Revolution #292, January 20, 2013 (

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #292 January 20, 2013

Get Into the New Bob Avakian Interview and Spread It Everywhere

January 20, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


The first segment of the new five-part interview of Bob Avakian by Michael Slate hit the airwaves on Friday, January 11, 10 am PST on the Pacifica radio station KPFK (Los Angeles, 90.7 FM). New installments will run on the next four Fridays, same time. The interview can be caught live online at And each part will be available for download shortly after airing, at and the KPFK audio archives.

In February, a film of a new six-and-a-half hour speech by BA given in the fall of 2012 is set to debut across the country.

If your heart aches to see an end to the horror upon horror piled on people around the world... if you are sick and tired of this shit and dream of a radically different, much better world... then you need to seriously get into these works by Bob Avakian, the leader of a new stage of communist revolution. You need to confront the brutal reality we face, get underneath the way things are and how things don't have to stay that way... and you need to engage with the scientific potential, strategy, and leadership for a real revolution, for a whole different way the world could be.

Right now, be a part of spreading BA's new interview by Michael Slate so that it's heard in the barber shops and bodegas, campuses and living rooms, and all kinds of places around the country.





Revolution #292 January 20, 2013

January 2013

Rise Up for Abortion Rights On the 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

January 20, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Jan 21-26: Week of Action—
Washington, DC and San Francisco

Abortion and birth control are fundamental rights. Forcing women to have children against their will is a form of enslavement. And if women—half of humanity—are not free, then no one is free.

January 22, 2013 will mark the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion. Yet today, abortion is more stigmatized, more dangerous to provide, and more difficult to access than at any time in the last 40 years.

See Plans, Reports and photos Straight from the Week of Action for Abortion rights from DC and SF.

And check website for ongoing coverage.



Fetuses are NOT babies.
Abortion is NOT murder.
Women are NOT incubators.

For info East Coast and nationwide: StopPatriarchy@

For West Coast: StopPatriarchyBayArea@

Protest against death in Ireland

In October 2012, Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old dentist from India living in Ireland, was taken to the hospital because of extreme pain. She was 17 weeks pregnant at the time and it was quickly determined that she was having a miscarriage. Over the next three days, Savita and her husband Praveen repeatedly requested an abortion. The hospital denied the request even though the fetus was not viable, stating abortion is illegal under the Irish constitution.  It was only after the fetal heartbeat stopped that the fetus was removed. But by this time Savita was diagnosed with septicemia (blood poisoning) which led to multiple organ failure and her death. The death of Savita sparked widespread massive protests in Ireland. Above: Several thousand march through Dublin November 17, 2012, demanding the right to abortion.




Revolution #292 January 20, 2013


A Call to Action

January 13, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


We are told that “equality for women has been won” and that “there are no limits to what girls can achieve.” BULLSHIT!

Every 15 seconds a woman is beaten. Every day three to four women are killed by their partners. One out of four female college students will be raped or sexually assaulted while in college.

In recent years, pornography has become increasingly violent, cruel, degrading towards women; women are referred to as “cumdumpsters” and “fuckbuckets”; the “money shot” (ejaculation in a woman’s face) is standard; humiliating cruelty—like violent “ass-to-mouth” penetration—is normalized, and racist bigotry is sexualized. Meanwhile, the broader culture has been pornified: pole dancing is taught at gyms, “sexting” is a national phenomenon among teens, and the strip club is the accepted backdrop to “male bonding.” All this is tied in with, and reinforces, the trafficking of millions of women and girls as literal chattel in the international sex industry.

This is NOT society becoming more comfortable with sex. This is society becoming saturated with the sexualized degradation of women. If you can’t imagine sex without porn, you’re fucked.

At the same time, a Christian fundamentalist-driven assault is imperiling abortion, birth control, real sex education and women’s lives. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people who do not conform to traditional patriarchal gender and sexual norms are demonized and threatened. Abortion doctors are killed. Women who seek abortions—or even birth control—are stigmatized. 2011 saw the largest spate of legal restrictions on abortion since Roe v. Wade in 1973.


Fetuses are not babies. Women are not incubators. Abortion is not murder.

Women are not objects. Women are not things to be used for the sexual pleasure of men NOR are they breeders of children. WOMEN ARE HUMAN BEINGS CAPABLE OF FULL EQUALITY IN EVERY REALM!

It is long past time that this new generation stand up, reject, and RESIST this culture of rape and pornography; this culture that labels women “selfish” if they choose not to become mothers; this culture that reduces women and girls to sexualized objects while denying their full multi-dimensional humanity (including their right—as one essential part of this—to explore their sexuality without shame or stigma); this culture that demonizes and bullies LGBT people.

Our purpose is NOT to lobby for new legislation to ban pornography (“decency laws” have always served to further repress homosexuality, boundary-challenging art, and scientific sex education). We oppose the criminalization of women in the sex industry. Our mission is to challenge the new generation in particular to reject this culture of rape and pornography, to resist the shaming of women who have sex and/or abortions, to wage fierce cultural and political resistance to wake others up, and to bring forward a liberating culture that celebrates the full equality and liberation of women.

Contact with your questions, comments, ideas, and interest in getting involved. Get flyers to hand out, bring a speaker to your campus, ask your toughest questions. The future of women depends on YOU!






Revolution #292 January 20, 2013

From Delhi to Ohio and Around the World:
If You Are Not Fighting Rape, You Are Condoning It!
We Need Revolution and a Whole New World!

by Sunsara Taylor | January 13, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


On Dec. 16, 2012, a 23-year-old medical student was kidnapped, repeatedly gang-raped and tortured on a bus in Delhi, India, which had been taken over by six men. She was raped repeatedly, beaten viciously, and penetrated by a rusty iron rod which ruptured her internal organs. By the time her rapists dumped her naked body under an overpass, along with her male companion who had sustained broken bones and a severe beating, 95 percent of her intestines had been pulled out of her body. Her rapists attempted to run her over with the bus, but her companion managed to pull her out of the way. Still, her ordeal was not over. For nearly two hours, as blood poured from her body, medical treatment was delayed—first as passersby refused to stop and then as police delayed and debated over whose jurisdiction and responsibility she was. On December 29, after 13 days of emergency surgeries and medical attention, she died.

On August 11, 2012, a 16-year-old girl in Steubenville, Ohio, passed out at a party. While she was unconscious, the stars of the local football team stripped her naked, raped her, and goaded party-goers into urinating on her while crowds looked on. They dragged the unconscious girl to three different parties, violating her throughout the night. In cellphone footage taken that night, one of those at the scene can be seen laughing and joking about the rape of the girl. Referring to the fact that she was unresponsive as this assault went on, he jokes, "Is it really rape, cuz you don't know if she wanted it or not. She might have wanted it. That might have been her final wish." While this girl did not, in fact, die, a group of guys can be heard laughing as one of them goes on for a full 12 minutes saying things like, "She is deader than OJ Simpson's wife," and, "She is deader than Trayvon Martin."

How different are these two stories, really?

The cold truth is that today there is not a single place on the planet where it is safe to be female.

There is no place—on the street or in one's home, in a rural Third World countryside or in the major cities of the imperialist citadels, from Delhi to Congo to Ohio and everywhere else—where women and girls are not in danger of being raped. Where women and very young girls are not then blamed and devalued for being raped. Where women and girls are not told to "get over it" when they are raped. Where women are not reduced to breeders of children—shamed, coerced or forced into bearing children against their will. Where abortion and even birth control is not either illegal or seriously under attack. Where women and very young girls are not oppressed, beaten, imprisoned, insulted, molested, abused, harassed, exploited, murdered, spat upon, thrown acid at, groped, shamed or otherwise systematically diminished.

But this violence and degradation, all this cruelty and viciousness, is not just the depraved behavior of a handful of men. Nor is this just "human nature."

This is the nature of many men as they are shaped by the system we now live under, the global system of imperialism, which has patriarchy—the domination of women by men—woven into its foundation, its traditions, its "morals," and its culture. This violence is a direct and inevitable outgrowth of a system that feasts off of and requires the subjugated and degraded position of women in both its feudal/ medieval forms and in its so-called "modern" forms.

And this violence and hatred of women is fostered and CELEBRATED in one of the most mainstream cultural cornerstones of U.S. society today and one of the biggest industries in the world: pornography and the sex industry.

It is no coincidence that pornography has become more and more violent, degrading and cruel even as it has become more and more mainstream. It is not a coincidence that one of the most popular forms of pornography today is rape porn—and gang-rape in particular!

These rapes cannot be separated from the larger relations in the world where millions of women and young girls every year are kidnapped, tricked, sold by starving families, and beaten into the global web of sex slavery—and where millions of men have been conditioned to see women as nothing more than flesh to be consumed, defiled, brutalized, and discarded.

If there were nothing else wrong with this system, this alone would be reason enough to rise up and make revolution to sweep this system—with its celebration of woman-hating and horrific suffering it causes—off the face of the earth! And anyone who dreams of a better world must take up this fight.

As Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, has put it:

"You cannot break all the chains, except one. You cannot say you want to be free of exploitation and oppression, except you want to keep the oppression of women by men. You can't say you want to liberate humanity yet keep one half of the people enslaved to the other half. The oppression of women is completely bound up with the division of society into masters and slaves, exploiters and exploited, and the ending of all such conditions is impossible without the complete liberation of women. All this is why women have a tremendous role to play not only in making revolution but in making sure there is all-the-way revolution. The fury of women can and must be fully unleashed as a mighty force for proletarian revolution."

It is URGENT that this fury come forth—and it is a tremendous, and tremendously important, thing that this has begun to erupt throughout India!

For weeks, thousands of women as well as a significant number of men in India have been rising up in furious revolt against this recent gang-rape and death and the whole culture of misogyny it concentrates. For weeks, women's fury has poured out. Fury at having to live in fear every day of being attacked and raped. Fury at the way so many men treat public spaces as free-for-all zones for groping and harassing women. Fury at the way women are shamed and blamed if they are the victims of rape and other assaults. Fury at the way law enforcement ignores rape and protects rapists—where often it is the law enforcement, military and political officials themselves who are the rapists! Fury at the fact that in every realm of society, women are degraded and demeaned, devalued and brutalized, shamed and judged, treated like property and exploited and oppressed.

One of the most common things women are saying is, "This girl could have been me, it could have been any of my friends, and no one would have taken us seriously."

