Revolution #210, August 29, 2010

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party,USA

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Revolution #210, August 29, 2010

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Murderous NYPD Rampage in Harlem

Early Sunday morning, August 8, Harlem, New York City. People had been out barbecuing and listening to music at a block party all day Saturday and into the night.  It was a typical New York City thing on a beautiful summer day. 

All that changed when police converged on the street party.

A fight had broken out between two men, 22-year-old Luis Soto and 23-year-old Angel Alvarez.  New York City police officers responded by unleashing mayhem and death. At least 46 gunshots rang out through the streets of this uptown neighborhood. As police fired off a hail of gunfire, chaos erupted in the streets. The 500 people at the block party scrambled for cover. A man who lives in the neighborhood described the scene: "People were running everywhere, grabbing kids and tripping over each other."

When the shooting stopped, Luis Soto lay dead, killed by a police bullet. Angel Alvarez was shot at least 20 times by police and survived. Three other people from the community were wounded by gunfire. One said, "I was walking across the street when I heard some shots like, bwop, bwop, bwop." From his hospital bed he added, "Then I saw the detective in plainclothes, and he was yelling, 'Put your hands up, put your hands up.' And I was just trying to tell him that I was shot."

The police were shooting so wildly and recklessly, with so little regard for human life, even two of their own officers were hit by police bullets.

The details of what set all this off are unclear. Police and authorities themselves have given differing accounts of what happened. Mainstream news accounts seem to indicate that the district attorney claims Soto had a gun, Alvarez took it from him, and fired it during the fight. This story is contradicted by a report at which said that "witnesses have claimed that police were the only ones to fire guns that morning, and that Soto was handcuffed and unarmed when he was killed."

Whatever happened, the police rampage was followed up by massive disinformation and coverup. The next day, Monday August 9, the New York Times reported, "Police officials said the officers' use of force appeared to be justified."  The authorities and media tried to demonize the victims of the police rampage—they repeatedly identified both Soto and Alvarez as having criminal records, as if this justified the police delivering and carrying out a death sentence on the spot.  And the New York Times quoted an assistant DA describing Alvarez as a man with a "history of anger towards police," as if "anger towards police" is irrational, or a crime, or a justification for shooting someone 20 times.

The following facts seem at this point to be undisputed in all published accounts of the incident:

* * *

There are a lot of ways to defuse and handle a fight. But listen to what a witness to the shooting spree at the Harlem block party told the New York Times, "Never once did you hear, 'Freeze.'" And, he added, "Never once did you hear, 'Stop.' Never once did you hear, 'N.Y.P.D.'" Instead, the police just started firing. Interviewed after the shooting, one resident said of the police: "People feel like they have no concern for life."

If this system can't handle a situation like this differently than what went down in Harlem, then this system needs to get out of the way. Revolutionary state power could handle a situation like this in any number of ways with a much different—and better—outcome. And in a new socialist society, if we were faced with a situation like this, we would sooner have one of our own people's police killed than go off and wantonly start blasting away at a block party full of people. That's what you're supposed to do if you're actually serving the people. You go out there and put your own life on the line, rather than just murder someone and shoot up a crowd of 500 people.

The police say they're there to "serve and protect." Bullshit. They serve and protect the brutal reality of this capitalist system. If the system's police were really there to serve and protect the people, they would have found any way but the way they did it to handle this scene. They could have and would have found a solution that was much better than this. But the police in this society don't—and won't—act that way, because their mission is to enforce all the ugly relations of oppression and exploitation in this society, including the subjugation of Black, Latino, and other oppressed people.

A new socialist society would handle an incident like the one that happened in Harlem by valuing the lives of the masses of people—as opposed to this capitalist society and system, where one key role of the police is to terrorize the masses, especially Black and Latino youth, including shooting and killing people almost at random. This is because the more arbitrary the terror, the more broadly it sends a message, and keeps people under the boot of the system.

This is a system that is utterly unfit to run society. Even if the constant police terror, brutality, and murder in the inner cities of the United States was the only thing wrong with this system—which it is not—that would be reason enough for a revolution to bring a whole different kind of state power into being.

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

It is a system of capitalism-imperialism...a system in which U.S. imperialism is the most monstrous, most oppressive superpower...a system driven by a relentless chase after profit, which brings horror upon horror, a nightmare seemingly without end, for the vast majority of humanity: poverty and squalor...torture and rape...the wholesale domination and degradation of women everywhere...wars, invasions and occupations... assassinations and massacres...planes, missiles, tanks and troops of the USA bombarding people in faraway lands while they sleep in their homes or go about their daily lives, blasting their little children to pieces, cutting down men and women in the prime of life, or in old age, kicking down their doors and dragging them away in the middle of the night...while here in the USA itself the police harass, brutalize and murder youth in the streets of the inner cities—over and over again—and then they spit out their maddening insults, insisting that this is "justified," as if these youth are not human beings, have no right to live, deserve no respect and no future.

Send us your comments.

Revolution #210, August 29, 2010

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Glenn Beck, the "Founding Fathers"
...and A REAL Radical Alternative

Part 1

By Revolution Research

Over the past few years, Glenn Beck has called the overwhelmingly poor and Black survivors of Hurricane Katrina locked down in the Superdome—in his words—"scumbags." He has ranted that progressives are a "cancer" that have to be "eradicated" from America. On an episode of his TV show, Beck envisioned—with barely concealed glee—an armed uprising of "bubbas" (white racists). He claims Barack Obama's White House is highly influenced if not run by communists, and that Obama "has a deep seated hatred for white people and white culture." A wide-ranging array of right-wing militia members, Tea Party mobs, and heavily armed desperate people get much of their picture of the world, along with organizational direction, from him.

But Glenn Beck argues that all he is really saying is that the U.S. needs to return to the government envisioned and prescribed by the "Founding Fathers" in the U.S. Constitution. To return to the days before "big government" got so out of hand, with the collusion of both parties, before a tax-obsessed political class enslaved the middle class to fund programs that feed the corrupt and lazy—from Wall Street to those on welfare.

Is Glenn Beck ideologizing and organizing a draconian, racist, and ominous reactionary movement? Is he a harbinger of, and organizer for, fascism? Or, as he claims, is he simply basing himself on the values and vision of the "Founding Fathers"?

The answer, as we shall see, is... both. And that poses a profound challenge to all who are outraged by what Beck spews out and represents.

The Values of the "Founding Fathers"  and the Reality of America

Glenn Beck constantly invokes an ideal society of individuals striving for "success" in competition with each other, with minimal government interference in that process. He can claim—with justification in doing so—that he is drawing on the "Founding Fathers'" ideal of how society should be organized.

Before turning to the fact that many of the "Founding Fathers" (including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison) were slave owners, let's take the vision of the "Founding Fathers" at its "best." In his writings, Thomas Jefferson extolled a society based on the "yeoman"—that is, the small farmer. Jefferson put forward a vision of society defined by more-or-less equal small property owners. It is this vision that Beck invokes, and that a substantial audience finds appealing.

This small-farmer based society never really existed in the U.S. Of course, many people were small farmers in much of U.S. history. But Jefferson, as well as Washington, Madison, and others, represented and were themselves part of a class of large property owners—including slave owners. Their own wealth was the product of the enslavement of other human beings. More fundamentally, they acted as the political and literary representatives of a class of exploiters. And it was the outlook and interests of those large, exploitive landowners on the one hand, and the budding capitalists on the other, that were represented in the U.S. Constitution. The state they created claimed to represent everyone. In practice, it represented—and could only represent—the dominant class of the day. Thus even the rumor of slave rebellions resulted in suppression of the slaves. And even rebellions by poor (white) farmers in the early days of the U.S., for example, were violently suppressed by this same state.

But even if a society of relatively equal small farmers could have been somehow created, such a society would quickly evolve in the direction of the world we live in today—a society of gaping divisions between haves and have-nots, between exploiters and exploited. A state—with an army and executive at its core—would of necessity be constructed to protect the interests of the "haves" and suppress the "have-nots," and to contend violently with other capitalist-imperialist nations to plunder the globe and oppress other nations. And this society would give rise to a culture, values, and laws that flowed from, and served, that class which had risen to the top to exploit the rest.

Why is this inevitable? In the "yeoman" society idealized by Jefferson, for example, some farmers with better land, stronger families, better weather, etc., would soon prosper. Other farmers who held comparatively worse land, or who were hit with poor health or had small families without children to work their land, would fall behind and go into debt. Before long, they would be ruined and crushed. Thus in the "natural workings" of all this, a few would rise to the top of the heap, while those who drew the short stick in terms of land, resources, etc., would be forced to sell themselves—specifically under capitalism, their ability to work—to those who had the means to hire them. Those who ended up owning the means of production—land, farm implements, livestock, etc.—would be in a position to exploit others by paying them only enough to survive and give birth to new wage slaves, while appropriating all the great wealth. And again, those who "rose to the top" of even this ideal process would very quickly stop working themselves and instead devote their time to supervising the exploitation of others who had been forced by economic necessity to work for them. And this process would, as it has in the real world, grind on, driven only by the blind laws of capitalism, crushing most of those caught in its workings.

In walking through how this would unfold, we can see an example of why even if there is formal equality, this can only mask and perpetuate profound inequality and exploitation. And of course, the founding of America was far from this ideal—it came about in actual historical fact on the foundation of the near genocide committed against the peoples who lived here—the Native Americans—and the enslavement for centuries of millions who had been kidnapped from Africa.

The "Sanctity" of Capitalist Property Rights

Glenn Beck insists that the "Founding Fathers" saw private property, and property rights, as the most sacred thing of all. And he's right. In Glenn Beck's Common Sense: The Case Against an Out-of-Control Government, Inspired by Thomas Paine, Beck highlights a quote from John Adams, one of the "Founding Fathers," which does capture the essence of the "freedoms" sanctified in the Constitution: "The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence." (p. 82)1

But the U.S. Constitution when written reflected, and enforced, the needs of very specific forms of property—the forms of property that conformed to capitalism on the one hand, and slavery on the other. With the Civil War in 1861-65, the Constitution was amended to outlaw slavery and to much more fully correspond to, and serve to extend, capitalist forms of exploitation. This is the private property that the U.S. Constitution protects above all. When the owner of Whole Foods declared, during the healthcare debate, that there is no constitutional right to healthcare, he was being heartless and cold-blooded, but he was right about the U.S. Constitution. Beyond that, there is definitely nothing in the U.S. Constitution that prohibits exploitation.

The enshrinement of property rights as the most "sacred" right took shape "on the ground" in the early days of U.S. society, in the form of violently stealing the land of the Native peoples and declaring it the "private property" of those who stole it (or in whose interests it was stolen). And it took the form of suppression of uprisings of the lower classes, including slaves.

What is "sanctified" here is the right of the capitalists to appropriate the labor of others; to accumulate ever greater wealth and power through that accumulation; and to use that wealth and power to dominate the instrument of the state and use the state to further suppress the exploited classes. Today the greatest part of the needs of society by far is met through the collective labor of the main suppressed class in society, the proletariat; but this socialized labor is privately appropriated by the relative handful of capitalists. Among the capitalists, it can only, and always has, led to cutthroat competition and production in which things are blindly thrown onto the market in the hopes that they will outsell the competition, with no rational overall plan based on social need guiding that production. It has led, and can only lead, to wars and other forms of contention between nation-states that serve as "home bases" for blocs of capital as well as the ongoing massive invasions, slaughters, proxy wars and military actions of all kinds waged against the oppressed nations and peoples of the world. In short, sanctifying private property can only lead to the world of exploitation, oppression, blood, and cruelty we live in today, where property rights—specifically the right of capitalists to own and control the great productive resources of society—are sacred above all else.

Thus the capitalist declarations that "all men are created equal" conceal a very basic and extremely fundamental fact about the capitalist system. The capitalist and the proletarian (i.e., the propertyless laborer) confront one another in the marketplace as legal equals. One exchanges her or his ability to work for wages; the other exchanges wages for the other's work for a set period of time. But this very exchange of equals is based on, and further deepens, a very unequal, exploitative, and oppressive relation between two classes: one which owns the means of producing things (factories, etc.) and thus pays wages; and one which owns nothing but their ability to work for wages (leaving aside personal possessions like a car to get to work, etc.), and thus must search for someone to employ them.

