Revolution #204, June 20, 2010

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party,USA

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Revolution #204, June 20, 2010

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Stop the Oil Catastrophe!
The People Must Act

The following is an edited transcript from the Q&A session at a talk by Raymond Lotta on June 8, 2010 at Revolution Books in NYC. The title of the talk: "A Capitalist Oil Spill...A System Not Fit to Be Caretaker of the Planet...And the Revolution We Need!" Go to for audio and video of the whole talk.

Question: I was wondering if you could give us an idea specifically about what's planned and what's involved in implementing this call for action to go down to the Gulf—with this encampment and any other action that can be taken and what we can do about it. Because for reasons that you have very skillfully illuminated, this is a unique moment. And it seems to me there are two aspects to this. One, as I see it, mass mobilization of people and resources for a clean-up and mitigation effort, which you mentioned, that we're in the summer season, there's lots of young people, students, people who might be available to do that and also mobilizing and organizing in the local community down there, especially fisher people, for hands-on, really mass mobilization of labor and resources.

At the same time and I think equally important, you've also talked about a concurrent consciousness raising exercise. People are already, you indicated, lining up to do this, and this is where we would focus here, come in, to seize on this really unique moment. This comes at a time, you just mentioned, where people are already extremely agitated and concerned about the future. We have this 24-7 spill cam that's everywhere you go as you walk around the city. It sort of reminds me of the film 1984, or Matrix or Blade Runner where you have this one image that is in every shop and it's these spill cams spewing out this horrible oil. I read just before I came here—you mentioned 40 million gallons—I read that scientists now think it's closer to 100 million. So everybody is seeing this 24-7, this camera shot. This comes almost counter to the fact that people have been disengaged for the last 8 years—everybody got fed up, lost interest let's say, in the perpetual wars that are going on. But this has kind of reactivated a consciousness, a mass consciousness.

And thirdly it comes at a time, you've also spoken to, of intense disillusionment with the government, and with the system and with the capitalist system in particular. Those of us of a certain age remember the Vietnam era of teach-ins and be-ins, and we were doing all this stuff and it did over time have an effect. It forced one president out of office, in the long term it really did work. So I'm wondering what specific plans there are and how we can find out about it and what we can do to be a part of it to act on the plans for this, to implement the call that you spoke of.

Raymond Lotta: First of all, people should sign up and get in touch, if they want to go down or help with this effort in any way. The e-mail address is: This is something people need to get involved with. And I agree with the points you were making about this moment. As I said, we don't know where this could go. This could be a triggering element of a deeper crisis in society. We have to influence the course and development of events and we have to enter into this situation in the ways that I was describing. And also, this is one of these moments where you can reach out and learn.

There's a dynamic here of reaching out widely and broadly to all kinds of people—these fisher people, learning from them and at the same time, helping, as you said, using your phrase, to raise consciousness. And there is a particular battle line that has been drawn, we have to stop the catastrophe. This is an environmental, wildlife and human catastrophe, those three things. And we have to deal with it on those levels. We have ideas, we have focus, we have determination, we have plans, right? But we need to ratchet this all up to another level of actuality, and that's why we're calling on everyone to get involved. We need to brainstorm, but we need to do that much more fervently in the context of taking on this challenge.

Also, we feel it is very important to put forward demands that serve to illuminate, that focus up people's concerns and their aspirations—demands that really put the focus where it needs to be put, demands that can help unite people, and that speak to what's before us.... We've been discussing this with environmental activists, with scientists, with others in taking out the special issue of Revolution on the environment. [Since this talk an emergency committee has formed and issued demands. See call on page 3.]

There's this whole idea about how it's BP, it's private. Just think about it, private property, private profit, that affects all of humanity, that's an "externality" for BP—all of humanity. And yet it's private property and private control when it comes to dealing with a crisis that's affecting all of humanity. In other words, BP is insisting that they are going to control this. And the government is saying they will.

We have to go at this whole thing from that spirit of "all hands on deck," mobilize all positive factors—scientists, engineers, the fisher people, to go at this thing and raise the demand that they be provided with the resources to do it and that people be allowed to take initiative.

We have to reach out to others who are already fighting this thing and finding how to magnify that and learn from it.

Here's a situation where you have scientific knowledge but then you have the knowledge of the people on the ground who know the waters, not necessarily in terms of the laws that express hydrodynamics and marine biology, but who know something about how to deal with a crisis like this. How do we bring together the scientific knowledge with the more practical knowledge that people have?

In building this kind of struggle and raising this vision, this is actually sort of a seed of the kind of society that we want to bring into being. We see this emergency summit not as a summit of "the experts." We've talked about it as a "three-in-one combination," of the scientists and the engineers, the activists and the youth, and then the working people in the area, the working people, the artists, the professionals. This is how we need to run society.

I mean, we don't have a state power that's organized around the principles of socialist sustainable development that I've talked about. But we can bring people together in meaningful ways to take on this critical question and through this for people to gain a sense of the nature of the system, a deeper grasp of what is wrong with this system, and why we have to get rid of it, and why we can in fact replace it with something that enables people to live, as I said, lives worthy of human beings. That we have the vision, we have the plan. We're going to be talking to people about our strategy for revolution in the course of this. But in building this struggle, we're building it according to the principles of the world we want to live in.

Think about that. The revolution is REAL. And we have to take up this real battle.

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Revolution #204, June 20, 2010

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Capital Personified and the Gulf Oil Catastrophe

"They're Licking Their Chops"

The following is from a talk by Raymond Lotta on June 8, 2010 at Revolution Books in NYC. The title of the talk: "A Capitalist Oil Spill...A System Not Fit to Be Caretaker of the Planet...And the Revolution We Need!"

Capitalists don't look ahead over decades and generations. When Texaco set up operations in Ecuador [where it dumped 19 billion gallons of toxic waste] it was looking over its shoulders—at the competition, and at opportunities for quick money making. The horizons of capitalism are short term. Capitalism is an anarchic system. There is no conscious, society-wide planning to meet social need, or to cope with the many-sided effects of what is produced and how those things are being produced.

And let me talk about the private-ness and the competitiveness and the profit-driven nature of capitalism by going to today's business section of the New York Times. Here we have this unprecedented oil catastrophe. And what are the other oil companies doing? Are they sharing their expertise? Are they bringing in their oceanographers? Are they bringing in their oceanographic equipment and technology? Is that what they're doing? Is that what Exxon is doing? Is it "all hands on deck" to solve an environmental catastrophe? No. They're seeking to take advantage of the situation.

This is what the New York Times says today: "Given the plunge in BP's share price the company has lost more than a third of its new value since Deepwater Horizon blew. Some bankers and analysts say BP is starting to look like takeover bait. The question is who would buy BP given its enormous potential liabilities? Shell and ExxonMobil are both said to be licking their chops."

This is capitalism. This is what it means. Marx in volume 1 of Capital says that the capitalist is capital personified. This is such an important insight by Marx. In other words, capitalism is not driven and governed by the whims and ambitions of greedy capitalists. Although they are greedy and they have their whims and they have their ambitions. Marx is actually saying it's the opposite, that the capitalist—is capital personified.

The capitalist is just the embodiment of the nature of this system—the domination by a minority of private owners over the mass of producers, the relentless private pursuit of profit, the accumulation of capital, to wage the competitive battle. The capitalist as an individual, as a breathing organism, is simply the embodiment, the personification of this basic relation of capital, a system that's driven by the need to pursue profit, to make profit, ever greater profit—because that's the law of the jungle and this is a system which can only exist by enslaving the mass of humanity in a wage relation, in a relation of exploitation and domination, that robs the masses of people of their humanity and initiative.

The capitalist is the personification of capital. Now, why did I go through this? Because—I've set this up for you—two weeks ago, did anyone see the testimony by BP, Halliburton and Transocean before Congress? What did they do? BP comes on first and says, look it's not our responsibility, it was Transocean, the people that operated the rig, they were at fault. The Transocean representative got up, he said, it's not our fault, it's Halliburton, you see those were the guys that were responsible for putting the concrete in for sealing the well. Then they went back and they brought this Halliburton guy back in, and they said, what about that? He said, no it's Transocean, because they were operating the rig. And then they brought the Transocean guy back and he said, no it's BP, they were the ones who had the lease to extract the oil.

The capitalist is the personification of capital. That's what this is about. They call it the "blame game" on CNN—but what this was, was the actual expression of the private-ness, the boundaries of ownership, control and profit of these units of capital. And again, I ask you, was it "all hands on deck" to solve this environmental catastrophe? Oh no, Oh no—because Shell and ExxonMobil are licking their chops. Think about that.

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Revolution #204, June 20, 2010

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Emergency Summit


Saturday, June 19, 2010  10 am—End Time TBA First Unitarian Universalist Church Sanctuary

5212 South Claiborne Avenue, New Orleans, LA Website:

The BP oil blowout is an environmental catastrophe, bringing great peril to marine and wildlife in the Gulf and threatening ecosystems of the planet. The spill is still out of control and spreading.  It jeopardizes communities and livelihoods. The government and BP have proven unable and unwilling to stop the disaster, protect the Gulf, or even tell the truth.

The people must come together now to stop this nightmare.

Millions are sick at heart and looking for ways to act. Many individuals and groups have spoken out, offered suggestions, volunteered to help, protested. BP and the government—pursuing their own interests—have ignored people's ideas, blocked public participation, suppressed and harassed scientists, and prevented people on the Gulf from taking initiative to keep oil away from shore.

This must not continue. A broad, determined, and powerful "peoples' response" is urgently needed—to get the truth out, to protect the shores and oceans and deal with the ecological impacts, while exploring deeper causes and solutions.

The Emergency Summit will bring together scientists, people from fishing communities, environmental activists, progressives, radicals and revolutionaries, artists, intellectuals and all who want to halt this horror. There will be testimony on the true scope and impact of the disaster and on what can be done to protect ecosystems, wildlife, and people. We'll thrash out ways for people to act now—on different fronts and in different ways—and to galvanize many, many more, across the Gulf and beyond.

The world is watching. We must not allow the Gulf and oceans to be devastated. Our mission is nothing less than stopping this catastrophe.

Draft Demands:

1) Stop oil drilling in the Gulf.

2) The government and entire oil industry must allocate all necessary resources to stop the spill and clean up the devastation. Full support, including by compensation, must be given to efforts by people to save the Gulf.

3) No punishment to those taking independent initiative; no gag orders on people hired, contracted, or who volunteer.

4) Full mobilization of scientists and engineers. Release scientific and technical data to the public; no more lying and covering up. Full and open scientific evaluation of emergency measures like the use of dispersants. Fund all necessary scientific and medical research.

5) Full compensation for all losing livelihood and income from the disaster.

6) Provide necessary medical services to those suffering health effects of the spill. Protect the health of and provide necessary equipment for everyone involved in clean up operations. Full disclosure of medical and scientific studies about the effects of the oil disaster.

Initial Endorsers:
William Quigley, Loyola University; Legal Director, Center for Constitutional Rights*; Michael G. Hadfield, marine biologist, University of Hawaii*; Larry Everest, author Oil, Power and Empire, Revolution newspaper correspondent; John Pearse, Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz*; Eloise Williams, Lower Algiers Environmental Committee, New Orleans; Elizabeth Cook, Women United for Social Justice, New Orleans; Andy Washington, Civil Rights Activist, New Orleans; Survivors Village, New Orleans; Ben Gordon, Pax Christi, New Orleans; Debra Sweet, Director, World Can't Wait; Sharon Jasper, public housing activist, New Orleans; C3-Hands Off Iberville, New Orleans; George Mahdi, social worker, New Orleans; Endesha Juakeli, housing activist, New Orleans; Randy Poindexter, New Orleans; Rebecca Austen, New Orleans; Gilda and Sain Reed, New Orleans

* for identification purposes only

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Revolution #204, June 20, 2010

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Opening Speech at May 29-30 Conferences on the Campaign, "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have"

Nearly a year ago, the RCP, USA launched a campaign around "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have." Anchored by a powerful Message and Call from the Party, the campaign has accomplished some important things. But the campaign has not yet broken through to its main objectives—popularizing to millions the need for, and character of, revolution; making the leadership of this revolution, Bob Avakian, a household word; and bringing forward a core of new fighters around this revolution and this leadership. To deal with this, the Party called conferences on May 29 and 30 in two cities.

These conferences were very successful. People came from a number of different cities, large and small. And they brought a wide range of experience with them—experience in different forms of fighting the power and, in many cases, in beginning to take out revolution. The chemistry that came through by having people with diverse viewpoints and experience wrangle with the purposes and goals for this campaign and then, on that basis, develop ideas and plans—and in so doing, constantly returning to those larger goals and purposes—brought forward something new. For the first time there was a sense of a national campaign; now the charge is to make that real, and take it all to a higher level.

I. We Need Revolution

We have a lot to do here this weekend, a lot to accomplish, and I want to lay out a framework that can help us accomplish that on the best possible basis. Our overall purpose is to take this campaign—"The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have"—to a qualitatively higher level.