Through their fierce struggle, through their rage and defiance, these women and men are finally being taken seriously! They have faced down police wielding batons, water cannons and pepper spray. They have fought off sexual assault by reactionary men who went into the crowds to try to stop them. In fact, all this only made them more angry and made their protests more powerful!

Just, three weeks ago, almost none of these women themselves had any idea how furious they were. Three weeks ago, almost no one had any idea of the potential for growing numbers of men to stand up together with them. Make no mistake: the same depth of fury among women and potential among men exists within women and men the world over, but it will never come to the surface if we do not fight for it.

It is urgent that people everywhere stand with the women rising up in India. Their struggle is our struggle—the women there are our sisters!

It is urgent that we bring to people who are rising up an understanding of the genuine communist revolution as BA has re-envisioned it that is needed—and possible!—to get rid of the scourge of rape throughout the world. A good place to start is by digging into and spreading A Declaration: For Women's Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity.

Finally, it is urgent that we take a lead and inspiration from the unleashed anger in India to bring the same to the surface here in this country and everywhere else on this planet. We must take the responsibility to unleash this fury as a mighty force for the most radical and liberating revolution in human history—fighting today to put an end to the constant abuse and degradation of women, the whole culture of rape and pornography that stalks and endangers women, the whole vicious assault on women's right to birth control and abortion—as we build up the strength to put an end to this madness, here and all over the world, once and for all through communist revolution at the soonest possible time!

Join the movement to End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women.


From Delhi to Ohio and Around the World—If You Are Not Fighting Rape, You Are Condoning It!
Stop Watching Porn—Start Fighting Patriarchy!
Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution!




Revolution #292 January 20, 2013

Sustain Revolution and and build the movement for revolution

One More Reason to Sustain Revolution: Photos Aren’t Free

January 20, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


The danger: Revolution/Revolución and do not have the financial base to continue.

The Solution: YOU and others sustaining this paper and website.

We live in a world of vicious exploitation, brutal oppression, and environmental devastation. Each issue of Revolution reveals deeply and sharply the nature of the system responsible for these horrors—with analysis you can’t find anywhere else. And Revolution and invite, and challenge, people in many different ways to engage with the alternative to capitalism—a new stage of the communist revolution, based on Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism.

Here’s a real danger: Revolution/Revolución does not have the financial base to continue to operate—in print or online. That is a situation which must change right away.

A big part of the solution: forging—with creativity and determination—a network of sustainers, people who contribute money to Revolution and on a regular basis. Without this network of sustainers, Revolution will not continue to publish—in print or online. What a disaster that would be! But a vibrant, vital network of sustainers will make it possible for this paper and website to continue and expand its reach. And that network will itself be part of preparing the ground for revolution. For a full picture of how this can happen, and the role of Revolution within that, see “On the Strategy for Revolution” at

So, it starts with YOU. If you’re not a financial sustainer of Revolution, make arrangements with your local distributor to change that NOW. And reach out to many others who are inspired by the radically revitalized website and Revolution newspaper.

Arrange to sustain Revolution and through your nearest Revolution Books, your Revolution distributor, at (click the Donate link in the Revolution section of the site), or by writing RCP Publications, Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654-0486, or emailing us at

Each issue of Revolution presents photos from around the world. Photos that bring to life people whose lives have been ruled “off the agenda” by global capitalism-imperialism... that invite readers to dig deeper and learn “the story behind the picture” of major events in society...  that bring to life the emerging movement for revolution. In these ways, and more, photos in Revolution are critical to people learning that the world does not have to be this way, and how it can be changed.

But many of the photos we use in Revolution  have to be licensed, for a fee. They are not free. The average monthly cost of licensing photos to use in print and online is $650. We are challenging an individual or group of people to step to the plate and commit to sustain Revolution and at $650/month, to allow us to continue to use these photos.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But these photos are worth much more than that. Photos in Revolution are a key way to make the content accessible to those with limited literacy skills. And Revolution photos are essential to presenting a compelling picture of the world as it is, and making the case that all this suffering, exploitation, and oppression are not necessary. They invite, and challenge, people to engage with the message of Revolution, and with a whole other way the world can be.

These photos have to be paid for. And even with frugal and judicious use of photos, the bill averages $650/month. That is money we currently do not have, and if we don’t raise it, we cannot continue to license photos. And that can’t happen.

There are many projects readers can contribute to. There are rent, Internet connections, and utility bills to cover. Generous donors contributed several computers that allow us to put out the paper and run the website. But there are ongoing costs of updating equipment and software. There is the cost of enabling reporters and editors to function. Every sustainer commitment helps make all this happen. Within that mix, one project we are specifically challenging an individual or group to commit to is to cover the $650/month photo bill. This could be a grouping of attorneys, teachers, professionals in other fields... who can combine their sustainer commitments to cover our photo costs for the coming year.

Whatever contribution you can make, it will make a huge difference in a world crying out for fundamental change.


Photo 1

Man in Gaza, holding the body of his two-year-old child killed by an Israeli rocket
Photo: AP

The cover photo on our November 25, 2012 issue is of a man in Gaza, holding the body of his two-year-old child killed by an Israeli rocket. Circulating on walls in the inner cities, passed hand-to-hand in cell-blocks, and posted and circulated on campuses, the photo humanized the Palestinian people who were dismissed by the ruling class media as “collateral damage” so that Israel could “defend itself.” This photo—licensed from an agency.


Photo 2

Two children standing next to home destroyed by a U.S. drone
Photo: AP

The December 16, 2012 Revolution cover photo shows two children standing next to the ruins of a home destroyed by a U.S. drone. At a time when Obama and “liberal” ruling class media are celebrating the fact that drone warfare kills without “endangering American lives”—as if American lives were more valuable than anyone else’s—this photo was a powerful wake-up and shake-up call on people to stop accommodating themselves to that intolerable immorality, either out of ignorance or ignore-ance. And, for reasons you might imagine, photos of the death and destruction caused by U.S. drone attacks in rural Afghanistan are very difficult to obtain. So when a photo like this is available through an agency, it is important that we have the resources to license it.


Photo 3

Student revolutionaries visiting a facotry in socialist China in 1967
Photo: AP

The January 13, 2013 issue of Revolution includes a stereotype-busting photo of student revolutionaries visiting a factory in socialist China, in 1967, during the Cultural Revolution. You see the faces of youth who took time out from their studies to bring liberating revolutionary theory in the form of Mao’s Red Book to the workers. This photo, those faces, confront people who have bought into the lies and distortions that the previous socialist societies were totalitarian disasters. Photos like this play a big role in challenging people to wipe the sand out of their eyes and take an open, fresh look at the accomplishments of past socialist societies, and to engage with Bob Avakian’s new synthesis and leadership for a new stage of communist revolution. Ironic as it might seem, this photo of the Cultural Revolution had to be licensed from a photo agency for a fee.





Revolution #292 January 20, 2013

Scenes from BA Everywhere

Week of January 14

January 20, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


"Scenes from BA Everywhere" is a feature that gives our readers an ongoing picture of this multi-faceted campaign, and the variety of ways that funds are being raised, and the whole BA vision and framework is being brought into all corners of society. Revolution newspaper/ is at the hub of the BA Everywhere effort—publishing reports from those taking up the campaign. Revolution plays a pivotal role in building an organized network of people across the country coming together to make BA a household word. We urge all our readers to send us timely correspondence on what you are doing as part of this campaign.

Party for BA Everywhere - A Success and a Beginning for 2013!

From a reader in the Bay Area:

On January 5, an exciting fundraising party for BA Everywhere drew 75 people, including people from India, Mexico, and China. There were African-American proletarians, World Can't Wait activists, teachers, revolutionaries and many others as we celebrated the New Year and the Vision of a Whole New World. The mix of people from many backgrounds and ages with many new people in the house for this campaign was a new thing.

It brought together people who have been involved in taking out BA Everywhere and raising funds in 2012: people who went out to the neighborhoods, to campuses, concerts, summer festivals, and farmers' markets along with participants in last year's BAsics Bus Tours, which took Bob Avakian's vision and work on the road, introducing thousands to this revolutionary leader.

Others newer to this movement came to support the campaign or to find out more about it. The party had good music, good food and good dancing moves, which created a lively atmosphere with people talking, getting to know each other and having fun.

In 2012, thousands of dollars were raised by some of the people at the party and many others who went out to people, asking individuals for donations and organizing collective efforts like garage sales, selling baked goods and hosting fundraising dinners. Some people at the party have an understanding or are coming to understand that money is crucial to really get BA Everywhere and that getting BA Everywhere will make a huge difference in what happens in this society, whether we can make revolution or not.

The plans for January and February 2013 were announced, with Michael Slate's interview of BA hitting the airwaves on January 11 and the upcoming release of a film of BA's new talk.

The party was a great kick-off for 2013, building a broader community of people who want to actively take out BA Everywhere this year and who can play an important role in drawing others into this movement.

The event was held in a warm and inviting dance studio in Oakland. People ate delicious tamales, Middle Eastern desserts (donated by a small shop owner), Chinese food, and salads while listening to a rocking blues band and a DJ who filled the air with Motown, soul, Latin, and some reggae and the dance floor sizzled as people let loose with their moves to the driving beat of the music.

Some outreach for the party was done with BAsics cards, Revolution newspapers, and the party leaflets at Les Miserables movie lines, a farmer's market, a New Year's Eve concert with Erykah Badu and Boots of the Coup, and at the Oakland Art Murmur, a lively street and art gallery scene, which draws thousands. We found that many who were hearing about BA and this revolution for the first time were very open and interested.

At the party, conversations flowed as people met and mingled. It was exciting for everyone to see people they had never seen before supporting BA Everywhere by coming to the fundraiser. The main hall was packed while a smaller room played Bob Avakian's Revolution DVD.

A short program gave people the sense that there was a good beginning last year, especially with the BAsics Bus Tour traveling to different parts of the country. Three African-Americans from a neighborhood read prisoners' letters which talked about the effect of BAsics and BA's work on them and their understanding, and which called on people to support the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund.

One fun part of the program was a skit about the BAsics Bus Tour with four kids from a neighborhood and a Revolution Club narrator. The kids played the driver, the navigator, the political discussion leader who had a copy of BAsics and the cook. After "riding in the bus," they "got off the bus" and chanted the quote, "No more generations of our youth...," from BAsics in unison, getting a loud round of applause and cheers from the room.

