Revolution Online, November 6, 2008

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Revolution Online, November 6, 2008

Revolution Online, November 6, 2008

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The Morning After the Election: The Promise of Change…and the Change We Need

You couldn’t miss it on Election Night. People actually pouring into the streets to celebrate the election of a president. Emotions ran high, and tears flowed.

And in the days after: people talking to friends and strangers alike of hope. Hope for a coming era of change from the horrors of the Bush years. Hope for overcoming racism. Hope for a new era of service to the common good.

Hope—hope that is founded on the real possibilities for fundamental change in this world—is indeed precious. Dedicating your life to something higher than the ethic of “I-want-mine” is so vital that the future of humanity actually depends on it. And overcoming—truly overcoming—the divisions of society based on inequality and oppression must be at the heart of any real movement for social change.

But now, in the dawn of the morning after, one must ask and honestly grapple with some basic and very serious questions.

Hope for what?
Service to what?
Unity around what goals and what values?
And victory for whom?

The Change He Has Promised

“I am new enough on the national political scene that I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.” —Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope

Most of those who celebrated in the streets oppose the string of wars that Bush has launched and the threats of more war. Yet Obama through his campaign promised to send more troops to Afghanistan. He floated the idea of attacks on Pakistan, threatened Iran, and pledged to back Israel—which to this day continues to torment the people of Palestine—to the hilt. He established his reputation by opposing the launching of the war on Iraq—but has already backtracked on this during his campaign, with talk of “listening to the generals” and determining when Iraq was “stable” and its troops “sufficiently trained.”

Most of those celebrating in the streets hate the fascism of the Bush years: the spying, the evisceration of fundamental legal rights, and the torture. Yet as a senator, Obama voted for the renewal of the Patriot Act (which abolished or seriously cut key legal rights), and for immunity for telecommunications companies which illegally spied on people at White House behest.

Most of those celebrating in the streets yearn to see an end to racism, and to the oppression of Black people and other oppressed nationalities. Yet Obama did not speak in his campaign of ending the discrimination and oppression that continues in a Black unemployment rate that is more than double that of whites, discrimination in housing and health care and the legal system, and an incarceration rate of Black and other minority people that is the scandal of the world. No, instead he spoke against his former minister, Jeremiah Wright, because Wright had “a view that sees white racism as endemic.” Obama in that speech went on to say that such thinking is “divisive” and draws people away from the problems of “two wars, a terrorist threat, a failing economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change”—thereby, in a phrase, covering over how systematic discrimination is embedded in every problem in America and negating both the bitter ongoing oppression of Black people as a people and the deep structural problems in American society that sustain this.

Many of those in the streets also see Obama as sharing their values on ending the oppression of women and of gay people. Have they noted that Obama routinely characterizes abortion itself as a bad thing, even if he does not oppose the right to abortion, or how rarely he even mentioned defending this right? Or how Obama, at a time when the right of gay people to marry was being attacked in electoral referendums, said that while he did not support that referendum, he at the same time opposed gay marriage itself—on the basis of his own religious beliefs?

Obama has said he is bringing change. He has called on you—most recently in his victory speech on election night—to both put your efforts behind him and to be patient with his administration. The question is this: judging from Obama’s actual statements and not from what you think he must believe deep down, is the change that he is promising and trying to enlist you in the change we need?

Or are you being enlisted in something that will end up actually opposed to your best aspirations and a morality based on the common good of humanity?

Redeeming the Dream?

“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.” —Barack Obama, in his victory speech

Well, many things certainly are possible in America. It is possible in America for European settlers to commit genocide against the Native American Indians who lived here and to then declare themselves to be builders of a “shining city on a hill” and “the last best hope of mankind.” It is possible in America to kidnap over ten million Africans and hold them and their descendants in slavery for 250 years, exploiting them as the foundation of the great wealth of this country, and then maintaining their descendants in new forms of oppression and super-exploitation, and to simultaneously brag that “the dream of our founders” is based on the principle that “all men are created equal.” It is possible in America to wage and sponsor wars and military coups over the past 150 years that have taken a toll on humanity unmatched by any of the fabled monstrous empires of the past, and to then routinely declare, as Barack Obama did in his speech, that this same country is the world’s great guarantor of “peace and security”—even as he preceded that by assuring anybody who opposed what he called the “new dawn of American leadership” that “we will defeat you.”  It is possible in America to subordinate the economies of entire nations to the demands and dictates of U.S. capital; and it is possible to then both super-exploit impoverished people from those countries who then desperately seek work in the U.S. and at the same time to demonize them and scapegoat them as the cause of everyone else’s hard times. It is possible to torture in the name of “safety,” even as you assure the world you don’t.

