Revolution #213, October 10, 2010

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party,USA

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Revolution #213, October 10, 2010

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Fighting Police Brutality, and Transforming the People, for Revolution!

by Carl Dix

Fourteen years ago I said there was a nationwide epidemic of police brutality. That epidemic is still in effect today. Youth get stopped and frisked by police all the damn time. Black or Latino parents worry when their teenagers go out: Will he be the next Sean Bell or Oscar Grant? Will she be the next Tyisha Miller? Black parents have to talk with their kids about how to survive being stopped by a cop—no matter whether they are straight A students or street youth who sag their pants. All too often, such an encounter ends with a young person beaten down, arrested or even dead. Just ask the families of any of the several thousand innocent victims murdered by the cops since 1990.

Or just meet some of them, sit down and talk with them, and work with them, like I have. Nicholas Heyward Sr. will tell you what it feels like when the police kill your 13-year-old son for having a toy gun. Or Margarita Rosario will tell you what it's like to hear that your son and nephew were shot in the back by cops while they were lying face down with their hands up. And they and other family members of police murder victims will tell you what it's like to watch the cops who committed these crimes get off with no punishment.

Some thought Obama's election would lead to a reduction in police abuse, but what has happened? September 5: Manuel Jaminez Xum (Manuel Jaminez) is gunned down by cops in L.A. in broad daylight on a busy street. July 8: Johannes Mehserle, the cop who shot Oscar Grant in the back as he lay face down and handcuffed, is let off with a conviction for involuntary manslaughter, which is like saying it was an accident. May 16: Aiyana Stanley-Jones, a 7-year-old girl, is killed by Detroit police who conduct a midnight raid into her apartment searching for a suspect who lived in the apartment upstairs!

The dogs are still in the street.

Some people blame our youth for all this, or say it's our own fault. Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said the cops have to come into the neighborhoods the way they do because of the violence the youth are involved in. Speaking at the funeral of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Reverend Al Sharpton said: "I'm looking at the man in the mirror. All of us share some of the blame for Aiyana's death." This is plain wrong, and it's poisonous! We need straight talk on who's really to blame for the situation our youth face.

Neither Oscar Grant nor Aiyana Stanley-Jones did anything to cause their murders. Neither did most of the people who were killed or brutalized by police. And the system itself is responsible for the crime and violence our youth are caught up in. It was the capitalist system that stripped the inner cities of jobs that pay a living wage. The capitalist system that wrecked the educational system. That in 1,001 ways, spreads the message that the lives of our youth are worthless. That promotes the mentality of look out for number 1 and being for yourself, and for your group before anything else. Yet when our youth take up this outlook and apply it to the ways the system has out there for them to survive—whatever hustle they can find, legitimate or illegitimate—the authorities use this to demonize the youth.

As the Message and Call from the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), "The Revolution We Need ... The Leadership We Have," puts it:

"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."

This system has no future for the youth, but the revolution does!

We need to make this revolution. We are building a movement for revolution to get us to a whole different world. A world where the majority of people are no longer forced to slave for the benefit of a wealthy few. A world where there are no more divisions between women and men or between people of different races or nationalities. A world where the backward ideas that help keep this dog eat dog setup in effect are no more. And as a first step in that, making revolution and building a revolutionary society that values the youth as representing the future, instead of criminalizing them like this one does. A revolutionary society that unleashes them to contribute their thinking, spirit and energy to advancing society, and doesn't pen them in, beat them down and kill them off like this one does.

Things don't have to be this way. Through communist revolution, we could bring a totally different and far better world into being. We are spreading revolution and communism everywhere. And we are mobilizing people to resist the attacks this system brings down on the masses as part of getting ready for revolution. And the youth need to be in the forefront of this movement for revolution, and they will be a backbone of the new structure that runs the revolutionary society!

Now I'm not saying these youth could help lead a revolution and build a new revolutionary society the way they are today. No, they couldn't do that, but our youth weren't always into the things they are now. The conditions created and enforced by the capitalist system itself are what changed our youth from beautiful children to gangbangers and criminals.

We need to get our youth out of this shit and into something in the interests of humanity. But lectures about pulling up your pants or sermons won't do anything to change them for the better. Neither will threats of intensified repression. The only way that they can get out of all the bad shit they're caught up in now is by getting clear on the real cause of the misery and brutality inflicted on the masses—the capitalist system. And by joining in the struggle against this system and what it does to the people. We know that these youth are impatient and defiant. Given what the system does to them, this is a good thing. The movement for revolution can tap into that impatience and defiance and give it positive expression, right now. This can play an important part in getting to revolution. In this way, they can join the emancipators of humanity and become a part of bringing into being a totally different and far better way for people to live here and around the world.

As the statement from the RCP, "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have" puts it: "The days when this system can just keep on doing what it does to people, here and all over the world...when people are not inspired and organized to stand up against these outrages and to build up the strength to put an end to this madness...those days must be GONE. And they CAN be."

October 22, 2010, the 15th annual National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, needs to be a day marked by determined resistance. It needs to be a day when young people and older folk too pour into the streets and manifest their outrage at the brutality and murder this system's enforcers inflict on the people. It needs to be a day when the victims have a platform to expose how this official brutality has devastated their lives, and when people from different backgrounds and of different races come together to say NO MORE to these outrages. We in the RCP, who throw our hearts and souls into building this movement for revolution, will be there that day and in the days leading up to this to build this resistance as part of that movement.

To repeat, there IS a movement for revolution out there that the youth can get with now. A movement that can tap into their defiance and anger and show them how to direct it to building resistance to the ways the system comes at the people. Resistance that gives people a sense that things don't have to be this way. Resistance that exposes the illegitimacy of this system and the horrors its enforcers inflict on the people. Resistance that shows people another way for people to relate to each other than the dog-eat-dog mentality this system promotes.

And again, anybody who is really concerned about what the youth are into and wants to see them doing better needs to be helping them see that the system is the real problem and encouraging them to join those who are fighting the power and transforming themselves and others, for revolution. Not giving them lectures about pulling up their pants and taking personal responsibility, or getting into god.

All Out for October 22nd, the National Day of Protest To Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation!

Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution!

This System Has No Future for the Youth, But the Revolution Does!

Send us your comments.

Revolution #213, October 10, 2010

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Views of those who contribute to "Bear Witness" are their own and they are not responsible for views expressed elsewhere in this newspaper.

The following was submitted to Bear Witness...

Something To Think About...

What has the world come to when you have to question if the authorities are on your side or their own? Who are you more afraid of, police or street thugs? Since when did it get to the point that you would have to ask these questions? I know for a fact that our police over the years have become extremely bias and discriminating against blacks and it is happening more and more every day. It just so happens in the past they were very discreet with it where as now they blatantly show their disrespectful and discrimination against blacks or dark skinned people.

For example an incident came up with one of my friends. It was earlier this week on Monday. Four guys, all African American, were driving in Willoughby to a game. The cop was two cars behind my friends' car and flashed the sirens and lights and pulled them over. The racist cop joked with them to get them into their comfort zone, then within five seconds his demeanor changed drastically. He immediately started with his "own" protocol.

First, he asked everyone in the vehicle to show identification. The law is when pulled over the officer is required for any reason to ask the driver for license and registration unless he sees or has any reason to believe the other passengers are a threat to the situation. Then, and only then, should he ask the rest of the passengers for identification. But, in this situation that was disregarded.

After asking everyone for identification he ran all of them through the database. One person, my friend, came up with a previous warrant. Automatically the cop told him to step out of the car and put his hands on the car and spread his legs. He then proceeded to ask him did he have any illegal possession on him or weapons. My friend responded with "no". Then the cop sarcastically asked my friend "what happened in Bedford Heights??" My friend responded with "Nothing, I had a warrant but took care of it." The officer then said, "No, you didn't" and proceeded to handcuff him.

My friend was taken down to the police station. They kept him in the holding cell for a couple hours until the guard came and presented him with his orange jumpsuit. He stayed in the cell for the next three hours until they located the officer that he had in Bedford Heights. When they released him the bailiff said he wouldn't have taken him in on a warrant that was for a different district. Now humor me this, if they were white would they have been pulled over? If they were white would the cop ask all of the young men for their identification? It's something to think about...

Send us your comments.

Revolution #213, October 10, 2010

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The Culture That Killed Tyler Clementi

by Sunsara Taylor

Editor's note: On October 10, New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino told Orthodox Jewish leaders, "I don't want [children] to be brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid or successful option.  It isn't." Paladino claimed, "That's not how God created us." On October 14, the Obama Justice Department appealed a court ruling that struck down the U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Obama's move defended officially enforced discrimination against lesbians and gays in the military. In early October, there were highly publicized arrests of young Latino men in the Bronx accused of beating and raping three other young men they suspected of being gay. The following is a correspondence from Revolution writer Sunsara Taylor that was received and posted online at before these events. It speaks to the whole culture and institutionalization of bigotry these events represent, as well as other questions.