The fundraising appeal called on people to imagine what difference it would make if tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands and millions of people were to hear Bob Avakian's voice and learn about his vision of revolution and a radically different and much better world. If this money were raised, we could publicize BA, make films, DVDs, and get them out into society and do a whole lot more. The speaker said that even though there were important beginning steps last year, it's still the case that too few people know who Bob Avakian is and what he stands for and that has to be radically changed.

A challenge was made to donate generously. We reached our goal of $2,000. Many people left the party really happy to have been there and energized to take up BA Everywhere. A great time was had by all.




Revolution #292 January 20, 2013

Fighting for Correct Standards

Disturbing Turn in Anti-Repression Battle Addressed in Letter from Raymond Lotta

January 20, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


The following letter by Raymond Lotta was sent in early January to signers of the “Call To Stand Together to Resist the Obama Administration’s Assault on Fundamental Rights.” (The Call is available online at It can also be found in Revolution #278, August 19, 2012.) The letter concerns the battle against the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This law, signed by President Obama at the end of December 2011, allows for the indefinite military detention, without charge or trial, of a broad and vague category of people. It is a dangerous development.

On January 2 of this year, President Obama signed into law the NDAA of 2013. Not only does it contain the same detention provisions; it also effectively keeps the Guantánamo Bay prison-torture center open for another year, along with the continuation of illegal military commission trials.

Once again, Barack Obama has proven, despite the rhetoric and promises that the government is committed to “due process” and constitutional law, to be a world-class champion and enabler of heightened repression and the trampling of all kinds of basic rights. 

The NDAA, along with other repressive moves, must be fought. But as this letter emphasizes, this battle must be waged in a way that strengthens people’s unity and determination, rather than dividing people from each other—and must be fought in a way that does not aid the government in its efforts to single out and target particular political forces and individuals.


Dear Signers of the Call to Stand Together to Oppose the Obama Administration’s Dangerous Assault on Fundamental Rights,

I am writing to inform you of a quite disturbing development in the lawsuit against the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). I write as one of the main initiators of the Call but am speaking only for myself and not for other signatories or their organizational/institutional affiliations.


The journalist Chris Hedges and the legal team in the case have decided to incorporate into a recent appeal the same erroneous and harmful characterization of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA and its Chairman Bob Avakian that was brought to public attention in our Call. This mischaracterization could be used as a pretext to put the RCP in a category of terrorist-like organizations—and could expose the Party and Avakian to government investigation and persecution, as well as to broader harassment.

The decision to make this mischaracterization a pivot point of the continuing challenge to the NDAA amounts to throwing the RCP and Bob Avakian under the bus. It goes against the important principle of “standing together” that our Call is fighting for, and is highly detrimental to the movements of resistance and for social change.

This commentary is aimed at raising awareness of the situation. While I feel there is a need for a response, I am not proposing any particular course of action; and I do want to hear from the signers.

By way of background:

As some of you may know, the Obama administration succeeded in overturning the injunction ordered by Judge Katherine Forrest against section 1021 of the NDAA. This is the provision that allows for indefinite military detention, without charge or trial, of a broad and vague category of people. In carrying the lawsuit forward, the lawyers for Hedges et al. v Obama et al. filed a “Brief for Plaintiffs-Appellees” to the U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd District on December 10.

In the “Brief for Plaintiffs-Appellees,” earlier testimony from Hedges is reproduced in which he ill-informedly describes the RCP as an “advocate of violence” and an organization that “embrace[s] acts that could be construed as terrorist.” He argues that the NDAA has “injured” his activity as a journalist, because he is now reluctant to interview figures from groups (like the RCP with whom he has had past associations) that “advocate violence” given the implications of the NDAA and its threat of incarceration. Thus, he complains, the NDAA is impeding his journalistic work and causing him “injury.” Never mind the dangers, impediments, and possible injury that he is bringing to others!

This is politically and morally unconscionable.

To go back a little further. The mischaracterization of the RCP and Avakian originally appeared in Judge Katherine Forrest’s May 16 ruling on the case, but was actually drawn from testimony given by Hedges. It was bad that Hedges dragged the party and Avakian into this case in the first place. Still, it was the court ruling that put the RCP and Avakian in the crosshairs of possible repression. And it was this problematic aspect of Judge Forrest’s mainly positive ruling that was the focus of concern in our Call.

In response to the fallacious description of the RCP and Avakian in that ruling, an amicus [friend of the court] brief was filed to set the record straight about the actual political outlook and strategic perspective of the RCP and Bob Avakian. The amicus brief made very clear the RCP’s and Avakian’s philosophical-political opposition to terrorism. (See "Brief Filed Objecting to Dangerous Mischaracterization of RCP,USA" in Revolution #275, July 22, 2012.) I had also written Hedges and the other plaintiffs about the mischaracterization.

Following the ruling, our Call to Stand Together to Oppose the Obama Administration’s Dangerous Assault on Fundamental Rights was issued. It summons resistance to the NDAA, unites with the overall positive thrust of the Hedges et al. lawsuit, but also, with regard to the dangers posed to the RCP and its Chairman, popularizes the self-critical reflections of Pastor Niemöller, reflecting on his experience in Germany in the early 1930s: we must not allow the powers-that-be to determine what organizations are politically acceptable or unacceptable, and we must stand against attempts to divide progressive, radical, and revolutionary forces along any such lines. Our Call was signed by over 750 people, including a wide range of social activists, academics, artists, and prominent voices including Cornel West and Daniel Ellsberg, and was published as a paid ad in the November 5 issue of The Nation.

Yet in the face of and in total disregard of the amicus brief filed, the overtures I have made to meet and discuss these matters with Hedges, and (not least) the publication of the Call, Chris Hedges and the legal team are now actively invoking the toxic mischaracterization, as expressed in the December 10 appeal to the 2nd District Court.

I believe it is very important to mount a response to this.

There is the potential harm that this December 10 appeal filing and the whole mischaracterization in the court record might cause the RCP and Bob Avakian.

At the same time, this situation underscores the need to affirm and struggle for standards in the movements against repression and for social change. There’s plenty of room to disagree on issues of analysis, strategy, and goals; and we can and must engage in sharp, substantive, and principled debate and polemic. But it is not acceptable for a Chris Hedges a) to propagate a distorted account of what the RCP and its Chairman stand for, including in legal proceedings, that can only aid the government; and b) to put the winning of this case (important as that is) above the larger interests of progressive, radical, and revolutionary movements. This really crosses the line.

I plan to reach out to various prominent voices of conscience about this situation. I also plan to do a webcast presentation about these issues some time this month. It would be important for signers of the Call to weigh in and write back on the situation. For those who agree with the broad outlines of the assessment that I am making, it would be good to share your ideas on how to register protest with Hedges. We must apply the principles of our Call to this recent disturbing turn in the lawsuit and forge greater determination and unity.

In solidarity,

Raymond Lotta


For the actual philosophical and political positions of the RCP and BA, see "Some Crucial Points of Revolutionary Orientation—in Opposition to Infantile Posturing and Distortions of Revolution" and "A Statement by the Revolutionary Communist Party: On the Strategy for Revolution" at




Revolution #292 January 20, 2013

Freedom Fighters Sentenced in Queens, NY:

Judge Punishes Carl Dix for “Arrogance,”
Standing up to Racist, Illegitimate, Stop-and-Frisk

January 20, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Last November, a jury in Queens, New York, found four STOP “Stop & Frisk” freedom fighters not guilty on two counts of Obstruction of Government Administration—charges which could have sent the defendants to jail for a year. But the jury did find Carl Dix, Jamel Mims, Morgan Rhodewalt, and Bob Parsons guilty of one count of disorderly conduct, for failure to disperse—a violation that carries a maximum penalty of 15 days in jail.

These freedom fighters were arrested as they participated in a non-violent civil disobedience protest against the NYPD’s illegitimate stop-and-frisk policy in November 2011. And on January 7, when the defendants appeared with their lawyers and supporters for sentencing, they justly demanded NO JAIL TIME.

In fact, these defendants shouldn’t be punished AT ALL! They should be applauded for putting their bodies on the line against what is clearly a racist and illegitimate policy by the NYPD that violates the rights of hundreds of thousands of people—most especially Black and Latino youth. But the judge was clearly out to deliver a vicious message. Carl Dix wrote later that day:

“The judge who handed down the sentences in the Queens stop-and-frisk case got personal. I got a $250 fine, 5 days court observation and $120 court costs. Morgan Rhodewalt got the fine, 5 days community service and court costs. Jamel Mims got 5 days community service and court costs. And Bob Parsons got court costs. First off, we shoulda gotten off with time served—no fines and no community service. Stop-and-frisk is wrong, and we were right to protest it! [Five days court observation means that Dix has to sit in the courtroom for five days and “observe.”]

“In handing down these sentences, the judge said, ‘The jury saw thru Dix’s arrogance, and Rhodewalt’s false statements.’ Of course, the jury hadn’t said any of this. The judge was really spitting his own venom at us, and he followed that up by giving Morgan and me extra punishment.

“Why did the judge say I was arrogant? Because he feels it was arrogant of me to decide stop-and-frisk is racist, illegal and illegitimate and to call on people to join a campaign of civil disobedience to stop it! And to come into his court and say that what we did was the right thing to do. He probably thought my statement before sentencing was also ‘arrogant.’ I noted that ‘[Police Commissioner] Ray Kelly told three Black legislators he wanted every Black and Latino youth to be afraid they might be stopped and frisked every morning when they leave their house.’ I added, ‘This was wrong, and we were right to stand up and say NO MORE to this outrage.’


“[In sentencing me to five days court observation,] the judge was essentially saying that he was going to take this arrogant Black man and make him sit in his courtroom, under his thumb, and maybe teach him some humility.

“That won’t happen! Stop-and-frisk is still wrong. Mass incarceration is still racist and illegitimate. It is right to stand up and say NO MORE to this slow genocide strangling inner-city Black and Latino communities across the country! Watching this judge operate in court for a week won’t change any of that.” [From the Trial Blog at]

Carl Dix says several people suggested calling on others to come out to court to “observe” so he sent out an email that said:

“In addition to the very real fact that I’m not going to knuckle under to this shit, we could turn this around by saying, ‘We won’t let you single Carl out. We’re with him in this.’ We can make the courtroom into a lab of study of mass incarceration. I’m going to be writing about how this judge’s court is part of the slow genocide of mass incarceration, and I’d encourage anyone who comes to write, YouTube, Tweet about what we see and learn. So I’m calling on you and others to come to court with me the week of January 14-18. Come out for a day, or even for part of a day, if that’s all you can do. If you’re a professor, take this to your class and make it a project they can take up for credit. Spread this broadly in your circle and challenge the people you relate to and know to be part of this movement of court observation.”  


