Revolution #228, April 3, 2011

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party,USA

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Revolution #228, April 3, 2011

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Prisoners Speak Out on Bob Avakian and BAsics...



I wanted to congratulate everyone on the upcoming publication of BAsics. In today's world the need for the independent press and works by the people and for the people is needed more than ever at this crucial time especially here in the heart of the imperialist beast!

Although I am unable to be there with you all to celebrate just knowing that the people will be out there enjoying the Revolutionary Culture brings a smile and upraised fist to the cage I am held in. Yes I said cage, but I tell you this not to bring down the people's spirit by telling you I am one of the 2+ million held in the Koncentration camps across America rather I tell you this because it is within these dungeons that are being intended to destroy one's will to resist that the people are waking up and using these dungeons as schools of liberation!! Prisoners in America are drawn to revolutionary ideas, it is only through publications like what we will find in BAsics that prisoners will taste that most elusive ideal of "equality" that the prisoner in America grows up exempt from in the barrios and ghettos nationwide. It is precisely through these institutions that are designed to deprive and destroy people of color that we will use to rebuild the people and fan out from within U.S. gulags to Barrios and Ghetto projects only to meet up with all of you who seek a new society.

Humanity's highest qualities endure within the darkest moments of these gulags and it is through the people's Revolutionary events such as this cultural celebration where we know people's song, poetry & arts of all types will be created, where we draw our strength in knowing there is a better possibility for the future and there are many people such as you all who struggle for this alternative out in today's society.

So as we see the "marriage" of corporations and media in this country, where the corporations have pretty much created a media monopoly so that the biased capitalist propaganda is all many people are exposed to, it is this much more important to not just support independent press but to celebrate the people's ability to not just survive in America but to resist in the battle of ideas.

As you all celebrate we stand with you! From prisoners here in the U.S. to Mexico, Africa or Palestine or anywhere else the only thing that separates us from you all is the chains that Imperialism binds us with!

En la lucha

March 2, 2011


Thank you for receiving this letter. I am writing to request a copy of the book BAsics per donation fund for inmates. Also I am writing to inform you that I've changed addresses. You can now reach me at: XXXXX

Once again thanks. I read your literature to my students and hold deep discussions about the system. The word is spreading. More young people want to support the revolution! They've asked me to get "BAsics." Word is your nothing unless you have a B.A.s Degree! :-) (Bob Avakian Degree) Well we're with you 100%.

               Restoretive Justice

20 January 2011

To RCP Publications

...I am a prisoner, currently being held in California's XXX State Prison. I've just recently become a reader of Revolution newspaper and I wanted to let you know that I have never come across a more powerful message than the one found in your paper. I receive a few radical publications but most put forth idealized notions of the masses and don't recognize the need for capable, disciplined leadership with a consistent revolutionary line. I've been reading a variety of radical books and pamphlets over the years and though I've come to share a hatred for this system I've been frustrated by their unrealistic, or lack of, strategies for carrying out a revolution that will put an end to all the horrors of capitalism. There are a lot of questions that I needed answered concerning the RCP's ideology but thanks to the PRLF most of them have been answered. During the last few weeks I've read not only a handful of issues of Revolution, but also the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal), the RCP's own constitution, Bob Avakian's memoir, From Ike to Mao and Beyond, a series of excerpts compiled in a pamphlet entitled The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era, and the RCP's Manifesto. The words of Bob Avakian have resonated with me more than anything I've ever read. I understand why he has to continually be presented as a great resource for people. I've enjoyed reading the excerpts that have been published in Revolution though I was disappointed when I noticed that in the last two issues you stopped running excerpts from Bob Avakian's memoir. There was one section that motivated me more than any other in the book and I was hoping you would print it. The section I'm referring to is called "Disappointment, Danger, and Going Forward" and it's found on pages 440-442. I've been successful in getting a small handful of prisoners interested in reading the paper, but unfortunately half of them don't have much interest in reading books yet. This section that I mentioned says a lot, in very few words, that can help overcome defeatism, which is something that plagues so many of the people that I try to reach in here. Though I'm not as eloquent as Bob Avakian, I could always explain the basic argument made in this section and spread it to those around me willing to listen, but I think it would be good to print that section of the memoir in the paper so that this particular analogy between the possibility and the need to find a cure for cancer and the possibility and the need to overthrow this system and create a new one, can be spread more widely both within and outside the prison system. I'm one of three prisoners, that I'm aware of, that receive Revolution on this yard. We're in different parts of the yard but all three of us come across the same defeatist attitudes, even when we're able to convince others that the present economic system is our common enemy. The answers are usually the same, "Yeah, but we can't do anything about it." I believe this section of the memoir that I'm speaking of does a lot to combat that kind of thinking in a very effective way. Prisoners can really understand it when it's put in these terms....

11/25/10 Thanksgiving Day 2010

Dear PRLF Staff:

Hello, it is YYY and I wanted to comment on the book that you have sent me called Preaching from a Pulpit of Bones. I think that a rival to traditional morality is much needed, especially one that is free of mythology—which is what all religion falls under....

You know to be honest with you [it] really hit something deep within me. There were times in my life when I would go back and forth in believing in deities and being an atheist because I was going through inner struggle on what is "good" and what is productive in society and what is not. I have experimented with many religious doctrines because I had thought that not only am I supposed to believe in deities, but because it is the right thing to do and also they had the ability to heal me. However, looking back on my experiences ... and books like The Faith Healers by James Randi, Atheism: The Case Against God, [Bob Avakian's] Away with All Gods!, and now this book Preaching from a Pulpit of Bones. I feel way more relieved and exhilarated that it is and always was up to me to be "good." In the sense of what is right is serving the people. I have found out that living for and fighting for what is in the highest interest of the six-plus billion people on the planet is/can be way more tangible than relying on any deity for anything. I took up seriously grappling with and embracing a communist morality myself. Letting this morality show in my deeds and in my interactions with others means a lot to me. Most likely because I want people who do not know what being a revolutionary communist is to look back, think and say "It's something like that communist sister that was talking to me about Bob Avakian."

This is what I will leave you with now. Thanks for listening.

August 25, 2010

Dear PRLF,

Greetings from the other side. 

...I know it might be too late to give my opinion on the "BAsics" book, but here goes: Wouldn't it sound better if it was called "Basics 101" like if it were an educational subject, e.g., History 101, English 101, etc.? Also, it could have exactly 101 quotations. This could be the 101st quotation: "...there isn't anything more important that your life could be about, and whatever you end up contributing during the course of your lifetime is the most important and the most uplifting thing that you could possibly do." It's from the last paragraph on page 445 of "From Ike to Mao." 

When I first read that a few years ago, it made my heart race. What I'm in prison for isn't important or uplifting, and it definitely didn't contribute to anything positive. It's quite shameful to be honest. I only wish if I had to be here it was for a sacrifice I made for the people. With that said, I'm gone....

Respectfully in Struggle,



Each copy of BAsics sent to prisoners costs $10. Help PRLF and Revolution newspaper raise the $20,000 needed to send 2000 BAsics to prisoners in the hellholes across the country.

To those inside prison walls:

Prisoners: spread the word about BAsics to your families, friends and lawyers. Ask them to donate to send BAsics to you and as many other prisoners as they can, and get one for themselves. 

To those outside the prison walls:

When you buy a copy of BAsics for yourself, buy one for a prisoner, too. Urge everyone who buys a copy for him/herself to buy another one for a prisoner. Donate as much as you can to help send 2000 BAsics to prisoners.

Donations can be made online at, or sent to:
Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund
Attn: BAsics
1321 N. Milwaukee Ave. #407
Chicago, IL 60622

PRLF is a project of the International Humanities Center, a non‑profit public charity, exempt from federal income tax under section 501 (c) (3) of the IRS code.

Send us your comments.

Revolution #228, April 3, 2011

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Additional Prisoner Letters (Online Only)



I'm currently in one of the three Security Housing Units (SHU) in California. I can't imagine any deeper, darker, or more desolate pits in the U.S. than these (SHU). Everyday I'm circulating the light of Revolution and other illuminating literature by Bob Avakian the PRLF and Revolution Book stores have provided me among the captives I can reach and communicate with. The SHU "just so happens" to be where they isolate and slam down the most progressive, revolutionary, intelligent and indomitable elements of the prison population. ... the first question I'm asked before the wrangling and unity-struggle-unity begins is so common that I've begun to make bets with my cellies: "Who is Bob Avakian?" (Here I'm referring to those who are not already familiar with the RCP). In response to this inquiry, I've adopted a updated version of the line Eldridge Cleaver used to describe the identity and significance of Mao in the 60s to you Bob Avakian. I reply, "Bob Avakian is the baddest motherfucker on the planet earth! He is the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. He has re-envisioned the whole idea of communist revolution by summing up the weaknesses and shortcomings and, more importantly, the great achievements and advances of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the revolutionary movement internationally. He knows the way out of all this shit and into a completely new society and world. If you have any desire to be free and to liberate humanity and change the world into a place we got a shot at surviving in and will actually enjoy living in, then learn about him and what he's reppin." I state this with complete confidence, and it's refreshing and invigorating to introduce yet another to this leader who is so genuinely committed to the people. Sadly though, over 500 years of imperialism, colonialism, oppression, degradation, murderous brutality and betrayal, and the very real and all too present history and culture of white supremacy is expressed so poignantly and succinctly in their very next question: "Oh yeah? Dog that's straight! But what IS Bob Avakian?" Most cats get the impression from his writings that he's Black or Latino, or even Asian. They're astonished to learn that Bob Avakian is white. Almost automatically Avakian's ethnicity acts to disqualify him as a revolutionary in the minds of even a lot of revolutionary minded individuals. So let me get into some of my thoughts on Bob Avakian's credentials as a communist leader....


What must we all need to be raising is the reality that the "right" nationality does not qualify and should not sanctify revolutionary leadership, because even if a particular man or woman with an ample amount of melanin comes to the fore, his/her leadership will ultimately serve to sap the initiative of or misguide or even destroy the mass movement or revolution if the LINE is wrong. The correct line is the principle aspect of the contradiction between communist revolutionary leadership and the basic masses, and only by following whoever has the right line can we accomplish our world historic mission.


I'm a 23-year-old "Blaxican" from San Jose, CA and there are those who seriously wonder why I be running around extolling this white dude I don't even know personally and who doesn't know I exist. Well, it's simple really. First, I know what I need to know about Bob Avakian and I respect and admire him on that basis. Second, he does know me, for I am one amongst the masses and he knows the masses very intimately. Third, I wanna be free to live my own life, not suffer and die to enrich a few muthafuckers, not when we're at the stage where it's entirely unnecessary. We can't invest our ambitions into leaders who don't know the way to bring them to fulfillment. And we definitely can't wait around expecting some "savior" to emerge who fits the finely calibrated criteria—racially, socio-economically, sexually, culturally, etc.—then launch the revolutionary struggle behind that person. We can't wait for someone deemed with leadership potential now to start investigating and analyzing everything necessary to develop line and when they "got it!" rally the masses into action. Not only can "we" not wait, "THE WORLD CAN'T WAIT!" And in all actuality the masses will not wait. Like Avakian says all the time, communist revolutionaries must be leading the masses to where these interests truly lie, infusing their spontaneity with class consciousness, MLM and communist morality, not trailing behind them or sitting the sidelines cheering them on and seeing how far they'll take it "this time" or fatalistically anticipating their failure. Rather, we gotta be right there in the thick of the masses in their resistance, soles on the pavement, amidst the broken glass and wreckage and smoke, squarely facing the armor clad defenders of our oppression and exploitation, roaring a resounding "NO MORE."

Sunday, May 1st, 05



I'm just glad I know which way the revolution is. Because the way I see it, revolution is my only hope. I'm a 22-year-old Mexican and Black male. I've been held captive for almost eight years now in CYA and CDC. The last grade I completed of school was the 7th. I've accumulated a dozen "violent felonies" trying to live as long as I have, inside and outside prison. Fortunately, I'll be released in a coupla years. If it hadn't been for discovering MLM and the support and inspiration Chairman Avakian and the RCP have provided, I don't know what the fuck I'd do with my life once they release me from their clutches, except fall back into the same mode of hustlin' and jackin' or trying to gain an advantage over my fellow proletarians for the crumbs we snatch from each other trying to survive and feed ourselves. ...


...I asked you for Mao's Red Book, but I am going to have put that off. I am learning more from Bob Avakian's literature. I kind of use his works as a commentary for understanding Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin, and Mao especially Mao. I was talking with this prisoner on the yard about slavery and the Civil War. And he listened to me and he told me that I had a lot of knowledge and that stimulated my ego, but later on I started feeling a little guilty, because I was reading Chairman Avakian's work.

When I talk about what Avakian says other prisoners listen to me and they take me serious. They think I am some kind of intellectual, and I am not. Tomorrow morning I am going to tell them the truth. ...


As you can see, I am just one of over 2 million prisoners locked down within the belly of the beast. Yet, I refuse to allow myself to be crushed by these harsh and brutal conditions.

Obviously, I am no stranger to struggle and hardship. I grew up in just one of the many, many slums in Chicago. I ended up in prison by the age of 13...I'm 30 now. I have been raised by cold steel and concrete which I do not wear as a Scar of Honor but as an indictment against a system that has been built on genocide and slavery, and has continued to insist on throwing away its "undesirables" generation after generation.

However, let me be clear, I am in search of the truth and not pity. My struggle is linked with the struggle of millions across the globe.

Of course I am not where I need to be or should be in terms of applying the science of M-L-M and making a complete rupture with the dead hand of the past—a rupture that was and is harder than I ever imagined. Nonetheless, I still consider myself a humble, yet outspoken and conscious student of Bob Avakian.

From my own personal experience, I can honestly say that Bob Avakian and the RCP is a leadership that maintains its revolutionary form and objective and in no way promotes ignorance and blind obedience. This is definitely a leadership we are in dire need of.

When I first became acquainted with Bob Avakian and the RCP (by way of the Revolution newspaper then known as the Revolutionary Worker) and had begun to grapple with and understand the science of revolution, it was a truly liberating experience for me. The best way I can explain it, is when Toto pulled back the curtain on the great wizard of Oz and exposed him for the fraud that he was. See, once you are armed with the truth you can no longer carry around the suitcase of lies that we have been given by the powers that be.


The thing about what I have been able to study of Bob Avakian is I not only see the chairman of RCP in his writings but I see a genuine revolutionary. I remember reading his memoir "From Ike to Mao" and I seen of all the people he struggled with over the years and many setbacks and targeting by the police as well as the feds, where many have fell off out of exhaustion, police harassment or incorrect political line Avakian has remained firm in his struggle for the people, and this article that came out in issue 170 it said how Avakian has given his heart for these struggles and how he's studied and developed scientific theory for making revolution. But something this article does not say is that Avakian didn't have to take the revolutionary road, the strenuous trek to struggle with the oppressed. Avakian grew up with a father who was a lawyer and then a judge, he was going to premed school and could have easily stood in school, got the plush doctor job, the corvette, the model wife and lived high up in the suburbs tucked away safely free from the "crime ridden" areas, street people and "criminal elements" basically the downtrodden and castoffs. But he chose to struggle with the people, those who grew up in dramatically different living conditions, and so he was in turn harassed with the people, jailed with the people, and he continues with the people. So there are lots of contributions Avakian has made to the International movement but this is what stood out to me as someone I should and have looked into more deeply.

A prisoner

[From a woman prisoner]

Dear RCP Volunteers

Hello my name is YYY and I would like to say a couple of things. I love the fact that you have decided to ask me to make a report on your paper. It makes me feel like I am contributing to the revolution...

...Why I feel that revolution is needed is mainly because of what Chairman Avakian was saying in the Ruminations & Wranglings series in Revolution newspaper. I want a meaningful purpose in my life. I want to be that revolutionary sister that leaves a qualitative influence on people's lives. I want the masses to give a damn about each other and the planet they live on. I want people to see that it is not any gods that shape our lives but that the masses have proven time and again that they are the makers of history. Which also means that it has been them this whole time and not some deity. Man has created deities in his image and ideology. Fighting for a communist revolution gives the worth back to those deemed worthless by this system. Fighting for a communist revolution can also put love in your spirit. It puts hope in your tears. I want to be there when we achieve state power in the USA.

The RCP, USA is the only party that I know of that wants to take revolution all of the way. What I think that means is that once they win the RCP will have state power and immediately exercise the dictatorship of the proletariate over the remaning bougosie forces. The RCP and its Chairman Avakian has been the only political party that I know of that does sharp agitation against Obama, the torchure crime warlords of the bush administration, religion, pro-choice, Christian fascist and that can analyze our current situation of what this capitalist imperialist system is doing to the USA & the world and why it must be completely overthrown leaving all of it institutions to dust. The RCP, USA also boldly uses the science of Marx, Lenin and Mao which what I also think is the reason why they are able to be on the revolutionary road in the first place.

With having MLM as a foundation of science. That is why Bob Avakian is able to decifer the history of the main components of the revolutionary communist movement. Having MLM under your belt is being a true revolutionary communist leader. That is where I want to be. I think that seeing how the RCP, USA has taken up MLM and they have stayed on the revolutionary communist road and even seeing how Avakian has continued to reach out to the people any way that he can engage the masses and answer their questions about what this is all for proves to me that the RCP, USA has the leadership.

I would of typed up this report but my unit's printer is out of ink.


Dear Revolution:

...The importance of Revolution newspaper and PRLF books to the prison struggle as tools for increasing and spreading revolutionary consciousness can't be overstated. Like Cornel West, I say this not because I fully agree with everything that Bob Avakian teaches, but because Bob Avakian's revolutionary teachings and theory challenges me to think on the highest level of logic and reasoning, keeps my analytical mind strong, and my discriminating eye sharp, and lets me know at a minimum when diverse political viewpoints, orientations and actions deviate from basic revolutionary principles and course. Moreover, I think Bob Avakian's "New Synthesis" and his "Unite all who can be united under the leadership of the Proletariate" conceptions are necessary and good improvements on Marxist-Leninist theory and particularly insofar as they apply to waging revolution successfully in the United Snakes Empire.