"Think what it means that today for men there is no insult that hits harder than being called a 'pussy' or a 'fag.' Now, imagine a day when people look back at today's restrictive notions of gender—of what it is to be a 'man' and what it is to be a 'woman'—as mind-boggling absurdities of humanity's oppressive past."

From the special issue of Revolution, "Declaration: For Women's Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity"

By now, the events leading up to the suicide of Tyler Clementi, a gay student at Rutgers University in New Jersey, have been widely reported. On September 19, Tyler asked his roommate, Dharun Ravi, to stay out as he was having a private guest. Not long afterwards, Ravi sent a message out over Twitter, "Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly's room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay." Then, Ravi streamed Tyler's intimate encounter live over the internet. Two days later, Ravi sent another message about Tyler, "Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes, it's happening again."

That same day, discussing his reaction to this online, Tyler wrote: "And so I feel like it was 'look at what a fag my roommate is...' Other people have commented on his profile with things like 'how did you manage to go back in there?' and 'are you ok?' and the fact that the people he was with saw my making out with a guy as the scandal whereas I mean come on... he was SPYING ON ME ... do they see something wrong with this?"

After that, Tyler Clementi posted on Facebook, "Jumping off the gw bridge sorry."

For three days, Tyler had been wrestling with how to respond to the invasion of his privacy, the streaming of his sexual encounter, and the ridiculing of his sexual orientation by his college roommate and others online. But for 18 years, he had been wrestling with how to live in a society that makes almost no allowances for non-conformity and in a million ways—grotesque as well as subtle—conveyed hostility to the most intimate and vulnerable elements of his being.

The two students involved in filming and sharing Tyler's private moments, Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei, have become the subject of great debate. Many, including the authorities and news media, have called for criminal charges. And many—from hypocritical moralizers to genuinely concerned students, gay rights groups and others—are discussing their reprehensible behavior. Certainly Ravi and Wei—who traded in society's anti-gay stigmas for momentary popularity and turned the invasions of Tyler's privacy into sport—were brutally wrong.

But this horrific death cannot be explained by focusing narrowly on two college freshmen. The even more damning truth is that their behavior was completely in step with the dominant culture of homophobia, cruelty, and destruction of privacy.

A Culture of Bigotry and an Epidemic of Gay Teen Suicide

On the various online memorial pages for Tyler, on Facebook and YouTube, while there is, in the main, an outpouring of support and caring, there are also comments condemning Tyler and other gay people to hell, stating that homosexuality is a "sin" and even going so far as to celebrate Tyler taking his own life. This is typical.

While one of the most favorable shifts in the culture in recent decades has been the growing acceptance of gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgendered people, this has developed in stark and sharp contrast to the deeply entrenched, and increasingly vitriolic and politically mobilized, homophobic condemnation and attacks.

The polarization is extreme and intensifying. There are more openly gay people in the media, in politics, in entertainment than ever before, but gay people are still a staple joke of sitcoms, television, radio DJs and stand-up comedians. Growing numbers support full equality and acceptance of gays, but it is still the case that by law the majority of states deny gays the fundamental right to marry the person they fall in love with, to visit their partner's bedside as they are dying, or to share custody of their own children. And it is still far from uncommon to hear prominent senators equate homosexuality with bestiality or high-watt preachers insist that homosexuality is a "sin" or an "illness" in need of a "cure."

This polarization is not merely taking place between two sections of the people. At every level, the forces of tradition and of power—from the major molders of public opinion, to the keepers of traditional Christianity and faith, to the highest levels of courts, legislature and executive—have come down against accepting the full humanity of gays. Let us not forget that even the "great progressive" President Obama not only opposed gay marriage but also invited Rick Warren—the bigoted biblical literalist who played a big role in banning gay marriage in California and who has ties to international forces determined to execute all gays—to deliver his 2008 inaugural invocation.

All this gives force and backing to the most backwards impulses among the people and contributes to a situation where anti-gay jokes, anti-gay bullying, and anti-gay violence are so widespread that gay teen suicides are commonplace. More than 85 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students report being harassed because of their sexual or gender identity and more than 20 percent report being physically attacked.

The day after Tyler's suicide, Asher Brown, a 13-year-old living in Houston, Texas, shot himself in the head in his family's home. Just a few days before that, Seth Walsh, also 13, hung himself in his backyard in California. And just over a week before that, Billy Lucas, age 15, hung himself in a barn in Indiana. All of them had been the victims of anti-gay bullying.

At a youth meeting held last week at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada, 15 of the 16 teenagers present admitted that they had thought about killing themselves. As one put it, "I didn't want to be there anymore. I'd rather just not wake up. I felt like I was some kind of mistake or a mess-up."

The Destruction of Intimacy and the End of Privacy

Friends of Dharun Ravi have told the media that he wasn't particularly homophobic, that he was just playing a prank, and that he would have done the same thing had his roommate brought home a female. Whether or not that is true, this line of "defense" points to another extremely disturbing feature of today's culture. It seems a whole generation has been given the idea that moments of intimacy are nothing more than things to be caught on film, ridiculed, and traded for social status.

This generation has been reared on self-commodification and increasingly violent and degrading pornography. They've come of age in a world where people's careers are "made" if they are able to get "just the right shot" up a young celebrity's skirt as she steps out of a limo. They've been shaped by a culture that demands female celebrities bare all—through a "leaked" sex tape or a racy video—in order to remain relevant past their pre-teens. They are assaulted every day by drug store magazines, gossip channels, websites, and mainstream "news stories" trading in the trivial, in mass shamings and in voyeuristic cruelty celebrating other's pains and problems.

All this has had the effect of numbing huge numbers of this generation of the ability to empathize with others and robbing them of the idea that vulnerability, closeness, and privacy have any role to play in sexual relations.

A Culture of Consumerism, Conformity and Cruelty

Much speculation has begun about how much blame to place on social media like Facebook and Twitter. On the one hand, the internet has contributed to breaking down the isolation of gay youth in rural areas. But at the same time, it has become the site for intensifying bigotry and cyberbullying.

The reality is that while technology—in the abstract and in itself—is neutral, it does not exist in a vacuum. All innovations and technology get filtered through the dominant economic relations, the political power structure, and the culture of a society. Even the kinds of technology that get produced, invested in, and catch on, reflect the larger society and its values.

This means that in a truly liberated society—one in which revolution has been made and a new state and system established—the internet could be part of stoking intellectual ferment, and people learning from each other more broadly. But in this society—along with, and as a part of, being driven by the capitalist profit motive—the internet has become an exponentially expanding superhighway of everything cruel, vapid and debasing in this culture.

A driving force in the expansion of internet technology—including the pervasiveness of high-speed internet/cable in people's homes, the capacity to stream live video, and the availability of secret webcams—has been pornography, notable for its escalating violence and degradation of women and girls. Another huge expanse has been dedicated to material consumption—online shopping, searching for "great deals," comparing prices and bidding on products.

Even the technology that has been devoted to developing "social networks" is marked by—and reinforces—the superficiality, segregation and the atomization of our times. Really, what is the texture and depth of "friends" who are often no more than onscreen avatars? What deep value is there to "communication" that is reduced to 140 characters? What becomes of emotions when they are replaced with cartoon-face "emoticons"? What of people's individuality when it is reduced to a set of answers to standard profile questions?

While there are positive countervailing trends, such forms of "social media" almost guarantee that superficiality and alienation will dominate. Developing real relationships—at least ones that do not merely reinforce existing social cliques, stereotypes and divisions—requires engaging at a pace and a depth that allows exploration, boundary-stretching, and nuance. Instead, people get flattened out, generalized, and robbed of the room for uncertainty and exploration. Critical thinking, curiosity and emotional empathy get snuffed out. All this magnifies the larger societal tendency to reduce a whole section of youth into a despised stereotype; where being gay—or denying being gay or repressing the desire to experiment—is the only characteristic allowed to define them.

Needed: A Culture of Revolt against This Revolting Culture

As politicians and pundits debate whether Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei should face charges of manslaughter, it seems doubtful they could have fully comprehended the weight and potential repercussions of their actions. However, there is absolutely NO QUESTION that this society and this culture will continue to generate the kind of deep pain, alienation, and sorrow that leads gay youth to take their lives at a rate three to four times that of others.

