Revolution #227, March 20, 2011

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party,USA

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Revolution #227, March 20, 2011

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On the Occasion of the Publication of BAsics

A Celebration of Revolution and the Vision of a New World

Monday, April 11, Harlem Stage, NYC

The Hosts Invite you...

BAsics is a new book of quotes and essays from Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. April 11, in Harlem, will see a night of music, visual art, poetry and readings celebrating revolution and the vision of a new world, marking the occasion of this book's publication.

On these pages some of the hosts invite you to come to what will be a unique and remarkable evening.


The host committee, in association with Revolution Books, includes Aladdin, actor and playwright; Paul Von Blum, Senior Lecturer Emeritus, African American Studies and Communication Studies, UCLA*, Herb Boyd, journalist and author; Elaine Brower, National Steering Committee of World Can't Wait* and anti-war military mom; The Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, founded by the SF8; Carl Dix, founding member of the Revolutionary Communist Party; Jessica Green, media maker and co-director, Maysles Cinema*; Nicholas Heyward, Sr., father of Nicholas Heyward, Jr. (murdered by the NYPD in 1994); Russ Jennings, theatre producer and writer; Erin Aubry Kaplan, journalist and author; Rev. Earl Kooperkamp, St. Mary's Church, Harlem*; Mike Ladd, mc and poet; Philip Maysles, visual artist, co-director, Maysles Cinema*; Matthew Shipp, musician; Cornel West, Professor of Religion, Princeton University*; Robert M. Young, film maker; and David Zeiger, film maker. (* for identification purposes only)

Initial list of event participants and performers includes, musician Guillermo Brown; Richard Brown, co-founder of The Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, founded by the SF8; poet and playwright reg e. gaines; Moist Paula Henderson, baritone sax player and composer; Outernational; Abiodun Oyewole from The LastPoets; Ted Rall, cartoonist and author; and jazz musicians Matthew Shipp and William Parker. The night will also include readings of letters from prisoners responding to Avakian's words, and the ideas of revolution and bringing into being a new world. These will be interspersed with people's own reflections (from the stage or via video) of what it means to them to celebrate revolution and the vision of a new world and readings of quotes from BAsics.

from Aladdin, actor and playwright:

"My parents come from one of the poorest villages in Bangladesh and I grew up in one of the toughest projects in East Harlem so whenever someone talks revolution to me I am a bit skeptical. When they tell me a white guy is gonna lead this revolution I'm even more skeptical. The comedian in me just starts thinking this is too funny to be true. This was how I felt when a close friend of mine gave me a videotape of Bob Avakian a while back. Mr. Avakian didn't have the phony charisma of a political leader cheering you on with false messages of 'hope' or 'a new day beginning.' In fact in the very beginning Mr. Avakian starts to tell the audience about the legacy of America. About Emmett Till and how America has swept the truth under the carpet and counting on us to have amnesia. That is what impressed me about Bob Avakian. He wasn't trying to win a popularity test or any office. He was just speaking truth with actual facts! Great thing about truth/honesty is once you tell it you don't have to remember any lies. It's just what it is -Truth. Doesn't even matter if the person is white or black. If they have the courage to speak truth to power the message is the weapon! BAsics is the best of what Mr. Avakian represents. Truth, and the struggle to fight for those who need our help. If anyone wants to help folks who are oppressed count me in. If anyone wants to help the poor count me in. If anyone wants to help people expose how this world can be a better place count me in. I'm no comunist (don't even know how to spell it). I'm no expert in politics, but what Mr. Avakian has done brilliantly is shown us that we can still believe it is possible to find a way to help those who don't have a voice, who need to be heard. Who need a revolution to create a way out of their oppression. I, like so many, once felt like talk about revolution and that possibility was as realistic as finding a unicorn. Bob Avakian makes you feel like it is possible. That the fight to emancipate people and challenge corrupt governments are realistic! That revolution is not some esoteric word that has been hijacked from the land of cynicism. When Mr. Avakian speaks of taking the side of the oppressed, challenging the corrupt system, advocating and fighting on behalf of the poor, helping them, championing them—count me in. I'm sure that's a movement everybody will want to be a part of. BAsics is about the truth!"

from Herb Boyd, author and journalist

"On the Occasion of the Publication of BAsics: A Celebration of Revolution and the Vision of a New World comes at a most profound moment in revolutionary change. To a great degree, long before its publication, Bob Avakian's ideas and commitment have been a harbinger to the current resolve of people caught in the throes of oppression and infused with an energy and desire to bring about dramatic and revolutionary change. While Avakian has taken time to spell out the differences between the 18 days that shook Egypt compared to the 10 days that shook Russia in 1917, there is a common thread connecting the events, and none more potently alive and resourceful as a will of a people no longer willing to endure a repressive, brutal autocracy. BAsics is a primer for us going forward and the event of April 11 will help to solidify this march toward more upheavals against tyranny."

from Elaine Brower, National Steering Committee of World Can't Wait* and anti-war military mom

"As the world around us spins into ever changing and tumultuous times, not knowing where humanity is going or what the outcome will be, it is important to understand all perspectives. From every corner we must examine with honesty inside our hearts and minds that which will lead all beings into light and out of this never ending darkness where everything is threatened by forces that do not have the best interests of the entire world in mind. "On the Occasion of the Publication of BAsics: A Celebration of Revolution and the Vision of a New World" is one of these events when the seriousness of the situation gives us pause to re-think the present and change the future. Anything is possible if we make it so."

from Richard Brown, Co-Founder, The Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, founded by the SF8

"I have spoken with all members of the SF8, and because of the respect that we all have for Bob Avakian, we would like to be listed as a whole, and not just me as an individual. And I am very excited about this book coming out."

from Carl Dix, founding member of the Revolutionary Communist Party

"A Celebration of Revolution and the Vision of a New World—This is sorely needed in today's world. And the publication of Bob Avakian's new book, BAsics, is the perfect occasion for this celebration. Today the pulses of people desiring change are quickened by the sight of hated butchers being ousted by people struggling for freedom. At the same time, even many who wish to see an end to the abuse and injustice people face all over the world wonder if it is possible to bring into being any fundamentally different and better way for people to live.

But there IS another way. Bob Avakian, with the work he has done to advance the science of communism, and the breakthroughs he has made in the theory, method and strategy of revolution, provides a source of hope and daring on a solid, scientific basis. He has dedicated his life to revolution, and is leading the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA—which is out here every day, working to make revolution. Bob Avakian's work and leadership makes revolution a real possibility in today's world and gives a vision of a world where oppression, exploitation and antagonistic social divisions are overcome without 'turning out the lights' on intellectual and artistic endeavor and initiative, all while protecting the well being of the planet for future generations. This work is going to be crystallized in BAsics, from the Talks and Writings of Bob Avakian, a book of quotes and short essays.

For those in the ghettos and barrios across the U.S. who have had it with modern day slavery and are willing to get scientific about the source and the solution to the problems humanity faces, for students and youth who are willing to confront the horrors this system forces people to endure and to act to end them, for everyone agonizing over the state of the world and wondering whether something better could be brought into being—I urge you to get into this book, and to come to this event.

This celebration can have a tremendous impact on this situation. An amazing array of people with a diversity of ideas about revolution and the vision of a better world, and from a lot of different fields, experiences and perspectives, are coming together to make it happen—right at the time this important new work is coming out. Be there."

from Erin Aubry Kaplan, journalist and author

"Social change was something that, as a child born in the 60s and raised in the 70s, I assumed was a trajectory that would only continue to trend up. In my youthful naïveté, I thought that America had finally woken up after 400 years of inequality and inhumanity and could not, would not, go back to sleep. I didn't expect miracles, just forward progress. I thought of such progress not really as Democratic or Republican, but as something that so obviously served the national interest and the most critical founding principles of this country, it had its own life and fire. It pains me to see that I was dead wrong. It pains me today to see historically marginalized folks like Barack Obama captured by the system and rendered so unwilling or unable to commit to that progress in any meaningful way. But I am heartened to see that the social idealism that I once considered and still consider quintessentially American lives on in full force through people like Bob Avakian. For him, hope is not just a campaign phrase, and never will be."

from Matthew Shipp, musician

"In a time when some are trying to privatize even basic services... when health care is thought of as a luxury for the rich... when the rich become richer and richer and the poor suck more and more wind every day... when speculators can make an environment where basics are expensive and it has nothing to do with supply and demand... when 'political' christians talk about christian ethics but their policies favor the rich even though if you read the new testament it is obvious that christ abhorred riches for riches sake... where rich white men with questionable morals are trying to tell women what to do with their bodies... where bankers who destroyed the system through pure greed are still getting huge bonuses above their already massive salaries and workers are being blamed for the system's money problems like teachers get paid too much—right—in times like these the ideas of someone like Bob Avakian must be studied and thought upon... we need voices like Bob to let youth know there are alternatives within this system that is corrupted to the core."

from Cornel West, Professor of Religion, Princeton University*

This is a rough transcript of a YouTube that really needs to be watched and shared widely. The video is at

"Yes, this is brother Cornel West, and I hope you understand that in Harlem, on April the 11th, this is the occasion of BAsics, which is a celebration of revolution and a vision of a new world, that you should be there. Because you're gonna see a lot of poor people and working people. You're gonna see an alternative to a world in which we live. You're gonna see a critique of the capitalist system that you need to check out. You're gonna see courage, vision, and folk who love the people enough that they're willing to bear witness against this oligarchic mess in which we find ourselves. Be there."

from David Zeiger, film maker

"I struggle every day. I struggle with outrage and a deep anger at the nature of this society, where endless war has become the accepted norm and something as obvious as the right to health care is even debated, let alone denied. I also struggle with despair, as the 'answers' presented to me feel worse than the problems and so many turn a blind eye when the man ordering the bombs to drop and the drones to attack has a different face. There's got to be a better way.

I see that better way in the writings of Bob Avakian. But I also struggle with skepticism, and that's the toughest part. When I read Avakian's words, it's always with a dance of inspiration, hope, and skepticism. Not because I want to be skeptical, I just am. How could I not be? The great revolutions of the last century have themselves become, in the minds of most people, the best arguments against communist revolution.

How can that be overcome? I'm honestly not sure it can. But one thing I know is that without the profoundly new work that Bob Avakian is doing, it never will. And without that work being in the mix of debate in this world, it never will.

So with all of my skeptical heart, I welcome this event."

(* for identification purposes only)

Send us your comments.

Revolution #227, March 20, 2011

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Two Correspondences on Using the $200 Challenge

The following report comes from some experience doing phone banking to raise funds for BAsics from subscribers to Revolution newspaper: 

She was glad to hear from me and said she was very excited about having discussions about the Constitution.  She said that she had been clipping all the "Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, But Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon" excerpts so she could study them as a piece. 

She brought out how she wasn't sure we could make a revolution in the U.S., but she did assess the current state of affairs as intolerable and the government as dysfunctional. She said the study groups and discussions gave her hope and strength. 

She had been following the developments in Egypt and other parts of the Middle East. She had not yet gotten the current issue and so I talked briefly about the ensemble of articles and read her part of the article "A Profound Lesson and A Deep Challenge." I linked it to the importance and need for a revolutionary communist party in order for there to be revolution and the importance of the movement for revolution being built with the leadership of Bob Avakian. So this segued back to BAsics fundraising. 

She was agonizing over why the majority just goes along with the way things are. I argued the importance of making BA accessible to millions by the publication of BAsics, with an early focus on prisoners and the basic masses and linked this to the profound lesson above.  Then I asked her again for a donation to make this happen. She offered $100. She said it was a lot of money for her but it matters what you spend your money on. 

She was very appreciative of the call, in part because she was trying to figure out some gnawing contradictions—like why people here are so passive and don't see through what their government is doing. The other question she was agonizing over was why some activists she knows are hostile to BA. I suggested that she consider that there are lines opposed to communism and that a lot of this focuses on being opposed to vanguard leadership.  She also brought up how people don't know what socialism and communism really is. She said not just people who are influenced by the right wing. But she said a lot of people who are progressive think it is Sweden. I pointed out that even if people do know and understand socialism and communism if they haven't checked out the new synthesis of BA, then they really don't know what socialism and communism is. It is not just the best of Soviet Union and the best of the GPCR. She agreed that you had to be open to seeing the development and application of communism and that BA was bringing something new. I told her about "All Played Out" and she is going to listen to it at the Library.