The campaign entitled, "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have" launched with Revolution Issue #170 is long overdue. But I am very happy to finally see a revolutionary organization in the United Snakes shift into second gear and step up the revolutionary movement to the next level by initiating and conducting a major nationwide revolutionary counter-offensive operation designed to aggressively and substantially push and spread revolution throughout every major segment of society. I fully support this campaign insofar as it seeks to mobilize the masses for revolution and to liberate oppressed nations and peoples from the scourges of racism, capitalism, imperialism and sexism, and other forms of oppression. I call on all true revolutionaries of every persuasion, whether communist, cultural, religious, economic or some other kind of revolutionary, to join forces with the Revolutionary Communist Party USA on common grounds and to support this campaign and the revolution in every constructive way possible....

July 25, 2009


"The Leadership We Have"

As we say in our way "WE GOTTA GIVE PROPS...WHERE PROPS IS DUE." To be clear and straight-forward, I consider myself to in fact be a "leader," and am aware of the reality that OTHERS of the LUMPEN CLASS, etc. ARE quite qualified and/or cadre material as well. Yet, this recognition of such leadership qualities does NOT hardly act to preclude me from acknowledging most explicitly that my 25 years of carefully engaging Bob Avakian's "body of works," has contributed substantially toward my own political and ideo-philosophical development and indeed has helped me clarify certain vital questions generally.

To put it plainly, I've long ago concluded that the Chairman of the RCP—Bob Avakian - "IS THE SHIT," i.e., a principled caring revolutionary man with extraordinary vision and grasp of political reality. His assessments are brilliantly on point and most valid. The lines in which he illuminates effectively operates to allow US to follow a sagacious strategic orientation, ideas, approach and scientific method which CAN "SHAKE THE EARTH," so WE can "GET THE PARTY STARTED," and put the "LIGHTS OUT" on an epoch of capitalist-imperialist BARBARITY that "NEED NOT BE," i.e. MUST go the way of the dinosaurs.

Put away your racial complexes, egos, and intellectual masturbation and grasp the FACT that Bob Avakian IS an exceptional leader whom the world MUST come to STUDY and KNOW. Malcolm X said it best when he said we MUST free ourselves and build socialism "BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY!" No, we shall NOT always be in total accord with the Chairman (as with any other individual), yet the process of critique and healthy debate is the KEY to resolve our differences and ever evolve in consciousness along the way for the desperate sake of BUILDING A BETTER WORLD...

Dare to Struggle

Dare to Win!

A New Afrikan Communist Immortal Black Guard

Sept 7, 2009

Greetings from the Belly of the Beast:

...As one who understands the nature of this beast, I know that Revolution will not (and has never been) an overnight event. We are locked in a protracted struggle to rebirth the minds of the people to see that the World can be better. There is only one leader I see that has been out educating and practicing as an example the way that will lead to that Revolution, and that's Bob Avakian. His name should be known to the World. True leadership is a must to any organized form of resistance or Nation building. The enemy understands this well. Just check out the history of how the U.S. has dealt with other leaders in the past (and present). They seek to take the head first, because its believed that if you destroy the head, the body will die. J. Edgar Hoover practiced this tactic well when dealing with Black resistance during his reign as the F.B.I. chief commander. So why should we promote Bob's leadership, because he is sincere and his motives for a better world for all people. By promoting Bob, we are promoting a better idea than the one the enemy currently promotes. What does the enemy currently promote? Greed and Blood shed. So stand up, and continue to promote Bob Avakian. Because when people look into his history and ideas for a better tomorrow, they too will come to understand that its only "one way". Revolution

Nov. 5, 2009



(I)t was refreshing to learn that the Revolutionary Communist Party was a new comer in the mid-70's which vocally denounced the conservatism of the old Communist Party, as well as the Soviet Union, and China after the 1976 revisionist coup. Again, I think that's a mark of great leadership when one goes against the tide of pragmatism, so to speak. While many progressive parties of the era just accepted the official line of the Soviets and the revisionist Chinese regime after 1976, Bob Avakian didn't. And I believe that was a significant turning point of how the Revolutionary Communist Party was able to reassume a more correct revolutionary line. I recognized this the most clearly when the Revolutionary Communist Party was confronting its first significant challenge within its own Party, in regards to the "Menshevik faction," who not only was determined to push an economist/reformist approach to the struggle, but also supported the 1976 revisionist coup as it turned China down the road of capitalism. By focusing on the Cardinal Questions, he was able to bring to light two important factors. The first being that the "Menshevik faction" was in fact betraying everything the Party stood for and was taking the Party down a dead end road of accommodationism. Secondly, the way he approached that divisive issue, it allowed the rank and file in the Party to concretely see how China was betraying its socialist agenda, and in fact, heading down the road of capitalism. Once the "Menshevik faction" agreed to those Cardinal Questions, their reformist position was destined to be defeated.

Furthermore, I like how once this was finally resolved in the Party itself, he brought the awareness out to the general public. His patient approach, by going through the proper channels in the Party, before bringing this all out to the public was very principally done, I believe.

Above all, however what I admire most about his life's story and leadership is his tenacity and fortitude to maintain the struggle despite the three decades he's been in the trenches. As Cornel West mentioned in his book review, he's definitely a marathon runner in the freedom struggle.

His reflections about his friend who went into cancer research to find a cure for cancer years ago, even though a cure still hasn't been found after all these years, is a poignant reminder of what it means to be committed to any struggle. I agree with Bob Avakian. I don't believe that his friend has wasted all those years just because we haven't found a cure for cancer yet. In the same way, I don't believe Bob Avakian has wasted three decades of his life just because we still haven't been able to transform America on a revolutionary socialist footing. I think that with the tenacity in both fields, we will one day find a cure for cancer and live within a revolutionary socialist America as well. I'm confident of that, even if Bob Avakian for some reason doesn't live to see our mundane "Promise Land". I think with his revolutionary leadership, he will always be looked as a significant figure in making such a future possible—especially once we succeed in this endeavor.

I think that Bob Avakian said it best when he said that

"If you have had a chance to see the world as it really is, there are profoundly different roads you can take with your life. You can just get into the dog-eat-dog, and most likely get swallowed up by that while trying to get ahead in it. You can put your snout into the trough and try to scarf up as much as you can, while scrambling desperately to get more than others. Or you can try to do something that would change the whole direction of society and the whole way the world is. When you put those things alongside each other, which one has any meaning, which one really contributes to anything worthwhile?

In Solidarity,

November 3, 2009

Dear Revolutionary Comrades,


As Chairman Avakian explains, it's the system that's at fault and needs to be replaced; the capitalist-imperialist system that's a thoroughly rotten and self-perpetuating rigged game that ultimately contaminates and pollutes everything it touches.

As I've come to understand, hating individual players within this corrupt system is a distraction and, in fact, counter-productive: prison guards, police officers, fat-cat capitalist CEOs—all the people we love to hate—are, after all, merely products of this system. They love their spouses and children and treat their pets as members of the family (as indeed they should!). These people—as all people—are not inherently evil, but are mere products of this profoundly evil environmental system. It's the system that must be crushed if the mass of humanity is ever to be truly liberated. Expecting a different dealer to give us a fair hand, when the entire game is crooked, is worse than naïve—it's criminally stupid!

As Avakian puts it: "People have great difficulty rupturing with the notion that the only possible avenue for changing the course of things is to get sucked once again into the dynamics of bourgeois (capitalist-imperialist) politics—which are set up to serve, and can only serve, the interests of the ruling class, and which have not and do not provide the means and channels through which changes in the interests of the people can be brought about." (Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy, page 35)

As Comrade Avakian observes elsewhere, the prevailing or accepted wisdom during an era is that which supports the current power structure. In this sense, Avakian is ahead of his time. Though relatively obscure in the present era (and we communists must focus on making this less so!), I have no doubt a future people will recognize the man and his works for the profoundly liberating influence they are. Read Chairman Avakian's works; then read them again, slowly. You're in for a real treat!

On a personal note: After having spent the past three years really reading and studying communist theory, Revolution newspaper and Chairman Avakian's works (all generously provided by donations to the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund!), in addition to other progressive publications and periodicals, I have come to better understand the hidden dynamics at work on the world stage. And, most importantly, I have developed the knowledge to see thru many of the lies and gross distortions perpetrated by this evil system. I am a changed man: I am a revolutionary communist and am prepared to "represent" with my life if need be.




...Bob Avakian, books have a lot of meaning to me. I'm African American, and everything I read prior to Bob Avakian, was afro centric in thought. My scholarship was reduced and limited to black people and our struggles. Bob Avakian, and what he teached changed my perspective on all of that. It's more than a black and white thing with me now. I see the commonalities that black and white share now: poverty, increasing un-employment, joblessness, foreclosures, etc I see that now then the differences. Capitalism and bourgeois democracy is my foe not white people. My ideology used to be democratic reform, now its communism.

Feb 10, 2010

As I continue to languish away in just one of the many "barracoons" that have been systematically laced across this country, I continue to engage & grapple with the revolutionary works of Bob Avakian.

Bob Avakian has put & continues to put many of things in perspective for me. This great leader continues to challenge & inspire me to acquire & apply a revolutionary scientific outlook & method. I now understand & realize that my struggle is not one of a "personal" struggle, but is linked with millions & millions of people across the globe.

At the same time, I want people to understand that my revolutionary transformation did not occur in a "religious awakening" sense, nor is it complete by any stretch of the imagination. This liberating transformation has occurred & is occurring by way of intense struggle under some of the most brutal & harshest conditions one can endure within this society.

For many years, I was bound & chained to the walls of ignorance. However, thanks to the revolutionary leadership of Bob Avakian, the RCP, as well as the collective of individuals who make such a leadership even possible & effective, I have since been provided with the tools to shatter these chains from deep within the bowels of the beast. I now enthusiastically accept the responsibility of helping others do the same.

If possible, please provide me with the following:

  1. Away With All Gods!
  2. Communism & Jeffersonian Democracy
  3. The Science of Revolution
  4. The Science of Evolution

Take care & always stay strong!

(by Pelican Bay prisoner at height of the ban of Revolution in California prisons)




I will share all I've learned studying your newspaper and other works of Avakian for the past ten years, this only solidifies my understanding of Imperialist America and its many facets of repression.  This targeting and censorship (to take a dialectical materialist approach) of my subscription instills the strength and pride of being in the hall of many past prison revolutionary's who have also faced repression for their break with lumpen behavior. For this I have not only gotten my subscription censored but also labeled a gang member and locked in California's supermax known as the Security housing unit (shu) indefinitely but I will use the rest of my time here (7 yrs) to sharpen my line and help others understand why they are in prison as well. 

To Bob Avakian or To Whom It May Concern:


I was sent by PRLF the book "Away With All Gods!", by Bob Avakian, a couple days ago (well almost a week) and finished it today. Wow! What a good book. What an excellent and good book! Had I had this book years ago, and had I even known about revolution and Bob Avakian years ago, I truly believe that my life would've been a lot different (and I wouldn't be in prison today). For years I struggled with the biblical applications that I was being ingrained with...

Feb 11, 2010

I remember a few years ago, when I was locked down in Pontiac's Segregation Unit, I found myself engaged in a lively discussion, as well as a heated debate with other prisoners about the actual truths of the science of evolution. At that time, my understanding of the science of evolution was very limited to the point of being almost non-existent as a result of the material conditions I was born into, as well as the quality of my formal education. Like so many, I grew up in just one of the many burnt out slums of Chicago, only going as far as the 7th grade in school.

Anyway, the prison chaplain must of heard about our discussion/debate through the grapevine & took it as his personal mission to distribute a box filled with a book entitled "Darwin Under the Microscope". It is obvious that the authors of this particular book are educated & well versed in the field of biology & aim to use their education for the purpose of carrying out the Christian Fascist agenda in a subtle, yet "sophisticated" sounding kind of a way. It is no wonder that a book like this only targets the basic masses who have been systematically denied the opportunity to struggle in the realm of ideas. During the course of all this, I was only armed with Darwin's book "The Origin of Species"—a complicated & technical read for any beginner—which I was not able to fully grasp nor understand, let along capable of breaking down to others.

All of this was a defining moment for me. I became determined & driven to turn this concrete cell that has broken & destroyed so many many lives into a classroom. I began to immerse myself in the revolutionary works of Bob Avakian & Ardea Skybreak, which has & continues to put so much in perspective for me.

As a result, the chains of tradition were not only fully shattered, but I have since acquired a more correct understanding of reality, & find myself fully capable of breaking down the science of revolution/evolution, as I've come to understand it, to others in a living, fun, yet serious way.

Once again, I just want to emphasize that my transformation came amid intense struggle under some of the most brutal & harshest conditions one can endure within this society. There is no shortcut. The path is torturous, yet so liberating, fun & at times frustrating.

As the above example illustrates, I have been in constant battle with the various reactionary fundamentalist prison ministries, particularly the ones fully backed by Christian Fascism, that have been given total access to our minds for many years now. Only this time, thanks to Bob Avakian & everybody involved, I'm more than prepared!


Dear Friends,

I would like to start this letter off with a quote from Ardea Skybreak's lively & exciting book "The Science of Evolution": "realizing that things can change is not quite the same thing as knowing how things can change, that is, on what basis changes can occur."

For me, this quote is deep on so many levels of a scientific nature. It not only speaks to the truth of evolution, but it also speaks to the importance of the revolutionary leadership of Bob Avakian & the RCP, as well as the initiative of us, the masses, to engage & grapple with this great & necessary leadership while struggling to acquire & apply a revolutionary scientific outlook & method so that we are capable of scientifically understanding & acting on "how the material basis for dramatically new social change can be found right within the existing mode of production & class divisions of society, & how social systems can be transformed through class struggle."

May 14, 2010

...Keep me posted on, what's happening with the Pelican Bay situation. I see that the party intends on fighting this all the way. As I mentioned previously, I don't mind lending my help in order to make that possible, so I hope you get a lot of donations soon behind what I had to say. I wanted to make sure I put the clearest picture behind why its so important, that the party continues to have full access to the brothers and sisters behind these walls. I can't tell you how much that has evolved my understanding just this year. I know if I'm evolving at a faster pace now, I'm sure others are too.


The Revolution recently reprinted a talk that Chairman Bob Avakian held in 2003 about "The essence of Communist Leadership and Bring Forward New Leaders." I think within that talk he summed it up quite concisely when he stated:

Leadership is responsible to the masses of people, here and all over the world. Leadership is something that has to be brought forward on the basis of people developing the ability, and being helped to develop the ability, to actually lead for real, to actually apply the revolutionary ideology and scientific methods to solve the real contradictions you're up against. (Revolution, May 16, 2010, p. 5).

I think that, in essence, is what makes Chairman Bob Avakian a great communist leader of our time, and will be required of all future leaders that become a part of this generation's communist leadership. But what's most important, is that those individuals whom are most capable of raising the consciousness of the masses, must never forget, that communism isn't some elitist fraternity club of intellectuals who just want to intellectually masturbate; it's an organ by which we are changing and further changing ourselves, society, and most important, the world—the latter being our highest objective....



On behalf of all my fellow Pelicans, we thank you for not forgetting about us and giving up.

Thanks for also sending me that RCP, USA Constitution booklet. I've already read it, and I'm going to share it with others. I wouldn't mind being put on the list for that pocket book of quotations from B.A. as well. It would go well with my little red book of Mao's quotations. I think that's real cool that's being done and that people are wearing t-shirts with what looks like his face. I'm no expert, but it only seems fitting. He appears to be the one who has picked up the torch and carried on from where Mao left off. ... Anyway, that's just my opinion. I'll do my part in spreading his name around over here. Every little bit counts toward making him a household name—even though none of us here are actually home....

Respectfully in Struggle,

[From death row at San Quentin:]

July 14, 2010

Greetings in solidarity,

To begin, I would like to thank all of you there at RCP Publications for doing an excellent job with your newsletter. Since I have been receiving them, my eyes have opened up in a new and much clearer way. See, I am here at this shithole of a plantation known as San Quentin. The eyesore of society and a place of utter despair. My ass has been here on the row since 2006 and let me tell you, things continue to get worse & worse. If it was not for the teachings of our brother Bob Avakian, my ass would be just as pitiful and brainwashed as these cowards here with me are. See, they have fallen short of the goal and have given up on who they are as human beings.


It is obvious that this capitalist country is truly fucked up. Look at what happened to killer cop Johannes Meserle. The pig was caught dead bang murdering our late young brother Oscar Grant in cold blood. Then the jury comes back with the lowest conviction term possible?? Involuntary manslaughter?? Four to six years in prison?? Which prison?? Some PC ass joint to where he can lay out on the main yard and toast his ass cheeks??

What exactly is it going to take for the people in society to WAKE! UP!!!?? This is why I agree with when Avakian says that we need to rise up in revolution and take control of our country, people and societies. I use my own words to describe what I am learning from his teachings, but you know what I am saying. This country has for the most part, lost its way!! How can people continue to follow the blind when they themselves are just as blind, and all of them together fall in a hole?? I wish that I could explain in better words how I feel.