So I'm going to talk about why we undertook this campaign. I'm going to talk about the high stakes involved. I'm going to get into the goals of this campaign. And then I want to explain in some depth what all this has to do with doing what we ultimately and urgently need to do—and that is to make revolution.

But I want to start by talking about Aiyana Stanley-Jones, the 7-year-old child murdered by Detroit police two weeks ago today. I know you've read in our paper how she was sleeping on the couch in the living room, next to her grandmother, when the cops swarmed into their home after midnight. You may have read how the cops had every basis to know that there were children in the home because they had been surveilling the place. How these pigs shot her in the head and then carried her lifeless body out of her home like a rag doll. How they then brutalized her father and arrested her grandmother, putting her in chains. And how all this was filmed for a reality TV show in order to sell back to people their own brutalization and degradation, and add bitter insult to the horrible injury. How the mayor of Detroit then jumped to defend the police and attack the family's lawyer and, yes, attack the masses themselves for "making bad decisions." How Al Sharpton then ran to Detroit to "give the glory to god"—and put the blame on Black people themselves, especially the youth. But to echo the article in our paper, THAT'S STILL NOT THE WORST OF IT: for yet again, at least for now, the masses have been forced to chew on their sorrow and swallow their anger and just walk on—until they eventually turn it back, once more, against each other.

Or maybe you read in our paper a few weeks back about the massacre in Gardez, Afghanistan. Twenty-five people were celebrating the birth of Hajji Sharaf Udin's newborn grandson. At 3 in the morning, again while people were sleeping, Udin's son, Mohammed Dawoud went to investigate noises that he heard outside. The noises were American special forces, who promptly murdered Dawoud. Just like the Detroit police, these American soldiers then attacked the house and murdered three women who were crouching behind the door in fear. Bibi Shirin was 22 years old and the mother of four children under 5; Bibi Saleha was 37 and the mother of 11 children; and Gulalai was 18 years old. Maybe you remember how those same American soldiers then assaulted the survivors, arresting eight of them and holding them for four days of American-style interrogation, hoods and all, and then tried to cover up the massacre, stonewalling and lying for more than a month before the truth finally became undeniable. And here too THAT'S STILL NOT THE WORST OF IT—for all too many people remain passive in the face of this and other outrages by the Obama administration, including Obama's self-declared right to assassinate, without even the semblance of any due process, anyone that he decides to.

Or maybe you're burning in anger over Arizona and its maniacal fascist legislature, one day virtually criminalizing people of color and almost literally the next day forbidding the teaching of ethnic studies—including the teaching of the historical fact that the U.S. stole New Mexico, Arizona and large parts of the rest of the western U.S. from Mexico in the first place...because teaching that fact "might incur resentment."

Maybe you read our declaration for women's liberation and the emancipation of all humanity, and were stunned by what it revealed about the scope and depth of the oppression of one half of humanity all over the world. A fabric of oppression, to quote our declaration, that "is carved deeply into the calloused hands of women in the sweatshops of China and Honduras," that "is draped over the faces of young women in Saudi Arabia and Indonesia," that "is stripped off the bodies of girls of Moldova and Bangkok who are put up for sale in brothels," and that "is worn like a prize by pre-teens in the U.S. and Europe who are taught to dress and move like sex objects long before they understand what sex even is."

Or maybe you're heartsick over the disaster now unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico. Maybe you've read our paper, which goes into the real depth of this disaster, and here too, once again, exposes the lying and suppression and cover-up that is second nature to the people who run this system.

Or perhaps you're losing sleep over the continued rise of a fascist movement in this country... distressed about people who have been organized by one section of the rulers to aim their resentment and anger toward those "below" them or "slightly higher"—toward immigrants and Latinos more generally...toward Black people, particularly poor Black people...and on the other hand, toward intellectuals and artists...and, yes, toward communists, including very explicitly this Party.

All that and more keeps you up at night. All that and more brought you here today.

But the fact is: none of this has to be this way.

Let's go back again to the heartless murder of Aiyana Stanley-Jones. Mayor Bing in Detroit said this: "It's quite demoralizing. I don't know how to stop it." But we DO know how to stop it. We know how to stop it because we know how to deal with what started it and what keeps it going—this rotten capitalist system, with its ever-changing but somehow never-dying structures of white supremacy. We don't need murdering pigs—but so long as you have a SYSTEM which relies on the social structures designed to keep the masses of Black people and other people of color impoverished, imprisoned, insulted and brutalized, then for just that long there will be murdering pigs to enforce those structures. But we don't need that system and we can do away with that system—through revolution.

And no, we don't need the masses of youth preying on each other and even killing each other off. But so long as you have this capitalist system, where everything and everyone is looked at as a source of profit and where as a result "look out for number one and screw everyone else" (while "giving it to god" on Sunday) is the real morality that is promoted and reinforced every day... so long as you have these white supremacist, racist institutions constantly blaring the message that lives lived in black and brown skins are worth less than those lived in white skins... then this kind of ugly thing will play out amongst the most oppressed...whether you are talking about Detroit, Mexico City, Mumbai or Paris. But we can do away with that too, but not by sermons and not by education—education that leads nowhere. We can do away with it if—but only if—we make revolution against the system that spawns it and do away with that system and all its fucked-up ways of relating. This system, with its planet of slums and its planet of gangs, has NO future for these youth—but the revolution DOES.

We need state power—revolutionary state power—a state power not of these imperialists, but a state power serving and rooted in the masses of people, with the leadership of the vanguard party. If we had state power, we would deal with the worst of this overnight, even as we set about the longer but still do-able process of leading people to tear up the deeper roots of this horror. And even before we have that power, right now as we ARE BUILDING a movement for revolution, we are learning how to draw these youth into something else and something far better—fighting the power, and transforming the people, for revolution.

We can stop this shit. It doesn't have to be this way. We don't need a system that divides the world into different sets of turf ruled by different cliques of legitimate gangsters—that is, the ruling capitalist-imperialists—fighting like dogs over who has the right to exploit and super-exploit the people and to plunder the resources of the earth. What we need is revolutionary state power—and if we had it, we would use it to build a system that does NOT run on the worldwide division of people into exploiter and exploited, oppressor and oppressed. We would use that state power NOT to rain down terror on oppressed people all over the planet, but to support revolution—REAL revolution, revolution designed to end oppression and NOT just repackage it, with a different set of oppressors—all over this planet.

And there is no objective need to befoul and devastate and destroy the environment either—unless you have a system in which every player is driven to seek profit on top of more profit... If we had the power, we could forge a future where people would live as caretakers of the planet, nursing its terrible wounds and developing a sustainable relationship to nature—and not piratically and insanely plundering the earth the way that these rulers do now. These dominators and despoilers need to get the fuck out of the way—and the people need to MAKE them do it, through revolution, for these capitalists will never leave on their own. Just look at the principles in the special issue of Revolution on how our revolutionary socialist state power would handle the environment and tell me that there is anyone else willing to stand up and say "Give US the power, and we could deal with this"—and able to actually back that up with substance. [Revolution's special issue on the environment is available online at]

We want state power. We would use that state power both to prevent the exploiters from returning and to set about resolving the great disparities and inequalities in the world—between oppressor and oppressed nations, between men and women, between those who work with ideas and those who are locked out of that sphere—and we would do it in a society that would be full of ferment and initiative from many different directions.

II. Revolution Is Fighting To Break Out...

Revolution—the REAL revolution, the communist revolution—could deal with all these outrages and more, and could do it as part of moving forward to a planet without any exploitation...without any forms of oppression...and without all the institutions and ideas, whether ancient or oh-so-modern, that reflect and reinforce that exploitation and oppression. Revolution—the REAL revolution, the communist revolution—would get rid of their instruments of oppression and it would bring in a new power, one which would mobilize the people to transform the material reality they face.

We need state power—state power to defend the people as they overcome the age-old divisions and as they work through the complicated but nevertheless very do-able and very joyful process of dissolving the mental shackles that chain their minds. We need a state power that would lead people to transform their own supposedly unchangeable human nature, not in a crude way that tramples on people's individuality, but through a whole process where as people transform the material world they are also led, and take initiative, to open up capacities and parts of themselves that they never knew they had.

But here's the most painful thing of all: this revolution right now is pretty much off the map in people's thinking. Even where people are fighting back—like in Arizona, or in the fights against education cuts—we have to face it: Revolution isn't out there as a REAL viable possibility in their thinking.

This revolution—the REAL revolution, the communist revolution—is fighting for its life. That's right, fighting for its life. And not just to survive, as some kind of abstract hope that might as well be a religion—but to survive and grow as a real contending force, increasingly mobilizing people to fight the power, and preparing people to SEIZE the power as part of conquering and transforming the whole world.

But even worse—not only is the reality of this not known to most people, to the extent they have heard of it, people have been convinced that such a revolution is either impossible or undesirable.

How did this happen?

The communist revolutions that came to and held power—first in the Soviet Union in 1917 and lasting for several decades, and then in China from 1949 to 1976—achieved things that had never been seen on this planet. People began the process of genuinely freeing themselves, and they set about creating a whole new world on the soil of this rotten and decaying one.

But these were the first attempts. These new socialist states were surrounded on all sides, constantly invaded or threatened with invasion. The leaders of these societies were starting almost from scratch in building a world without exploitation and oppression. True, they had the insightful and far-seeing (but nevertheless beginning and somewhat basic) framework brought forward by Marx and Engels, and then Lenin; but now all that had to be applied, and that is always more complicated and full of learning once you get into it. In both the Soviet Union and then China, our movement led people to do amazing things, our movement and its revolutions inspired the whole world, and tremendous lessons were learned. But ultimately both these revolutions were, as the Message and Call of this campaign puts it, "turned back by the forces of the old order."

Looking at it from the long view of history, looking at it with a scientific understanding of how different classes come into being and the tortuous process through which they reshape the world in their own image—and on this point, I will refer people to especially the second part of Bob Avakian's talk Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About—these defeats are very painful but not surprising. And from this same viewpoint, it is not surprising that the imperialists—the concentration of everything that is old, decaying, rotten and reactionary in this world—would then do everything that they could to bury this movement, once and for all.

I mean, talk about brainwash! These imperialists use their television stations, their publishing houses, and their news media to slander and distort these revolutions, and to downplay and deny their incredible accomplishments, day after day, week after week, year in and year out. Where this movement has still raised its head, these imperialists have used threats and prison and murder, as well as slander. And all the while, they have brought forward and supported, all over the world, religious fundamentalists as "an alternative" for dispossessed and angry youth.

Their so-called brilliant scholars just brazenly make up lies or distort facts, as Raymond Lotta so powerfully shows in his talks, and then they broadcast them over and over until "everyone knows" these lies as the truth. Those who dissent or question this verdict are warned, sometimes quietly and sometimes quite openly, that they are risking their "access" and their position... and sometimes more. And the imperialists have also played on real weaknesses and shortcomings of the first stage of our revolution, some of them quite serious—even as those shortcomings were overall secondary to the great achievements.

It got so bad, over those decades, that all too many communists themselves—including, yes, most of us in this Party—let themselves get worn down by it and, in the words of the Manifesto from our Party, objectively abandoned the outlook and aims of the communist revolution, accommodated to the system of imperialism, and settled for, at most, reforms within this horrific system. All too many communists stopped being communists, perhaps not in word, but in fact.

III. The Leadership We Need...For A New Stage of Communist Revolution

But there was, during this period, someone who traveled a different road. The Message and Call puts it this way:

While many others have given up, Bob Avakian has worked and struggled tirelessly to find the way to go forward, having learned crucial lessons and built lasting organization that could continue the struggle, and aim to take it higher, while uniting with the same struggle throughout the world.

Bob Avakian confronted the problem, head on and straight up. He analyzed the first stage of the communist revolution, upholding its achievements but also confronting and digging into its shortcomings. He worked on the problems we faced, he wrangled with them from many different angles, and in the course of this he came up with a new synthesis of communism—something that is comparable, as the Manifesto from our Party says, to "what was done by Marx at the beginning of the communist movement—establishing, in the new conditions that exist, after the end of the first stage of the communist revolution, a theoretical framework for the renewed advance of that revolution." Communism has not only been defended, but further developed and, in important aspects, re-envisioned through Bob Avakian's new synthesis.

And when he found that most of the people in the Party that he led were pulling to a different road, turning away from advancing the revolution and into a preoccupation with building a reformist movement, in one form or another, he launched a tremendous struggle within that Party—a cultural revolution within the RCP—to not only get this Party back onto the revolutionary road, but to put it on a more profoundly revolutionary basis than ever.