She sent in the $100 she pledged over the phone.  But when she received the next issue of the paper with the $200 challenge, she decided that she wanted to meet the challenge and sent in another $100. 


BAsics Fundraising Meeting

I set up a BAsics fundraising meeting with an artist we have known for a long time.  He had come to the hot topics bookstore event on Egypt after not being to any events in a long time. He went to the Egypt rally the following day.  I knew that these "jolts" were raising questions and opening pathways to dig into the need for communism and communist leadership.

I wanted to focus on what a difference this book would make in actually changing the terms of debate in society and the world. I thought that I should frame the get together on the advanced theoretical contributions that the Chairman has been making and on that basis make a case for why this book at this time. In light of the "Strategy for Revolution" statement, I wanted to make the challenge that what the world desperately needed was communism, as re-envisioned by the Chairman and make the challenge that people should become communists and dedicate their lives to being emancipators of humanity.

I brought the Egypt statement from the Chairman. I also brought some glossy color reprints from the Chairman that the newspaper has been running that the bookstore had printed. One was the 3 sentences on Democracy, another was "The Essence of what exists..." and one other quote. And I also brought a beautiful glossy color reprint of the fundraising call for BAsics that ran in the paper.

My plan was to open with a few key paragraphs, open up some back and forth and then make the "Readers Challenge."

I started by asking the question, why this book and why now. I read the 2nd paragraph  from the Harlem Stage statement "Avakian is a unique voice..." I followed that with the quote from the Egypt 2011 statement "When people in their masses, in their millions finally break free..." down to the challenge that whether or not their heroic struggle really leads to fundamental change that leads toward the total elimination of exploitation depends on "whether there is leadership, communist leadership." I ended with the bolded lines in the Egypt flier that state that the RCP has taken the responsibility to lead revolution right here in the U.S. and "The emancipation of all humanity: This and nothing less that this, is our goal. There is no greater cause, no greater purpose to which to dedicate their lives."

We started talking. I talked about what impact BAsics could have influencing people’s thinking around Egypt. I spoke of how the uprising in Egypt was being framed in terms of "Democracy" and "Freedom." My friend jumped in that the "freedom and democracy" the Egyptian people could end up with was U.S. domination. I showed him the reprint of BA's 3 sentences on Democracy.  He was once a big Obama supporter, but that has changed. He talked about how he was disenchanted with the whole voting thing.

At this point I made the "Readers Challenge" and he said without hesitation, "I can do that." He wrote a check for $200.

Send us your comments.

Revolution #227, March 20, 2011

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Update on Fundraising for BAsics

We are happy to announce that $15,000 has been raised to cover the printing of BAsics in English and Spanish! April 5 is the official release date for the English edition with the Spanish edition soon to follow.

Plans are being made for broad advertising and promotion of the book. $15,000 more is needed to fund these efforts. Send in any ideas you have for national promotion that will help break BAsics out into the atmosphere.

Spread around the $200 challenge. Raising funds gives people a chance to learn about the book, learn about Bob Avakian, and learn about the movement for revolution... and support it. Send in your experience and learn from the other experiences that are posted.

Consider what it will mean for humanity for BAsics... to get out into the world! Get others involved and help make it happen.

All those who donate $100 or more will receive a free book hot off the press.

Send us your comments.

Revolution #227, March 20, 2011

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Madison, Wisconsin:

A Vicious Attack... A Powerful Response... and the Storms to Come

On Wednesday, March 9, Republicans in the Wisconsin State Legislature rammed through Governor Scott Walker's bill to essentially break public employees unions. The bill amounts to an 8 percent pay cut for most public workers, and big increases in payroll deductions for medical insurance and pensions. Even more ominously, the bill effectively strips public service unions of their right to represent workers in anything but the most limited wage negotiations.

For more than three weeks, as many as 100,000 people from Wisconsin and beyond poured into the streets of Madison. They surrounded the State Capitol, marching, chanting, and playing music. Thousands occupied the Capitol building itself. Their defiant protests and rebellious spirit captured the imagination of and inspired people around the U.S. The occupation of Madison set off smaller protests in other states and was even greeted by signs of support in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

The clash between the governor and the protesters represented and brought together a set of tense and potentially explosive contradictions simmering beneath the surface in U.S. society. The final chapter in how these contradictions will be resolved is far from written.

A Vicious Attack

On Friday, February 11, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker introduced his bill—directly impacting some 175,000 public sector employees in the state. The law strips a wide range of state workers—from faculty at the University of Wisconsin, to home health care workers—of the right to bargain collectively. It does not affect police and firefighters. ("What's in Wisconsin's new law?" USA Today, March 12, 2011)

In short, the law is a vicious and draconian attack on the lives of hundreds of thousands of workers and those who depend on them. Beyond that, in gutting the right of people to band together in a union to bargain with their employer—something which was fought for and won, sometimes at great cost and sacrifice—it strikes at what many see as a basic right. The fact that this has been done will encourage—and already is encouraging—many similar attacks, both in government and in privately-owned companies, and affects millions of people.

Massive Protest

As soon as the governor introduced the bill, people began to mobilize and protest across Wisconsin. By Tuesday, February 15, tens of thousands converged at the State Capitol in Madison, and the protests grew by the day. High school students walked out of schools across the state—many heading to Madison to join protesting college students. Rallies of tens of thousands continued for days, and broke out in neighboring states—in Columbus, Ohio, 4,000 protested against a similar bill in the Ohio legislature. According to a report at, students in Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, and Washington State participated in protests in support of the Wisconsin public service workers.

By February 19, the protesters' ranks in Madison swelled to 70,000—even as the Tea Party and other belligerent reactionaries were mobilized and turned out in much smaller numbers to support the governor. Protesters occupied the State Capitol building.

Perhaps in part mindful of comparisons to the police state regime under siege in Egypt at the time, Wisconsin authorities refrained from a massive, violent assault on the protesters. But by March 3, security at the Capitol had became so restrictive that a team of firefighters responding to an emergency were denied access to the building, and Democratic Rep. Nick Milroy was tackled by law enforcement officers while attempting to enter the Capitol to retrieve clothes—Milroy described the Capitol as an "armed-palace environment created by Gov. Walker." After three weeks of occupation of the Capitol building, courts ruled that protesters could not stay in the building overnight, but protests continued and drew widespread support, including appearances by Michael Moore, Tom Morello, Susan Sarandon, Tony Shalhoub, and others.

On March 9, after the vote that rammed through Walker's bill, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the locked entrance to the Capitol, chanting "Break down the door!" and "General strike!" On Thursday, March 10, the entire Wisconsin Assembly passed the bill as protesters shouted "shame!" And on March 11, Governor Walker signed the bill.

On Saturday, March 12, 100,000 people rallied in Madison in protest against the signing of the law. This is quite remarkable and very welcome—it is very unusual that 100,000 people will turn out to demonstrate after a struggle has been, at least for now, defeated. This signifies the high degree of anger and militancy this has drawn forth in people.

There are calls for those who resisted this attack to re-channel their anger and outrage into the confines of voting Democratic and recall campaigns. But let none of us forget a crucial lesson here: It was only when people stepped outside those bounds, and took to the streets, that what first looked like another one-sided assault on people's lives turned into a two-sided fight for a change!

And among those who stepped out into the struggle, there is much wrangling with what is behind all the vicious attacks, an openness to new ideas, and wrestling with where to next.

Deep Discontent

The eruption of massive and determined protest in Madison hardly came out of nowhere. Official unemployment in the U.S. hovers around 10 percent, a figure that doesn't count vast numbers of people who have "given up" on finding a decent job, and it doesn't reflect the utter lack of job opportunities for millions in the inner cities of the USA.

Teachers, social workers, and other public service employees are being demonized as ruining the economy. And the very concept of providing social services like schools, medical care, personal and financial counseling to the poor, access to the arts, and sanitation is portrayed as "communist authoritarianism" by powerful voices who nobody in the halls of power on the Democrats' side of the equation, all the way to Obama, will call out for what they really are: fascists.

For many, even the ability to express anger through things like voting seems to be disappearing before their eyes. There is an ongoing reactionary reconfiguration of electoral politics to institutionalize Republican domination of the process—through changes like court rulings that give corporations and billionaires nearly unlimited freedom to buy elections anonymously. In the meantime, traditional funding sources for the Democrats are being closed off. Last year the Republicans orchestrated an attack on the community organization ACORN—a group which carried out, among other things, voter registration campaigns among the poor. As a result the group was basically destroyed. In addition, laws which target people who have been convicted of felonies have denied the right to vote to millions of Americans, many of them Black people, who at one time in their life have been ensnared in the racist and discriminatory courts and prison system.

And all the while, the Democratic Party—with Barack Obama in the White House—has been carrying out and carrying "forward" the essence of the agenda of the hated Bush regime. The unjust war of occupation in Afghanistan seems more endless than ever. Guantánamo stays open for business. Despite the fact that an African-American is President of the United States, the "new Jim Crow"—including the mass incarceration of a million African-Americans, and pervasive police brutality and murder—remains a defining element of U.S. society, unchallenged—indeed, fostered by—the mainstream of the Democratic Party. This too has fed the frustration and anger of people who have in the past thought that the Democratic Party would protect some of their rights and provide a means for them to express their political views.

Complex and Interpenetrating Contradictions

All these factors, and many more, have created a great tension beneath the surface in U.S. society. That pressure erupted in significant ways in Wisconsin.

Part of the picture is the existence of contradictions at the top of society—conflict between sections of the U.S. ruling class. Here, we are talking about political representatives of the interests of U.S. capitalism-imperialism. These are conflicts—between forces roughly represented by the Democratic Party and the Republican Party—again, within the ruling class. If you listen to the speeches of any of their leaders, and you dig down into what they are saying—in essence—their starting point is maintaining this system of capitalism-imperialism. During the recent uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, for example, both Democrats and Republicans have talked about "our interests" in the Middle East, and "our interests" in maintaining (or modifying) this or that repressive regime. But masses of people in this country actually have no fundamental interest in maintaining butchers in power—these are the "interests" of empire.

This capitalist system is built on exploitation, and enforced by oppression, in the U.S. itself, and in even more extreme ways around the world. This is why, for example, right now there is no significant difference between these parties on the need to wage endless wars of occupation in Afghanistan and Iraq, despite the terrible suffering this has brought down, and continues to bring down, on people in both countries. And why, now, there are no serious differences over whether or not great sections of people in this country will have their living conditions worsened. Nobody in the halls of power, for example, is talking about ending the desperate and hopeless situation in the inner cities of the U.S.

But there are real differences over how to maintain the rule of U.S. imperialism. The section of the ruling class associated with the Democrats sees doing this with an element of diversity and multiculturalism, maintaining forces like the unions in some form, and maintaining some minimal level of social services. The more openly reactionary and aggressive section of the ruling class—more or less grouped around the Republican Party—sees a need to re-cohere U.S. society around a vicious program of brutal cuts in social services, and a re-enforcement of the cruelest elements of the dominant culture of intolerance and mean-spirited individualism—all wrapped up in a heavy and oppressive reliance on Christian fundamentalist religion and religious institutions. (A full examination of all these conflicts, and how they interpenetrate with conflicts between the interests of the people on the one hand, and the ruling class as a whole on the other is beyond the scope of this article, but we strongly recommend to readers "The Pyramid of Power and the Struggle to Turn This Whole Thing Upside Down," by Bob Avakian, available at

Even though union leaders and their allies in the Wisconsin Democratic Party had assured Walker they would essentially cave in to his demands for drastic wage and benefit cuts, Walker had—as many commentators pointed out—refused to take "yes" for an answer. When Democrats in the Wisconsin Senate responded by fleeing the state to avoid being dragged into the Capitol to form a quorum, this might have had the effect of providing a sense of right and an impetus to protest to people broadly.