As you read this, there are gay youth in their bedrooms, on the internet, in their churches, at their schools. They are being bullied, humiliated, and picked on. They are being denied the space to even figure out who they are, what they feel, and how they want to love. They are alone and overwhelmed. They are questioning whether the hurt and the shame will ever go away. They are wondering what it is that has made them the objects of such contempt. They are doubting whether there is—or ever will be—any place for them on this planet.

What they don't yet understand is that it is not them, but this putrid culture, this alienating society and its brutal ignorance that is worthy of contempt. What they don't yet understand is that it is not them, but this system that has long outlived its usefulness. What they do not yet understand is that there is a meaningful and urgent role to play now—for everyone who refuses to internalize the hatred aimed at them for failing to conform and instead turns their anger against its source, towards building resistance and, ultimately, making revolution to put an end to this system, to its culture and its crimes.

There is an urgent need right now for radical revulsion against everything that went into the suicide of Tyler Clementi.

Enough with being atomized, segregated, numbed out and dumbed down. Its time to get out from behind the computer screens and into the schools and the streets and into people's faces. The world is too big, the problems in need of solving are too great, the ideas worth engaging are too stimulating, the potential of what can be wrenched out for humanity through revolution is too beautiful and invigorating to stay caught up in bigotry or gossip, small-mindedness or self-absorption. It is necessary NOW to forge a different and far better morality and culture—where people are related to as full human beings, not reduced down to their sexual orientation or gender, the part of the world they were born in or what language they speak, the color of their skin or the lies this system propagates about them. Where trading on bigotry is looked down upon, but having the courage to speak out against it is valued and supported. Where anti-gay laws and rulings are fiercely opposed through visible resistance, not met with compromise or demobilizing calls for "common ground." Where privacy is defended and intruding upon it is opposed. Where friendships and bonds—including sexual relations and intimacy—are based not on "getting over" or "getting popular," but on getting to know the other person as a full human being, based on mutual respect and equality, with room for exploration and genuine trust. Where people learn from each other and transform themselves in the process of transforming the world. Where this whole revolting culture is challenged with an utterly unapologetic, totally defiant, and wildly creative culture of revolt!

Send us your comments.

Revolution #213, October 10, 2010

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Contribute to the printing and promotion of the CONSTITUTION FOR THE NEW SOCIALIST REPUBLIC IN NORTH AMERICA (Draft Proposal)

Pre-order a copy now with a contribution of $50.  Order online or at a Revolution Books.

This Constitution from the Revolutionary Communist Party will be coming soon.  It 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.

Contribute to the printing and promotion of this by pre-ordering a copy with a donation of $50.  Order online or at a Revolution Books.

Send us your comments.

Revolution #213, October 10, 2010

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From A World to Win News Service

UN Report: What Happened on the Mavi Marmara

October 4, 2010. A World to Win News Service. Following are excerpts from the report by a mission mandated by the UN Human Rights Council on the facts surrounding Israel's interception of a flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian supplies to Gaza May 31, 2010. (Report A/HRC/15/21) We have retained the paragraph numbering of the original document, and reprinted the entire paragraphs, although we have made a selection from this 56-page document to focus on the Mavi Marmara, the largest ship, on which nine people were killed. The subheads are from the original report. For more on this report and the reaction to it, see accompanying article, "U.S. to Israel after the Gaza ship massacre: Keep up the killing."

Initial attempt to board the Mavi Marmara from the sea

112. Israeli zodiac boats made a first attempt to board the Mavi Marmara from the sea shortly before 0430 hours. Several zodiac boats approached the ship at the stern from both the port and starboard sides. The approach was accompanied by the firing of non-lethal weaponry onto the ship, including smoke and stun grenades, tear gas and paintballs. Plastic bullets may also have been used at this stage: however, despite some claims that live ammunition was also fired from the zodiac boats, the Mission is not satisfied that this was the case. The smoke and tear gas were not effective due to the strong sea breeze and later due to the downdraft from helicopters.

113. The Israeli forces attempted to board the ship through attaching ladders to the hull. Passengers engaged in efforts to repel the attempted boarding using the ship's water hoses and the throwing of various items at the boats including chairs, sticks, a box of plates and other objects that were readily to hand. This initial attempt to board the ship proved unsuccessful. It is the view of the Mission that the Israeli forces should have re-evaluated their plans when it became obvious that putting their soldiers on board the ship may lead to civilian casualties.

Landing of soldiers from helicopters onto the Mavi Marmara

114. Just minutes after soldiers from the zodiac boats had made initial unsuccessful attempts to board, the first helicopter approached the ship at approximately 0430 hours, hovering above the top deck. At this point between 10 and 20 passengers were located in the central area of the top deck, although this number increased as other passengers learned of events on the top deck. The Israeli forces used smoke and stun grenades in an attempt to clear an area for the landing of soldiers. The first rope that was let down from the helicopter was taken by passengers and tied it to a part of the top deck and thereby rendered ineffective for the purpose of soldiers' descent. A second rope was then let down from the helicopter and the first group of soldiers descended. The Mission does not find it plausible that soldiers were holding their weapons and firing as they descended on the rope. However, it has concluded that live ammunition was used from the helicopter onto the top deck prior to the descent of the soldiers.

115. With the available evidence it is difficult to delineate the exact course of events on the top deck between the time of the first soldier descending and the Israeli forces securing control of the deck. A fight ensued between passengers and the first soldiers to descend onto the top deck that resulted in at least two soldiers being pushed down onto the bridge deck below, where they were involved in struggles with groups of passengers who attempted to take their weapons. The equipment jacket of at least one soldier was removed as he was pushed over the side of the deck. A number of weapons were taken from the soldiers by passengers and thrown into the sea: one weapon, a 9mm pistol was unloaded by a passenger, a former U.S. Marine, in front of witnesses and then hidden in another part of the ship in an attempt to retain evidence.

116. A number of the passengers on the top deck fought with the soldiers using their fists, sticks, metal rods and knives. At least one of the soldiers was stabbed with a knife or other sharp object. Witnesses informed the Mission that their objective was to subdue and disarm the soldiers so that they could not harm anyone. The Mission is satisfied on the evidence that at least two passengers on the bridge deck also used handheld catapults to propel small projectiles at the helicopters. The Mission has found no evidence to suggest that any of the passengers used firearms or that any firearms were taken on board the ship. Despite requests, the Mission has not received any medical records or other substantiated information from the Israeli authorities regarding any firearm injuries sustained by soldiers participating in the raid. Doctors examined the three soldiers taken below decks and no firearm injuries were noted. Further, the Mission finds that the Israeli accounts so inconsistent and contradictory with regard to evidence of alleged firearms injuries to Israeli soldiers that it has to reject it.

Deaths of nine passengers and wounding of at least 50 other passengers

117. During the operation to secure control of the top deck, the Israeli forces landed soldiers from three helicopters over a fifteen-minute period. The Israeli forces used paintballs, plastic bullets and live ammunition, fired by soldiers from the helicopter above and soldiers who had landed on the top deck. The use of live ammunition during this period resulted in fatal injuries to four passengers, and injuries to at least nineteen others, fourteen with gunshot wounds. Escape points to the bridge deck from the top deck were narrow and restricted and as such it was very difficult for passengers in this area to avoid being hit by live rounds. At least one of those killed was using a video camera and not involved in any of the fighting with the soldiers. The majority of gunshot wounds received by passengers were to their upper torsos in the head, thorax, abdomen and back. Given the relatively small number of passengers on the top deck during the incident, the Mission is driven to the conclusion that the vast majority were in receipt of gunshot wounds.

118. Israeli soldiers continued shooting at passengers who had already been wounded, with live ammunition, soft baton charges (beanbags) and plastic bullets. Forensic analysis demonstrates that two of the passengers killed on the top deck received wounds compatible with being shot at close range while lying on the ground: Furkan Doğan received a bullet in the face and İbrahim Bilgen received a fatal wound from a soft baton round (beanbag) fired at such close proximity to his head that parts such as wadding penetrated his skull entered his brain. Furthermore, some of the wounded were subjected to further violence including being hit with the butt of a weapon, being kicked in the head, chest and back and being verbally abused. A number of the wounded passengers were handcuffed and then left unattended for some time before being dragged to the front of the deck by their arms or legs.

119. Once the Israeli forces had secured control of the top deck they undertook measures to move down to the bridge deck below in order to take over the ship's bridge and thus take control of the ship. In relation to this operation, a series of shooting incidents occurred centred on the portside doorway which gives access to the main stairwell on the bridge deck. This door is near to the hatch and ladder, which allows access from the top deck to the bridge deck.

120. Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition both from the top deck at passengers on the bridge deck below and after they had moved down to the bridge deck. At least four passengers were killed, and at least nine injured (five with firearms injuries) during this phase. None of the four passengers who were killed, including a photographer who at the time of being shot was engaged in taking photographs and was shot by an Israeli soldier positioned on the top deck above, posed any threat to the Israeli forces. There was considerable live fire from Israeli soldiers on the top deck and a number of passengers were injured or killed whilst trying to take refuge inside the door or assisting other to do so. Wounded passengers were brought into the ship where they could be given some form of medical treatment by doctors and others on board.

122. A group of up to twenty passengers, some holding sticks and rods and wearing gas masks, were located on or around the stairwell inside the ship. One passenger standing just inside the door was shot through the broken porthole in the door by a soldier standing a few metres away on the bridge deck outside.

123. During the shootings on the bridge deck and as it became apparent that a large number of passengers had become injured, Bulent Yildirim, the President of IHH [the Turkish humanitarian organisation that owned this ship] and one of the principal organisers of the flotilla, removed his white shirt which was then used as a white flag to indicate a surrender. This does not appear to have had any effect and live firing continued on the ship.

124. Israeli forces moved down to the bridge deck and moved rapidly to take over the bridge room towards the front of the ship. The doorway and windows of the bridge room came under fire and the ship's captain ordered the ship's engines to be cut. Israeli soldiers entered the bridge room through the door and broken window. The crew were made to lie on the ground at gunpoint. The captain remained standing but was held at gunpoint.

Shootings at the bow deck, the release of the Israeli soldiers and end of the operation

125. During the initial fighting on the top deck three Israeli soldiers were taken under control and brought inside the ship. While some passengers wished to harm the soldiers, other passengers ensured that they were protected and able to receive rudimentary medical treatment from doctors on board. Two of the soldiers had received wounds to the abdomen. One of the soldiers had a superficial wound to the abdomen, caused by a sharp object, which penetrated to the subcutaneous tissue. None of the three soldiers had received gunshot injuries, according to doctors who examined them. All three soldiers were in a state of shock and were suffering from cuts, bruises and blunt force trauma.

126. As the seriousness of incidents on the outer decks became apparent, there was growing concern among some of the flotilla organisers that holding the captured Israeli soldiers may have serious implications for the security of all passengers on board. It was decided that the soldiers should be released and they were taken to the bow of the lower deck. Once on the bow deck two of the soldiers jumped into the sea and were picked up by Israeli boats. The third soldier did not jump and was rapidly joined by Israeli soldiers who came down from the top deck.

127. At least four passengers were injured on the bow of the ship, both before and around the time that the Israeli soldiers were released. At least two passengers received wounds from live ammunition, while others received injuries from soft baton charges, including one doctor who was tending to injured passengers.

128. The Israeli forces stated that the active phase of the Israeli forces operation concluded at 0517 hours, once the ship was under their control and the three soldiers were released. During the 45-50 minute operation, nine passengers were killed, more than 24 passengers had received serious injuries caused by live ammunition and a large number of passengers had received serious injuries caused by plastic rounds, soft baton charges (beanbags) and other means.

Deaths occurring on the Top Deck (roof)

Furkan Doğan, a 19-year-old with dual Turkish and United States citizenship, was on the central area of the top deck filming with a small video camera when he was first hit with live fire. It appears that he was lying on the deck in a conscious, or semi-conscious, state for some time. In total Furkan received five bullet wounds, to the face, head, back thorax, left leg and foot. All of the entry wounds were on the back of his body, except for the face wound which entered to the right of his nose. According to forensic analysis, tattooing around the wound in his face indicates that the shot was delivered at point blank range. Furthermore, the trajectory of the wound, from bottom to top, together with a vital abrasion to the left shoulder that could be consistent with the bullet exit point, is compatible with the shot being received while he was lying on the ground on his back. The other wounds were not the result of firing in contact, near contact or close range, but it is not otherwise possible to determine the exact firing range. The wounds to the leg and foot were most likely received in a standing position.

İbrahim Bilgen, a 60-year-old Turkish citizen, from Siirt in Turkey, was on the top deck and was one of the first passengers to be shot. He received a bullet wound to the chest, the trajectory of which was from above and not at close range. He had a further two bullet wounds to the right side of the back and right buttock, both back to front. These wounds would not have caused instant death, but he would have bled to death within a short time without medical attention. Forensic evidence shows that he was shot in the side of the head with a soft baton round at such close proximity and that an entire beanbag and its wadding penetrated the skull and lodged in the brain. He had a further bruise on the right flank consistent with another beanbag wound. The wounds are consistent with the deceased initially being shot from soldiers on board the helicopter above and receiving a further wound to the head while lying on the ground, already wounded.

Fahri Yaldiz, a 42-year-old Turkish citizen from Adiyaman, received five bullet wounds, one to the chest, one to the left leg and three to the right leg. The chest wound was caused by a bullet that entered near the left nipple and hit the heart and lungs before exiting from the shoulder. This injury would have caused rapid death.

According to the pathology report, Ali Heyder Bengi, a 38-year-old Turkish citizen from Diyarbakir, received six bullet wounds (one in the chest, one in the abdomen, one in the right arm, one in the right thigh and two in the left hand). One bullet lodged in the chest area. None of the wounds would have been instantly fatal, but damage to the liver caused bleeding which would have been fatal if not stemmed. There are several witness accounts which suggest that Israeli soldiers shot the deceased in the back and chest at close range while he was lying on the deck as a consequence of initial bullet wounds.

Deaths occurring on the Bridge Deck, portside

Cevdet Kiliçlar, a 38-year-old Turkish citizen from Istanbul, was on the Mavi Marmara, in his capacity as a photographer employed by IHH. At the moment he was shot he was standing on the bridge deck on the port side of the ship near to the door leading to the main stairwell and was attempting to photograph Israeli soldiers on the top deck. According to the pathology reports, he received a single bullet to his forehead between the eyes. The bullet followed a horizontal trajectory which crossed the middle of the brain from front to back. He would have died instantly.

41-year-old Cengiz Akyuz from Hatay and 46-year-old Cengiz Songur from Izmir, both Turkish citizens, were injured on the bridge deck in close succession by live fire from above. They had been sheltering and were shot as they attempted to move inside the door leading to the stairwell. Cengiz Akyuz received a shot to the head and it is probable that he died instantly.

The pathology report shows four wounds: to the neck, face, chest and thigh. Cengiz Songur received a single bullet to the upper central thorax below the neck, shot from a high angle, which lodged in the right thoracic cavity injuring the heart and aorta. Unsuccessful efforts were made by doctors inside the ship to resuscitate him through heart massage.

Çetin Topçuoğlu, a 54-year-old Turkish citizen from Adana had been involved in helping to bring injured passengers inside the ship to be treated. He was also shot close to the door on the bridge deck. He did not die instantly and his wife, who was also on board the ship, was with him when he died. He was shot by three bullets. One bullet entered from the top of the soft tissues of the right side of the back of the head, exited from the neck and then re-entered into the thorax. Another bullet entered the left buttock and lodged in the right pelvis. The third entered the right groin and exited from the lower back. There are indications that the victim may have been in a crouching or bending position when this wound was sustained.

Ill-treatment of passengers at airport and repatriation

202. Perhaps the most shocking testimony, after that relating to the violence on the Mavi Marmara, provided to the Mission was the consistent accounts of a number of incidents of extreme and unprovoked violence perpetrated by uniformed Israeli personnel upon certain passengers during the processing procedures inside the terminal at Ben Gurion International Airport on the day of deportation. These accounts were so consistent and vivid as to be beyond question. An intimidating number of armed soldiers and police were present inside the terminal building. Some passengers said that these officers were "spoiling for a fight." All passengers had been subjected to multiple searches and were completely under the control of the Israelis by this stage. Most passengers were continuing to refuse to sign deportation documents and some were determined to make a point about the legality of the process by insisting on a court hearing to confirm the deportation. None of the violence described seems to have been justified.

203. Some passengers in the passport checking area saw an older passenger being roughly treated after receiving what appeared to be a beating. When other passengers, including Irish and Turkish, protested at this treatment, they were charged by soldiers using batons. In the foray, around 30 passengers were beaten to the ground, kicked and punched in a sustained attack by soldiers. One Irish passenger was seen being particularly badly beaten around the head and held in a choke position to the point of near suffocation. He identified his attackers as police officers. He was taken to a holding cell.

204. One Turkish passenger involved in the fight said that he was subsequently taken by soldiers, handcuffed with metal cuffs, picked up by the cuffs, taken to a small room and beaten and kicked by five more soldiers while others shielded the scene from outside. The police intervened to stop the violence in this case.