This Cultural Revolution was a struggle over LINE—that is, over what would be the guiding method of the Party for understanding reality; over how the Party understood the whole history of our revolution; and over the strategy and policies that flowed from that method and understanding. At bottom, it was over whether this would be a revolutionary party—a vanguard of the future—or whether it would be a relic of the past. And this high-risk high-stakes struggle, initiated and led by Bob Avakian, did in fact result in a

real revitalization of the revolutionary and communist outlook, objectives, spirit, and culture of the Party—a Party facing squarely, and confronting scientifically, the complexities, the difficulties and the dangers, as well as the inspiration, of doing all it can to work for revolution in this country, and to contribute the most it can to this same cause throughout the world, all aiming for the final goal of communism. 1

Bob Avakian saved this Party as a revolutionary party; and now this Party must, and can, move forward and lead people to initiate a whole new stage of communism, fighting for this understanding everywhere and using it to make revolution right here.

So, when people ask, "Why do you make such a big deal about Bob Avakian?" there's a very basic truth that they're not getting. And we should tell them that, straight up, with no apology. Without Bob Avakian and the work he did and is doing—without Bob Avakian and the courageous struggle he waged, and led—it is very likely that there would BE no communism today, at least no vital and viable communism. Without Bob Avakian, it is very likely that there would be no Party in the U.S. today—at least no party that is really a vanguard of revolution—nor would there be a revolutionary movement.

One more thing. Without Bob Avakian—BA—and the work he's done, it is very likely that there would be no plan, no foundation and no strategy for actually making revolution in the USA—actually figuring out how to break through the suffocating situation of today and get things to the point where people in their millions could actually be won and roused to take on this monster...and to win.

Do you realize how precious THAT is? To not only be able to uncover and analyze the causes and forces behind the character of the prison that confines not only see the basis for a future without those bars and chains...but to know the way out?

Why do we make such a big deal about Bob Avakian? Because he IS a big deal. And in fact, we need to make a much bigger deal about him—and that's one big objective of this campaign, and one big thing we're going to be getting into this weekend. The work he has done has provided the potential to MAKE revolution known; and not just known—to make it a real goal, actively fought for, by increasing numbers of people—a viable force that can actually carry forward the needed changes that only grow more urgent with each unbearable day. The Party that he has fought for and led in re-forging can lead that. We don't intend to die of slow suffocation; we don't intend to "fight the good fight" so that we can shuffle off the stage with good consciences... we intend to do what the old '60s song said: "break on through to the other side."

IV. The Campaign and Its Objectives

This campaign—The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have—is the crucial link to getting on a trajectory to doing that. And that's what this conference has got to be about. To quote from the letter that called you here:

People need to hear and see that things DON'T have to be this way. They need to hear about revolution. And they need to know there is a Party that is building a movement for revolution. That is what this campaign is about. We aim to make known to millions the goal and character of thisrevolution, communist revolution, as it has been revitalized and reconceived by Bob Avakian; to make the leader of this revolution a household word; and through all this to forge a core of dedicated fighters who are going to advocate for this revolution and make it a driving dynamic force in society and the world.

These three goals are somewhat distinct, but they work together. First of all, people got to know about, hear about, see, and FEEL the revolution. In all kinds of different ways—speeches, posters, literature, and yes, in bold hard-fought struggles standing up against the system and its enforcers, especially where it is carrying out its most atrocious outrages—this revolution has to get known. People have got to see the revolutionaries rolling with these T-shirts with the BA image or with the Revolution masthead. People got to see, and they have stand up with, the revolutionaries standing firm and fighting back when we come under all the different attacks that the system comes at us with, and we have to mobilize them to make every assault politically boomerang against the enforcers of oppression, as we turn these attacks into a way for more people to hear about and come together to defend this new movement.

People have got to know—and we have to bring it home in all kinds of imaginative ways—that this is not just about their neighborhood, but it's something going on all over the nation, with potentially worldwide reverberations.They have to see and hear this Message and Call not once, not twice, but over and over—coming from different places, some unexpected and even wild—so that this doesn't just fade from memory after a week or two. They have to be led to go deeply into this statement—this Message and Call is RICH, this is "Revolution 101"—with a basic foundation in the goals, methods and strategy of revolution concentrated in it. The basic fact that there is a movement for revolution...a revolutionary communist movement...this has to penetrate into the atmosphere, and affect all of society. Some people are gonna love it, some people are gonna hate it, and some people are gonna just have it circulating in their minds—but the revolution has got to get out there and get known. Let me tell you, the days will come—and they may come sooner than you think and almost certainly those days will come before we feel fully ready for them—when masses of people will be seeking a way out. And when they do, they better know something about this revolution.

But there's another element to this campaign, another objective. There's making known the leadership of Bob Avakian. I've talked about Bob Avakian in one dimension earlier, and it's an important one: the objectively undeniable role he's played in laying a foundation from which the whole movement can go forward and in waging a battle to save this Party as a But there's more to say. The Message and Call puts it this way:

Bob Avakian has developed the scientific theory and strategic orientation for how to actually make the kind of revolution we need, and he is leading our Party as an advanced force of this revolution. He is a great champion and a great resource for people here, and indeed people all over the world. The possibility for revolution, right here, and for the advance of the revolution everywhere, is greatly heightened because of Bob Avakian and the leadership he is providing. And it is up to us to get with this find out more about Bob Avakian and the Party he learn from his scientific method and approach to changing the build this revolutionary movement with our Party at the defend this leadership as the precious thing it is...and, at the same time, to bring our own experience and understanding to help strengthen the process of revolution and enable the leadership we have to keep on learning more and leading even better.

"A great champion and a great resource for the people here, and indeed people all over the world." People need to know that, they need a basic sense of how that is so, and they need to know him. It is up to us to get Bob Avakian's memoir—From Ike to Mao and Beyond—out there to people. Up to us to spread the Revolution talk to people, watch it with them where we can, and write up the lessons of that for our newspaper. Up to us to get this T-shirt out there, and this way cool graphic out and about. Up to us to do a hundred and one other things that are going to get taken up in this workshop tomorrow to make this leader a household word.

Obviously, things have not yet broken loose in this country. And in many ways the atmosphere is more suffocating and locked down than it was in the early '60s—though there ARE openings, some of which we can recognize and seize on, and some of which we are going to have to create. But there is a real basis to get Bob Avakian's leadership out there, now, on a much much huger scale than it has been, through this campaign, and to do that in such a way so that when and as things begin to open up—and this campaign, along with other things we do, is part of prying things open—he will be a point of reference and more than that: a magnetic pole for people who are searching for a leader with real answers and real substance.

And look. I've read reports about, and I've talked to people, who've said, "It would make such a difference if we could see and meet the Chairman in person. It would make such a big difference if the Chairman could be out here speaking." Now some people say that in a nasty way or a baiting way. But the people I'm talking about are mostly coming from a good place. Well, the Party appreciates your sentiment. But let me also say this: the Chair IS "out here." He's out here in his memoir... out here in the Revolution talk...out here in the graphic the pages of Revolution newspaper, almost every other audios that are online. He's out here and we have to get him much much further out here to hundreds of thousands and then to millions. Not five years from now, not two years from now, but right now—beginning with the plans we make this weekend. Let's make "Are you getting into BA?" a mass challenge. And let's make "GET INTO BA" a mass slogan.

And we have to be bold with people. We don't need to—in fact we most definitely should NOT—get into long defensive explanations when people raise this stuff about "why are you making such a big deal," or "everyone says you're a cult," or "I don't follow leaders"—in other words, when people begin, frankly, repeating a lot of the conventional wisdom or prejudices that have been hammered at by the bourgeoisie in these past 35 years of counter-revolution. No. We should just put it right out there, like I said to you earlier: you don't understand—without Bob Avakian there would very likely be no revolutionary communism in today's world. And the fact is that we're not promoting him ENOUGH yet—and we aim to do a whole lot more and a whole lot better!

We should put it out there, plainly, matter of fact, without any hint of religiosity, and then we should challenge people: if you are serious about fundamental change, it is the height of irresponsibility to fail to engage Avakian's work on the level it demands.

If you are at all serious about human possibility, then you have to wrangle with why the previous revolutions were defeated. You have to wrangle with whether we can really make a revolution that both can overcome the terrible inequalities and disparities and horrors in the world—and can do that without turning out the lights, as Avakian has put it, on intellectual and artistic endeavor and initiative.

If you are serious, you have to wrangle with whether Marxism really is a science—and if it is, what it really means to say that, and how our scientific understanding of the world has changed in the 160 years since this science was first forged.

If you are serious, you have to wrangle with how do people change their understanding of the world and, yes, their deepest moral feelings—not just after the revolution, but how do they change now, in order to MAKE revolution and as part of MAKING REVOLUTION?

If you are serious, you have to wrangle with whether it is even conceivable that the ruling class of this country could some day be vulnerable to a revolutionary challenge...and if it is conceivable, then how could that possibly come together and what would be required of revolutionaries—both then and, from the vantage point of that future time, today?

And if you are wrangling on that road, then you will meet someone else who got there first and will welcome you onto it and wrangle with you and try to learn everything he can from you—because that's how he rolls. And that would be Bob Avakian.

It's there for the taking. And then sure, let's argue about it. Let's learn from each other as we do. But on the basis of you being serious enough to get deeply into this. To quote Bruce Springsteen, the door's open but the ride ain't free—you have to do some work too.

This gets us to the third objective of this campaign—bringing forward a core of dedicated, ardent fighters who are going to passionately advocate for this revolution and make it a driving dynamic force in society and the world. Fighters who are going to come at this not from what my friends think, or what my family thinks, or how backward things are out there, or how brutal and heartless these monsters at the top are—but from what humanity needs and what really is possible.

Fighters who are going to put their questions on the table from the standpoint of working them through, on the road to deepening their commitment to this revolution.

Fighters who will boldly take on what the enemy throws at them, and who will just as boldly take on both the backward thinking and the real questions among masses broadly, as well as the sophisticated apologists for this system.

Even a relatively small initial core of such fighters, coming forward from all ages but especially the youth, and from all walks of life, especially those on the bottom of society, can make a huge difference. It can have a magnetic effect. And such a core will stand out all the more sharply against the backdrop of today. Such a core can act as a living embodiment of the vision of a revolutionary movement that Bob Avakian put forward in "Making Revolution and Emancipating Humanity":

There will be, and there should be, all kinds of struggle about those questions [of how to make revolution]. But people should have a sense: If you want to know about, and work toward, a different world—and if you want to stand up and fight back against what's being done to people—this is where you go. You go to this Party, you take up this Party's newspaper, you get into this Party's leader and what he's bringing forward, you come to the Revolution Clubs, you join in with the people carrying out political activity that embodies this—spreading revolution and building resistance, and the "positive synergy" between the two—all aiming for revolution.

There needs to be more room for and emphasis on systematic study and struggle for people who are getting into this. There needs to be a more widespread and keener sense of what this Party is about and what it means for people...of the crucial importance of the Cultural Revolution in our Party and what a great thing it is...of what it means to take leadership from this Party and what it would mean to join it... All that has to be much more part of the atmosphere, much more of what we call a "mass question"—something that lots of people are openly and constantly wrangling over and returning to, in their conversations and their thinking. People have to be coming into this Party, and helping to further transform it, too, into an even more revolutionary party...into an even sharper instrument with which to deeply understand and radically transform reality in the interests of the masses.

Our aim and our plan with this campaign is this: to get those three objectives working together, so that some people may be hearing about Bob Avakian and then checking out the Revolution talk or the memoir and from there learning about the revolutionary movement and getting into it... and other people, within the atmosphere where the image of Avakian is getting around and the Message and Call of this campaign are everywhere, see this movement stand up to the authorities and they come into things from there...or still others are going to a speech by Sunsara Taylor or Raymond Lotta or Carl Dix about some particular burning question and from there look more deeply into all this... or they're beginning to read Revolution, every week... or they are hearing about and supporting the fight to allow prisoners to continue to get and read Revolution...and where, as people are doing this or hearing about it, they are catching the feel that there is a wave—even if right now the beginning of a wave—of people who are getting into this, for real, and as they see and encounter these people, the elan and the hope and the science and the fresh approach of these new revolutionary communists draws them forward to check all this out further.

The idea here is to get all three of these objectives—and all the work involved in each particular effort and initiative related to this campaign—cross-fertilizing, and synergizing, and amplifying one another—so the message and feel gets out NOT that these people are good-hearted folks with interesting ideas, but that these people ARE BUILDING a movement for revolution.

Right now we do not have this campaign clicking on all eight cylinders. But this is a goal that we can reach. This is a goal that we can brainstorm about and percolate on and develop plans for and carry out those plans so that in a finite time this movement for revolution can be in a different position in society. We can, through waging and winning this unprecedented campaign, break through and break out... and get into position where we can begin advancing the revolutionary communist movement with societal impact and worldwide reverberations...making known to all a political and ideological force on a mission to fight for this new stage of communist revolution.

V. The Campaign—As Part of a Strategy

Now all this is part of a larger strategy. And yes, we have a strategy. I'll say it again, because it's something that we don't do enough to let people know: we have a strategy to make revolution. There's actually a method to what we do—it's not something like Jehovah's Witnesses, where their members go around and talk to people and try to recruit them, waiting for the day when god comes to deliver the big payback and set everything right. It's not "we're doing this because this is what communists always do." No. And make no mistake—we are NOT trying to stir up a "radical opposition" for its own sake. We ARE BUILDING a movement to actually MAKE REVOLUTION.

