Revolution #304, May 19, 2013 (

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

Please note: this page is intended for quick printing of the entire issue. Some of the links may not work when clicked, and some images may be missing. Please go to the article's permalink if you require working links and images.

     Bob Avakian,
     Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA




Revolution #304 May 19, 2013

Emergency Situation:

Act to Stop Mass Incarceration and Racist Murders of Our Youth Now!

by Carl Dix | May 19, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Tens of thousands of people imprisoned in this country are held in conditions that fit the international definition of torture. People held in solitary confinement are locked down in tiny, windowless cells for 22 or more hours per day, denied exposure to sunlight, denied visits from loved ones and lawyers, and often are not allowed any human contact. People are placed into solitary confinement arbitrarily with no way to challenge this. People have been held under these conditions for months, years and even decades. This is illegitimate and unacceptable, and it must be stopped!

In the Security Housing Unit at Pelican Bay State Prison, California
Photo: AP

The murder of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman is about a hell of a lot more than a lone racist vigilante who saw a Black youth and decided he was looking at a criminal who was "up to no good." It's about more than just a small southern town's good old boy police force letting a racist murderer go free. It concentrates an ugly reality in this country, that this white supremacist society has placed a bulls-eye on the backs of Black youth; criminalizing and demonizing them; declaring that it's open season on them. This is illegitimate and unacceptable, and it must also be stopped!

The widespread torture in the prison and the racist murder of Trayvon Martin form a challenge for everybody who hates what this country does to Black and Latino youth. The people must act to say NO MORE to the torture going on in U.S. prisons and NO MORE to racist murders like what happened to Trayvon Martin.

If we fail to meet this challenge, Black and Latino people, especially the youth, will be left alone to face the brutal suppression the system unleashes on them. And the capitalist rulers will continue to get away with beating down and locking up a section of people they hate and fear, weakening our chances to make revolution to end all the horrors capitalism enforces on humanity.

But if we meet this challenge, if we DO band together and act powerfully, in many different ways, to stop these horrors, it will make clear that there is a growing section of society that is standing up and saying WE WILL NOT TOLERATE THIS ANY LONGER!!! These actions have to be a major step in changing how society thinks—and if we want to change how people think, we need arguments but we also need ACTION!!!! We have to mobilize people who face this brutality to stand up and resist, and we have to bring other sections of people to join us in the fight. And the goal of our resistance has to be STOPPING these horrors, not reforming or slightly improving them, not to mention letting things stand as they are.

* * * * *

Read the article, "Cal Students Support Prisoner Hunger Strike"
Photo: AP

The mass incarceration, widespread torture in the prisons, open discrimination against former prisoners who have paid their so-called debt to society and the racial profiling that criminalizes and demonizes Black and Latino youth—all this is rooted in the white supremacy that's been built into the fabric of U.S. society from the very beginning. As BA so aptly put it:

The book by Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow, Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, has shined a bright and much needed light on the reality of profound injustice at the very core of this country.

And this brings me back to a very basic point:

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!

All this means there is an emergency situation. Millions of Black and Latino youth in the inner cities across the country face futures of hopelessness, their choices limited to pursuing a "career" of employment in fast food joints, going in and out of prison or joining the military and becoming killing machines for the U.S. global empire. The response of the authorities to these millions of people having no future under this system has been to criminalize, demonize and suppress them.

This is the backdrop for the mass incarceration and all its consequences that is breaking the bodies and crushing the spirits of countless millions of people. This amounts to a slow genocide targeting Black and Latino people on the bottom of this society. And as Bob Avakian says in the movie, REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!, "Those this system has cast off, those it has treated as less than human, can be the backbone and driving force of a fight not only to end their own oppression, but to finally end all oppression, and emancipate all of humanity."

March 2012. Houston, Texas, at a march protesting the shooting of Trayvon Martin.
Photo: AP

The capitalist rulers of the country are criminalizing and incarcerating millions of people to suppress sections of people they hate and fear. The rulers are in effect launching a counterinsurgency before people have a chance to rise up and fight for real change.

This can't be allowed to go down. We must meet the attacks being launched on this front with a determined fight that can beat them back; a fight that can lay bare the illegitimacy of this society which enforces torture on a wide scale in its prisons and that declares open season on Black and Latino youth. And as we build this determined fight, we must bring to people the need for, and possibility of, revolution aimed at bringing a totally different, liberating world into being and bring to them ways to join the fight for that world right now.

Look at the fight to stop torture in prison. Thousands of people locked down in California's prison segregation units (called SHUs), who have been condemned by prison officials as the worst of the worst and held under the most repressive of conditions, took part in a hunger strike in 2011. Now, prisoners in the SHUs have declared that they will restart the hunger strike on July 8, 2013, if the authorities continue to refuse their demand for improved conditions in the SHUs.  They can't be left to fight this torture on their own. We must take up the fight to stop this torture, joining with those from the bottom of society who are already in the fight and bringing to their side many more people from different backgrounds thru exposing to them the very real injustices being perpetrated here.

Look at the fight to get justice for Trayvon Martin. When his murderer walked free, tens of thousands all around the country took to the streets in protest, forcing this system to arrest and bring charges against George Zimmerman. And now, as Zimmerman is set to go on trial on June 10, it will take the renewed actions of thousands from all walks of life if there is to be any chance of getting justice in the courtroom.

This is an example of what's at stake on this front—whether the capitalist rulers will get away with suppressing a crucial part of the backbone force that could be part of making a revolution in this country, or whether the movement for revolution is able to make a big leap forward in changing the way people are thinking and what they're doing in ways more favorable to the cause of revolution.

There is serious potential for making this leap; the recognition of this potential by the powers-that-be can be seen in the brutality and viciousness of the attacks being brought down on millions and millions of people. And this potential can be glimpsed in the stirring of resistance to these attacks—the widespread protests to the legal lynching of Troy Davis, the outpourings in the wake of the vigilante lynching of Trayvon Martin, the determination of people locked down in the SHUs in California prisons to put their lives on the line to demand humane treatment and resistance to police murder in places from Anaheim, California, to the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn in New York City.

The calls issued by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and others to fight to stop torture in the prisons and to mobilize nationwide outpourings on June 10, the first day of the trial of Trayvon's murderer can tap into this potential and give it broader and more determined expression. Thru acting on these calls, thru fighting the power, and transforming the people, for revolution, we can take huge strides forward in building what humanity truly needs, a powerful movement for revolution here in the belly of the beast.




Revolution #304 May 19, 2013

June 10, 2013 is National Hoodie Day!

May 11, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


June 10, 2013 is
National Hoodie Day!

