available at

Even while the NPT is a stacked deck to maintain the current U.S. monopoly on global nuclear terror (with Russia as its only competition), the U.S. is by far the greatest violator of rules in the NPT against the spreading of nuclear weapons technology.

Many of the U.S./NATO nukes in Europe, for example, are set to be deployed in, and under the control of, non-nuclear NATO countries. As a 2005 study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) points out, this is a “violation of Non-Proliferation Treaty’s (NPT) main objective.” (“U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Europe: A Review of Post-Cold War Policy, Force Levels, and War Planning,” by Hans M. Kristensen, Natural Resources Defense Council, February 2005)

One of the fundamental goals of the NPT is supposed to be “the cessation of the nuclear arms race and to undertake effective measures in the direction of nuclear disarmament.” The U.S. has developed “bunker buster” nuclear bombs—again in violation of the NPT and other treaties that prohibit the development of new nuclear weapons. By upgrading its nukes, modernizing them, and integrating a nuclear war component into its warfighting strategy, the U.S. eclipses anything any so-called “rogue nation” could even dream of in undermining the stated intent of the NPT.

For years, the U.S. has targeted non-nuclear nations (including Iran) with nukes. A recent article in Scientific American, based on documents obtained by scientists using the Freedom of Information Act, revealed that “The [U.S.] nuclear warheads resting on ballistic missiles in silos, circling the globe in submarines or carried—sometimes mistakenly—by aircraft” are targeted at “so-called ‘regional proliferators,’ smaller states seeking to acquire such weapons of mass destruction.” The latest list of targeted countries made available to the authors of the article, for 2002, included North Korea, Libya, Iran, and Syria (“‘Axis of Evil’ Targeted by U.S. Nuclear Weapons” by David Biello, November 5, 2007). Targeting nations without nuclear weapons for nuclear attack is in violation of NPT agreements.

And then there’s Israel—the only country in the Middle East armed with nuclear weapons. Israel has never signed the NPT, and its nuclear weapons program is unsupervised and uninspected by the IAEA. Israel has an estimated 400 nuclear and thermonuclear weapons, and is developing the capacity to launch them from submarines (“U.S. Air Force: Israel has 400 nukes, building naval force,” World Tribune, July 4, 2002). Israel’s current missile capacity can fire nuclear warheads into Iran and every other nation in the Middle East.

In January 2005, Dick Cheney made a not-very-veiled threat that Israel could attack Iran: “One of the concerns people have is that Israel might do it without being asked.... Given the fact that Iran has a stated policy that their objective is the destruction of Israel, the Israelis might well decide to act first, and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards.”  (MSNBC interview, January 2005)

The U.S., right now, holds nuclear weapons over the heads of the people of the world. A U.S. attack on Iran, under the pretext of stopping nuclear weapons proliferation, could very likely involve the use of nuclear weapons. In an article in The New Yorker that outlines highly developed plans for a U.S. attack on Iran, Seymour Hersh writes, “One of the military’s initial option plans, as presented to the White House by the Pentagon this winter, calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites.” (“The Iran Plans: Would President Bush go to war to stop Tehran from getting the bomb?” by Seymour M. Hersh, April 17, 2006).

Imagine the Pandora’s box that would be opened by the first actual use of a nuclear bomb in the Middle East by the U.S. That would set a precedent for all kinds of new development and potential for use of nuclear weapons. And it would escalate the whole McWorld vs. Jihad clash with terrible consequences.

Send us your comments.

Revolution #110, November 25, 2007

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“Taking a Stand with Humanity” Liliana and the Immigrant Sanctuary Church in Simi Valley

by Luciente Zamora

In May of this year, Liliana heard a knock on her door. It was Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). “We’ve come for you,” said the 5 ICE agents that were there to take her from her home in Oxnard, California and deport her back to Mexico.

Liliana had applied for legal residency years ago, but her application was denied because she had been detained trying to cross the U.S./Mexico border when she was 19 years old. She was put on a deportation list, and years went by without her hearing anything from immigration—until that morning in May.

Liliana, 29 years old with three kids, remembers pleading with the agents not to take her from her children. She told them that she was still nursing her 2-month-old, Pablito. They didn’t arrest her on the spot, but ordered her to report to an immigration center to be deported within five days.