205. A number of women were pushed around by soldiers, one of whom was beaten with fists. They were also subjected to sexual taunts.

206. In a separate incident, a passenger was physically attacked by around 17 officers when he refused to sign deportation papers, kicked in the head and threatened at gunpoint. A number of passengers had resolved to resist deportation in order to have the opportunity to demonstrate their innocence in an Israeli court. This was taken as a provocation by the Israelis.

Possessions of passengers confiscated by the Israeli authorities

240. Amongst the items confiscated and not returned by the Israeli authorities is a large amount of video and photographic footage that was recorded on electronic and other media by passengers, including many professional journalists, on board the vessels of the flotilla. This includes a large number of photographic and video material of the Israeli assault and interception on the Mavi Marmara and other vessels. The Israeli authorities have subsequently released a very limited amount of this for public access, in an edited form, but the vast majority has remained in the private control of the Israeli authorities.

241. The Mission is satisfied that this represents a deliberate attempt by the Israeli authorities to suppress or destroy evidence and other information related to the events of 31 May on the Mavi Marmara and other vessels of the flotilla.

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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Revolution #213, October 10, 2010

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From A World to Win News Service

U.S. to Israel after the Gaza ship massacre: keep up the killing

October 4, 2010. A World to Win News Service. "The circumstances of the killing of at least six of the passengers were consistent with an extra-legal, arbitrary and summary execution," a UN-sponsored fact-finding mission on the Israeli attack on an aid flotilla to Gaza last May has concluded.

Contrary to Israeli claims that the nine passengers on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara were killed by Israeli soldiers acting in self-defense, the UN Mission's report, based on forensic and other material evidence and 112 interviews with ship passengers, is a detailed account of reckless gunfire and cold-blooded murders.

Some passengers on the top deck of the Mavi Marmara had thwarted the Israeli commando attempt to climb up ladders to board the ship by throwing down "chairs, sticks, a box of plates and other objects that were readily to hand." When a helicopter lowered a rope for soldiers to climb down, passengers grabbed it and tied it to part of the deck so it couldn't be used. The helicopter began shooting at the top deck.

When, after that, soldiers descended from helicopters on a second rope, "a number of passengers fought with the soldiers using their fists, sticks, metal rods and knives." They used slingshots to fire objects at the copters, but "the Mission has found no evidence to suggest that any of the passengers used firearms or that any firearms were taken aboard the ship."

Once they were on board, Israeli soldiers raked the top deck with live ammunition, plastic bullets (which killed at least one man) and paint balls, hitting nearly everyone gathered there, and then sprayed the deck below, hitting people trying to escape or take cover. Some wounded men were finished off with bullets to the head. Nineteen-year-old Furkan Dogan, on the top deck filming the action, was shot four times from behind and then, while lying on the deck, apparently turned over and shot pointblank in the face.

At least 50 people were wounded. There was so much gunfire with live ammunition that "it seems a matter of pure chance that there were not more fatalities as a result."

There were no deaths on any of the other ships in the flotilla, whose passengers, the report says, offered only non-violent resistance or none at all. But there, too, Israel soldiers were enraged and brutal. Many of the more than 700 passengers and crew on six ships were beaten and electroshocked (with Tasers). Israeli soldiers carried out what the report describes as "torture" on handcuffed prisoners on the way back to shore, during the processing of the prisoners, and at the airport as they were being deported.

Journalists were targeted because of their profession. Some passengers said the commandos carried picture books of particular people they were looking for, presumably, the report says, on the basis of intelligence reports before the ships set off.

The Israeli interception of this flotilla on the high seas was unlawful, the report states after reviewing the facts and relevant laws and codes. Even aside from that, the use of lethal force was illegal, since even those carrying out legitimate law enforcement and military activities have a responsibility to avoid needless harm and death of civilians under all circumstances, and acts like the torture and summary execution of prisoners are always forbidden.

"There is clear evidence to support prosecutions of the following crimes within the terms of article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention: willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, willingly causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health," the report concludes. Those open to legal charges under international law include both the individuals who may have committed crimes and their superiors at every level who under international law are responsible for the actions of their troops.

In fact, the report says, the Israeli government is actively covering up these crimes. It confiscated the CCTV footage, every camera, phone, memory card, and almost every single electronic or other device carried by the passengers so as to keep exclusive control of the evidence. It told the UN Mission that it would not recognize it or cooperate with it.

The Mission argues that Israeli accounts of what happened do not concur with the evidence cited in the report and that these accounts are mutually inconsistent and in many cases implausible. Since only the sound and camera recordings that Israel insists on keeping secret could substantiate its claims, then its failure to produce that material means that its arguments cannot be accepted.

Moreover, the report argues, again after reviewing the facts and relevant law, the Israeli blockade of Gaza is itself illegal, because its stated purpose is to punish the people of Gaza for having voted for the Hamas organization. Such collective punishment of a population is explicitly forbidden by the Fourth Geneva Convention, the so-called laws of war. Israel had deliberately caused a "severe humanitarian situation" in Gaza through "the destruction of the civilian economy and prevention of reconstruction of past damage." Imposing starvation on a civilian population is also illegal under international humanitarian law, and "the ordinary meaning of 'starvation'" under that law "is simply to cause hunger."

Israel continues to enforce this situation today as a matter of state policy, the report dated September 22 notes, despite minor adjustments to the blockade.

But there is an even greater crime here: the reaction of the U.S. and other imperialist powers to this report. Of the UN Human Rights Commission's 47 members, only one voted against endorsing the report: the U.S. All the European members abstained.

Why? Not one of these countries argued that anything in the report is inaccurate, untrue or legally unfounded. The American ambassador to the Human Rights Council simply criticized its "unbalanced language, tone and conclusions."

If the term "unbalanced" was meant to mean that the report did not sufficiently listen to the Israeli side of the argument, then how can the UN Mission be blamed for Israel's refusal to cooperate or allow any of its citizens to be interviewed? On the other hand, if "unbalanced" means that the report reaches definitive conclusions, that is not wrong but a good thing. This Mission "went where the evidence led us," said member Desmond de Silva, a British jurist and former chief prosecutor for the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone.

The Mission chairman, Karl T. Hudson-Phillips, retired judge of the International Criminal Court and former Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago, pointed out that the U.S. spokeswoman's "unfortunate" comments "came without any supporting evidence or argument. There has been no factual criticisms, as far as we have been able to glean from any reports."

U.S. Ambassador Eileen Donahoe did make one argument, although not about facts or law. She said that the report could be "used for actions that could disrupt the direct Israeli-Palestinian talks now under way or actions that could make it harder." (All quotes from The New York Times, September 28, 2010.)

Here we have it: the U.S. fears the truth because it might disrupt the Obama government's efforts to use diplomacy and political pressure to force the Palestinians into submission, in harmony with Israel's deliberately blatant and sadistic brutality to achieve the same goal.

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

Send us your comments.

Revolution #213, October 10, 2010

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From A World to Win News Service

The "Jewish boat to Gaza": How Israel Deals with Jews Who Consider Oppression Immoral

October 4, 2010. A World to Win News Service. Israel couldn't deal with the Irene the same way it had the Mavi Marmara. Unlike last May, when Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish passengers on an aid ship bound for Gaza, they had to be more careful with this small yacht carrying a symbolic cargo of medical and school supplies and therapeutic toys for Gaza intercepted September 28.

Of the 10 passengers, six were Israeli Jews: a former officer who several years ago initiated a letter signed by Air Force pilots pledging to refuse to bomb Palestinian towns; his brother, also a combat veteran; a prominent peace activist whose daughter was killed by a Palestinian suicide bomber; his wife, the peace activist daughter of an Israeli general; an Israeli TV reporter; and a well-known critical supporter of Zionism who describes himself as a Holocaust survivor. The others were a refugee from Nazi Germany who now lives in the U.S., a Jewish studies scholar from Germany, a British biographer of the famed author and Auschwitz survivor Primo Levi, and a UK photojournalist. The Irene was organized by a London-based group called Jews for Justice for Palestine. Among its sponsors was the mother of Labour Party leader Ed Miliband and the former Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

The boat was surrounded by a destroyer and other warships, helicopters and, according to some reports, submarines. News footage shows two warships pulling up against the Irene, one on each side, and spinning it around. When dozens of commandos came aboard, the passengers put up no resistance of any kind. But the former Israeli pilot Yonatan Shapira put his arms around 82-year-old Holocaust survivor Reuven Moskovitz and refused to let go.

The commandos tased Shapira twice in the right arm. Then a naval captain lifted up his life vest, put the Taser to his chest and sent a jolt of electricity into his heart. He collapsed and was put in handcuffs and dragged away, along with his brother. They face serious criminal charges. Other passengers were kicked and beaten. All cameras were confiscated. The scholar from Germany was jailed when she refused to sign voluntary deportation papers.