STOP Stop & Frisk Calendar:

January 14-16, and 18
9 am to 5 pm
Sitting "court observation" with Carl Dix
Queens Criminal Court, 125-01 Queens Boulevard

Tuesday January 22
8:45 am Rally
9:30 am Trial
Manhattan Criminal Court, 100 Center Street
Noche Diaz for arrests observing police October 10, 2011 and March 27, 2012

Tuesday January 22
8:45 am Rally
9:30 am Trial
Queens Criminal Court, 125-01 Queens Boulevard
Calvin Barnwell, Elaine Brower, John Hector, Richie Marini trial from November 19, 2011 arrests at 103rd Precinct

Monday January 28
8:45 am Rally
9:30 am Trial
Bronx Criminal Court, 215 East 161st (old building)
Trial for Noche Diaz, arrested as Jeffeth James was beaten March 12, 2012

Saturday, February 2
SMIN action on anniversary of murder of Ramarley Graham by NYPD, Bronx
Location TBA.

Wednesday February 6
9:30 am Trial
for dismissed Queens juror on six disorderly conduct charges
Queens Court House

Tuesday, February 26
SMIN action on anniversary of murder of Trayvon Martin
Union Square, NYC





Revolution #292 January 20, 2013

The Truth about Slavery...
And the Truth about Django Unchained

by Carl Dix | January 20, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |

Something important is happening. Django Unchained, a movie produced by a major Hollywood studio about slavery in the United States of America, has been seen by millions of people. In the words of its director, Quentin Tarantino, “When slave narratives are done on film, they tend to be historical with a capital H, with an arm’s-length quality to them. I wanted to break that history-under-glass aspect, I wanted to throw a rock through that glass and shatter it for all times, and take you into it.”

People in this country have been denied a true picture of the centuries of enslavement of Black people. BAsics, a book of quotations and short essays by Bob Avakian, starts out with the following: “There would be no United States as we know it today without slavery. That is a simple and basic truth.” Yet this is a truth that is hidden from most people in this country.

This truth doesn’t get taught in the schools, and it doesn’t make it onto the screens in movie theaters or in TV shows. Gone with the Wind has been acclaimed as one of the greatest American movies ever. This movie, complete with former slaves worrying aloud, “What’s gonna happen to us now” as the South with its plantations and slave masters is being defeated by the Union Army in the Civil War, was little more than a propaganda piece for the KKK. There were TV shows where those who fought to keep slavery in effect were sympathetically portrayed. (Does anyone else remember that the wisecracking, card-playing Maverick brothers of 1960s TV were ex-Confederate soldiers?)

So now you have this movie Django Unchained, aiming to throw a rock through the window of this country’s approach to an American horror. So the question is, or at least should be: Does this movie give people a true picture of the enslavement of Black people in the U.S.? Does it lay bare the reality of chattel slavery in this country, both the everyday indignities and brutality enforced on enslaved Africans and the heights of savagery that were frequently inflicted as part of keeping this setup in effect?

The answer is Yes and Yes! In the opening scene, Django is being marched from one plantation to be sold to another owner, with his feet chained together and chained to the feet of the other men being walked with him, and with chains on his hands. Later, white townspeople are shocked and horrified by the sight of a Black man on a horse.

The central story of the movie, Django striving to find his wife, Broomhilda, and free her from slavery, brings to life the reality of enslaved people having their families torn apart, children sold away from parents, wives and husbands split up, in pursuit of profit for the slave master and to punish people for not meekly submitting to the evils inflicted by slavery.

There’s the slave that Massa decides is no longer useful who gets ripped apart by dogs. Two enslaved men are forced to fight for the enjoyment of their masters, and the winner is given a hammer to bash in the skull of the guy he beat. Broomhilda is put naked in the “hot box” for trying to escape from the plantation. Django is hung upside down and threatened with having his testicles cut off. Django voices fear that Broomhilda will be made a “comfort woman,” subject to being raped by any white man connected with the plantation. You get a sense from the movie that Broomhilda is a strong woman—that she has endured a lot, that when Django arrives at the plantation, this is not the first time that she has tried to escape. But here I do have to criticize Tarantino for not really developing her or any other female character in the movie. Broomhilda, played by Kerry Washington, is an important figure in the film, but you really don’t get to know much about her, nor does she play a really pivotal role in the plot.

Throughout Django Unchained, the horrors of slavery are depicted as being as American as apple pie (complete with an early hilarious rendition of the beginnings of the KKK). Dr. King Schultz, the German bounty hunter who Django hooks up with, is sickened when he sees the slave owner’s dogs tearing a black man apart. And Django responds that the German just “ain’t used to America like I am.”

Yet there is much controversy around this film. A number of reviewers trashed it because they saw it as a disservice to Black people and their efforts to resist and overcome slavery. Spike Lee announced it would be an insult to the ancestors if he even saw it. On one level, this is silly, but on another it gets to one of the questions being raised around the film, which is: “Who is Quentin Tarantino (i.e., a white man) to be doing a film on slavery?”

I’m generally no fan of Tarantino’s films. But it’s wrong to put a jacket on him and declare him incapable of doing a film on slavery. He did a film on slavery with a promise to “break the window” on how slavery has been portrayed. So you gotta say, “Let’s see if he delivers.” And he delivered.

Cecil Brown, a Black author writing in Counterpunch, calls Django Unchained “a howling, empty N*gger joke played on Black people.” Brown dismisses Jamie Foxx’s portrayal of Django, agreeing with the novelist Ishmael Reed (who also attacks the movie) that “Foxx spends most of his time looking at Mr.Waltz and then looking at Mr. DiCaprio, with a puzzled look on his face, as if to say, What’s dese white folks, talkin ’bout?” To these and others who trashed the movie in reviews and accused Tarantino for treating this subject like a joke, I have to ask: WHAT MOVIE DID YOU SEE?

Other vitriolic reviews of the movie accuse Tarantino of portraying the house slave, played by Samuel Jackson, as a buffoonish Uncle Tom stereotype.

Unfortunately, reviews like these are discouraging some people from seeing the movie. But first of all, people should go to the movie and decide for themselves. And second of all, I think Brown and others are really wrong about their charges of buffoonery. The Django character is heroic as well as, at times, funny. But he is hardly cartoonish. And the house slave that Samuel Jackson plays is a complex character—committed to the interests of the master as much as the master himself is. This is not a racist stereotypical, shuffling house slave, but a character that concentrates something about the way slave owners enforced oppressive relations on the plantation in which the slaves themselves were set against each other and against their own interests.

Kimberly Ellis, another Black author, trashed the movie on Alternet. She saw it as typical Hollywood stereotypes of Black people. She points to a line by the Candyland plantation owner, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, where he says, “Why don’t they kill us?” as ignoring the role of the black abolitionists, the enslaved black people who ran away or resisted enslavement in other ways, the black people who were part of the Underground Railroad that spirited many enslaved people away from the plantations to freedom, and the black soldiers who fought and died in the Civil War to end slavery. She does say that “The gore and violence of slavery was well depicted.” But this is just mentioned in the course of a lengthy review that finds nothing redeeming about the movie. In such reviews, the actual strengths of the movie—in how it portrays the reality of slavery—get reduced to hooks to set the audience up for a joke being played on them. But, the generally true portrayal of slavery in the movie is not a hook or a setup. It’s a big part of what the movie is actually about. And the violence isn’t gratuitous and over the top. In fact, Tarantino has pointed out that slavery was much more violent than is portrayed in the movie.

The violence used to enforce the system of slavery is something the audience comes to see as illegitimate, and the violence Django engages in to get his wife and himself out from under that system comes across as justified!

Leonardo DiCaprio’s role of a slave master who supposedly “understood” the system he was a part of brought out important things about the ideological, white supremacist basis for slavery. In one scene, he dissects the skull of a black man who served his master’s family well all his life to reveal that he sees black people as genetically disposed to be servants. In this chilling scene, the pseudoscience used to justify and maintain white supremacy and slavery is brought to life. This is the scene where he poses the question, “Why don’t they kill us?” Since the movie has already depicted the violence used to keep the slave system in effect, you have already gotten a practical answer to it. But in a way, the question of the illegitimacy of the slave master’s violence and the legitimacy of violence from among the slaves is being posed.

Engaging in the controversy over Django Unchained isn’t just, or even mainly, about getting the history right. The oppression of Black people has been built into the very fabric of America since the very first Africans were dragged to these shores in slave chains. As the economic and social system in the U.S. has been transformed from chattel slavery to capitalism, to today’s intensely globalized capitalism, the forms of that oppression have also changed. But the reality of brutal oppression and the white supremacy that justifies this oppression has remained in effect. How to look at this and what to do about it is aptly captured in this “Three Strikes” quote from Bob Avakian:

“This system, in this country, in the whole history of its treatment of Black people, what has it been?

“First, Slavery... Then, Jim Crow—segregation and Ku Klux Klan terror... And now, The New Jim Crow—police brutality and murder, wholesale criminalization and mass incarceration, and legalized discrimination yet again.

“That’s it for this system: Three strikes and you’re out!

A constant of all three of these “Strikes” has been the use of violence to enforce this ongoing oppression and exploitation. Django Unchained has put before millions of people the ugly reality of the illegitimacy of the violence used to enforce slavery. And the controversy around the movie has engaged many, many people in discussing this reality and its continuing effects on U.S. society. Having done this makes Django Unchained an important, positive cultural event.