Liliana is now seeking protection from deportation at the United Church of Christ in Simi Valley, California. She and Pablito live in a house on the church premises 24/7. Since the church decided to take a stand as a sanctuary church, Liliana, her son, and the church have been at the center of ugly anti-immigrant persecution.

Church Hit with
Anti-Immigrant Protests

Simi Valley is a predominantly white, middle class suburb with a reputation for being very conservative. In 1992, it was the site of the trial and acquittal of four white LAPD officers who were caught on video brutally beating a Black man, Rodney King, after he was pulled over for speeding.

The United Church of Christ is one of more than 50 churches in cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and San Diego that are part of the New Sanctuary Movement. Its goal is to “protect immigrant families who are facing the violation of their human rights in the form of hatred, workplace discrimination and unjust deportation” ( The New Sanctuary Movement was inspired by the movement of the 1980s in which churches all over the country opened their doors to give sanctuary to and protect people from Central America who were fleeing U.S.-sponsored death squads in countries like El Salvador.

Every Sunday for weeks, vigilante forces like the Minutemen have protested outside the church. When Liliana first took sanctuary there, the protests were heated on both sides. An immigrant rights activist was even pepper-sprayed by a Minuteman outside the church and taken to the hospital. Skinhead youth carried signs that read “Unchecked Immigration—A Wildfire That Will Consume Our Nation…Stop the Invasion.” Other anti-immigrants held up signs that said: “Don’t Attend This Lawbreaker Church” and “Defend Our Borders.”

These Minutemen and other anti-immigrants have things totally upside-down. It’s your country that invaded Mexico—twice—once to steal half of Mexico’s territory in 1846 so that it could expand slavery and then again against the Mexican Revolution in 1916. It’s your country that has caused the destitution of the Mexican people by dominating their country and devastating agriculture to a point where people can’t even afford to grow their own food, because if they did they would end up in terrible debt. It’s your country that forced people to work in maquiladoras (sweatshops) so they could eat—and then moved those factories to China because the slave wages are even cheaper there, leaving many of these workers and millions of others with no alternative but to cross the border in search of jobs. It’s your country that viciously exploits these immigrants once they’re here—the very people who put food on your table by slaving away in meatpacking plants in the South, the fields in the Central Valley, and in Liliana’s case a food packing plant in Oxnard, even as they are viciously hunted down like animals by ICE agents and vigilantes. Minutemen, skinheads, and others who are helping to enforce all this: You’re standing on the wrong side of right and wrong.

The Mayor of Simi Valley, Paul Miller, has repeatedly stated that he does not want his city to be known as a sanctuary city. He sent the United Church of Christ a bill for $40,000 for the cost of added police presence around the church after the weekly protests. Reverend June Goudey at the church commented that this “places the burden of the current unrest on the church’s stand as a sanctuary congregation rather than on the reaction of extremist groups from outside the city who by their actions are a threat to public safety.”

Then the Mayor sent a letter to Michael Chertoff, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, asking him personally to resolve this matter. His letter asked Homeland Security to “provide final adjudication of the individual’s status and either allow [Liliana] to stay or deport her.”

While ICE has not yet attempted to forcibly take Liliana from the church, immigration officials say they reserve the right to do just that at any time. Chertoff said, “We reserve our options, and we take the action that we feel is appropriate.” He added, “We don’t give people assurance that they have a sanctuary, nor do we necessarily indicate when we’re going to do something. They’re on their own if they’re going to defy the law.”

Transforming What People Think About Immigrants

Liliana came to the U.S. from Mexico in 1998 when she was 19 years old. She applied in Mexico to get a student visa to go to school in the U.S., but was denied the visa because she didn’t “qualify.” So, like millions of other immigrants, she made the journey across the border. The first time she crossed, she was detained by the Border Patrol. The Border Patrol routinely takes pictures and personal information, as well as fingerprints, of the detainees and enters it into a database before sending people back to Mexico. Liliana tried to cross again a few weeks later and was able to make it. She made her way to Ventura County and started to work in a corn-packing factory near Oxnard. She married soon after and applied for legal residency, and her husband became a U.S. citizen with the hopes of strengthening her application for legal status. Now she is being threatened with being ripped apart from her family, leaving her children and husband behind—or being forced into a situation where the whole family must leave the country so that they can stay together.