I am not much educated when it comes to this revolution that I have been reading about but am looking for more books to read. Which is why I have contacted you. You sent me the book entitled "COMMUNISM AND THE JEFFERSONIAN DEMOCRACY" and want to read more. There are two books that I would like to request from your publications. Keep in mind that I am indigent and we are not allowed to work for a pay number slot here on death row. The Jeffersonian Democracy book is making its way around to the more deserving brothers here with me. My circle consists of seven of us, me making the eighth. We are alone in this struggle when it comes to being here at San Quentin's infamous East Block, death row, but we are growing stronger each day. With the help of your literature we are beginning to grow and our hearts grow stronger. We thank you for your help. Here are the two books that we would like to read:

  1. Away With All Gods, by Bob Avakian
  2. Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage (Manifesto) ... by Bob Avakian

Rest assured that soon will Mr. Avakian have influenced many more here on death row. We thank you again.

In Struggle,


One thing I like most about the Revolutionary Communist Party under Bob Avakian's leadership, is that our generation has a true communist vanguard party, which I know is totally dedicated to making socialism a material reality in this country—in our lifetime (hastening, while awaiting). Most of the vanguard parties throughout the proletarian movement and history in America—if not all—were either immature in their political line, weren't true dialectical and historical materialist (or didn't consistently apply it), spoke of revolution yet approached it as if it would only occur in some indefinite future, amongst other inadequacies in leadership. But one thing I've come to greatly respect about the Revolutionary Communist Party, is that it has learned from the mistakes of the past and now rests all the more on a concrete scientific basis like no other party before it. That's why I'm so optimistic and excited about the coming mass social movement, that's being hastened right now. This time we're not going to make the same mistake as the '60s and '70s. I think we're living right now in the most exciting time, not only in American history, but world history.

We truly are the authors and editors of our greater tomorrows. I truly believe we're at a pivotal point, not only in the proletarian movement and its history, but in the history of our species. Yes, our species! Shit can't continue as it is, without bringing mass ruin, destruction, and even a possible mass extinction to our species. The only hope the human species has, is the proletarian movement. The 21st century—I'm convinced—will be decided by how much this movement develops, expands, and is ultimately successful on a global scale.

November 28, Sunday, 2010

...I particularly liked how Chairman Avakian's new synthesis, particularly the principle of the "solid core with a lot of elasticity," was given broad expression to throughout this whole document. Instead of perpetrating the same erroneous mistakes of past Communist vanguard parties and states, one walks away from this Constitution with a reassured confidence and belief in genuine communist leadership. After I read all ninety-one pages, it made me proud and hopeful to know that there's at least one Communist Party in existence, which has approached communism as an evolving science, capable of learning from its past mistakes, while upholding the most positive features of proletarian revolution throughout its history. For that reason, I must salute Chairman Bob Avakian's leadership for that.

November 30, 2010

Dear PRLF Volunteer(s),

... I am a leading and co-founding member of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party—Prison Chapter...  We clearly see the RCP, USA as allies in the struggle to build a socialist Amerika and feel that Chairman Bob Avakian is the most advanced theorist on the U.S. Left.  We also are M-L-M'ist.  Our principal base right now is within the prisons....



I just finished reading issue 222 of the newspaper and came across a short article under the "toughest questions" entitled "your name scares away millions...". The writer in said article discusses the marketing strategy of the Republicans and the GOP and its corporate sponsors. He/she goes on to say how the Republican party don't call themselves the "Radical Fascist Party" even though he/she feels this name best represents them. But the writer says that the Republicans use "Patriotic" or "American" words in promoting the Tea Party to sound "safe" and "appealing". This writer goes on to say how the RCP's "name" brings on "frightening" images of atheism, Siberia, etc. The heart of this writer's article seems to promote the idea that if the RCP changed its name to what the writer believes is a more "patriotic" sounding name it would bring more people to the "meeting hall" to hear RCP's message because, as it stands this writer says RCP's name "scares away millions."

For lack of a better word, this is what I call bullshit. First, I must say only the Imperialist ideology needs to formulate a ruse to entrap the people, to swindle and bamboozle the masses to do anything and it does this in numerous ways here in America, from getting the people to engage in the ballot box promising "change" to taking the country to unjustified wars, to the criminalization of a generation, etc, etc. We live under a Dictatorship of Capitalism and are tricked with more of this "safe" and "patriotic" sounding lingo to believe it is a Democracy as the above stated writer describes as more "appealing." This whole idea of trying to sound more "American" to "co opt" the right is not what Communism is about, this sounds like opportunism to me.

What the writer doesn't grasp is communism isn't about lying or tricking the people to come hear the message and ideas. To the contrary, I would say it is truth that will bring the people to the Communist flame like a moth to light, it is precisely for this reason that RCP upholds the "Dictatorship of the Proletariat" as stated in its literature, this is to let the people know the truth that yes, a dictatorship of the proletariat is necessary and goes on to explain why its necessary so the people understand not only what is going to take place but why. Unlike the current US ruling class which takes a page from this writers playbook and keeps the truth from the people that there is not a Dictatorship of Capital in America and uses "appealing" language claiming democracy exists in America, or maybe this writer takes a page from the Imperialists playbook?? The entire Imperalist agenda is based on lies, smoke and mirrors, how else can one percent rule 99% of any population? This is why it works so hard to combat Socialism where it begins to sprout roots because Communists will always work in the interests of the people and bring truth to the masses in all areas.

Another reason this writer is incorrect in his "advice" (if one can call it that) is that you don't change your message, name, platform, etc to appease anybody for the same reason Revolutionaries shouldn't join mass organization or single issue groups. I.E. "Save the Whales" or such groups just to reach more people, or to get more people to listen to your message or somehow slowly attempt to sprinkle a little communist ideas in such groups as in order for a Communist to get with one of these groups one would have to water down ones politics and this is not benefiting no one, although it is good to have a united front with many groups on different issues, when it comes down to it the only way to build Communism is by being a Communist, the only way to support the Revolution is by being a Revolutionary!

The backbone of a Revolution on these shores will be amongst the oppressed nationalities, especially those millions languishing in prisons Nationwide and so the idea that speaking "American" or "Patriotic" to those of us who have been hunted down most our lives as if we were the prey in a safari is not going to bring us to no "meeting hall" but speaking the cold truth, the liberating truth as Avakian says will!

Lastly I got to say that what name scares away millions is the name America, when people the world over hear the name "America" from children in Palestine to the jungles of Chiapas to the villages of Africa to the Barrios and projects here in the US, when we hear America it conjures up scenes of war, nuclear bombs, Hiroshima, Abu Grahaib, Predator Drone attacks, colonization, Genocide, and Stolen Land. When prisoners hear the name America we visualize a gulag empire that creates slave labor and torture chambers and devised a new Jim Crow system that has criminalized millions of poor Latinos and blacks who are the Revolutionary backbone. Because of this name America, millions are terrorized in prisons nationwide, we are starting to hear of US soldiers spending two or three years in a war zone and getting "post traumatic stress disorder". This is what they call the effects of two or three years in a war zone, so what do they call being born and raised for decades in a war zone of state terror? They call it "America".

The current economic crisis shows the masses that capitalism is a broken idea and is "withering away" as Lenin stated, this has only highlighted the need for something else, another economic path to save of the people. Only a communist approach will ensure true equality, healthcare for all, jobs for all, no military occupation or unwanted wars that are unjustified, ending the war on poor people and criminalization of millions, all of society would benefit in a socialist state and anyone who researches past Socialist states and sees the higher living standard it brought would flock to a group seeking these same ideals. For a group to have a communist name is speaking truth of what it is fighting for rather than attempting to trick the masses. The RCP lets its aims be known with its name declaring in all honesty what it is seeking for the people without the slightest hint of dishonesty. It is for this reason that I have gravitated toward learning more about the RCP because of its bold name and iron clad determination to reach a better world amidst the current parasitical muck. Continue Onward to Victory!

With a clenched fist





To begin this missive, I would like to thank you for all of the literature that you have been sending me. I finished "AWAY WITH ALL GODS" and was very impressed at how our comrade Avakian broke it down. One of the most amazing things was HOW he presented each religion. How he explained and shown how structured religion itself is nothing but a form of oppression. We are all aware of the atrocities the masses had to endure during the Inquisition as well as other forms of torture toward those who refused to conform mentally to their way of thinking. This is happening right now as I write this to you. We have been hit with one form of slavery after another and the book itself opened my eyes up. I was a Muslim for several years only to find that I was no longer feeling the so-called freedom one should feel practicing what they believe. Everything Mr. Avakian said is nothing but true.

Each copy of BAsics sent to prisoners costs $10. Help PRLF and Revolution newspaper raise the $20,000 needed to send 2000 BAsics to prisoners in the hellholes across the country.

To those inside prison walls:

Prisoners: spread the word about BAsics to your families, friends and lawyers. Ask them to donate to send BAsics to you and as many other prisoners as they can, and get one for themselves. 

To those outside the prison walls:

When you buy a copy of BAsics for yourself, buy one for a prisoner, too. Urge everyone who buys a copy for him/herself to buy another one for a prisoner. Donate as much as you can to help send 2000 BAsics to prisoners.

Donations can be made online at, or sent to:
Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund
Attn: BAsics
1321 N. Milwaukee Ave. #407
Chicago, IL 60622

PRLF is a project of the International Humanities Center, a non‑profit public charity, exempt from federal income tax under section 501 (c) (3) of the IRS code.

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Revolution #228, April 3, 2011

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From the New Book:

BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian

From chapters 1, 2, 3 — More next week:


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

Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy, 2008


Recently I was reading an essay called "Disarming Images" about an exhibit of art for nuclear disarmament which was held in the early 1980s. And I noticed that the author of this essay points out that according to the dictionary, Webster's Third International  Dictionary, the name "bikini" given to the bathing suit comes from comparing "the effects of a scantily clad woman to the effects of an atomic bomb." When you think about this, and you think about the horrendous death, destruction, mutilation and suffering alive before dying that was caused by the atomic bombs that the U.S. dropped on Japan, and what would result from the much more powerful nuclear weapons these monsters have today—when you think about all that, and you think about the reasons for naming the bikini after all that, and what kind of view of women this promotes—do you need any other proof about how sick this system is, and how sick is the dominant culture it produces and promotes?

Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About,
a film of a talk by Bob Avakian.
Available at
and in a DVD set from RCP Publications.


Marx said about the future world, the world of communism, that it will seem as ridiculous and outrageous for one part of society to privately own the land, and everything that goes along with that, as it now seems for one human being to own another.

Communism will mean that we have reached the point where the very idea that the way society should advance is for a few to benefit and then to proclaim that to be in the general interest of the society, where that idea will seem so ridiculous and outrageous that in a certain sense, to put it simply, it couldn't get a hearing.

"The Role of Dissent in a Vibrant Society,"
Observations on Art and Culture, Science and Philosophy,
   2005 (quote originally published 2004)


It is right to want state power. It is necessary to want state power. State power is a good thing—state power is a great thing—in the hands of the right people, the right class, in the service of the right things: bringing about an end to exploitation, oppression, and social inequality and bringing into being a world, a communist world, in which human beings can flourish in new and greater ways than ever before.

"Views on Socialism and Communism: A Radically New Kind of State, A Radically Different and Far Greater Vision of Freedom," Revolution #37, March 5, 2006


In socialist society, there needs to be struggle, and criticism/self-criticism, but there also needs to be "air" for people to breathe, room for them to disagree, allowance for them to come to the truths that Marxism reveals in their own way—and allowance for Marxism itself to breathe and grow, to discard outmoded concepts and analyses and to deepen its reflection of reality, as the liberating science it is, in opposition to suffocating religious dogma.

"The End of a Stage – The Beginning of a New Stage,"
Revolution magazine, Fall 1990


If you want to know about, and work toward, a different world—and if you want to stand up and fight back against what's being done to people—this is where you go. You go to this Party, you take up this Party's newspaper, you get into this Party's leader and what he's bringing forward.

Making Revolution and Emancipating Humanity – Part 2,
Revolution #116, January 20, 2008


We should not only allow but even encourage oppositional politics under the dictatorship of the proletariat, because we have to conceive of this process not as a neat and orderly one but as a very tumultuous one—and a volatile and chaotic one at times—through which a lot of things get brought forward and thrashed out by the masses. Now, this doesn't mean that we can just turn power back over to the bourgeoisie indirectly or inadvertently by "loosening the reins" so much that there's no core that's driving the society forward to where it needs to go and is leading the masses of people to ever more consciously and voluntarily strive for those things. But that shouldn't be seen as like an engine on a track that's going straight ahead. It's a much more tumultuous and tortuous process where a lot of different things are going to get into the mix and a lot of different contradictions are going to be wrestled over, and a lot of different ideas are going to be brought forward about how to do that, and where increasingly the masses are being relied on and involved consciously in the process of thrashing these things out themselves.

Dictatorship and Democracy, and the Socialist Transition to Communism,
Revolutionary Worker
#1257, October 31, 2004


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.

Making Revolution and Emancipating Humanity – Part 2:
"Everything We're Doing Is About Revolution,"
Revolution #114, December 30, 2007


So this is what Marx discovered: You have highly socialized production, but very privatized appropriation by a small class of people called capitalists. But in that contradiction lies the basis for the overthrow of the system, as that class that carries out socialized production becomes conscious of this contradiction and of all of its consequences, and rises up and rallies its allies, as it is led by a vanguard party that brings it the consciousness to do this, and it eventually overthrows the system and resolves this contradiction through a whole long complex process whereby, step by step, it socializes the appropriation of what is socially produced and distributes it increasingly according to the needs of the people, not according to the dictates of the accumulation of private capital.

Dictatorship and Democracy, and the Socialist Transition to Communism, Revolutionary Worker #1252, September 19, 2004


Let's get down to basics: We need a revolution. Anything else, in the final analysis, is bullshit.

Now, that doesn't mean we don't unite with people in all sorts of struggles short of revolution. We definitely need to do that. But the proffering of any other solution to these monumental and monstrous problems and outrages is ridiculous, frankly. And we need to be taking the offensive and mobilizing increasing numbers of masses to cut through this shit and bring to the fore what really is the solution to this, and to answer the questions and, yes, the accusations that come forth in response to this, while deepening our scientific basis for being able to do this. And the point is: not only do we need to be doing this, but we need to be bringing forward, unleashing and leading, and enabling increasing numbers of the masses to do this. They need to be inspired, not just with a general idea of revolution, but with a deepening understanding, a scientific grounding, as to why and how revolution really is the answer to all of this.

Making Revolution and Emancipating Humanity – Part 2:
 "Everything We're Doing Is About Revolution,"
Revolution #114, December 30, 2007

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Revolution #228, April 3, 2011

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Stand Against the Bombing of Libya... Find Ways to Oppose This Outrage

On March 19, the U.S. government launched a vicious military attack of over 100 Tomahawk cruise missiles against Libya. A question was immediately posed: Would people, right here in the belly of the beast, take a strong internationalist stand and let the world know that we oppose the unjust actions of our "own" government? Would people here demand an end to this unjust U.S. war on yet another country?

This is not the first time the U.S. has dressed up military aggression with the costume of "humanitarianism." This is not the first time the U.S. has united other imperialist countries and pushed through a UN resolution to use weapons of mass destruction. This is not the first time the U.S. has cried "evil dictator" to justify raining down death and destruction on a sovereign country.

And what about the utter hypocrisy of this attack? The U.S. backs governments in Yemen, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia which savagely oppress the people—because this conforms to U.S. imperial interests. But suddenly the U.S. says it must intervene to stop government violence against an uprising. Why? Not because it cares about the people, but because putting down the Libyan government coincides with U.S. geo-strategic interests. (See Libya coverage, pages 12, 13, and 16.)

The United States cannot get a "free pass" with this latest imperial intervention. And we here in the U.S. have a special responsibility to condemn, oppose, and expose the true nature of this imperialist aggression.

This requires big efforts to repolarize the political terrain—to unite and organize those who already oppose the bombing of Libya; and to struggle with many others to see through the U.S. lie of "humanitarian intervention."

The U.S. rulers, the politicians, the media all work to set a certain framework where it's accepted that the U.S. must intervene militarily in order to "save lives." But through struggle, this framework can be cracked—many now sucked into supporting the U.S. attack can come to see that no good can come from U.S. imperialist intervention of any kind. In this light, an important experience at the Left Forum is worth learning from and spreading.

When the bombing of Libya began, the Left Forum was going on in New York City, attended by people from all over the country. This is the largest conference in the U.S. of a broad spectrum of left and progressive intellectuals, activists, academics, organizations, and others who come to discuss a wide range of theoretical questions and current and urgent issues in the world. It was extremely important that this gathering take a stand against the U.S. attack on Libya. But as important as this was, it would not happen automatically.

Revolutionaries set out early on Sunday morning—to discuss, debate, unite, and put out a call for a clear voice of opposition to be issued from the conference. Throughout the day, people mass leafleted a proposed statement/resolution which read: "We, many of the attendees at the Left Forum, a gathering of radical and progressive people within the U.S., denounce the U.S.-sponsored military aggression against Libya. The U.S. government is responsible for the slaughter and torture of civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia... the occupation of Iraq... the torture in Guantánamo and Bagram and many other places... the brutal suppression of the people who are rebelling against U.S. allies now in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Yemen... and the wholesale backing of the apartheid Israeli state—it is the greatest single purveyor of violence against ordinary people in the world today—and it has no right to carry out aggression against anyone, anywhere. We call on people all over the U.S.—especially students—to stand against this outrage."

People got this when they arrived, at panels, during breaks, and going into the final plenary. There was discussion about the great need to take a stand against the U.S. intervention, as well as what the U.S. is really up to. Signatures were gathered on a petition with the statement. A minority of people argued that maybe U.S. intervention could have a positive result in stopping people from being killed by the Gaddafi government. But the overwhelming sentiment, especially among youth and students, was against the U.S. attack and in support of people at the Left Forum taking a strong stand of opposition. At two panels that World Can't Wait participated in, there was good discussion and struggle around how people should understand the real nature of the U.S. attack on Libya.