Hit the Streets on June 10, 2013

Protest (and walkout) at schools nationwide; rally in communities; wherever you are wear the sticker (download sticker file for printing at, post the slogan and put up signs declaring:


Spread the We Are All Trayvon Facebook events page ( Invite all your Facebook friends to the event and encourage them to invite all their friends. Spread it on Twitter; send it out to all your followers and Tweet it to people with large Twitter followings and encourage them to send it out to their followers. On Twitter, use the hash tags #hoodiesup and #justice4trayvon. Join the Twitter storm on Friday, June 7, when we plan to saturate Twitter with tweets about Trayvon, the June 10 Hoodie Day and our hash tags.

Take pictures of yourself and your friends wearing hoodies-share the pictures on Instagram and on Facebook, and share links to the pictures on Twitter. Also send them in to the Stop Mass Incarceration Network ( to be posted up on its web site.

Download the flyers from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network web site ( and post them on your Facebook pages, Instagram and Tumblr.

For more information and to join in this struggle contact: Stop Mass Incarceration Network ~
347-979-SMIN (7646),,
National Website:, @stopmassincnet




Revolution #304 May 19, 2013

Emergency Call! Join Us in Stopping Torture in U.S. Prisons!

May 12, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Special to Revolution:
Artworks from Prisoners

Click to view full gallery.

Tens of thousands of people imprisoned in the U.S. are being subjected to torturous, inhumane conditions. Many are:

Many are forced to endure these conditions for months, years and even decades! Mental anguish and trauma often result from being confined under these conditions. Locking people down like this amounts to trying to strip them of their humanity.

These conditions fit the international definition of torture! This is unjust, illegitimate and profoundly immoral. WE MUST JOIN IN AN EFFORT TO STOP IT, NOW!

People imprisoned at Pelican Bay State Prison in California have called for a Nationwide Hunger Strike to begin on July 8, 2013. They have also issued a call for unity among people from different racial groups, inside and outside the prisons. People who are locked down in segregation units of this society's prisons, condemned as the "worst of the worst," are standing up against injustice, asserting their humanity in the process. We must have the humanity to hear their call, and answer it with powerful support!

Letter from a Prisoner:
On the Struggle of the California Prisoners

I just finished reading the statement sent by CDCR [California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation] SHU prisoners ("Peaceful Protest to Resume July 8, 2013, if Demands Are Not Met") and I wanted to express the following. First, I would like to say that I'm glad that SHU prisoners haven't given up on the struggle. For, there are many people, to quote Frederick Douglass, "who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation. They want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning."

Read more

A nationwide and worldwide struggle needs to be launched NOW to bring an end to this widespread torture before those in the prisons are forced to take the desperate step of going on hunger strikes and putting their lives on the line!

To the Government: We Demand an Immediate End to the Torture and Inhumanity of Prison House America—Immediately Disband All Torture Chambers. Meet the demands of those you have locked down in your prisons!

To People in this Country and Around the World: We Cannot Accept, and We Should Not Tolerate This Torture. Join the Struggle to End Torture in Prisons Now!


June 21, 22 and 23 Will Be Days of Solidarity With the Struggle to End Prison Torture! There will be protests, cultural events, Evenings of Conscience, sermons in religious services, saturation of social media—all aimed at laying bare the ugly reality of wide spread torture in U.S. prisons and challenging everyone to join in fighting to STOP it.