Reverend Goudey and members of the United Church of Christ say that being a sanctuary for immigrants is uncharted territory that initially brought out feelings of uncertainty and fear among some members of the congregation who were worried about the negative consequences of taking such a stand. But they say that through getting to know Liliana, they have transformed what they think about immigrants.

Reverend Goudey said, “Immigration is complex and huge, but Liliana has, which is part of the focus of the New Sanctuary Movement, now put a face on the movement. Just being with her in the house has been transformational…there’s a quality and dimension to Liliana that is very moving when you are with her.”

One member of the congregation commented, “I wish that people could put themselves in the shoes of a person like Liliana and think about what they would have done if they were in a situation like her.”

Another member of the congregation talked about a man who raised a lot of concern about the United Church of Christ being a sanctuary church—but at the same time, he wrote a substantial check toward the renovation of the house Liliana is now staying in with her baby. She said, “It’s been amazing where the contributions have come from… [People have called] and said ‘Hi, I’m not a member, but I never knew about the immigration laws, but now I’m looking at my neighbor as a human being. And I want you to know how important it is what you are doing’… There are people sending $40 and saying, ‘I’m retired, I don’t really have a lot of money, but I want you to know how important it is that you’re taking this stand.’”

This congregation member said, “I’m proud to be taking this stand with humanity.”

Send us your comments.

Revolution #110, November 25, 2007

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Potluck for Revolution

We received this correspondence:

I wanted to let Revolution readers know about a successful potluck dinner held in the Bay Area. With nine weeks left in the drive we needed to kick things into high gear to meet our goals. About 30 people attended: high school students and teachers, college students, an actor/director/professor, people who had stepped out against police brutality on October 22, immigrants, political activists, different nationalities. It was a unique and diverse gathering pulled together by Revolution.

High school students spoke about how they use Revolution to understand and change the world, and about their own plans to raise money for Revolution. It was an inspiration and a challenge.

A revolutionary communist youth said, “The world cries out for revolution. This isn’t just a regular fund drive, this is something that is trying to expand the task of preparing for revolution.”

Another student started reading the newspaper after her friend was killed by police. She spoke about using the paper in her school. She volunteered to raise $100 for Revolution by doing a bake sale at her high school.

A young woman student who had organized protests in support of the Jena 6 at her school, which is overwhelmingly Latino, sent a taped message that said, in part, “I try and get people to read Revolution. Reading the newspaper is going to get people aware of everything that’s going on. It’s going to get people to act on things that shouldn’t be happening such as Jena 6, police brutality... The immigration raids. That shouldn’t be going on.”

One student pledged to raise $100 at her school by selling pizza and challenged others to join a $100 team: “I read the paper with one of my closest friends. With the help of the paper we both have realized how fucked up the system is and that a whole different world is possible.… With the help of the paper many people at my school learned who the Jena 6 were and they were so outraged that they attended the rally in San Francisco. It’s so important for the newspaper to get into the hands of youth.”

A Latino immigrant gave a statement in Spanish about all that he learns from the paper each week.

A veteran revolutionary told people about a graduate student in social anthropology who couldn’t be there but pledged $1200—$100 a month for the next year. He said that he would get Revolution out to people in the Tenderloin, a very poor neighborhood in San Francisco, and that Revolution is invaluable to him because it gives a framework to what he studies that he can’t get anywhere else.

Hal Perry came to the potluck. He was a star player, along with Bill Russell and K.C. Jones, for the 1955-1956 USF Dons—one of the all-time great college basketball teams. He submitted a statement of support: “Revolution newspaper is important to educate, inform and make people aware of the truth that is happening in America and the rest of the world….I’ve read articles in Revolution about the Jena 6, the communists’ program and Bob Avakian’s articles, which are all very important. This is why I support the paper.”

An African-American actor/director/professor, who has been active with the Engage! Committee to Protect and Project the Voice of Bob Avakian, made an announcement about the Engage! statement being published in the New York Review of Books. He talked about the importance of the writings of Bob Avakian printed in Revolution.