In the U.S. the concealment of inequality through the seeming exchange between equals was further compounded by the fact that the notion of equality was reserved for white men. No such formal equality was promised to Black people, Native Americans, and people of mixed race. Pariah classes (people considered sub-human in the laws and culture of the new American society) were created. Thus an ideological bond was forged, from the beginning of this country, where white people who were not part of the ruling class in large part identified with their ruling class oppressors in opposition to Blacks and Native Americans.2

We have spent so much time taking this apart because Beck himself bases so much of his ideological appeal on "going back to the Constitution." And while it is true, as we shall see, that Beck in fact actually supports the elimination of some of the legal rights now promised by the U.S. Constitution, really taking on Beck cannot be confined to defending those elements of the Constitution which do protect some of the legal rights of the people, but requires getting into the overall oppressive character of that Constitution.

Yes, It Really IS About RACISM

Glenn Beck takes great offense at any who would dare to call him or his followers out for racism. For example, in mid-July, the NAACP objected to "the Tea Party's continued tolerance for bigotry and bigoted statements." To which Glenn Beck replied, "What statements are those? I haven't seen any." Well, overt racists and racist statements are at every Tea Party event, ranging from glorification of the Confederacy (and slavery) to people with signs depicting Obama with a bone in his nose in a grass skirt in front of an African hut... in whiteface... or as an African witch doctor (see "The Right Wing Populist Eruption: Yes, It Actually IS Racism," Revolution #178, October 4, 2009).

And no, these are not so-called "fringe elements" of this movement championed by Beck. A week after the NAACP statement, Mark Williams, the leader of the Tea Party Express, one of the most influential Tea Party groups, posted a viciously racist rant in the form of a so-called "parody" letter from former slaves to President Lincoln expressing—in the venomous words of a Tea Party leader—that slavery was "[A] great gig. Three squares, room and board, all our decisions made by the massa in the house." And, "We Coloreds have taken a vote and decided that we don't cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us Colored People and we demand that it stop!" And this racist rant went on to say—again supposedly in the words of an ex-slave but actually expressing the racism of this Tea Party leader, "how will we Colored People ever get a wide screen TV in every room if non-coloreds get to keep what they earn?"3

But on an even more fundamental level, Glenn Beck doesn't have to, himself, invoke crude, overt racist name-calling to qualify as a big-time racist. His "lower taxes" and "smaller government" message serves, in large part, to whip up racist hatred of Black people and Latinos, especially poor people in the inner cities. When Beck inflames his readers with rhetoric about "[W]hile you worked hard, lived prudently, and spent wisely, those who did the opposite are now being bailed out at your expense," he is using what are by now well-known "code words" to unleash exactly these kinds of vicious racist outbursts.

After all, Glenn Beck's opposition to taxes and big government does not extend to the single greatest, by far, recipient of U.S. "tax dollars," the massive military apparatus that makes the U.S. empire possible, enforcing capitalist-imperialist exploitation, rape of the environment, and crushing of political opposition of all types around the world. Beck is a gung-ho supporter of the whole U.S. war in the Middle East and beyond.

Nor do Beck's rants against "big government" include, for example, opposition to massive subsidization of the oil industry in the form of ("taxpayer funded") research, infrastructure like roads, and massive tax breaks. So... what does that leave? Basic government services that—in the warped world of Beck and his followers—are handouts to Blacks and Latinos. The fact that Tea Partiers can consistently demand (and be told by their leaders) "Keep your government hands off my Medicare" reveals, yes, that this is a movement of people incapable of critical thinking. But even more fundamentally, it illustrates the mindset of a section of people for whom government programs that serve them aren't really government programs at all!4 Things like Medicare are, as they see it, programs that they (as white people) are just naturally entitled to. But government programs, no matter how pitiful, that ostensibly provide any assistance to non-whites are seen as handing out "hard earned tax money" to—as Beck called the desperate poor Black people trapped in the New Orleans Superdome after Hurricane Katrina—in Beck's words "scumbags."

In short, Glenn Beck's calls for "small government" and "lower taxes" are code words for racism.

Glenn Beck's Racist, Wrong-Headed Rants Against Reparations

Leading up to passage of Obama's extremely limited "healthcare reform," Glenn Beck declared, "Barack Obama is setting up universal healthcare, universal college, green jobs as stealth reparations. That way the victim status is maintained. And he also brings back back-door reparations."

Here Beck is referring to the demand that reparations be given to African-American people for two and a half centuries of horrific slave labor. To which it must be said: What would be wrong with that? Reparations for the horrors of slavery, for the uncounted wealth extracted from the sweat and blood of slaves, for the barbaric moral crime, and for the deep and profound legacy of slavery today... this is a just demand. Reparations to the descendants of African-American slaves, no matter how large, could only scratch the surface of, and not be enough to undo, the great injustice and barbaric crime of slavery.

And that's not just history, that's present-day reality. The rise of the United States, historically, and as it exists today, is intimately and integrally bound up with and in large part was built on the enslavement of African-Americans. The vast wealth literally beaten, bled, and sweated out of African-American slaves, and later Black sharecroppers in the South, was a key element of the foundation of the USA as it developed, and as we know it today. This was obviously true in the South—where during and after slavery, the slavemaster's children lived in big houses and attended universities based on the wealth produced by slaves or sharecroppers, while the children of slaves and sharecroppers got only the basic necessities of life, if that.

This was also true in the North, where banking, shipping, manufacturing, and a relatively high standard of living for many resulted directly or indirectly from slavery.5 To the extent the slave system (and the links between the Confederacy and British manufacturing and capitalism) impeded—got in the way of—the growth of northern capitalism, this problem was "solved" for the capitalist class with the victory of the North in the Civil War. After the Civil War, Black people were no longer literally owned as property. But their oppression now took the form of near-slavery conditions in the sharecropping system.

On the other side of the coin, the history of this country has been characterized by providing petty, though socially significant, privileges to many whites. And this has been the case even though in the most basic sense, this system has not at all functioned in the actual interests of most white people. And those who have not gone along with the program, who have stepped out of line, protested, rebelled, or even tried to think critically get hit with the "iron fist" of the system.

From the beginning, lands stolen from the Native Americans were parceled out to white farmers. After the Civil War, their children got government subsidized training in advanced agricultural techniques and engineering at land-grant colleges. (Of course, Glenn Beck and his followers would no doubt have supported these "government handouts.")

After World War 2, all this became even more systematic. In the wake of World War 2, the U.S. pounced on the oppressed nations of Asia, Africa, and Latin America (that had formerly been dominated by European nations) and incorporated much of the world into its empire. On the basis of extreme exploitation of people in the Third World (Asia, Africa, Latin America), the U.S. ruling class was able to provide substantial sections of the U.S. population with a high standard of living, as measured in things like the "freedom" to live in a segregated suburb, drive a car, and to spend 30 years at, and retire from, a secure—if mind-numbing—job.

And that "American Way of Life" was always rooted in white supremacy and saturated with white racism. After World War 2, for example, federal agencies provided home loans to white veterans—while Black people were kept out of the suburbs, subjected to pervasive discrimination in loans, and funneled into overcrowded, substandard inner-city housing projects by official U.S. government policies. And again—this was a matter of federal government policy.6 Two "Americas," separate and highly unequal, continued to exist, even as this took new and evolving forms.

On this economic foundation, a superstructure—that is, laws, political and social institutions, culture, morality, and other ideas—was erected. Among the main ideas in this superstructure was the utterly false notion that the high standard of living in the U.S. was due to the "work ethic" of its (white) citizens—when in fact this had been due to a combination of the theft of an entire continent, the kidnapping and enslavement for centuries of a people, and a long history of predatory wars and military actions waged overseas. This idea would be laughable—if it weren't so widely accepted and so terribly vicious in its effects.

And through all this, through the workings of this system, and through conscious policies to promote white privilege, the rulers of the U.S. have kept large sections of the population in the U.S. relatively secure, pacified, and loyal.

But all that is under extreme stress and strain today, and threatens to come apart at the seams. And as that happens, huge questions are posed as to how to, and whether or not to, pull this system of horrors back together again... or to fight to bring forward a whole different kind of world. As we shall see in Part 2, Glenn Beck poses an extremely racist, extremely fascist answer to this question. As we shall also see, and explain, other sections of the ruling class at this point remain paralyzed in the face of Beck and his ilk. But, as we shall also show, there IS another answer... there IS another way... out of the deepening crisis now enmeshing U.S. society.

To be continued

1. Beck immediately follows this quote in Glenn Beck's Common Sense with a quote from Karl Marx, "The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property." While this quote has been distorted by claims that it means nobody will have any personal property (even a toothbrush), Marx and Engels made it clear in the passage this is lifted from in The Communist Manifesto that "Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the products of society; all that it does is to deprive him of the power to subjugate the labor of others by means of such appropriations." [back]

2. The U.S. Constitution also did not recognize women of any race as equals, and this subordinate status also formed part of the ideological "glue"—and still does—of a "white man's America." [back]

3. In the wake of the NAACP call and the resulting attention to racism in the Tea Party movement (minimal as that was), Williams' Tea Party faction, the Tea Party Express, was expelled from a federation of other Tea Party organizations, and later Williams himself was replaced as leader of the Tea Party Express. But the views in Williams' rant were anything but an exception to the rule in that movement. [back]

4. See "Keep Your Goddamn Government Hands Off My Medicare!" by Bob Cesca, at Huffington Post,  August 5, 2009. [back]

5. See the book and online resources connected with Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery, by Anne Farrow, Joel Lang, and Jenifer Frank, or the interview in Revolution with Douglas Blackmon on the prison slave industry after the Civil War (Revolution #132, June 15, 2008), and "The Oppression of Black People, the Crimes of This System and the Revolution We Need," Revolution #144, October 5, 2008. [back]

6. These kinds of policies had huge and long-term impact on U.S. politics, culture, and economics, down to today, including laying the foundation for the predatory ultra-high interest loans to Black people that were some of the most egregious aspects of the "housing bubble" and its collapse. [back]

Send us your comments.

Revolution #210, August 29, 2010

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Capitalist Private Property Creates Monumental Social Disasters

Gulf of Mexico Oil: Ecological and Human Catastrophe

The capitalist system we live under is hooked on profits from oil, gas, and coal. The capitalists depend on these fuels to run their economy—even though the "greenhouse gases" from burning them is causing global climate changes that could threaten the very existence of life on this planet. Oil companies are in cutthroat competition to control fuel sources and to drill in environmentally hazardous areas. That's why BP (and others) has been drilling in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, without any idea of how to stop an oil spill at that depth. BP rejected a $500,000 safety device that might have prevented the oil gusher at its Deepwater Horizon well. Why? In their calculations based on maximizing profits, the safety device cost too much. The U.S. government, representing the overall interests of the capitalists, gave the go-ahead to the Gulf drilling.

When the BP well blew and millions of gallons of oil began pouring out, did the powers-that-be go all out to put the needs of humanity and the environment front and center to confront what is now the largest marine oil spill ever? Did they unleash the creativity and energy of people to deal with the disaster? No, they did the opposite. They discouraged and sabotaged people's efforts to deal with the emergency. They hid the truth about how much oil was spewing out and its toxic effects. They dumped huge amounts of oil-dispersing chemicals in the water so there would be less oil seen on the surface, even though they have no idea what this might do to the whole ecosystem—the complex web of interrelated and interacting life—of the Gulf and beyond.

Actually, this system—by its nature—cannot confront problems like this by unleashing the people's initiative, because any such mobilization would undercut capitalism's all-important "sanctity of private property." What has been happening in the Gulf of Mexico is a capitalist disaster—and a capitalist response—that is causing deep and immense harm to the environment and to human lives.