A further, very positive factor in the whole equation has been the heroic uprising of the people of Egypt, Tunisia, and other countries in North Africa and the Middle East. A correspondent writing to Revolution reported that "Salted through the crowds were references to the uprisings in Egypt and the Middle East: on an entrance to the Rotunda inside the Capitol Building: 'Welcome to Wis-Cairo,' 'Mubarak, Walker—one down one to go.' 'Walk like an Egyptian.' A couple women in their late twenties, who made a point that they worked for a union in the private sector but were there because this struggle was so important, commented that 'Egypt caught the wave from Tunisia, we caught the wave from Egypt and now we are passing it on. We are all surfers now.'" ("Correspondence from the Wave of Protests in Madison," Revolution #225, February 27, 2011)

Attacks... Resistance... and the Movement for Revolution

The attack on Wisconsin workers is part of a larger picture of the shredding of the social safety net—such as it has existed—and other attacks on the lives of people. Those attacks go back decades, and are taking place throughout the world—even in relatively prosperous countries of Europe with legacies of more substantial social services. With the extremely serious financial crisis of 2008-2009, and the ongoing aftershocks, the capitalist-imperialists are scrambling to restore conditions of "profitable accumulation"—and doing so with severe attacks on people's livelihoods. Homelessness, unemployment and increasing desperation in places like the U.S.... outright starvation and death in the oppressed nations of the "global south," or Third World.

The ramrodding of the attack on workers in Wisconsin did take the form of riding roughshod over normal democratic processes (the governor and the Republicans in the state senate essentially circumvented a rule that laws concerning fiscal policy can only be passed if a quorum of legislators is present). And the great changes in society are accompanied by moves to "stack the deck" within the contention of ruling class forces represented by the Republicans and Democrats. But the foundational causes of such attacks are not—in essence—driven by or caused by an erosion of democratic rights. Instead, the kind of democracy in this country is built on and serves much more defining and fundamental factors. Most essentially: the nature of capitalism. And right now, those factors often require dispensing with "normal methods."

Things that many people see as defining of U.S. society, like the ability of people to organize into unions, and certain concessions to the struggle of Black people and women that were granted in the 1960s are the product of a complex set of factors. Among those factors were the struggles of people—which erupted with unprecedented scope and determination in the 1960s. Challenges from revolutionary struggles worldwide at that time, as well as its rival, the Soviet Union, added to the compulsion on the rulers to dispense with, or at least modify, certain blatantly reactionary institutions, like open legal segregation against Black people, or "Jim Crow."

But the overall standard of living in this country, and the relative "upward mobility" of sections of the working class, are most fundamentally a product of the emergence of the U.S., in the aftermath of World War 2, as the world's dominant superpower. On that basis, on the basis of super-profits generated by vicious exploitation in the mines of the Congo, the plantations of Central America, the sweatshops of Korea, and the factory farms in Mexico... the rulers of this country both had the freedom, and felt a compulsion to grant certain concessions to sections of people. And these concessions served to present the United States to the world as a model of "freedom and democracy."

Much more could be said about the essential nature of the "American dream," but here we can just note that great changes in the world have taken place since the end of World War 2—including the rise and fall of the Soviet Union as a social-imperialist country (imperialist, but—for a while—socialist in name). Today, a whole series of challenges from a wide range of rivals confront U.S. domination of the world. The stresses and strains of maintaining that empire, including the massive military power and technology needed to try to enforce it on the world, have radically changed what the U.S. ruling class as a whole sees as possible and necessary as far as concessions to sections of people in this country.

These underlying changes in the foundation of U.S. society are why both "alternatives" at the top of the U.S. power structure are in agreement that things like the social safety net (such as it has existed) must be "ended as we know it." Bill Clinton ended "welfare as we know it," and Barack Obama is again talking "bipartisan compromise" with forces bent on dismantling Social Security and Medicare.

To the Republi-fascists, who insist that a fascist reconfiguration of American society is necessary for the survival of this system... to the Republi-crats, who argue "well, what can we do, we have to adapt to the new reality,"... it must be said that in terms of your system you're right—one way or another the survival of this system does depend on terrible and worsening horrors and outrages—in this country, and in an even more extreme way, for those who live under the heel of U.S.-sponsored regimes around the world. So long as people remain locked within the terms of choosing between these two "equally worse" alternatives—these two parties which together maintain a perfect shell game for the capitalists—then people's most fundamental interests will be betrayed.

But it is also the case that times like this pose the question: do things have to be this way? And eruptions of protest from the people's side of things, as happened in Madison (and the book is not closed on that struggle) also help show to millions that there are many who are alienated, many who are angry, and who are seeking to deal with that through collective struggle against those who are presiding over this system and enforcing its dictates.

If revolutionaries are in this mix, helping people to see the true causes of the outrages that they are resisting and the true roots of these outrages in the system of capitalism, and if the revolutionaries work to bring alive the possibility of revolution and a whole new society and world... then these struggles can contribute to not only beating back the particular outrage, but to building a movement for revolution and getting to a world free of all oppression.

Send us your comments.

Revolution #227, March 20, 2011

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Revolution Interviews Raymond Lotta: The Events in Libya in Historical Perspective... Muammar Qaddafi in Class Perspective... The Question of Leadership in Communist Perspective

Revolution: We're speaking at a time when the uprising in Libya is being met with brutal force by the Muammar Qaddafi regime. In Egypt, Mubarak stepped down under pressure of the mass revolt and the obvious prod from the military. So one of the big questions on people's minds is what's similar and what's different as between Libya and Egypt.

Raymond Lotta: It's an important place to start the discussion. The uprising in Libya is an expression of profound discontent in Libyan society. Broad sections of Libyan society, taking inspiration from events in Tunisia and Egypt, have risen against an oppressive regime. And this uprising in Libya is part of the wave of rebellion sweeping through the imperialist-dominated Middle East.

But when you compare events in Libya with those of Egypt, there are two major differences.

First, in Libya, you have a situation where imperialist intrigue is commingling with genuine and just mass upheaval. This makes things highly complicated.

In Egypt, the uprising was overwhelmingly a product of mass discontent against a U.S-backed client regime. But U.S. imperialism had a reliable base within the leadership and command structure of the Egyptian military. That military has been trained, financed, and equipped by the U.S. It's been the U.S.'s most vital asset in trying to stabilize the situation in Egypt to its advantage. I mean being able to stabilize from within the existing state apparatus... in order to maintain Egypt as a key flank of U.S. dominance in the Middle East. And the U.S. also has large, direct economic interests in Egypt.

Now the outcome of the uprising in Egypt has by no means been sealed. Protests are still erupting, people are debating what’s been accomplished and what hasn’t, and things are still in motion. But what I’m getting at is that U.S. imperialism has important capacities and assets inside Egypt.

That's not the case in Libya. You don't have that kind of military apparatus with such close ties to the U.S. The Libyan state structure—here I'm speaking of key ministries and sections of the security apparatus—is fracturing and splitting in response to the uprising and the pressures of imperialism. And the U.S. does not have the same kind of large economic holdings in Libya as it does in Egypt.

So this creates both necessity and opportunity for the U.S. and West European imperialists. They are reaching out to and seeking to bolster oppositional forces in Libya who might be the embryo of an entirely new neocolonial regime... one that would be a more pliant tool of Western interests. And it can't be ruled out that imperialist operatives have, from the very beginning of this uprising, been assisting some of the oppositional forces.

So as I said, while there is genuine and just mass upheaval, there are also significant elements of imperialist maneuvering involved. These are things that we need to analyze and understand more deeply.

Revolution: You mentioned two major differences.

Lotta: Yes. The second major difference between what's happening in Libya and the upheavals in other parts of the Middle East is Qaddafi himself. Muammar Qaddafi is not the same as Mubarak.

I know this is not the official story line of the State Department or the narrative put out on CNN about a crazed, autocratic ruler... but Qaddafi actually had popular support when he came to power in 1969, especially from sections of the intelligentsia and professional and middle classes. He had popular bases of support for many years of his rule.

For three decades, Qaddafi was viewed by many inside and outside of Libya as someone standing up for the genuine national interests of Libya... as someone who stood against imperialism and the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

And the fact is... Qaddafi was for many years a real thorn in the side of imperialism, especially the U.S. Let's not forget that in 1986 Ronald Reagan launched fighter attacks and bombed Libya's two largest cities, tried to assassinate Qaddafi, and in the bombings killed one of his daughters.

Qaddafi is not the same as the openly servile Hosni Mubarak... even though the Qaddafi regime never fundamentally broke with or fundamentally challenged imperialism.

Revolution: This gets us into the history of Libya and Qaddafi. It would be helpful if you could provide some background.

Lotta: Well, Libya did not really exist as a unitary state until after World War 2. It gained its formal independence in 1951.

In the late 1500s, the coastal regions of what is today Libya were conquered by the Turkish Ottoman empire. In 1910, Italian imperialism moved to colonize the area of Libya. Libya is strategically located in North Africa on the Mediterranean Sea. When Italy came to the imperialist banquet table, other colonial powers had already imposed their presence in the region. The British ruled Egypt. The French had colonized Algeria. From 1911 to 1943, Italy employed savage means to consolidate its rule in Libya. The historian Abdullatif Ahmida describes this as one of the most brutal colonizations of the 20th century.

Italy was on the losing side of World War 2. After the war, the U.S. and Britain put their weight behind a pro-Western constitutional monarchy in Libya headed by King Idris. He allowed the U.S. to set up Wheelus Air Base. It was one of the U.S.'s largest overseas military facilities... and the base was used for military training, missile testing, and for fighter and reconnaissance missions.

Revolution: Of course, Libya has been a major oil producer.

Lotta: Actually, it was only in 1959 that large oil deposits were discovered in Libya. U.S. and European companies moved in big time to set up production operations. The banking sector grew rapidly, especially after an oil pipeline to the Mediterranean Sea was finished. Oil revenues soared through the decade of the 1960s. But the foreign oil companies were getting the lion's share of earnings. And what oil wealth did return to Libya... it was concentrated in the hands of a small mercantile, banking, and speculator elite.

Poverty remained widespread. And the opportunities for a new middle class growing in connection with the oil economy... they were limited. So, mass resentment against the Idris monarchy was growing.

Then you had the impact of regional and world events. In 1967, Israel attacked Egypt and Syria with the support of the U.S. In Libya, students, intellectuals, and workers organized mass actions and strikes. There were also protests against the U.S. war in Vietnam. Unrest was spreading in the face of the Libyan government's total subordination to the West.

In the 1960s, a wave of national liberation struggles—in Asia, Latin America, and Africa—was battering imperialism and shook the international order. This aroused literally hundreds of millions throughout the world to rise in resistance. This was a time when a new nationalist spirit was being stirred, when ideas of Arab unity against imperialism were taking hold. It was a time when revolutionary China was influencing social forces and Marxism-Leninism was a big part of the ideological discourse. But the fact that the U.S. was under this kind of siege also provided openings for many different class forces who had been held down by imperialism. They saw new possibilities.

Revolution: So this was setting the stage for Qaddafi.

Lotta: Yes. Qaddafi was part of a group of young army officers influenced by the pan-Arabist and social reformist ideas of Gamal Nasser, the leader of Egypt. Qaddafi came from poor desert-tribal origins, and other radical-minded officers came from lower-class backgrounds. The military was one of the few institutions in Libyan society that afforded them any chance of training and mobility.

These young army officers were outraged by the corruption and subservience of the ruling regime. They saw themselves as the bearers of a new Libya. And in 1969, they organized a coup against the King and constituted a new government out of what they called their Revolutionary Command Council.

Revolution: Maybe you could say more about the program of Qaddafi?

Lotta: Qaddafi argued that Libya's national sovereignty had been bartered away, that foreign capital had been allowed to dictate to the Libyan people. He accused the old order of squandering Libya's oil resources and doing little to alleviate the suffering of the Libyan people.

He forced the U.S. to accelerate its timetable for closing down Wheelus Air Base. He moved to nationalize banks. He made the government a major stakeholder in the oil industry. He promised to develop agriculture and industry and did direct some funds into these sectors. He enacted social programs in the 1970s that over the next 20 years led to real improvements in mass literacy, life expectancy, and housing. These actions and polices had popular support.

But for all of Qaddafi's anti-imperialist rhetoric, this whole project rested on the preservation and expansion of Libya's oil-based economy. It rested on Libya's continued insertion into the global capitalist system... its division of labor and international relations of exploitation.

Qaddafi relied heavily on Western Europe as a market for Libyan oil. He used oil revenues to buy French jets, to attract German manufacturing capital to Libya, and even to become a major investor in Italy's largest auto company. Italy, the old colonial power, was allowed to keep its operations going in Libya.