Almost everyone at the potluck joined a $100 team. An activist said he would put his fundraising skills toward Revolution and pledged $500. Some teachers have said they have been selling reproductions of Revolution back page posters to other teachers to raise money. People wanted to do everything they could to help ensure that the $500,000 fund drive meets its goal.

Send us your comments.

Revolution #110, November 25, 2007

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Abandoned, then Bulldozed: The System's Plan for Public Housing in New Orleans

By Carl Dix

In late October, the U.S. government, through HUD, gave the go ahead to demolish four of the largest public housing projects in New Orleans. On November 15, a federal judge refused to block the demolitions – clearing the way for the demolition of the BW Cooper, CJ Peete, Lafitte and St Bernard developments.

These projects aren’t just structures. These were people’s communities -- where 1000's of people grew up, met, fell in love and raised families. These buildings suffered less damage than other housing in the floods because of their solid brick construction and could house 4,700 families. But the government plans to demolish them and build "mixed income" housing that will include less than 750 units for people with low incomes.

Much of the Black population of this city has been dispersed throughout the country since Katrina. By March of 2007, it was estimated that 200,000 former residents had still not returned to New Orleans and that more than 150,000 of them are Black. The demolition of public housing is yet another way the government is discouraging and preventing people from coming back to New Orleans. In effect the message is: “You'll never be able to come back home because there will be nowhere you can live.”

The number of homeless people in New Orleans is double what it was before Katrina. Lafitte, which could house almost 900 families but is now almost empty, sits across the street from a homeless encampment where dozens of people live under a freeway overpass.

New Orleans desperately needs affordable housing. Yet the authorities are determined to destroy 1000's of housing units that could be made suitable for people to live in. Where's the logic in this?

To anyone concerned about the needs of the people, this is insane. But the people who run this system operate based on a cold capitalist logic. For them what matters is keeping their system in effect and as lean and mean a profit-making machine as possible. To do this, they will demolish public housing, no matter how this impacts people's lives. For this system, a disaster that killed 1,800 people and forced 200,000 out of the city is an opportunity to rebuild a New Orleans that's smaller and whiter and rid of those who the system has no need for.

What’s Behind the Drive to Demolish?

There's been a nationwide assault on public housing for more than a decade that reflects the changing needs of US imperialism. Many of the projects in the US were built after World War 2 to house Black people who were being drawn into the cities in large numbers to work in factories. These projects were a way to enforce racial segregation. In New Orleans, three of the seven projects built in this period were reserved for whites, while the others housed Black people. By the 1960's the racial composition of the projects had shifted, and the overwhelming majority of residents were Black.

In the 1970's, as part of striving to remain competitive with their imperialist rivals, US corporations began to move factories from the inner cities to the suburbs and to other countries. At the same time, immigrants from Mexico and other countries began to be hired for many of the jobs on the bottom of the work force that used to be filled by Black people.

Several factors drove these developments. Many immigrants can be forced to work for super low wages and in miserable conditions because they lack legal status. At the same time, long experience with brutal oppression, and the struggle against that oppression, has led many Black people to develop an attitude of both defiance and unwillingness to take shit jobs. This is a very positive quality to anybody who wants to change the world-but it's considered dangerous by the ruling class.

The result of all this is large numbers of Black people have been pushed out of the work force. Jobs and opportunity have been sucked out of the ghettos. And residential segregation means the places Black people live have become concentrations of poverty. So the very operations of the system has created a situation where the capitalists face the “problem” of millions of Black people they can no longer profitably exploit.

From the point of view of this system, the masses of Black people have become so much surplus population -- in the way and potentially explosive. When Katrina hit, in places where many Black lived, like the Lower 9th Ward and Central City half of all working age people were not in the work force! A key part of the way the system has been dealing with this is the warehousing of Black people in prison. Between 1984 and 2004, the number of Black people in jail in the US skyrocketed from 98,00 to 910,000! (For a full discussion of this, see Crime and Punishment … & Capitalism, Revolution # 106.)