How could you make a revolution? Let's talk about this a little. The Message and Call of this campaign says that,

Revolution can be made when there is a revolutionary situation, an even greater crisis in society as a whole: when people in greater numbers come to deeply feel and understand that the present power has no legitimacy...that it serves only a handful of oppressors...that it uses lies and deception, corruption and completely unjust force and violence to keep this system going and "keep the people in their place"...when millions see the need to fight to break this power and establish a new power that can bring about the changes that people desperately need and want.

Let's break this down. "An even greater crisis in society as a whole." How could that happen? Well, let's look back at some of what we started this speech with. Let's look at these fascists out here. These Tea Party people and others. Believe me, we take these people quite seriously. We see these people in Texas rewriting the textbooks to even further distort U.S. history and these Republican governors "honoring the Confederacy"—that is, the slaveholders in the Civil War. We see—and we are out there opposing, including our people right now out there today—these fascists in the Arizona legislature with their apartheid-style laws. We see these Christian fascists, continuing their onslaught against abortion and murdering and threatening providers, lashing out against women, and threatening our comrades who lead struggle against them as well. We see them demonizing and stirring up fear of and hatred against gay people, and denying them their elementary rights. We watch Glenn Beck, and we call attention to his scenarios of militias made up of what he calls "angry Bubbas"—translation: racists—taking up arms.

And we see the Democrats—doing everything they can to hold it all together and to PREVENT people from resisting this, at the same time as they join with the Republicans to push forward the wars and repression and massive imprisonment of minority youth and serious economic deprivation that both parties are firmly behind. And we see and run up against how all this right now is intimidating and suffocating people.

But we see something else, too. We see the way that the divisions at the top of the ruling structures of society at a different point could come unraveled. Among these rulers, there are two different visions of how America needs to be ordered in the next few decades, and the potential antagonism between them is very great. Be clear, the point is most definitely not to choose sides between these rival factions of imperialists—because "they're both worse." The point is that this clash could provide the people with one of those rare openings when revolution could actually come onto the agenda for real.

Here's what I mean. When "the center cannot hold"—that is, when there is not enough cohesion among the ruling class itself to hold together its rival factions—and the "weakness of the center" is what a lot of their commentators have been bemoaning—when this happens in societies, there are fissures created out of which mass discontent can erupt. Splits that provide cracks through which the anger and discontent that people are just forced to swallow in "normal times" can come roaring out, like lava erupting from a suddenly active volcano. And something else can happen, too; to return to the Message and Call, "people in greater numbers [can] come to deeply feel and understand that the present power has no legitimacy...that it serves only a handful of oppressors...that it uses lies and deception, corruption and completely unjust force and violence to keep this system going and 'keep the people in their place.'"

You can see the embryo of something like that going on in Iran over the past year—where a society that seemed locked down tight for 30 years suddenly was engulfed in a crisis that started as a clash between two rival factions in the ruling class of the Islamic Republic over how an unstable society rife with contradiction was going to be ruled. This clash led to massive street demonstrations and fighting, and bigger questions were thrown up, and other forces began to come into play.

You can even study the history of the Civil War in this country from this angle and learn how fundamental change can actually happen.

But here's the rub—if there is not a revolutionary pole strong enough to lead people to wrench something altogether new out of this... then the rulers will just bludgeon their way out, and things will go to a still deeper circle of hell.

No, it's not enough for there to be a societal crisis to which we the revolutionaries could somehow "just add water," as if fundamental social change was like instant coffee. Here's how the Message and Call lays it out:

For a revolution, there must be a revolutionary people, among all sections of society but with its deepest base among those who catch hell every day under this system...people who are determined to fight for power in order to radically change society, to get rid of oppression and exploitation. But the point is this: we cannot, and we must not, sit around and wait for "one fine day" when this revolutionary situation comes about and a revolutionary people comes on the scene. No, we must--and we can—work to bring a revolutionary people into enable people to see why they should put no faith in this system, and should not live and die in a way that keeps this system going...but instead should devote their lives to resisting oppression and building up for the time when we can get rid of the cause of all this oppression. Using our Party's newspaper, Revolution, as the foundation, guideline, and organizational scaffolding for this whole process, this is what our Party means when we say we are hastening while awaiting the revolutionary situation, preparing minds and organizing forces...for revolution.

It is crucial that when things do go up for grabs—when people are searching for a way forward, when they are questioning the assumptions they've believed in their whole lives, when they are streaming into the streets at great personal risk—it is crucial then that there be a different magnetic pole, one with the ties and influence and understanding that could enable it to forge and lead a powerful united front that actually COULD make revolution and bring in a whole new system.

So, yes, we have a strategy. We have a way to get to that tomorrow, starting from today. We are hastening revolution, even as we're not going off half-cocked... even as we're tensely awaiting, while doing all we can to shape, the situation where you actually COULD begin the fight to establish a new state power.

Recently, Revolution published two paragraphs from Bob Avakian that put out a very concise guideline on this:

At every point, we must be searching out the key concentrations of social contradictions and the methods and forms which can strengthen the political consciousness of the masses, as well as their fighting capacity and organization in carrying out political resistance against the crimes of this system; which can increasingly bring the necessity, and the possibility, of a radically different world to life for growing numbers of people; and which can strengthen the understanding and determination of the advanced, revolutionary-minded masses in particular to take up our strategic objectives not merely as far-off and essentially abstract goals (or ideals) but as things to be actively striven for and built toward.

The objective and orientation must be to carry out work which, together with the development of the objective situation, can transform the political terrain, so that the legitimacy of the established order, and the right and ability of the ruling class to rule, is called into question, in an acute and active sense, throughout society; so that resistance to this system becomes increasingly broad, deep and determined; so that the "pole" and the organized vanguard force of revolutionary communism is greatly strengthened; and so that, at the decisive time, this advanced force is able to lead the struggle of millions, and tens of millions, to make revolution.

Now there's a lot packed into those two paragraphs. You could—and at some point everybody should—spend a day and more breaking this down and getting into this. The point I want to focus on here, though, is that when we focus on these outrages—be it the environmental catastrophe in the Gulf, or the cruel murder of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, or Arizona even as we speak—we are focusing on them both because they demand action in their own right and as part of "bringing a revolutionary people into being."

We have an analysis of these contradictions—even as we are open and attuned to new ones emerging or coming to the fore. The pace can be intense, but we're NOT aimlessly or randomly running around. What we do has a point—to review and roughly paraphrase those paragraphs, we are searching out those concentrations of KEY social contradictions, and we are looking for the right forms, that can strengthen people's consciousness AND their fighting capacity to carry out political resistance...we are bringing to life the fact that we need, and can get, a radically different world...and we are making revolution real for people. But that's not all—we're doing this in a way that calls into question the very legitimacy of the rulers...that builds up society-wide resistance...that strengthens the pole of revolutionary communism within all that...and that does all this in such a way so that the advanced revolutionary force could actually lead millions at a future time when things have further ripened.

Listen: the very things that are at the root of the power of this ruling class—their ability to exploit people all over the planet and plunder the earth, their murdering police, the repression and injustice against immigrants and people of color generally, their structures of gender oppression, their wars and military strength—these are the very contradictions that can politically backfire against them, if revolutionaries wield their science to work on those contradictions and if things come together in a certain way.

We have a strategy—and our newspaper is, as the statement says, "the foundation, guideline, and organizational scaffolding for [the] whole process" of carrying out that strategy. This is the paper that cuts to the bone to tell you WHY things are happening... to show you HOW it doesn't have to be this way...and to give you the ways to ACT to change it. It is a call to action and a means of struggle. It is, and has to be much more, the scaffolding on which this movement is built, where those who are getting into it and following it can wrangle in its pages and on its website with how we can better build this movement. It is a guideline, where today thousands, but soon tens of thousands and eventually millions, all over the place, stay connected and learn to act in a powerful and united way. It is the foundation, where those who read it learn about the larger goals of revolution and communism, and come to see the ways in which the struggles of today are connected to those larger goals...where they come to grasp the scientific communist outlook through its application to all the many particular events and outrages and developments in society... and where they get organizationally linked up to this revolution.

And, yes, we have a strategy that takes in how, at a future time when things DO get to the point at which the rulers are weakened and fighting amongst themselves, when many other political forces are paralyzed, and when millions are ready to put everything on the line, that those millions would not be left without a way to fight and win—that is, to actually be able to meet and defeat the violent, repressive force of the old, exploitative and oppressive order. This is contained in the contribution to the pamphlet Revolution and Communism: A Foundation and Strategic Orientation that is entitled "On the Possibility of Revolution"—and a basic sense of this has been put in the speech two years ago, available on-line,"Making Revolution in the USA." This article, "On the Possibility of Revolution," is something that people need to get into and study, now.

Do you realize what it means that we not only have a leader and a party that knows where we need to go, but a strategy that can actually get us there? This is very precious—and this is something that we have to make much more widely known than it is today, as we carry forward with the campaign.

VI. Conclusion

So we've traveled a bit into the future in this last section. Now let's bring it back to the here and now (even as that future is pregnant in the here and now). The Message and Call puts it this way:

[Y]es, it is true—now is not yet the time, in this country, to go all-out to seize the power away from those who rule over us and to bring a new power, serving our interests, into being. But now IS the time to be WORKING FOR REVOLUTION—to be stepping up resistance while building a movement for revolution—to prepare for the time when it WILL be possible to go all out to seize the power.

Which leads me back to this campaign. This campaign is the crucial link right now in "hastening while awaiting the revolutionary situation, preparing minds and organizing forces...for revolution." If we accomplish the goals of this campaign—if the revolution gets known and its magnetic force increases...if Bob Avakian becomes a household word among those who are awake or awakening...and if a growing core of people, including and especially from the "catch-hell-every-day, nothing-to-lose" section of society, advocate, fight for and sacrifice for THIS revolution...if we do that, then we will not only have made a must-do leap along the road from where we are today, we will have gotten into position where we can make further and even more powerful leaps in this whole process.

Remember why we started this campaign.

Because at a time when revolution urgently cries out to be done, revolution is not only not on the map in people's thinking—it is in danger of becoming a relic of the past.

Because not only is revolution needed, but the problems that communist revolution ran up against in its first stage have been identified and a framework for their solution has been developed, by Bob Avakian.

Because we must and we can break out of the situation we're in right now and get a whole different trajectory going.

At a time when in the space of one month the police can murder a lovely 7-year-old girl and utterly violate her family... when Nazi-like legislation can get passed against people who have been driven here for their survival... when the capitalists can inflict, in their insane and heedless drive for profit, a major disaster on the environment... we need revolution, and we badly need a movement right now FOR REVOLUTION– a movement that puts forward its message in compelling ways and that on that foundation can inspire and backbone resistance, linked to the goal of revolution.

To quote again our Message and Call, the foundation and glue of this whole campaign:

The days when this system can just keep on doing what it does to people, here and all over the world...when people are not inspired and organized to stand up against these outrages and to build up the strength to put an end to this madness...those days must be GONE. And they CAN be.

We are here today at conferences which can play a crucial role and have a decisive impact in building the movement we need—FOR REVOLUTION. Though our numbers right now may be small, especially when weighed against the challenges we face, our movement is very very large in terms of the truth it grasps, the justness of its cause, the vision it aims for and the determination and boldness and imagination it possesses to rally people to it. We are here to wrangle with these goals and their connection to brainstorm different ideas and angles and hammer out ways to make it all come get much, much better organized...and to break out. And we do all that on the foundation of the Message and Call, and in particular its conclusion:




1. Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage, A Manifesto from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, RCP Publications, 2008, page 43. [back]

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Revolution #204, June 20, 2010

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Get With the Campaign

The Revolutionary Communist Party is in the midst of a major campaign—and you need to know about it, and become part of it.

This campaign aims to let people know what communist revolution is all about... to acquaint them with the leadership that we have for this revolution, Bob Avakian and the RCP,USA which he leads... and to bring people into making this revolution happen, in many different ways.

The idea: to put revolution—this revolution—much more on the map in people's thinking. To initiate nothing less than a whole new stage of communist revolution, building on the achievements of the past but critically sifting and going beyond them in significant ways... reviving the viability and desirability of communist revolution based on Bob Avakian's new synthesis, and bringing forward a real social force around this, contending powerfully with the other solutions that are out there.

The Party's Message and Call, "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have," forms the glue of this campaign. You can get it online, or in Revolution Books bookstores, or from Party supporters. The video of Bob Avakian's speech, Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About, forms a basic foundation—and is available on-line. Many of the things we do and talk about in this paper—from the efforts to spread Bob Avakian's classic talk on revolution... to the fight against the censorship of our paper in the prisons... to the tours by revolutionaries like Raymond Lotta or Sunsara Taylor... to initiatives to "Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution"... to building the circulation and sustainership of Revolution newspaper—these are all related. They are all getting people to see that, in the words of that message and call, "This is NOT the best of all possible worlds...And we do NOT have to live this way."