Moskovitz said in a statement, "When I was a kid I lived in a ghetto for a few years, and I think of the Palestinian children." "It is my sacred duty as a survivor to protest against the persecution, the oppression and the imprisonment of so many people in Gaza, including more than 800,000 children." He also said, "It's just immoral."

An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman and a military statement both called the Irene's symbolic attempt to break the Gaza blockade a "provocation."

Nevertheless, the Israel government could not and did not wish to refrain from bestiality. It carried out this battle for the high moral ground with a hint of its usual cruelty. It needed to teach these people a lesson, and keep others from following their example.

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

Send us your comments.

Revolution #213, October 10, 2010

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In Wake of FBI Raids

Activists Exercise "Right Not to Participate" In "Fishing Expedition"

At 7 am on Friday, September 24, 2010, scores of FBI agents conducted coordinated raids on homes in Chicago and Minneapolis, as well as the office of the Minnesota Anti-War Committee and one other organization (see "FBI Raids Anti-War Activists' Homes in Midwest," Revolution #213, September 27, 2010). While there were no arrests or charges, activists had their homes and offices ransacked, in some cases for hours, and had their personal and political effects seized by the FBI. In addition, subpoenas to testify before a federal grand jury in Chicago were issued to 14 activists. The FBI also attempted to question activists the same day in San Jose, California, Durham, North Carolina, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Latest reports from Minneapolis are that FBI agents went to several more activists' homes on October 6 and 7.

Besides immediate protests and press conferences in Chicago and Minneapolis the week following the raids, there were political protests in 60+ cities across the country. (See "Snapshot of rally in support of anti-war/Solidarity activists in Chicago" and "Round Up: Protests in 60 Cities Against FBI Raids")

The first activists subpoenaed were scheduled to appear before the Grand Jury on October 5. At a press conference in front of the federal courthouse in Chicago, one of those subpoenaed read a statement that said, "those with grand jury dates for October 5 and those whose subpoenas are pending have declared that we intend to exercise our right not to participate in this fishing expedition." The statement described how the grand jury works and shed light on it as an instrument of political repression in the past. The full statement is available at

This statement goes on to explain, "The next legal step is in the hands of the Department of Justice. They could cancel the grand jury. They could carry on, but leave us alone. They could send subpoenas again giving us the option to talk or go to jail. We don't know when they will take the next step, or what it will be." The statement concludes, "We do know what our next steps will be. We will not be silent. We will not allow the harassment of activists to quiet our opposition to immoral policies."

At the time of the raids, an FBI spokesman told the Chicago Tribune, "The warrants are seeking evidence in support of an ongoing Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation into activities concerning the material support of terrorism." This was an accusation that activists immediately dismissed as illegitimate and unjustified. The warrants and subpoenas reference travel to a number of countries and alleged unspecified interaction with the U.S. government's designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs), including the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

According to the October 5 statement made on behalf of those subpoenaed: "The activists targeted in the raids are people who have been very involved in the anti-war and international solidarity movements for many years. They all worked together to organize an anti-war protest attended by tens of thousands at the Republican National Convention in 2008. Some of those targeted have traveled to other countries to understand our government's role in places like Palestine and Colombia. While there, they met with people to learn about their experience facing brutal repression from U.S. sponsored regimes, and brought their stories back to people in the U.S. Hearing about the reality of U.S. military aid is not a crime, and yet this appears to be the target of this investigation."

The attacks on the individuals and the organizations targeted so far are very serious and should be vigorously opposed politically and legally. The initial raids, and now the grand jury subpoenas, are a very sinister move by the government, one that should alarm and concern anyone who thinks the government should not be allowed to trample on people's rights, and who thinks it is important that there be opposition, and the freedom to oppose, what the government is doing here and around the world. This is a major escalation against the anti-war movements in particular.

Paul Craig Roberts, a former assistant editor of the Wall Street Journal and an official in the Reagan administration, who has extensive academic credentials, wrote in a blog piece titled "It is Official, the US is A Police State," "Now we know what Homeland Security (sic) secretary Janet Napolitano meant when she said on September 10: 'The old view that "if we fight the terrorists abroad, we won't have to fight them here" is just that—the old view.' The new view, Napolitano said, is 'to counter violent extremism right here at home.'

"'Violent extremism' is one of those undefined police state terms that will mean whatever the government wants it to mean. In this morning's FBI foray into the homes of American citizens of conscience, it means antiwar activists, whose activities are equated with 'the material support of terrorism,' just as conservatives equated Vietnam era anti-war protesters with giving material support to communism. My conservative friends were disappointed that the National Guard didn't kill more of the Kent State University students."

A Fishing Expedition

"It appears to be a fishing expedition," said attorney Ted Dooley, who represents an activist whose house was raided. "It seems like they're casting a huge seine or net into the political sea and see what they can drag up on shore and dry out. There's no rhyme or reason to it in a free society." ("FBI serves terrorism warrants in Minn., Chicago," The Associated Press, September 25, 2010)

In a piece posted at Black Agenda Report, Glen Ford posed, "The scope of information demanded of some of last week's FBI victims—demands with which no one can fully comply, such as all records of domestic as well as foreign travel since the year 2000, or a list of all 'contacts' that might somehow have bearing on the conflict in Colombia or the Mideast—is naked proof that the intent is to smother, entangle and utterly demobilize the target. The Obama administration is constructing a legal minefield in which any honest activist can be charged with lying to federal officers or a grand jury by commission or omission—each count of which is punishable by years in prison."

One of the homes raided in Minneapolis was that of Mick Kelly, identified as the editor of Fight Back on its website. As reported in a previous article in Revolution:

The warrant for the raid and the subpoena to appear before the federal grand jury issued to Kelly were released to the media by his attorney. Both documents are stunning in the extensive scope of what is being sought by the government, blatantly trampling on basic constitutional rights. For instance, the search warrant weaves Kelly's alleged affiliation to Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) into the information sought; the warrant gives carte blanche to seize financial records both personal and of FRSO as an organization, ostensibly to look into sources of funding for all travel to Palestine, Colombia and within the U.S. for the last 10 years!

The warrant goes further, alleging that there are open-ended "potential co-conspirators" in order to justify the seizure of all address books and information regarding all contacts of Kelly (including emails, MySpace and Facebook or other social networking sites). In an extraordinary reach, the warrant authorizes seizure of materials regarding recruitment and "indoctrination" of others into FRSO, a political activity which is supposed to be completely lawful in the U.S.

(The FBI's warrant to search Mick Kelly's home is available at The grand jury subpoena is available at

The October 5 statement on behalf of those subpoenaed says, "We fear the government may be seeking to use the recent Supreme Court decision in Holder vs Humanitarian Law Project to attack conduct that clearly falls under the realm of freedom of speech and that we never imagined could be construed as 'material support for terrorism.'"

According to David Cole, the attorney who argued on behalf of the Humanitarian Law Project before the U.S. Supreme Court, "At issue was a federal law banning 'material support' to 'foreign terrorist organizations' even when the 'support' consists only of speech advocating peace and human rights. The lower courts had repeatedly declared the provisions that prohibit speech unconstitutional, but the Obama administration...appealed to the Supreme Court" ("The Roberts Court vs. Free Speech," New York Review of Books, August 19, 2010)

While we are not in a position in this article to analyze the June 21 Supreme Court's ruling in the Humanitarian Law Project and its implications, the Center for Constitutional Rights reported that the Court's decision upheld sections of the law challenged by the Humanitarian Law Project. Constitutional scholars have described the ruling as threatening a wide scope of free speech and political dissent. Speaking of the impact on his Carter Center, former President Jimmy Carter said, "The vague language of the law leaves us wondering if we will be prosecuted for our work to promote peace and freedom."

Opposing the Attack

This FBI raids and the grand jury subpoenas are a dramatic escalation in the U.S. government's repression carried out by Obama's Justice Department which must be vigorously opposed and defeated. An important, if still beginning, array of people have been speaking out against this attack (See for instance the Statement by Organizations and People of Faith Against the FBI Raids; Cindy Sheehan's "Dissent in the Age of Obama"; and Glen Ford's "President Barack 'Midnight Raid' Obama: End Your Wars at Home and Abroad."

Send us your comments.

Revolution #213, October 10, 2010

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Round Up: Protests in 60 Cities Against FBI Raids

Starting on September 27 and continuing through the week, people across the country, in some 60 cities, came together for emergency protest rallies at FBI offices and federal buildings. People pulled together on short notice to denounce the September 24 FBI raids on homes in Minneapolis and Chicago and on the offices of the Minneapolis Anti-War Committee and the Twin Cities Educational Fund. The protests condemned the issuance of subpoenas to 14 activists to testify before a federal grand jury in Chicago in October.