This was the context in which government plans to demolish housing projects have been developed. Between 1996 and 2002, 80,000 units of public housing were demolished nationwide. In New Orleans the number of public housing units was reduced from 14,000 in 1988 to 6,000 in 2005. The Desire housing development was demolished in the 1990's, and St Thomas was demolished in 2001. Fisher was partly demolished before Hurricane Katrina. The mixed income developments that replaced these projects has 75%‑90% fewer low income housing units!

The authorities seized on Hurricane Katrina to empty the projects. Everyone who came to the emergency shelters was taken out of the city. Some people who lived in the projects stayed in their homes during Katrina because they knew the projects usually suffered less damage during storms. People who didn't live in the project even came there to ride out the storm.

On September 6, 2005, the city issued an order authorizing law enforcement to forcibly remove people from their homes. People who refused to leave were taken from their homes and forced to leave the city. And people weren't allowed to return to the projects. The city put a barb-wire fence around the St Bernard project and part of BW Cooper. They put metal enclosures over the doors and windows In Lafitte. They also shut down CJ Peete and partially fenced it in, even though it had suffered NO flood damage.

The authorities consider the replacement of St Thomas with the mixed income River Gardens development a success story which they promise to repeat with these demolitions. St Thomas had 1,500 units of low income housing. River Gardens has only 150 such units. Now, two years after Katrina, less than 100 former residents of St Thomas have gotten into River Gardens. Others who applied to move back in were told they didn't make enough money. As far as the ruling class is concerned, these people can just go somewhere and die!

The Need for Resistance

The authorities plan to begin the demolitions before the end of the year. Court cases, congressional legislation, appeals to reason‑‑all that is being shoved aside or bottled up. If these demolitions aren't met with determined resistance, the rulers will get away with cleansing New Orleans of much of its Black population. What's needed now is massive resistance.

Demolishing the projects won't provide people with decent housing. It will mean that 1000's more poor people will have nowhere to live. It will mean that many of those currently exiled from New Orleans will remain unable to return. These demolitions must be stopped. But the goal in this fight isn't to get back to how the projects used to be. Capitalism has made the projects places where poor Black people live, in miserable conditions with little hope for the future.

The total inability of this system to provide people with decent housing is yet another sharp example of why we need a whole new society where power is in the hands of the people and is wielded in their interests. And we need a revolution to make this possible.

If the authorities are allowed to get away with this, people's communities will be reduced to piles of rubble. And the killing program the rulers are enforcing on Black people will escalate.

But if people build a powerful political struggle against this attack. If the justice of fighting these demolitions is brought out to different kinds of people throughout society and many of them join the fight. If protest and resistance forces the system to stop their bulldozers. This can create a whole new ball game. The people must derail the rulers' plans to drive out much of the Black population of New Orleans and such resistance needs to become part of a growing revolutionary movement.

Send us your comments.

Revolution #110, November 25, 2007

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Letter from Prisoner on Reading Bob Avakian’s Works:

“Like a cool drink of water in the middle of the desert”

The Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund received the following letter:

Dear Comrades,

Kudos to Chairman Avakian’s Making Revolution and Emancipating Humanity! It is the most lucid and easy to grasp transcription of his talks I have seen. In fact, having spent over a year sitting on the fence due to reservations, after reading this excerpt from Part One, I have decided… to dedicate the remainder of my life to the Party’s cause.

One of the issues addressed which spoke to me was the mindset of, “Yeah, communism’s a great ideology but, I’ll adopt it right after I reach my commercial goal of _____.” [Fill in the blank.]

On a personal level, I love motorcycles, and my goal for years has been to own a Harley-Davidson Electroglide “dresser” with all the bells & whistles soon after my release from prison and before I’m too old to ride (I’m now 50). Yet, when I see pictures like the one of terrified little children running from the napalm rained down by the Capitalist/Imperialists – rained down in our name ; napalm purchased with our tax dollars – I would gleefully walk everywhere I went for the remainder of my days if it’d help to keep incidents like this from ever happening again. And, of course, they are happening right now in the Middle East and elsewhere, so we can “have it our way.”

Chairman Avakian says, “But if you don’t want this world, then you cannot want the things that define this world and that are the underlying and driving forces of this world. You cannot want a network of commodity relations and of capital, because then you have everything that goes along with that, not only immediately around you, but throughout the world, and all the horrors that we know about and could catalog almost endlessly.” This paragraph captures the entire ethos of the world situation and a person cannot claim to be rational and humane and socially conscious on the one hand, and embrace the “I got mine, to hell with everybody else” sentiment of Capitalism/Imperialism on the other—they’re mutually exclusive.