All of this fed into the evening plenary. By the time several hundred people were seated in the auditorium, probably 90 percent of them had gotten the leaflet. Just before the program began, Revolution writer Sunsara Taylor stood up and announced that she was going to read a statement to the people of the country and the world. She asked people to applaud when she was done if they agreed. People listened closely and after she finished, there was strong applause. (See This introduced a new and urgent element into the program. And overall, many appreciated this initiative, including some of the conference organizers.

There is something to learn here about the need and possibility of going out and uniting and struggling with people to see the importance of taking a clear stand in opposition to the bombing of Libya. And as the U.S. continues its vicious, outrageous attack on Libya—we need to unite broadly and find different ways to speak out, give organized expression to people's anger and opposition, and act against this outrage.

Readers of Revolution: Get out the RCP statement on Libya, Revolution's coverage, and the YouTube video from the Left Forum. Get out among many different kinds of people, especially at high schools and colleges, and with creativity and thought, find the ways to draw a sharp dividing line and repolarize things. By taking a bold stand, with truth and certitude, we can help people understand this attack for what it really is, and unite people to oppose it.

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Revolution #228, April 3, 2011

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Announcing new release Tuesday, March 22


Words by Bob Avakian
Music by William Parker
Centeringmusic BMI


Yoni Kretzmer, tenor sax
Ben Syverson, trumpet
Zhenya Strigalev, alto sax
Drum track by Brian Forbes
William Parker, bass
Music and arrangements by William Parker

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Revolution #228, April 3, 2011

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From William Parker on "All Played Out"

All Played Out is a cathartic message by Bob Avakian who like all political strategists is a mover and thinker who is trying to shed some light on this fog of ignorance and gullibility, that is the backbone of our existence here in America. He is telling us that since 1492 when Christopher Columbus landed in Hispaniola and killed the first Tainos Indians things have gone down hill from there. The founding fathers were all gangsters, thieves and liars. He is telling us that we are not free and we have never been free there were never any good old days. Racism, sexism, extreme capitalism has been the word for the last five hundred years and continues to be present at the core of America today. All Played Out is a 12-minute rap with a message to America and anyone else that is listening to Wake Up! Revolution Now!

Music is political because it inspires us to think to see beyond the horizon so it was my intent to give Avakian's message some lift but also to become the words to bring them to life in another way too. A word is sound, a sound is a word.

William Parker

Listen online to a recent radio interview with William Parker, on The Michael Slate Show, March 25. The interview can be found on the KPFK audio archives page at

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Revolution #228, April 3, 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 #228, April 3, 2011

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We Cannot Solve the Environmental Emergency Under this System, But There Is a Way... and It Is Communist Revolution

The following is a slightly edited transcript of a talk by Raymond Lotta given at the Left Forum in New York City on March 19, 2011:

This is a very important moment to be holding this panel. The crisis in Japan, now the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, poses critical dangers to the Japanese people who have already suffered greatly from the earthquake and tsunami. This crisis carries potentially grave risks for the well-being of world humanity and the global environment. This is a global event, and we all have to take responsibility to be developing and struggling for demands on the system to deal with the effects of this disaster—at the same time that we dig into its larger significance.

The earthquake and tsunami in Japan were the result of natural tectonic forces. But why Japan was so reliant on nuclear energy and how this crisis continues to unfold is mediated through social relations.

The title of my talk is: We Cannot Solve the Environmental Emergency Under this System, But There Is a Way...and It Is Communist Revolution. I will discuss the nature of the system that dominates the world and plunders the planet—and what that has to do with this nuclear crisis. And I will talk about something new on the political-ideological scene, the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA—and what this has to do with a way forward for humanity.

I. Capitalism is the Cause

Now in the geological and ecological history of this planet, there have been massive environmental disturbances, changes in climate, and great extinctions. What is unique about the current environmental emergency is that it is primarily caused by human activity. Not by human activity in the abstract, but by the workings of the economic and political system we live under: capitalism-imperialism.

You see, capitalism is a system that operates according to certain rules. It's like basketball or soccer: there are rules of the game. If a basketball player kicked the ball like a soccer player to get it down-court, he or she'd be penalized; and if she kept doing it she'd be thrown out of the game. Well, capitalism has its rules. Yes, particular corporations have done egregious things to the environment. But the rules of capitalism make it impossible for it as a system to deal with the environment in a sustainable and rational way—even if an individual capitalist or group of capitalists wanted to. Let's look at these rules:

RULE #1: Everything is a commodity and everything must be done for profit.

Everything under capitalism is produced in order to be exchanged, to be sold. Things must be useful to be exchanged. But under capitalism, the measure and motivation of what is produced and how it is produced is profit—whether we are talking about housing, medicine, technology, or energy development. Profit comes from the exploitation of billions on this planet.

When a company like Texaco extracted oil in the Ecuadorian rainforest, it sprayed and spilled toxic waste and oil, destroying pristine forest, turning rivers and streams black with oil, and creating not only one of the worst environmental disasters in history, but also leaving people dead or dying from cancer. But this was a profitable investment.

Under capitalism, nature is either something to be seized and plundered...or viewed as a limitless and "free" resource to be exploited and poured into profit-based production.

RULE #2: Capitalist production is by its nature privately owned and driven forward by the commandment: "expand or die." A capitalist economy is fragmented into separate and competing units of capitalist control and ownership—like Toyota and Exxon-Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell. Each unit of capital must fight others for market share, and must continually cheapen costs, in order to stay alive. And each unit of capital, because it is private, is fundamentally concerned with its operations, with its profits, and with its expansion.

Let's take the case of nuclear power plants. Investors will be paying close attention to the cost and efficiency of operations. But what happens outside that immediate sphere of operation and ownership—the environmental costs of mining the uranium that these plants depend on, the damaging effects of the release of hazardous gases, the health dangers to people in surrounding and distant areas, and the longer-term effects of disposal of nuclear waste—those costs are not the concern of their profit-and-loss ledgers.

Capitalism is an anarchic system. Its horizons are short term. There is no conscious, society-wide planning to meet social need, or to cope with the many-sided effects of what is being produced and how it is being produced.

RULE #3: Capitalism today is a global system and proceeds through the domination of oppressed nations by imperialist countries and through rivalry among the imperialist powers, rivalry that led to two world wars in the 20th century.

Today the great powers are in an intensifying race for control over sources of cheap fossil fuel and other energy sources in the oppressed nations in Africa and Central Asia. They are scrambling for position in the Arctic. And this is a dirty little secret of empire: the U.S. military, which enforces international exploitation and plunder, is the single largest purchaser of oil in the world.

In light of these three rules, let's look at Japan's commercial nuclear program.

Nuclear power now provides 30 percent of Japan's electricity. There is nothing preordained or necessary about this situation. One might ask why Japan did not invest in safe renewable energies—like wind, solar, or geothermal. Well, the decision to go nuclear was conditioned by those rules of the game: by profit in command and by rivalry and geopolitics.

Japan has been almost wholly dependent on imports for its oil. The oil crisis of 1973 was a major shock. It disrupted Japan's oil supplies. It jeopardized Japan's then rapid economic growth and increasing international reach. The decision by the Japanese ruling class to develop nuclear power was based on a certain calculus.

For Japanese capital to profitably expand, for Japanese capital to secure export markets, for Japanese capital to press its global economic challenge to rival imperial powers, it needed a fuel source that would be capable of producing energy on a massive industrial and commercially profitable scale. It needed a fuel source that would not be vulnerable to these kinds of supply shocks.

Those strategic imperatives trumped the then already-known dangers of building nuclear plants near one of the most active geological faults on the planet, and along coastal areas reachable by tsunamis.

The U.S. encouraged Japan's nuclear energy program. Why? Because Japan has been a key flank of the Western alliance the U.S. constructed after World War 2—and a stable Japan, a Japan that is host to U.S. military forces, has been integral to U.S. power projection in East Asia. The U.S. provided technological support for Japan's nuclear reorientation. Indeed, Japan's decision to ramp up commercial nuclear power provided a market for the U.S. energy industry. As people know, the reactors that are now in danger of meltdown are based on GE designs.

And for both the Japanese and U.S. ruling classes, commercial nuclear power has been an ideological wedge to pave the way for all things nuclear: including nuclear weapons. This was happening in the only country in the world to have experienced the devastation and horror of atomic bombs as a result of the American bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But that is not all.

Over the past three decades that Japan has been building these reactors, the rest of the capitalist world had largely put new nuclear power construction on hold, mainly for economic reasons. That is, until recently, with the so-called nuclear power renaissance. So Japan has been somewhat in the forefront of developing nuclear energy—and this has given Japanese imperialism a certain competitive leg up: to secure contracts for the highly profitable construction of overseas nuclear-powered plants.

This nuclear reactor export push has been especially important as part of Japan's efforts to overcome a 15-year economic slowdown in an increasingly competitive international environment. And how convenient that Japan's supposed watchdog agency over the safety of nuclear power, the Nuclear and Industrial and Safety Agency, is overseen by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry!

So here we are. A nuclear catastrophe is looming. The same capitalist "rules of the game" that led to a situation where the Japanese state embarked on the rapid expansion of nuclear power also govern the response to the crisis. The main concern of the Japanese imperialist state is to maintain order and safeguard strategic interests. The main concern of the power companies is to protect investments.

This is why the Japanese people have been kept uninformed. This is why they have been kept from mobilizing in the way called for. Remember how BP monopolized control over information about the Gulf oil spill and set the terms for what would be done in response—because this was their proprietary investment. And in a world divided into contending imperialist nation states, there cannot be the kind of global mobilization of people and resources commensurate with the scale of this grave crisis.

This crisis did not have to happen. Just as the kind of suffering after Katrina made landfall did not have to happen. Just as impoverished conditions, lack of preparation, and poor medical infrastructure in Haiti or Kashmir at the time of those earthquakes were not necessary givens. Just as deep-shore oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is not some unavoidable feature of economic development.

No, these are outcomes of the working of this capitalist-imperialist system: of profit in command...of the blind, expand-or-die impulse of capital and its oppressive social relations...of the division of the world into oppressor and oppressed nations...of the rivalry between blocks of capital and contending imperial states. These crimes will continue as long as this system continues. But the world does not have to be this way.

II. Revolution Opens the Way

The only viable way to deal with the environmental emergency is revolution: a socialist revolution that establishes a radically new and different state power that unfolds its priorities from the needs of humanity overall, from the emancipation of humanity, and the protection of the planet.

The ultimate aim of this revolution is to bring a communist world into being: 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 means for really understanding, and changing, the world.

Socialism is the first step towards that world. In socialist society, ownership and control of production, the means of production that are in fact socially worked by thousands and millions of people, are socialized through this new revolutionary state. There will no longer be Wal-Mart or ExxonMobil. There will no longer be an imperialist military machine that rains death and destruction on people in the interests of empire. And under socialism, the rules of commodity production—of profit first, of expand or die—these rules no longer set the terms and framework for what is possible and desirable.

The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA sets out a framework for how a vibrant socialist society would be constituted and how it would function as a transition to a communist world. This Constitution is based on Bob Avakian's new synthesis of communism—which builds on the past experience of the Bolshevik and Chinese revolutions, draws on their positive and negative lessons, and raises this to a new, higher level of synthesis.

This is a socialism striving to overcome the great gap between mental and manual labor, where today only a small minority of society is engaged in the realm of working with ideas...but overcoming this gap on the basis of the flourishing of intellectual, scientific, and cultural life. A socialism where state power is held on to and used to solve the most accursed and vexing problems of society and to spread revolution in the world...but where power is held on to on the basis of the flourishing of great political ferment, dissent, and initiative.

This is not some utopia. A socialist society will face enormous challenges. There is the very gravity of the environmental crisis. For some time, any revolution that comes to power will face threats from considerable swaths of a hostile capitalist-imperialist world. The socialist society will have to confront the danger of counterrevolution. The new society will contain social divisions and backward ideas inherited from exploiting-class society. To make revolution, and keep it going forward, requires visionary leadership that bases itself on a scientific understanding of how society is and how it can be transformed.

The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic of North America sets out how a socialist economy and society would, and here I quote: "apply itself to contributing all it can to solving the environmental crisis and, to the degree possible, reversing its terrible and manifold effects and to ushering in a new era in which human beings and their society can truly be fit caretakers of the Earth." In a special issue of Revolution newspaper, we have put forth some key principles of socialist sustainable development.

* Economic development will be advancing the world revolution to uproot all exploitation and oppression and to emancipate all of humanity...this will be an economy meeting social need, creating a common material wealth that contributes to the all-around development of society and the individuals who make it up, and overcoming the oppressive divisions between mental and manual labor, town and country, different regions and nationalities, and men and women.

* The new socialist society will put the preservation of the ecosystems of the entire planet above its own national will take special responsibility to heal the scars of environmental damage caused by the former U.S. imperialism to other will be promoting unprecedented planet-wide cooperation among scientists and sharing knowledge and expertise with the rest of the world—while learning from others. It will imbue people with an appreciation of nature and a sense of responsibility to it.

* Socialist planning will combine centralization with decentralization. There will be overall leadership in drawing up plans, coordinating the economy, and establishing key social priorities, like uprooting racial oppression and the subordination of women. At the same time, the new economy will maximize, to the greatest degree possible, local initiative, management, and responsibility, and give wide scope to grass-roots experimentation within the framework of a unified socialist economy.

* Society will move decisively away from reliance on non-renewable fossil as well as nuclear power, and rapidly transition towards safe and ecologically sustainable technologies. This will be an economy that no longer relies on long-distance supply and delivery systems—that no longer exploits people or plunders the planet.

Again, this is not some blissful utopia. The Constitution sets out the principles and orientation for the transformation of society: it sets out the processes and structures of governance of the new society. But the motion and development of the new society is complex and new things and new problems will emerge. Basic policies, economic plans, and indeed the very direction of society must be interrogated and debated out broadly in socialist society. Moreover, the unresolved contradictions of socialist society—around patriarchy, around issues of sustainability, of balancing long- and short-term requirements, and so forth—will give rise to controversy and struggle. This will be a source of dynamism in socialist society.

Bob Avakian has given the example of novelist and social activist Arundhati Roy. Many of you know that she's been in the forefront of struggles against the construction of environmentally destructive dams in India. The question is posed: will it be possible for people like Arundhati Roy to organize and protest in opposition to environmental policy and direction under socialism? Yes, Avakian has emphasized that socialism must be a society teeming with dissent, protest, and contestation.

This is all part of the process of getting at the truth of society and the world, of promoting critical thinking in socialist society and enabling those formerly on the bottom of society to more deeply understand and more profoundly transform the world; this is crucial in advancing the struggle towards communism. And this will get very tense and wild at times, including protests, strikes, and upheavals that can destabilize society. People like Arundhati Roy must also be looked to—in order to help develop solutions to these very deep and serious environmental problems, even as there will be ideological struggle over issues of socialism, communism and where humanity is headed and needs to go.

How would a new and radically different state deal with a natural disaster, like a Katrina or a major earthquake. It would have the capacity to mobilize economic and technical resources on a vast scale. It would unleash the most important resource: people. The socialist state would enable scientists, medical personnel, technicians and engineers to come together with basic people in new combinations to analyze and solve problems—and to learn from each other. If there were an industrial or power disaster the state would warn about and seek to limit damage to ecosystems. And in all of this it would put the health of the people front and center.

You would have to be doing this in real time. You would want to popularize successes as well as continuing problems and what is being learned in coping with such disasters. Information and knowledge, rather than being quartered up, would be disseminated and critically examined. Mass education and debate would be going on at the same time. The socialist state would be unleashing people at all levels to take responsibility and initiative.

In confronting such a disaster, you would be paying attention to social disparities that come from a whole history of inequality, like the legacy of racism—as well as the uneven ways that disaster strikes—sparing some and devastating others. You would be broadly projecting a "serve the people" ethos—as opposed to the passivity and "each for themselves" outlook of capitalism. In short, there would be a world of difference in how an emancipatory socialist society would deal with such a situation.

Let me conclude. Huge questions of life, health, and the global environment are being posed in extreme terms in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan. We are living in perilous times. But there is no permanent necessity to live this way. There is the potential, locked up and suppressed by this system, for humanity to deeply understand and profoundly change the world in a liberating direction—to get to a world where human beings can flourish and humanity can truly act as caretakers of the planet.

We are building a movement for that revolution. And debating out the causes and lessons of this latest calamity...formulating and fighting for demands that rise to the challenge of this crisis...and raising sights to a whole new world—this is part of building that movement for revolution.

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Revolution #228, April 3, 2011

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A statement of support for BAsics, from the Talks and Writings of Bob Avakian:

A salute to Revolutionary Bob Avakian on his book "BASICS." I recall meeting Bob Avakian in the early, early days of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense while working on the BPP newspaper with Eldridge Cleaver, then the Minister of Information for the BPP. We worked out of his studio apartment in San Francisco, CA. Bob Avakian then a college student would come by often to converse with Eldridge on political issues, on many occasions I observed the conversations to be very intense at times, Eldridge always prodding and pushing Avakian to his limits with his responses. I'm sure from those conversations did help mold the student Bob Avakian into the Revolutionary leader and critical thinker he is. Bob Avakian thereafter would begin to talk at many BPP rallies on the issues of Liberation and Revolution which he unwavering continues to express in "BASICS." Bob Avakian continues to Educate to Liberate.