Bah Abdourahmane; Ron Ahnen, California Prison Focus; Gbenga Akinnagbe, actor and director; All Of Us Or None members: Sundiata (Willie) Tate, Manuel La Fontaine, Sheila Blake, Dorsey Nunn, Marilyn Austin-Smith, Elder R. Freeman, Oakland; Rafael Angulo, Clinical Associate Professor, USC School of Social Work; Yejide Ankobia, Red Clay Yoga; Larry Aubry, Advocates for Black Strategic Alternatives; Mike Avila; Nellie Hester Bailey, Occupy Harlem;  Tim Baldauf-Lenschen, student activist, University of Maryland; Mike Baldwin, SF Bay Area activist; Fanya Baruti, Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People's Movement; Elizabeth Bell; Joe Berry, Coalition of Contingent Academia Labor/ New Faculty Majority*; Brooke Bischoff, Prescott College*; Rev. Dr. Dorsey O. Blake, Presiding Minister, The Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples, S.F. CA; Uncle Bobby, Oscar Grant Foundation/Committee; Brian Bonne; Blase Bonpane, Ph.D., Director OFFICE OF THE AMERICAS;  Kwan Booth, Journalist, Oakland CA; Felice Brown, Glen Burnie MD; Ashley Burks, NYU student; Attorney, John Burris, Oakland CA; Rev. Richard Meri Ka Ra Byrd, KRST Unity Center Of Afrakan Spiritual Science, LA; CAL Football* Players - Alejandro Crosthwaite, Khairi Fort, and Richard Rodgers, Berkeley; Susan Castagnetto, lecturer, Scripps College*, So. Cal; M.J. Christian, Los Angeles; Lauren Clifford, Green Party of California; Marjorie Cohn, Professor, Thomas Jefferson School of Law and editor, "The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration, and Abuse"; Solomon Comissiong, Executive Director, Your World News; Andres Thomas Conteris, Nonviolence International*; Antonio Corona, Brown Beret National Organization; Lloyd Cox, Oakland; Matt Courter; Marion Crawford, advocate against Injustice, Louisville KY: Randy Credico, impressionist and social comedian; Alejandro Crosthwaite, Cal Football* player; Chuck D, Public Enemy*; Petr Dann, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin; Earle Davis, Artist/Musician, Berkeley, California; Colin Dayan, Vanderbilt University*; Stephanie Demos; Noche Diaz, Revolution Club NYC, and Stop Mass Incarceration Network; Melvin Dickson, former Black Panther Party member; Roger Dittmann; Carl Dix, Revolutionary Communist Party; Dianne Durham, Publicist – Out of Bounds*, Oakland; Sand Fessler, RAW {Rochester Against War}, & Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars; Ever Ivan Florez, A Victim of CDC; Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report; Khairi Fort, Cal Football*; Joel "Phresh" Freeman, Graffiti Artist, Oakland; Pamela Fruge; Bob Gorringe, Codepink*; Chris Gwartney, Monterey CA; Margaret Haule, Community Activist; Robyn Hewitt, Las Vegas NV; Nicholas Heyward Sr., father of Nicholas Heyward Jr., who was murdered by the NYPD in 1994;  Hip, UC Berkeley*; Mike Holman, Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund*; Foluke Jose, Cal State University, Northridge*; Steven Joy, UCLA*;  Noel Juan, Music Director, San Francisco; Beth Kasner; Robin D. G. Kelley, Professor of American History, UCLA;  Kevin Keresey, Filmmaker; Gregory Koger, a revolutionary communist who was imprisoned as a youth and spent many years in solitary confinement; Wayne Kramer, Jail Guitar Doors USA; David Kunzle, Distinguished Professor, UCLA Emeritus; James Lafferty, Executive Director, National Lawyers Guild / Los Angeles; Jonathan Laks, Santa Monica, CA; Michael Lange, Actor, Oakland;   Verbena Lea, Redwood Curtain CopWatch, Peoples' Action for Rights and Community; Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, San Francisco (organizational endorsement); Clarence Leonard; Stanley Lewis; Katie Lindsey; Angelina Llongueras, member of the San Francisco Revolutionary Poet Brigade; Cadelba Lome Li' Loibl, Registered Nurse; B.M. Marcus, Community Director, Community Advocate and Development Organization, Brooklyn; Martha, Berkeley, California; Dr. Antonio Martinez, Institute for Survivors of Human Rights Abuses* and co-founder of the Marjorie Kovler Center for the Treatment of Survivors of Torture*; Chris Martinez, Los Angeles; Cynthia McKinney, former Congresswoman & 2008 Presidential Candidate for the Green Party; Erma McKinney; James McKinney, Instructor, City College of San Francisco; Marilyn McMahon, California Prison Focus*; Christa Meyer, Monterey; David Meyerhof; Natasha Mohammed, Travis Morales, Stop Mass Incarceration Network; Samsarah Morgan; Jacob Muehlbauer, Austin, TX; Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Director, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture*, and author, The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America; Luke Nephew, New York; Efia Nwangaza, Malcolm X Center for Self Determination, Greenville, SC; T.S. O'Sullivan, Albuquerque, New Mexico; Katherine O'Toole, Oakland; Kathleen D. Olsson, KPFA Radio*, Oakland; Oscar Grant Foundation (organizational endorsement); Joseph V.A. "Joe" Partansky, MBA, Former U.S. Army Mental Health Specialist and current advocate for persons with mental disabilities; Aidge Patterson, artist and activist, New York; Brian Pike, Universal Life Church Rabbi; Veronica G. Powers M.D.; Prison Watch Network (organizational endorsement); Mary Prophet, Educator, Oakland; Laura Pulido, Professor, American Studies & Ethnicity, USC*; Belinda Ramos, son serving life in a California State Prison; Mary Ratcliff, SF Bay View;  Larry Redmond, Chicago; Rev. George F. Regas, Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP)*; Aleister Ren, revolutionary, poet, and musician; Roman Rimer; Richard Rodgers, Cal Football*; Steven Rood, Attorney, Oakland; Temitope S, So Cal; Karen Saari, Bodega, CA; Elizabeth Sanchez, East Bay Community Law Center*, Berkeley, California; San Francisco Bay View, national Black newspaper (organizational endorsement); Peter Schey, President, Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law*; Roger Scott, Member, AFT Local 2121;  J. Tony Serra, Lawyer, SF; Mansoor Shah; Zadik Shapiro, Attorney; Cindy Sheehan;  Sheila, New York;  Dyne Suh, Los Angeles; Dan Siegel, National Lawyers Guild*; Peter Smith; Social Justice Committee (of the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists*); Tora Spigner, RN, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center*, Planned Parenthood-Shasta/Diablo*, Mother's Love Doula Services*;  Lavelle Spitz, Independent hip hop artist/humanitarian in training; Michael Stocks, Film technician; Dyne Suh, Los Angeles;  Debra Sweet, Director, World Can't Wait; Nick Szuberla, Nation Inside*; Martha Teklu; Temitope S, So. Cal; Prof. Edgar L Torres, Latino Educational Association*, City College of San Francisco*;  Evelin Avila Torres, UCSC*;  John Turok, Occupy Oakland*; Michael Treece, San Francisco; Scott Trent, Guilford County, NC October 22nd Coalition; Troy Troyer; Luis Valdez, Founding Artistic Director, El Teatro Campesino, CA; Jeremy Varon, longtime anti-GTMO activist; Louis Vitale, O.F.M.; Patty Villasenor; Jim Vrettos, Professor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice*; Will Walke, Oakland;  Arianna Wassmann, Stanford University student; Corey Weinstein, M.D., San Francisco Correctional Medical Consultant; Arinna Weisman, Buddhist Insight Meditation teacher and minister; Liza Wendt, retired teacher; Cornel West, author, educator, voice of conscience; Robin Woerner, New Haven;  Clyde Young, revolutionary communist and former prisoner.


*For identifications only

For more information and to join in this struggle contact the Stop Mass Incarceration Network at (347) 979-SMIN (7646) or at


Read more about the Hunger Strike at:

Hunger Strike at Pelican Bay Prison:
The Humanity and Courage of the Prisoners...
And the Moral Responsibility to Support Their Demands

(Revolution #240, July 24, 2011)

Prisoners at Pelican Bay End Hunger Strike...
The Struggle Against the Inhumanity of Solitary Confinement Continues
(Revolution #241, July 31, 2011)




Revolution #304 May 19, 2013

Scenes from BA Everywhere: Taking Bob Avakian's Vision and Framework into All Corners of Society

May 19, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


"Scenes from BA Everywhere" is a feature that gives our readers an ongoing picture of this multi-faceted campaign: 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 and are at the hub of the BA Everywhere effort—publishing reports from those taking up the campaign and playing a pivotal role in building an organized network of people across the country coming together to make BA a household word. We urge readers to send in timely correspondence (to on what you are doing as part of this campaign.


The Revolution Club at Fiesta Broadway, L.A.

A crew of us went out to Fiesta Broadway on a very sunny day in Los Angeles. We read the editorial in Revolution ("Celebrate May Day, 2013: Humanity Needs Revolution") to orient everybody and give content to where we should all be proceeding from at this cultural event. This was an opportunity to reach thousands (300,000) of Spanish-speaking Latinos.

In making plans we focused on BA's quote of "THIS MOVEMENT FOR REVOLUTION MUST NOW BECOME A REAL FORCE, POWERFULLY IMPACTING AND INFLUENCING ALL OF SOCIETY..." and experimented with how we could make that come alive (at this cultural event). We set goals for the day for the number of newspapers, DVDs, BAsics, and palm cards we could get out, and the amount of donations we could collect.

Some of us took the train and practiced our Spanish chants on the way. Everybody wore their "Revolution—Nothing Less" shirt. On the train, a Black Christian man began agitating against the revolutionaries and argued that people needed Jesus. A person in our crew sharply took on the arguments and drew from BA's talk of whose interest does it serve to have oppressed people believing in something that does not exist. And, when a group of young women got off the train, they were compelled to tell the Black Christian man that he was wrong and that the bible is full of lies.

We were not prepared for the swarm of Christian forces carrying large displays and agitating on every corner (as well as in booths inside the event). We managed to set up a table near a busy intersection and had the Revolution Talk (in Spanish) audio projecting through loudspeakers. The Revolution Club snaked through the crowd agitating at different intersections and chanting along the way "¿Qué es el problema? ¡El sistema, El sistema! ¿Cuál es la solución? ¡Revolucion!" At certain points people picked up the chant; and when we stopped at an intersection we put palm cards in people's hands; and sold copies of Revolution newspaper. A young Latina bought a copy of the BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! DVD and walked with the contingent (while talking to a Revolution Club member).