Revolution: You've focused on the economic base of Qaddafi's program, but what about the other dimensions of what he was doing?

Lotta: Qaddafi harnessed oil revenues to restructure society. He was creating a social welfare system with particular political features. He set up "people's committees" at local levels in order to widen his political support and to redirect tribal and clan loyalties toward the central regime. At the same time, he outlawed unions and independent political organization and muzzled press criticism of the regime.

He used oil revenues to build up a large security and military apparatus... both to put down any internal opposition to the regime and to project Libya as a political model and regional force in the Middle East and Africa.

Ideologically, the Qaddafi regime combined social welfarism and pan-Arabism with retrograde values. Islam was made the official state religion. Women had more opportunities than before, but patriarchal Sharia law was made the foundation of legal-social codes. Qaddafi was vehemently anticommunist... and claimed to be finding a third way between capitalism and communism.

The reality was that Qaddafi was creating a state capitalism... based on oil revenues and beholden to world imperialism for markets, technology, transport, and investment capital.

Revolution: You're saying there was nothing authentically radical about this project.

Lotta: Qaddafi was changing things, but within the existing framework of imperialist dominance, capitalist property relations, and a complex web of tribal loyalties and regional divisions.

There was nothing truly transformative in terms of breaking with imperialism. There was nothing truly transformative in terms of the masses having the kind of leadership and radically different political state power that could enable them to remake the economy and society in a truly liberating direction.

Bob Avakian has this very incisive formulation about "three alternatives" in the world. Now I am paraphrasing here, but he basically says this. The first alternative is to leave the world as it is... which is totally unacceptable. Or you can make some changes in the distribution of wealth and forms of rule, but leave the basic exploitative production and oppressive social relations of society and the world basically intact. That's the second alternative.

Or, and this is the third alternative, you can make a genuine revolution. A revolution that aims to transform all relations of exploitation, all oppressive institutions, all oppressive social arrangements, and all enslaving ideas and values... a revolution to overcome the very division of human society into classes. That third alternative is the world proletarian revolution to achieve communism.

Qaddafi's program, his social and economic model, fits into that second alternative that changes some aspects of the status quo but keeps the oppressive essence of existing social order the same.

Revolution: What comes across in the general coverage of Qaddafi, the indictment that's made, is that he is this ruthless "strongman."

Lotta: You know, this notion of the "strongman"... it's a "straw man." It obscures the essence, the class essence, of things. This is what Marxism enables us to understand.

Look, all societies at this stage of human history are divided into classes. Leaders don't float in some ether. They concentrate the outlook, the methods, and aspirations of different classes. Qaddafi and those military officers who took power in 1969, what I was talking about earlier... they represented and concentrated the outlook of a radicalized sector of the petty bourgeoisie and national bourgeoisie of a nation oppressed by imperialism.

They felt stymied by imperialist subjugation. And from their class standpoint, the problem, as they saw it, was that Libya was getting a bad deal. They wanted to make market mechanisms, which are based on exploitation and the production of profit, somehow "work" for the benefit of the whole nation. They had this illusion that they would be able to wrench concessions from imperialism... and force imperialism to come to terms with them. But the fact is: global capitalism operates according to a definite logic and imposes its norms on these societies and economies.

These bourgeois nationalist forces claimed to speak for the whole nation. They saw their interests as being identical with the interests of all social classes in the nation. But there are dominant and dominated classes in these nations.

You know one of the slogans that Qaddafi raised, I think it's in his so-called "Green Book," was: "not wage earners but partners." In other words, here you have this system based on profit and integration into capitalist world markets, but somehow you could turn everyone into equal stakeholders. That was both populist rhetoric and illusion.

Wage earners, or proletarians, do not own means of production. In order to survive, they must sell their labor power to those who do command control over the means of production: the capitalists. The capitalist class exploits workers in the production process to make profit, and to continue to make profit on an ever-expanding scale. And when sufficient profit cannot be generated, wage-laborers are cast off. The basic condition of wage labor is its domination by capital and its subordination to the accumulation of capital. There is a basic antagonism between workers and capitalists.

In Libya, wage-labor is part of the foundation of the economy. In Libya today, there's 20 percent unemployment. The reality is that wage earners cannot be "partners" of capital.

Politically and ideologically, these aspiring bourgeois forces feared the basic masses... they feared that the masses would step beyond their reformist, let's-make-a-deal-with-imperialism program. And they tried to control and contain those on the bottom of society.

My point is that whatever idiosyncrasies Qaddafi might have... if you want to understand the Qaddafi program, you have to analyze the class interests and outlook that he represents and how those interests were interacting with the world situation. I mean, you can call Barack Obama "calm" and "worldly," or whatever, but what he's really about... is that he concentrates the exploitative and murderous interests of empire and the world outlook of an imperialist ruling class.

Revolution: Qaddafi held on for so long and did have those radical credentials.

Lotta: Yes. When Qaddafi consolidated power in the early 1970s, the regime had certain things going for it in world politics and world economics. To begin with, the U.S. was facing defeat in Vietnam and its global economic power was weakening. So that created some space.

Second, the Soviet Union was challenging the U.S. globally. Now the Soviet Union claimed to be socialist. But socialism in the Soviet Union had been overthrown by a new capitalist class in the mid-1950s. The Soviet Union became a social-imperialist power. By the mid-1970s, it was contending for influence and control in different parts of the world. Part of its global strategy was to build up client regimes in key areas of the Third World. The Soviet Union began offering economic aid, oil agreements, and diplomatic support to regimes like that headed by Qaddafi... and the Soviets became a major weapons supplier to Libya.

And there was a third factor. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the world oil industry was going through changes. The major oil companies were entering into new arrangements with oil producers in the Third World. Formal control over production was allowed to pass into the hands of Third World governments and their state oil companies. Imperialist domination was exerted through control over oil refining, marketing, technology, and finance. But now producer countries had more latitude at the production level... you have the Third World producers cartel, OPEC. And in the 1970s the price of oil was rising. These developments worked to Qaddafi's advantage.

Revolution: So all of this gave Qaddafi some maneuvering room economically and politically.

Lotta: Yes... but to do what? You see, bourgeois nationalist forces such as Qaddafi were neither willing nor able to lead the masses to break with imperialism and to carry forward a liberating social revolution. As I said, they chafed under imperialism but also feared the masses. Again, this has to do with their class nature of these rulers: they were held down by relations of imperialism but could not see beyond a world in which they control exploitative relations... rather than a world that has abolished exploitation.

So here you have Qaddafi... securing his hold on power... wheeling and dealing with imperialism...  and seeking to modernize an oil economy subordinated to the norms of world capitalist production. Over 95 percent of Libya's export earnings were coming from oil, and in the 1973-83 decade, Libya became one of the three largest weapons importers in the Third World. This was distorted and dependent development.

As things unfolded, these national bourgeois forces in power evolved into the core of an oppressive ruling bourgeois elite dependent on and tied into imperialism.

On the international stage, Qaddafi criticized conservative Arab regimes and presented himself as the real champion of the Palestinian people's rights. He voiced support for African liberation. This was part of his popularity.

Revolution: In the 1980s, Qaddafi was demonized by the U.S. imperialists as a mad-dog ruler.

Lotta: Yes, but this had nothing to do with the repressiveness of the regime or Qaddafi's style of rule. I mean the U.S. was propping up brutal client regimes and "strongman despots" in Central America—and their human rights violations made Qaddafi look positively benign. The problem the U.S. imperialists had with Qaddafi was his close ties to the Soviet bloc... the problem they had was assertiveness in supporting certain radical movements and groups that might benefit the Soviet bloc at a time when the rivalry between the U.S. and Soviet-led blocs was heading towards a global military showdown.

In the 1980s, the U.S. ramped up the vilification of Qaddafi. Reagan provoked aerial fights with Soviet-made Libyan jets off the Libyan coast and launched that military attack on Libya that I referred to earlier. The U.S. set out to punish the regime with economic sanctions and diplomatic pressures. U.S. oil companies suspended operations.

Now, as I have mentioned, Libya has been a significant energy supplier to Western Europe. This was a source of tension between the U.S. and the West European imperialists. I think there is strong evidence that Reagan's military attacks on Libya were also aimed at bringing the West European imperialists more closely into line, as the face-off with the Soviet social-imperialist bloc was intensifying.

Under U.S. pressure, the UN imposed sanctions on Libya. These moves to isolate Libya began to pinch Libya's economy and periodic declines in world oil prices hurt the economy as well. And Libya's oil industry was in need of upgrading and new investment.

Then in 1989-91, the Soviet Union and its bloc collapsed. This marked a qualitative shift in international relations. It knocked a lot of the wind out of Qaddafi's project. He no longer had this great power backing. And the demise of the Soviet Union gave the U.S. new freedom—and it moved to exploit this new freedom in the Middle East and other parts of the Third World.

In this changed situation, Qaddafi began cultivating closer ties with the West European imperialists. By the end of the 1990s, relations were restored with Great Britain. Italy was allowed greater sway over Libya's oil and natural gas sectors.

Revolution: It does seem that the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 was another turning point.

Lotta: I think that's right. It put more pressure on Qaddafi—would Libya be next? Qaddafi was also worried about a fundamentalist Islamic challenge to his rule. So he began making overtures to the U.S. After 9/11, the Qaddafi regime started sharing intelligence about al-Qaida-type forces with the U.S. In 2004, Qaddafi announced that he was giving up various nuclear and other weapons programs. The U.S. took Libya off its list of "terrorist states." Qaddafi became a valued ally in the U.S. war against terrorism. Bush gave the green light to U.S. oil companies to sign new contracts with Libya. Qaddafi began privatizing some sectors of industry.

I have to say... Qaddafi can't restrain himself in scraping before the imperialists. Last year he signed an agreement with Italy to seal off the crossing routes for undocumented African immigrants coming through Libya to Europe. This was ugly. He demanded billions in payment for patrolling borders... and he issued racist warnings that Europe would turn "black" unless it adopted stricter measures to turn back African immigrants.

This was the "rehabilitated" Qaddafi whose son met with Hillary Clinton... this was the Qaddafi that the London School of Economics was accepting huge donations from... the Qaddafi that the British were now selling arms to. The imperialists found Qaddafi useful and "workable."

You know in early February 2011, the International Monetary Fund released a report on Libya's economy and commended the Qaddafi government, and I'm quoting, for its "ambitious reform agenda" and "strong macroeconomic performance"... and "encouraged" authorities to keep on this promising path. What higher praise, than from the IMF!

But now, when it suits them, and it's really brazen... when they might be able to utilize mass discontent to install an even "more workable" regime, the imperialists are back to the master narrative of "Qaddafi the madman," "Qaddafi the strongman."

Revolution: So let's shift the discussion to some of what is happening in Libya right now and some of the bigger issues and challenges being thrown up.

Lotta: Well, I've focused a lot on the class nature of Qaddafi and the social-economic character of the development model that the Qaddafi regime was pursuing. This is important in understanding how things have unfolded and how growing numbers of people turned against Qaddafi and this model.

Over the last decade, oil wealth and nationalized properties were becoming the province of a narrower and narrower circle, including the extended Qaddafi family... and more of this wealth was being invested abroad.

The regime brooked no criticism. The widespread censorship became increasingly unbearable at a time when people were seeking outlets for expression. Dissidents were being arrested. There was a thirst for political life outside the official structures. The so-called "people's councils" were largely discredited, having become arms of a patronage system and tools of a surveillance network. There was a thirst for cultural diversity—until recently, foreign languages could not be taught in the schools. Health care has deteriorated recently. Unemployment has risen.

Qaddafi's response has been heavier repression... while looking to invigorate the economy with infusions of Western capital. One of the paradoxes of recent years is that when the sanctions were lifted, and the sense of siege abated, Qaddafi's anti-imperialist and nationalist appeals did not have the same resonance. His militant "luster" had worn thin... the allegiance he previously commanded was dissipating.

Revolution: And then the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt lit a fuse.

Lotta: Yes. As we're doing this interview, the situation in Libya is both cloudy and bloody. Qaddafi announced his intention to fight to the end to retain power. Right now the central government controls Tripoli and the western regions of the country, while oppositional forces have taken command of the east. Some ministers and military figures have gone over to the opposition and become part of a nucleus of another government in the making.