But apparently, other things are NOT so possible in America. It has NOT been possible in America to actually do away with the structures of white supremacy and the oppression of entire peoples. It has NOT been possible in America to desist from sending troops, CIA spies, and commandos all over the world—nor has it been possible to avoid things like killing 40 civilians at a wedding party in Afghanistan on the day before the election which installed a man who has promised to send more troops to invade that tortured, beleaguered country. It has NOT been possible in America to actually overcome the subjugation of women in every sphere of life, or to end the demonization and systematic discrimination against gay people. It has NOT been possible for America to refrain from the heedless plunder and spoliation of the very planet on which we live. It has NOT been possible in America to overcome the deadening alienation of everyday life for most people, or the despair of seeing your best efforts come to naught for many of those who want to dedicate themselves to making things better.

What has been proven to be possible—and what has proven to be NOT possible—has nothing to do with “human nature” and everything to do with the system that was put in place to ensure the “dreams of our founders.” The name of that system is imperialism—a stage of capitalism in which the majority of humanity are consigned to short, bitter lives of almost indescribable exploitation, humiliation and degradation. . . in which entire nations are subjugated to deepen and extend that exploitation. . . and in which the entire world is divided up amongst a handful of big imperialist powers (with the U.S. currently at the head of that).

That is the system which actually determines what is, and what is not, possible. That is the system Barack Obama is now stepping in to head. That is the system to whose service he now summons you.

Stop Thinking Like Americans! Start Thinking About Humanity!

Imperialism has an ideology—a systematic way, even if unacknowledged, in which people are trained to view every event in the world. When Barack Obama sings songs of praise in his victory speech to the greatness of America—he is training us in a way of understanding the world. When he goes so far as to not just send best wishes to his opponent, but to gushingly praise this unrepentant war criminal who dropped bombs on civilians over and over again in Vietnam as a “brave and selfless leader”—he is doing that training in a particularly nauseating, and frankly horrific, way. When Barack Obama tells us to “summon a new spirit of patriotism” and overcome divisions—same thing.  

This has to be called out for what it is: American chauvinism. This accepts as a given the existence of imperialism.  Many of those who celebrated on election night are in effect hoping that Obama will lead to a "better" imperialism. But there is no such thing– there is no "better" imperialist USA, no "good" imperialism of any kind. What we need is to sweep away imperialism, and all relations of oppression and exploitation.

Stop chanting USA, USA—and start thinking about what is really facing humanity and what must urgently be done. Stop waving those flags, and start resisting the crimes of that system, including the very real crimes of the Bush regime that Obama not only is not going to prosecute but, yes, is determined, in large part, to continue. STOP THINKING LIKE AMERICANS—and start thinking about, and trying to proceed from, what humanity needs.

A Better Way

Does this mean, then, that there is no hope? That there is, in fact, nothing one can do? Are we counseling cynicism or despair?

Far from it. In place of false hope, we offer hope based on a real foundation. We offer hope based on the vision of a different society that draws on the fact that humanity could today accomplish great things—starting with the elimination of hunger and disease and homelessness—but is only held back by the economic relations of exploitation in which it is fettered, and the machinery of oppression that backs up those relations. We offer, in short, the hope of revolution.

We offer hope evidenced in the accomplishments of the Russian and Chinese revolutions—before those revolutions were reversed. Those revolutions made leaps in the very things that are NOT possible in this system: the elimination of exploitation and a rupture with the imperialist relations that strangle the world; the uprooting of the subjugation of women, and of oppressed nations and nationalities; the opening up to the oppressed of the spheres of running society and working with ideas—spheres which they are today kept out of by both the normal workings, and conscious policies, of capitalism; and the provision of health care, education and many other basic needs to all of society, in ways that narrowed and did not widen inequality.

We offer hope founded on the scientific work of Bob Avakian, the leader of our Party, who has both upheld the achievements and fundamental lessons of these revolutions, while criticizing and rupturing with significant errors and shortcomings of that first wave of revolution. On that basis, he has revived the REAL dream of emancipating all of humanity from exploitation and oppression, and shown the way forward to do that.

In place of a “service” which can only end up reinforcing the very things you oppose, we offer something which corresponds to your highest aspirations: making revolution.

For there IS work to do—work that urgently cries out to be done. There is the work of fighting for your best ideals and hopes for change. There is the work of actually digging into how the world really works, into America’s real place and role in that world, and into what revolution is all about and how it might be possible. There is the work of fighting the power, and transforming the people, for revolution.

Let us break, finally, with deadly illusions and let us set about that work—the ending of imperialism, and of all relations of exploitation and oppression, and NOT their reinforcement, in a different package. Let us truly bring about a new day.

Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution Online, November 6, 2008

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Programs On “Making Revolution” A Major Success: Go Forward Off The Programs – All Out This Week!