In addressing the issue of conflicting “Ideal Visions of Society,” the brilliant iconoclastic jurist, Lysander Spooner, wrote an essay, Vices Are Not Crimes, in the late 1800s. To paraphrase Spooner, vices are whatever the ruling bourgeoisie’s fickle Judeo-Christian sensibilities deem to be taboo today. And what’s taboo today, may be socially acceptable tomorrow, or vice versa. (Except in reference to the ruling bourgeoisie themselves, who are of course exempt from such constrictions).

Crimes, on the other hand, may be succinctly defined as any intentional action which will, or can be reasonably anticipated may, result in another’s loss of person or property. Included in the definition of “person” is the individual’s freedom of movement, expression, and pursuit of happiness, so long as it doesn’t limit another’s rights to the same.

This definition of crime can be otherwise captured in the adage Live and Let Live, which is a Natural Law of any social organism. Conversely, the laws of Capitalist/Imperialists are unnatural laws which stigmatize and criminalize entire sections of otherwise innocent society by making illegitimate any action that doesn’t further the bourgeoisie’s agenda.

I will attempt to pass the RCP Newspaper around as much as possible, and then get it back so I can save the Making Revolution article. I tried this with another article awhile back, but my neighbor lost the paper during a routine shakedown or cell search. Once a paper leaves my cell, it’s kinda iffy whether I’ll ever see it again! (Smile)

Thank you so much for these papers and other writings by Chairman Avakian. I treasure them like a cool drink of water in the middle of the desert. In a very real sense the Revolutionary Communist Party, U.S.A. is my family now, and I look forward to its weekly paper like others here look forward to letters from home…

With much respect and gratitude,


Send us your comments.

Revolution #110, November 25, 2007

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The Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund (PRLF)

This Holiday Season Contribute to PRLF

Revolution newspaper is a vital resource that needs to be in the hands of many, many prisoners”

Prisoner, Oregon State Penitentiary

Currently hundreds of prisoners write inspiring letters to the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund requesting subscriptions to Revolution newspaper. As the numbers of men and women being incarcerated in the U.S. skyrockets, Revolution newspaper can be a lifeline. It connects them to events in the world. It enables them to understand and interact with the critical issues of our time. And it engages them about what a future society could be. Every week, as 700 subscriptions go into the prisons, 10 to 15 new requests arrive in the PRLF mailbox. Funds are urgently needed to fill these requests and to expand PRLF’s outreach among Spanish-speaking and women prisoners.

As the PRLF mission statement states:

“The Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund (PRLF) is an educational literature fund that fills requests from U.S. prisoners for revolutionary literature.

“The main requests received by PRLF from those behind bars are for complimentary subscriptions in Spanish and English to the weekly newspaper Revolution and for revolutionary and other books, including ones highlighted in Revolution newspaper.  Through providing this literature PRLF provides an educational opportunity for prisoners to engage with world events and key political, cultural, and philosophical questions of the day from a unique revolutionary perspective, including discussions of morality, religion, science, and the arts.  Every week prisoners can delve into the urgent and lively news and debate about unfolding political and social struggles, and can critically think about and dissect the current state of society as well as search for an alternative. PRLF works to counter increasing censorship that seeks to deny prisoners access to Revolution newspaper and the other revolutionary literature requested.”

START A NEW HOLIDAY TRADITION: BUY A REVOLUTION SUBSCRIPTION FOR ONE OR MORE PRISONERS AND RENEW THE SUBSCRIPTIONS EACH YEAR AT THIS TIME. Donate a gift subscription in the name of friends or family members. GIVE GENEROUSLY TO FILL THE GROWING REQUESTS FOR THE NEWSPAPER AND BOOKS, AS WELL AS TO FIGHT CENSORSHIP IN THE PRISONS. Contributions to Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund can be made through its fiscal sponsor, the International Humanities Center, which enables PRLF to accept tax-deductible contributions from individuals and foundations.