Some within this "interim national government council" are calling for Western air strikes to aid them. This is a reactionary demand that represents a craven pro-imperialist stance. This is not in the interests of the Libyan people, who have long suffered under imperial domination.

Something to keep in mind is that this is the first upheaval in the region that has disrupted oil production. Libya has the largest proven oil reserves of any African country, and Libya supplies a significant share of Europe's oil needs. So this too is a factor influencing imperialist calculations. The imperialists are using the pretext of "humanitarian concern" as an ideological wedge for possible military intervention.

Revolution: So this underscores the complicated character of what is happening.

Lotta: Yes. One of the things to emphasize here, looking at the situation in Libya and the continuing struggle in Egypt, is that the notion of "leaderless" movements... it's untrue and it's very damaging. A lot of progressive and radical-minded people would like to think they can swear off leadership. But leadership is being exerted in society and the world, including on them.

In Libya, as in Egypt, different class and social forces have been in the field. They are bringing their interests and outlooks into the fray... and various forces are vying for leadership and seeking to push these movements in certain directions.

Look, you have lawyers assembling in eastern Libya who want to restore the old 1952 constitution, which served a decrepit political and social order. And doctors, university professors, students, disaffected youth, and workers who had taken to the streets... well, they are part of a larger swirl in which reactionary tribal leaders, former ministers, and colonels are angling for position and leadership. You have some people who are trying to settle old scores. You have youth raising slogans "no to tribalism and no to factionalism." And in this same swirl, the imperialists are maneuvering.

Different class forces are bringing forward leadership, programs, and agendas that correspond to their interests. And different sections of society are looking for leadership.

What I'm trying to say is that the question is not leadership or no leadership. No, the question is what kind of leadership? Serving what goals? Using what methods to achieve those goals? And where there is no truly revolutionary and communist leadership, history has repeatedly shown that the masses lose... the people who are the most bitterly oppressed and exploited... and who yearn for and most desperately need fundamental change... they get left out and betrayed.

In his recent statement on Egypt, Bob Avakian speaks to these issues very powerfully, and I want to read from it. He says: "When people ... in their millions finally break free of the constraints that have kept them from rising up against their oppressors and tormentors, then whether or not their heroic struggle and sacrifice will really lead to fundamental change, moving toward the abolition of all exploitation and oppression, depends on whether or not there is a leadership, a communist leadership, that has the necessary scientific understanding and method, and on that basis can develop the necessary strategic approach and the influence and organized ties among growing numbers of the people, in order to lead the uprising of the people, through all the twists and turns, to the goal of a real, revolutionary transformation of society, in accordance with the fundamental interests of the people."

But, and this brings me back to issues of class, to make the kind of revolution that can really emancipate all of humanity... this requires bringing forward the basic sections of the people as the backbone and driving force of revolutionary transformation and as conscious emancipators of all humanity. It requires a leadership capable of doing so.

So there are important lessons to be drawn from what is happening. There are big challenges to rise to. And as Avakian has also emphasized, the future remains to be written.

Send us your comments.

Revolution #227, March 20, 2011

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Obama: Brutal Fascist Torture You Can Believe In

At a March 11 White House press conference, Barack Obama openly defended the U.S. military's torture of Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private who has been imprisoned in almost total isolation since his arrest in May 2010, without being convicted of any crime. Obama said, "I have actually asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards. They assure me that they are."

Manning is accused of providing classified information to WikiLeaks. One of the charges against him, "aiding the enemy," could result in a death sentence. Manning is confined to a 6' x12' cell for 23 hours a day, given one hour of "exercise" daily consisting only of walking in an empty room. In the latest act of brutality, the brig commander at the Quantico base has ordered Manning to be stripped of all clothing each night. Then, according to Manning's lawyer, he "lies in a cold jail cell naked until the following morning, when he is required to endure the humiliation of standing naked at attention for the morning roll call." Amnesty International has called these conditions "inhumane treatment by the U.S. authorities."

What does Obama's shameless defense of torture say about what he represents? What does this upholding of torture say about the American empire's "basic standards"? And what political and moral response does this outrage from the highest level of the government demand of all people of conscience?

Send us your comments.

Revolution #227, March 20, 2011

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International Women's Day in the U.S.

The following is correspondence from Revolution readers on some of the actions and events around IWD 2011 in the U.S. Other events are taking place as we go to press, including a celebration at Revolution Books in New York City featuring Revolution writer Sunsara Taylor, speaking on "Ending Women's Oppression: Imagining—and Fighting for—a Whole Different World."

Los Angeles

On Sunday, March 6, an International Women's Day "Day of Defiance and Celebration" took place at Revolution Books, LA. The event featured an internationalist potluck, inspiring readings and poetry, skits and deeply felt collective discussion on the oppression of women in the U.S. and the world. As part of the event, those in attendance also discussed the need to take determined action to defy the oppression and together it was decided a concentration of the intensifying attacks on women—a women's right to abortion—needed to be challenged in the streets of LA.

In response to the letter in the online edition of Revolution (#226, March 6, 2011, "Suggestion for Creative Manifestation on International Women's Day") that International Women's Day include some kind of creative demonstration infused with the spirit of A Declaration: For Women's Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity (Revolution #158, March 8, 2009), in Los Angeles we identified a new Crisis Pregnancy Center. This is a fake women's clinic that lures women in by advertising "Free Pregnancy Tests," then lectures them on their moral decisions to have sex and, if they're pregnant, harangues them for hours (literally after they have their prey in tears) until, as their website states, "she chooses life for her baby... and the path of righteousness that leads to a better life."

This clinic is directly across from Los Angeles Community College. With only 24 hours to organize, we sent out a press release and emails, and made phone calls to let people know. At 3 pm sharp we had a big, bright banner reading "Abortion on Demand and Without Apology," and bilingual signs that read "Break the Chains, Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution," "Women Are Not Incubators," "Fetuses Are Not Babies," "Abortion Is Not Murder." We put up a literature table and, with a lot of rage, in front of the fake clinic we started to expose this Christian fascist "women's center" for what it really represents. The 18 of us were not big in number, but the rage and outrage were palpable. Our group included high school and college students and teachers, volunteers at Revolution Books, and others. One of the local TV channels took pictures and interviewed participants. Hundreds of flyers went out and we sold many Revolution newspapers featuring the statement on "On the Strategy for Revolution" as well as issue #223 with the cover, "The Morality of the Right to Abortion and the Immorality of Those Who Oppose It."

The response from people on the street and on the campus was overwhelmingly positive. At least five women confided that they had had abortions. One said she'd worn a purity ring in high school but later her boyfriend lied that he had a vasectomy and she became pregnant and then got an abortion. The church kicked her out, saying she was the devil. One woman passing by said, "Jesus wants you to have a baby" and another woman snapped back, "Is Jesus gonna feed it?" One woman who had an abortion said she didn't know this was one of those fake clinics and, since she lives around the corner, she would make it her duty to expose them every opportunity she got. Two young men talked with us and then joined in holding signs, and some of the workers in neighboring shops confided that they often heard women crying at that location and had wondered what was going on.

After three hours as we were closing down, a woman came up and hugged us saying we really got out the word. She was in an astronomy class way down the street and heard us when she was in class and had to run by to thank us for what we were doing and gave her name for the next event. A reporter for the school newspaper took pictures and came by the store later for an in-depth interview/conversation.

Emergency Panel in Berkeley

About 65 people came to Revolution Books in Berkeley for an Emergency Panel discussion called: Attacks on Women's Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood—What's Behind This Assault, and the Urgency of Resistance. This year International Women's Day occurred in the midst of a flurry of intense and dangerous legislative attacks on both the federal and state levels targeting women's right to abortion. When Revolution Books reached out to people active in the fight for abortion and reproductive rights, they responded very enthusiastically about the event and helped make it happen.

The five-women panel was comprised of a doctor who is a member of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, a Stanford medical student and member of Medical Students for Choice, a Mills College student activist, a representative of Planned Parenthood, and a speaker from the bookstore. The doctor talked about her experiences caring for women in countries where abortion is illegal, painting a picture of the terrible consequences for women when this most basic of procedures is not available.

The Planned Parenthood representative spoke about the bills moving through Congress to defund Planned Parenthood and asked the audience to "stand up for Planned Parenthood." She also pointed out that defunding Planned Parenthood will eliminate not just family planning services, but other basic health services that the clinics provide, and that increasingly, for women who cannot afford insurance, Planned Parenthood is their main health care provider.

The Stanford student spoke about her shock at learning that the prestigious medical school barely mentioned abortion in its training and curriculum, and there was little to encourage students to take an interest in the field. Growing up under "Roe," she had taken for granted that abortion was safe and legal, but she had to come to grips with the fact that unless there are abortion providers this doesn't mean much. She discovered that the real situation is that there is a "greying" of skilled abortion doctors, a climate where abortion is under attack from "antis" and Congress, and that little was being done to educate doctors about this need let alone encourage them to make providing abortions a specialty. She mentioned that this is "crazy" because 1 in 3 women ages 15 to 45 have an abortion, it is the most common medical procedure for women. So she has stepped up to change the situation and to speak out.

The Mills College student talked about her awakening to the fight against women's oppression in high school, which began when she innocently wrote about and featured a picture of an anatomically correct vagina in the Valentines Day (Vagina Day) issue of her school newspaper. The paper was confiscated and the administration told her that it was obscene. The next day she mobilized the newspaper staff to wear T-shirts with the slogan "My Vagina Is Obscene," which set off a further furor. What kind of society is it where a picture from the "health books" is deemed obscene, especially when no such label is put on the penis? The experience set her off in the direction of challenging and rebelling against attacks on women, and she had recently played a major role in organizing the February 26 Walk for Choice in Oakland.

The speaker from Revolution Books drew on articles from Revolution newspaper and writings by Bob Avakian to talk about the reason the system denies women the basic right to control their reproduction. She defended the morality of abortion, exposing the view of the Democrats that it should be "rare," and argued that there must be an unapologetic and massive fight for abortion on demand. And she brought out the history that shows women's oppression only arose with class divisions, and why only revolution can and will liberate women.

During the discussion there were different views among the panelists on why these attacks are happening, what should be done to fight the attacks and how to really win this battle. Most of the panelists were critical of the Democrats but still placed a lot of hope on appealing to them and working to influence electoral politics. However, all panelists also strongly voiced support for protest and for outspokenness. There were also interesting comments and questions from the audience including what could be done to train non-doctors to do safe abortions, if abortion becomes completely illegal. The panelists all voiced the opinion that it was most important to fight to ensure that abortion rights are strengthened and not lost, that abortion must not be driven underground, and that men need to be in this fight with women. It was extremely inspiring for the audience to hear from these women who risk a lot, every day, when they speak out, counsel women, provide care, and fight for the right of women to decide when, whether or if to bear a child.

Pro-Abortion Action, Berkeley

As part of celebrating International Women's Day, we called on people to come out on March 10, the National Day to Support and Celebrate Abortion Providers. There were about five of us who went out to the UC Berkeley students. We had a bullhorn and A Declaration: For Women's Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity, fliers for the protest and for the Sunsara Taylor/Dr. Susan Wicklund film showing that night at the bookstore. We made stickers that said, "Abortion on Demand and Without Apology!" We hung up coat hangers to show what women had used to terminate a pregnancy before abortion was legal.

We were at the main intersection going onto campus for the class rush. It was raining, but we had a spirited little march, with chants and agitation, over to Dwinelle, one of the main buildings, where people were about to get into class, and we did some agitation inside the building while people were rushing to class. On the way there, a couple of women gave us the fist and inside someone patted me on the back.

We did an announcement in the Free Speech Café, which was very warmly received. As soon as I started talking, the room went quiet and people intently listened. The basic message was—today is the Day of Appreciation for abortion providers and if you don't think that women are breeders or lesser beings or the property of men then you should support abortion providers and the right to choose and enough of this being ashamed for having an abortion, because if women can't control their bodies and their lives, they have no more freedom than a slave. I told them about the event that night and that they could raise their hands if they wanted the Declaration, because we think that nothing short of revolution can break all the chains on women. When I finished, many people broke into applause. People took stickers, flyers and newspapers.