Revolution #292 January 20, 2013

South Africa Then and Now
Still in the Grip of Capitalism-Imperialism


January 20, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Photo: AP


Above: A black shantytown under the apartheid regime. The apartheid system was in effect for nearly 50 years, until 1994. A wealthy minority of white settlers held all political power and used it to rob the land, labor and resources of the country, enriching European and U.S. imperialism, while the great majority of black people were segregated, denied any human rights or respect, and lived in deep poverty. First under British colonial and then white apartheid rule, black people were increasingly driven into the cities to seek jobs, since farmland was overwhelmingly controlled by whites, with only slave-like jobs as agricultural workers available to the native black people. But while blacks made up the bulk of the labor force for the thriving cities, blacks were not allowed to live in the cities themselves. Even existing multi-racial settlements were forcibly broken up, with the black residents then forced into the segregated shantytowns. So huge numbers were crammed into vast overcrowded settlements well away from the heart of the cities. Geographical isolation was enforced so the oppressed masses could be politically and militarily controlled by the apartheid regime. Housing was a mix of barracks-style blocks built by the government, and shacks pieced together from tin, wood, cardboard and other materials. Substandard schools, unpaved streets, no sidewalks, no electricity, no plumbing were the norm. And the shantytowns were a scene of constant police harassment and brutality, as well as a growing radical and revolutionary ferment among the people.


Photo: AP


Soweto shantytown, 2009—15 years after the fall of apartheid, 70 to 80 percent of farmland was still in the hands of the white elite, and survival in the rural areas was ever harder. 61 percent of the population was now urban, and 33 percent lived in "informal settlements" without electricity, sanitation services, sewers and water. Today's overall squatter population is estimated at around 10 million. The African National Congress government says it has built 2.8 million new housing units, but it is basically continuing the housing program of apartheid, keeping the masses of oppressed black people in overcrowded, heavily policed settlements, a safe distance from the gleaming city centers that it showcases to the world. The new housing—called "kennels," or "tin can towns," by the people—are at best concrete versions of the apartheid shantytowns. Up to seven people live in a 180-square-foot concrete box with a corrugated tin roof; seven families may share access to a single bathroom, and transportation to jobs and shops is non-existent.

Sandy Rossouw, a 42-year-old woman resident of one of these new towns, tells how her family was evicted from their home in Athlone because it was too close to the site of the 2010 World Cup Games. Now she shares a bed with four other family members. "Here the whole place is under starvation. We can't even afford to make a pot of soup for our children. We send them to school without bread. People sell everything to get food and walk three hours to Athlone just to get a loaf of bread... It's like a jail, like a concentration camp." She continued, "If you're not inside at night, the police beat you. A few weeks ago they pointed an R5 rifle as if they were going to shoot people."




Revolution #292 January 20, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty, or How a People Lose Their Humanity

by Annie Day | January 13, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


I was shaking as I walked out of Zero Dark Thirty, the new film about the CIA's 10-year search for Osama bin Laden. Shaking and queasy. Wanting to hear from others in the audience, I asked people questions as they streamed out... What did they think of the film? Overwhelmingly, people answered positively... with smiles. Did they think the film upheld or condemned torture? Some answered that it didn't take a stand, just showed the facts. But many said they felt it upheld torture, that it portrayed it as essential to Osama Bin Laden's capture. And what did they think of torture? While a couple people answered that they supported it outright, many said they didn't think it was right, that America shouldn't use torture. So how did they feel about liking a film that upholds something they would otherwise find deplorable? Several people said it's just a movie and shouldn't be taken so seriously. One woman said she appreciated coming to understand, from the CIA's perspective, why they used torture. And far too often, the answer was, "It's complicated."

And here you have the point of this highly ideological film: to make acceptable, or perhaps "complicated," to people who consider themselves progressive the acts of this empire, to celebrate revenge against "America's enemies," to get you to sympathize with the criminal monsters who are carrying out these acts and to cheer for the "protection of the homeland," no matter the price. "For god and country," says the Navy SEAL after killing Osama bin Laden.

While there has been some controversy about the film from different quarters, and a too small handful of sharp critics, it's getting rave reviews from a whole range of liberal journalists. It's already being nominated for awards, and there is buzz about Oscar nominations.

* * * * *

Zero Dark Thirty begins with harrowing audio recordings from people inside the World Trade Center as it's on fire and about to collapse.

It portrays the CIA in a heroic fight to get the bad guys, with one agent in particular, Maya (played by Jessica Chastain), with enough grit and determination to see it through. After hearing the voices from 9/11, we are transported to a CIA black site where a detainee is being tortured, strapped up by the arms. The torturer in charge, Dan (played by Jason Clarke), explains to Maya that the detainee "has to learn how helpless he is." And then we watch as he is thrown to the ground and waterboarded.

And what is waterboarding, exactly?

A towel is thrown over the man's face and a jug of water poured directly into his throat without pause. This makes the tortured feel as if they are drowning to death, suffocation by water. New York magazine quoted a doctor who works with survivors of torture: "Some victims were still traumatized years later." One patient he described couldn't take showers, and panicked when it rained. "The fear of being killed is a terrifying experience."

But if you are watching Zero Dark Thirty, and have begun to feel uncomfortable, you are reminded that the person that this is happening to helped to "murder 3,000 people" on September 11. "Your Jihad is over, this is what defeat looks like," says Dan. No need for concern, these are the just deserts. And if the detainee wanted it to stop, he could just give Dan the information he wants.

It doesn't stop there. There is sleep deprivation, stress positions, the use of dog collars, humiliation and shoving a man into a tiny box where you can hear only his screams.

There has been a great deal of controversy about whether the film shows a connection between this torture and the supposed victory in capturing Osama bin Laden (including from sections of the bourgeoisie who want to disassociate themselves from the Bush regime while furthering his policies with a different face). But if you watch the actual film, it is undeniable. The way the story line goes, the detainees give information because they've been tortured. While the film portrays the first detainee we witness being tortured only giving the needed information over a quiet lunch, it is the fear of being tortured again that gets him to speak. Another detainee is told he can stay imprisoned in Pakistan or be sent to Israel. "I have no wish to be tortured. Ask me a question, I'll answer."

And what do the filmmakers say? Director Kathryn Bigelow said: "We depicted a variety of controversial practices and intelligence methods that were used in the name of finding bin Laden. The film shows that no single method was necessarily responsible for solving the manhunt, nor can any single scene taken in isolation fairly capture the totality of efforts the film dramatizes."

So torture, what she calls an "intelligence method," wasn't solely responsible for bin Laden's capture, it was partially responsible. Jessica Chastain admitted that there was a link made in the film to the needed information and the torture to get it, but went on that this was a "murky, gray area we're still learning about."

And once again we find ourselves feeling that "it's complicated."

Bullshit! There is nothing complicated about torture.

To quote from Alan Goodman in Revolution newspaper: "Let's make it plain: torture is, literally and in essence, a crime against humanity. Like rape, it is a systematic attempt to violently degrade people and rob them of their very humanity. Any government which not only tolerates such things but which, from its highest offices, justifies and insists on them as 'instruments of policy'...  any government which does not, once this has been exposed, prosecute the perpetrators but instead provides them in advance with immunity...reveals itself as a system that requires such crimes, and such criminals, for its functioning. Any people that does not resist such crimes, and demand prosecution of the torturers and, even more so, those who formulated the policy at the highest levels, reveals themselves to be complicit in those crimes. And in passively allowing the humanity of others to be degraded and attacked, they lose their own." ("The Torture Memos ...  And the Need for Justice," Revolution, May 17, 2009, online at

To go along with this, to obfuscate this with a haze of "complexity," is to let great crimes take place in your name.

Who the Hell Is the CIA?

But there is a larger question that has to be asked about the whole premise and point of the film. Who the hell is the CIA anyway? The filmmakers have tried to argue that this is a film that doesn't take a stand, they're just showing the facts.

Again, bullshit!

In an interview, Kathryn Bigelow said: "I think it was important to humanize the hunt... These are people who have sacrificed a great deal, live in arduous conditions, risk their life in some cases for our safety. So I think it's an interesting portrait of dedication." Or elsewhere, Bigelow has said: "at the heart of this story is a woman with tenacity, dedication and courage." Chastain gushed about the character she played: "She's such a bad-ass, capable and strong, standing on her own, it was an honor to play her." And she later called her character a hero.

Let's get real. The CIA is a nest of spies and murderers who are responsible for crimes throughout history—assassinations, fomenting coups, torturing people in the sickest of ways and other crimes throughout the globe... in the service of U.S. imperialism.

In 1953, working with the British, the CIA engineered a coup against Iran's elected president, Mohammad Mossadegh, in part because he threatened U.S. and British oil interests. They then went on to install the Shah of Iran who created a special police force which tortured people for decades. What was heroic about that? In 1960, the CIA helped stage a coup in the Congo to get rid of the nationalist government headed by Patrice Lumumba, which came to power after decades of colonial rule. With the CIA's assistance, Lumumba was murdered by Mobutu Sese Seko, who brutally presided over the newly named Zaire as a U.S. neocolony, violently crushing attempts to build rebel movements. What was heroic about that? In 1965 in Indonesia, as a military regime headed by General Suharto came to power in a CIA-engineered coup, hundreds of thousands of people (up to a million according to some accounts) were massacred—communists and people accused of being communists. What was heroic about that? On a different September 11, in 1973, the CIA orchestrated the overthrow of the elected government of Salvador Allende in Chile by the fascist general Pinochet. Mainstream sources document the death of some 3,000 people at the hands of Pinochet, and Chilean revolutionaries have said that 30,000 people were killed. Many more were tortured or forced into exile during Pinochet's 17-year rule. Again I ask, what was heroic about that? And I could keep going... Vietnam, Laos, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Nicaragua...

Or look at the CIA in relation to Afghanistan and how Osama bin Laden got his start in the first place:

The fact is that the U.S., and the CIA's "work" in particular, had everything to do with the growth of the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan and the spread of Islamic fundamentalism in the whole region. In 1979, the former Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. The Soviet Union at the time was a revisionist (that is, a phony "communist") country, an imperialist superpower that was seriously contending with the U.S. for dominance in many parts of the world. The U.S. deliberately provoked the invasion of Afghanistan, in order to (in the words of Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security advisor to then-President Jimmy Carter) give the Soviet Union "its Vietnam War."

Then through the 1980s, the CIA, in partnership with the reactionary regimes in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, carried out a massive covert war in Afghanistan by funneling more than $3 billion in arms and aid to the reactionary Islamic fundamentalist fighters. The U.S. strategy was to make the war much longer and more violent, destructive, and costly for the Soviets. By the time the Soviets were forced to withdraw in 1989, more than a million Afghans had been killed and one-third of its population driven into refugee camps. This CIA-led insurgency against America's imperialist rivals is where Osama bin Laden got his start. This is where the seeds of al Qaeda and the Taliban were first sown.