On October 26, two major programs on “Making Revolution in the U.S.A.” were held in New York and Los Angeles. A total of over 600 people came out and engaged deeply over the possibility of making revolution in the U.S., and the correct strategy for doing so. The intensity and the enthusiasm were palpable through the hour-long speeches. Dozens of hands were still waving fiercely when the question and answer part of the program had to conclude, and the informal period of mingling afterward was similarly animated and intense and challenging, later spilling into area restaurants and more than a few night-long discussions. In all, the turnout was very diverse, the response very engaged, and the potential for a revolutionary movement at this time very much evident.

Indeed, the programs once more showed, beyond doubt, that there is a base in society that wants to get into revolution and the questions associated with it, and that will respond positively to a full-out, unvarnished presentation of the Party’s revolutionary line; the challenge now, on all revolutionaries, is to build on this and take it further.

The urgent task now is immediate followup with everyone who came, and involving them in the revolutionary movement. The speakers at the program did a good job of showing how “everything we are doing is part of making revolution,” and some in the audience remarked later how this “put it all together for them”—and this spirit and orientation must be maintained throughout this followup with people. This followup has to be done with all the intensity and calm confidence of the program itself, not letting things drift or failing to take initiative, while understanding that people will have different and diverse ways of contributing.

The next issue of the paper will feature an article on major transformations that will be going on with this paper in the next period—fitting the newspaper more fully to play its necessary role as the “hub and pivot” of the revolutionary movement in many dimensions. This issue will be important to get to everyone who came to these programs. But even before then, there is urgent and immediate followup work to carry out NOW with those who came to the program.

In particular, the revolutionary movement must be fully present in the next week around the elections. Millions of people have been drawn into political life through this election, and it is likely that whatever happens with the election there will be people in the streets on Tuesday night—either celebrating an Obama victory, or protesting what would very likely be a stolen election if McCain should win. We won’t repeat everything we said in our article “The Morning After the Elections and The Change We Really Need: What Are YOU Gonna Do Now?,” or in the letter from a reader we printed last week on-line “The Elections—And Being Ready For Anything.” In short, revolutionaries have plenty to say to people—and we will be posting more analysis and agitation here at pretty much every day right now.

But the point of this article is the need to immediately reach out to people who came to these programs with this paper and other materials, and enlist them in taking this out as part of building a revolutionary movement. This means concretely that we have to “sign people up” to take part in all the Party’s plans for building the movement of revolution. Part of this means bringing people into the vibrant centers of the revolutionary movement, like the bookstores. But it also means that we have to take the revolution (the revolutionary movement) to the people—to neighborhoods, schools and campuses, and other key areas where masses are to be found and in particular where they congregate—and to do this on a consistent basis, while also “stretching a line” continually to other concentrations of masses and struggles that they are involved in.

Here too, there are two elements: on the one hand, getting new people to be part of going into the neighborhoods and schools, in forays or mobilizations which are vibrant and convey a sense of the spirit of defiance and the élan of the revolutionary movement, that is, a revolutionary spirit reflecting a firm strategic confidence; on the other hand, working with them to get into the networks and social scenes of which they are part, and helping them to bring the revolution there. Many people may not immediately want to go out on these forays but may want to contribute in other ways and may have important ties into various networks. They too should be part of this whole effort. Teachers and professors, for instance, played an important role in letting revolutionaries speak to their classes before the recent programs—and this ended up drawing significant numbers of students. So we should learn from that and all be seeking out creative ways to involve everyone in the work of making revolution, on whatever level or whatever way they can enter into. We should consistently stay in touch with all these people, learning from everything that jumps off when they take out materials from the Party, including how to better speak to the questions and controversies they run into. The newspaper, the Party’s Constitution, the DVD of Bob Avakian’s speech Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible and What It’s All About and other works of Bob Avakian are a great resource of the revolution. One task that should NOT wait until next week is winning as many people as possible to sustain the paper on a monthly basis.

A further important dimension of “followup” concerns people who have been working with the Party and who, off the recent programs, are grappling with their commitment on a deeper level. Here too the ways must be provided that enable them to engage more deeply with the line and strategy of the Party put forward at these programs, and through the entire recent period—beginning, in a sense, with the publication on May 1 of Revolution and Communism: A Foundation and Strategic Orientation, and continuing through the publication of the Party’s Constitution, the new Manifesto Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage, the special issue of the newspaper on “The Oppression of Black People, the Crimes of This System, and the Revolution We Need,” and Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy.

A Whole Week of Intense Revolutionary Political Activity

Right now, there is tremendous importance to getting out on Tuesday night with the issue of the paper with the elections editorial just referred to and the special issue of the newspaper on the oppression of Black people referred to above. It will also be important—and a very good time!—to get out the pamphlet Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy, by Bob Avakian. Again, there will be people who came to the programs on October 26 who will want to go out with the Party; and there will also be people who came who know about a range of election night parties and other activities, who will want to “take the Party with them” to these events. But everyone should have these essential materials to take with them.