Outside the café we got in a good exchange with some students. One guy came up to say he really appreciated me getting up there and not being afraid and speaking eloquently because there are all these people who just declare things and they don't have the argument for it; they just declare, "because I believe it and that settles it" and he appreciates that we have the argument for it. And I said thanks, but what about the content? He said, "I appreciate that you are focused on the content too." He said he thinks, "Women should have the choice to abortion, but do you think all abortions are OK? I'm in ethics and we're dealing with these kinds of questions—what are the social effects or is the intent important?" I said, "Yes, unless the woman doesn't want one—forced sterilization and all that is a part of our history too—because we do have to look at the social effect of women not being able to control their own bodies." He said that he thinks that "abortion shouldn't be used as birth control." I asked, "Why?" and he said, laughing at himself, "Because I believe it and that settles it."

Then a woman joined the conversation, who turns out to be from the group SANE (Students For A Non-Religious Ethos, the atheist group). She had a good metaphor that even if you give that the fetus is a human being, say he's 45 friggin' years old, no human being has the right to be a parasite on another human being. You wouldn't let someone get dialysis through someone else's kidneys, for instance. She had obviously thought a lot about this question, and when we brought up the fetus cube (a humongous display of bloody fetus put up by anti-abortion Christian fascists) last year, she said, "People get all squeamish cause it's bloody, but it's my blood! And it may be violent, but so is surgery." One of us continued to talk to the other guy whose dad is a gynecologist who was saying, "But there are differences between men and women, right? We have to acknowledge that," and our comrade said, "First, we have much more in common than not and it is exactly the differences that are being used to oppress women." And the dude said, "You are absolutely right."

We followed that impromptu discussion with an announcement in a popular coffee shop, and as soon as I said, "National Day to Support Abortion Providers," a guy started a round of applause. It does seem that no one is really talking about this and that when you get up there boldly putting out a really radical line on the oppression of women, people are moved, especially women but also some men. We found that many people are really glad that we're standing up and saying, "Abortion on Demand and Without Apology" and this seems to be emboldening them as well. Our revolutionary message that women's oppression comes from capitalism and can only be changed through revolution is a message that is definitely attracting some people.


A small (about 15 people) but spirited celebration of International Women's Day was held at Revolution Books Outlet Atlanta on the evening of March 8. The program was centered on readings from A Declaration: For Women's Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity and included a live performance of John Lennon's "Imagine" by a local musician, a video of a Tunisian woman singing in the midst of a massive demonstration during the uprising, and excerpts of a recorded dramatic reading of the novel Little Bee. An Iranian friend read the statement from the March 8 Women's Organization (Iran-Afghanistan). During the reception afterward, people signed Thank You cards to abortion providers and delegations were organized to deliver the cards along with flowers to all the abortion clinics in the city on March 10, the National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers.

Celebrations, protests, marches, forums, and other actions took place around the world for International Women’s Day 2011—including in many countries in the Middle East and North Africa rocked by recent upheavals. In Cairo, Egypt, around 500 women, joined by some men, assembled at Tahrir Square to demand full participation of women in the transformation of Egyptian society. The protest was attacked by hostile men. But the women stood their ground and carried through with their protest. IWD protests also took place in the Gaza Strip and West Bank in occupied Palestine; Arab towns inside Israel; Benghazi, Libya; Tunis, Tunisia; Rabat, Morocco; and Manama, Bahrain.

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Revolution #227, March 20, 2011

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Getting Out the Statement on Strategy

Editors' note: We received the following from a reader, and encourage readers to check back at soon for more correspondence on getting out the statement "On The Strategy For Revolution" from the Revolutionary Communist Party

It's really important to get the statement "On The Strategy For Revolution" into the hands of as many people as possible. There are a lot of interesting plans to do just that—taking it into barbershops and cafeterias on campuses and stirring up controversy and debate on the spot, having salons over it with long time and newer ties, distributing it at conferences and other gatherings, placing an ad for it in a newspaper with a significant readership among Black people in a large city, etc. It is important to follow thru on these and other plans and to report on them to the readers of Revolution.

I wanted to contribute an experience I had with the statement. I was walking down a major street in a Black neighborhood of a large city on the way to meet up with a professor to get him the statement and talk with him about the April 11th Celebration of Revolution and the Vision of a New World. As I got to our hook up spot, I took the paper out, and someone I had known for decades but hadn't seen in a while walked up to me. We greeted each other, and he pointed to the front page of the paper and asked, "Is that really about that?" I asked what he meant, and he said, "Is that really about a strategy for revolution, for revolution here?" I said "Yes, and you need to get this and read it." He handed me a dollar and began telling me about something he was involved in that he wanted the Party to be a part of. I told him to send me the info on it and to read this issue of the paper and let me know what he thought of it. He said he definitely would.

As he left, a younger Black guy who had overheard our conversation tapped me on the shoulder and asked could he get one of those papers, and he bought one too. I missed something important here because I neglected to ask for his contact info.

Then the prof I was waiting to meet came up. He was late getting to his class, so I quickly got him the material around BAsics and the Celebration of Revolution and raised several things he could do to make this as powerful as possible. I also got him the paper and told him he should read the statement and let us know what he thought of it, and it needed to get to his students too.

He responded first to the things I had proposed around BAsics and the celebration. Then he said, I should come to session of his class and speak about the strategy for revolution. (He teaches a class on the history of the civil rights movement, and as part of that, he does a session on the relation between the issues and struggles of Black people in the 1960's and today.) He said, "Then they can get the strategy paper from you." I thought, yeah this strategy piece would definitely fit into to a discussion about that.

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Revolution #227, March 20, 2011

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Meeting the BAsics Challenge

Editors' note: We received the following from a reader. Make sure we hear your experience on the BAsics challenge!

March 8, 2011

Some people in the projects in one city worked on a fundraising project to sell dinner-plates around their buildings on two consecutive weekends to raise money for the publication of BAsics. The main "cook" reads and distributes Revolution newspaper to people he knows. He said he "cooked for the revolution" because while some people know about Bob Avakian and the revolution, many more people need to know what this is all about. Between the two weekends, the dinner sale answered the "BAsics Challenge" issued by the person who wrote it to others to match their $200 donation (printed in #224).

In speaking later about his motivation, the person said:

"You say that you're preparing for revolution but most people around here don't even think you can stand up to anything. Until y'all came around! They never seen anybody stand up like that. They see people standing up for them. The Revolution is here, and people see that. People may not say it to you but they talking about it. I see it live with my own eyes and I love it. Y'all have no idea how important what you doin' is. I love y'all so much! I don't mind cooking for y'all because you give me peace of mind. You give me purpose. You give me something to be part of. You give me the feeling that world could actually be a better place. I really mean that."

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Revolution #227, March 20, 2011

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Promoting the statement On Strategy...

Received from a reader:

I thought other readers of Revolution would be interested to know that in our city we are raising money to buy an ad in a local Black community newspaper for the statement: On the Strategy for Revolution from the Revolutionary Communist Party.

Here's the wording we're using:


"Many people insist, 'there could never be a revolution in this country: the powers-that-be are too powerful, the people are too messed up and too caught up in going along with the way things are, the revolutionary forces are too small.' This is wrong – revolution is possible."


Read the full statement

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Revolution #227, March 20, 2011

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"Ready to Jump Out of My Seat": A Response to All Played Out

Revolution contributor Michael Slate recently played Bob Avakian’s spoken word piece "All Played Out" on his radio show, The Michael Slate Show on KPFK, Los Angeles. A listener emailed her response, and agreed to share it with our readers.

After listening to the spoken word piece All Played Out, by Bob Avakian my first and instant reaction was just WOW!! I was fully blown away, in so many ways! Ready to jump out of my seat and spread the word about revolution and how things don’t have to be this way.

At first I felt a bit on edge with what he was speaking to, especially on the point about racism and how the word nigger contains so much history full of hate and oppression. I thought, "Whoa, he did not just say that word..." I considered other people listening and what their reactions were like, the use of that word is one that is extremely controversial and to some extent it has been thrown out of order and is used in many ways to promote unity within the black community. But after listening to what Avakian had to say, how he explains that the word represents so much more even to this day. How it could never be referred to with a positive connotation. It really made me think. And I didn’t feel so uncomfortable anymore, if anything it brought to light the brutal history of this country and what it was founded upon. And why now more than ever things such as the oppression of black people are ALL PLAYED OUT.

Halfway through the piece I was so moved, that I wanted to just turn up the volume, all the way up and bump it for people to hear. It was extremely moving the way he spoke about women and how we could never be emancipated within a system that is fully backed by biblical bullshit. Avakian really shed a light to all of the fucked up shit that goes on in our society, in this country, and the impact it makes worldwide. He exposes the truth about the left and how far they are willing to go to change the way things are. How distorted and skewed our views are when it comes to communism, and why it is that we reject and neglect something so crucial, so incredibly necessary like the emancipation of all of humanity. And what I just LOVE was that he didn’t leave it at just that. He didn’t just explain how fucked up things are, how Played Out this entire system is and offered no solution as my sociology professor would, he mentioned the New Synthesis, the number of available communist literature that has been revised and applied to today’s world.

All together now, the first thing that came to mind was that THINGS DONT HAVE TO BE THIS WAY, and that there is a REAL leadership out there in the midst of all of this, pushing for REAL change, ready and willing to work together to break the chains. And what a beautiful, most inspiring way to expose this leadership with a spoken word piece, so poetically put together, that has me out of my seat and ready to get with this revolution. Props to Michael Slate for sharing such an inspiring piece.

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Revolution #227, March 20, 2011

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March 19, Left Forum in New York City at Pace University:
Panels with Nayi Duniya and Raymond Lotta promoting Bob Avakian’s new synthesis and the Constitution For The New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

This year’s Left Forum is taking place at Pace University in New York City from Friday, March 18 through Sunday March 20. We want to call readers' attention to two particular and very exciting panels. They both take place on Saturday, March 19, from 5:00-6:50 p.m.

Debating Alain Badiou’s "Politics of Emancipation": An Exchange on Communism and the Historical Moment

This will feature Bruno Bosteels, editor of Diacritic, Chris Cutrone of Platypus, and Nayi Duniya from Demarcations: A Journal of Communist Theory and Polemic. Nayi is a co-author of that journal's polemic against Alain Badiou. The polemic is inspired by Bob Avakian's new synthesis of communism.

The Environmental Emergency: A Dialogue and Exchange on Real Solutions

This panel will feature Cindy Milstein of the Institute for Anarchist Studies, Maggie Zhou of the U.S. Green Party, and Raymond Lotta of Revolution newspaper. Raymond will be highlighting themes of the new Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA.

NOTE: The panelists will be speaking about the Japan nuclear emergency and its implications for world humanity and the planet.

To get details about this year's Left Forum and the locations of panels, people can go to

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Revolution #227, March 20, 2011

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A Plan to Break BAsics into the Atmosphere

The RCP's statement "On the Strategy for Revolution" emphasizes that one important element of making revolution is:

To learn from the Chairman of our Party, Bob Avakian, spread the knowledge and influence of his pathbreaking leadership, and defend and protect this rare and precious leader. Bob Avakian has dedicated his life since the 1960s to the cause of revolution and communism. While providing practical leadership to the Party and the revolutionary movement, he has deeply studied and summed up the world historical experience of the communist revolution and the socialist societies it has brought into being—the great achievements and the serious problems and errors—and has studied many other fields of human experience and knowledge. He has advanced the science of communism and made decisive breakthroughs in the theory, method, and strategy of revolution and the final goal of communism throughout the world. It is crucial for growing numbers of people to know about and study his talks and defend and protect take up the leadership he is providing, which opens new pathways for revolution.

The coming month must and can mark a leap in this aspect of revolutionary preparation. A new book—BAsics, from the Talks and Writings of Bob Avakian—should both make this leader and the revolution that he's all about much more widely known and serve to bring forward a new generation of revolutionaries. This book will be a very accessible, and very concentrated, selection of quotations and short essays laying out some of the essential building blocks of Avakian's thinking and his pathbreaking leadership.

The uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, and the sharpening contradictions within the U.S. itself and disappointment with Obama, have given rise to widespread questioning among many; at times like now they need to hear about this leader and the revolution he's all about, and be spurred to find out more by picking up this very accessible work. More: there are many in the new generation inspired by these uprisings and in agony over the future, daring to dream about new things, for whom this book can be a major part of giving direction and sustenance to that agony... and that inspiration.