We set up our Revolution masthead banner and had a division of labor—some sold copies of Revolution, others fund-raised, and others distributed palm cards. By the end of the day we sold over 80 newspapers, 2 Lo BAsico, 1 BAsics, 1 REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!, and a few stickers and buttons (for donation). While the table and snaking drew forward a politically aware crowd—I'm not sure if we had a bigger impact than that. Which should be summed up because our impact needs to reverberate throughout society affecting all those for whom this revolution is the only way out (and that includes a broader section than those who are already "politically thinking").

Brooklyn Screening of REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

For two nights in the Bushwick district of Brooklyn, NY, a couple dozen people watched all or part of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! The showing took place on April 24 and 25 in the gallery at the Brooklyn Fire Proof East Café—a performance venue that hosts events ranging from art exhibits to music performances.

The mix of people who showed up over the two nights was a rare scene in Bushwick—and for that matter a rare scene anywhere in today's world. Among those who watched all or part of the film over the two nights, a dozen or so had never seen the movie before. About half of them were people engaged in a wide range of artistic projects, working out of lofts and studios in converted warehouses in Bushwick. The other half were people from the neighborhood—some locked into the criminal in-justice system, including some who work for less than minimum wage picking up trash on the streets as a condition of their parole.

Bob Avakian's message of "revolution, nothing less" provoked a whole range of passion, thinking and discussion. One artist, a Buddhist, said he agreed with almost everything BA had to say but thought BA was "too angry." Having said that, he reflected, he could see why BA was so angry. He said the film was the most interesting experience he'd had in a while. A Black man from the community who came both nights, a Muslim, said the biggest surprise to him was "this is a white guy saying this and he clearly really cares about people." He responded viscerally to what BA was saying during the film—including appreciating BA going after all the "bitches" stuff in culture that degrades women. A Latino man couldn't stay for the showing but bought the DVD, saying, "This is what I've been thinking about my whole life."

Discussion, engagement and arguments spilled out into the bar. And there was passionate engagement over what revolution is, and how it might happen—ranging from the role of leaders to the strategy for such a revolution.

Going Out to Wealthy Neighborhoods With BA Everywhere

In order to really to make revolution, BA talks about the importance of this movement for revolution drawing from those who the system has cast out and cast down as the driving force for revolution and at the same time drawing in many others from all walks of life to join in this same cause. A small team formed to go to those from very different walks of life, who could contribute big money as part of contributing to revolution, nothing less...who would engage with the work of Bob Avakian—and particularly the major talk just released on DVD—learn about this movement through the testimony about the film and other articles found at—and join with those contributing through BA Everywhere—at a level needed to make BA's voice impact society broadly.

Over a two-week period, we went out to two outlying areas where many wealthy people live who have "alternative sensibilities," including an area that was famous in the '60s as a hippie community.

A resident from one of the towns who came to the premiere of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! invited us to her house to strategize with us about how to best reach people there. She loved the way that BA spoke to the outrages of the system, but had questions coming off of seeing the film about the possibility of anything that called itself communism could succeed in this country, and also was troubled by his views on religion. At the same time she really wanted to know more about how this was being taken out to society broadly and was particularly interested in our going to places where "the very wealthy lived." We talked to her about this in the context of the strategy for revolution—and she said would think about how best to approach her town.

We went first in the morning to the local farmers market. The market was very small and everyone knew each other. There were people from the ridge (the biggest homes) to professionals and young and old hippies. Right off, we met a number of people who said they had heard Bob Avakian on the radio—something this part of the country has the privilege of getting on the Michael Slate show on KPFK. There were a lot of questions—with a small number of people right off the bat interested in this movement for revolution and in BA in particular—and others agreed that there was a need for radical change but were advocates of very individualistic ways of achieving this—changing each individual and largely through spiritualism or other forms of metaphysics. People divided out quickly on the question of communism—and people were challenged that if they did not engage with BA's work, they really did not know what communism is. A screenwriter told us that he was a Vietnam vet and came back to his home town of Chicago after the war and met the Panthers. He recalled painfully the murder of Fred Hampton and was curious about this movement and BA. Two people suggested that we bring this to their groups—one dealing with issues of health and environment and the other who was a member of the local peace group. A young woman realized right off who we were and said, "That's the six-and-a-half-hour film...oh my god...I wanted to go to that after hearing this on the radio" and then she said to the young woman in our two-people team, "You're the woman who was interviewed about the film. I was so inspired by what you said." After a little convincing, she realized she had to have a copy of the film now and also gave us her information. She also was introduced to the Revolution Club on the spot. She thanked us and said she would definitely want to hook up. We told people why we had come to this town—that we felt that there would be people who hated the way the world is, and would want to know about a real way out of this madness—and also could make very big donations as part of taking up this cause. Those who were interested said that they would have to know more first—and either got the newspaper or said they would go online.

After that we spent some time visiting the woman who had been to the premiere and we got into her main question around spiritualism and religion—why it was that BA was fighting so hard for a scientific method and approach. And while we did not come out with anything close to agreement—because the question was placed squarely in the context of really changing the world fundamentally—we came to a certain understanding and she decided that given her means, the most important thing she could do was to get a subscription to the newspaper and also said she would take this out to others. She said that there were many community spots where she could post the materials and we talked about going to the peace group and to a progressive theater in the area and we encouraged her to come to the gatherings in the city whenever she could as well. She directed us to the roads where the very wealthy lived and another road where there were neighborhood gatherings of very progressive people. We encouraged her to go back to the DVD she had purchased and showed her the table of contents and how there were sections that spoke directly to the various questions she was raising. She was happy to see that she could access it in this way.

We then went off to talk about what we had learned so far that day and to prepare to go to the opening night of a local production of Blood Knot, a play by a very radical South African playwright, Athol Fugard, in a neighboring community that was also known for its very wealthy residents. We could only afford one ticket to the play which was $50, so we made the plan that we would both talk to people going in and out and during intermission and that one of us would go inside to see the play and participate in the Q&A with the director after the play.

We had had experience earlier in the week of going to a progressive screening of a film at an art museum where there was also a Q&A with the presenter, a well-known television actor. We went there with the intention of speaking up at the Q&A and then going out with a big box that said "Donate to Revolution Nothing Less" to people in the audience. A revolutionary youth raised a very good question during the Q&A that the actor seriously engaged with...but while there was an important section of young people there—we were not able to connect with the kinds of people we had hoped to reach. They just were not there.

We hoped that since this was billed as the gala opening night of the play, and it was taking place in a wealthy community, we would be able to reach people who we had set out to reach.

The play spoke very powerfully to the oppression of black people in South Africa and the way that the system itself shapes the relationship between two brothers—one dark-skinned and one light-skinned—in painful horrifying ways. The play itself opened people up to wanting to engage larger questions about the kind of society we live in and how any of this could change.