The Deadly U.S.-Mexico Border

Every year hundreds of people die trying to cross the vast, waterless desert along the U.S.-Mexico border on foot. The Pima County morgue in Arizona reported at the end of July 2010 that they were running out of space for bodies, with the number of immigrants found dead in the desert soaring during this summer's heat wave. Those who do make it across are shunted into the most dangerous and low-paying jobs and overcrowded housing—while being vilified as "freeloaders," "drug mules," and worse. Hanging over their heads is the threat of being kidnapped from their workplaces, the streets, or their homes by Gestapo-like cops and federal agents... torn apart from their families... deported—or imprisoned. And now, with the rabid venom of the Tea Party fascists and others, along with intensifying anti-immigrant laws and border militarization, immigrants are being forced even deeper into the shadows.

Each immigrant who crosses the deadly border has his or her own story—but zoom back the lens, and what you see are larger forces at work. You see how huge changes in the world economy and power relations brought about even more intense global exploitation. The capitalists (with the U.S. as the sole superpower) moved vast investments around the world in search of the greatest profits. The 1994 NAFTA treaty enabled the U.S. to plunder Mexico in new ways, including opening up Mexican agriculture to U.S. agribusiness. Small farmers (campesinos) who had survived growing corn, beans, and other crops could not compete. Six million campesinos were driven out of the countryside between 1994 and 2004, forced to find other means to survive. These developments, along with the dependence of U.S. capitalism on highly exploitable cheap immigrant labor, are a big part of what has forced millions to make the dangerous and often deadly border crossing.

Detroit: Strangled by the System

There used to be two million people in Detroit. Now there are less than a million, 85% of them Black. Half the children live in poverty. The unemployment rate is over 30%. Thousands of houses have been abandoned. This summer 32 schools—almost 20% of the city's total—were shut down, on top of the 29 closed last summer. Meanwhile, the state of Michigan has the second highest incarceration rate in the country.

The larger workings of global capitalism have deeply impacted Detroit, leading to widespread factory closings in auto and other industries, massive loss of jobs, and many people moving out. The government has responded by throwing Detroit and its people to the dogs.

What's happened in Detroit is a concentrated example of how, especially among African-Americans, huge numbers of people in the U.S. have been cruelly cast aside because they can no longer be profitably exploited. Instead of treating the oppressed youth as human beings, those on top of this system have criminalized them. Look at how one in eight young Black men are locked up in prison. How Black and Latino youth are routinely harassed and brutalized and constantly face the threat of being outright killed by the police. How seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones was shot dead in May, as she slept next to her grandmother, by the Detroit police who swarmed into their home.

Things Do NOT Have to Be This Way

The system of capitalism-imperialism has been—and continues to be—a complete disaster for the great majority of humanity, all around the world and here in the U.S. And this system will continue to be an utter horror so long as it continues to exist and prey on the people. But, as the Constitution of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, says:

...the cruelest fact of all is this: IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE THIS WAY! For here is the glaring contradiction: in today's world the production of things, and the distribution of the things produced, is overwhelmingly carried out by large numbers of people who work collectively and are organized in highly coordinated networks. At the foundation of this whole process is the proletariat, an international class which owns nothing, yet has created and works these massive socialized productive forces. These tremendous productive powers could enable humanity to not only meet the basic needs of every person on the planet, but to build a new society, with a whole different set of social relations and values... a society where all people could truly and fully flourish together.

Yet this cannot and does not happen; instead, for the great majority of humanity, and for large numbers of people in this country, things get worse, and seem ever more hopeless.

Why? Because these productive forces are socially created and worked, through the labor of vast numbers of people, but they are owned and controlled by a relative handful: the capitalist-imperialist class. And the imperialists' private appropriation of socially produced wealth is backed up by law, by custom... and by the armed forces of the state.

This Is NOT The Best of All Possible Worlds... And We Do NOT Have To Live This Way

Coming Soon: Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal)

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Revolution #210, August 29, 2010

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From Ike to Mao and Beyond
My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist
A Memoir by Bob Avakian

from Chapter 3: The World Begins to Open

Arbitrary Authority

Even though I did this whole traffic boy thing in grammar school, I had also at a very early age internalized the idea that arbitrary authority wasn't deserving of respect. I had gotten from my parents a strong sense that you should not have to follow people who required unthinking obedience—the drill sergeant or the military dictator being the embodiment of that. I don't know if they ever articulated it exactly that way, but that was sort of a general value or outlook that I got.

I remember we had this math teacher in junior high who kept three of us after class one time, because we were joking around in class. He started reading us the riot act, and one of the kids started laughing out of nervousness. The teacher yelled, "You think that's funny?" He grabbed the kid by the throat and started choking him and almost pushed him out this second story window. So that kind of arbitrary, dictatorial authority was something that I hated from early on. It was against everything that I thought was worth anything and should be respected.

I had also internalized from my parents and from my father in particular that the Constitution provided you with certain rights, and you should stand up for them. If people tried to take away your rights, you should resist that. So, in my own mind, with a lot of these teachers, that's what I was doing. They were exercising arbitrary authority, insisting on their way in the classroom, and not willing to be flexible or to bend. That's overwhelmingly the way the teachers taught in the '50s, so I had a lot of conflict with them.

But one time, when I was thirteen, I applied what I had learned from my dad—and got in big trouble with my parents for doing so. I had been down at the park and I was coming home, riding my bike. I took a shortcut that ran by my old grammar school. It wasn't actually on the school property, it was a public sidewalk, or a kind of a paved path between two streets, right next to the school. A couple of my friends were hanging around my old grammar school, so I stopped and started messing around with them. One of the things we liked to do was to climb up on the roof of the cafeteria of the grammar school. But we knew that you weren't supposed to do that, that you'd get chased off of it. So we took our shoes off and threw them up on the roof, and then climbed up—ostensibly to retrieve our shoes. It was about five o'clock and the only person there was the janitor. Understandably, as I look back on it now, he was freaked out that we were up on the roof. First of all we could get hurt, and second he could be held liable. So, he's yelling at us to get off the roof, and we're saying we have to get our shoes, because somebody threw our shoes up here! But he kept insisting we come down. The more he insisted that we come down, the more we refused to come down. Finally he said, "I'm gonna call the police if you don't come down right away," and at that point we did come down off the roof.

Well, he had called the cops and a cop showed up. By that time my friends had split, but I had decided to stand my ground. I was standing on this pathway, which was adjacent to the school grounds but was not technically school property. So the cop comes and he starts giving me all this trouble. He says, "You know you can't be up on the roof." And I answered, "Well, I got down off the roof. I had to go get my shoes, but I got down off the roof." Then he noticed that I didn't have my shoes on, and he said, "What's the matter with you, you don't even wear shoes?"—and he started insulting me and told me to go home. But I said, "You can't tell me to go home. You can tell me to get off the school property, but you can't tell me to go home, this is public property, I can do what I want, you can't make me go home." He argued with me a while longer and then got in his car and took off.

At that point I started riding my bike home. I was about halfway home when I see my dad driving down toward me. And he sees me and pulls over. I get off my bike and I go running up to the car, and I say, "Dad, dad, a cop can't make me go home if I'm on public property, he can't tell me what to do, can he?" "You better get on your bike and go home," said my dad. So then I knew I was in big shit. I go home and we go through the whole story, and I'm insisting, "Okay, I shouldn't have been on the roof, but I got off the roof, and I was on public property, and I was standing up for my rights, and this cop had no right to tell me to go home."

And then it turned out that the worst part of this is that what really bothered my parents was that they were embarrassed in front of all the neighbors in their nice neat middle class neighborhood—a policeman had come to their door to tell them their son was doing something wrong. And all the neighbors must have figured out that something like that was happening. Here was my dad, with his stature as a lawyer, having a policeman come to his door to tell him his son was doing something wrong. On top of that, this cop tells him, "Well, you know, we're used to getting this kind of attitude from kids in west Berkeley"—in other words, in the ghetto—"but we're not used to seeing that from kids around here."

Instead of standing up for me, my parents were embarrassed and actually coerced me into writing a letter of apology to this cop. I held out and held out, but it was gonna be hell for me in the house if I didn't. So they finally made me write this letter of apology. And here what I was doing was standing up. At that point I frankly had pride in being associated with kids from west Berkeley, because I felt that they must know how to stand up for their rights then—I felt like I was being cast into good company. But, at the time, my parents were just horrified. That really made me feel terrible, and lowered them in my estimation, because I felt like: "What hypocrites!" They taught me all this stuff—how did I know to stand up for my rights? How did I know to tell this cop that I had a constitutional right to go where I wanted, and he could tell me not to be on school property but he couldn't tell me I had to go home when I was on public property? I knew that from my parents, and in particular my dad, all the legal training that I'd gotten, just by listening to him tell stories, but also talking with him about the constitution and everything. And here they were turning on me when I stood up for this. So that was kind of a traumatic experience. On the other hand, it was an experience that stood me in good stead for the rest of my life, really.

As I said, for a while this really dropped my parents in my estimation. But I will give them credit that later on they recognized they were wrong and criticized themselves. My dad, with great chagrin but also with a certain amount of pride in having learned better, would always tell this story from the point of view of how screwed up he was in taking this position. It was years before they finally recognized that I was right and they were wrong, but they did finally recognize it.



In junior high I stopped playing baseball and, although I would still go to baseball games sometimes, I didn't have the same enthusiasm for it that I did as a younger kid. I just didn't think it was as exciting as basketball and football and track. But I remember very starkly a story involving a baseball game which has a larger social significance.

Even in seventh grade, I was known to kids in my school, including older kids, as being really knowledgeable about sports. And one day there was a ninth grade baseball game between my junior high, Garfield, and Burbank Junior High, which was overwhelmingly Black, with some Latinos. The Burbank team showed up for the game after school, all ready to play, but there was no umpire so it looked like they would have to cancel the game. Some of the guys from the ninth grade Garfield team came up to me and said, "Hey, we want to play this game, but there's no umpire—will you umpire the game?" And I foolishly said okay.

So I was the only umpire. Usually, even in these junior high school games, you had at least two or three umpires. But I was all by myself: I had to stand behind the pitcher and call all the balls and strikes from there and I had to cover all the bases too. I stood behind the pitcher and called balls and strikes, then the ball would be hit and the runner would run toward first, and I had to go over there and say "safe" or "out." Then if somebody was running the bases, I had to run around with them and say safe or out.

Well, the game came down to the last inning and the Garfield team was ahead by two runs. The Burbank team got two guys on base, the next Burbank batter came up and it was one of those dramatic moments: two outs, the last inning and two guys on base for Burbank. The batter hit the ball to left field, way past the fielder, and these Burbank guys started running around the bases. One guy scored, another guy scored, and then there was a question whether the guy who hit the ball was going to get all the way around to home. I'm running around the bases next to him. The Garfield outfielder finally catches up with the ball, throws it in to an infielder, and the infielder then turns around and throws it to the catcher at home plate. The Burbank guy runs in and slides. There's this cloud of dust coming up from the dirt as he slides, the game is literally in the balance, I'm standing there and there's like a little delay—and everybody looks up at me. I yell, "Safe!" And all these guys from my school were furious at me.

But I made the right call, because if you're in doubt or it's a tie, you're supposed to say safe, and there was so much dust and everything that I couldn't really see, and it was really close. So I made the call that I thought was the honest call, which was safe. But, of course, all these kids in my junior high accused me of being intimidated by these guys from Burbank, and none of them would talk to me for a long time.

To be continued

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Revolution #210, August 29, 2010

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Spread Bob Avakian's Memoir Far and Wide!

Revolution is running a series of excerpts from Bob Avakian's memoir, From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist. Previous excerpts appeared in issues #208 and #209, and we continue the series here.

From the description of the book: "Bob Avakian has written a memoir containing three unique but interwoven stories. The first tells of a white middle-class kid growing up in '50s America who goes to an integrated high school and has his world turned around; the second of a young man who overcomes a near-fatal disease and jumps with both feet into the heady swirl of Berkeley in the '60s; and the third of a radical activist who matures into a tempered revolutionary communist leader. If you think about the past or if you urgently care about the future ... if you want to hear a unique voice of utter realism and deep humanity ... and if you dare to have your assumptions challenged and your stereotypes overturned ... then you won't want to miss this book."