By Thursday morning, the Party will issue a statement on the elections, available at this site. And Thursday night there should be meetings at bookstores and other venues which are widely built for and at which this statement should be discussed. Revolution Clubs should strongly consider calling meetings in particular neighborhoods or schools, particularly where important efforts were carried out to build for the recent programs.

Plans should be made that will maximize the impact of this statement, along with the other key materials from the Party. This could mean a combination of really saturating a few particular neighborhoods or schools; getting it into key media outlets (we will also try to post a recorded version of the statement as soon as possible for use on radio); as well as getting it out very broadly. It should also be a goal of all plans to maximize the activity of the whole revolutionary network around this in different ways—for example, it will be of strategic importance for certain potential hubs of revolution like community centers, churches, small stores, etc. to take these and begin to get established as places where people can find revolutionary ideas and the thinking of the Party; or if teachers, or clergy, or media people host speakers from the Party, or sympathetic to the Party, to talk in their classes about the elections. Again: there should be a whole range of different kinds of activity, as multi-leveled and multi-layered as society itself, affording all sort of entries for those who want to contribute to making revolution. And of course, at the center should be these well-thought-out forays, with organization and élan. All this should fully flower over the coming weekend of November 8-9.

In all of this weekend activity, in addition to the statement on elections, the special issue on the oppression of Black people, along with the pamphlet Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy and the DVD of Bob Avakian’s speech Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible and What It’s All About—should all be getting out very broadly. (Playing excerpts of the DVD on portable DVD players should be an important element of this activity.)

In doing this—in distributing the newspaper, the Party statement and other literature and in an all-around sense—we need to be leading with “we need a revolution” and “we are building a movement for revolution”—and then getting into all kinds of questions, both questions regarding “topical events” as well as questions relating to the contradictions involved in actually making revolution and building a revolutionary movement, from that perspective and on that foundation (that “we need a revolution” and “we are building a movement for revolution”).

Again, stay tuned: there are big changes coming both in the world and in the revolutionary movement. And to repeat: next week’s issue will get deeply into a whole further conceptualization of the role of this newspaper as the hub and pivot of an expanding revolutionary movement.

Till then—connect with the new people who came out and let’s go change the world!

Send us your comments.

Revolution Online, November 6, 2008

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Colin Powell–And His Endorsement of Obama

Here, in the person of Colin Powell, is a war criminal many times over. He committed towering war crimes and crimes against humanity in his role as a top U.S. military official in the first war against Iraq, in 1991, which led to the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis and the destruction of much of Iraq’s civilian infrastructure—which in turn led to many more deaths. And there was Powell’s insistence that it was justified for the U.S. to attack civilian targets: recall, for example, the air raid shelter in Baghdad that was bombed during that 1991 war, killing hundreds of civilians, including many children, while Powell repeatedly insisted that this was a legitimate target—claiming that it was a “military bunker”—in the face of the undeniable fact that it was inhabited by civilians who were mercilessly slaughtered by this U.S. attack. Or who can forget Powell’s infamous role, as part of the Bush regime, in relation to the second war against Iraq, beginning in 2003—including his performance of overt lying about Iraq’s (non-existent) WMDs and ties to al-Qaeda—to justify the invasion and occupation of that country, which has brought about massive destruction, has completely disrupted life there, causing millions of Iraqis to become refugees, and has cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis (along with over 4,000 U.S. soldiers). And then there is the lesser known, but certainly no less horrendous, role that Powell played in attempting to play down, and cover up the horror of, the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War, in which U.S. troops slaughtered hundreds of non-combatants in My Lai village in South Vietnam, including huge numbers of old people and children, as part of the overall devastation and death that the U.S. rained down on that country, resulting in several millions killed as a result of this massive war crime and crime against humanity.

Obama’s consistent “wooing” of this world-class war criminal Colin Powell, and the “payoff” in Powell’s finally endorsing Obama, is yet another indication of what Obama actually represents—as is Obama’s repeated professions of great “respect” for McCain’s “service to the country,” that is, McCain’s role as yet another war criminal in the Vietnam War, in which McCain, as a bomber pilot, was part of the mass destruction and murder of Vietnam and its people carried out by the U.S.

Send us your comments.

Revolution Online, November 6, 2008

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Obama – And the Hope For a “Better” Imperialism

Many of those who are supporting Obama are in effect hoping this will lead to a “better” imperialism. But there is no such thing—no “better” imperialist USA, no “good” imperialism of any kind. What we need is to sweep away imperialism, and all relations of oppression and exploitation.

Send us your comments.

Revolution Online, November 6, 2008

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Comments from Readers on Revolution Coverage of Elections

Editors’ note: The following letters are selected from online comments and correspondence to Revolution from our readers. We are printing them (and will continue to print more correspondence) to give readers a sense of the letters sent to Revolution, and to spark more interactivity between this paper and readers, and among readers. Selecting and printing letters does not imply that we agree, or disagree, with them.