Find out about this campaign. Download and distribute the statement and call. Popularize the online Revolution talk by Bob Avakian. Get this paper out. Come to one of our bookstores and find out how you can volunteer. Write us with your questions, your ideas, your experiences. Be part of, in the words of the Message and Call, spreading "the word to every corner of this country... giving people the means to become part of this revolutionary movement, and organizing into this movement everyone who wants to make a contribution to it, who wants to work and fight, to struggle and sacrifice, not to keep this nightmare of a world going as it is but to bring a better world into being."

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Revolution #204, June 20, 2010

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Spreading the Message and Call: "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have"—Breaking Through on Saturation

At the conferences on the campaign, "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have," May 29  and 30, plans were announced to distribute one million copies nationwide of the RCP's Message and Call over the summer. And to kick this off a goal was set to get out 200,000 copies in 10 days beginning June 4.

Below are some sights and sounds reported from cities all over the country.

We are focusing on a neighborhood with a concentration of Black people and another with a lot of influential and important artistic and cultural life. We've hit the streets with people finding out about this campaign in many different ways. Hundreds of Calls were strung up at intersections with clothes pins, creating a striking and inviting visual display. ...

On a corner in the Black community we set up a Revolution Books table with bundles of Revolution newspaper, the Revolution Talk, and other materials. Distributors wove through the busy intersection handing Calls to people in cars. Sidewalk chalk with quotes from the Call were all around this corner and people would start to read them. Bicyclists went whizzing by with red flags, posters with the Message and Call and the Bob Avakian image attached to their bikes. We are blanketing, getting Calls to everyone ... we spread out to different corners so people encountered us all along the street ... Monday we were at train stops for the morning and evening rush hour ... Each night we're going into the projects, mainly to people we know, organizing them to take responsibility for their building and for the projects as a whole; one guy took 100 Calls. ...

In the arts district we weren't able to do the clothes line display a second time because the cops said we couldn't, so we went to businesses nearby, told them what had happened ... and that everyone here had a role to play in whether this would be on the scene. ... One store let us cover a whole side of their wall outside with the Call. ... Meanwhile our cyclist with the BA image was rolling through repeatedly and being flagged down by people that wanted to know whose picture it is.


A highlight Saturday ... Four new people joined our crews and pretty much ran with us all day. One was a young Black music DJ who has done some reading about communism and revolution and who was moved by seeing people talking about standing up to the most horrific crimes of this system, the murder of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, the fascist Arizona law, the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico—and boldly putting forward the need for this revolution and calling on people to be part of it. He helped distribute the Call and later helped us set up a sound system and projector so we were able to project the Revolution Talk on the wall of a building as the sun was going down. He asked how to find out more about this guy whose image is on the T-shirts. We told him about and during a break he went to the library and came back to tell us, "Wow, this Bob Avakian, he is a pretty busy guy!" He was amazed at how much and the breadth of his writing. ...


A woman came across the street to see what we were doing and was extremely excited to see that we were "unafraid to speak the truth." She saw the picture on the front page of Revolution and frantically dug through her belongings full of pictures of her children and grandchildren, and found a 30-year-old, dog-eared news clipping from the Atlanta Constitution of herself struggling to stand up, with the same grief on her face as on the faces of Aiyana's family. She introduced herself as the mother of one of the murdered and missing children,* and then threw herself into getting out the Calls with us over the next two hours....


Sunday morning ... an older Black woman riding by on her electric cart with a child stopped and took a small bundle from us, drove off, and then a half-block away turned around and came back. "Can I have more of those? I live in that high rise over there, and I want to take it around to my whole building. It's a lot of seniors, but they minds is still pretty sharp." She took 200 Calls, wanted a paper and said she would contribute when we get back with her.


Our crew decided to go to a busy Mexican supermarket. We had a great response from customers, vendors, workers, and even security people. Everyone took the Calls. After a half hour the assistant manager came and explained that although he liked some of what we were saying we needed to get permission from the management to leaflet. We said, "Sure, let us know how to contact them," and talked to him about this campaign. He went back inside. Fifteen minutes later he came back out with the contact info and stressed that we should contact the person, because they would feel the same way we felt.

At that point we told him we would leave. Then he asked us to tell "our people leafleting inside the store to leave." I told him we don't have people inside the store. "No," he said, "there are people inside leafleting the customers." Turns out those who had taken leaflets were getting them out to other customers right on the spot!


On Sunday when the big Spanish language Mass was getting out, we parked the truck with banners right across the street from the church entrance so people would see it when they came outside. This had some of that edge of being "completely outrageous... and yet eminently reasonable." We collected $44. Almost everyone got the Call and a few people took bundles. One of our crew was exclusively selling Revolution.

* From 1979 to 1981, a string of horrific murders of 29 Black children took place in Atlanta. [back]

This Week:

Even now, it is plain that real and important momentum has been generated from the efforts to get out 200,000 copies of the Message and Call from the RCP, USA, "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have."

This should be seen as a major effort to spread seeds of revolution. This week some of those seeds must be harvested, even as we spread more. We should:

1) Get back to people who expressed interest, took stacks of flyers, or gave their phone numbers. Ask them about what they thought about the Message and Call. If they distributed it, find out about their experience. If they ran into problems in distributing this, find out what those problems were and listen carefully; find out their ideas on why people respond as they do, work with them to think about how to understand it, and work together to find new ways to go at this. If they got positive responses, learn from this as well, and brainstorm with them about ideas on how to build on this. In short, listen to their thinking, and what they say about their lives; our movement should be learning an awful lot right now. Send what you are learning to Revolution newspaper.

Watch Bob Avakian's Revolution Talk with them, and leave them a copy to watch in full.

Give them a copy of Revolution, and explain how this is the newspaper of the movement to make revolution.

Give them materials with the new image of Bob Avakian.

Remember: this is very new to many people and they are still learning about it. Don't pressure people to do all kinds of things they do not yet feel ready for. Let them learn about this movement. At the same time, be open to ways in which they may want to get involved; for instance, they may want to come out with a team to an area in which they don't live.

Talk with them about the upcoming web-a-thon, and other fund-raising ideas. Talk with them about the importance of contributing to and sustaining this movement, and raise funds.

Make sure that they know about the upcoming anti-July 4 picnic. Make concrete plans to get together again.

2) Go back to areas where we distributed the statement with the cards, T-shirts, etc. of the new image of BA and, learning from the online article on this, get it around in those areas; get this paper out in the same areas, and find outlets (stores, community centers, schools, libraries, places of religious worship, etc.) which will regularly carry it. (With all outlets who carry the paper and the image cards, make sure that you let them know about the Revolution Talk, and see if they will watch part of it on-line with you.)

3) Find places where you can legally post quotes from Bob Avakian; if you have unused back issues of the paper, clip out the full-page quotes and post them up. This is a very important and way-underutilized resource for our movement.

Send us your comments.

Revolution #204, June 20, 2010

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A Border Bathed in Blood: The Killing of Sergio Hernandez

"Up and down the Rio Grande,
A thousand footprints in the sand..."

From the song, "Across the Borderline"
(John Hiatt—Ry Cooder—James Dickinson)

In the early evening of June 7, 14-year-old Sergio Hernandez lay bleeding to death under the Puente Negro, a railroad bridge that spans the river between Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and El Paso, Texas, USA. Sergio's face was shattered and a 40-caliber bullet was lodged in his head. The bullet had been fired by a U.S. Border Patrol agent, one of more than 17,000 heavily armed enforcers who prowl la frontera.

Sergio had gone from his home in a Juarez barrio to the border to see his older brother, who works sorting luggage in a customs house at a crossing point. He wanted to have dinner with his brother and borrow some money for school supplies. Afterwards, along with some friends, he went down to the river. "That was his mistake, to have gone to the river," Sergio's mother said. "That's why they killed him."

The cities of Juarez and El Paso form one metropolitan area of about two million people, the line between them crackling with tension. People from the countryside and cities of Mexico come to Juarez—people whose lives have been devastated by the crushing weight of U.S. imperialist domination that has long ransacked their homeland—seeking a way across, some to look for menial work in El Paso or the fields of west Texas and New Mexico, some to try a journey deeper into El Norte.

On June 7, that tension exploded into murderous violence. A Border Patrol agent jumped off his bicycle as a small group of men ran through a hole in a fence on the U.S. side. He grabbed one of the men and pointed his gun at another, who was standing in Mexico. He fired two shots in quick succession, then a third.

And Sergio Hernandez lay dying, his friends shocked and weeping beside his corpse.

An official story soon came out. The Border Patrol claimed that reports of the incident indicated U.S. officers on bicycle patrol "were assaulted with rocks by an unknown number of people." Border Patrol and other government officials claimed that their agent was surrounded by a rock-throwing mob and that the agent was attacked and stoned before he fired his weapon.

A video taken with a cell phone proved this account to be full of lies. CNN reported on its web-site that "a video obtained by CNN casts doubt on the Border Patrol agent's claim that he was surrounded by rock-throwing suspected illegal immigrants when he fatally shot the boy on the border at Ciudad Juarez. ... The video contradicts [FBI spokeswoman Andrea] Simmons' account. She had said: 'This agent, who had the second subject detained on the ground, gave verbal commands to the remaining subjects to stop and retreat. However, the subjects surrounded the agent and continued to throw rocks at him. The agent then fired his service weapon several times, striking one subject who later died.'"

The video clearly shows that no one is "surrounding" the cop. He is clearly seen pointing his weapon at a group of people who are on the Mexican side of the river, which at this time of year in Juarez/El Paso is mainly dry, and 10 feet wide. Three cracks from his gun are heard.

Several vendors on a bridge overlooking the carnage also disputed the official story. Estelle Gonzalez, who sells hats on the Paso del Norte Bridge, said, "The kid wasn't throwing rocks. He was only watching." Another vendor, Luis Rodriguez, said, "The kid wasn't throwing anything. Then he [the Border Patrol agent] started shooting like crazy. He fired three shots."

Sergio Hernandez and his friends were in Juarez, huddled behind a cement column, when the incident broke out. As Sergio's mother said, "The man who shot my son is a coward. He shouldn't have done that. My son was in Mexico, not the United States."

It gets even more infuriating.

In the days since Sergio's murder, official spokespersons for the U.S. government have tried to portray young Sergio Hernandez as a hardened criminal and veteran "coyote," or "smuggler" of human beings. Fox News has put a video of the incident in heavy rotation, featuring commentary whipping up still further hateful anti-immigrant sentiment and condoning, justifying, and yes, promoting the murder of Sergio Hernandez.

T.J. Bonner, president of the union for Border Patrol pigs, said that any way it's looked at, the killing of Sergio Hernandez is justified and legal. Bonner said that the alleged rock throwing "is a deadly force encounter, one that justifies the use of deadly force." In an official press release, the U.S. Border Patrol said, "While the loss of this teenager's life is regrettable, it is due solely to his decision to pick up a rock and assault a United States Border Patrol Agent. We stand behind the actions of the agents who did their duty in El Paso, and are confident that the investigation into his incident will justify their actions."

Meanwhile, Sergio's funeral was held in Juarez. A picture of Sergio in a soccer uniform and his junior high report card were propped on his casket.

This is the world we live in. A young boy has his life savagely taken away in an instant. The killer walks away free, his identity still hidden. Officials and legal authorities are already doing an "investigation" aimed at justifying this crime. The mass media is being used to whip up racist hatred, paving the way for further violence against immigrants.

More than one commentary has compared the killing of Sergio Hernandez to the way youth in Palestine are shot down by Israeli soldiers for throwing stones. El Paso City Councilman Beto O'Rourke said he thinks the killing of Sergio Hernandez "reflects, and could further stoke, larger, festering border tensions. The rocks versus guns picture is not one we want here. It looks too much like Israel and Palestine for comfort."

Sergio is the second Mexican person killed in the past two weeks by the Border Patrol. On May 31, Anastacio Hernandez, who had lived in the U.S. since he was 14, died of heart failure after being repeatedly tasered by Border Patrol cops in San Diego.

The murder of Sergio Hernandez echoes bitterly across the planet: The wedding parties and celebrations in Afghanistan that are stalked by "special ops" death squads and bombed by remote control drones; courageous youth in Palestine who stand up against the tanks, phosphorus bombs, and machine guns of Israeli occupation; 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones, murdered in her own living room by Detroit cops; Oscar Grant gunned down in cold blood in Oakland as he returned from a New Year's party.

This is the world we live in—a world urgently in need of revolution.

Send us your comments.