There was a Q&A immediately after the play with its director.

The director talked about his experience in South Africa and how apartheid came down, praising the role of Mandela in that and about how today people of all nationalities and backgrounds can and need to come together to change our relationships with each other. He asked the audience to support his work focused on shaping society through educating the children. There was a lot of emphasis put on promoting love and understanding and enabling people to make better choices.

He called on people in the audience to ask questions. A young revolutionary introduced herself as part of the movement for revolution and she drew from a theme in the play when the characters talked about their childhood and then how things changed not because of their individual choices but because of the larger forces in society—and she quoted from BAsics by Bob Avakian, the leader of the revolution, about how does this happen that "you go from beautiful children to supposedly 'irredeemable monsters' in a few years" and went on to talk about the system, linking this up to the nightmare of South Africa today. And she asked the director to comment on how he saw this theme in the play itself.

The director added Watts and America's inner cities to the list where this nightmare still existed, and then said again that the solution was to be found in people personally breaking down the barriers—that youth from the inner city should be invited to be at a theater in this very wealthy neighborhood and people from this neighborhood should go to the inner city as well.

We immediately went to talk with the audience members who had stayed for the Q&A. Two people wanted to speak to the young woman who had spoken up—saying that what she said was very important and she immediately talked about engaging with BA and contributing to getting this out everywhere.

Four people ended up buying the film and gave us ways to contact them. An older woman said she was a major donor to the theater, said she wanted her son to see the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! and had her personal assistant give us a way to reach her. Another woman came up and asked if we wanted her to make a donation and pulled out $20. A man said that he was very troubled by the situation in South Africa today and made an analogy between Mandela and Obama re doing great harm, masking over the reality where things are getting much worse for the people.

So in the course of one day, we sold five copies of the film and a subscription to Revolution—and began to connect with a section of people we had never gone to before in a mass way. We are following up now to set up fundraising meetings with the people that we met.

We learned a lot and wanted to share it with people everywhere—as something people in mass BA Everywhere committees can do.




Revolution #304 May 19, 2013

Revolutionary May First, 2013, Across the U.S.

May 19, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Houston, May 1

As Revolution wrote recently, “May Day is the revolutionary internationalist holiday of the exploited and oppressed and all those who hate the world as it is and who are fighting for a different future.” (“Celebrate May Day 2013: Humanity Needs Revolution”) On May First 2013 and on the following weekend, revolutionaries went out to different neighborhoods and campuses, joined May Day and immigrant rights marches, and celebrated the day in various ways in Los Angeles, Oakland, Seattle, Chicago, Cleveland, Birmingham (Alabama), Boston and New York. They took to people the message that humanity needs revolution and the new synthesis of communism brought forward by Bob Avakian.

The following are brief excerpts from some of the reports we received, to give a flavor of revolutionary May First:

Los Angeles

Los Angeles, at immigrant march, May Day 2013

Fifteen people marched in the main immigrant march, with red flags and a huge banner reading in Spanish, “Primero de Mayo—La humanidad necesita la revolución—El internacionalismo, el mundo entero ante todo.” A smaller tight crew would also march into the crowd—to the beat of a drum—with the chant “What is the problem? The system, the system. What is the solution? Revolution!” calling on people to hook up with this movement and learn about its leader, Bob Avakian. The entire march knew that the revolutionaries were in the house. A company of Aztec dancers marched behind the revolutionaries and the two groups began to interact. At times they would dance and drum and then stop—and as if on cue, the revolutionaries would resume their chants and the dancers would join in—then it would be back and forth. This drew people to want to join this section of the march. They also worked to make this an American flag-free zone.

East Oakland

East Oakland, May Day 2013

More than 30 people assembled at a very busy corner in a very spirited way for revolutionary May Day. Responses from people in the neighborhood to two quotes on internationalism from Bob Avakian were read (See below: "Responding to BA's Quotes on Internationalism"). Then it was time to march! For several blocks, people took to the streets in the neighborhood, which had been notorious for police shootings and harassment. After the march, people took turns on the bullhorn chanting “Trayvon Martin didn’t have to die, we all know the reason why. The whole system is guilty” (also mentioning other victims of police and racist murder) and “Revolution—Nothing Less!” Some people stayed around for a showing of the chapter “Remind me: Which System, Capitalism or Communism, is the Nightmare for Humanity” from the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! at a nearby fast-food joint.

New York City

May 4, Revolution Club in front of H&M Department Store, which sells clothing produced in Bangladesh.


May 1st NYC, many people spent time with a large artwork depicting crimes of imperialism all around the world.

From the Revolution Club: On Saturday, May 4, there was a May First “tour” up and down 125th St., the main street in Harlem, as the Revolution Club held up posters and an enlarged centerfold of Revolution newspaper with BA’s quote “Internationalism—The Whole World Comes First,” chanted with fists in the air, and rocked our T-shirts that say “The System Has No Future for the Youth, The Revolution Does—Get With the Real Revolution!” Our visual presence drew in many people and made us a force to be seen and heard. Along the way we stopped and did agitation at the main military recruitment center, several clothing retailers, and near the police precinct where the first civil disobedience action against stop-and-frisk, led by Carl Dix and Cornel West, happened in October 2011. At every stop we drew in all kinds of people who connected with the agitation. All the while, a crew sold lots of copies of Revolution newspaper and got out palm cards for BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian and Many people gave donations as well, as we were also kicking off the BA Everywhere six-week campaign to raise big funds to be able to spread BA’s work and vision all over society.

On Sunday, several dozen people gathered at Revolution Books for a wonderful potluck dinner celebration, including people who had met the revolutionary movement for the first time just the day before in Harlem, people active in the struggle against mass incarceration, and supporters of the bookstore.


Internationalist Contingent in Chicago, May 1.

A small but spirited Internationalist Contingent stepped out in the street as part of the May Day march of several thousand. The marchers were mostly Latinos, along with labor unions, gay activists, Occupy activists, and many, many youth. This was a very fertile atmosphere into which to take the message that humanity needs revolution and the new synthesis of communism. The chants of the Internationalist Contingent were appreciated and taken up by some of those marching (while others attempted to create some distance). The march came at a time of deeply felt frustration and outrage at the conditions of immigrants being forced to live in the shadows and facing persecution—driven home by the fact that 18 immigrants in Chicago were dragged out of their homes and away from their families by ICE agents right on May Day itself. So at the May Day march and rally, it was very important to challenge the illusions about the so-called “reforms” being offered by the system, using the Revolution article “Proposed New Immigration Law: An Ominous Leap in Repression and the Need for Resistance.”

Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, May 1st

A couple of carloads of revolutionaries drove to Birmingham to participate in a march and rally for immigrant rights organized by the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice. With the spirit of internationalism, our orientation was to unite with this important gathering of immigrants standing up in the face of the harshest anti-immigrant laws in the country, and to bring a sharp expression into the mix of what is really needed to liberate immigrants and all of humanity: Revolution—Nothing Less! The crowd was between 500 and 1,000, the vast majority Latino immigrants who traveled from all over Alabama and some from Tennessee. People told heart-wrenching stories of families being split apart and living in fear of detention and deportation. All were simply demanding to be treated as human beings.

* * * * *

Responding to BA’s Quotes on Internationalism

These are responses from people in a neighborhood in one city on May 1st to two quotes from Bob Avakian, “American Lives Are Not More Important Than Other People’s Lives” (BAsics 5:7) and “Internationalism—The Whole World Comes First.” (BAsics 5:8)


“No more people living in poverty. No more people living like slaves. Internationalism means the whole world needs to come together as one.”

—African-American man in his 40s


“Internationalism is important for the new generation and for the new humanity. Internationalism means our movement is growing throughout the whole world. Our struggle is for all of humanity.”

—Mexican woman in her 50s


“People in the Third World countries are just as important as the lives of the American people. We should be concerned about all the people. The others, that we are taught to not worry about, that we are taught to ignore, are suffering just as much, actually more, than what we have ever experienced here in America. It’s not a ‘them’ problem. It’s a ‘we’ solution.”

—African-American woman, living in a shelter


“I agree with ‘Internationalism—The Whole World Comes First.’ People have no voice all over the world. People are suffering and people are poor. I remember seeing on TV how people in other countries are living in garbage dumps, and it looks that they are almost being buried by that. This is horrible. The rich keep on stepping on the poor. We need to unite.”

—African-American man


“Internationalism is the unity among the people of the whole world. American lives are NOT more important than other people’s lives. Internationalism also mean no oppression, no poverty, no hunger/starvation, no getting beaten down. It’s about rising up and staying strong in unity among the people. Internationalism means the emancipation of humanity.”

—High school student, Revolution Club





Revolution #304 May 19, 2013

Nothing Good Can Come of Israeli Attacks or U.S. Intervention in Syria

May 19, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


In early May, Israel launched bomb attacks against Syria. This was Israel's second attack on Syria in six months. Accurate details of the targets and impact are difficult to ascertain, but whatever the intended targets, the attacks spread terror in an already devastated country. One resident described the attack: "The sky was red all night," and, "We didn't sleep a single second. The explosions started after midnight and continued through the night."

Israel, Barack Obama, and the entire U.S. ruling class media machinery justified Israel's attack as "self-defense." And the attack prompted an orchestrated "debate"—defined by the same ruling class forces and their media—over whether it was in "U.S. interests" to intervene more forcefully than the U.S. has so far in the conflict in Syria for "humanitarian" reasons, or to stop Syria from using chemical weapons.

First, let's be clear that these attacks were nothing but blatant aggression for reactionary aims—the latest in the decades-long history of Israeli crimes in the Middle East and beyond, backed by and in the service of the U.S. and other imperialists. The attacks must be condemned and opposed by people of conscience everywhere.

The basic thing people need to understand about this is: There is nothing good about Israel's attack on Syria, and nothing good that is being done or could be done by the U.S. or Israel through escalated intervention in the war in Syria.

* * *

Syrian refugees living under harsh conditions in Lebanon.
Photo: AP

The U.S. is already "intervening" in Syria—supplying paramilitary material, intelligence, and training and working to define the politics of the armed opposition forces. Its close allies—especially Saudi Arabia and Turkey—are supplying weapons to these forces.

The result has been a horror.

Any escalation in U.S. involvement will escalate the horror, and be entirely in service of imposing U.S. domination over a region to which imperialism has brought vicious exploitation and oppression for decades.

The Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria is itself a creature of and dependent on imperialism. Today Syria is mainly aligned with emerging rivals to U.S. imperialism like Russia, and with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Two years ago, in the context of uprisings throughout the Arab world, a range of forces in Syria took to the streets in protest against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. The regime responded to the protests and uprisings with a mix of political overtures to opposition forces and violent repression. The situation was seized on by the U.S. imperialists and their allies to move to replace Assad with a regime aligned and compliant with their interests in the region, and in particular in opposition to Iranian influence.

According to human rights agencies, both sides in the conflict—including the forces the U.S. is seeking to cohere and shape into a new regime—have carried out kidnapping, torture, and summary assassinations of their opponents and civilians. Tens of thousands in Syria have died, and hundreds of thousands have been displaced, with many living in desperate conditions in refugee camps or worse.

The U.S.-sponsored opposition has accused the Syrian regime of using chemical weapons, and on April 30 Obama publicly claimed that the U.S. has evidence of this. He and others in the U.S. ruling class have floated this as a possible pretext for escalated U.S. military intervention in Syria. Evidence of this is difficult to refute or verify. Israel alleges that photographs of dead bodies in Syria prove that the victims died from chemical weapons used by the Syrian regime. The UN body that examined this material determined that there is not a scientific basis to say these were victims of chemical attacks, and the photos did not meet the standard of proof needed for a UN investigation. (On the other hand, there is more definitive documentation that U.S.-backed opposition forces have used the deadly nerve agent Sarin. Carla Del Ponte, commissioner of the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry for Syria, told an Italian-Swiss TV station that the conclusion was reached based on interviews with doctors and Syrian victims now in neighboring countries. [CNN May 6, 2013])

Israel—and Obama—claim that Israel's brazen attack on Syria was "self defense," on Israel's part. But any state built on ethnic cleansing and whose role is to carry out the most heinous crimes around the world in service of empire—from Guatemala to South Africa, and especially in the Middle East—cannot invoke "self-defense" to justify attacks on anyone—including bombing Syria. And one great crime (the Holocaust) cannot be invoked to justify other great crimes.

* * *

There is an understandable impulse on the part of good-hearted people in the U.S. and beyond, even those who know that "in general" U.S. imperialism does not bring good things to the world, to look for some force in the so-called "international community" to intervene to stop the death and destruction in Syria.

But look at the results so far of U.S. "humanitarian" aid: mass death, the use of poison gas, dislocation, and suffering. All with the utterly illegitimate aim of restructuring an oppressive state to serve the needs of the U.S. empire—as was done in Libya.

The last thing the people of the world need is more of such "aid."

Does this mean that all the people in the U.S. can do is look on with horror at the suffering in Syria? No. The most powerful, positive thing people in this country can do is to visibly and actively stage political opposition to all of the crimes of the U.S. and Israel in the region. And this includes taking a strong stand against the latest outrage, the Israeli bomb attacks in Syria in early May.

A positive factor are campus protests, boycotts of Israel (world-renowned scientist Stephen Hawking recently refused to travel to Israel for a conference), and other political activities that expose Israel's oppression of the Palestinian people. The more such political action is taken, the more there is potential for people around the world to become aware of and aroused to oppose Israel's crimes against the Palestinians on a progressive, radical and revolutionary basis.