The current U.S. war in Afghanistan has never been simply a response to 9/11. The 2001 invasion grew out of a decade of U.S. planning before 9/11 aimed at seizing greater initiative and hegemony in the Middle East and Central Asia. In the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union (in which the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan was a big factor), the U.S. imperialists faced a new obstacle in dominating this crucial region of the world—the very same Islamic fundamentalists that the U.S. had built up in the 1980s. The Taliban is a reactionary force that brings down horror on the people. But that is not why the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001—and why Obama is now greatly expanding that war. And of the two opposing reactionary forces, U.S. imperialism and Islamic fundamentalism, the U.S. has done—and is doing—much greater harm in the world, as even the partial list above of CIA crimes shows. ("CIA's Decades of Criminal Service," Revolution, February 7, 2010, online at

There is nothing to uphold about any of this! And let's be clear: this is not about "our safety"—this is about the extension and defense of the American empire. But even if it were about the safety of American lives, letting all this go down would be wrong and immoral. It would be to make a devil's bargain: "You can go do what you do to the people of the world, just keep me safe and we'll not only go along with it, we will cheer." No! As Bob Avakian has said, "American Lives Are Not More Important Than Other People's Lives." (BAsics 5:7)

CIA "Heroes" Raining Death From the Sky

In a quickly passing moment in the film, we watch Maya reviewing a drone strike. Watching a missile fired from afar. Later in the film, the CIA station chief in Pakistan, Joseph Bradley (played by Kyle Chandler), has to be sent back to the U.S. because he's been named in a lawsuit filed by the family of a victim of a drone strike. We see protesters but know nothing about what's happened or really why they're protesting. "The ISI [the Pakistani intelligence agency] fucked you," says Maya, painting the station chief as the victim.

But what's the real story here?

A Pakistani journalist sued the CIA station chief because his brother and son, both government employees, were killed in a CIA drone strike on their home in North Waziristan in December 2009. No warning, no due process, the CIA rained death from the skies. Thousands of people have been killed in these drone strikes, hundreds of civilians among them, including children.

But the film does not tell this story. This is not about the blood on the ground, the tears of the children who lost their parents, the lives of the people who lost limbs... this is about "the heroes on the ground" who are perpetrating these crimes.

And I have to say here that the filmmakers can't have it both ways. Bigelow said the film does not uphold torture, they are just showing what happened, that it "doesn't have an agenda and it doesn't judge." Bullshit! While it can actually be important to show what happened, this film is not doing so to expose the crimes. If you call the criminals perpetrating torture and war crimes "heroes" who sacrifice on our behalf, what are you saying about the acts they are committing?!

History Did Not Begin With September 11

While this film begins with the events of September 11, 2001, and this is the only context provided for the film, this is not where history began. In a dramatic speech in the film, one CIA official says, "They attacked us on land in '98, by sea in 2000, and by air in 2001. They murdered 3,000 of our citizens in cold blood. Your job is to bring me people to kill."

This is the logic of a wounded conqueror, the top-of-the-heap gangsterism—you poke me in the eye, I have to burn down your whole village. The death of 3,000 people is a genuine horror, but the powers-that-be were not horrified at the loss of human life. That number means nothing to people who preside over the deaths of many hundreds of thousands times more than that as part of the normal workings of their system worldwide.

And this is where the entire framework of the film has it all wrong. The "war on terror" is a war for empire. And understanding this from Bob Avakian is key to understanding the actual terms:

What we see in contention here with Jihad on the one hand and McWorld/McCrusade on the other hand, are historically outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity up against historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system. These two reactionary poles reinforce each other, even while opposing each other. If you side with either of these "outmodeds," you end up strengthening both.

While this is a very important formulation and is crucial to understanding much of the dynamics driving things in the world in this period, at the same time we do have to be clear about which of these "historically outmodeds" has done the greater damage and poses the greater threat to humanity: It is the historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system, and in particular the U.S. imperialists.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:28

The film's website says this is "the story of history's greatest manhunt for the world's most dangerous man." That this can be said with a straight face shows the depth of delusions the filmmakers and anyone who can take this seriously have fallen into. Osama bin Laden was a reactionary, but in a million years he couldn't have even dreamed of massacring people on the scale of the U.S. government—not only in U.S. history but even in just the last 10 years.

Since 2001, in Afghanistan, thousands of civilians have been killed directly by U.S.-led invasion and occupation forces. In the war on Iraq beginning in 2003, more than 100,000 civilians have been killed and over four million people have been driven from their homes. Just think of those numbers of human lives—on top of a legacy of genocide, slavery, coups, assassinations, the training of death squads around the world, and the use of nuclear weapons that murdered hundreds of thousands in an instant, and mutilated millions more. This has been done in cold blood and without remorse. Through a combination of the first war on Iraq in 1991 and the 10 years of sanctions that followed, a million people were killed, including half a million children. Then-Secretary of State Madeline Albright defended this. In a 60 Minutes interview, Albright was asked by Lesley Stahl, "We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?" And Albright replied, "We think the price is worth it." (The video of this interview can be seen online at YouTube—search for "Albright" and "Stahl.")

Since World War 2, the U.S.—through its wars, proxy wars, and military interventions—has directly or indirectly caused the deaths of at least 10 million people: three million in the wars in Korea and in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia; at least two million in Iraq (including the sanctions and the invasions); a million in Indonesia; six million in the Congo (with the past 10 years of war in which the U.S. has been complicit through its ties to Kagame of Rwanda); hundreds of thousands in Mozambique and Angola (through sponsoring Renamo and Unita); 200,000 in Guatemala; 20,000 in Nicaragua; 75,000 in El Salvador... etc, etc.

Again, the "world's most dangerous man"?! Whoever Osama bin Laden was, this is a scale on which he couldn't have even dreamed of functioning.

Obama—Furthering and Heightening the Bush Program

There is an implicit criticism in the film that Obama ended the detainee and torture program, and that he wasn't moving fast enough to OK the raid on bin Laden's compound.

Obama at one point in the film says: "America does not torture." Later in the film, the CIA analysts are briefing Obama's advisors on what they've found and the likelihood of this being where bin Laden is hiding. Maya is shown as dogged and tenacious, counting down the days they've known about this compound and not gone after it. The audience is supposed to be frustrated when the president's advisor says, "The president is a thoughtful, analytical guy. He needs proof."

The answer provided in the previous scene: "You know we lost the ability to prove that when we lost the detainee program—who the hell am I supposed to ask: some guy in Gitmo who is all lawyered up?"

Think about this—some guy being held in a military prison in Guantánamo Bay who is "all lawyered up."

Goddamn those basic rights like the right to an attorney. They're getting in the way of our ability to strip anyone of their legal rights, they're a hassle and obstacles to the "heroes on the ground."

But what's the story with "Gitmo" anyway?

The U.S. prison at Guantánamo was set up in 2002 explicitly to avoid U.S. laws that give some basic rights to prisoners. More than 782 men were brought there from around the world, a majority of them seized in Afghanistan and Pakistan as a result of U.S. bounties of up to $25,000. Most of these men, the U.S. government admitted, had NO role in fighting the U.S. Until 2004 they had not even the right to be told why they were held or have legal representation. The Bush regime used "enhanced" interrogation, i.e., torture, including waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and physical, psychological and sexual abuse for years. There are still 166 prisoners there, most of whom were cleared several years ago to leave, under indefinite detention without trial. And they are still being tortured—with solitary confinement and routine force feedings.

But even beyond this, what are Obama's actual "standards of proof"? They are still—as they were under Bush—what is seen to be in the interests of American empire. For example, in targeting a whole region for drone strikes, Obama's official policy is that if you are a young man who is killed by one of these missiles, you are counted as an insurgent unless after you are dead someone can come forward and prove that you're innocent.

While Obama has made some cosmetic changes, he has not stopped the systematic use of torture in the basic functioning of the U.S.' repressive apparatus. In the U.S. itself, there are tens of thousands of prisoners (though no one knows the exact number) kept in solitary confinement, robbed of human contact, and suffering full sensory deprivation and violent "cell extractions," practiced regularly. By any moral or legal standard, this constitutes torture. Obama decriminalized and codified torture when he refused to prosecute those responsible for this during the Bush regime, letting war criminals off.

At the U.S. air base in Bagram, Afghanistan, Obama not only expanded the prison, he has fought to prevent detainees from having any access to lawyers or due process. This prison is considered far worse than Guantánamo. Tina Foster, a human rights lawyer, said: "Our clients who have been released more recently report exposure to extreme temperatures, sleep deprivation, prolonged isolation and other torture that is still ongoing. Bagram has always been a torture chamber..." Hundreds of people remain detained without charge, trial or judicial review—some having been held for almost ten years. The CIA, of course, also detains and tortures people at secret prisons throughout the world, and maintains a program of rendition, in which they send prisoners to other nations to be tortured.

This is part of the overall ways Obama has furthered and heightened the Bush program: using drone strikes eight times more than Bush, continuing and legalizing warrantless wiretaps, legalizing indefinite detention without due process based on executive say-so, covering up the massacres of civilians and holding Bradley Manning, a prisoner of conscience, in jail in conditions that are internationally recognized as torture. And even worse, those who opposed these same crimes under Bush have fallen into silent passivity or even loud celebration.

Do Not Stand By in Complicit Silence

Zero Dark Thirty is a terribly harmful film. It upholds—and trains people in—an America-first fanatical get-the-bad-guy-at-any-cost patriotism. It celebrates ignorance of the crimes of this government and tremendous and violent arrogance. It is a film that celebrates imperial revenge.

After Maya's colleague is killed by a suicide bomber, she says, "I'm going to kill everyone involved in that op and then I'm going to kill Osama bin Laden." She calls herself a "motherfucker" and you're supposed to cheer. Someone who won't take shit, America first and fuck the rest, we're not fucking around with that namby-pamby human rights bullshit, we're coming after "America's enemies."

Think I'm exaggerating?

The official website of the movie has a link to a video game, "Medal of Honor Warfighter," with a special "Zero Dark Thirty" edition advertising the ability to "join the greatest manhunt in history." It goes on to say that "Medal of Honor Warfighter allows players to step into the boots of the soldiers who led the hunt for Bin Laden and takes you to the locations where only the most elite dare enter." They advertise one game where you can "roam the treacherous hills and navigate the unforgivable terrain to take down enemies and achieve victory."