We're running these excerpts to encourage everybody to take the memoir out broadly, as part of what they do all the time, and to introduce many more people to Bob Avakian. The memoir gives a real sense of why the Message and Call of the campaign "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have" says of Avakian: "He is a great champion and a great resource for people here, and indeed people all over the world."

Some ways to get the memoir out:

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Revolution #210, August 29, 2010

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Revolutionary Strategy

Some Principles for Building A Movement for Revolution

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

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 #210, August 29, 2010

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Needed: $10,000 for Publication
Coming soon from the Revolutionary Communist Party:


(Draft Proposal)

The RCP, USA announces with great enthusiasm the upcoming publication of the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal).

This Constitution will be a historic and visionary model of the future revolutionary socialist society and government. At the same time, it will give people a very concrete sense of how the new power would be constituted and exercised in the new society. People will get a feel, and an in-depth understanding, of how that new, revolutionary state power could work to truly usher in a new world, a world in which people would want to live and could flourish.

This document will speak to all who burn with the desire for a different world—and society. But it will also speak to the even greater numbers who today don't even allow themselves to hope that society could actually be different. It will speak to those who seethe about, and chafe at, and sometimes rebel against the horrors of today... who would jump at the chance for a better way... but who despair that real change could come about or, if such change did happen, that the new power could stay on the road to emancipation.

Serious, substantive engagement with the content of this Constitution should, and will, go on in many forums and through many avenues. There should be, and will be, discussion and debate as broadly as possible about the model it puts forward. The draft proposal for the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America will provide a vision to lift people's sights—and a goal to be actively and concretely struggled for. It will give proof that things don't have to be this way... and that a whole different, and better, world is possible. It should, and will, spark all-round social debate and ferment over how we live today, and how we could live tomorrow. As such, the work of boldly getting this vision and model of the future socialist society out into society now will be a critical part of hastening, while awaiting, a revolutionary situation.

This Constitution will be published simultaneously in Spanish and English. For the initial printing and promotion of this historic document, $10,000 must be raised very quickly. Creative ways can and should be found to raise money for this publication. Thinking and preparation should begin now to organize a range of fundraising activities, large and small. Groups can work together to make joint contributions and there must be individual contributions of all sizes from everyone who sees the value and importance of this draft proposal being out in the world at this critical time in world history.

As the day nears for the release of the Constitution, anticipation should build... and plans will need to be made to get it out in society in a big way. We should begin thinking, even now, about who should get this historic document, devising many ways to get this into their hands. The time is now for people to begin to plan on ways to make this a big deal in their communities, or schools, or scenes—and beyond that, in the national arena of public opinion. Big, ambitious ideas are not only welcome, they are urgently needed.

But most immediately, we should be spreading the word about the upcoming release of this Constitution—and raising the necessary funds for its publication. Readers should write to Revolution with ideas for maximizing the impact of this document—and how to reach out to all corners of society. And look to this paper for more news and guidance.  

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Revolution #210, August 29, 2010

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Pakistan Floods: Disaster on Top of Disaster

The country of Pakistan and its people are being devastated by a flood of unprecedented proportions. Heavy rains, called monsoons, are always expected at this time of the year in South Asia. But at the end of this July and early August, more than half of the normal annual monsoon rainfall—usually spread over a three-month season—fell on Pakistan in just one week. Pakistan's major river, the Indus, swelled to record levels, and massive amounts of water flowed over the banks.

The north and northwestern regions of Pakistan were the first and most heavily affected. Thousands of villages and towns have been totally inundated by flood-waters. Many roads have become impassable, and bridges were washed away. Countless buffalo and other livestock animals, which people in the countryside depend on for their livelihood, have been killed. Vast amounts of crops in the field and food in storage are ruined. Schools and hospitals have been destroyed.

Among the hardest hit are refugees who have fled the turmoil and successive wars in Afghanistan, numbering more than 1.5 million and concentrated in camps in Pakistan's northwest. Some have been in Pakistan for as many as 30 years. Hundreds of thousands of these Afghanis have lost all their possessions in the floods, including their "proof of registration" cards showing their refugee status, so that now they are in a very tenuous situation (similar to undocumented immigrants in the U.S. who are under constant threat of being rounded up and deported).

As the swollen waters have flowed south, and rain has continued, the floods have spread to the more densely populated provinces of Punjab and Sindh, affecting millions of people in large cities as well as the countryside. And there are reports that yet another wave of floodwaters is expected. At this point, one-fifth of Pakistan's total land area is reported to be under water, and 20 million people have been directly affected by the floods.

The official death toll is under 2,000 at this point—but no one knows the actual number, because many areas hit by the disaster are still unreachable. In any case, the catastrophe has only begun. There are real fears that the lack of clean water and other effects of the floods will lead to massive outbreaks of diseases like cholera and malaria, respiratory infections, skin infections, and diarrhea that could kill many more. Food shortages—over the next days and weeks as well as more long term—are certain to bring new levels of suffering to a country where three-quarters of the people were already living on under $2 a day before this disaster. A 40-year-old woman stranded on a road with hundreds of others in Sindh province told a Pakistani paper, "I have no utensils. I have no food for my children. I have no money. We were able to escape the floodwaters, but hunger may kill us."

Many people are saying that they have received no help from the government or the army. A Pakistani human rights activist helping in relief efforts in the Swat Valley noted that "neither was there sufficient helicopters for rescue, nor were there sufficient boats. If it's a flood, you need boats!... We don't have sufficient boats, and of the kind that are required to save people's lives."

The U.S. imperialists are looking at this situation in Pakistan with alarm—but this is NOT out of any real concern about the plight of the people in this oppressed country. Pakistan is a vital military outpost for the U.S., located in a very strategic region of the world—bordering on Afghanistan, where the U.S. is carrying out an escalating war; on Iran, which the U.S. continues to threaten militarily; and on India, a country of a billion people. For the U.S. rulers, maintaining control over the situation in Pakistan impacts in a big way on their whole empire and their conflicts against various rivals and challengers. That's why they have been pouring billions of dollars in military aid into Pakistan since September 11, 2001—building the Pakistani army into the seventh largest in the world (with nuclear weapons in their arsenal), while the majority of people live in conditions of extreme poverty. At the same time, the U.S. imperialists are taking an increasingly direct role in that country. Since coming into office, Obama has significantly stepped up the U.S. counterinsurgency war in Pakistan against Islamic fundamentalist forces, involving military operations by the CIA and special forces as well as missile attacks launched from "predator drones" (unmanned aircraft). These drone attacks have killed many people in rural villages, including children, who are not part of any fundamentalist groups.

Obama's Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a big show of announcing that the U.S. is sending $140 million in flood aid to Pakistan. But this is tens of millions of dollars less than what the U.S. spends a day for the war in Afghanistan. (It should be noted that the U.S. promised $1.2 billion in aid soon after the Haiti earthquake this January, but not one penny of that amount had been delivered half a year later.) And the $140 million is miniscule compared to the $7.5 billion "aid" package to Pakistan that the U.S. Congress passed and Obama signed 10 months ago—aimed at propping up the reactionary ruling regime in Pakistan, especially the army.

Even more fundamentally, the U.S. dollars, and the American military helicopters and personnel being deployed in flood-drenched Pakistan, are NOT part of an all-out effort to save the people. On the contrary, they are aimed at protecting and promoting U.S. imperialist interests and plans in this whole region.

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Revolution #210, August 29, 2010

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40th Anniversary of Chicano Moratorium

August 29, 2010 marks the 40th anniversary of the Chicano Moratorium, when over 25,000 Chicanos (people of Mexican descent born or raised in the U.S.) from across the country marched down Whittier Boulevard in East Los Angeles to demand an end to the Vietnam War and an end to their oppression as a people. They marched under the slogan "Raza sí, Guerra no!"

This was the first time the Chicano people had ever come together in this kind of outpouring of protest. It came at a time when the country was being rocked by the anti-war movement, which in a span of 10 days had seen protesting students shot and killed by National Guard troops at Kent State, and by police at Jackson State; at a time when people in 100 cities rose up in rebellion after the murder of Martin Luther King; when the Black Panther Party was "ideologizing" revolution on the scene; and when revolution was part of the mix in society.

This day marked a leap in the struggle of Chicanos, who were dying by the thousands in Vietnam, while facing continuing oppression in this country—racism, police murders, back-breaking jobs, the destruction of their language and culture, and more. For instance, as of 1967 not a single Chicano had ever graduated from the UCLA medical school.

The authorities could not allow an aroused Chicano people to take matters into their own hands. Once the rally began, the L.A. County sheriffs used a minor incident a block away as an excuse to attack the crowd with tear gas and clubs. The people heroically defended themselves against this attack for hours. Three people were murdered by the sheriffs that day, including well-known journalist Rubén Salazar, who they shot in the head with a tear gas canister inside the Silver Dollar Café. 

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Revolution #210, August 29, 2010

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Special Issue of Revolution on Israel

A special issue of Revolution on the nature and role of Israel is in the works. It will give students on college campuses—along with a broader audience—a vivid and rigorously documented picture of Israel's crimes against the Palestinians and reveal the role of Israel around the world. It will speak directly and honestly to the toughest questions students and others have.

The special issue will present a compelling analysis of Israel as a creature of imperialism—especially U.S. imperialism. People will come away with a profound sense of the terrible consequences of the State of Israel for the people of the Middle East, and beyond that, for humanity as a whole. In the course of this, they will be challenged to see and act on the need for revolution with the fundamental and ultimate aim of communism throughout the world, to emancipate all humanity from systems and relations based on exploitation and oppression.

In the wake of this special issue of Revolution, there will be a teach-in presenting the analysis of the special issue, along with speakers from other perspectives exposing the nature and role of Israel.

This special issue of Revolution on Israel, along with the teach-in, will be a big deal. We'll aim to saturate selected campuses with this issue, and the whole package will be impossible to ignore on many campuses this fall. Work on these related projects has begun. The aim is to radically transform the situation where far too few people know about Israel's crimes around the world, and even fewer make the connections between those crimes and the U.S.

If you feel the need to expose Israel and its crimes, and radically change the terms of debate in society, we're calling on you to take part in this project. We have substantial thinking on what needs to be addressed, and we want your ideas as well. Contribute photos, artwork, research, fact-checking, translation, and in other ways by emailing us at People who feel the importance of this project can email to arrange to send donations, and to organize fundraising salons and other fundraising events.

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Revolution #210, August 29, 2010

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From A World to Win News Service

Feeding Iraq to the Wolves

August 9, 2010. A World to Win News Service. The U.S. and UK "killed our country," Saddam Hussein's former foreign minister Tariq Aziz told the UK Guardian in an interview published August 7. Now it is "leaving Iraq to the wolves."

Aziz knows his fellow wolves when he sees them. The U.S. is not actually leaving Iraq, but it is setting beasts on the country's people. That's how it plans to keep control.

Anyone who argues that history can only move forward should look at Iraq. On an economic level, the country was destroyed by 12 years of UN sanctions, "shock and awe" bombardment, the invasion and more than seven years of occupation. This once oil-rich country with well-developed educational and medical systems now no longer even has a national electricity grid, let alone a unified national economy or a consolidated ruling class, exploiters held together by common economic and political interests. So, motley mixes of warlords, tribal, and religious forces contend for pieces of power, each with their own militias and all claiming the legitimacy of Islam. Most are dependent to some degree or another on foreign support. Under these circumstances, the country will be divided for the foreseeable future.

The U.S., which once supported Saddam and his Baathist party when that suited their interests (especially in opposition to the USSR and Arab nationalism), has befriended and fattened most of these wolves. Some of these carnivores have been contending to form a new government since the elections last March. The U.S. supports Iyad Allawi, a former Baathist thug who returned to Iraqi politics as prime minister appointed by the U.S. With financing from Saudi Arabia, he is trying to reconstruct some of Saddam's old ruling coalition and expressed sympathy for "my friend" Aziz. Until now at least, the U.S. also backed the current prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, a former asset of the Islamic Republic of Iran who served as chief enabler for the occupation for the past few years and now has refused to leave office. It would be hard to decide which is a worse enemy of the Iraqi people.