Revolution #204, June 20, 2010

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From A World to Win News Service

The U.S., Israel and the Bomb: Reason to Worry

May 31, 2010. A World to Win News Service. Israel's massacre of Palestinian supporters carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza is only a small demonstration of the crimes the Zionists are willing to commit. Israel has far worse up its sleeve, enough to alarm even the most sober-minded person, including nuclear weapons and a proven recklessness regarding their danger. Worse, other recent developments have highlighted the U.S. commitment to keep nuclear weapons in Israeli hands and the Barack Obama government's continuing support for Israeli atomic bomb-rattling against Iran.

Two political events touted as moves away from the threat of nuclear warfare may be just the opposite. One is Obama's unveiling of U.S. policy regarding the use of nuclear weapons as detailed in a new document called the Nuclear Posture Review. The other is the agreement signed by the 189 member countries of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to hold a conference in 2012 to discuss making the Middle East a nuclear-weapons free zone.

The Nuclear Posture Review released April 6 is scary. Some people were hoping that Obama would be the first American president to declare a "no first use" policy—that the U.S. would never use nuclear weapons unless it was attacked with them. The document clearly states the opposite: The U.S. "is not prepared at the present time to adopt a universal policy that deterring a nuclear attack is the sole purpose of nuclear weapons." Instead, it says, "The United States will not use or threaten to use U.S. nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states that are party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and in compliance with their nuclear non-proliferation obligations."

Who is to determine whether or not an NPT country is "in compliance"? Not, as the naïve might expect, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN body in charge of enforcing the NPT, or even the UN Security Council, although these bodies have been far from impervious to U.S. pressure. By not mentioning them, experts agree, the document implies that the U.S. government reserves that right to itself. Even if it decides that a country is "in compliance" on nuclear weapons, it may still launch a nuclear first strike if "warranted by the evolution and development of the biological weapons threat" or in the face of anything else it considers potentially "devastating."

It is true that the Obama government seems to have dropped the Bush plan to develop new tactical atomic weapons (like nuclear "bunker-busters"). The claim that the U.S. and Russia are willing to eventually dramatically draw down their enormous nuclear power aimed at each other is also worthy of analysis, although the agreements reached so far are not impressive. But in immediate terms, the practical effect of this policy review is to remind the Islamic Republic that, as under President George W. Bush, for Obama "all options are on the table," including a nuclear first strike by the U.S.

The whole purpose of the NPT is to protect the monopoly on nukes by the U.S., Russia, UK, France and China. The treaty is supposed to be a "trade," in which other countries agree not to acquire nuclear weapons in return for the five nuclear powers agreeing to a legally binding timetable to destroy their own. But that has not happened and in today's world nuclear disarmament, as much as the world's people might wish it, is not on the table. India and Pakistan have nuclear bombs, but the U.S. has made no fuss about their refusal to sign the NPT. North Korea was an NPT member but withdrew, so it is a potential target for a first strike under the Obama doctrine. Iran is the only country that fits the second and new category the U.S. government has now created, an NPT member not "in compliance."

The irony is that of all these countries, Iran is the one that doesn't have any nuclear weapons. It may very well be that the Islamic Republic is seeking to develop them, which would change the power equation in a Middle East, where the U.S. gendarme, Israel, which refuses to sign the NPT, has at least several hundred nuclear warheads to make sure its American big brother has the last word in the region. The unspoken but blindingly clear message in Obama's policy review is that the U.S. will use whatever it has to in order to get whatever it wants in the areas of the world where its domination is contested.

Behind the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Meeting

The meeting by the NPT signatories in New York that ended May 28 should be seen in the same way as the Nuclear Posture Review, a policy adjustment by the U.S. that is not necessarily what it seems to be. These countries met every five years. In 1995, when Bill Clinton was the U.S. president, the conference ended in a stalemate when member countries led by Egypt failed to get through a pious hope that nuclear weapons would be banned throughout the Middle East. The 2005 meeting, under Bush, also ended in disarray. This time an agreement was reached by consensus, which means that the U.S. didn't veto it (nor did Iran, which unlike the U.S. had always publicly supported that goal). But there is good reason to believe that the U.S.'s purpose was to give political "cover" to American-dependent Arab regimes (Egypt—historically the biggest recipient of U.S. aid after Israel—being the prime example) for continuing to try to duck their people's hatred for Israel and facilitate U.S. moves against Iran.

For some time pro-Obama commentators have been arguing that it is hard for the U.S. to mobilize a united front against a country that may be seeking nuclear weapons while giving nuclear Israel a free pass. This call for a 2012 conference seems "balanced," as claimed by the NPT chairman, representing the U.S. client state the Philippines. It even mentions Israel as a possessor of nuclear weapons, which the U.S. has never before permitted in any international document. But, Obama said of this conference call, "We strongly oppose efforts to single out Israel, and will oppose actions that jeopardize Israel's national security." Commenting on the agreement he helped negotiate, General James Jones, Obama's National Security Adviser, said that the disarming of Iranian weapons of mass destruction (note: not even just nukes) is a "precursor" to even talking about a conference to talk about regional nuclear disarmament. By the way, the U.S. is supposed to lead in organizing it, according to the call, which also says the conference can only be held if all the regional countries attend. The Israeli government has already announced it isn't going. As The New York Times wrote (echoing similar words by BBC), "even calling such a conference, much less accomplishing any of its goals, remained a distant prospect." (New York Times, May 28; BBC, May 29, 2010)

Israel's nukes and the U.S.'s nuclear backing for Israel are not just abstract issues on some distant horizon. According to the UK Sunday Times (May 30, 2010), Tel Aviv has deployed one nuclear cruise missile-equipped submarine off the Iranian coastline and has assigned two more. (The subs are a gift from Germany. This is the way imperialism works, just in case you thought monopoly capitalist countries could change their nature: Germany is making reparations for its genocide of the Jews by potentially enabling another holocaust.) Although the Times did not clearly indicate the source of this report, all three of these subs have been said to have visited the Gulf before, as have U.S. warships. Now Israel has taken the decision that at least one of them will be stationed off Iran permanently. "The deployment is designed to act as deterrent, gather intelligence and potentially to land Mossad agents," the newspaper wrote, based on what it said was an interview with the flotilla's commander. If this report is true, then not only is the information alarming, but also the very fact that the Israeli armed forces have decided to leak it is a deliberate provocation.

Mordechai Vanunu—Imprisoned by Israel Again

It was probably no coincidence that while the NPT conference was taking place, the Israeli authorities sentenced Mordechai Vanunu to three months in prison. He is the Israeli scientist who in 1986 gave the British press photos and documents proving that Israel had been manufacturing weapons-grade uranium for several decades. Israel's nuclear programme was never a secret from big-power governments—eight U.S. presidents from Nixon to Obama knew and helped Israel keep it officially secret, so that they could continue to play the Non-Proliferation charade. But proving it through documents able to stand up to expert scrutiny was something else.

Vanunu, a religious man, went to the press because he wanted peace in the region. Israel had him drugged, kidnapped and smuggled back to Israel for a secret trial. He spent 18 years in prison, 11 of them in solitary confinement so that he could not speak to anyone further. Since his release he has been repeatedly arrested for having contacts with foreigners—this time one of them is, he says, his Norwegian girlfriend. "Shame on you Israel for putting me in prison after 24 years of speaking the truth. Shame on you all the world media for not protecting freedom of speech," he said before his sentencing. (Associated Press, May 24)

It goes without saying that the U.S. (and UK, etc.) have never protested this outrageous injustice. Vanunu's truth, after all, is a threat to American Middle East strategy and interests.

Israel and South Africa Apartheid's Nuclear Partnership

Unfortunately for Israel, the kind of exposure its vendetta against Vanunu was designed to prevent reoccurred at this same sensitive moment. The American academic and Foreign Affairs senior editor Sasha Polakov-Suransky revealed documents recounting a 1975 secret military agreement between Israel and apartheid South Africa, including private correspondence, a copy of a signed agreement and the minutes of a meeting between the defense ministers of the two countries, Shimon Peres and P. W. Botha. Israel offered to sell South Africa nuclear-armed missiles. The conversations made it clear that the Zionist and apartheid governments considered the alliance established between the two countries in 1973 ideological as well as military, in a crusade to protect "justice" for "whites" against the demand for "one man, one vote," considered such an unacceptable prospect that nuclear weapons should be used against neighboring African countries if needed to defend the apartheid system. Although the deal fell through, South Africa went on to develop its own nuclear weapons, probably with Israeli help. In 1979, satellite surveillance detected a nuclear flash in the Indian Ocean identified as coming from an Israeli nuclear bomb test, perhaps held jointly with South Africa. (The Nation, May 14, and Guardian, May 24, 2010. The memos and other documents are posted on the Guardian Web site, and The Unspoken Alliance: Israel's Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa.)

The U.S. never issued so much as a peep of protest about all this, in the past or now. Why? What is the Obama government still trying to protect? The U.S. eventually came to accept the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa as the best available option to serve American interests in that region, but it will not accept the dismantling of Israeli apartheid against the Palestinians because of the central strategic value of the Zionist state in the current regional and world situation. The Israeli-South Africa military alliance, like Vanunu's revelations, may be old news, but politically protecting Israel against the truth is still a main U.S. concern.

Washington may feel that it has to pay lip service to the goal of a nuclear-free Middle East in order to push against Iran, but there is no chance that Israel's nukes are going to be taken away, for the simple reason that they are, in effect if not literally, vital arms of U.S. foreign policy in a region that is increasingly explosive and even unpredictable, in no small degree due to the actions of the U.S. and Israel themselves.

These developments, from the history of Israeli nukes to their deployment off Iran, all under the U.S. political and military umbrella and in the service of American imperialist interests, are not so different, although on a different scale, from today's deliberately provocative murder of the "Freedom Flotilla" members, a display not only of Israeli arms but of the lack of moral restraint and cynical disregard for the opinion of humanity with which Israel uses them. They demonstrate a propensity for "flight forward" in the face of difficulty—in other words, to up the ante and escalate.

A World to Win News Service is put out by A World to Win magazine (, a political and theoretical review inspired by the formation of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, the embryonic center of the world's Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties and organizations.

Send us your comments.

Revolution #204, June 20, 2010

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REVOLUTION interview with Adam Shapiro

New Revelations About Israel's Massacre on the Mavi Marmara

In the pre-dawn hours of May 31, 2010, Israeli military forces stormed the Mavi Marmara, one of six ships carrying humanitarian relief to Gaza. Adam Shapiro is a co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement, which initiated and organized the Freedom Flotilla that attempted to break Israel's siege of Gaza. Israel detained the survivors of the attack for days, stole all their phones, cameras and recordings, and held them incommunicado. In the face of an international outcry, the survivors were released, and have begun to tell their stories to the world. Revolution correspondent Alan Goodman spoke with Adam Shapiro about what is being revealed.

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

Alan Goodman: It's great to be talking with you. Before I ask you about the details of the attack, and how you're responding, tell us about what was behind this trip.

Adam Shapiro:  Sure, the Free Gaza Movement has previously organized eight missions before this Freedom Flotilla to Gaza, five of which were successful, the last three were stopped. After the last mission was stopped in July 2009, we in the Free Gaza Movement decided we needed to make our next mission bigger, bring on more important partners from around the world, more ships, more people, more cargo. And so we set out to work for many months to organize that. In the end we had eight ships—one was disabled and unable to join—so seven ships set sail for Gaza. We had over 10,000 tons of cargo, bringing much-needed reconstruction supplies, some humanitarian goods, paper, school books, wheel chairs, cement, water sanitation devices to use in the water treatment plants in Gaza and other materials. And we had over 700 people participate from over 40 countries.

Revolution: How much of these materials you were bringing are banned by the Israelis?

Adam Shapiro: Just about everything, I think, that was on our ships, did not conform to the list of 75 items that Israel permits to pass into Gaza. So just about everything we brought, even though all of it was of a humanitarian or civilian nature, none of it would have been allowed normally to pass into Gaza by Israel.

Revolution: OK, you were talking about the volunteers who were part of this.

Adam Shapiro: Yes, we had people from over 40 countries, including parliamentarians, as well as doctors, journalists, lawyers, tae kwon do champions. You name it, we had them on the ships, and it was quite something. It represents the international position on the blockade, on the occupation of Palestine, and against Israel's policies.

Revolution: When the world originally learned of the attack, except for one brief clip of video uploaded from the ship by survivors, overwhelmingly the "information" released was being supplied by Israel. And many people found the massacre of nine activists on the Mavi Marmara outrageous under any circumstances. But what have you learned from the survivors about what actually happened on the boats?

Adam Shapiro: Just today, one of our activists who had been on the Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmara, her name is Iara Lee, showed about an hour's worth of video she was able to smuggle out with her, at the UN press meeting. And what this video shows, and one of the most important things our video shows is confirmed by testimony of the witnesses, the survivors on this ship, is that while, in fact our passengers, after being attacked by the Israeli military, did manage to capture and disarm three Israeli soldiers, and injured the Israeli soldiers, nonetheless, those soldiers did get medical attention from our doctors on board the ship and were cared for. Nonetheless, all of the injured on our side, as well as a number of people who died, were rejected from getting any kind of medical attention by the Israeli soldiers, once they took control of the ship—in direct violation of international law, in direct violation of Israeli military codes of conduct as well. And according to the testimony of a number of survivors on the ship, including medical personnel, I'm not sure exactly how many of the people who died, but certainly a number of them died because they were denied medical attention.