This from a film where you never meet anyone from the countries the CIA is operating in who is not some form of evil incarnate. In fact, the only favorable Muslim character in the film is a CIA agent in a DC office.

All this calls to mind the glee and titillation of the Roman coliseums where the audience could watch torture and torment as a spectacle. Or to draw on a more recent, if fictional, example, the sick excitement of those in the capital watching "the hunger games."

This is not, as some of the people I spoke to after seeing the movie said, "just a film that shouldn't be taken so seriously." Bullshit! Films have content. And while one shouldn't be narrow or reductionist about art and culture, it can play a big role in shaping people. A friend I saw it with said they were afraid of what this movie could turn people into. And they are right to be afraid.

To be complicit in the face of war crimes, all one has to do is nothing. That is what hiding in false "complexity" allows. This is wrong and immoral. The actions of the U.S. over the last 10 years, and beyond, need to be called out and resisted, not celebrated. People need critical thinking, not blind allegiance.

We need to stand on principle, give voice to and make common cause with the people of the world in opposition to the crimes our government is committing in our name. We don't need sycophants to a system of brutality, exploitation and murder.

Do not become numb to the crimes of your government because it is unpleasant to confront. Do not stand by in complicit silence or enthusiastic cheers while the humanity and rights of others are systematically stripped away. Wake up, speak out, stand up.





Revolution #292 January 20, 2013

February 2013—All Across the U.S.

Make Black History Month a Month of Struggle

January 20, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


February 2—Anniversary of the NYPD Murder of Ramarley Graham

February 26—Anniversary of the Racist Vigilante Lynching of Trayvon Martin

As we approach Black History Month 2013, more Black people are in prison, in jail, or on probation or parole than there were slaves in the U.S. in 1850! Day after day after day, the police stop and frisk, harass, railroad into prison, beat down, and murder Blacks and Latinos, especially the youth. In February, there are anniversaries of two of the thousands of murders at the hands of law enforcement and racist vigilantes. ¡Basta Ya! Join with the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and others across the country in taking to the streets on the anniversaries of the NYPD murder of Ramarley Graham and the racist vigilante lynching of Trayvon Martin.

In New York City:

February 2, Saturday, 3 pm
Gather at the Bronx River Houses, 1605 East 174th Street, Bronx
March to NYPD 47th Precinct, 4111 Laconia Avenue, Bronx

February 26, Tuesday, 3:30 pm
Union Square, E. 14th Street and Broadway, south side


Stop Mass Incarceration Network

Phone: 347-979-SMIN (7646) * Email:
Facebook: stopmassincerationnetwork * Twitter: @StopMassIncNet *




Revolution #292 January 20, 2013

Sanctions: Weapons of Mass Death and Destruction

by Larry Everest | January 20, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Iran hasn't been in the headlines in recent months, but there's a lot of talk that 2013 will be the year of decision on Iran—whether a deal will be struck between the U.S. and its allies and Iran on ending or restricting Iran's nuclear enrichment program, or whether the U.S., Israel and other big powers will attack Iran.

The debate about confirming former Sen. Chuck Hagel, President Obama's nominee for Secretary of Defense, revolves around whether he's "tough enough" on Iran, while leading think-tank strategists are calling for overt preparations for attacking Iran, tougher economic sanctions and "more explicit threats to destroy its nuclear programme by military means." ("Neocons, War Hawks Call for 'Overt Preparations' for Attack on Iran. New push in US for tougher sanctions, war threats against Iran," Jim Lobe, January 16. 2013)

"In 2013, perhaps in the next few months, President Obama will face a crisis on Iran. He has categorically ruled out living with a nuclear-armed Iran under a Cold War—style policy of containment," imperialist thinker Fareed Zakaria writes. "That means either Iran will capitulate to U.S. demands or the U.S. will go to war with Iran. Since the first option is extremely unlikely and the second extremely unattractive, the Obama administration needs to find a negotiated solution. That means using sticks and carrots—or what is often called coercive diplomacy—to get a deal that Washington and Tehran can live with....Otherwise, 2013 will be the year that we accepted a nuclear Iran or went to war." ("The Year We Reckon With Iran," January 21, 2013, TIME)

In short, tough sanctions are being promoted as a kinder, gentler alternative to war. And perhaps some people voted for Obama in part because they perceived him as less likely to start a war with Iran than Romney.

But let's get clear: Stiffening sanctions is a form of war against an entire population—a real weapon of mass destruction that is already imposing enormous suffering and death on the Iranian population. The U.S. is literally murdering babies and other vulnerable sections of the population, but this fact is rarely mentioned by the cheerleaders of empire—aka the U.S. media—and there is no debate about it within the U.S. ruling class.

"Targeted" Sanctions Target the Iranian People

The U.S. claims that its sanctions are "smart" or "targeted" and only aimed at Iran's government—the Islamic Republic—and its top leaders. But because the U.S. and its big power allies (Germany, France, Britain and other European countries) are sanctioning and embargoing Iranian banks, they have crippled Iran's ability to pay for urgently needed imports—including medicines—and halted many shipments. In addition, many drugs and needed chemicals aren't getting into Iran thanks to the banning under the sanctions of "dual-use" chemicals with possible military applications.

Here are some of the impacts being felt, just in terms of drugs and medicines:

"Hundreds of thousands of Iranians with serious illnesses have been put at imminent risk by the unintended consequences of international sanctions, which have led to dire shortages of life-saving medicines such as chemotherapy drugs for cancer and bloodclotting agents for haemophiliacs," Guardian UK reports. ("Western measures targeting Tehran's nuclear programme have impeded trade of medicines for illnesses such as cancer," 13 January 2013)

Iran produces most of its medicines internally, but sanctions have crippled domestic production making many Iranian-made drugs unavailable or very costly. This past October, two pharmaceutical companies closed and others are facing closure or bankruptcy. ("The unfolding humanitarian catastrophe of economic sanctions on the people of Iran," Mehrnaz Shahabi, Fair Observer, 10 December 2012)

The director general of Iran's largest biggest pharmaceutical firm told the Guardian, "There are patients for whom a medicine is the different between life and death. What is the world doing about this? Are Britain, Germany, and France thinking about what they are doing? If you have cancer and you can't find your chemotherapy drug, your death will come soon. It is as simple as that."

His firm can no longer buy medical equipment including sterilizing machines essential for making many drugs, and some of the biggest western pharmaceutical companies refuse to have anything to do with Iran. "The west lies when it says it hasn't imposed sanctions on our medical sector. Many medical firms have sanctioned us," he said.

According to the Guardian, there's a "looming" health crisis in Iran. Each year 85,000 new cancer patients are diagnosed who need chemotherapy and radiotherapy, now in short supply.  

"Iranian health experts say that annual figure has nearly doubled in five years, referring to a 'cancer tsunami' most likely caused by air, water and soil pollution and possibly cheap low-quality imported food and other products....An estimated 23,000 Iranians with HIV/Aids have had their access to the drugs they need to keep them alive severely restricted. The society representing the 8,000 Iranians suffering from thalassaemia, an inherited blood disorder, has said its members are beginning to die because of a lack of an essential drug, deferoxamine, used to control the iron content in the blood."

Iran's over 8,000 hemophiliacs are in grave peril. It's more and more difficult for them to get blood clotting agents, and operations on hemophiliacs "have been virtually suspended because of the risks created by the shortages," the Guardian reports. At the end of October 2012, a 15-year-old child died for lack of coagulant medication. The head of Iran's Hemophilia Society said, "This is a blatant hostage-taking of the most vulnerable people by countries which claim they care about human rights. Even a few days of delay can have serious consequences like haemorrhage and disability." (Mehrnaz Shahabi) Last year, Iran's Hemophilia Society told the World Federation of Hemophilia that tens of thousands of children's lives were being threatened by shortages of medicines. ("Sanctions Will Kill Tens of Thousands of Iranians," Muhammad Sahimi, August 8, 2012

Again, this is just the sanctions' impact on Iran's healthcare—it is also devastating the population in a hundred other ways big and small.

They Know...And They're Killing Babies Anyway

The Obama administration and its allies know full well how sanctions are impacting the people of Iran—including helpless babies. In fact, they've admitted in rare moments of truth-telling (mainly within their own ranks in discussions of strategy and tactics) that the whole point of sanctions is to cause suffering and discontent among Iran's population, in order to pressure or collapse the Islamic Republic. An article last year in the Washington Post began, "The Obama administration sees economic sanctions against Iran as building public discontent that will help compel the government to abandon an alleged nuclear weapons program, according to a senior U.S. intelligence official." ("Public ire one goal of Iran sanctions, U.S. official says," January 10, 2012)

A column in the rightwing Wall Street Journal argued that sanctions were a "tool to precipitate the regime's collapse." ("What Iran Sanctions Can and Can't Do," Emanuele Ottolenghi, July 24, 2012)

Too many people see sanctions as a thoughtful, peaceful, or diplomatic alternative to war. Bullshit.

It's bullshit because sanctions are already murdering people, but it's also bullshit because sanctions can be part of the preparations or strategy for war. This is what the U.S. did to Iraq before the 1991 Persian Gulf War and the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq. Between these two wars and the intervening 13 years of sanctions, well over a million—probably over 2 million—Iraqis were killed. And did those sanctions prevent war? No. Because one goal of imperialist sanctions is to win political support for war if that's deemed necessary: "We tried sanctions and had to resort to war," they'll claim.

Another goal is to soften an enemy up so waging war will prove easier—again, if the imperialists deem it necessary.

Sanctions or War = Imperialist Aggression

Neither imperialist war, nor imperialist sanctions, nor imperialist "diplomacy" are anything other than different forms of imperialist aggression. None of them are moral, or just. All must be opposed. It's unconscionable for people in the U.S. to sit passively and silently by as these crimes are being carried out in our names, resulting in the suffering and deaths of thousands of people, thousands of miles away.

We can't accept the terms that it's either sanctions or war – either slow death or fast death. The U.S. is killing Iranian civilians in the interests of an unjust empire, and this is something that everyone with a conscience and a basic sense of right and wrong should oppose and protest.




Revolution #292 January 20, 2013

Ballet Schools for Everyone!