There are also the Sharia-law loving gangsters led by Moqtada al-Sadr, who have tried to combine Iranian influence with a grudging acceptance of the U.S. occupation (which has been Iran's position, too). Then there are the Kurdish wolves, bought and betrayed by the occupiers, whose clan-based rule is increasingly opposed in Kurdistan. Their ambitions have been frustrated by the fact that the U.S. has fed their interests (like ownership of oil fields) to hungry Iraqi Arab wolves.

Finally there is what's called Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, an assortment of Sunni fundamentalists, former Baathists and others who are fighting to impose their own hell on the country's people, when they aren't making deals with the other wolves and entering into and out of various wolf coalitions. 

Barack Obama campaigned for the presidency on what many people took as a promise to end the war in Iraq. On August 3, he boasted that he would fulfill his promise "on time and on schedule" by reducing the number of American troops there to 50,000 by the end of the month. His plan at this point is for them to be there for at least another year and a half. Like U.S. President George W. Bush, who announced "Mission accomplished" in 2003, Obama claims that the U.S. is no longer playing a combat role in Iraq. So why are his soldiers there?

Obama used to pretend that they were not a combat force but simply "trainers" helping to stabilize the elected Iraqi government and help it build up its own army. But it's been six months since there was even the pretense of such a government and everyone knows that its so-called army is a collection of rival militias. So now we're told that they are there to "protect American military personnel and facilities" (U.S. troops are there to protect U.S. troops?) and conduct "counterinsurgency operations." That certainly sounds like a combat role.

That is a huge occupation force, backed up by offshore naval and air power. It is more than enough to give the U.S. the final say on whatever the next Iraqi government does, both conciliating with some Islamic forces and keeping the anti-U.S. ones at bay, while the wolves can do whatever they want to the Iraqi people.

This is the Iraq the U.S. has made, and the way it wants to keep it. It will use its military and other powers to ally with and strengthen reactionary rival wolf packs, one after another or in various combinations, while it continues to keep the country out of its own people's hands.

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.

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5 Years Since Hurricane Katrina:

Never Forgive, Never Forget

Five years ago, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. For years, many scientific reports had predicted that the Black neighborhood of the 9th Ward and the mainly working class area of St. Bernard would be heavily flooded if a major storm hit the city. But the government slashed funds for the levees. It was known for days that Katrina was heading toward New Orleans, but the authorities failed to evacuate the people. After the hurricane hit on August 29, 2005, people in the poorest sections of New Orleans not only received zero help from the authorities but were treated like criminals. President George W. Bush declared there would be "zero tolerance" for "looters" (which is what the officials and the media called people trying to survive in the flooded city), and the Louisiana governor ordered the National Guard troops to "shoot to kill" anyone taking things from abandoned stores.

Over 1,000 people died in New Orleans in the wake of Katrina, and hundreds of thousands suffered unnecessarily. Whether by negligence or design or both, this was mass murder and an immense crime carried out by the authorities at all levels, starting from the Bush White House. And the effects of this capitalist disaster still haunt the city and its people today.

On the five-year anniversary of Katrina, the eyes of the world will be on New Orleans, as Barack Obama (who has been presiding over yet another huge capitalist disaster, the oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico) is scheduled to come to the city to speak on August 29.

Check Revolution online for coverage of the five-year anniversary of Katrina.

Below are short excerpts from two articles about two cases of brutal murders by the New Orleans police, one that took place a month before Katrina, and the other a few days after the hurricane hit the city.

The New Orleans Police Murder of Raymond Robair

Early on the steamy Saturday morning of July 30, 2005, two New Orleans cops took the battered body of 48-year-old Raymond Robair to the emergency room of Charity Hospital. They left Raymond unconscious in a wheelchair, told E.R. workers they had found him on the ground, and drove away. Several hours later, Raymond Robair died on an operating table...

On July 29, 2010, five years after his murder, the killers of Raymond Robair were indicted on federal civil rights charges. The cops are not charged with murder. The federal charges are that [the cops] used "unnecessary force" when they kicked and beat Raymond to death, and then filed a "false report" when they claimed his death was a "medical incident." After a short hearing, both cops were released "in lieu of bond"...

Read on…

Massacre at Danziger Bridge: Shot in Cold Blood by New Orleans Police

On September 4, 2005, 6 days after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, 19-year-old James Brissette and 40-year-old Ronald Madison were murdered by New Orleans police on the Danziger Bridge. The two men were among people who were walking across the concrete lift bridge to get food at a grocery store. Madison, who was mentally disabled, had a hole torn through his spine and chest when he was shot in the back with a shotgun by a cop, who then proceeded to kick him mercilessly. A witness said the cops had lined up "like at a firing range" and shot at Ronald as he tried to flee the bridge...

Read on…

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Revolution #210, August 29, 2010

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The New Orleans Police Murder of Raymond Robair

Early on the steamy Saturday morning of July 30, 2005, two New Orleans cops took the battered body of 48-year-old Raymond Robair to the emergency room of Charity Hospital. They left Raymond unconscious in a wheelchair, told ER workers they had found him on the ground, and drove away. Several hours later, Raymond Robair died on an operating table.

Raymond had sustained a vicious beating. He had several broken ribs that had lacerated his liver and ruptured his spleen. He died from the ruptured spleen. The two cops who had taken Raymond to the hospital—Melvin Williams and Matthew Brooks—claimed that they had found him staggering at the corner of Robertson and Dumaine streets in the Treme district of New Orleans, just behind Louis Armstrong Park. The report they filed, as the New Orleans Times Picayune wrote, "never mentions any struggle with Robair—or any use of force at all. It never quotes a civilian witness, mentions Robair by name, or notes that he later died."

People who witnessed the encounter between Raymond and the cops told a completely different story. Raymond Robair, who was known as a local handyman, had gone to the house of an elderly neighbor to help her with repairs, although he knew she didn't have money to pay him. They told how Williams and Brooks confronted Raymond, and how Williams—known throughout Treme for his brutal history, kicked and beat Raymond with his nightstick until he was unconscious and bleeding on the sidewalk. They then threw him in the back of their police car.

The Coverup, the Indictments

In late August 2005, Orleans Parish coroner Frank Minyard issued his report on Raymond Robair's death. The report said that "Robair's injuries were sustained sometime before his encounter with the police." Minyard also claimed the cause of Raymond's death was "unclassified" and "accidental."

Minyard admitted that he "relies heavily on the NOPD to provide facts that help determine how a person dies." He continued, "The way it was presented to me by the Police Department, this young man was staggering along the street and he collapsed in front of them or around them. The story was that, right around the corner, this guy had been in a fight. That's what the police said."

A lawyer for Robair's family struggled to bring the truth of his murder to light, and filed complaints against Williams and Brooks. But the NOPD said the complaints were "unfounded." And in December 2007, over two years after Robair's murder, the Orleans Parish DA made an official decision to refuse charges on the cops.

The Robair family attorney was able to have an independent autopsy done. The conclusion drawn by this coroner—the chief medical examiner for the state of Georgia—in early 2008 was that Robair was the victim of a homicide.

Finally, on July 29, 2010, five years after his murder, the killers of Raymond Robair were indicted on federal civil rights charges. The cops are not charged with murder. The federal charges are that Williams and Brooks used "unnecessary force" when they kicked and beat Raymond to death, and then filed a "false report" when they claimed his death was a "medical incident." After a short hearing, both cops were released "in lieu of bond."

A Frenzy of Murder

The indictments of Williams and Brooks are part of a wave of federal indictments against members of the NOPD. At least 18 NOPD cops are under indictment now for three incidents, and five cases are still under federal investigation. Except for the case of Raymond Robair, all of the incidents being investigated occurred in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.

Less than a month after Raymond Robair was beaten to death, Katrina hit New Orleans. Tens of thousands of people—overwhelmingly, Black people—were left to suffer and die for days in suffocating heat, and drown in the toxic sludge that flooded the city. Rescue workers, medical personnel, and other volunteers were prevented from entering the city by police and soldiers.

People in the city, especially youth usually condemned by the system as "gangsters," fought heroically to save as many lives as they could, rescuing people from rooftops, making improvised rafts to take people to dry land, gathering supplies for children, and elderly people who were without food or water. But the system's media blasted huge lies to the world about wanton murder and rape by criminal gangs ransacking the city.

These conscious and deliberate lies became a big part of the pretext for the massive infusion of armed enforcers into New Orleans, and gave a green light to a frenzy of killing, murder, and disappearances by New Orleans police and other armed enforcers of capitalism. The routine terror inflicted upon the people by the police—like that suffered by Raymond Robair—became an orgy of murderous violence. In one particularly horrific incident, Henry Glover was shot to death by a cop acting as a sniper. When Henry's brother, Edward King, and William Tanner, a passerby, tried to save Henry's life, they were themselves assaulted and savagely beaten by a mob of cops, who then set fire to Henry Glover's dead body and left his ashen remains in Tanner's car, 400 feet from their police station.

We Need a Revolution to Put an End to This

All these murderers must be brought to justice.

At every step this system—through its enforcers, defenders, and institutions—has viciously and methodically inflicted maximum suffering upon the people. Its defenders have covered their bloody crimes with mountains of lies and deceit.

Think about it. The cops brazenly beat a man to death in broad daylight. They dump his inert body at an ER and say he had an accident. The coroner accepts their word. For five years, federal authorities, local police, the coroner's office, and the district attorney "examine" the murder and see nothing wrong. Only when a poor family with a dedicated lawyer perseveres for five years are the killers even indicted, and then they walk out of court an hour later.

Time is long past overdue on this system. The people don't need to live like this anymore. Revolution—a real revolution—is not only needed to get rid of this system and put an end to its murderous oppression, that revolution is possible.

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Revolution #210, August 29, 2010

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Massacre at Danziger Bridge: Shot in Cold Blood by New Orleans Police

On September 4, 2005, six days after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, 19-year-old James Brissette and 40-year-old Ronald Madison were murdered by New Orleans police on the Danziger Bridge. The two men were among people who were walking across the concrete lift bridge to get food at a grocery store. Madison, who was mentally disabled, had a hole torn through his spine and chest when he was shot in the back with a shotgun by a cop, who then proceeded to kick him mercilessly. A witness said the cops had lined up "like at a firing range" and shot at Ronald as he tried to flee the bridge.

Ronald had been trying to run away from a scene unfolding at the other end of the bridge, where horrible carnage had already taken place. James Brissette lay dying, and four people were severely wounded, by police bullets. One of the victims, Susan Bartholomew, had an arm partially blown off, and her daughter and husband were each shot three times. Then, in the words of a cop who had been on the bridge, NOPD sergeant Kenneth Bowen "leaned over the concrete barrier, held out his assault rifle, and, in a sweeping motion, fired repeatedly at the civilians lying wounded on the ground."

In December 2006, a Louisiana grand jury charged seven cops involved in the Danziger Bridge massacre with murder and attempted murder. But two years later, a judge ordered the charges dropped because of "prosecutorial error." A federal investigation began at that point. In April this year, NOPD officer Michael Hunter pleaded guilty in federal court to his role in the police cover-up of the slaughter that had taken place on the bridge. The cover-up began at the scene of the killings, when the cops placed throw-down guns near the victims and fabricated false reports, and it penetrated every layer of the New Orleans Police Department. In return for his plea, resulting in the dropping of the state charges against him, Hunter agreed to cooperate with an ongoing federal investigation into the shootings.

In July of this year, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder went to New Orleans to announce federal indictments of the other six cops who had been on Danziger Bridge. The indictments are for "violating the civil rights" of Ronald Madison and James Brissette, and for "obstructing justice." Holder said he "will not tolerate wrongdoing by those who have sworn to protect the public" and promised to "restore" the NOPD.