And the more resistance to the U.S. and Israel is informed by the orientation of opposing both reactionary Islamic Jihad and U.S. imperialism—and let's be clear that it's the U.S. that has been responsible for the lion's share of death in the Middle East—the more there is an inspiration and basis for people around the world, including in Syria, to be part of bringing forward another way, beyond the reactionary "alternatives" fighting it out on the ground in Syria today.


See also:


A Statement By Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA
February 11, 2011

English | Arabic | Spanish | French | German





Revolution #304 May 19, 2013

Raymond Lotta on "A QUESTION SHARPLY POSED, by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, NAT TURNER OR THOMAS JEFFERSON?"

May 11, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Raymond Lotta, at Revolution Books in New York on May 7, 2013 on "A QUESTION SHARPLY POSED, by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, NAT TURNER OR THOMAS JEFFERSON?"





Revolution #304 May 19, 2013

Letters Oppose Hampshire College Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program's Use of Police to Suppress Political Views

May 19, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Stop Patriarchy on Being Removed By Police From "Social Justice" Conference

Statement issued by

Hampshire is LYING about why they called police on StopPatriarchy activists and the stakes for women everywhere are HUGE!

On April 13, 8 members of (SP) were forced to pack up their officially registered table at Hampshire's annual conference on Reproductive Freedom and escorted off Hampshire College under threat of arrest by campus police. Their "crime"? Peacefully arguing that pornography and the sex industry—along with the assault on the right to abortion and birth control—are part of the global enslavement and degradation of women.

For weeks since, was ignored, canceled on, and hung up on by Hampshire Administration. Eventually, in response to press inquiries, Hampshire released a statement filled with LIES.

In order to "set the record straight" and because women's lives around the world are dependent on OPENING UP—rather than closing down and criminalizing—discussion and activism towards REAL WOMEN'S LIBERATION and overall HUMAN EMANCIPATION, we are printing their 5-sentence statement (below) and responding to their lies.

Read more

On April 13, organizers from Hampshire College's Civil Liberties and Public Policy (CLPP) program, including CLPP Director Mia Sullivan, used campus police to evict eight members of Stop Patriarchy ( from their conference on Reproductive Freedom for peacefully expressing anti-pornography views. In response, Sunsara Taylor and other members of Stop Patriarchy issued an Open Letter to CLPP and the Hampshire community protesting this outrageous use of police force to suppress political opposition to porn and the sex industry and called on others to write to the school in protest as well. The following is a selection of letters received by Stop Patriarchy, and forwarded to Revolution newspaper, as of May 5. They reflect the outrage many feel not only at the unprincipled and dangerous decision on CLPP's part to call in police (agents of the highly repressive and oppressive state) against liberation fighters but also at the increasing marginalization of anti-pornography/anti-sex-industry views within much of academia, especially "Gender Studies," as well as much of the modern-day so-called "Women's Movement."

As the stakes in opposing this action by Hampshire College have bearing on whether a new generation will not only hear, but be roused into action to oppose, the tremendous harm that comes to women everywhere through porn and the sex industry, Stop Patriarchy continues to call on people to add their voice to this protest. To submit a letter of protest, go to:

Letters and comments protesting CLPP's Use of Campus Police to Eject Stop Patriarchy members from their "Reproductive Freedom" Conference

Signatures have been removed from the following letters for publication.

Dear Mia Sullivan,

I am appalled to learn about the suppression of the End Pornography and Patriarchy movement at the recent CLPP Reproductive Freedom Conference at Hampshire College.

Eight members of End Pornography and Patriarchy traveled long distances to Hampshire College to participate in this conference. Their message and point of view are entirely complementary to the theme of reproductive freedom. I'm told it was thought they "disturbed" some students who were apparently—astoundingly—uncomfortable hearing new political ideas.

Surely the easiest option in such a situation is for the cosseted young ladies simply to move away from the table. Instead, the police were brought in to forcibly eject the End Pornography and Patriarchy members from the conference.

Does "CLPP" not stand for "Civil Liberties and Public Policy"? And you celebrate civil liberties by suppressing a passionate point of view in the debate? Was the conference not called the "Reproductive Freedom Conference"? And evicting conference members is your vision of freedom?

One thing I can guarantee you: although I was not standing in front of the table when the police were called—as nor were you, I assume—the End Pornography and Patriarchy people are an articulate, compassionate, group of dedicated political activists. They enjoy nothing more than engaging in lively debate with students on college campuses all over the United States.  They are non-aggressive, non-belligerent, and completely non-violent. They are passionate participants in the debate around reproductive freedom.

It is completely embarrassing that CLPP and Hampshire College felt so "imperiled" by their point of view that they called the police to threaten arrest if this group didn't leave.

Shame on you. I'm quite sure the groups that financially support CLPP and the Reproductive "Freedom" Conference will not be happy when they learn about this disgusting suppression of free thought on a college campus.


Dear CLPP Organizers,

I have been alarmed by reports that CLPP used police to eject Stop Patriarchy (SP) organizers from their conference because SP disagreed with people who stopped by their table to challenge one of their political positions. I know the organizers of SP for many years. They are principled political activists who treat people who disagree with them with utmost respect, even as they argue their own beliefs. This has always been my experience of them. I cannot see how they did anything wrong, from all reports. I understand that someone complained they did not feel "safe" at CLPP because of SP. Yet the question of what SP did to make that person "feel unsafe" has not been forthcoming. It sounds like a political disagreement made that person "feel unsafe." Therefore the implication of CLPP's calling the police is that disagreement will be met by police force if someone says that another's opinion makes them "feel unsafe." This is a really bad abuse of the "Safe Space" concept and, if not repudiated, could result in the repression of necessary debate in our movement(s). I hope that the organizers of CLPP will rethink their actions and render a much deserved apology to SP for threatening them unjustifiably—and also for not properly valuing the care, work and good faith they put into attending CLPP's conference.


I join the demand that CLPP issue a public apology to and that they distribute this apology to all the attendees of their 2013 conference.

Everyone has the right to speak their mind and express their thought whether people agree or disagree with them. People from Stop Patriarchy had the right to express their views at the conference. Why would you speak about creating a "safe space" for everyone and the violence of the state, yet do the complete opposite and call on the oppressors for help? Perhaps Stop Patriarchy have different views than you, however, they are fighting for the same cause, to end the violence against women. That is what should be focused on. Nobody was attacking anyone, they had the right to speak their mind. Threatening them with arrest was not just wrong but it showed us that you do not practice what you preach.

War on Women has got to STOP. We have a right to defend ourselves through FREEDOM OF SPEECH. We have a right to demand respect. We have a right to a quality of life and not be subjected to violence that porn produces.