What follows is the outline of a plan to make this next month count as much as possible in building this movement for revolution. But how real this plan becomes—how powerfully it gets effected and how much, in turn, it unleashes new energies and sets in motion new relationships—depends on our regular readers taking this up and taking this out, and making sure that we hear how it's all going. Take what follows as a guideline within which to take initiative... improvise and learn from new developments and people's ideas, and send us your thoughts and experiences... through all of this, forge new relationships with people.

Within this plan, a special program taking place on the occasion of this book's publication and celebrating revolution and a vision of a new world plays a key role. This program will take place in New York, in Harlem, on Monday, April 11, and we are covering this elsewhere. What follows below is a plan that encompasses, but is not limited to that program, to really make a big impact with this book's upcoming publication.

The key dates, and the key things to be doing to build this:

Right now: Carry forward the BAsics Challenge (see and raise funds to make sure that people know about this book! If you have been raising funds, sum up what you have done—including the obstacles encountered but also the advances made. We want to re-emphasize: raising funds is giving people a chance to learn about this movement, engage it in depth, and support it. Building a movement around meeting the BAsics Challenge gives people a sense of contributing to something larger than themselves, a sense of being part of a movement that really is about a whole different future... and involving them in figuring out how to raise funds from others to meet the challenge deepens that. And it's crucial to getting word of this book out there into society, in different ways. For those in NYC especially, use the poster in this issue of the centerspread.  Use the back-page poster this issue as the opposite side.  Win people to post this... and use the PDF to create palm cards.

What to do right now:

In all this, use this issue of the paper (#227), with the statements from the hosts of the April 11 program, to give people a sense of the scope and breadth of the movement that is taking shape.

March 21: The full list of hosts and artists will be published.  Use the PDF of that list as the opposite side of the palm card for the event, and print up new cards.

March 25-28: On the heels of really getting out the Party's statement on strategy, and widely distributing the current issue of the paper, there should be a massive distribution of palm cards publicizing BAsics on these four days, building for the book's release. Envision: teams of people taking out cards, along with other materials, to campuses and high schools on Friday and Monday, and cultural events over the weekend; teams fanning out through communities of the oppressed, while networks of readers within those communities are activated to receive and get out the cards in all kinds of different ways; teams getting out the cards in the areas of the city where artists and young people of different nationalities mix it up, as everyone goes out in the first flush of Spring. Cities should set goals for what gets out between Friday 7 am and Monday night—and then report how they did—in what should be a major information blitz for the book's upcoming publication.

The cards publicizing the book should be the leading edge of this effort; but there are other important materials mentioned above that should be filling out the picture for people. Teams that take this onto campuses and into communities can assemble a display with a striking enlarged graphic of some of the PDFs on the paper site publicizing this book and other materials. The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic of North America (Draft Proposal), the statement "On the Strategy for Revolution," the RCP's Manifesto, Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage, Avakian's memoir From Ike to Mao...and Beyond and other foundational materials should be there for people. Let people hear—and have copies of—Avakian's spoken word piece "All Played Out." If they can be created in time, distributors can be wearing—and selling—shirts with the book's slogan, "You Can't Change the World if You Don't Know the BAsics!" Others should be wearing the T-shirts with BA's image, or with the Revolution masthead. Create a stir—as part of getting out these materials! Get this issue of the paper out to people—and when people show interest, get them to buy subs.

What to do right now to prepare:

Also, start now to work the April 11 program into your plans, even if you are not close to NYC.

In that regard, plan for delegations. Organize to raise funds from different sections of people—a neighborhood, a school—to send a representative to NY. This can be a way that people become part of this and amplify the impact of the event itself—but this needs to be planned now.

March 28: Next issue of Revolution—featuring statements by prisoners on revolution, Bob Avakian, and BAsics. Let the voice of the radical and revolutionary prisoners who are connecting with this leadership ring into society, and let people read and hear the ways in which this is connecting.

What to do right now to prepare:

April 5: Official date of publication of the book. By this time areas and individuals should have at least an initial shipment of the book. There can be celebrations at bookstores or other venues welcoming the book that night. These should be celebrations, and not speeches or lectures, and can have remarks from a range of people.

What to do right now to prepare:

April 7: One person who teaches in prison recently wrote us that "word is you're nothing unless you have a BA degree"—let's take that spirit to the campuses. Follow up on the campuses where you saturated with the cards, especially campuses with a reputation for intellectual ferment and history of radical struggle. Create a scene: play "All Played Out" where students gather; go into coffee shops and bookstores and read quotes from the book; find teachers who will let you make an announcement, or make an announcement themselves. Make a connection: bring that issue of the paper with the prisoners' writings and let the students hear voices from the hellholes of America.

Things to do to prepare:

April 8-10: Major street efforts to sell BAsics, in the communities of the oppressed, as well as areas where artists and young people live. Get this book out there!

April 11: "On the occasion of the publication of BAsics—A Celebration of Revolution and the Vision of a New World," in New York City. Comrades in New York of course will be focusing on this for the whole next month as the leading edge of carrying out the plan above. But regular readers everywhere should be promoting this as well. There should be delegations coming from other cities; volunteers who come early to help get the word out or work on the program; messages from well-known people to the event; and, very importantly, fund-raising. What has already been brought forward—the letters and PSAs from some of the hosts, and soon the letters from prisoners—should be used very widely. There is something jelling, something stirring, in relation to this leader, this movement and this book in particular. It will come together on April 11—and take another leap at that point, propelling the book—and the whole idea of this revolution—into the consciousness of many many more people.

To return to the beginning—there is much to do, but everything we're doing is interconnected. Everything we're doing is about building a movement FOR revolution. The publication of BAsics, and everything happening around that publication, can, should and must mark a big leap for that movement.

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Revolution #227, March 20, 2011

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A Reflection... An Invitation... And a Challenge

We live under a system whose rulers endlessly portray themselves as the "good guys" in the world; the defenders of "freedom," "democracy," and "human rights."

But there is a leader on this planet who says:

"There would be no United States as we now know it today without slavery. That is a simple and basic truth."

We live under a system that systematically denies billions of people a basic education and a scientific understanding of the world.

But there is a leader on this planet who says:

"Oppressed people who are unable or unwilling to confront reality as it actually is, are condemned to remain enslaved and oppressed."

We live under a system whose representatives manage to convince large numbers of people that this world of perpetual wars, torture, poverty, and environmental destruction—and the brutal subjugation of entire people and nations—is the best we can hope for; that trying to bring a different world into being is simply "not realistic."

But there is a leader on this planet who says:

"There is nothing more unrealistic than the idea of reforming this system into something that would come anywhere near being in the interests of the great majority of people and ultimately of humanity as a whole."

This leader is Bob Avakian.

Bob Avakian, the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, has a unique voice—a rare combination of an unsparing critique of the history and current direction of American society with a sweeping view of world history and the potential for humanity. Avakian is an innovative and critical thinker who has taken Marxism to a new place; he's a provocative commentator on everything from basketball to religion, doo-wop music to science. He is the leader of a party and a movement aiming to make revolution when the possibility opens up. He is someone, in the words of Cornel West, who "is a long distance runner in the freedom struggle against imperialism, racism and capitalism."

And yet, in a world that is constantly, desperately crying out for fundamental change, far too few people even know that Bob Avakian exists, let alone are engaging his work. If you are someone who sincerely yearns for radical change—or even someone who wants to see the question of radical change become a major topic of conversation in society—you should recognize that this situation is intolerable. But there is something else you should recognize: there is a major opening, in the immediate future, to dramatically transform that situation. And you have an urgent role to play in seizing on this opening.

Next month will witness the release of BAsics, from the Talks and Writings of Bob Avakian. BAsics will concentrate more than 35 years of Avakian's work on everything standing between humanity and complete emancipation into a single concise book of essential quotes and short essays. On Monday, April 11, Harlem Stage will be the venue for a truly historic and unprecedented event: "On the Occasion of the Publication of BAsics: A Celebration of Revolution and the Vision of a New World." This event will bring together well-known musicians, writers, actors, people from the community and the youth—all from different perspectives and different spheres—in a major celebration whose impact could go far beyond the walls of Harlem Stage. The night will include poetry, music, visual arts, and readings of letters from prisoners responding to Avakian's words and to the ideas of revolution and bringing into being a new world. These will be interspersed with people's own reflections (from the stage or via video) of what it means to them to celebrate revolution and the vision of a new world, and readings of quotes from BAsics.

Taken together, BAsics—and the celebration on the occasion of its release—will introduce many, many new people to the most radical revolutionary on the planet; to a leader whose sense of humor is as sharp as his hatred for oppression is fierce; to the visionary who deeply understands that humanity can and must radically transform the world without "turning out the lights" on artistic and intellectual experimentation. The night of April 11 will bring together a broad range of people—including prominent, influential voices—who have an equally broad range of reasons for wanting to see Avakian and his work become a mass question in society; those who recognize that popularizing Avakian is essential to putting revolution and communism back on the map and ultimately initiating a new stage of communist revolution will be mixing it up with those who, from a variety of perspectives, feel that Avakian's words and the question of revolutionary possibility must be known to and engaged by anyone who dreams of a different future.

In other words, the celebration on the occasion of the release of BAsics is not just an event that is happening in Harlem. Rather, it will constitute a resounding statement with the potential for nationwide reverberations: Revolution is back on the map. And if you don't know who Bob Avakian—the leader of this revolution—is, you better ask somebody!

Let's take a moment and fast-forward: It's the night of April 11. We're sitting in a packed auditorium. The room is filled by masses from Harlem and other oppressed communities; students and teachers from high schools and universities around the city; some people who have traveled from outside New York City to attend the event; musicians; authors and poets; visual and spoken-word artists; journalists; scientists; progressive lawyers; activists involved in resisting various crimes of this capitalist-imperialist system; parents of those brutalized or killed by the police; and others. This crowd includes men and women, people of different ages, races, nationalities and sexual orientations. Together they take part in an exhilarating evening characterized by many diverse forms of revolutionary swagger and artistic expression—with a few special surprises to boot. After the formal program ends, the room is buzzing as people from many different backgrounds, strata and spheres are trading questions and engaging in lively discussions and debates with one another about the event they have just experienced, about Avakian and BAsics, and about revolution and the vision of a new world. The evening models the very principles and relations—and the very type of world—that Avakian and the movement for revolution that he leads are working to bring into being.

When the night is finally over, people go back to their homes and communities—many of them taking copies of BAsics with them—and start telling their families, friends, neighbors, classmates and co-workers: "Check out what I went to!" Major media outlets feel compelled to cover the celebration—or else must work even harder than usual to rationalize not doing so. Those who ache for a radically different world but weren't able to make it to the Harlem Stage—or only learn about the event afterwards—say: "Damn! All these people were there celebrating revolution and a new world— and I missed it?! I gotta find out more about this!" The BAsics publication, and the name "Bob Avakian," starts circulating in more and more housing projects, dorm rooms, faculty lounges, artistic and literary circles, youth hot spots, and prominent venues.

Now, let's rewind—'cause we're not there yet. And back in the present, we've got a lot of work to do, in order to make this vision of April 11 and its aftermath a reality. There is A LOT of money to be raised and donated. There are campuses and key neighborhoods to blanket with palm cards, posters and other promotional materials. There are a plethora of media outlets—bigger and smaller, online and print, radio and TV—to reach out to with advertisements and press releases. There are prominent artists and intellectuals to contact about performing on April 11 or joining the host committee for the event. There are Facebook pages and Twitter feeds and email lists on which to spread the word. There are events and discussions to attend with stacks of promotional materials in hand and announcements prepared. There is research to do, in order to identify potential donors and the best means for getting in touch with them. There are letters to write to Revolution newspaper with further thoughts and insights about the significance of BAsics and the celebration on the occasion of its release. There are many big ideas, bold ideas, and new ideas that are not on this list to be brainstormed and contributed.

All this will require a broad range of people contributing their time and energy in the ways and on the level that they are able. It will require the collective efforts of all those who recognize that it is crucial for Bob Avakian's leadership and revolutionary possibility to become a major part of the discourse in this society.