Revolution will have further analysis of these important developments. But what is already clear is that the federal indictments are intended to strengthen the ability of the NOPD to repress, control, and yes, terrorize, the people of New Orleans—especially the Black people who have remained in the city. When officials like Holder talk about "restoring trust in the police department," they mean, among other things, establishing a network of snitches who cooperate with the police as they continue their marauding, and they fear the fury many people in the city have at the abuse, brutality, murder, and unjust convictions that are a plague upon the people, especially the youth.

Postscript—a New Orleans vignette. August 3 was the 27th annual "National Night Out Against Crime," billed as a country-wide event to "promote neighborhood spirit and community-police partnerships in our fight for a safer nation." A small rally in the Algiers section of town became a speak-out against the brutality of the NOPD and how they literally get away with murder, and a memorial for those killed by the police. Victims of police brutality and family members of people killed by the NOPD spoke bitterly, and began chanting "no justice, no peace!"

A revolutionary who was in town spreading the campaign The Revolution We Need ... the Leadership We Have was asked to speak, and read from the Message and Call of the RCP: "Look at what this system is doing to youth right here in the USA. For millions in the inner cities, if they are not killed at an early age, their likely future is prison (nearly 1 in 8 young Black men is incarcerated, the prisons are overflowing with Blacks and Latinos, and this country has the highest rate of incarceration of women in the world). This system has robbed so many youth of the chance for a decent life and has got far too many living, dying and killing for nothing—nothing good—nothing more than messing up people and murdering each other on the streets of the cities here...or joining the military, being trained to be murderers on a mass scale, massacring people in countries across the globe. A system which offers millions and millions of youth no greater purpose, no better fate, than crime and punishment, or to become a mindless killing machine for the system itself—that alone is reason enough to sweep this system from the face of the earth!"

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Revolution #210, August 29, 2010

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High Stakes Trial August 24

Attacked by Police, Videographer Faces 3 Years in Jail

From a statement received by Revolution:

A young man is facing 3 years in jail. His crime? Videotaping. Yes, videotaping a very brief but newsworthy statement by Sunsara Taylor in November 2009 at the Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago (EHSC), in Skokie, IL.

The day before he was arrested this videographer had filmed a two hour workshop by Taylor in the exact same venue with no objections. The next day he accompanied Taylor when she returned to make a short statement objecting to the EHSC's abrupt cancellation of her long-scheduled speech and inviting anyone who wanted to hear the presentation to the home of an EHSC member who opened her doors when the society shut theirs. When told to stop filming before Sunsara made her statement, he put down the video camera as requested. His only device to capture Sunsara's short statement was an iPhone. He was doing nothing wrong or illegal at the time he was rushed by the police in the lecture hall right after Sunsara announced that she was leaving.

The videographer was maced and brutalized during his arrest—eyewitnesses and photos taken at the hospital document this, yet he was the one charged with trespassing, resisting arrest and battery on a police officer which he did not do. This is a police practice so common it has a name—"cover charges," charges that police press when they need legal justification to "cover" their brutality toward a defendant. (See American Constitutional Society Issue Brief "Disorderly (mis)Conduct: The Problem with 'Contempt of Cop' Arrests" by Cynthia Lopez, June 2010. Available at

For over 9 months, there has been a vengeful and unrelenting pursuit of a conviction for a situation that an impartial observer would expect to be easily resolved within a couple of weeks. In fact, unsolicited efforts by third parties to mediate an equitable solution have been stonewalled by those bringing the charges.


Support is greatly needed to defeat these outrageous charges.

What you can do:

Post this statement on list serves, e-lists, Facebook. Send to your email list.

If you are in the Chicago area: Attend the trial at Cook County Courthouse, 5600 W. Old Orchard Rd., Skokie, IL at 9:30 AM, Tuesday, August 24, 2010.

Send a letter to the prosecutor, Anita Alvarez, Cook County Prosecutor, at, and send a copy to the defense committee at

The prosecution even mounted an unsuccessful effort to find the defendant in contempt of court because of a defense committee website that publicizes and gathers support for him against this unjust prosecution! Reasonable people would certainly be justified in wondering whether there are some larger forces or agenda driving the State's determination to get a conviction. Whatever the full story is, we cannot let them convict this videographer for any of these unjust and ridiculous charges.

The defendant in this case had very difficult circumstances as a youth, yet he has transformed himself into a political activist, leading a very ethical life. The irony of this has been noted by more than one humanist; the EHSC should be giving him a platform to speak, not trying to throw him in jail!

This videographer has done very constructive things, dedicating his life to ending oppression. He came alive in the struggle to protect women's reproductive rights in the wake of the murder of abortion provider Dr. Tiller. He donned an orange jumpsuit to draw attention to torture of prisoners at Guantánamo. He marched against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq . He went to the Southside of Chicago to speak out against police shootings of young Black men. He has helped to provide revolutionary literature, like Revolution newspaper, to prisoners, and he has spoken to young people in Chicago classrooms as he sought to reach out to youth and others trapped in the bottom of society. And as part of his activism, he videotapes events, like he was doing that day.

Is this someone who should be thrown in jail for almost 3 years for literally holding up an iPhone?? Shame on those who seek to ruin a man's life to pursue their objectives.

We will not be silent. We will let others know about this injustice. It is really very simple: It is way past time to drop the charges.

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Revolution #210, August 29, 2010

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The following is from a statement received by Revolution, dated Thursday, August 26:

After 9 months of vengeful and unrelenting pursuit of a conviction by the Cook County (Illinois) State's Attorney and the Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago (EHSC), a videographer was found guilty today of trespass, resisting a police officer, and battery for the "crime" of videotaping a brief but newsworthy statement by Sunsara Taylor at the EHSC. The young man was maced and brutalized during the arrest, and this was acknowledged by police at trial, yet he was the one charged and now found guilty. 

The courtroom was continually packed with the videographer's supporters who were stunned and outraged by the verdict. Then the judge furthered this shameful persecution by upholding the prosecutor's demand that bond be revoked immediately. He was taken directly from the courtroom to the Cook County Jail until sentencing on September 8. He could be sentenced to up to 3 years in jail.

His lawyer said, "I am unbelievably disappointed with the verdict and I know we will appeal. [He] is a fine man and does not deserve this. I was stunned by the Court's decision to revoke [his] bond." A motion for an order to reinstate the bond will be filed immediately.

Supporters went straight from the suburban courthouse to the jail to protest and demand "hands off" the videographer and his immediate release from jail. This was really welcomed by people coming in and out of the jail, by people driving by, and most of all, by prisoners in the windows and in the yard.


More information will be coming; keep in touch with the Ad Hoc Committee at

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Revolution #210, August 29, 2010

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Videographer writes from jail

August 29, 2010

I want to express my most sincere and heartfelt thanks for the outpouring of love and support in the face of this political attack.

Although it pains me to be locked up in the hellholes of America's racist gulag once again, I now have the opportunity to bring revolution and communism to the youth and others locked down here with me in the Cook County Jail.

Despite the attempts of those in power in the ruling class to break my spirit, this political prosecution has only served to strengthen my determination to sweep this horrendous capitalist system of exploitation and oppression from the face of the earth and liberate all of humanity.

Revolutionary Love,


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Revolution #210, August 29, 2010

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Stolen Lives Induction Ceremony Celebrates the Lives of Those Killed by Police and the Struggle for Justice

This correspondence is from someone working with the Stolen Lives Project:

On July 18, I attended the 2010 Stolen Lives Induction Ceremony (SLIC), held by the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation, in New York City. These SLICs are held every year, and are an important part of building urgently needed resistance to this ongoing and immense crime of this system, the literal stealing of thousands of lives of a criminalized generation by the system's enforcers, the police. These ceremonies have always been solemn, enraging, and uplifting occasions. Family members speak the stories of how their loved ones, mainly young Black and Latino men, died at the hands of police terror, the subsequent cover-ups by the authorities, and the systematic demonization of those killed by the powers-that-be.


The Stolen Lives Project and the Stolen Lives Induction Ceremony

"We pledge that the life and humanity of these Stolen Lives will not be forgotten. We pledge that their highest hopes and aspirations will live on in us, and that we will seek justice for these and all the Stolen Lives. In this way we pledge that their memory will stay alive in us and will inspire us to fight for justice and a better world."—The Stolen Lives Pledge

The Stolen Lives Project was initiated by the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. It collects and documents the names and stories of those killed by police from around the country. When the Project first published its initial findings in 1999 in the book Stolen Lives: Killed By Law Enforcement, it revealed and confirmed that the great majority of people killed by police were Black and Latino. The Project also learned that the vast majority of police murder victims were unarmed and not in commission of any crimes. The Project's work serves to make clear the systemic nature of police murder and brutality nationwide.

The Stolen Lives Induction Ceremony is part of the work done by the New York Committee of the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. It is a way for family members who have lost loved ones because of police brutality and murder to honor the memories of their loved ones and the struggle for justice. The Ceremony brings humanity to the life and stories of those killed by law enforcement, and it is a platform for bringing family members together to build resistance to police brutality.

This year the SLIC included family members from the West Coast to the Midwest to the East Coast. There were cases that shocked and propelled tens of thousands into protest: the unprovoked police executions of Oscar Grant in California, Sean Bell in New York, and Aiyana Stanley-Jones in Detroit. Through telephone and simultaneous webcast—along with the presence of family members who have been active in the anti-police brutality movement, and the families of more recent police murder victims—all this came together at this Stolen Lives event.

In her opening remarks, Juanita Young (whose son Malcolm Ferguson was killed by the NYPD in 2000) said, "Things like this [SLIC] provide the strength for the families to come out. Like in the Stolen Lives book, we try to document so many cases. And most of these cases are of people killed by law enforcement—unarmed. Yet, this system still protects these cops. What would it take to get answers of why these cops are being allowed to kill our loved ones [and] our children?"

Nicholas Heyward, whose son Nicholas Jr. was killed by NYC housing police at age 14, expressed his frustration at how after more than 10 years in the anti-police brutality movement, so many people—especially youth—continue to be killed by law enforcement.

Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party, and co-founder of the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, said, "Look, they are killing our children, and then they tell us it's justifiable homicide. They act in wanton disregard of the humanity of Black people, of Latino people, and poor people of any nationality. And they do that for a reason. Because that terror keeps us down. That is their role as enforcers for this setup. And that's a big part—but not the only reason—but a big part of why I'm a revolutionary. And you need to be one too!"

Rev. Omar Wilks, of Brooklyn's Unison Pentecostal Church, called for a national demonstration on September 25 in Washington, D.C. to highlight—at the doorstep of the Obama administration—the killing of Aiyana Stanley-Jones. Speaking via cell phone, Mertilla Jones, Aiyana's grandmother, said, "Aiyana wasn't an accidental killing. She was murdered by Detroit police. And I watched this." Minister Omar spoke of people's moral obligation to resist this outrage and build a collective effort to stand, organize, and mobilize against the murder. The call for the September 25 demo was enthusiastically received by family members and audience members.

Carl Dix brought up the case of Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old Black man executed by a police officer on New Year's Day 2009 in front of horrified riders of the Bay Area's rapid transit system. He spoke of how the system changed the venue for the trial of the killer cop from Oakland to Los Angeles because of the outrage among people in the Bay Area. They empaneled a jury without any Black people on it, but seated several jurors who were relatives of cops. The prosecution basically "forgot how to prosecute"—despite the fact that the killing was caught on video and broadcast worldwide, the cop received a slap on the wrist, convicted only of involuntary manslaughter.

Wanda Johnson, Oscar's mother, spoke by phone and said, "What has happened to Oscar Grant has happened to Sean Bell and so many others who have lost their lives for no reason... We must come together as one to eliminate the injustices that occur to our brown men and our Black men."