Revolution: Do you have any insights on the results of the Turkish autopsies on the victims?

Adam Shapiro: We do know from the forensic reports that the nine passengers who were killed were shot a total of 30 times. I think four or five of them were shot in the head, in the skull. Four of them were shot from behind, in the back of the skull or in the back. The report indicates that almost all of them were shot at quite close range. What we do know is that two of the people who were killed were working in the press room. One was a camera man, with a camera, and was filming the Israelis as they took over the boat. He was shot in the head. And another person working on transmitting the video out, communicating with the world via satellite, he was also shot.

Revolution: How do you respond to Israeli claims that they were attacked?

Adam Shapiro: First of all, the operation itself, launched in international waters, of these thousands of Israeli commandos, dozens of ships and Zodiac steamboats, helicopters—there were airplanes flying overhead, and drones—this entire operation carried out against our ship, even if the Israelis had not fired a single bullet, nonetheless constituted the initial attack against our ships. Of course that was the case once they came on board and were firing on our people from helicopters. This is the inception of the attack. Our personnel responded in self-defense once the ships were attacked, both in terms of Israeli soldiers coming on board, and also them using lethal force against our passengers.

Revolution: Fill our readers in on the battle to get the truth out about what happened.

Adam Shapiro: I think we've already been successful, although the mainstream media has for the most part accepted unquestioningly the Israeli tapes that they've given them, I nonetheless have seen—because of our media strategy before the mission took off, to address the media, to involve the media, to have them on our ships, to have spokespeople prepared—we have also been able to shape the story. Not entirely, necessarily. But more than any previous time in which Israel has been engaged in propaganda, they find themselves challenged in their delivery. And the more they are challenged, the more their story is unraveling, the more their spokespeople are coming apart, and the more they are contradicting themselves. We are getting a different perspective out, and more of that will continue to happen.

We're working on disproving the veracity of the pictures and video. We've already forced them to remove and retract a couple of pictures and audio that they claimed were coming from the boats. We're working on proving that their videos have been doctored, and are altered versions of what happened. We've also started taking the testimony of the passengers. We will be filing lawsuits in a number of countries. And we're also pushing for an independent investigation, an international investigation.

Revolution: What's next, and where can people go to learn more?

Adam Shapiro: We will sail again to Gaza and we will also explore other tactics. The sailing to Gaza, using the ships, is a tactic, as part of an overall tactic to bring down the blockade, to lift the occupation of Gaza, and ultimately to fulfill all Palestinian rights. We will continue to try with the boats, but we will try other tactics as well to try to achieve our strategy. We will for sure sail again. Our website is Another website people can visit for more information is

Send us your comments.

Revolution #204, June 20, 2010

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Behind the Silencing of Helen Thomas: Covering Up and Carrying Out Great Crimes

By Alan Goodman

In an article I wrote on the massacre on the Mavi Marmara ("An Outrageous Massacre to Enforce Horrific Crimes," Revolution issue 203, online at, I argued that these killings were carried out to enforce an even greater horror, the slow (or not so slow) strangulation of the 1.5 million people in Gaza by Israel's blockade, a blockade backed up by the USA. In a similar vein, the silencing of one of the very few principled, high-profile U.S. mainstream journalists, ostensibly over a comment she made when a pro-Israel rabbi stuck a camera in her face for an "interview," serves those same ends, and must be protested and opposed.

Before turning to the incident that supposedly precipitated all this, let's note Helen Thomas's actual transgression. In the wake of Israel's slaughter of human rights activists trying to break the blockade of Gaza, Helen Thomas had the audacity to say the obvious, and ask the question everyone should have been asking. She told White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, "If any other nation in the world had done it, we would have been up in arms," and asked: "What is the sacrosanct, iron-clad relationship where a country that deliberately kills people and boycotts—and we aid and abet the boycott?"

I wondered how long they were going to let Helen Thomas ask questions like that.

Not long.

The next day all hell broke loose, ostensibly over another quote from Thomas that she made in the course of a "stick-a-camera-in-your-face" interview by Rabbi David Nesenoff of outside the White House's May 27 Jewish Heritage Celebration.

Now, there are a lot of things you can say, and the powers-that-be and their media and censorship machinery are fine with that. Rand Paul, the darling of the Tea Party Movement and yes, now the Republican Party establishment, can say he wouldn't have voted for the Civil Rights Act because it infringes on the rights of private businesses. And anyone who is offended by that is supposed to quit whining and get a thicker skin. Barack Obama can "joke" in front of the entire Washington press corps that if anyone in the band the Jonas Brothers tries to date "his" daughters, he has 2 words for them: predator drone (the missiles the U.S. uses to wipe out homes full of people in the Middle East from Afghanistan to Yemen)... And anyone who thought that was sick, sadistic, violently patriarchal, and a celebration of cowardly death from the skies was, I guess, supposed to "get a sense of humor."

But let Helen Thomas, the now-forced-out Dean of the White House press corps, say that Israel should "get the hell out of Palestine..." and within hours, Hearst News Service announced her (obviously forced) "retirement." The White House Correspondents' Association—which slavishly accepted and fed the nation Bush's "weapons of mass deception" lies (and then "moved on" when those lies were exposed)—rushed to denounce Thomas. Her speaker's bureau fired her.

Throughout the dark ages of the Bush regime, Helen Thomas stood out, and stood pretty much alone, among mainstream journalists in challenging torture and lies. Four years ago, she asked Bush's Press Secretary Tony Snow a question at a White House press conference that suggested the U.S. supported "collective punishment for Lebanon and Palestine," and this was met with the response: "Well, thank you for the Hezbollah view" (a response that both framed any questioning, dissent, or opposition to Israel and the U.S. as being "with the terrorists," and served as a warning/threat that anyone asking such questions risked being treated like "the terrorists").

And Helen Thomas has had the principles and integrity to refuse to go silent when the Obama administration has continued to carry out endless war and shred civil liberties. In February, Thomas asked Obama at a press conference (framed by saber rattling around Iran) if he knew of any Middle Eastern state with nuclear weapons. An awkward question since, while the U.S. is moving belligerently towards Iran's nuclear program (which so far has yet to produce a single weapon), they enabled and protect Israel's massive nuclear arsenal.

The "Gotcha" Quote

Overtly forcing out the widely admired, 89-year-old "Dean of the White House Press Corps" for asking these embarrassing questions about Israel's crimes, its nuclear arsenal, and the U.S. role in all that might further focus a spotlight on those very questions.

But the ruling class, through the media and its instruments of regulating journalism, did seize on a casual exchange with a pro-Israel rabbi outside a White House celebration of Jewish heritage to silence and discredit Thomas, and also to confuse the nature of Israel, and the U.S. role in backing it.

Accounts of the exchange characterized Thomas as saying that Jews should go back to Russia and Poland, but Thomas initially directed her criticism at Israel. She was asked for her comments on "Israel," and said, "Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine." It was the interviewer who reframed things in terms of "So you're saying the Jews should go back to Poland and Germany?"

While a lot of the focus of attack on Thomas was formulated in terms of accusations of anti-Semitism, what really set off some, including forces who claim to be, or are, "progressive" on other issues, is that Thomas' comments did objectively raise questions about the nature of Israel. For these forces, it's OK for liberals or progressives to criticize some of Israel's most egregious crimes—a bit. But you cannot even ask questions that might raise for examination the actual nature of Israel—that question the right of this state to exist on stolen Palestinian land. Writing at Huffington Post, for example, Hani Almadhoun called Thomas's comments "wrong and hurtful" and complained, "Had she been talking about the militaristic Israeli occupation then her remarks would make a lot more sense. But her untactful remarks have so many plausible meanings that it troubles me a journalist who has a gift of words would make such an ambiguous statement." ("Helen Thomas, Old Journalism Ambushed by the New One," 6/8/10).

But what about the truth? First, it is a fact that most Jewish people in Israel are from Europe, or descendants of people who immigrated from Europe, living on land seized through terroristic ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. And Helen Thomas was accurate to say, "Remember, these people are occupied, and it's their land, not German and not Polish."

Jewish people who resent being resented for Israel's crimes (like white people who resent being blamed for white racism and the history of the oppression of Black people in this country) need to loudly and unequivocally speak out against Israel's crimes. And you can and must refuse to let the same imperialist system that carried out the holocaust (German imperialists, while the other "great powers" essentially stood by because it wasn't in their strategic interests to make an issue out of it at the time) now justify Israel's crimes on that basis.

Backing Israel, a widely despised Zionist state in the Middle East, poses real contradictions for the rulers of the U.S. This is acutely the case now, when they are trying to cobble together alliances with various forces, including Islamic forces, in Iraq and Afghanistan, as part of their endless war to enforce U.S. domination in a geostrategic part of the world. But Israel plays a unique, and strategic role as an enforcer for U.S. interests in the Middle East and beyond, and whatever tension is involved in that, this is a strategic relationship that the U.S. finds essential. And this is the case even when Israel does things that in the short term are problematic for the U.S. (for a concentrated analysis of the relationship between Israel and the U.S., see "Bringing Forward Another Way" by Bob Avakian, at, particularly the section "Israel and Its 'Special Role' in Relation to U.S. Imperialism").

In a speech in the aftermath of the massacre on the Mavi Marmara, I surveyed two defining moments in the history and role of the state of Israel—military and technology support for the apartheid regime in South Africa, and Israel's indispensable role in the slaughter of some 180,000 Mayan villagers in Guatemala in the early 1980s—horrific crimes carried out in service of the U.S. empire. And I argued that "[W]henever there is something too obscene, too bloody, too obviously immoral, that if the U.S. did it, it would look bad, it would alienate people, and work against the strategic objectives of U.S. empire the U.S. can always count on Israel."

All of this is why Helen Thomas' questions were ruled "out of order."

Stop Censoring the Truth!

Anyone who is against censorship, who values critical thinking and the right of journalists to speak out and voice their opinion—must take a stand against what has been done to Helen Thomas.

And anyone with a sense of right, wrong, and the truth should feel compelled to dig deeply into why "our" government covers up and censors basic truths about Israel, and what that reveals about the whole global setup. And then to act politically against Israel's crimes.

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Revolution #204, June 20, 2010

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Killer of Oscar Grant on Trial

The cell phone videos from the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station tell the story:

The New Year's Eve killing was quick. It took only minutes for the cops to drag Oscar Grant and his friends off the BART train, threaten them, beat them, and yell racist slurs at them. You can hear the people on the train shouting, "That's fucked up!" as some of the cops assault the youth. At the end of these few minutes, BART cop Johannes Mehserle bends over Oscar, pushing him down, then steps back, yanks his gun from its holster, and shoots. Then, just before the train pulls out, Mehserle and another cop, Tony Pirone, roughly turn Oscar over, look at the gunshot wound, and prepare to handcuff him as he lies bleeding on the platform.

The murder trial of Johannes Mehserle, the now-ex-cop who shot Oscar Grant, has been forced by the actions of the people: those who took the video, and those who protested and rebelled. And the trial is moving very quickly. Great vigilance is needed.

No Black people chosen to sit on the jury!

After all five African-American people in the first group of 50 potential jurors were removed, the defense and prosecution agreed on a jury. As they exited court, people close to Oscar Grant expressed shock and outrage. There are now six whites, five Latinos and one of South Asian descent chosen from the first pool of 50 jurors. According to the San Jose Mercury News, two of the Black people were removed by the judge and the other three were removed by "peremptory challenges" by Mehserle's attorney. A peremptory challenge means that no reason has to be given for the removal. As if this wasn't enough, four of the 12 jurors who will decide whether a white ex-cop will be found guilty of murdering a Black man have family or friends who are police! There are also no African-Americans among the six alternate jurors chosen. (Los Angeles County is at least nine per cent African-American.)

This is the so-called system of justice of judges and courts in America: where a Black man can be murdered by a white ex-cop in cold blood—and yet the laws allow for a jury to be selected which has no Black people who have spent a lifetime, as Oscar Grant did in his short life, facing discrimination and the threat of police violence, and who might judge the evidence in that light. It can all be found to be legal... for the judge to throw Black jurors out, for the defense to peremptorily challenge others, and for the prosecution to go along with it all. As we have pointed out before, when the cops are defendants, prosecutors forget how to prosecute. This system of justice—and these laws—reflect and enforce the basic economic and social relations in this society. The law fundamentally enforces a system of inequality, domination, and exploitation, including the oppression and subjugation of Black people and works to "legitimize" the violence the police use to maintain the whole setup.