After Obama Election: “Things Will Be Better in so Many Respects”

Re: “The Morning After the Elections...and the Change We Really Need...WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO NOW?”, Issue #146, October 26, 2008.

Nov. 5—I met you outside Showmans, I am a musician, was against the war in Iraq, performed for anti-Apartheid rallies, political events before you were possibly involved in politics, I am a big Obama supporter and although I see some logic in your article you have to change your presentation or you will forever be marginalized and your effect on this society will be minimal.

This is not the 60's, as much as the Panthers and the radical left was effective, that no longer works. First, stop cursing no matter how frustrated, it may impress 1% of your audience but it keeps you on the fringe. We have to know that Obama is better than Bush-Cheney, just as if Gore would have been President things would be a whole lot different than they are now. We would not be in Iraq, 911 would not have happened the way it did, the environmental issues would be on their way towards being addressed, the Supreme Court would not be so conservative (including abortion rights), affirmative action would not be challenged by the federal govt and the agenda goes on.

Obama will not address every issue you are concerned with, he is not a revolutionary, but many of the most extreme policies of Bush-Cheney will be rescinded and that will be a good thing.  He is not a Clarence Thomas, he will not betray his supporters.

Maybe he imperils your ability to organize, it’s easier to motivate people with an extremely repressive regime such as Bush-Cheney. Nonetheless I think things will be better in so many respects, better for the people that you hopefully are concerned about (or are you concerned about ideology). I say give him a chance and stay vigilant in times when he may stray from the course. The system will hopefully be a lot less rotten (I believe) the horrors that you outlined such as global warming and discrimination might be addressed, maybe not in revolutionary terms but in ways that will affect people.

Most of all do things that will help people, Revolution, in the terms that you may embrace may not be around the corner but something important occurred last night and I am optimistic.

* * * *

“I Know Obama Will Not and Cannot Change the System, but…”

Re: “Obama – And the Hope For a ‘Better’ Imperialism”, Revolution Online, November 2, 2008

Nov. 5—Dear Comrades,

I know, that Obama will not and cannot change the system, I know that the roots of capitalism lie in exploitation. But when I saw the poor black people going to the election with all their hope and how proud they were, tears came in my eyes. Although knowing all that, I cannot help to be happy,

a "Revolution" reader from Austria

* * * *

Colin Powell, War Criminal

Re: "Colin Powell—And His Endorsement of Obama", Revolution Online, November 2, 2008

Nov. 4—I appreciated the article on Colin Powell. Obama is likely to protect Colin Powell from any war criminal warrants given Powell’s endorsement of Obama just before the election. Powell as 1991 planner of Iraq War I killed off much of the civilian population. Hitting an air raid shelter in Baghdad was justified by calling it a military bunker. His 2003 Iraq II United Nations presentation on Weapons of Mass Destruction was not his first fabrication of truth. But then maybe you have not lost someone and truth is relative. Major Powell put down in writing that the 1968 My Lai massacre was excellent.

* * * *

“We Need a Third Party”

Re: “The Morning After the Elections...and the Change We Really Need...WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO NOW?”, Issue #146, October 26, 2008.

Oct. 31—hi; i believe we need third party; we can not accomplish anything when two party always arguing and fighting with each other; and the irony is these two party fundamentally believe in the same thing: capitalism. i do not believe in communism. what we need a third party such as social democrat like european countries then we think of people rather than money. good luck

* * * *

Facing “Uncomfortable Truths” About the System and Those Who Represent It

Re: “Exchange with a Reader on Obama”, Issue #145, October 19, 2008

Oct. 24—This is an attitude I find among many friends (who I'll call "hippies" for the sake of simplicity)—they demand that we focus only on the feel-good language and the symbolic "victory" of electing a black man to the Presidency, without being willing to acknowledge—much less discuss—his policy statements (or lack thereof) on issues like militarism, civil rights, corporate personhood and influence, and personal liberty.

Too many people would rather comfort themselves and go back to being self-interested than face uncomfortable truths about the system and those who represent it. In fact, I often encounter liberals and Democrats who will criticize me more for criticizing Obama from the left than they will criticize acquaintances and family members who are open supporters of McCain.

* * * *

“Why Do So Many Poor People Embrace the System That Oppresses Them?”

Re: “Food for Thought”, Issue #146, October 26, 2008

Oct. 24—Why do so many poor people embrace the system that oppresses them and seek only to emulate the wealthy (by wearing fake Rolexes, driving used luxury SUVs like Land Rovers and Escalades, etc.)?

Keeping with your plantation metaphor, aren't most of these people only interested in getting a place in the master's house (or on the porch), instead of freeing themselves (or burning the master's godd**n house down)? Why are so many seduced by the promises of heavenly bling-bling into being submissive and ignorant?

I live among poor and working class people, including many immigrants, and I do NOT see any kind of revolutionary potential among them.

* * * *

“Are You Gonna Continue to Fight for What You Believe In When President Obama Gets in the WAY of It?”