Emory Douglas
Revolutionary Artist
former Minister of Culture, Black Panther Party

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Revolution #228, April 3, 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

Additional Host Statements...


from John Santos, musician

During these distressing times of capitalism-gone-berzerk, and all out war on children, women, the elderly, the sick, families and anyone with a dissenting voice, we MUST be able to hear the voice of the people—not the terrorist voice presented as the only option by Fox News et al, but the voice of international solidarity that celebrates and defends social justice and human rights for ALL—a united, harmonious voice that prioritizes the well being of the earth and its inhabitants WAY ahead of greed and profit. We cannot hand over our lives and those of our descendants to the poor souls who have sold out and/or bought into the profit at any cost concept that is rapidly causing the deterioration and destruction of life on earth. Nor can we continue to allow the often blissful ignorance of colonial mentality to dominate society. We simply cannot afford to keep supporting slavery, genocide and widespread abuse of every imaginable kind, by remaining quiet, consumed by the very products and fears of the rotten, abusive system.

As we witness the death throes of this type of super-abusive capitalism, it becomes quite important that we give voice to those who truly seek universal peace, liberty and dignity. The April 11th, 2011 event at the Harlem Stage in New York entitled, 'On the Occasion of the Publication of BAsics: A Celebration of Revolution and the Vision of a New World,' will be a major step towards the free and open exchange of ideas and real alternatives that merit the consideration of the greater international community of working class citizens and those of conscience who know that a systemic change is necessary and long overdue. It is ironic that we have been made to believe that we are revolutionaries because we are pro-art, pro-truth, and pro-human rights. But revolutionaries we are, and we should wear it on our sleeves as we stand together against ineffectual, incapable, insensitive, and deceitful politicians and the money they represent, as they falsely lead us further into darkness in the name of freedom, patriotism and religion. In the name of real freedom fighters, past, present, and future, long live the voices of equality and justice—the voice of love!!!


from Nicholas Heyward Sr., father of Nicholas Jr. who was murdered by a NY city cop in 1994

Just this past Friday, March 18, a young man in Brooklyn named Jonathan Smith was brutally beaten by a mob of NYC cops. These cops had already shackled his legs and cuffed his hands behind his back, and still they started to beat him and kept beating him till he was dead. His mother and his son, along with many other people, stood and watched, begging the cops to stop beating him, but they wouldn't stop till they had beaten all the life out of his body.

In 1994, when a cop killed my 13 year old son, Nicholas Jr as he and other children played, no one could tell me that this cop wasn't going to go to jail. Not only did the system let this cop go without any punishment, cops across the country have brutalized and murdered people and continue to brutalize and murder people and almost never go to jail. With all this happening I can't understand how all the politicians all over the world still tell the people how great this country is; and that so many people continue to listen to them.

I remember hearing Bob Avakian talking about Revolution and speaking up for poor people. And I love how he speaks the truth about what's going on and backs it up with facts, and mixes in a little humor. In today's fucked up world, I need what Bob Avakian brings to the situation—the whole world does.

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Revolution #228, April 3, 2011

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Response to $200 BAsics Challenge

When I read the letter about donating $200 to the publication of the book BAsics and the celebration in New York, it really made me think. I had already donated $60, but I thought, why give only a little bit to a cause that demands that you give your all? The only real choice that oppressed people have in a life of slavery is to make the choice to support the Party that's working for Revolution. Revolution requires sacrifice! So I decided to give $400 more.

I earn just a little more than minimum wage and I sleep in my car—and even though I save a lot on rent, I know there are many who support revolution who can donate a lot more than me! I would especially like to issue a challenge to the people in the middle classes who could donate thousands. The people need this party and this leader in order to make the revolution that this world needs so badly.

And to those who used to have dreams of revolution but have given up. I challenge you to lift your heads and take another look! Look at the events in the Middle East and in Wisconsin—and tell me that the analysis that Bob Avakian has been making all these years is not correct! The huge cracks underneath the surface of this society are opening up and 1000s of people are starting to fight back. They need to be able to find the movement for revolution!

I invite you to join in the fight to break all of the oppressive chains of imperialism by donating all you can to BAsics and to the RCP.

A Proletarian who Desires Revolution

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Revolution #228, April 3, 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.

Send us your comments.

Revolution #228, April 3, 2011

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A Time to Step Up Distribution of Revolution

Revolution calls on its readers to step up the distribution of this paper. In the weeks leading up to the April 11 Celebration of Revolution and the Vision of a New World, we must expand the reach of—and networks built around—this paper. This is not only key to unleashing a movement around BAsics, and to creating broad interest in and bringing people to the event; it is key to laying the strongest basis to continue to make further advances in building this movement for revolution.

Revolution is the way to connect with those who are most inclined towards revolution—but it needs to reach far more broadly, to everywhere people are dissatisfied or angry, everywhere they are standing up or just searching, to those who may be put off by its revolutionary communist perspective but are willing to listen. Everywhere we go, we should be taking this paper and getting it into people's hands—and utilizing it to unleash discussion and debate over events in society and the world.

Beginning now, take 30, 50, 100 papers each week and get them out wherever you go. On subway trains and buses on the way to and from work, at laundromats and supermarket lines...where you go to school or live. Get them to your friends, relatives and co-workers. Each week, think (creatively) about the opportunities you will have to get the paper out and plan ahead. And don't be caught up short at a gathering or demonstration without a good supply of papers to sell.

Send us your comments.

Revolution #228, April 3, 2011

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From A World to Win News Service

Western powers grab for Libya

The following is a shortened version of an article we received from A World to Win News Service:

March 21, 2011. A World to Win News Service. The Western powers now bombarding Libya like to pretend that their so-called humanitarian intervention is something new in the world. It would be something new and amazing if the U.S. and Europe were fighting to liberate an oppressed people, but that's not what's happening.

What has now been rebranded as "humanitarian intervention" is just as old as what apologists for nineteenth-century colonialism called the "white man's burden." And it is no more new than the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, similarly touted as acts taken to rid the people of tyrants, which in fact just brought those peoples even more misery and on top of that foreign occupation.

Our indictment of the Western powers rests on two main arguments based on evidence whose truth would be difficult to deny: what these powers have done in the past, from the late nineteenth century through now, and why they have decided to respond to the Arab spring by singling out Libya for attack. Taken together, an examination of these two questions demonstrates that the West's current actions represent not a break with their colonial past but continuity.

To start out with the present, without upholding Gaddafi in any way, what has he done to Libyans that other Arab rulers have not done to their own people?

The repression in Bahrain is at least as vicious as in Libya. We are talking, after all, about a movement that initially demanded nothing but legal reforms and not the dismantlement of a regime. Yet Bahrain's security forces have responded with a viciousness rarely seen anywhere else, opening fire on crowds with pistols, rifles and .50 caliber machine guns. Their specialty has been the use of shotguns firing bird shot pellets, so that the number of seriously wounded people is enormous.

People everywhere were rightly outraged when Gaddafi's forces drove up to a Tripoli demonstration in an ambulance and then jumped out shooting. The same thing has happened on an even larger scale in Manama, Bahrain. The security forces there surrounded and burst into the main hospital complex, beating and shooting patients, threatening and beating medical staff, and even arresting a surgeon as he operated on a wounded patient. They are still occupying that hospital and preventing anyone from entering or leaving.

What kind of "humanitarian intervention" did the world witness in Bahrain? Troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates poured across the border in tanks and armored vehicles to support the beleaguered monarchy.

U.S. President Obama rang up the Saudi and Bahraini monarchs and gave them some personal advice. What he told them is not known publicly, but we do know what his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: she called for both sides in Bahrain to abstain from violence and, when asked, specifically refused to oppose the Saudi invasion. While she called for "dialogue," she refused to criticize the regime for arresting the leadership of what used to be the legal opposition, or for banning demonstrations and any other political activity. She didn't even threaten to cut off U.S. military aid to Bahrain.

Why? Because of Bahrain's strategic importance at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, the dependability of its rulers from the point of view of Western interests, and especially the importance of Saudi Arabia in keeping the region backward and American-dominated.

The very fact that the Bahraini royal family represents a privileged Sunni elite ruling over and against a Shia majority makes this regime extremely dependent on U.S. and British support and therefore pliable to their wishes. This kind of ethnic politics in the interests of empire is much like what the British did in South Asia and Africa.

Even the Western media gives the Bahraini rulers the kind of free pass it never gives Gaddafi. Parroting the U.S. and UK official narrative, the Shia movement for their rights is presented as a "sectarian conflict," completely ignoring the question of justice. This is not very different than portraying the Sri Lanka Tamil struggle against being crushed by the Sinhalese rulers or the Black South African struggle against white apartheid as simply unfortunate ethnic rivalries.

The main reason why Bahrain exists as an independent country in the first place is because Britain took it from Iran and allied with the clan that has ruled it for more than two centuries.

And exactly how "independent" is a country that is little more than a parking lot for the U.S. Fifth Fleet? What is that fleet even doing there in the first place?

And why, exactly, does Saudi Arabia exist, if not because Britain found it useful to bring it into existence and because it has been of such service to the UK and U.S.? And why is the rule of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia by god's earthly representatives any better than the same kind of rule in Iran?

In short, for the West, right and wrong are defined by interests—imperialist interests.

Regimes like Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are not necessarily what the U.S. and UK would like to have. Clinton said she was "alarmed" by Bahrain events, and that's probably true, not because of the loss of life but because they make for unwelcome political instability and come at an inconvenient time for the West.

But what kind of society does the U.S. & Co. seek to perpetuate throughout the Middle East, including Libya?

Clinton said she was "thrilled" to be in Cairo's Tahrir Square during the referendum held by the military, which doesn't mind letting people get distracted by the choice of making minor adjustments to the legal order. Most of the clauses in question had to do with limits on a president's term in office, largely irrelevant now that history has vetoed Mubarak's bid to be president for life. The military also added to the constitution a ban on any president marrying a non-Egyptian woman. This is a stinking expression of male chauvinism (it means that a woman president is unthinkable) and religious intolerance, as if what was wrong with Mubarak and his predecessor Anwar Sadat was that they were married to women whose mothers were English Christians. One thing the military did not put up to a vote is the constitutional clause defining Sharia [Islamic law based on the Koran] as the main basis for Egyptian law.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that the military's choices for this referendum gave its seal of approval for the vile male attacks on women who gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square to celebrate International Women's Day and call for women's rights a week before Clinton's visit. Is this what "thrilled" Clinton? Or was it the fact that the junta hasn't dropped the generations-old state of emergency or released all political prisoners?

Who is claiming to "liberate" Libya?

To look at the other leg of our indictment, look at just who it is that is bombing Libya.

The attack leader was France, which already had its warplanes in the air when the Western nations met to consider a course of action. They started bombing even before the March 19 meeting was finished.

France previously demonstrated its regard for humanitarian values when its aircraft and troops killed as many as a million Algerians during its war to prevent Algerian independence only 50 years ago. While piously proclaiming the need for "international intervention" in Libya today, France vigorously opposed that independence movement's calls for UN intervention to stop French bombardments of Algerians.

In today's France, only the most ignorant or willfully blind would argue that President Nicolas Sarkozy has any respect for the lives and rights of Arabs in Libya when he has deliberately expressed flagrant contempt for those of Arab and African immigrants or their children in France.

Some youth in Paris' heavily-immigrant suburbs compare Sarkozy's undisguised lust for blood in Libya to his infamous threat to "clean out the scum with a power hose" in the country's ghettoized housing estates where the hopelessness produced by French society is most ruthlessly enforced by the police. Sarkozy's declaration of war against immigrant youth helped spark the 2005 ghetto rebellion. For all the confusion that reigns among these youth today, there is a stark truth in the connection they see between what the French rulers are doing to them and what they are trying to achieve in the Arab world.

If Sarkozy is so anxious to take the lead in Libya, it is at least partly because France has been weakened in its former colonies and neocolonies in Africa and the Middle East.

The same logic applies to the UK, much of whose empire has been absorbed by the U.S., despite a record of violence against the world's peoples whose extent and length in Asia and Africa has no parallel in human history.

This relationship with the U.S. has both allowed the UK to retain more of the benefits of empire than might have otherwise been the case, and also made it have to settle for less than what it might otherwise want. Libya is a particularly promising morsel for Britain, whose leading enterprise, BP (formerly known as British Petroleum), purchased the rights to extensive offshore exploration and drilling from Gaddafi. Having a strong hand in deciding what kind of regime will be set up next in Libya is of great importance to the UK, even while it is also paying much attention to regaining political influence in neighboring Egypt.

While Sarkozy has talked the loudest, UK British leaders have been the most active in visiting Egypt and the Persian Gulf to pick up the threads of British influence that have been somewhat frayed by American domination of these countries. While France had the Ben Ali regime in Tunisia in its pocket, backed the Moroccan monarchy and had a strong hand in Algeria, and the U.S. had Mubarak, the UK was reduced to competing with Italy for Gaddafi. Britain's three governmental parties may disagree on how to handle the treatment of various sectors of society at home, but they all agree that Britain's particular part of the world financial crisis requires deeper and more extensive exploitation of the Third World.

As for the U.S., its slightly ambivalent position reflects its complicated interests in today's Middle East and its already overextended involvement in two wars. While American politicians and pundits (especially during the Bush government) have recognized that most of the regimes the U.S.'s regional domination depends on are unsustainable in the long run, Washington has become wary that big changes, especially in the context of today's popular upheaval, may be unfavorable to its interests, both in its conflict with Islamic fundamentalism and in allowing the European powers—who are both allies and rivals—to advance at the expense of a weakening American empire.

Further, as we have analyzed previously, the U.S. has its own broader interests in the region and in the world, and its logical, reactionary reasons for wanting to avoid being seen even more than ever as the invader and occupier it really is, especially because of a country it does not consider strategic. This explains the U.S. formulation that the U.S. will be the "leading edge" of the attack on Libya—asserting the leadership that comes from the fact that no other country or even group of countries can match its military strength—while also trying to avoid being at the center and differing with the UK and even more France about both the publicly admissible and real aims of this war.

Given the complexity of U.S. interests, the relative unity among the American ruling class is just as remarkable as that in the UK. Regardless of what they might prefer, they mostly seem to agree that the worst scenario, from the point of view of the empire, is one which might see further instability and challenges to U.S. domination in the region and the world.

In a word, what the West wants in Libya is control. The interests the monopoly capitalist rulers of all of these powers are pursuing have nothing to do with those of the Libyan and other Arab peoples or the world's people—or the most basic and long-term interests of the people in the "homelands." Just the opposite: the aims of this war are the same ones that have motivated European and American policy and actions in the Middle East and elsewhere since the late nineteenth century: the establishment of spheres of influence to monopolize the exploitation of the peoples and their resources, and the establishment or defense of pliant regimes representing exploiting classes whose interests accord with their countries' economic and political domination.

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

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Revolution #228, April 3, 2011

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U.S. & European Allies Attack Libya: Imperialist Aggression Under Cover of "Humanitarian Intervention"

On Saturday, the U.S., along with France, Britain and other powers launched vicious military aggression against Libya. Once again, the U.S. launched an air war against another country in the Third World, or global south. Once again, the U.S. has arrogated to itself the right to use force to punish and control any country that crosses it.

On Saturday, the U.S. hit Libya with a barrage of some 112 cruise and Tomahawk missiles launched from U.S. submarines and destroyers in the Mediterranean, off the Libyan shore. French and British warplanes attacked targets in the east. The attacks continued Sunday and are continuing at this writing. Radar and anti-aircraft installations, military fields, air bases, and military convoys have all been attacked—both in the west in and around Tripoli, as well as in the east near Benghazi. On Sunday, the U.S. struck with Harrier jump jets and B-2 stealth bombers, attacking the Qaddafi government's ground forces and air defenses. Qaddafi's residence was also hit, even as the U.S. claimed it was not targeting him. So far there are reports of dozens of military personnel killed along the road to Benghazi and over 64 dead and no doubt more wounded or injured in the western half of Libya.

The U.S. rulers and their allies claim they're doing this out of "humanitarian" concern for the Libyan people who are being attacked by Qaddafi's forces, and that their military aggression is justified because it's been sanctioned by the UN, joined by other world powers, and approved by the Arab League.

These are lies.

Qaddafi's reactionary effort to brutally crush an uprising against his 42-year-long rule does not change the fact that the war launched by the U.S. and its allies has nothing to do with concern for humanity or the Libyan people. These are the same U.S. imperialists who launched wars of aggression, based on blatant lies, against Afghanistan and Iraq, murdering, maiming, torturing or displacing literally millions of civilians in the process. This is the same U.S. government responsible for the slaughter and torture of civilians in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and other places... the torture chambers of Guantánamo and Bagram and who knows where else... and the wholesale backing of the apartheid Israeli government—and its criminal wars on the Palestinians in Gaza.

At this very moment, when U.S. officials denounce Qaddafi for systematically abusing "the most fundamental human rights of Libya's people," the U.S. is backing violent despots savagely repressing their own people in Bahrain, Yemen and Saudi Arabia because it conforms to U.S. imperial interests. On Friday, March 18 alone, at least 45 people were killed and 200 wounded by the pro-U.S. Yemeni government in the capital Sana'a. On the same day in Pakistan, a U.S. drone strike killed 26 people—mainly tribal elders and local civilians.

But now, suddenly, the U.S. finds violence against civilians "unacceptable" in Libya—why? Because it conflicts with the U.S.' imperialist interests.

(For an in-depth analysis of Qaddafi and Libya, see, "Revolution Interviews Raymond Lotta: The Events in Libya in Historical Perspective... Muammar Qaddafi in Class Perspective... The Question of Leadership in Communist Perspective," Revolution #226, March 8, 2011)

The fact that this is being carried out under UN auspices means nothing. The UN is a cabal of reactionary states dominated by the world's big imperialist powers. The UN is an institution whose purpose is maintaining capitalism-imperialism's domination of the planet, including when necessary legitimizing its violent aggression against those who stand in the way of the U.S. and other big powers. The UN authorized the 1991 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, whose purpose was to maintain U.S. imperialist control of the Persian Gulf, which resulted in the slaughter of over 200,000 Iraqis and the destruction of Iraq's civilian infrastructure. The UN approved sanctions against Iraq that led to the deaths of over 500,000 Iraqi children and probably over a million other Iraqis during the decade of the 1990s. Just as the U.S. has fully backed Israel and all the crimes it has committed against the Palestinians, the UN has refused to act against Israel, not even putting sanctions on them, despite being in flagrant violation of UN resolutions for over 40 years!  Now, suddenly, at the U.S. behest, the UN is acting.