In a defiant mood, people brought their homemade signs, their impromptu chants and their outrage at what some called out as an ominous attack on the basic right to speak out and to oppose the crimes of the U.S. government around the world.

A common theme among the various actions was that this was an attack on the broader anti-war movement, not just those subpoenaed. Speakers also drew attention to the diminishing of civil liberties that is taking place under Obama's administration as well as pointing to the history of repressive attacks on opponents of the government in past decades and vowed not to tolerate replays today.

In addition to a demonstration in Chicago (See "Snapshot of rally in support of anti-war/Solidarity activists in Chicago"), here is a slice of other protests, big and small, that took place from coast to coast that week:

In Minneapolis, a reported 500 to 600 people, including representatives from over a dozen organizations, rallied at the Minneapolis FBI office. They carried signs emblazoned with the following slogans: "FBI thugs: We are not intimidated!"; "Terrorism does not Equal Activism—Watch your Rhetoric, Washington!"; "Welcome to the Twilight Zone/Police State!"; They chanted, "From Colombia to Palestine, solidarity is not a crime!"

In Urbana Champaign, Illinois, a dozen people including members of AWARE (Anti-War Activism Effort) and Campus Anti-war Network (University of Illinois) held a rally. Most of the protesters then went into the FBI offices in order to ask them some questions regarding the political nature of the FBI raids. The FBI officials denied any knowledge and involvement in the raids.

In Boston, 30 to 40 people set up a lively picket line at the federal building organized by the Boston Mayday Committee. A homemade sign declared: "FBI Raids the Constitution!" The Committee to Free Leonard Peltier issued a written statement with the demand to repeal the USA Patriot Act.

In Salt Lake City, 12 people rallied at Utah Valley University. A speaker told the crowd that this attack must be opposed as a chilling effect on First Amendment speech.

In Newark, New Jersey, 15-20 people circled the federal building chanting, "FBI, We're Not Afraid! We'll Stop Your Illegal Raids!" Hundreds of people passing by at rush hour saw the protest.

In Columbus, a protest organized by the Students for a Democratic Society faced a massive police presence. When protesters began telling the rush hour crowd in front of the federal building what impact these raids could have if they are not derailed, many people joined in.

In San Francisco, a crowd of diverse nationalities and political persuasions rallied. On September 27, the San Francisco Labor Council passed a resolution condemning the FBI raids.

It was an important beginning and welcome immediate response to the raids and grand jury subpoenas.

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Revolution #213, October 10, 2010

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Help get 5,000 views of BOB AVAKIAN's video, "YES THERE'S A CONSPIRACY, TO GET THE COPS OFF"

On October 20, be part of getting 5,000 views of this video clip from Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About.

On October 20 watch and spread this clip from Bob Avakian as people organize across the country for October 22, the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation.

"Yes there's a conspiracy, to get the cops off" (

[Spanish: Sí, hay una conspiración para que siempre salgan impunes los policías. (]

Getting this clip out far and wide is a part of kicking off wider debate and understanding about the role of the brutal police in this society, and the reality that far from being the misdeeds of a "few bad apples," police brutality and the lockdown of millions of Black and other oppressed people is about keeping a whole oppressive system in place. This should spur the activity and participation in this needed day of protest to say NO to police brutality, and to introduce people to the leader of a movement for revolution to bring about a radically different system.

Ways you can be part of this 24-hour campaign to spread THIS clip STARTING NOW:

Facebook: Post the clip to your wall and to your friends' pages. Post it in various Facebook groups and fan pages for various causes (anti-racism, immigrant rights, anti-war, etc.). Post this announcement as a Note and tag several friends. Check for frequent updates.

Twitter: ReTweet the tweets from throughout the day, write your own reasons for sharing the clip, and encourage all your friends and followers to do the same.

YouTube: Favorite and like the video clips. Write about it on your friends' walls, and send the link to the clip in messages. Subscribe to

Via email: Email the link to the clip to friends and email lists, and encourage people to forward it to their friends and lists!

Text: Send text messages: "Yes there's a conspiracy, to get the cops off" Watch this clip, FWD this text.

Blogs: If you've got a blog, post it there, and if you have any connections to widely read bloggers, encourage them to post it to their blogs as well.

On Internet discussion sites: Post the link in political and cultural discussion forums...and get the discussion going!

Email with any other ideas you have for reaching this goal—5,000 views on Wednesday, October 20.

Also check out "The police, Black youth, and what kind of system is this?" [] and get into the full Revolution talk at

The REVOLUTION is real. Watch it. Spread it.

Send us your comments.

Revolution #213, October 10, 2010

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Getting Out the Message and Call on Campuses

Two Reports

One morning recently, we took the campaign to a Midwestern university in an outlying town from our area. A lot was accomplished by mid-afternoon—the RCP's Message and Call became a major topic around campus, 2,700 fliers were distributed, we got a list of new contacts, and renewed ties with professors and students we've known from the past. We even hit the main strip of shops downtown.

Curiosity and interest were high among students, with the majority of students wanting to grab up the message as they headed to class, a lot of openness to revolution, some coming back to talk with us after they had read it, and many others seen reading it in the cafeteria. There was opposing "visual interest" out on the walkway that day where we stood during class changes: a guy with a huge screen urging people to get with God. One student who spoke with us at the end of the day made the point, "Thanks for NOT being from another religious group—they are everywhere around here!!"

In addition to being out on the main walkway for class changes, two people roamed to other key buildings, including the art building, the building for Black studies, and numerous others, flyering students and stuffing the mailboxes of professors, interns and part-time faculty. The Bob Avakian image card appeared on bulletin boards throughout the art building and in the political science and several other departments.  We took the Message and Call to various spots in the student union, including stuffing the mailbox of every student group. Students in a populated area of study tables were each given the image card, and when that was done, the palm card about Bob Avakian's Revolution DVD was handed out.

By noon, some students had already encountered the Message and Call several times. A woman came by after having read half of it, saying "I am kind of torn—I do understand the brutal history and how it's produced, and what has brought us the wealth...and the conditions in a third world country." She was weighing this against the obvious advantages of living in this country. "I don't know what to tell my kids..." She was interested in learning more and gave us her contact info. Another woman came back for more after she had gotten one and said, "I think it's funny." We asked, what do you mean? She said she thought that communism is a good idea, but it doesn't work. The ensuing interaction got her considering that this is for real and communist revolution actually HAS worked, and we CAN do even better. An anthropology student was confronted on his views on human nature, utilizing anthropological examples of how human nature changes through history, along with social wants and needs. He did acknowledge that society can't go forward as is because of the way capitalism works. There were numerous comments from people along the lines of, "Something is seriously wrong with capitalism, that's for sure," or "capitalism DOES suck!" One person who stopped said they were definitely against capitalism and all the lies, and wanted to know what communism was all about, and took a stack of 20 of the Message and Call and gave contact information at the end of the encounter.

The main contention was not along reactionary lines. If people strongly disagreed, they were mostly not very vocal about it; they just refused to take the information, or gave it back once they saw what it was. One student did call out, "My parents left communist China, and they wouldn't want me to grow up in a communist country!" More, we were getting disagreements accompanied by a desire to engage. Some students who had some knowledge of Marxism debated against its effectiveness, that it is outdated, doesn't really change anything. One woman who had studied what she called "libertarian communism" said the Message and Call tells what is wrong but not why. She wanted to keep in touch and continue the discussion, and we also referred them to and

By mid-afternoon, we decided to hang out in the plaza and have more interaction. One woman who works at the cafeteria saw our messages all over the tables and "cleaned around" those areas, so the messages stayed on the tables. We asked about the mood and political awareness on campus, and she said that she thought there was a lot less cynicism this year, and a real desire among students to be active and to bring about change. She thought part of it was that the younger students had not been involved in the surge of anti-war activism that then died down, while the wars went on. They were not demoralized in the same way by that, and were impatient for change. She also said there was a lot of concern and outrage against reactionary morality.

A woman came up to us to thank us for being there (mentioned above her comment on religion). Her first question was, how would we deal with drugs in socialism? Her main basis for comparison had been Cuba. She was very conscious about the billion dollar drug industry and the white collar drug kingpins who go unpunished, while the mass incarceration of Black youth for drugs is the most extreme. She also brought up the Tea Party, who came to campus recently. She and other students organized a tea party of their own in opposition to it—dressed up as characters at the Mad Hatter tea party—and sat mocking the reactionaries as they tried to rally the students. She brought a sign saying, "I am here because Fox News told me to."  Her thinking was that a revolution was needed, but she was sorting through what that actually meant. We made plans to stay in touch, and she took Revolution newspaper and a bundle of the calls with her.