January 20, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


From readers:

On the evening of December 21—a date hyped as "the end of the world"—Revolution Books Atlanta sponsored a fundraising dinner party for the BA Everywhere...Imagine the Difference It Could Make! campaign. At an earlier Revolution Books discussion it was decided to host a potluck dinner to celebrate, raise money, and spread what BA Everywhere had achieved in 2012 and look forward to taking it higher in 2013. It began to take shape as we called as many people as we could who we met while taking out BA Everywhere during the year and talking with them about the campaign again, inviting them to the fundraiser, and asking them to bring food or contribute music or poetry. And for those who weren't able to make it to the dinner, we asked them for a financial contribution on the spot (we got a few donations this way)! As a part of a new approach, we invited people to step in and contribute their ideas to developing the program, and that helped shape the evening in some amazing and fresh ways.

The dinner was held in a classroom of a community center that was a former elementary school. In order to make the room more inviting and warm, we incorporated an idea from one of the fundraising reports on the Revolution website, and decorated the room with table cloths, flowers, and candles. Another idea someone thought of was to ask people as they entered the dinner to write their thoughts (we used the wall long chalkboard still in the room) and then during the course of the evening, we could use quotes from BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian to address some of them. One category was "What Keeps You Up at Night?" and among the comments were: CLIMATE CHANGE, INCREASING POVERTY, RAPE, THE VIEW THAT SOME ARE SUPERIOR TO OTHERS, YOUTH RAILROADED INTO PRISONS, TORTURE, DRONES, MASS APATHY, WOMEN AS SEX OBJECTS, and CHILDREN'S EDUCATION. The second category was titled "Vision of a New World" and the comments included: ART AND CULTURE FOR FUN NOT PROFIT; EDUCATION THAT TEACHES KIDS THE TRUTH!; NO WAR; LOVE, JUSTICE FOR ALL; ONE WORLD COMMUNITY; FREE BOOKS; WORLD OF COMMUNISM; WORLD PEACE; NO VIOLENCE; HELPER ROBOTS, and A TRULY INTERNATIONALIST WORLD WITHOUT BORDERS AND DIVISIONS OF ANY KIND. And an elementary school student wrote, BALLET SCHOOLS FOR EVERYONE. In response to the comment about education, BAsics 2:7 was read out loud: "Let's talk about education. Imagine kids who actually wanted to go to school! Imagine if they weren't degraded and insulted all the time and treated as if they couldn't possibly learn anything or have important ideas. Imagine if the educational system actually told them the truth and helped them to think critically, to challenge everything. Yes the teachers, and yes even the party and its leaders..."

Most of the 25 people who came had taken part in the BA Everywhere campaign in various ways throughout the year, from contributing funds, distributing BAsics quote of the month palm cards, contributing food or talent or ideas at other events and fundraisers during the year. We were fortunate to have a couple people who had been on the BAsics Bus Tour and several others who had met up with the Atlanta leg of the tour during its travels from Atlanta to Sanford, Florida. There were also some new people who came to check out the movement for revolution more deeply.

The evening began by playing the 1969, 1979 and 2003 excerpts from Bob Avakian's speeches (a request by many!), after the MC talked briefly about what was accomplished in pushing out with BA in 2012, and then people were invited to step forward with what they had prepared to contribute‑or to step up if they were inspired by others. A couple people read letters from prisoners about how the literature sent to them by the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund transformed their outlook and their lives while in prison. Another person performed two original poems, and a person from another country spoke movingly from his own experience about the desperation of people oppressed by imperialism and the difference BA's new synthesis of communism can make to everyone struggling for a real solution to this horror.

Someone who had gone on the BAsics Bus Tour but could not be at the dinner wrote a statement of support to the gathering, "Hello friends, I'm sorry I can't be with you all on this important night. The importance of Bob Avakian and the new synthesis of communism is the difference in changing the world to something radically different and a place that people actually want to live in. This world we live in with its repeated horrors does not have to continue. What kind of world do we have with the wars, torture, degradation of women and the total destruction of the planet with the constant threat of nuclear war hanging over our heads. This cannot be the pinnacle of human existence and the best possible world if you step back and look at the world as a whole. Quite simply getting Bob Avakian and this new synthesis of communism everywhere throughout society is our only hope of lifting the people to truly unheard of heights never before imagined in human history. If we don't succeed in making revolution imagine the planet 30 or 40 years from now. How many youth will be locked away and warehoused then, if not a total genocide. How many more police killings do we have to witness of our Black and Latino youth. The whole future of the planet is in our hands at this very moment. So we all have a huge responsibility let us all make the right choice." BAsics Bus Tour volunteer

Another statement was sent with a heartbreaking poem written by a woman whose mentally ill brother had been killed in prison. The essence of the poem was about how her brother would have been treated with more respect if he had been a dog!

A YouTube clip of a poem performed by the late Gil Scott-Heron was played—"A poem for Jose Campos Torres." This was introduced with a reference to a section of the interview with Bob Avakian by Cornel West where Avakian talked about the outrage of the police killing the youth and not wanting to be waging struggles against these same outrages 30 years from now ("How long...")—pointing out that the poem was written about a police murder of a Latino man in Houston, Texas over 30 years ago. "...And the dogs are in the mother-fucking street..."

There was an international flavor to the dinner with many people bringing dishes as well as a Jamaican and Middle Eastern restaurant donating food too. Someone made a great playlist of inspiring music that was played as we ate and talked with one another. Everyone contributed to making the evening a moving experience, a success in raising funds ($500 at the dinner party and $1000 total throughout the holiday season), deepening our appreciation of the vision and leadership of BA and what has been accomplished so far with BA Everywhere—and the need to kick this campaign into high gear in 2013...and the difference it could make.


BAsics and Bake Sale for the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund (PRLF)

In mid-December, we also raised money for the PRLF to send BAsics to prisoners with a bake sale. A small team set up very large displays of pictures from Revolution newspaper, the BA iconic image, and the cover and some quotes from BAsics outside a busy mall during the holiday season. We took homemade brownies and cookies that had been contributed, wrapped and sealed with a sticker that said "Thank you for contributing to the BA Everywhere campaign," to sell to holiday shoppers. We also had plenty of copies of BAsics, Revolution newspaper and palm cards with the quotes-of-the-month from BAsics. A lot of people rushed by, some took palm cards and some stopped to learn what it was about, taking small stacks of cards or buying the paper. We sold a few brownies and got some donations in our bucket, but it wasn't panning out like we had hoped, so we decided to try going to other areas of the city.  

We stopped off at a restaurant where the owner was familiar with Revolution newspaper and explained what we were raising money for and challenged him to get 10 brownies at $2 a piece which he did. From there, we went to the neighborhood and shopping area where Revolution Books Outlet is located, and we spread out talking to shoppers and store owners and clerks—selling the bulk of our baked goods and collecting donations, meeting some really interesting people and getting palm cards into many of their hands as well as into many of the stores. We sold a copy of BAsics and Revolution newspapers. We collected $112 and a Revolution Books staffer person told us that several people we'd met had come into the store to check it out after we'd talked with them. All and all we have had great success with bake sales and want to make this a part of an ongoing fundraising source.




Revolution #292 January 20, 2013

Tapping into the Outrage over the Gang Rape in a South Asian Neighborhood

January 20, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


From readers in Chicago:

In India and in other parts of the world demonstrations have been cracking open the deep wounds and defiance around the brutal gang rape and murder of a young woman in India. The fury has unleashed righteous anger, with both men and women taking part, over this horrific crime. This has raised big questions around both the problem and solution to the whole war on women which reaches back centuries to the rise of private property and the enforcement of the patriarchy. This is an earthquake and its tremors are being felt around the world. We needed to be out in the streets talking to people; building resistance to the war on women as part of building a movement for revolution. We can't stop till all women and humanity are free of the vicious chains of tradition, exploitation and patriarchy.

Over the weekend of Jan 13, two of us went out to Devon Ave, a primarily an Indian and Pakistani neighborhood in Chicago to get out the recent issue of Revolution newspaper on the rape and murder of a young Indian woman. We were also getting out the recent statement from End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement & Degradation of Women and call to go to DC to take on the attack against women at the anniversary of Roe V. Wade.

We got out 35 papers, 5 of them going into an Indian bookstore. Everyone we met had thoughts on why this horrific rape happened as well as solutions. Overall there was outrage at what had been done. It was on everyone's mind. This ranged from small shopkeepers to Indian men and woman, as well as white people and their families shopping up in the Devon neighborhood. People had been following the rape and the response closely, and some of the women thanked us for coming up. Among the younger women there was a sense of, as one said, "We need to do something!" She asked us to please come back when her aunt will donate more money for the paper, and she underscored once again that something must be done.

Another woman said she would take the paper to a local community college and get it the hands of her professor. She was immediately asked if we could come to her class and speak about what the Stop Patriarchy initiative was doing and taking on the attacks against women's right to abortion. She said that it would be good to have a debate with her professor who is not very enlightened on the question of abortion. She said the atmosphere was very suffocating and that we needed to break things open. Another young student spoke of immigrant women in prison and the horrific conditions and attacks they faced. Through all this you got a real feel for what it means to "fight the power, and transform the people, for revolution."

We asked people what they thought should be done about this war on women and in particular rape. The range of responses included people who felt that stricter laws would be the answer—that would make men think twice—and that people needed to be educated, and once that occurred things could get better. One Indian man felt that Islam was the answer, that they treat women with respect; he got into how women need to dress more appropriate especially at night, maybe not go out. We told him that half of humanity is being raped and degraded – and that this flowed from the patriarchy and male supremacy and what humanity needs is a communist revolution. He thought for a moment and then went back into how he thought people themselves have to change and then life would be better. He got the paper, and as I left a number of the men in the store came over to check it out.

Some women who knew little English smiled when they bought the paper—there was something simmering under their veils and headdresses. A young white woman grabbed the paper and a handful of fliers as she jumped on the bus and promised to get them out and write us. Another woman and her daughters stopped to talk. One daughter was going to India soon and the other daughter had written a paper on the sex trade in Guatemala. They said they would check out the paper and fliers.

We stayed about two hours walking in and out of shops talking to people on the street. If we had stayed longer it's no telling how much more we could have done. The potential is huge, as well as the struggle over the problem and solution. The rape in India has put a face on the war on women globally, and we have a real responsibility to humanity to not only take this on but to dig deeply at the roots of patriarchy and pull them up by the roots through building a movement for revolution.