The opening days of the trial—police lies and new evidence

Mehserle is facing murder charges, and central to the legal terms of the trial is whether Mehserle deliberately used his gun. Or whether, as Mehserle's attorney contends, he pulled and fired it accidentally. In his opening statement, Mehserle's attorney Michael Rains argued that Oscar Grant and his friends were actively resisting arrest, that they were trying to strike the cops, that Oscar himself, face down on the concrete, was resisting so Mehserle decided to tase him, but mistakenly drew his gun instead.

But the videos show the cops as the aggressors: tasers out, barking orders, pushing and shoving. Three of the four eyewitnesses so far have testified that Oscar was complying, and not resisting, when he was shot, and that it was the cops who were the aggressors at all times. Only one of the witnesses said that he saw possible hand or arm motions from Oscar when the police threw him on the ground.

Jamil Dewar, a teenage friend of Oscar's, testified, "I started recording because I had never seen anything like this in my life." As the video he took was played in the courtroom, the sound of the gunshot caused him to break down and sob out loud as his own voice was heard in the recording, "He shot my cousin. He shot my cousin, blood?"

In the videos, Oscar Grant can be seen using his own cell phone as a camera during the assault as he sat on the concrete. And at the trial, for the first time a picture from his cell phone was shown in court. It shows Mehserle in front of Oscar, looking to his right but pointing a taser directly at Oscar. Sometime between then and the shot which killed Grant, Mehserle re-holstered the taser, and, looking down at his gun, unfastened and pulled it from its holster on the opposite side of his body. This clearly shows that Mehserle knew which was the gun and which was the taser, and in that brief period of police violence he chose at the end to shoot his gun.

Everything that has happened so far shows the need for a stepped up struggle to demand justice for Oscar Grant. Protest and resistance is crucial. A demonstration is planned for Monday, June 14. (See Revolution #203, June 13, 2010.) Already each morning people have been coming early in hopes of getting a seat in the packed courtroom. Protesters have had a presence outside the courthouse, wearing and displaying signs and T-shirts with the image of Oscar's face and the words "Justice for Oscar Grant."

Thanks to Thandisizwe Chimurenga for help on descriptions of what happened in the courtroom. Her articles on the trial can be found at

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Revolution #204, June 20, 2010

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Prisoner Writes on Palestine:

"Their country is literally a prison"

The following excerpts are from a letter written by a reader who is in prison:

The situation in Palestine and Israel has been one of violence and death for as long as most people have been alive. Now that technology has taken off we now see images on the American mainstream media of Israeli troops mostly walking nonchalantly through Palestinian neighborhoods or the common "money shot"—Palestinians throwing rocks at Israeli tanks, these were the images I had in my mind all my life so if I was in conversation about Palestine or Israel those are the images that would always come to mind. Most people know that Palestine is occupied by Israel but not all understand to what degree this occupation entails.


The Prison Ban on Revolution Newspaper is Inhumane and Unconstitutional

Overturn the Ban!

Imagine you are in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) of a prison, locked in a solitary cell for 23 or more hours a day, every day, year after year. Your lifeline to the world is a newspaper and all of a sudden prison officials decide that you cannot read it anymore. As a prisoner wrote: "I've been getting the Revolution paper for about 8 years and can't imagine being in this dungeon without it."

In February 2010, prison officials at California's Pelican Bay State Prison declared that Revolution newspaper was banned from their institution. The ban must be OVERTURNED.

Many people from all sections of society who have listened to these prisoners' voices have been struck by the power of their words and their moral vision for transforming society. Now it is up to those on the outside to make sure this lifeline is not cut off and these voices are not muffled, or worse, silenced.

For important developments in this struggle, see "Pelican Bay State Prison Feels the Heat - Prison Officials Attempt a Cover-up of the Ban on Revolution Newspaper - Mobilize to Say: NO WAY! " in Revolution #203.

I was recently able to receive Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories by Anna Baltzer...It was a beautiful book of struggle against unbelievable cruelty. Witness in Palestine had vivid photographs on almost every page, photographs that show the bitter-sweet life under an occupied armed force. The constant repression is excellently recorded in these pictures that gives one the feeling of being there at the checkpoints and home demolitions, yet these pictures also show the children raising the Palestinian flag or the people with barely enough to eat offering platters of food to their International visitors.

Being a prisoner housed in a California Security Housing Unit (S.H.U) which is a control unit, I can empathize with the Palestinians being imprisoned for what basically amounts to "thought crimes," and Palestinians are imprisoned, their country is literally a prison with prison walls and guntowers, yet the situation facing the Palestinians is much more than that; it is a slow genocide they are experiencing...

The situation we have of the U.S. funneling taxpayers' money to Israel for weapons or "security," i.e. the prison wall, "settlements," which are basically suburban like gated communities on Palestinian land or any other "projects" Israel sees fit, this is no different than when Israel assisted the South African Apartheid government with weapons, "security," etc. It amazes me how all the U.S. supposed "liberal democrats" do nothing to stop the billions going to finance this Apartheid regime in Israel. The Apartheid conditions are blatant—paved highways for "Israeli only" folks, the neighborhoods for "Israeli only" folks, and the shanty towns for the "Arab only" folks, the list goes on but people from the U.S. particularly will notice the unbearable resemblance to the Jim Crow South in pre-civil rights America. Meanwhile, the U.S. media leaves the people of America blind to the atrocities committed upon the Palestinians. Ask anyone on an American street if they heard of Israel's "citizenship law," and you will probably get a blank look. The "citizenship law" prevents Palestinians who marry Israelis from becoming citizens of Israel; even kids born to a parent from Israel and a parent from Gaza or West Bank must move out of Israel at age 12!...

I became angry and passionate at times reading Witness in Palestine, and at the same time there were some warm stories of the Palestinian people full of love, courage, and undying self-determination. I remember one picture in the book of a drawing by a Palestinian child who drew in crayon a scene of Israeli soldiers with tanks aggressively pursuing Palestinians with guns...

The methods being employed on the Palestinians to break their will to resist an illegal occupation are used in all levels of Israeli society, from the prison wall, military raids, flying roadblocks, of water and livestock, even schoolchildren are constantly reminded of their threat of attack from walking to and from school seeing the Israeli graffiti of Star of David and "Death to Arabs," to Israeli schoolchildren and teachers singing taunts to the Palestinian children walking by! I have even seen on T.V. here in America on a news program about vendors in Tel Aviv where a shop sold T-shirts stating such things as "save a bullet and shoot a pregnant Palestinian." So this anti-Arab sentiment is openly displayed through all levels of society in Israel/Palestine. The situation is a very racist one, the attempt to exterminate a people can be found in history of America, South Africa and Nazi Germany and now in Israel. The dialectic aspect to these horrors is of Baltzer and other people like Baltzer of Jewish descent who see the atrocity in occupied Palestine and go past just recognizing the atrocity but using her Jewish privilege in Israel and Palestine to not only make a huge difference locally but Internationally as well...

I salute you, Anna Baltzer, for your revolutionary stance in unity with the oppressed peoples of Palestine, and I salute the Palestinian people for their courage and fighting spirit for what is absolutely their right to self-determination and humanity. After reading this book I, a Chicano prisoner held captive in a control unit, am also a "witness to Palestine." With that said, I would like to end with the following words—If necessity is the mother of invention, then repression is the mother of resistance.

In unity

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Revolution #204, June 20, 2010

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Revolutionary Strategy

Some Principles for Building A Movement for Revolution

At every point, we must be searching out the key concentrations of social contradictions and the methods and forms which can strengthen the political consciousness of the masses, as well as their fighting capacity and organization in carrying out political resistance against the crimes of this system; which can increasingly bring the necessity, and the possibility, of a radically different world to life for growing numbers of people; and which can strengthen the understanding and determination of the advanced, revolutionary-minded masses in particular to take up our strategic objectives not merely as far-off and essentially abstract goals (or ideals) but as things to be actively striven for and built toward.

The objective and orientation must be to carry out work which, together with the development of the objective situation, can transform the political terrain, so that the legitimacy of the established order, and the right and ability of the ruling class to rule, is called into question, in an acute and active sense, throughout society; so that resistance to this system becomes increasingly broad, deep and determined; so that the "pole" and the organized vanguard force of revolutionary communism is greatly strengthened; and so that, at the decisive time, this advanced force is able to lead the struggle of millions, and tens of millions, to make revolution.



Fight the power, and transform the people, for revolution.

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Revolution #204, June 20, 2010

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Support... Sustain... Revolution

We ARE BUILDING a movement for revolution, concentrated now in mounting the campaign: The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have. The point: to familiarize millions with the goal and character of communist revolution, as it has been reconceived by Bob Avakian, to inject this into the discourse in a radically creative and urgent way, and to make known very broadly in society the leadership of Bob Avakian—giving people a sense of the work he is carrying out, his history and character as a rare and outstanding communist leader, and—on the broadest level—his connection to revolution... and through all this to begin forging a core of dedicated, ardent fighters for this revolution.

We ARE INITIATING a new stage of communist revolution—with a leader, Bob Avakian, who has analyzed both the overwhelming achievements of the first stage of the revolution, and the significant shortcomings and problems... and developed a new synthesis that can take things further. And this paper is a major outlet for that new synthesis, both its foundations and basic principles, and in its ongoing development.

Today Revolution newspaper and the online edition is a lifeline and scaffolding for this movement. Thousands of people already read this newspaper every week—including many, many people in countries around the world—from those who value its unique analysis of events, to those who are learning what is worth living, and dying for, through its pages. It is an entry way for many thousands more—and potentially for tens and then hundreds of thousands more.

Your financial support is URGENTLY needed to enable this paper to flourish and develop, and indeed to continue its regular publication.

This is a time when the future is openly in the balance. After Copenhagen... and in the midst of brave people refusing to take it any more, from Iran to Oakland to the universities in California... there is a crying need for a vision, for an analysis, that reveals the real inter-connections between things, and that shows a real way out.

The restless and dissatisfied, the questioning ones, will hear about the "tea party" movement, they will be inundated with quasi-fascist conspiracy theories on the one hand and the killing confines of choosing between Republicans and Democrats on the other.

But will they get to read analyses that actually lay bare the real causes and real solutions of the horrors of today, and the greater horrors in the making? And will they not only learn about the horrors, but also the potential heights of humanity? Will they hear about Avakian's vision of revolution and have a chance to get to know what this rare and unique leader is all about? Will they be exposed to the movement for revolution that comes to life in its pages, spreading its advances, analyzing its problems, and criticizing itself where it falls short? Will they learn that there is a party that is actually and actively preparing people to make a revolution that could really bring about the changes that we need?

Only if you support this. Act—supporting this paper in both its print and online editions, and winning others to do so, is vital work toward revolution. Sustain this paper every month! Donate now!

How to donate/sustain:

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Revolution #204, June 20, 2010

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What Is Communist Revolution?

It is this system that has got us in the situation we're in today, and keeps us there. And it is through revolution to get rid of this system that we ourselves can bring a much better system into being. The ultimate goal of this revolution is communism: A world where people work and struggle together for the common good...Where everyone contributes whatever they can to society and gets back what they need to live a life worthy of human beings...Where there are no more divisions among people in which some rule over and oppress others, robbing them not only of the means to a decent life but also of knowledge and a means for really understanding, and acting to change, the world.
This revolution is both necessary and possible.

From: The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have
A Message, And A Call,
From The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #204, June 20, 2010

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Who Is Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party?

In Bob Avakian, the Chairman of our Party, we have the kind of rare and precious leader who does not come along very often. A leader who has given his heart, and all his knowledge, skills and abilities to serving the cause of revolution and the emancipation of humanity. Bob Avakian came alive as a revolutionary in the 1960s—taking part in the great movements of those days, and especially working and struggling closely with the most advanced revolutionary force in the U.S. at that time, the Black Panther Party. Since then, and while many others have given up, Bob Avakian has worked and struggled tirelessly to find the way to go forward, having learned crucial lessons and built lasting organization that could continue the struggle, and aim to take it higher, while uniting with the same struggle throughout the world. He has kept on developing the theory and strategy for making revolution. He played the key role in founding our Party in 1975, and since then he has continued the battle to keep the Party on the revolutionary road, to carry out work with a strong revolutionary orientation. He has deeply studied the experience of revolution—the shortcomings as well as the great achievements—and many different fields of human endeavor, through history and throughout the world—and he has brought the science and method of revolution to a whole new level, so that we can not only fight but really fight to win. Bob Avakian has developed the scientific theory and strategic orientation for how to actually make the kind of revolution we need, and he is leading our Party as an advanced force of this revolution. He is a great champion and a great resource for people here, and indeed people all over the world. The possibility for revolution, right here, and for the advance of the revolution everywhere, is greatly heightened because of Bob Avakian and the leadership he is providing. And it is up to us to get with this find out more about Bob Avakian and the Party he learn from his scientific method and approach to changing the build this revolutionary movement with our Party at the defend this leadership as the precious thing it is...and, at the same time, to bring our own experience and understanding to help strengthen the process of revolution and enable the leadership we have to keep on learning more and leading even better.

From: The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have
A Message, And A Call,
From The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

Send us your comments.