After this, we went to the local food co-op. One person there commented that they had seen a lot of "revolutionaries" lately—referring to the fact that the Tea Party people had also been around. He said that they have a very strong following in a nearby town. He took a stack of the calls to leave out for people.  We also put small batches of the Message and Call at other stores on the strip where the patrons were open to it; about eight stores.

We only raised a few dollars, though we had buckets prominently displayed and called for people to support and contribute to the campaign, and a small number did. Only a few newspapers were sold. But given the contacts we now have, there is a good basis to follow up and generate some real contributions and participation on many different levels.


We have been taking out the Message and Call at a local community college. This college has a diverse amount of students from literally all over the world and from different backgrounds. In the morning time, we set up a huge tent that had a banner with the Revolution masthead on it, as well as enlarged visuals from the Message and Call. We also had two enlarged visuals of Justice for Oscar Grant and Justice for John Williams, both with pictures of them on it. We strung the Bob Avakian image posters on a bungee cord. Many people were coming up to the table off of the John Williams poster, saying they had heard what happened to him and how fucked up it was. Surprisingly, not many people had heard about Oscar Grant and were very angered when they heard the story for the first time. People were also coming up to the table because they straight up wanted revolution or radical change. One student talked about how he was very concerned about the ways that this government is taking away people's basic rights like with the Patriot Act and asked how our society would be different around this. I showed him the foldout in the paper for the Draft Proposal for the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America and how not only would people's rights be protected but in a different society with a radically different state power, people would be drawn into the process of running society. He was really interested in this and didn't have money to get a Constitution but asked me to get in touch with him when it came out. There were people who expressed concerned about the planet and the ways that people live, and also feeling frustration about how people are so into material bullshit. One young woman, who said her father participated in the Iranian revolution, told us that she knows things are bad but the real solution is getting people educated. We pointed out the Message and Call where it talks about education being twisted to serve the needs of capital and she said she really agreed with this. She likes the idea of revolution but thinks that people are just too involved in their own lives and not thinking about any of this. This was something a couple of people were saying, that everybody is into drinking their Starbucks and they are too comfortable to care about what happens to other people. We answered this by getting into how a revolutionary people could develop, out of all the contradictions of the system and how this can create a situation where people in the millions begin to question the ruling class's right to rule and that revolutionaries can hasten a situation like that by acting on these contradictions and organizing people ideologically and visibly into this movement for revolution. A lot of interesting questions came up, like, what does the Revolutionary Communist Party do? How do you make a revolution? Do you guys sit around and read Marx? How will you change people who like capitalism? How are you different than other parties?

We went into the halls and passed out the BA image cards and told people it was their mission to find out who this is. A couple of people were really going crazy because we wouldn't tell them and said they had seen it everywhere. Some people asked, "What do I get if I find out who this is?" I answered, "If you really find out who this person is, something that you thought was impossible might seem possible." I had my BA shirt on at school and all throughout the day, people were coming up to me and asking me who it was. It actually kept making me late for classes so I ended up just telling people to google Bob Avakian and they would find out.

* * *

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Revolution #213, October 10, 2010

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Correspondence on the San Bruno Fire

On Thursday, September 9, a neighborhood in the small town of San Bruno, California, just south of San Francisco, was thrown into chaos and horror, when a natural gas pipeline deep underground exploded and turned this diverse, quiet neighborhood into a sea of fire. People literally melted in the near 1,000-degree temperature from the fireball that was created as the house they were in exploded in flames. A half dozen local TV stations cut regular programming to cover the story. One family told a local news station that they were driving in their car and saw a young man walking down the street begging for help. They hustled him into the back seat of their car, as his bones were literally pushing through his flesh. He and his girlfriend had been watching a football game on TV. He was not able to save her and he himself barely survived. He is still in intensive care. A firefighter described driving his fire truck within 100 yards of the fireball, when suddenly his windshield cracked—he could go no further. Hydrants had no water, as the explosion severely damaged a key water main.

The fire was so intense that residents and emergency personnel initially thought there had been a major aviation disaster, as the area is near a flight path of San Francisco airport. Seven people were killed and over 50 injured, at least nine critically. Thirty seven homes were totally destroyed, and 150 more damaged by flames, smoke or by being hit by debris that rained down on the neighborhood from the pipeline explosion. A 60-foot crater was left in the middle of the neighborhood, filled with water from firefighters' efforts. Fire-fighters were able to rig up a system of transporting water one fire truck at a time so as to ferry water to fight the many fires that resulted from the explosion.

Despite the extreme danger, there were many stories of people doing heroic things to save others. A woman described how she drove straight through the heat directly to her house, completely drenched in sweat as she reached the front door, gathered up her kids and husband and drove away as the vinyl on the windows of the house started to melt. One man interviewed by the press declined to wear the label "hero": "all I did was what anyone would have done if they had had the chance."

* * * * *

A Morgan Stanley analyst assessed the impact of the fire one day after the blast: according to the SF Chronicle, Pacific Gas & Electric (the owner and maintainer of the pipeline) could face costs in the "hundreds of millions." On the same day, PG&E's stock fell in New York trading by 8.3%. This same analyst said that because of the San Bruno fire, PG&E could face a "challenging regulatory environment," meaning PG&E's ability to satisfy its stockholders and investors could be in jeopardy. In other words, PG&E may be forced to actually spend money on upgrading some of its pipelines to make them safe!

One thing that is very clear is that this did not have to happen. For example, it's come out that PG&E has a list of the 100 most dangerous sections of pipelines (in dire need of repair) in the SF Bay Area, and this pipeline, though known to be in need of repair, was not even on that list. The locations of most of these pipelines are not known to the public—many run haphazardly through neighborhoods, underneath houses, schools, streets, etc. PG&E has resisted pinpointing exactly where these pipelines are. Various comments have been made by engineers and others that have appeared in the local press about the dangers posed by these pipelines, and the need to understand what types of corrosion have occurred over the past 50+ years, as well as other questions about safety issues. One pipeline expert discussed how PG&E's method of testing is way outdated, years behind technology available for more thorough inspection and testing. Despite knowledge and expertise in this field and of the extent of problems that exist, most of the dangerous lines have continued to operate.

Although many people are coming to realize the grave danger that they and their families and neighbors are confronting, and are expressing these concerns, no substantive changes have been announced. Right now in the aftermath of the San Bruno disaster, some politicians are calling for "accountability," and for setting up "blue ribbon" investigative panels. Some of this may be influenced by right-wing populism, seemingly going after "big government"; others might be more sincere in their desire to change the situation. But as we have seen in other recent preventable disasters, such as the BP oil spill and Katrina, the people can't decisively have an effect on any of this, and it is because they fundamentally have no power in determining the direction of society. A system-made disaster hits, and the people are unable to reshape their environment to really meet the people's needs. This is guaranteed by the workings of the same system whose daily existence means the horrific suffering and agony of hundreds of millions daily on a world-wide scale—a failed economic and political system.

The scene and the devastation that unfolded that Thursday evening in the SF area was eerily reminiscent, on a smaller scale, of the daily dimension of suffering endured by those living under this system... particular examples that come to mind are: the destruction of Fallujah in Iraq, the invasion of Gaza by the Israeli military. The wedding parties destroyed by bombs in Afghanistan. Poor villagers burned alive in Nigeria while trying to siphon small amounts of fuel from a leaking pipeline. Elements of this were there in San Bruno. The unbelievable destruction. The flames devouring whole blocks, unchecked. The helplessness of the people to do anything about it. The torment and suffering.

All of the efforts that could be taken to prevent such tragedies and safeguard the people—all the people's know-how and skill and intelligence—these assets are in effect locked up, put on ice, are incapable of being wielded by people and becoming a real force for good. It can't happen with this system in effect. It's not even that it's unlikely to occur—it's impossible. In San Bruno, one young woman's comments highlighted this dilemma when she said that if this untenable situation of dangerous pipelines is not remedied to her satisfaction, she will have to take matters into her own hands—and move. That is not the answer, but it does shed light on the problem. This system locks people out of having the actual ability of acting in their own interests and in the interests of humanity. But not only is it possible to change all this, in fact there is great potential for fundamental change. We need a new social system, one that provides the means for the people to play a decisive and increasingly widening role in the exercise of political power and the functioning of society, in accordance with the needs of humanity.

Following are links to a couple of photos:

A mother and daughter who died in the inferno.

An early daylight view of the fire.

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