Re: “The Morning After the Elections...and the Change We Really Need...WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO NOW?”, Issue #146, October 26, 2008.

Oct. 24—Excellent and well targeted. Had a disturbing conversation with the well-known Funky Wordsmith today about the elections. Here's an artist considered one of the most politically radical Black voices in Chicago performance scenes, and he's thinking Obama has brought scores of Black everyday folks into political awareness/involvement and that it will last whether he's elected or not. And that he fears if Obama loses there'll be riots.

I said I fear that there WON'T be. Because if he loses, after all this hoopla, after the "new civil rights movement" born in the flames of Jena and Katrina, after half of Hollywood and NYC stars have pledged their love for this campaign/dream/smoke and mirror show—that if he loses after all THAT, millions will decide they have NO power, NO voice, and instead of becoming more empowered towards real political action/struggle, they'll "drop out" and numb down.

I hope folks are paying attention to Grant Park plans for election night—it’s gonna be the historical place to be, like it or not. Personally, I'm loving the position of "Are you gonna continue to fight for what you believe in when President Obama stands in the WAY of it?"

* * * *

The “System” Boys Want Obama

Re: “The Morning After the Elections...and the Change We Really Need...WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO NOW?”, Issue #146, October 26, 2008.

Oct. 22—I have felt the same way for decades, since 1968. Now Obama embraces Colin Powell, let's not forget that. Sick. I agree that Barack Obama is dangerous although of course better than John McCain, who isn't? The left is going to make Obama a "Demigod." I can see it all ready. And your absolutely right that the "system" boys want him specifically because he can calm the "crowd" so they can go about their business. Continue to send me whatever and I would like to help in whatever way.

* * * *

Waiting to Hear Some Real Solutions

Re: “Food for Thought”, Issue #146, October 26, 2008

Oct. 21—Do you feel that this society is equivalent to being enslaved or being imprisoned? Honestly?

I think your analogy is wrong. But I guess you have to do what's necessary to further your interests.  

You know, the money isn't in pointing out problems. I can do that all day long with a capitalist system or your "Revolutionary" ideologies. The key is to offer real solutions to a perceived problem. I am waiting to hear some real solutions from your organization.

So lets say that we're imprisoned and our votes mean nothing. What are you proposing we do? Breakout? Start a riot? Take the prison over? Set the prisoners free? How? Who will operate the prison? Who will fund the prison? What about the prisoners who want to destroy you? What will you do about dissent? What if you take the prison over, but your management is even worse?

Just some more food for thought.

* * * *

Grave Danger of the Christian Fascist Movement

Re: “The ‘Palin Factor’: A Christian Fascist Nutcase Runs for VP”, Issue #145,  October 19, 2008

Oct. 20—I frankly do not agree with your movement on many things, but I agree that you have a correct analysis on the rise of Christian fascist movement. Most of the so-called "radical left" and so-called liberal "progressives" just don't get it. They continue to harp on the "fascist danger" of weak, marignal right-wing movements like the KKK, but not the Christian fascists. What is more they are in bed with the government, media, and capitalist corporations.

In conclusion, we are in grave danger, and need to build a broad-based anti-fascist movement, or the fascists will completely take over social and political life in this country. The election of Barack Obama will not stop them, as many believe, they will continue to organize and escalate until they are smashed entirely.

* * * *

“The SYSTEM Obama Wants to Head Up Is a SYSTEM OF THE PAST”

Re: “Exchange with a Reader on Obama”, Issue #145, October 19, 2008

Oct. 17—Nurse Boogey raises feelings that are shared by so many people and you can almost feel the agony she and others are going through. I know because I have felt it too.

But I just want to say to Nurse Boogey to keep true to the truth you know: that the election is for who will lead the american EMPIRE; that for the people of Afghanistan there is no comfort in Obama's words, nor for the people of Iran, or Iraq, Pakistan. I think what may be confusing you is that McCain/Palin represent openly a further to the right social base and forces and what you see and hear and their openly avowed program and agenda is chilling and blatantly ugly reactionary no-nothingism and racism and hatred of immigrants, flat earth, etc.

But I want to offer that this agenda is not going away if Obama becomes president. It will continue to exert much strength that even the "liberal" bourgeoisie moves the needle on abortion further to the right; even the "liberal" capitalist imperialists "reassure" that they would not hesitate to use massively destructive force against Iran or anyone else necessary. An Obama win will not stop the basic agenda of endless war and the fight for the US empire to remain the dominant power in the world.

I know it's getting confusing Nurse Boogey, especially because there is no massive opposition or revolutionary movement on the ground. And more confusing since most of "the left" has thrown up their hands at building an independent political movement and revolutionary movement. It is also hard because forces like the RCP have no broad support at this time.