In July 2009, the Revolutionary Communist Party launched a campaign, "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have." This campaign has three goals: 1) To familiarize millions with the goal and character of communist revolution, as it has been reconceived by Bob Avakian; to inject this into the discourse in a radically creative and urgent way; 2) To make known very broadly in society the leadership of Bob Avakian—giving people a sense of the work he is carrying out, his history and character as a rare and outstanding communist leader, and—on the broadest level—his connection to revolution. 3) Through all this to begin forging a core of dedicated, passionate and conscious fighters for this revolution.

This occasion of the publication of BAsics has the potential to effect a huge leap in relation to this campaign, and in particular in relation to the second goal.

It is because of Avakian's leadership that this revolution is real: It is because of his advanced understanding of why the world is the way it is today, his scientific grasp of the need, possibility, and strategy for revolution, and his re-envisioning of communism, that humanity actually has a chance to escape the horrors of this capitalist-imperialist system and advance to a world free of all exploitation and oppression.

As it was put in the opening speech from the RCP's recent conferences on "The Revolution We Need...The Leadership We Have":

"Without Bob Avakian and the work he did and is doing—without Bob Avakian and the courageous struggle he waged, and led—it is very likely that there would BE no communism today, at least no vital and viable communism.

"Without Bob Avakian, it is very likely that there would be no Party in the U.S. today—at least no party that is really a vanguard of revolution—nor would there be a revolutionary movement.

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

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

This is what the people of the world are being denied with every day that passes in which Bob Avakian is not yet a household word.

Events of the last several months have illustrated, in a very living and powerful way, the potential for revolutionary possibility to be thrust very suddenly and unexpectedly onto the scene. In Egypt, masses who had endured generation after generation of brutal oppression rise up and—in less than three weeks—oust a cruel, hated U.S.-backed president, giving profound hope and inspiration to people throughout the world. What seemed impossible yesterday seems inevitable today.

But the events in Egypt and elsewhere have also illustrated the decisiveness of leadership in determining whether or not this revolutionary possibility can ultimately be realized. As the title of a statement from Avakian puts it: "EGYPT 2011: MILLIONS HAVE HEROICALLY STOOD UP...THE FUTURE REMAINS TO BE WRITTEN."

Watching developments rapidly unfold in Egypt has called to mind another excerpt from the opening speech of the conferences on "The Revolution We Need...The Leadership We Have":

"Let me tell you, the days will come—and they may come sooner than you think and almost certainly those days will come before we feel fully ready for them—when masses of people will be seeking a way out. And when they do, they better know something about this revolution [and its leadership]."

The celebration on the occasion of the release of BAsics, and the process of boldly and broadly building for this celebration, can be part of a major leapin the numbers of people who know something about this revolution and its leadership, and in the number of masses in this country who are beginning to look for a way out.

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Revolution #227, March 20, 2011

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for audio

A Statement from the
Revolutionary Communist Party


Under this system of capitalism, so many in this society and so much of humanity are forced to endure great hardship and suffering, exploitation, injustice and brutality, while wars and the ongoing destruction of the natural environment threaten the very future of humanity. In the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) our Party has set forth an inspiring vision, and concrete measures, for the building of a new society, a socialist society, aiming for the final goal of a communist world, where human beings everywhere would be free of relations of exploitation and oppression and destructive antagonistic conflicts, and could be fit caretakers of the earth. But to make this a reality, we need revolution.

Many people insist, "there could never be a revolution in this country: the powers-that-be are too powerful, the people are too messed up and too caught up in going along with the way things are, the revolutionary forces are too small." This is wrong—revolution is possible.

Of course revolution cannot happen with conditions and people the way they are now. But revolution can come about as conditions and people are moved to change, because of developments in the world and because of the work of people come to see that things do not have to be this they come to understand why things are the way they are and how things could be radically different...and as they are inspired and organized to join the revolutionary movement and build up its forces.

Revolution will not be made by acting all crazy—trying to bring down this powerful system when there is not yet a basis for that—or by just waiting for "one fine day" when revolution will somehow magically become possible. Revolution requires consistent work building for revolution, based on a serious, scientific understanding of what it takes to actually get to the point of revolution, and how to have a real chance of winning.

In order for revolution to be real there must be: a revolutionary crisis, and a revolutionary people, numbering in the millions and led by a far-seeing, highly organized and disciplined revolutionary party. Clearly, this is not the reality now. So, how can this come about? And what is the strategic plan?

The potential for a revolutionary crisis lies within the very nature of this capitalist system itself—with its repeated economic convulsions, its unemployment and poverty, its profound inequalities, its discrimination and degradation, its brutality, torture and wars, its wanton destruction. All this causes great suffering. And at times it leads to crisis on one level or another—sudden jolts and breakdowns in the "normal functioning" of society, which compel many people to question and to resist what they usually accept. No one can say in advance exactly what will happen in these situations—how deep the crisis may go, in what ways and to what extent it might pose challenges to the system as a whole, and to what degree and in what ways it might call forth unrest and rebellion among people who are normally caught up in, or feel powerless to stand up against, what this system does. But two points are very important:

1) Such "jolts" in the "normal functioning" of things, even if they do not develop all the way to a fundamental crisis for the system as a whole, do create situations in which many more people are searching for answers and open to considering radical change. The work of building the movement for revolution must be consistently carried out at all times, but in these situations of sharp breaks with the "normal routine" there is greater possibility, and greater potential, to make advances. This must be fully recognized and built on to the greatest degree possible, so that through such situations, leaps are made in building up the movement and the organized forces for revolution, creating in this way a stronger basis from which to work for further advances.

2) In certain situations, major events or big changes can happen in society and the world and can come together in such a way that the system is shaken to its foundations...deep cracks appear and magnify within the ruling structures and institutions...the raw relations of oppression are more sharply exposed...conflicts among the powers-that-be deepen, and cannot be easily resolved, and it becomes much more difficult for them to hold things together under their control and keep people down. In this kind of situation, for great numbers of people, the "legitimacy" of the current system, and the right and ability of the ruling powers to keep on ruling, can be called seriously and directly into question, with millions hungering for a radical change that only a revolution can bring about.

More needs to be learned, and will be learned, about how the revolutionary struggle can win when these conditions have been brought into being, but the basic strategic conception and approach has been developed for actually defeating and dismantling the oppressive forces and institutions of this system—and bringing into being new institutions of a new, revolutionary system—when there is a revolutionary crisis and a revolutionary people. (This basic conception and approach is set forth in "On the Possibility of Revolution"—and this is also included in the pamphlet Revolution and Communism: A Foundation and Strategic Orientation—published by our Party.)

But the possibility of revolution will never really ripen unless those who recognize the need for revolution are preparing the ground for this politically and ideologically even now: working to influence the thinking of people in a revolutionary direction, organizing them into the struggle against this system, and winning growing numbers to become actively involved in building the movement for revolution. This is what our Party is all about, and what we mean when we say we are "hastening while awaiting" the changes that make revolution possible. This is the key to breaking through the situation where there are not yet the necessary conditions and forces to make revolution, but those conditions and forces will never be brought into being by just waiting for them to appear.

All along the way, both in more "normal times" and especially in times of sharp breaks with the "normal routine," it is necessary to be working consistently to accumulate forces—to prepare minds and organize people in growing numbers—for revolution, among all those who can be rallied to the revolutionary cause. Among the millions and millions who catch hell in the hardest ways every day under this system. But also among many others who may not, on a daily basis, feel the hardest edge of this system’s oppression but are demeaned and degraded, are alienated and often outraged, by what this system does, the relations among people it promotes and enforces, the brutality this embodies.

What is the way to carry out this work? Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution. This is a big part of the answer. People need to fight back, and people do fight back, against the many ways human beings, and the environment, are exploited, degraded, ravaged and even destroyed by this system. But to make that fight more powerful—and, more, to carry it through to put an end to all this—people need to learn that the fundamental problem is this capitalist system, and the solution is getting rid of this system and bringing into being a new system, socialism, aiming for the final goal of a communist world. Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution is a key part of our strategic approach, which provides a way for the Party to unite with and give leadership to people to change themselves as they take part in the struggle to change the lift their heads and broaden their vision, to recognize what kind of world is possible, what their real interests are, and who their real friends and real enemies are, as they rise up against this take up a revolutionary viewpoint and revolutionary values and morals as they join with others to resist this system’s crimes and build up the basis for the ultimate all-out revolutionary struggle to sweep this system away and bring in a whole new way of organizing society, a whole new way of become emancipators of humanity.

For all this to happen, and for the revolution to have a real chance of winning, leadership is essential. And there is such leadership. But there is also much work to do.

To support and strengthen our Party as the overall leadership of this revolution. The more our Party’s revolutionary viewpoint and strategy is spread and gains influence throughout society...the more that people come to understand and agree with what the Party is all about, and join its ranks on that basis...the more the Party’s "reach" extends to every corner of the country...the greater its organizational strength and its ability to withstand and to lead people forward in the face of government repression aimed at crushing resistance and killing off revolution—the more the basis for revolution will be prepared and the more favorable the chance of winning.

To learn from the Chairman of our Party, Bob Avakian, spread the knowledge and influence of his pathbreaking leadership, and defend and protect this rare and precious leader. Bob Avakian has dedicated his life since the 1960s to the cause of revolution and communism. While providing practical leadership to the Party and the revolutionary movement, he has deeply studied and summed up the world historical experience of the communist revolution and the socialist societies it has brought into being—the great achievements and the serious problems and errors—and has studied many other fields of human experience and knowledge. He has advanced the science of communism and made decisive breakthroughs in the theory, method, and strategy of revolution and the final goal of communism throughout the world. It is crucial for growing numbers of people to know about and study his talks and defend and protect take up the leadership he is providing, which opens new pathways for revolution.

To much more fully wield our Party’s newspaper, Revolution. This plays a pivotal role in carrying out our strategy. Through publishing works of Bob Avakian, and through many different articles, interviews, letters, graphics, and other features, Revolution enables people to really understand and act to radically change the world....It gives people a living picture and scientific analysis of what is going on in the world, and why....It exposes the true nature of this system, and shows how major events in society and the world are concentrations of the basic contradictions of this oppressive and putrid system....It brings alive the need and possibility for revolution and a whole new society and world....It heightens the ability of growing numbers of people, in all parts of this country, to act politically in a unified way, and to wrestle with and help find solutions to the problems of our movement, on the basis of a growing revolutionary consciousness....It is the key instrument in developing an organized political network, among the most oppressed and other sections of the people, which can have a growing impact on the political scene and the society (and the world) as a whole, building up the forces of revolution and influencing ever broader numbers of people....It provides a foundation and a means for extending the "reach" of the revolutionary movement and building up bases for this movement—in neighborhoods, where people work and go to school, and wherever people come together—and especially where they resist and rebel against this system.

All this can enable the revolutionary movement, with the Party at the core, to confront and overcome the very real obstacles in its advance and grow, through ongoing work, and through a series of critical leaps in times of sudden breaks and ruptures with the "normal routine" prepare the ground, and accumulate forces, for revolution—and have a real chance at winning. It is how thousands can be brought forward and oriented, organized and trained in a revolutionary way, while beginning to reach and influence millions more, even before there is a revolutionary situation...and then, when there is a revolutionary situation, those thousands can be a backbone and pivotal force in winning millions to revolution and organizing them in the struggle to carry the revolution through.

For those who have hungered for, who have dreamed of, a whole different world, without the madness and torment of what this system brings every day...those who have dared to hope that such a world could be possible...and even those who, up to now, would like to see this, but have accepted that this could never happen...there is a place and a role, a need and a means, for thousands now and ultimately millions to contribute to building this movement for revolution, in many different ways, big and small—with ideas and with practical involvement, with support, and with questions and criticisms. Get together with our Party, learn more about this movement and become a part of it as you learn, acting in unity with others in this country, and throughout the world, aiming for the very challenging but tremendously inspiring and liberating—and, yes, possible—goal of emancipating all of humanity through revolution and advancing to a communist world, free of exploitation and oppression.


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Revolution #227, March 20, 2011

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Revolutionary Strategy

Some Principles for Building A Movement for Revolution

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

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

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



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

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Revolution #227, March 20, 2011

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Read and Spread Revolution Newspaper

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

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Revolution #227, March 20, 2011

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SUSTAIN Revolution financially each month!

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

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

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Revolution #227, March 20, 2011

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What Is Communist Revolution?

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

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

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Revolution #227, March 20, 2011

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

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

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

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