European imperialist powers have joined the U.S. in the slaughter, hoping to carve up Libya in the post-Qadaffi era, even bring the old colonialism back: Italy, which carried out massacres in Libya when it dominated it as a colony... France, which killed over a million Algerians to maintain its grip... and Britain, which dominated Egypt and many other parts of the Arab world for decades. This is the imperialist "multi-lateralism" that the U.S. claims legitimizes this criminal enterprise.

These forces now see an opening to violently reassert their power and to actually tighten the imperialist noose around Libya's neck, and to project military and political power deeper into a region that is now full of upsurge against regimes long supported by these imperialists. In fact, while the uprising against Qaddafi began with strong elements of justice to it, the vicious military attacks by the U.S. and its allies have now fundamentally altered the situation and made it necessary for everyone to oppose this gangster attempt to take advantage of the situation for imperialist ends.

Then there's the Arab League—made up of pro-U.S. lackeys and despots, like Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, who are widely hated by their own people, many of whom are now rising up against them. The Arab League has never fought for UN actions against Israel, but now finds its voice when it comes to Libya.

All this calls to mind Malcolm X's point: "Uncle Sam's hands are dripping with blood, dripping with the blood of the black man in this country. He's the earth's number-one hypocrite. He has the audacity—yes, he has—imagine him posing as the leader of the free world."

The United States is the greatest single purveyor of violence against ordinary people in the world today—and has no right to carry out aggression against anyone, anywhere.

People within the U.S. have a special responsibility to condemn U.S.-sponsored military aggression against Libya. We call on people all over the U.S.—especially students—to act against this outrage.

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Revolution #228, April 3, 2011

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True Stories of U.S. "Humanitarian" Intervention

The U.S. and other imperialist powers are portraying their missile and bombing assault on Libya as a "humanitarian" operation to protect the Libyan people who are being attacked by Gaddafi's forces. A quick look at three examples from recent times—and many more could have been chosen—reveals the actual nature and effect of such U.S. "humanitarian" interventions: the expansion of U.S. domination, and increased suffering and oppression for the people in the countries subjected to this military "intervention."

Haiti: "Operation Uphold Democracy" 1994—1995

In September 1994, the U.S. invaded Haiti. The invasion, officially called "Operation Uphold Democracy," restored the presidency of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who had been overthrown in a military coup in 1991. Aristide was returned to power, but the U.S. and U.S.-allied military forces remained to enforce so-called "peace-keeping" and "nation-building." The Haitian people paid a steep price for this U.S.-imposed "democracy" and "peace." Among other things, Haiti was forced to agree to the harsh dictates of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) aimed at making it more fully subordinate to global capitalism-imperialism. Civil service jobs were slashed, tariffs protecting Haitian industry and agriculture were cut, and demands were made to privatize state monopolies. All this had a devastating impact on Haiti's already fragile infrastructure—which would in turn intensify the horrible impact and aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. A decade after this U.S. intervention, Haiti remained the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. As if this weren't enough, 10 years after the 1994 intervention returning Aristide to office, the U.S. supported yet another coup by Haiti's capitalist elite and reactionary military figures, and in February 2004 forced Aristide out of Haiti. Behind talk of "peace keeping" and "democracy," U.S. intervention ended up bringing worse exploitation oppression, and repression.

Sources: "U.S. Hand in Haiti's Agony," Revolutionary Worker #1231, March 7, 2004; "Haiti's Nightmare: Made in the USA," Revolutionary Worker #1234, March 28, 2004

The U.S. "No Fly" Zone over Iraq 1991-2003

From 1991 to 2003, the U.S., with UN support, enforced a "no fly" zone over Iraq, supposedly to protect the oppressed Kurdish minority in Iraq from the Saddam Hussein regime. The Hussein regime did brutally oppress the Kurds. But when Hussein killed 5,000 Kurds with poison gas in 1988, the U.S. did not object—in fact, the U.S. and its allies provided helicopters and other material used to gas the Kurdish people. In 1991, President George H.W. Bush, called on the people of Iraq to rise and promised. "This is your time. The American armed forces will help you. We need your help to change for democracy and freedom." When, in response, Iraqis did rise up, including in Iraqi Kurdistan, the U.S. stood by while thousands were killed or driven from their homes by Hussein's forces. Why? The U.S. wanted to use these uprisings to drive Hussein from power, but without fragmenting Iraq or setting in motion upheaval that would threaten U.S. interests and allies. In May 1991, after images of thousands of Kurds driven into freezing, snowy mountains sparked a worldwide outcry, the U.S. and its allies created a "safe haven" zone in Iraqi Kurdistan. But one aim of this "safe haven" was to prevent Iraqi Kurds from fleeing into Turkey—a U.S. ally that was conducting its own brutal war on the Kurds. Keeping Iraqi Kurds from fleeing into Turkish Kurdistan in turn made it easier for Turkey to kill thousands and displace millions of Kurds from their homes. In sum: the U.S. "no fly" zone over Iraq led to more suffering and death, including for the Kurdish people.

Sources: Larry Everest, Oil, Power & Empire: Iraq and the U.S. Global Agenda (Common Courage Press, 2003), chapters, 4-7; see also, Revolution coverage of Iraq in the 1990s at

Somalia: "Operation Restore Hope," 1992

The government of the North African country of Somalia collapsed in the early 1990s, and the country was torn by conflict between different reactionary forces. In December 1992, a U.S.-led multinational force invaded Somalia under a UN mandate to—supposedly—carry out humanitarian relief. U.S. military focused on hunting down forces that resisted U.S. authority. U.S. Army Rangers rode roughshod over the people, denigrated Somalis with racist terms like "skinnies" or "sammies," and terrorized people with helicopter flyovers above densely crowded cities. On September 19, 1993, U.S. troops shot missiles into a crowd, killing 100 unarmed people. This led to widespread outrage which exploded in an October 1993 battle in the capital Mogadishu, depicted in the book and movie Black Hawk Down. In that clash, Somalis wiped out an elite force of U.S. Rangers, killing 18, wounding 75, destroying four helicopters, and capturing much equipment. This defeat forced the U.S. to withdraw its forces and end its mission in March 1994.

Sources: "Ugly Dynamic in Somalia, U.S. Backs Reactionary Invasion by Ethiopia," Revolution #75, January 7, 2007; "'My God Was Bigger Than His': The New World Order Invasion of Somalia," Revolution #20, October 30, 2005; "Book Review of Black Hawk Down: The Power of the People Is Greater Than the Man's Technology," Revolutionary Worker #1010, June 13, 1999

There is no such thing as humanitarian imperialism.

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Revolution #228, April 3, 2011

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Len Weinglass—A People's Lawyer

From a reader who knew Len Weinglass

Leonard Weinglass died March 23 in New York, after an intense battle against recently diagnosed cancer.

After working selflessly for many decades as a people's lawyer, Len was 77 years young when he died. From his hospital bed, he was fighting to live: still working on cases, still eagerly attuned to news of uprisings rocking Egypt and the Middle East, still waiting for the coming spring breeze to warm his beloved New York City. There was still so much more he wanted to contribute to the people of the world.

Len's early life was quietly conventional. Having decided by the fourth grade to become a lawyer "to help people," there was law school, the Air Force, then settling into a community-based law practice in New Jersey. But in 1967 after yet another routine, racist murder of a Black man by white cops, the masses of Black people rose up for six days, lighting up the sky in the Newark Rebellion. Len had a front-row eyewitness view of the raw power of oppressed people when they refuse to accept their oppression. Years later, he reflected on that moment: "I didn't start out a radical, but the times and the people changed me. Maybe I had been waiting for something, not even knowing it, but then here it came...."

Len first found himself in the political spotlight a few years later, as defense co-counsel with William Kunstler in the historic Chicago 8 conspiracy trial. At the height of the war in Vietnam, mass antiwar protests at the 1968 Democratic Convention erupted into days and nights with several thousand youth defiantly staying in the streets despite brutal police attacks, chanting "The Whole World Is Watching!" The government put protest leaders and organizers on trial (the case of one defendant, Black Panther leader Bobby Seale, was severed for separate trial—after he was physically bound and gagged in the courtroom for demanding his own legal rights!). But the defendants and their lawyers turned the whole case around. The defense went on the political offense! They seized the high ground by dragging the truth about the war into the courtroom, putting the government on trial for its crimes. Their bold example lifted the antiwar movement even higher, and modeled a new standard for how to defend against government repression.

Len Weinglass went on to work on some of the most cutting-edge political cases of the next 40 years. Dedicating himself to defending people who were fighting the power, Len was known by friend and foe alike as a brilliant, relentless courtroom warrior. He would leave no legal stone unturned in fighting to defend several generations of people—dissidents, truth-tellers, rebels, radicals, and revolutionaries. Daniel Ellsberg in the Pentagon Papers case—the Camp Pendleton 14 (Black soldiers charged for fighting the KKK)—Iranian student revolutionaries. Native American activists Skyhorse and Mohawk, and Jimi Simmons. Jane Fonda suing Nixon; Weathermen; Angela Davis. Gibson and Justice (Black prisoners). Death penalty cases, prisoner cases. The case of the Macheteros (Puerto Rican independence movement). The LA 8 (Palestinian activists). These are just a few of the cases Len took on.

It always especially moved Len to see young people standing up against their own government's crimes, and he defended many of them too, including: U. Mass Amherst students for mass civil disobedience against CIA recruiters on campus in 1987. The "White Rose" anti-nuclear direct action in California. And young antiwar protesters who disrupted New York's "Yellow Ribbon" victory parade at the end of the first Gulf War.

Len was renowned for his skills as a trial lawyer. But he was also loved widely for his enormous, fearless heart. Here was someone who never sought personal fame or gain. Who gave his all—time after time, battle after battle—with passion and moral certitude, with insight and outrage, all drawing up from a deep well of respect and love for the people. He deeply believed everyone accused of a crime deserves a legal defense. But beyond that, he felt it was an honor to be able to assist people who step out to resist and fight against injustice, especially when the abuse comes at the hands of U.S. imperialism—and he was willing to take risks to uphold that honor, often taking on cases that were controversial or unpopular in even progressive circles.

There were the anonymous David and Goliath cases too: Anyone whose rights and dignity were being abused by the government, by corporate greed, by the police—by the system, any part of it! could come to Len, and find him ready to throw as much hard work and attention into their case, as he would for the most celebrated cases.

He stayed this course, living by his principles and never backing up or fading or selling out, even after the Sixties ebbed. Len kept going to the edge and pushing. When the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal reached him—Len did not hesitate to pour everything he had into defending this courageous revolutionary with his legal work and in travelling the world to take Mumia's case to the people. In 1992, days after the leader of the people's war in Peru, Abimael Guzman (Chairman Gonzalo), was captured and sentenced to death by the Fujimori regime, Len flew to Lima with a delegation of international human rights attorneys, demanding Guzman's full rights under international law. Len stayed with this case for many more years, including representing Guzman before the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights. In the weeks before his illness laid him low, and even while hospitalized, Len was preparing briefs in the case of the Cuban 5 (political prisoners in the U.S.), working on the WikiLeaks case of Julian Assange while also paying close attention to Bradley Manning's situation.

Beyond his 24-7-365 lawyer role, Len always involved himself deeply in political movements and issues beyond that. "I've always felt it was as important to know what the U.S. is doing in Guatemala, and what it did in Vietnam, as it is to know newly adopted rules on voir dire... if you work as a defense counsel in this country you should have the broadest possible understanding of the current and historical practices of your adversary." He marched, attended conferences, spoke frequently. He taught in formal classrooms (sometimes) and informal settings (every chance he got, from inner city classrooms in Oakland to prestigious universities). Len was a founding signatory of Refuse and Resist!, and later an early supporter of the World Can't Wait, Drive Out the Bush Regime.

Len Weinglass was a courageous and much beloved friend who leaves an inspiring legacy. His was a life lived on principle. He was determined to give a voice to justice and contribute to making a better world. He wasn't afraid of living for that and he invited everyone he met to come aboard for that journey.

Send us your comments.

Revolution #228, April 3, 2011

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Two different views on: Accumulating Forces for Revolution

We received the following from a reader:

In a recent discussion of the RCP's new statement "On the Strategy for Revolution," someone observed that they had always thought of "accumulating forces" simply as winning people to become communists. Beyond that, they thought revolutionaries were mainly just seeking to create broad public opinion in favor of revolution and communism. This person is still relatively new to the movement for revolution, but I have observed that quite a few others—including veterans of this movement—still too much share in this same wrong conception of our strategy. For this reason, I felt it was important to compare and contrast two different approaches and where each of them lead.

To put it simply, winning people to become communists—and to join the Revolutionary Communist Party on that basis—is extremely important. So is creating broad public opinion for revolution and communism. But to think that is all that is meant by "accumulating forces" is both to envision a different—and far less realistic—strategy for revolution and to envision a different—and far drearier and less viable—vision of a new world.

Here are a couple of questions that sharpen this up.

When someone first encounters this revolution, when they first express an openness to learning about it, when they first find something attractive and inspiring about Bob Avakian and/or his re-envisionment of revolution and communism, when they step forward to fight the power or to contribute to the revolution in some other way, do we see this as a good thing to be worked with and learned from and transformed over time through an ongoing strategic relationship? Or, do we see those parts of the person's thinking and behavior that still reflects their lifetime of being trained and shaped by capitalism and decide that they really are a long way away from becoming a communist and so it's really hard to fit them into this movement?

This may sound like a no-brainer, but I have heard communists get frustrated that people who are relatively new still believe in god or don't really know how to explain to others what this revolution is about. I have even heard some communists complain that a person who is one of the first people in a certain neighborhood to start distributing Revolution newspaper is paying for the papers themselves and just giving them away rather than selling them!

Yes, we have to struggle with people to break with ways of thinking and acting that this system has trained them in... and yes, we have to train people in the full strategy of this revolution and enable them to act with increasing initiative... but to do any of this—and to do any of it in line with our strategic aims—we have to let people in to this revolution.

Are we seeking to learn everything we can from those who are beginning to step forward into this revolution and what clues this might offer as to potential pathways to bring forward others? Are we appreciating what a leap it is for people in society today to begin to relate to the movement for revolution and working together with them to develop forms that enable them to contribute in a meaningful way even as they learn more and get in deeper? Are we listening to—and learning from—the criticisms that people have, including about the "all or nothing" feeling they still too often get from us? And are we fighting for, and in line with, a society where everyone falls in line and carries out work in the same way, or are we really going for, and fighting in a way that reflects the kind of wild and woolly, vibrant and ferment-filled socialism that Bob Avakian has re-envisioned?

Further, do we really get that at the time of the all-out struggle for the seizure of power if there is going to be a real chance at winning the revolutionary movement will need to have organized into it many millions who are not communists? Do we get that while it is extremely important that a growing core of people do make the leap to becoming communists, no one can say in advance which people will travel that whole road? And, do we get that no one develops only through the work that we do with them, but rather through the whole multi-level reality that is influencing them which includes us, but also others who are themselves unevenly taking up this revolution, as well as the whole broader world?

When we make plans, do we comprehend the full scope of those who would want to contribute, in one way or another, and make sure that we are giving them opportunities to do so? Are we comprehending the ways that people with diverse views and levels of commitment coming together can actually create/unleash new energies? Are we building "we's" at all different levels... "we's" that interpenetrate with one another and create a whole greater than the sum of its parts?

If we are not finding the means to work with many different people who are at many different levels of political and ideological development, if we are not finding the ongoing ways to carry out ongoing political and ideological struggle with them, and if we are not increasingly developing the means for them to engage in this struggle together with each other, then almost no one will make this leap and even if they do they—and we—will still be very isolated and encircled by the broader non-revolutionary mood of society... as well as pretty brittle and dogmatic.

On the other hand, many people can make a meaningful contribution to the movement for revolution—including in influencing and reinforcing others towards this revolution—even as they themselves are still learning more and figuring out where they stand. This can mean things like giving money to particular efforts, helping to distribute Revolution newspaper or other materials, ushering at an event, inviting someone to make an announcement in their class, being part of fighting the power, and many other things. This can also mean things like raising their questions and reservations, offering their suggestions or their criticisms, and sharing with us the work and ideas they are passionate about.

A lot of this has to do with understanding how the concept of "solid core with a lot of elasticity" applies, and can be applied, to reality. I've emphasized here the elasticity—but this elasticity can only contribute on the basis of a solid core that is constantly expanding and deepening. To put it another way—none of what is talked about above can be unleashed in a way that can really contribute to revolution without the party being strengthened. The recently released RCP statement, "On the Strategy for Revolution," gives a great deal of emphasis to the importance of this in order to make revolution. Here's what it says, in talking about the work that has to be done now:

"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."

It goes on from there to emphasize the need 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," as well as the related need to "much more fully wield our Party's newspaper, Revolution." On the basis of doing and constantly strengthening this kind of work—on the basis of this solid core— we should be able to recognize the basis for and to do much better at unleashing all kinds of elasticity.

Finally, let's stop writing people off if they don't come around for a while. Are we only interested in those people who come forward in a straight line? Why not let's make much more systematic use of our newspaper—sign many more people up for the e-subs and get many more people to subscribe—while we encourage them at the same time to "get into Bob Avakian"... so that as they pursue other priorities and interests they are able to stay in touch... and to reconnect when events in the world cause them to think again.