What Prisoners Are Saying About Revolution Newspaper

“I’ve been receiving Revolution free for over five years. Every year I tell myself, ‘Maybe this is the year they’ll need to commit their limited resources elsewhere in the struggle,’ and I definitely can’t be mad at that! The foundation has been laid. Nothing else to do but build on it and contribute where/when I can! Yet, to this day I continue to receive Revolution each week. But let me tell you! Many benefit from this one paper I receive, a testament to its importance behind enemy lines! It gets circulated and requested wherever I gofrom the mainline to the Ad-Segs (Administrative Segregation) to the SHUs (Segregated Housing Units). Sometimes I don’t get it back for weeks and weeks, and it’s brown and tattered from having passed under so many cell doors and into so many anticipating hands. I love getting it returned all underlined and creased, with notes and ideas scribbled in the margins, sometimes not getting it returned at all! How wonderful! It’s so amazing to see furrowed brows and hear perplexed discussion and debate over the tier, as captives begin to call into question why things really are the way they are; how exactly we’ve been inculcated and indoctrinated by our oppressor to see the world and our place in it a certain way (the way they’d like, that keeps us oppressed and exploited!); how our captivity and the repressive measures of the bourgeois state apparatus is all a part of the workings of the system.”

Your donation can make a real difference NOW:

Your contribution will support:

The Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund is in affiliation with International Humanities Center, a nonprofit public charity exempt from federal income tax under Section 501[c](3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund, a project of the International Humanities Center, are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. Checks should be made payable to IHCenter/ PRLF and mailed to:

International Humanities Center
P.O. Box 923
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Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund
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Chicago, IL 60622

You can also make a non-tax deductible donation by mailing a check or money order made out to: Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund to the PRLF address above.

You can reach PRLF at (773) 793-8637 or

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Send us your comments.

Revolution #110, November 25, 2007

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Cheers to Anti-Bush U.S. Bridge Players

When members of the U.S. women’s bridge team participated in the world bridge championships in Shanghai, China in October, they were met with questions from players from other countries about the actions of the U.S. government. Gail Greenberg, the team captain, said, “There was a lot of anti-Bush feeling, questioning of our Iraq policy and about torture. I can’t tell you it was an overwhelming amount, but there were several specific comments, and there wasn’t the same warmth you usually feel at these events.”

The U.S. team ended up winning the Venice Cup, the women’s title, at the Shanghai tournament. At the dinner when the team got their award, Greenberg held up a hand-written sign that read, “We did not vote for Bush.” Greenberg said later, “What we were trying to say, not to Americans but to our friends from other countries, was that we understand that they are questioning and critical of what our country is doing these days, and we want you to know that we, too, are critical.”

The bridge world isn’t usually known for political controversy, but the anti-Bush sign at the world championships has sparked a big uproar. Officials of the U.S. Bridge Federation (U.S.B.F.) are threatening the team with severe and vengeful punishment: a one-year suspension from Federation events, including the World Bridge Olympiad in 2008; a one-year probation after the suspension; 200 hours of “community service” that “furthers the interests of organized bridge”; and signing on to an “apology” to be drafted by the Federation. Officials are also demanding that the team members snitch on each other, by telling “who broached the idea of displaying the sign, when the idea was adopted, etc.” Debbie Rosenberg, one of the team members, said, “I earn my living from bridge, and a substantial part of that from being hired to compete in high-level competitions. So being barred would directly affect much of my ability to earn a living.”

Some bridge players have e-mailed the Federation accusing the women’s team of “treason” and “sedition.” Other e-mails have supported the women’s team; one professional bridge player wrote, “If the U.S.B.F. wants to impose conditions of membership that involve curtailment of free speech, then it cannot claim to represent our country in international competition.” And the French team offered their support for the American team.

A hearing on the case of the women’s team is scheduled during the Fall North American Bridge Championships set to take place in San Francisco from November 22 to December 2. The NY Times reported that three of the team members “have expressed regret that the action offended some people.” But Greenberg and three other team members “have not made any mollifying statements.”

Cheers to the members of the U.S. women’s bridge team. In their own way, they made a righteous statement to the world that there are people within the U.S.—including bridge players!—who do not stand with the torture, the wars, and other crimes of the Bush regime.  

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Revolution #110, November 25, 2007

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