It is hard to listen to Mcpalin and observe their social base and not cringe and want to become an expat or head for the hills. It is downright scary. But what you're seeing is the coming together of all the basic problems of empire in a globalized world. I'm going to guess you don't actually think Obama has an answer for the financial crisis gripping the U.S. and the globe. I'm going to guess that your eyes well up with tears when you think of voting for anyone, yes ANYONE, who supports the "surge" in Iraq or who opposes late-term abortion rights.

I'm gonna guess that you don't actually think any of these people represent your WILL. So, okay, and I mean this with a real sharing of your intense feelings—why not take a stand and put your hopes and dreams into going for building a revolutionary movement that could actually express the will of millions upon millions of people who want the madness to stop.

Obama is certainly more of an intellectual and speaks in language closer to the present and John Stewart likes him, and so does Colbert, and he excites you and makes you believe, even if for just a second, that maybe there's hope short of revolutionary change.

But at the end of the day you're still stuck with the fact that the SYSTEM Obama wants to head up is a system OF THE PAST, that it can not save the planet from global warming, it can't feed the world's children, it can't stop the meaningless consumerism and waste, it can't stop waging wars for empire.

And, tell me if I'm right Nurse Boogey, maybe part of our problem is that the notion of breaking free of the bourgeoisie altogether in our struggle for change is frightening because then, in a sense, there's no shelter from the storm.

So, here's the thing. Life goes very quickly. And maybe there's is something you haven't yet discovered that can really point the way. It might be good to sit down tonight with some great old music...listen to some old Dylan, and Thunder Road, and Chrisse Hynde's Revolution, and some of your favorite songs that make you IMAGINE what it could and would and will be like when the people of the world have a genuine choice. Turn the music up really loud and don't let any of these politicians drown out your dreams.

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Revolution Online, November 6, 2008

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The Morning After the Elections... and the Change We Really Need... WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO NOW?

This is a message to those who got behind Barack Obama because they have been horrified and furious with the direction this society has taken over the past eight years. To those who put their deep felt desires for change in the hope that Obama will take society in a different direction.

Revolution has made the argument about why such hopes are misplaced and illusory, why the direction Barack Obama will take society is diametrically opposed to the direction you want to go, and why supporting Obama is harmful. But we can’t help but raise one more time to those who know the system is rotten: the logic of getting behind Obama boils down to saying: if we can’t do away with this system now, we have to strengthen that system by putting resources into and/or working to elect someone who doesn’t even pretend he’s going to work to bring about a real change in the nature of that system.

And if you don’t think we need a revolution—then you need to explain how voting for Obama will address the things you do care about. How, from within the confines and framework of this system, can Obama begin to solve all the horrors facing humanity today, from global warming to the food crisis to the vicious discrimination in this society?

But with all that, here we are. As we go to press, the outcome of this election is undecided, and is unpredictable. Not just in how the votes add up, but even whether they will be added up. But, no matter what the outcome, when the dust clears the question will be posed for all those who genuinely desire changes so desperately needed by the people of the world:

What are you going to do now?

Will you fight for the changes in society and its direction—and the role the U.S. plays in the world—that you yourself care deeply about? And, if you voted for Obama, will you fight for the things that got you to put your hopes for change in Obama?

If Obama is elected, many will try to “wait and see” what happens.

But how long will you wait and how much will you have to see? What will you find intolerable? What is that line that you will not cross? At what point will you step up and resist?

And consider this: McCain could win, just as Bush “won” the elections. What would that prove? Only that there is a section of society that can be whipped up around “small town” values of ignorance, intolerance, white supremacy, and patriotism—and that refusing to take this on, head-on, will only embolden these fascist elements. And it may once again prove that elections can be fixed and stolen. But then what? You knew the game was rigged when you sat down to play. It is impermissible to then retreat into cynicism and despair just because they cheated you. Will you let the open fascists then rule unchallenged? Or will you stand up and join with others to resist the juggernaut he will unleash, including going into the streets in massive political resistance if they do in some way once again try to steal the elections?

Forecast: Storms Ahead

Whoever steps into the Oval Office after this election will get behind the wheel of a whole system, and in particular, a system whose trajectory has been defined by the Bush regime, with its world ambitions—and the way it has fought to remake all of society in a fascist way. And whoever steps into the Oval Office will do so at a moment when there is tremendous turmoil and dislocation as the financial crisis destabilizes the global economy—with the prospect of much worse to come. The future of millions hangs in the balance.

However this election turns out, there are going to be profound “changes.” This upheaval could result in a leap in the remaking of society in a fascist way. But at the same time, if there is a growing revolutionary movement and a growing culture of resistance, it could open the way for and set different terms…and the balance of forces in society can be dramatically realigned.

The call from World Can’t Wait remains true: THE FUTURE IS UNWRITTEN. WHICH ONE WE GET IS UP TO US. There’s going to be storms. You can sit and let it pour down on the people, here and all over the world, or you can do something to wrench a whole better future out of it.