With all this in mind, it is worth returning to, reflecting more deeply on, and really using as a guide for our practice the very broad invitation and challenge at the end of the Statement on Strategy:

"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."

Send us your comments.

Revolution #228, April 3, 2011

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LAPD Murderer of Manuel Jaminez Xum Exonerated

Six months after hundreds of people in Westlake/Pico-Union took to the streets for three days to protest the cold-blooded murder of Manuel Jaminez Xum (Manuel Jaminez) by the LAPD, the instruments of bourgeois dictatorship lined up and delivered their response. On March 15, the police commission announced their decision that this murder was "within policy" of the LAPD. At almost the same time, the L.A. County District Attorney's office called the shooting "lawful" and said it would not be filing charges against the murdering cop, Frank Hernandez. These two announcements were choreographed between a morning press conference of Guatemalan "community leaders" calling on people to be peaceful after the release of the decision, and an intense police presence in the area, including cops on horses, a fortified Rampart police station, police on rooftops, and police cruisers monitoring people who gathered to protest that evening.

Manuel Jaminez was a 37-year-old immigrant from Guatemala who came to the U.S. looking for a better life for his family, and was used, broken, and ultimately killed by the workings of this system. He had been here about seven years, working as a day laborer. On the day he was killed, he was drunk and upset. According to the police commission report, many witnesses said Manuel had a knife and he was threatening passers-by on the sidewalk. Some people were concerned and fearful and called the police over to help. The police came up with guns out. Within the space of one minute of their approach, they had shot Manuel twice in the head. The cop who shot him—and who has now been completely exonerated by the bureaucracies and courts—is known in the neighborhood to be a brutal, lying pig. And after killing Manuel, the police left his body lying on the sidewalk for four hours in the middle of this heavily populated, Central American neighborhood, much the way the KKK used to leave hanging Black bodies from nooses as a warning and threat to all Black people.

According to the report of the LAPD's own police commission, several people on the street, who saw Manuel with the knife before the police came, tried to talk to him and calm him down and some were able to do so temporarily. Why is it a random person on the street could try to resolve this situation without violence, but the police—who supposedly exist to "serve and protect"—could not find any solution other than immediate execution?

As we said in a previous article, just as it would not be seen as legitimate for firefighters to let people die for fear of entering a burning building to save their own skin, police who are supposed protectors of the people have no legitimacy if they cannot risk their own safety instead of taking someone's life in less than a minute. And what does it say about the society and system as a whole when a department police chief, its "civilian" police commission, the county District Attorney, and the city mayor can all look at this kind of murder and conclude that it is "within policy," "lawful," and even that the murdering cops are "heroes"?

This system has no future for the millions like Manuel Jaminez. The message sent Tuesday is: this system will use you up, tear you down, degrade and debase you, and kill you without hesitation—and don't even think about challenging any of this. The uprising in Westlake last September sent a different message, and gave a glimpse that something else is possible. It is up to those who are part of the budding movement for revolution to connect the anger and desire of millions to be free of this day-to-day horror with the leadership that exists to make the revolution we need.

Since 2007, according to the L.A. Times, police in L.A. County have killed 159 people. They killed 11 people just in the first nine weeks of 2011. The day before the announcements came out justifying the murder of Manuel Jaminez, the Long Beach police chief held a press conference to justify the December murder of 35-year-old Douglas Zerby by Long Beach police, who surrounded Zerby in the dark without announcing their presence and opened fire, shooting him 12 times. Zerby, a white man, was drunk, sitting outside of a friend's house in the affluent neighborhood of Belmont Shore, playing with a water-hose nozzle in his hand. He never even knew the police were there. And less than two weeks ago, the L.A. police chief justified another shooting from last year, the murder of 27-year-old Steven Washington, a Black man with autism who was just walking down the street when police driving near him heard a noise and responded by shooting and killing Steven. This murder was so blatant that in this case the police commission had to disagree with the police chief, something it has done very rarely, but no criminal charges have been filed.

Send us your comments.

Revolution #228, April 3, 2011

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UCLA Student's Anti-Asian Tirade "Goes Viral"

On Friday, March 11, a UCLA undergraduate posted a racist video rant on the Internet targeting "Asian" students, which she titled "Asians in the library." Her video found its way to YouTube and "went viral" in no time. In days it had been viewed by millions of people in the U.S. and half-way around the world, while numerous remixes, parodies and responses appeared and went viral as well.

In the video the student says:

...The problem is these hordes of Asian people that UCLA accepts into our school every single year, which is fine...but if you're going to come to UCLA, then use American manners.... In America, we don't talk on our cell phones in the library....I'll be deep into my studying...all of a sudden...over here from somewhere, 'Ohhhh. Ching chong ling long ting tong. Ohhhh.' Are you kidding me? During finals week?

The timing of her racist rant made it an international, even global incident, covered in online editions of dailies such as The Times of India and the British Daily Mail, along with the New York Times, the New York Daily News, the Washington Post and many more. You see, the video was posted the same day that the earthquake, and then the tsunami, struck Japan, causing tremendous destruction and loss of life, and setting into motion the catastrophic damage and growing danger still unfolding as multiple nuclear power plants head toward melt-down.

Not unaware of the timing, the student refers to "the tsunami thing" as the topic the "Asians" were probably discussing. Her advice to them? Go outside so you won't freak people out if you get bad news.

UCLA's campus paper, The Daily Bruin, received an unconvincing letter of apology from the student on Monday morning, saying what she did was "inappropriate," and that she would undo it if she could. The response from the university was likewise unconvincing, sounding more like typical "boilerplate." The Chancellor sent an email to students, and released a video, that said it was "a sad day for UCLA"; that he was "appalled by the thoughtless and hurtful comments," and that "speech that expresses intolerance toward any group of indefensible and has no place at UCLA" and that they would investigate to see if any student rules were violated.

Angry Responses

The Bruin received hundreds of e-mail comments in response to their coverage of this story, as did the Chancellor's Facebook page, and other newspapers wherever the story appeared. Many wrote that the rant was "hate speech," and called for the administration to discipline the student, if not expel her. The New York Times quoted a student who wrote, "Tolerating such discourse of hate and racism is now being construed as policy to condone such tirades." Others argued that the student's video, however odious, was protected by the First Amendment.

There were also viciously misogynist—women-hating—responses to the video (and responses that were reportedly interpreted by the woman who posted the racist video as death threats). Many people were shocked and outraged by the responses, but reacted by arguing that they were worse than the blatant racism in the video. One of the student's professors, quoted in the Daily Bruin, said, "What [she] did was hurtful and inexcusable, but the response has been far more egregious." What these people are not getting is what the two things—racism and sexism—have in common.

Impact on Asian Immigrant and Asian-American Students

Among far too many progressive students and faculty there's been a tendency to refuse to confront the great harm that is done when open expressions of racism are ignored, downplayed, or tolerated. A letter to the Daily Bruin from "hurt asian" said:

Someone walked past me today and said, "Ching chong." I responded with a blank stare. Then the person laughed and said he was asking me a question. I want to leave my former dream university to go somewhere else. Please make the racism stop it hurts.

The Asian Pacific Coalition wrote about the seriousness of the anti-Asian tirade in an article published in the Daily Bruin:

As evidenced by the responses of outrage and hurt from our community, it is clear that this student's comments can be considered a hate speech, an act of discrimination, harassment and profiling.

And another student wrote:

A lot of people are failing to recognize that those who have been hurt by this video, i.e., Asians, do NOT see this as just...something stupid and ignorant. It's all of that, but more importantly, it's a reflection of a much larger problem, that is, a LONG history of racism or racial prejudice against Asians. What this girl did just reminded Asians of all the crap that has happened or is happening to them in this country. I assure you, if this world were so perfect... when this video came out, Asians wouldn't even give a damn. But the reality is that the world, and yes, UCLA, is a place full of bigots. That's why people are so upset, and that's why you can't just brush this off as a "mistake."

As the student points out, there is a history of discrimination and violence against immigrants from China, Japan, and other Asian countries—from the brutal exploitation of the Chinese laborers who worked building the first transcontinental railroads, to the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, the politically sanctioned violence against Chinese immigrants in early California, and the internment and theft of property of over 120,000 Japanese-Americans on the West Coast during World War 2.

Just prior to this incident at UCLA, the March 10 issue of The Los Angeles Weekly published a front page story—"How Los Angeles Covered Up the Massacre of 17 Chinese." The article describes the lynching of 17 Chinese men and boys in 1871, hanged by an angry mob near what is now L.A.'s Union Station following the shooting of a white man. No one was prosecuted for this mass killing. In fact, the article reveals that the killings were "allowed to unfold (if not also set in motion) by some of the city's leading citizens."

Toxic, Racist Atmosphere Growing on Campuses

Throughout the University of California system, recent years have seen a dramatic drop in the numbers of African-American and Latino students on the campuses, a direct result of the attack on and ending of affirmative action; and of the significantly increased cost of tuition. This change in the "complexion" of California's elite public universities coincides with more incidents of openly expressed racism.

A year ago UC San Diego saw this come to a head when some frat rats called for a "Compton Cookout," with crudely racist descriptions of how those attending should dress to "look the part." The situation escalated when a noose was found hanging from the campus library; and it led to a major outpouring of outraged students in protest that coincided with the statewide planned student protests against tuition fee hikes. [See "UC San Diego: 'Don't UC Racism?'", Revolution #195, March 14, 2010.]

Discrimination toward Asians

What's particular to this racist tirade is that Asian-Americans are the single largest ethnic group among UC's 173,000 undergraduates. In 2008 they made up 43 percent of the students at UC Berkeley; 40 percent at UCLA; as well as 50 percent at UC San Diego and 54 percent at UC Irvine. Asian-Americans are about 13 percent of California's population, and 5 percent of the U.S. population.

There is an undercurrent on these campuses that there's something wrong with this predominance of Asian-American students at these elite public universities, particularly among a section of white students. It's not a new phenomenon, but it coincides now with the rise of the fascist movement represented by the Tea Party forces, and by Christian fundamentalism/fascism. They are calling forth and mobilizing a section of people who see white privilege, and male privilege, frustrated. "Our country, even our elite public universities, are being overrun by these hordes of aliens allowed to come here without learning 'American manners'"—that is, to subordinate themselves, to find their place, within a society, and a system, whose cornerstone since its origins has been white supremacy.

And it corresponds to the concern felt by a section of the ruling class that the dramatic changes taking place in this country are undermining and threatening the social coherence at a time when the world is in great flux, and the U.S. faces tremendous challenges to its global dominance, including from China.


There is an urgency, and a responsibility, for those repulsed by the "Sarah Palin" ignorance and arrogance growing across the country to step out to challenge and organize resistance to the reactionary political and ideological atmosphere that is fostering this kind of banal racism, and worse. Nowhere is this more called for than on the college and university campuses. The RCP issued a Message and Call 18 months ago—"The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have"—that stated:

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

When incidents like this break out, there should be a call issued by students, faculty and staff; a demand that business as usual be stopped, and that people be brought together in things like campus-wide teach-ins that get to the truth about this country's history and present-day reality, and challenge the mythology that underlies this reactionary resurgence of white and male chauvinism, and aggressive patriotism.

Again, from the Message and Call:

...we live under a system that, from the start in this country, built up its wealth and power by enslaving millions of Black people, stealing land from Indians and Mexicans through war and genocide, and working many people, including children, literally to death. It is by such murderous means that this system has expanded "from sea to shining sea" across this continent—and around the whole world.

And as a result of the workings and dynamics of this system,

Waves of immigrants, unable to live in their own homelands, travel the earth in search of work—and if they find it, they are worked until they can hardly stand and are forced into the shadows, with the constant fear that they will be deported and their families broken apart....

All of this can and must be changed, and the students on these campuses have a critical role to play in becoming a voice, and a force, working to put an end to it.


Post-Script: The Sacramento Bee reported on March 19 that "it seems the original video was not intended to be a one-time hit." Apparently the student's father posted on his Facebook page that "She's asking for domain suggestions for 'Asians on their cellphones in the library!' She's shooting videos as I write." And according to the Bee, he'd written prior to the incident that she was cast to be in the audience of MTV's Jersey Shore reunion show.

Send us your comments.

Revolution #228, April 3, 2011

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Cold Capitalist Calculations and Human Lives in Japan

We received the following from a reader:

In one of the articles on the catastrophe in Japan the following important point was made: "This is not a 'Japanese' problem, but a problem of capitalism-imperialism. This disaster is bound up with the anarchic expand-or-die profit-in-command nature of the capitalist-imperialist system and rivalry between imperialist countries."

In light of this I wanted to make the following comments:

This "anarchic expand-or-die profit-in-command nature of the capitalist-imperialist system," gives rise to a corresponding mentality and morality. I believe it was Marx who said that capitalists are "capital personified." I happened to listen to several different interviews with U.S. economists in the days that followed the disaster. One question that was put to all of them was "what impact will this have on the Japanese economy?" and the answers given were all essentially the same: "Surprisingly, this will probably be good for the Japanese economy in the medium and long term. There was tremendous destruction of human capital [yes, those exact words were used in 3 different interviews] and of infrastructure, factories, inventories etc. And all this destruction will mean that there will need to be a lot of new investment to rebuild and that will be good for the economy."

The devastating deaths of thousands upon thousands of real human beings—people loved and cherished by other real human beings—and the homelessness and suffering of hundreds of thousands more and the impact of that on millions more, all that is reduced to the cash nexus of "loss of human capital," like these people are just inventory pieces to be written off on the loss side of the ledger. And in fact in the dynamic and logic of capitalism-imperialism, human beings are just commodities whose labor power is used to create profit, so that the "creative destruction" (their words) of capitalism, becomes for this system a positive force for more growth. If this is not a reason why the capitalist-imperialist system must go to the dustbin of history, I don't know what would be.

On the second part of the quote above about the "rivalry between imperialist countries," every one of these commentators made the point that the disaster in Japan could be good for the U.S. economy. Some examples given were that because the Japanese automobile industry had been set back, the U.S. might be able to step into the breech and make some gains! One might be tempted to dismiss these as the ruminations of really sick individuals, but no, in the dynamics of capitalism these are "rational" statements. These are the cold calculations of a competitor who is forced to seek advantage wherever it can be found.

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Revolution #228, April 3, 2011

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Japan: Continuing Capitalist Nuclear Crisis and Great Danger

by Orpheus Reed

Editors' Note: The following is an update on the nuclear crisis in Japan. We are posting this as a supplementary piece to the talk by Raymond Lotta, "We Cannot Solve the Environmental Emergency Under this System, But There Is a Way... and It Is Communist Revolution." We call on readers to help spread Lotta's talk widely, including among activists, websites, etc. in Japan.

The nuclear crisis in Japan continues—with the threat of an even bigger catastrophe at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, on top of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan's northeast coast. As this article is being posted (March 27), the official death toll from the earthquake and tsunami is now over 10,000. Over 17,000 are still missing, and hundreds of thousands are homeless. The radiation spewing from the crippled reactors at the Fukushima plant has already done much damage. The situation remains extremely dangerous and is clearly not under control—even as the actual extent of the dangers is being consistently covered up by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO, which owns and operates the plant) and the government.

Earlier this week, Japanese officials claimed progress in restoring power to the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant. The problems at Fukushima began when the tsunami knocked out the plant's electric power, which shut down the cooling systems for the nuclear reactors. This has caused the radioactive fuel in the reactors to rise to much higher temperatures than under normal operating conditions and emit tremendous amounts of heat. That, in turn, has triggered explosions and fires, damaging the reactors' structures and leading to leakage of radioactive material. A top official with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said that the restoration of electric power was "perhaps the first optimistic sign that we have that things could be turning around." But bursts of radioactive smoke and steam from several reactors have continued. And further deep problems have emerged. On March 27, TEPCO admitted there was radioactive water in all four troubled nuclear reactors that was 100,000 times above normal levels. And airborne radiation in reactor #2 was measured at 1000 milliSieverts, forcing work crews to withdraw. (A "milliSievert" is 1/1000 of a Sievert, a unit of measure for radiation exposure.)

Widespread contamination from radioactive fallout has already been found in vegetables, water supplies, and milk stretching at least as far away as Tokyo, 130 miles from Fukushima. The fallout is made up of radioactive material from the leakages at the Fukushima plant, which is then spread by winds and then falls to the ground, especially with rainfall. Radioactive material has also flowed out of the plant, which is located right on the coast, and into the sea.

Nuclear experts have noted that this spread of contamination is sharply at odds with the levels of emissions being reported by government and Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) officials. There are dangers of both larger releases of high-level radiation within the plant itself and the immediate area around it, and the increasing spread of lower but still harmful levels of radiation from the plant to wider areas in Japan and beyond.

The harmful effects on the health of millions of people and on ecosystems—in Japan, and potentially over a much wider area—are not just a "Japanese problem." This is a global problem that people worldwide need to confront and act on.

The Problems With the Reactors

On March 25 an official of the Japan Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency announced that the core vessel of reactor #3 at the Fukushima plant was damaged. The reactor vessel is made of steel and contains the nuclear fuel rods, and this core is surrounded by a concrete containment vessel. The New York Times reported that a "senior nuclear executive" in contact with the situation said this reactor had a long vertical crack running down the side of the reactor vessel and has been leaking fluids and gases. This is very bad news, because reactor #3 contains plutonium in addition to uranium in its fuel rods. This mix is extremely dangerous, because plutonium can cause cancer even if a very small amount is ingested into the body. Both uranium and plutonium remain radioactive for tens of millions of years, and now it appears an unknown amount has been released to the atmosphere.