Supporting families on hand to greet families of those more recently killed by police included Juanita Young, Nicholas Heyward, Allene Person (mother of Timur Person, killed by the NYPD), Carolyn Battle (mother of Ronald Battle, killed by the NYPD), and Mary Weaver (mother of Randy Weaver, killed by East Orange, NJ police). They stood in solidarity with the new family members, including Jennifer Gonzalez (representing Kenny Lazo, killed by Suffolk County, NY police) and Tawanna Graham (whose son, Jahqui Graham, was killed by East Orange, NJ police). Valerie Bell, Sean Bell's mother, was also on hand with her daughter and, together with the other Stolen Lives families, affirmed their continued fight for justice.

Ralph Poynter, husband of imprisoned people's attorney Lynne Stewart, also joined the Induction Ceremony. He spoke to rousing applause of Stewart's commitment to the families of Stolen Lives and to the struggle of oppressed people. Many artists also joined the ceremony, and their contributions brought new depth through their cultural presentations of music, poetry and spoken word.

This year's Stolen Lives Induction Ceremony was a solemn occasion, but it also concentrated expressions of resistance that are much needed. And people grappled with what it would take to truly eliminate this system's police brutality and terror. The program ended with Nicholas Heyward leading the audience in reciting the Stolen Lives Pledge.

Murder of Jahqui Graham

Jahqui Graham's mother, Tawanna Graham, told the harrowing tale at the Stolen Lives Induction Ceremony of how the police arrested Jahqui in front of her own eyes. A few days later he was found naked and beaten to death in a cell at the police station. Police claimed drugs were the cause of death, but the toxicology report showed no drugs were present in the body. When Tawanna Graham went to identify the body, she barely recognized her son because his body was so bruised and battered—including two front teeth embedded into the roof of his mouth. Two months later she was visited by police who claimed her son was being sought for a crime committed that same month! Jahqui Graham had already died brutally in police custody over two months earlier.

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Revolution #210, August 29, 2010

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"We Tried a New Thing"

We made a number of forays to festivals and neighborhoods in recent weeks to get out the Message/Call and to spread the image of Bob Avakian. In doing this, the leadership of Bob Avakian was pivotal in our agitation, and we were able to find creative ways to use the Bob Avakian image cards, which were very helpful in generating interest amongst masses in the Message/Call as well as in checking out various literature, including Revolution, the Manifesto, Constitution, and Image posters, with people checking out Away With All Gods!, the memoir, etc.

At an art festival we tried a new thing. We started by saturating the area with a lot of the image cards. Almost everyone took one and when some of them asked who it was we told them that was what they needed to find out. When people got the cards, you could see them turning them over obviously looking for a clue about what it was all about and then often looking kind of quizzical—provoked. Then after thoroughly saturating the crowd, we set up a table at a good location right near one of the venues with a big enlargement of the image along with a 3' X 4' poster with blurbs from Bob Avakian's memoir From Ike to Mao and Beyond, including the blurb from Cornel West. We had some of the key books by Avakian on the table, and two of us went out in the crowd with the broadsheet of the Message/Call telling people we had the answer to the question and talking about the revolution we need and the leadership we have with Bob Avakian.

We got out about 300 broadsheets as well as four bundles and got about 10 names. The cards had definitely created some interest in the Message/Call. We ran into several people who had heard of Bob Avakian—a couple of them from going to the bookstore, one at an event he couldn't remember, and one of them said that he had seen something about the Revolution Talk online, possibly on Youtube. None of them had previously known what Bob Avakian looked like. One older Black guy who had heard of Avakian from the store came over to the table to check out the memoir because he wanted to see something about his life—how serious about revolution was he. He didn't get the book but got a Revolution Talk card to check him out online. Two of the vendors posted the Call along with the image card up at their booths and took bundles for their tables to pass out to people at the event and elsewhere. One of the vendors said that she had gotten the Call during a demo around Oscar Grant, that it was "so right on" and that this was what we needed to do—build a movement for revolution. She said that she was very concerned about many of the things that the Call addressed and felt like it was true that it was a system which had to be overthrown. Another young white guy who posted up the Call at his crafts booth said that he wasn't sure about communism but definitely felt that this was more and more a fascist state. He was quite shocked by Obama and said he was very interested in checking out Bob Avakian online, especially the Revolution Talk to see if he thought it would really be possible to make a revolution in the U.S.

Several people checked out the enlargement of the image and the quote at the table, noted that the image was the same as the one on the card, and stopped by to look at the Call and literature to find out more. It was quite apparent that the fact that the card did not have text on it, which was so unusual, definitely intrigued people and opened the door to more engagement, particularly around the role of leadership.

At a concert we went to, what we did was pass out the cards to people entering the concert in the morning, telling people, "Your mission: find out who this is today." This generated a lot of intrigue and people dug it. In the evening when people came out from the concert, we were out there with the big enlargement of the image and the Message/Call, which drew people to talk to us and get the broadsheets.

At another festival, we distributed a lot of the image cards while others were passing out the broadsheets. A lot of curiosity was created by the cards and when leaving the concert many were drawn to the enlargement of the image, with the blurbs about the memoir. Some wanted to find out more about Bob Avakian, saying, "Look, that is what Cornel says about this man! I want to know more about him." They would talk to people passing out the broadsheets and get the Revolution Talk palm cards. Of course, controversy was also aroused because of this—controversy about white leader, religion, etc. Because that festival was a two-day event, a good number of people who got the broadsheets (and the image cards) the first day came back to us the second day to get bundles of the Call, saying that they wanted to help get it out after reading it and agreeing with it.

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Revolution #210, August 29, 2010

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"This revolution, where?"

Dear Editors,

Just want to share one of many interesting encounters on the street while helping spread the Message and a Call statement. On a recent Saturday night this August, the warm night brought out a large mixed crowd of people. A projector up at an intersection is showing Bob Avakian talking about the real issues facing humanity. I'm down the street a little ways in the people traffic near the bus stop, handing out the statement. I offer one to a younger Asian man, he declines, saying "my English is not good." He hangs around, waiting for someone. A little later I offer a group of three Black men statements, they also are not fluent in English but one of them takes a copy and I go about my business. Ten minutes later, they approach me together with the Asian man and now also a Latino man with them. They indicate they are a group of five traveling together, three from Ethiopia, one from China, and one from Mexico. Maybe they're in a guest worker program, or here for some kind of conference, I'm not sure. I wish my Spanish was better. But they are all going over the one statement copy and have questions. The Mexican national can of course read the Spanish part, and is explaining to the others, but there is still some language barrier amongst them. An Ethiopian asks me: "This revolution, where?" At first I think they want to know where they can get more information, and start to tell them. They correct me and I finally figure out that they want to know what country the revolution is in. I explain that its right here in the USA we're talking about, the heart of imperialism. They are now really surprised and interested, and start talking amongst themselves again. It dawns on me that they had at first assumed the statement was just some new media propaganda about the next country the USA was planning to invade to get their oil or something! They now each take a copy and head towards the bus. It will remain a bit of a mystery to me who they were and what brought them together, but I think that they will help spread the message. 

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Revolution #210, August 29, 2010

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Taking the Campaign out for the 5-day saturation

The area that we concentrated our efforts was in an area which is a rich crossroads of immigrants mostly from Latin America, movement activists, cultural forces, and broad middle strata consisting of a mixture of young alternative counter-culture people, yuppies and enlightened middle strata forces.  Some of the other spots that we covered included the Day Laborers' corner, two main Catholic Churches in the community, and a street with clubs, bookstores, cafes, and a park, which is a popular gathering spot for the middle strata and a few immigrants on the weekend.

The response that we got was more contradictory, which was not surprising given the historical influence of other trends in this community—from social democracy, anarchist, to revisionist. At the same, we found a certain amount of apathy towards the sharpness of contradictions developing around the world. Initially, due to these objective conditions, there was a tendency to mainly pitch things to the intermediate by agitating about the horrors of this system with an emphasis on the fascist Arizona law and then follow that up with some mention about revolution and the leadership we have. After two days, we held a substantive summation meeting where we identified the line and made a plan to rectify this wrong approach. We went out the rest of the days with an approach of unfolding things around the leadership that we have by highlighting the role of Bob Avakian in relationship to the communist revolution that we need and the movement for revolution that we are building to get us there. With this approach, we were able to polarize the situation and those who were attracted by it stepped forward—from both the proletariat and middle strata. To these people, the existence of a re-envisioned communism with an actual strategy to make revolution in a country like the U.S. presented a fresh attraction.  They were intrigued to find out who this leadership is who has taken up the challenge to forge a theoretical framework and strategic orientation for making revolution and getting to communism.  Several of the advanced who stepped forward were particularly impressed that this leadership is taking up the challenge of developing a strategy for making revolution in the U.S. Among some others who have put revolution on the back burner or even are resigned to accept that revolution is not possible due to their experience of revolutions not leading anywhere in Latin America, were drawn to the kind of re-envisioned communism and socialism encompassed by BA's new synthesis.

A team also went out to the park on Sunday afternoon with this approach and things got controversial real quick. In the midst of this—people's "normal routine" was disrupted and confronted sharply with the thrust of the statement and highlighting Bob Avakian and his leadership role. In the midst of the back and forth, some people were challenged and inspired to engage with the statement. Some people contributed funds, taking up the statement—in singles and in some cases, bundles.

At the conclusion of the 5 days, we had a showing of excerpts of the Revolution talk at a café in the neighborhood. We had initially planned for this to be an outdoor showing in the early part of the evening, but we changed this plan due to the weather turning windy and cold. 7 people attended this showing. The excerpts that we showed were:

  1. Postcards of the hanging.
  2. Why do people come here from all over the world and
  3. The Imagine section on communism.

The people who attended watched intently and were visibly moved by seeing and hearing the talk projected largely on the wall of the café. The response included the following comments:

  1. "I think what this guy Bob Avakian is talking about is all true—things shouldn't be this way and people need something different." (a 65-year-old Black proletarian who had joined us for two days in distributing the statements in the community)
  2. "There is no other group with this kind of vision and is out there doing it—actually making revolution." (an Asian American activist who joined us for the 10 days of saturation and then went to Arizona Freedom Summer and joined us for several day during the 5 days of saturation)

Our assessment is that even though we distributed 17 K in this community and encountered the experience of people taking up bundles and distributing them and coming back to ask for more and people making the comment (by the 4th and 5th day) that they had already gotten it—we did not achieve the threshold of saturation.  This was due to the fact that this is a large area and required a larger force to be able to penetrate more deeply in this area and also due to the contentiousness of taking the campaign out in this community with many diverse cultural and political trends.


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Revolution #210, August 29, 2010

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Taking the Campaign to the Farmworkers

Earlier this week, three of us took a trip to an agricultural area of California. In less than 24 hours, we got out about 9,000 statements and raised $165.

Our first stop was a festival, which drew thousands to the town square to look at art, jewelry and clothing booths, and to listen to Mexican mariachi and banda bands. We got out over 5,000 statements.

People listened and seemed curious, while some came up and asked what this was all about and what kind of revolution were we talking about. A lot of the bundles went to high school and college students and some to farmworkers.

One young woman's sister came up to us and asked what we were talking about. When she found out it was about revolution, she quickly pulled her sister to us and said that's what she always talks about. Her sister quickly took a bundle and said she hated everything about this system. She was more of an alternative type—wearing black clothes.

A retired fireman came to our table, drawn by the enlargement of "The Revolution We Need... ," which he spent time reading. He said one might think his life—living in a nice home in a comfortable suburb—would put him miles from considering revolution, but he explained that many of his relatives were immigrants without documents and without hopes of ever getting them. He expressed his disgust for the way immigrants are treated. Turning around, he pointed to the crowd in the park across the street, "These are the people who feed this country! And look at the way they're treated!" He ended up taking a bundle of 50 leaflets and said he would find places to get them out.

Some of the campesinos talked about working many hours for about $8.25/hour and not getting paid any overtime even after working 10 hours/day, and about a speedup with the machines, forcing people to work a lot faster.

A group of youth said the cops there harass them for no other reason except that they're Latino.