Whoever Wins, the Republican Fascist Offensive Will Continue

Many people are getting behind Obama because they feel he is all that stands between them and the imposition of an increasingly fascist Republican agenda. But the Democrats—and specifically Obama—are not going to stand up and forcefully call out and oppose what is going on. Time and time again, they tell us this—and demonstrate this through their actions. Even while the McCain/Palin rallies grew uglier and more threatening in the weeks before the election, Obama continued to call for “conciliation” and “overcoming our differences.” And let’s be clear, the unleashing of this narrow minded, right-wing populist movement now is not merely a campaign tactic. It is not just ugly; it is dangerous. When the specter of Obama being the anti-Christ is run out there in the way this campaign has done, it is just one ominous signal that the Christian fascist forces are on the move—and mobilizing and congealing their base to fight for their reactionary programs and ideas to govern the society.

Why? Because in these tumultuous times, Obama’s message and role is to bring people “into the fold.” He has won so much support from the ruling class—and make no mistake about it, he would not be leading in the polls and raking in the donations if he did not have tremendous ruling class backing—because they feel he has the best program to get the people in America to hold still and hold tight for the hell they are about to be put through. And they also feel that he is the best person to sell the bloody program of aggression and murder that they need to continue all over the globe to people of the world. He is a “fresh face.” But these rulers also agree that the Christian fascists who now slobber over Sarah Palin must also be part of the mix and must not be called out for what they really are. It follows, then, that in response to every attack from these dark forces of obscurantism, woman-enslaving theocracy, racism, and “USA #1” chauvinism, Obama has preached accommodation and capitulation. And this won’t change if he is president. Because to mobilize people to fight in opposition to the current agenda of the rulers holds within it the potential of unleashing the masses in a way which could lead to the further unraveling of a situation the ruling class is desperately trying to pull together. And calling forward the masses could contribute to the rise of a radical challenge to the whole set-up coming from below. 

But while Obama does not want to and will not call forth a mass movement from below which goes up against all the reaction and injustice, and, in fact, as many Obama supporters will soon find out to their chagrin, he will use the machinery of state against any such movement—this is exactly what needs to happen.

What You Need to Do Now

Is this going to be a time of great change? How could it be otherwise given what is happening in the world? But the question is: what kind of change and in whose interests? The rulers of this country are not going to sit idly by and watch this system fall apart. In the face of powerful centrifugal forces pulling at the fabric of society—the rulers are going to try to bludgeon and hammer their way through this crisis. And if they are successful, they will do this on the basis of greatly and egregiously intensifying the suffering and exploitation of the people. But this outcome is not inevitable.

These heavy times also hold the potential for radical and dramatic shifts and an even more profound crisis that could pose the possibility for revolutionary change...and we must be preparing for such times. 

To those who ask, “But until the revolution comes, what can we do?” the answer is that right now is the time to be building a revolutionary movement. Revolutions can only be made when the time is ripe, but in a real way, revolutions are “made” all along the way. Our Party is and will be out there, spreading revolution and building resistance. Our Party is and will be out in the world, working to bring forward a revolutionary people through all the twists and turns of this struggle so that when the situation develops where revolution has a real chance, the people will be ready to seize the time.

And when you realize you’ve been played...when you have had enough and decide to fight for the change the world needs, and not the change we’re told we have to settle for...when you decide it is time to stand up, step up, and resist—join with our Party in working for change that really matters.  

To state it in a single sentence, elections: are controlled by the bourgeoisie; are not the means through which basic decisions are made in any case; and are really for the primary purpose of legitimizing the system and the policies and actions of the ruling class, giving them the mantle of a “popular mandate,” and of channeling, confining, and controlling the political activity of the masses of people.

Democracy: Can’t We Do Better Than That?
by Bob Avakian

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Revolution Online, November 6, 2008

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In Relation to the "Lesser Evil" Election Trap, and the Argument: "Someone is Going to be President."

Imagine a slave plantation, where the slave-owner is clever enough to allow the slaves to vote, every few years, on who will be the Overseer, who will administer, regulate and enforce the exploitation, brutality and humiliation to which the slaves are subjected. Imagine somebody arguing that it is important to get caught up in such elections—because, after all, "Someone is going to be Overseer"—rather than focusing people's attention and efforts on rising up to break free from the slave plantation and finally put an end to the whole system of slavery!

Or imagine a prison full of thousands and thousands of people wrongly incarcerated, where once again the prison administration is clever enough to allow the wrongly imprisoned inmates to vote, every few years, on who will be the Warden. Imagine someone arguing that it is important to get involved in these elections—because, after all, "Someone is going to be Warden"—rather than focusing people's attention and efforts on ending this wrongful imprisonment and sweeping away the whole system that continually perpetuates all this injustice!


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Revolution Online, November 6, 2008

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Sunsara Taylor on the new book AWAY WITH ALL GODS! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, by Bob Avakian

Read about the tour at

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