On March 24, two workers trying to connect power to a pump in a building next to reactor #3 stepped in radioactive water that poured over their boots. The water was 10,000 times more radioactive than levels normally found near a reactor, so contaminated that it reportedly caused radiation burns on the workers' feet and ankles immediately. Most media reports have said the two workers were exposed to 170 milliSieverts of radiation. But according to Japan's National Institute of Radiological Science, the workers were likely exposed to 2 to 6 Sieverts. It is known that a single dose of 5 Sieverts (or 5,000 milliSieverts) can be expected to kill half of the people exposed to it within a month. In the 1986 disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the former Soviet Union—the most deadly nuclear accident in the world so far—6 Sieverts was the typical radiation dosage suffered by the clean-up workers who died within a month of exposure.

TEPCO officials also said water with equally high levels of radiation was found in the reactor #1 building, and other water that is likely radioactive was found in reactor buildings 2 and 4. What this means is that there are widespread, potentially lethal levels of radioactive contamination in and possibly around all these reactor buildings, making it very dangerous and difficult for crews at the plant to work there and restore control over the failed cooling system.

Various experts point out that restoring cooling on the reactors involves a great deal more than simply reattaching the power and turning on water pumps. The cooling mechanism for the type of reactors such as those at Fukushima (known as boiling-water reactors, which were designed by General Electric) is a complex system of pumps, piping, levers, and valves at the bottom of the reactor that circulate water through the reactor core. Normally, the cooling system uses freshwater. But since the power was lost and triggered the crisis, large amounts of seawater have been dumped on and pumped into the reactors to cool the nuclear fuel. The seawater has been boiled off by the heat from the fuel rods, leaving behind tens of thousands of pounds of salt in the reactors by some estimates. Experts say that if the salt is building up around the nuclear fuel rods, this would insulate the rods and prevent water from cooling them. The rods then would heat even more, and that could lead to nuclear meltdown—with much larger releases of radiation. Salt can also cause valves crucial to the circulation of cooling water to jam.

In addition, the maze of pipes and the pumps need to be manually vented of air by technicians to prevent holes being blown in the pipes when pumps are turned on. This has to be done in areas now covered, at least in part, by highly radioactive water. Radioactive cobalt and molybdenum have also been found in the water in the reactors, and one nuclear expert has said that this could be connected to corrosion that has built up over years in the reactor pipes.

Rain of Radiation

As these new dangers emerged at the plant, contamination from radioactive fallout was being found in Fukushima prefecture (state) and neighboring prefectures, and at least as far away as Tokyo, 130 miles to the south. The wind has primarily been blowing east toward the sea, so the majority of the radiation from the plant would likely have blown over the ocean. This itself is cause for real concern, despite continual denials from various quarters that any problems will arise from this, because the radiation would supposedly be diluted to harmless levels in the vast expanse of the ocean. Ocean ecosystems all over the planet are under extreme stress and being degraded in many ways, and the radioactive discharge from Fukushima is adding to that situation.

The amount of contamination found in Japan itself (and trace levels of radioactivity have been detected as far away as Iceland) indicates that it's quite likely much more radiation is being released from Fukushima than is being admitted to. Either the authorities are completely failing to adequately monitor the spread of radiation from Fukushima, or else they are deliberately covering it up. A "senior Western nuclear executive" quoted in the March 24 New York Times said that "The contamination levels are well beyond what you'd expect from what is in the public domain," given that the winds have been mainly blowing out toward the sea.

According to little-publicized reports from Austrian meteorological researchers, in the first 3-4 days of the crisis, radioactive iodine released from the Fukushima Daiichi plant amounted to 20 percent of the amount released during the 10 days of the Chernobyl disaster. During the same period, the release of radioactive cesium from the Fukushima disaster amounted to 50 percent of what resulted from Chernobyl. This is a shocking finding, since these figures only take into account the first few days of the current disaster, which is far from over.

Alarming facts are also coming out about contamination of soil. Japanese science ministry officials found radioactive iodine-131 in soil 40 kilometers (about 24 miles) from the plant to be over 400 times the normal level. Levels of cesium-137, which remains radioactive longer than iodine, were 47 times normal. According to Science magazine, the levels of cesium-137 found, at least at this spot, were higher than the highest levels found in some villages near Chernobyl. These are extremely disturbing facts, but instead of warning people, the science ministry said that it "sees no problem at this time" and that it had "no environmental standard for radioactive substances in soil."

So far, only people within 12 miles of the Fukushima nuclear complex have been evacuated. Now, two weeks into the crisis with significant contamination being found much beyond this, the government has simply "encouraged" people up to 19 miles from the plant to evacuate.

Radioactive iodine-131 was detected in Tokyo's water supply on March 23, at a level twice as high as the maximum level deemed safe for infants to drink under existing standards. Warnings were issued that infants should not be given tap water. Iodine-131 is particularly dangerous for newborns, young children, and pregnant women and their fetuses. Radioactive iodine in the bloodstream gets concentrated in the thyroid gland, where it can mutate cells. Although iodine-131 decays (that is, becomes non-radioactive) fairly quickly, it causes higher levels of thyroid cancer in people exposed to it. According to researchers, in certain parts of Belarus, 36.4 percent of children who were under four when the Chernobyl nuclear disaster occurred can expect to develop thyroid cancer.

Contamination in the water supply was also found in three other prefectures, and people streamed to the stores to buy bottled water. The revelation about the water supply contamination was quickly downplayed by the Japanese government. Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said that Japan's standards were very strict and "even if people consume the water a few times, there should be no long-term ill effects." But even small incidental doses of iodine-131 have been shown to increase the risk of thyroid cancer later in life for people exposed when they were young children. And even as Edano downplayed the danger, the U.S. military moved a prized nuclear aircraft carrier—which was located off the Japanese coast even further away from Fukushima than Tokyo is—to a more distant location because of fears of contamination.

Radiation levels that exceed safety standards have been found in 12 different types of vegetables in the Fukushima prefecture. And radiation has also contaminated milk in two prefectures. Several countries banned the import of fruits, vegetables, and milk from four Japanese prefectures, including Fukushima. In recent days, the radiation in Tokyo's tap water has dropped below the maximum allowed level for children (while it remained above that level in parts of Ibaraki prefecture, south of Fukushima). But changes in wind direction and rainy conditions could bring the water contamination levels back up.

Groups like Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), Union of Concerned Scientists, and the Citizens Nuclear Information Center in Japan are seeking to alert people to the real dangers. A statement by PSR "expressed alarm over the level of misinformation circulating in press reports about the degree to which radiation exposure can be considered 'safe.' According to the national Academy of Sciences (U.S.), there are no safe doses of radiation. Decades of research show clearly that any dose of radiation increases an individual's risk for the development of cancer." A PSR representative noted that eating food contaminated with radioactive material is especially dangerous: "If an individual ingests or inhales a radioactive particle, it continues to irradiate the body as long as it remains radioactive and stays in the body." Many reports on the crisis are saying that exposures below 100 milliSieverts do not pose a cancer risk. But according to the PSR, what research shows is that exposures of only 10 milliSieverts still lead to a 1 in 1,000 chance of developing cancer. So that means if 1,000,000 people are exposed to 10 milliSieverts, 1,000 of them would be expected to develop cancer from that dose.

Maintaining Capitalist "Order"

Each time some new revelation comes out about radiation being found in food, water and soil, some government official, corporate spokesman, or pro-nuclear power expert is quoted in the mainstream media claiming the threat is not dangerous and will likely have little or no impact on people's health. Instead of being given a scientifically accurate picture of the situation and being mobilized to deal with the dangers, the masses of people are being denied the truth and reduced to passively waiting for "help." Systematic monitoring of fallout is not being done, or the truth about the situation is not being released.

All this is not fundamentally a matter of government incompetence or corporate dishonesty. As Raymond Lotta points out, "The main concern of the Japanese imperialist state is to maintain order and safeguard strategic interests. The main concern of the power companies is to protect investments.

"This is why the Japanese people have been kept uninformed. This is why they have been kept from mobilizing in the way called for... And in a world divided into contending imperialist nation states, there cannot be the kind of global mobilization of people and resources commensurate with the scale of this grave crisis." (From "We Cannot Solve the Environmental Emergency Under This System, But There Is a Way...and It Is Communist Revolution," an edited transcript of a talk by Lotta given at the recent Left Forum in New York City. This talk digs into how the nuclear crisis in Japan and the whole global environmental emergency are caused by the capitalist-imperialist system—and how communist revolution to establish a radically new and different state power opens the path for the only viable method to deal in an all-around way with that emergency.)

After their nuclear reactors have caused so much human suffering and environmental damage already, with potential for even greater devastation, the Japanese capitalist-imperialist rulers have declared their intent to continue and step up development of nuclear power. The U.S., France, and other imperialists have announced similar intentions. All this is outrageous and intolerable! The people all over the world must struggle for demands on the system to deal with the effects of this disaster—as we dig into its actual causes and wrangle over the real solution to the urgent environmental emergency that humanity and the planet face.

Send us your comments.

Revolution #228, April 3, 2011

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Opposing Prison Censorship
Reading of Prisoners' Letters at San Francisco State University

Project Rebound is a unique re-entry program of formerly incarcerated students at San Francisco State University. It was founded in 1969 and is the only program of its kind in the nation. On March 8, Project Rebound and the "Committee to Overturn the Ban against Revolution Newspaper" held an event opposing censorship against prisoners, featuring the reading of letters from subscribers to the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund and Revolution newspaper.

As the statement to Overturn the Ban says, "Prisoners are human beings! And as human beings they have the right to develop as critical thinkers and explore alternative solutions to the plight of the people and the planet itself."

Over 90 people came out to hear readings of the letters offered by both students and faculty. The event also included a presentation about the Georgia Prisoners' Strike, a powerful spoken word piece by an alum and director of an ex-offenders program, and comments by activists for the rights of formerly incarcerated. The program was tied together by leaders of Project Rebound, who explained to those who didn't know about the inhumane conditions and torture that prisoners face, and the need to defeat the censorship of prisoners' minds. Richard Brown (one of the former Black Panthers known as the San Francisco 8) was also in the house, lending his support.

One young woman who did a lot of work on the program talked about how this event was very personal for her. Her father was recently incarcerated. "He never had a chance to go to school, never had the chance to achieve his full potential. It's disgusting that anyone would treat a human being like that."

The readings began with a professor of sociology. She read, with visible emotion, a letter from a prisoner to the San Francisco Bay Guardian, thanking them for publishing an article about the struggle to Overturn the Ban against Revolution newspaper. In the letter the prisoner said that not only had he been educated, but rehabilitated. He ended, "And I have Revolution to thank for that, not the California prison system, not the church, but all those wonderfully dedicated people who come together each week to help put together such an enlightening and inspirational periodical."

A member of the Black Students Union has seen many friends and relatives taken off to prison. Before reading a letter from a California prison, he called prisons "systemic, modern day slavery."

A young woman from a Filipino student group on campus read a letter from a subscriber at Soledad Prison; a performance artist and lecturer read a letter from an Apache reader of Revolution; a Project Rebound intern read a letter in response to "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have" printed in Revolution newspaper; a Chicana from La Raza Student Organization read "A Stomach Virus in the Belly of the Beast" where a Black prisoner is asking for the Spanish language edition Revolucion, in order to better reach out and communicate with Latino brothers; and a Chicana sociology major, one of the originators and builders of the event, read a moving and determined piece from a young prisoner, "International Women's Day, 2010: A Time to Act." He wrote, "I just want your readers to know that I am constantly struggling with prisoners about the importance of the liberation of women as part of the emancipation of all humanity, which is not easy by any stretch of the imagination but still must and can be done."

A final reader was Tommy Cross. Tommy is an SFSU student who was on the BART platform the night Oscar Grant was murdered. He captured the cold-blooded killing on video, and then testified against the killer-cop Mehserle in his trial. He chose to read the "Letter from a Texas Gulag," in which the author explains how Chairman Bob Avakian has helped him to place the interests of humanity above his own.

As shared by the sociology professor at the opening of the event, "I am here today because some of my best and most inspirational students picked up something in prison, picked up a little spark, like this banned newspaper, that led them here. Each one, teach one, light a spark, End the Ban!"

Send us your comments.

Revolution #228, April 3, 2011

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Thousands in Texas Protest Cuts

We received the following report from a reader:

On Saturday, March 11, 12,000-14,000 people came from across Texas to the capital of Austin, to march against the slashing of funds to schools, and the gutting of programs like Pre-K, medical care for children, the elderly and people with mental illnesses. This was a largely white crowd, with buses organized by parents and schools from the suburbs of Dallas and Houston and medium size towns—tourist destinations like New Braunsfels. Others came from San Antonio and even as far away as the Rio Grande Valley. A fair number of Chicanos participated but just a handful of immigrants. Nevertheless several Spanish speaking contingents formed up to make their voices heard, mixing "Si, Se Puede" with English language chants. This was important as much of the rant on talk radio blames immigrants from Mexico for the "budget crisis."

A majority of the crowd were younger teachers and parents—mothers with teenage children. 40 percent were youth, from junior high to young 20-somethings. We saw a few Farmworker signs and banners from community organizer groups but this was not the "activist" crowd; there were many fewer people of the '60s generation than usually show in Austin, but music from the '60s like "Get up! Stand up! Stand up for your rights!" set a tone. High school marching bands headed up the demonstration and there was lots of picture-taking, nervousness and excitement and chanting as many people, youth especially, seemed to be attending their first political action of this kind.

Sections of people who were not so present were African Americans, people from the Texas panhandle and the eastern part of the state. We need more investigation of the reasons for this.

One very popular slogan among students was "Power to the Pupil"; also a number of youth carried home-made signs expressing concern for the future. Parents' signs railed against the mindlessness of the governor and other politicians, threatening to vote them out or called out their "priorities," like one that read "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance." Still other signs had a more militant tone—a number of posters had a symbol of education, and dared the politicians to "come and take it." We also saw slogans like "Fight Like an Egyptian" and "Demandamos justicia!" One very interesting phenomenon—there were very few American flags.

We arrived early and immediately busted out with the Message and Call. "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have," agitating to groups of students and parents gathered along the street before the march about what kind of a system steals the future from the youth. The slogan, "This system has no future for the youth but revolution does" captured a lot of attention among middle strata moms as well as teachers and of course the youth. But there was some hesitation, and on reading that this statement was from "the communists" some people handed it back, with a polite "no thanks." That clued us and as the march took off we stood in the middle of it, people flowing past on both sides, calling on people to get this message from the Revolutionary Communist Party, on the revolution we need—a revolution aimed at emancipating all humanity. This divided people out, and while some averted their eyes, many others reached through the crowd to get copies. There were smiles and I felt a little firming of the spine among some folks at this kind of boldness. And again we were throwing in points from the Message & Call about what this system offers youth—like becoming a mindless killing machine for the system itself, etc.

Another of our small team stood on a corner as the march took a turn, agitating about revolution being the solution. At times so many people left the demonstration to grab the statement from him, that he had a hard time keeping up with the demand. He thought that our presence there was very important in letting even the more conservative sections of this Texas crowd know that there is such a party/the communists are here. We were there representing for the future.

At the end of the demonstration we spread out across the edge of the crowds on the walkways out of the park, to reach people with the RCP's statement "On the Strategy for Revolution." This provoked a lot of curiosity and a number of people approached us for a copy. They were not sure what they thought about revolution but felt things were taking a radical turn and were reaching for radical perspectives. They wanted to read it. There was interest in the fact that the RCP was a national organization, with a regular publication, and when asked people readily donated something for materials. Teachers especially expressed outrage at what they saw as a stealing of the future from the younger generation. Many spoke about the need for more awareness about what the cuts would mean; others wanted to see a tsunami of people challenging those in power. It was obvious that there is a very important section of teachers that need to be reached with this whole revolutionary program, and we did bring out the new Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) several times—but probably not enough!

Among the more advanced, especially among the younger people, there was a lot of grappling with questions of "how" and what kind of revolution is needed. Some of these youth came to the event specifically looking for information on this battle and political literature in general. They raised questions about communist conceptions of "each according to their need"—like who would decide that? The vision of the people all over the place struggling over those kinds of big questions—what do people need—lifted a veil from the eyes of one youth who took a bundle for his friends. A young woman wanted to know if "fighting could be creative," saying she did not see it that way. We talked about the critical role of art and culture in this revolution, and they ended up asking how to join us.

One teacher, who had distributed Revolution newspaper 10 years ago, wondered if it was even correct to be promoting an educational system that trained children to be minions of the system, and talked about his frustration that people were concerned about their kids' education but not the children who were dying under the bombs of the U.S. in Afghanistan, Iraq and other parts of the world. We struggled with him around points in the Strategy statement regarding the need for revolutionary leadership and for fighting the powers while transforming the people—for revolution. He gave us a way to be back in contact.

I will end with a few other comments regarding the sentiments from some in the crowd :

  1. Numbers of people brought up the need for people to unite, to have a massive determined wave of people power and the need for more information about what was going on.
  2. Talking with one young Chicana later, she felt that the main thing that was accomplished at the march was solidarity—people of different nationalities coming together around the battle. She is from the Rio Grande Valley and thinks many teachers where she lives are basically working class, i.e. tied to working class communities, and talked about a war being waged on the working class. She (and others too) think that the "budget crisis" in Texas is fake, and pointed to the record profits Wall Street is making, the tax cuts for the wealthy, etc. She thinks that these attacks are what Republicans have been long wanting to carry out. There is great fear in her community that resolves down to inaction and even apathy. Also a significant amount of limitations on the role of women—she broke up with her boyfriend over her participation in this struggle. She is concerned about the racism against immigrants that is being spewed as part of the excuse for the "crisis," as a way of dividing people—and imposing more of a clamp down.

Send us your comments.

Revolution #228, April 3, 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 #228, April 3, 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 #228, April 3, 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 #228, April 3, 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 #228, April 3, 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 #228, April 3, 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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