When we were done at the festival, we drove to scope out the scene in another area where the campesinos gather on their way to work. As we were doing that, we summed up the need for more directly putting Bob Avakian out there and the fact that the existence of his leadership greatly heightens the possibility of revolution in this country. And we summed up that not putting the challenge of fundraising directly to people is a reflection of a line that says that people can't contribute to this movement for revolution; that people can't take responsibility for changing the world and themselves in the process; and that we are depriving people of a means to contribute by not challenging people around money. We also talked about how people give a lot of money to the church, which is harmful because it only adds to continuing their oppression.

So we took this orientation out to the world.

The next day around 4:30 a.m., hundreds of campesinos were getting on dozens of busses in a huge parking lot, to be driven to the fields to cut lettuce. They got an early-morning surprise when we got on the busses and said, "We are building a movement for revolution and we have a leader, Bob Avakian, whose existence heightens the possibility for revolution. We have a strategy for revolution and we see the immigrants as a potential force for revolution—a force that the rulers of this country are afraid of." It was very inspiring to see their eyes light up and nod in agreement, taking bundles and digging into their wallets.

Some people started passing them out to their co-workers and said, "You can get some out too." A few bus drivers stopped their busses, took fliers themselves and invited us on to address the workers. One bus driver (who was wearing a Felipe Calderon campaign shirt) said the problem was women and we need to keep them "in check." We responded by saying the problem is capitalism, and the way it distorts feelings of love and crushes women in body and in soul. And that we need a revolution in which women are empowered and liberated. He disagreed. But it polarized the bus we were on and many women and men were nodding in agreement with the revolutionaries.

The agitation that really struck people was the fact that the rulers are afraid of immigrants as a potential force for revolution, and that that's a big reason for the anti-immigrant laws in Arizona. Some people would also ask, when we introduced them to Bob Avakian's leadership, "What's his name?" to clarify and make sure they got it right. Quite a few were really intrigued by the possibility of revolution and the existence of a strategy to fight and decisively win.

And on the question of raising money, we did much better in four hours with the hundreds of campesinos here than we did in six hours at the festival attended by thousands. This was because we were much more squarely putting the responsibility of people to be part of contributing to this movement for revolution...and people felt that.

As a general mood, people liked that we took the time to be on the busses so early in the morning and to bring this message to them. It had a sort of subversive feel to it.

We finished off the morning by reaching out to store owners in the area so that we could reach our fundraising goal and to ask them to take bundles of the statement for their customers.

We started by explaining to people where we came from and that we came down to the area to bring the revolution to all the people there, particularly the farmworkers. We told them of what we had done earlier that morning—reaching out to the campesinos—and that now we were reaching out to businesses to have them contribute $20 each so we could reach our goal of getting out one million statements.

The first store that donated was a small botanica (which sells a bunch of religious and spiritual paraphernalia and herbal remedies). The owner came out and we ran down our rap. We paused and waited for a response. After a little while she asked if we were religious. We said no, we're atheists. We paused and she thought about it. She asked why would we want a revolution if there's already violence and destruction. Wouldn't that bring down more violence and suffering? We responded by saying it's this system that's got us in the situation we're in and the revolution is aiming for communism—a world without borders, a world without classes, a world without the divisions between men and women. And we have a leader that makes this all the more possible. That's what we're fighting to bring into being and what we need these funds for. Based on that, she reached into the cash register and gave us $20. She asked how could she stay in touch and help get the word out. She asked if she could take a bundle.

On the basis of knowing what we are about, what this revolution is about, she contributed. This was a ten-minute conversation, not a one-hour speech. And the challenge was confronted directly: What does this movement for revolution need, what does humanity need?

In a music booth in a small mall, the owner, on the basis of seeing the leaflet headline and hearing, "This is about building a revolutionary movement," had the music turned down so we could talk. He was very intense when he said he'd never been part of any radical movement but had, of late, been thinking that some kind of radical change was needed, but he didn't know exactly what or how. When he was asked to give $20 to be part of building this revolutionary movement, he said he only had $10 in his wallet and gave that and took a stack of leaflets to give people coming to his booth.

As we drove home, we were really excited about the very positive responses especially from the farmworkers and what we had learned in taking out the statement. We almost reached our goal of getting out 10,000 statements and raising $200. By aiming high we made important connections with hundreds of people who now know there is a movement for revolution and a leader that they need to know about.

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Revolution #210, August 29, 2010

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Second Successful Webathon

Putting Revolution Farther on the Map, Hour by Hour


In the days before the second national "Put Revolution on the Map" webathon August 8, a group of subscribers to Revolution newspaper pooled pledges to issue a challenge to viewers to match their combined pledge of $500. About an hour before the webcast began, a phone banker reached a subscriber of Revolution newspaper. Their conversation about Bob Avakian ended with a $1,000 donation, specifically to promote the Revolution Talk online and the upcoming publication of Basics.

The webathon goal was $12,000. As the webcast went live, the thermometer opened with almost $2,000. Hosts Sunsara Taylor and Annie Day told viewers about The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have campaign spreading to New Orleans, Detroit and Arizona, funded by proceeds of the last webathon. They began to go deeply into one of the objectives of the campaign—making Bob Avakian a "household name." A clip of the police murder of Oscar Grant in Oakland was followed by a clip of Bob Avakian's Revolution Talk: "There is a get the cops off!" Will Reese, standing before a clothesline on the set hung with copies of the Message & Call and images of Avakian, told of showing clips of the Revolution Talk on the streets in the neighborhoods and people on the street stopping to watch and talk.

As the second hour began, a donor made another challenge: "I'll give $100 if 5 others will." A young woman from the Bay Area who had been at an event with older people discussing Berkeley's history of resistance,  said, "I'm donating because I want to put revolution on the map for my generation." Annie Day described the concept of BAsics, "You can't make revolution if you don't know the BAsics." Throughout the webcast, quotes from Bob Avakian to be in the upcoming pocket-size book were read by the hosts, and more clips from the Revolution Talk were shown.

The thermometer just passed $4,000 as the third hour began a longer series of clips from Raymond Lotta's talk "A Capitalist Oil Spill: A System Not Fit to Be Caretakers of the Planet, & the Revolution We Need!" The phones rang and online donations came in, as people tuned in to the webcast, drawn by Facebook and calls from their friends. Staff at a Revolution Books store emailed: "During the matching funds challenge, a man on SSI came into the bookstore to see if there was a Sunday afternoon program. He didn't know about the web-a-thon but watched part of it and at first said he didn't have a dime. But when he heard that a person who was unemployed had donated $100 and then heard about the matching funds challenge for the 3rd hour, he said he would donate $25 out of his next SSI check and he gave a date. He stayed a little longer even though he was in pain and listened as Sunsara exposed the rate of incarceration in the United States. He kept shaking his head. I asked him why he was donating and he said, 'I'm donating to help the revolution.'"

As special programming from the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund began, the goal was half reached in donations and pledges. Actors read letters from prisoners to Revolution newspaper, and a former prisoner issued a challenge to people to "adopt" a subscription to the newspaper for a prisoner because hundreds of prisoners are waiting to receive subs. (all online at A donor called in to say, "This country is heading in the wrong direction. Nothing but major change will do it. Revolution sounds reasonable and extreme. I have heard about revolution for over 20 years. But I was never really into it. But now I can see it...I always thought it was possible to change it from within, but not any more."

After four hours, the thermometer showed $8,000. Travis Morales, who had just returned from Arizona, where the fascist anti-immigrant law had been enacted and protested, welcomed viewers in Spanish. He sat down with Sunsara and described how dangerous the SB1070 law's provisions are to the lives of immigrants, and what revolutionaries had to say in Arizona. "We don't have an immigration problem; we have a capitalism problem," said a billboard in Phoenix. Someone the revolutionaries had met in Arizona during the protests sent in a pledge, saying "I'm not a communist but this Revolution Talk needs to be out there; as well as this paper."

Going into the last hour, the goal was still more than $3,000 away. Sunsara, Annie, Will and Travis asked people to "Think about what a difference it would make for people to know that there is a movement for revolution being built right now, and that movement has a leader, Bob Avakian, with a strategy." The pace picked up. A donor pledged $1,000 in honor of the Chinese Revolution and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, and in honor of Bob Avakian who refused to let that pathbreaking revolution be buried, saying, "When China's revolution was defeated, a lot of people quit believing in revolution but Avakian's work has made it a real possibility again even in this country."

At $11,990, a volunteer taking pledge calls pulled out $10 from her bag to make it $12,000. This was a successful six hours! Hundreds of viewers watched the webathon, some in groups, with new donors contributing to the movement for revolution. The proceeds will fund online advertising for the Revolution Talk; the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund; showings of the Revolution Talk in New York City parks; promotion costs for BAsics; and printing of the Message & Call: The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have.

You can donate online at; send checks/money orders to RCP Publications, or drop donations at any Revolution Books.


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Revolution #210, August 29, 2010

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This Week:

Bring "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have" into the schools and onto the campuses

Let's be part of making "back to school" what it should be—a time of big ideas, of broadening horizons, of digging into the new and challenging the old, experimenting and imagining, rebelling and dreaming. Whether it is at high schools or on college campuses, elite universities or community colleges—be part of "bringing revolution to a campus near you!"

Why was, and is, there an oil catastrophe in the Gulf? Why are millions of immigrants in this country being criminalized by this system? Is the war in Afghanistan really bringing liberation to the people of Afghanistan, and especially to the women there? Why is racism still a burning question in America in this "age of Obama"? Does the world really have to be like this? These are some of the big questions which many youth and students are up against—and some are bringing these questions, and their search for answers, back to their campuses and schools this fall. We need to be there, with Revolution newspaper—and with the Message and Call. This statement is a critical way to speak to students and a concrete way to expand the national campaign focused up on "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have."

"Anyone who has thought seriously about revolution knows that the role of students and youth as well as the overall ideological, intellectual and political life of campuses as a whole, is of strategic significance." Getting the statement onto college campuses and into the high schools is part of challenging these youth on what their lives are going to be about, cracking open mass debate and ferment on why is the world the way it is, taking on the "time honored" verdicts on revolution and communism. "We must bust open widespread radical ferment broadly and organize within that—and as an anchor to that—a growing core into the movement for revolution at various levels and in a myriad of ways." ("Bringing Revolution to the Campuses," Revolution #174, August 30, 2009)

As an integral part of all of this we need to learn much more about what the students and youth are thinking about—how they view the world and their role in it. In the wake of getting "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have" out broadly, sit down, talk with and listen to some students on campus, or youth from the neighborhood. See what is on their minds as well as what they think about the Message and Call. Learn from them, and then write to Revolution about what you are learning.

And let's bring together different sections of the people. How much do college students, in particular at elite universities, know about the "lived life" and aspirations of the hundreds of thousands of oppressed people who often live within blocks of their campus? How could it change the terms of campus debate if Black and/or Latino youth whose only apparent options in life are prison, death or the military and who are now considering what it would mean to become "an emancipator of humanity," came to talk to students about their lives, and what they think and believe is possible. Or if those same students left campus and went into some of the urban neighborhoods and talked to—and listened to—people speak about how they understand the need and possibility for revolution. Or if they watched clips from the Revolution talk together. With the statement and the campaign as a framework, this kind of mixing it up could have very profound impact on all involved and give people a concrete sense of how all of this is part of building a movement for revolution.

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Revolution #210, August 29, 2010

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Read and Spread Revolution Newspaper

We have a strategy—and our newspaper is, as "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have" 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.

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Revolution #210, August 29, 2010

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SUSTAIN Revolution financially each month!

Revolution newspaper is the foundation, guideline, and organizational scaffolding for the movement we are building for revolution. Stop and think about it—how essential is that?! But the reality is that this newspaper will not fill this need without more people becoming regular monthly sustainers. Sign up yourself to contribute regularly. And then, wherever you are—at a protest, a concert, selling Revolution, at FaceBook... or just hanging out—struggle with people, including people you just met, to sustain Revolution regularly. Once a week, check yourself: How is this going? How many new sustainers did you sign up?

To sustain Revolution: click the "Sustain/Donate" link at or send a regular amount at the beginning of each month to RCP Publications, P.O. Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654.

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Revolution #210, August 29, 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 #210, August 29, 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

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