Citizens are protected and allowed to express peaceful protesting. Using violent force to suppress their opinions and protest is contradictory to our true Freedom of Speech and the ideals a police force upholds—do you want people to distrust our government and officers?

Attention: CLPP Organizers—"When reason fails, force prevails." However, it seems to me that reason ought to have had a chance to be heard and perhaps even respected before being silenced by the threat of state action. Read "police." I've been a community organizer and a progressive union activist for more than 40 years. I am also a feminist. From this experience and work, I have an opinion to share with you. It is my view that you have failed as organizers because of your response to objections to feminist criticism that names the harm that pornography and prostitution does primarily to women and children. Simply because both are sexual practices does not exempt them from political criticism. Civil liberties include speech, even if one dislikes the words. So I have been told countless times. While we may debate meaning and harm, it remains important to listen to each others' concerns and then evaluate those concerns for the answer to the first question asked by all activists: who gets hurt; who profits? There is a long history concerning feminist criticism of the practices of pornography and prostitution. The reactionary response to that criticism is equally long. Judging from the success of both industries, as well as the expulsion of this small critical group at your conference, I can see that the struggle continues.

It is absolutely deplorable that you threatened the mechanism of state oppression against the members of Stop Patriarchy, including trans and POC [people of color] members of the group who have much to fear from the prison industrial complex, in order to silence political difference. I am absolutely disgusted by the actions of your organization, and will be telling everyone I know that the CLPP is an organization which uses the racist police state to intimidate and threaten participants at conferences who break an unwritten rule against critiquing the sex industry. Your organization does not provide a safe space for those of us who have had traumatic and damaging experiences with the sex industry, and to hide behind the banner of "Safe Space" is an abuse of the term. I stand behind Stop Patriarchy and with them demand CLPP issue a public apology to and that they distribute this apology to all the attendees of their 2013 conference.

I oppose using police to stifle objections to the sex industry.

Critiques of the sex industry are not cause for police intervention.

Please do not muzzle dissenting voices within the feminist community. We need more dialogue not repression.

For an organization that supposedly enjoys free speech—I have to ask, for whom?

Kicking out feminists who hold a critical position on the sex industry at a feminist conference is a horrendous violation of freedom of speech and a disgusting example of feminist sectarianism. It is important that debate and expression take place. Having worked in the sex industry I have experienced firsthand the realities of the industry and feminists like myself and others are entitled to our opinion and to express it in any public forum. The hypocrisy of a civil liberties organization denying women assembly and speech is utterly shocking and deplorable, and an apology must be issued immediately.

Dear CLPP organizers,

I am writing to express my outrage at the treatment of Stop Patriarchy organizers at your recent CLPP conference. Using police force to remove this group, effectively silencing their voices, is absolutely unacceptable. Horrifying in fact. Stop Patriarchy works tirelessly on behalf of women to draw attention to issues and systemic problems that negatively affect all women and men as a result of patriarchy. They deserve to be treated with respect. Issues like pornography and sex work have to be discussed beyond the experience of the individual. The sex industry is an enormous money-making machine that exploits people for profit. Trafficking of human beings for sex, aka slavery, does exist. You have to be able to have a conversation about one of the most central issues facing women today without having to focus on the stories of one or two individuals. That would be like trying to discuss Walmart's use of slave labor in its factories and being silenced because someone stood up and said that they were a cashier at a Walmart and the discussion was hurting their feelings. Seriously! You have set a serious precedent here. Sending in the police was a really dumb move. You need to apologize.

Why is the CLPP giving the sex industry the final word about who is even allowed to be heard at a conference allegedly concerned with "Social Justice" and "Freedom"? When pornography can be defended as "free speech" but condemnation of it can not, the existence of free speech is pretty seriously called into question.

Obviously, the CLPP supports civil liberties and public policy for everyone except women and are just one more branch of the world-wide rape culture AKA patriarchy. Good to know. The entire world is safe space for the porn-addled; for women, not so much. Pathetic.

We condemn CLPP's use of police to eject from their conference on April 13-14, 2013 under threat of arrest simply for peacefully advocating their anti-pornography views at their own table. Because this action sets a dangerous precedent, we demand CLPP issue a public apology to and that they distribute this apology to all the attendees of their 2013 conference.

The reason I was called to send this message is how much I agree with this statement: "It is always wrong for people who claim to be fighters against oppression to rely on the police or other forces of the state to repress and physically threaten others who are fighting for liberation." I do not agree that anti-pornography rhetoric is inherently feminist, but I believe these people had the right to espouse their views at a conference.

I am writing to condemn the silencing of discussion and debate that the CLPP organizers carried out against Stop Patriarchy attendees. These are tactics that destroy the roots of activism and reinforce the dominant voices in our culture. Shame on the organizers for a cowardly, dishonest reaction to an important and legitimate political debate. Shame on those who used threat of arrest and police power to insure that only one side of the conversation was present at a "civil liberties and public policy" conference.

I am disappointed, disturbed and outraged by the actions of CLPP toward on many different levels, but I will focus on one. As a librarian, an advocate of intellectual freedom, I can think of no justification for stifling, let alone shutting down with the aid of campus police (!), a debate on pornography, a subject of fundamental importance to the liberation of women. To the contrary, conference organizers should have welcomed the controversy and facilitated such a debate. An organization called Civil Liberties and Public Policy should have stood firmly on their own principles and modeled for everyone involved, what it means and why it's important for all voices to be heard—especially those who are not in the majority or a position of power. It may be more difficult after the fact, but now there's another opportunity for CLPP to stand on principle by taking responsibility for this serious mistake and apologizing publicly so all involved can learn from it. Any other response sets a dangerous precedent and goes nowhere that's civil or liberating.

It is incredible that "safe space" is becoming euphemistic for shutting down radical feminist thought and expression. Such women in presenting their views are not changing the safety of a space, not in the least. Bringing in police power was an absurd response to pornography proponents' complaints. Civil liberties do extend to radical feminists, please remember!

I am appalled that open conversation on socially important topics was stifled in this way at the CLPP conference. Creating "safe spaces" is not about forcing everyone in the area to agree on all topics—we must be able to have conversations and honest disagreements when we are talking about social institutions—such as pornography—that have the potential to be so harmful.

How terrifying to be in a space where one is not safe to be anti-porn without retribution. Where ARE radical feminists allowed to be safe?

I am outraged that CLPP shut down the "Stop Patriarchy" table simply because some people disagreed with their views. It must have been evident that the Stop Patriarchy people could also have argued that the presence of those supporting the sex and porn industries made the space "unsafe" for them. But they chose not to, and to support open and genuine debate as to the way forwards, an approach that should have been taken by all. We must oppose the censorship of the left and the assertion that the exchange of left ideas is such a violation of "safe space" that it warrants being shut down.

I almost could not believe this was true when I heard about it. No self-respecting social justice organization would ban folks who are anti-pornography. It perpetuates violence against the women who are in it, increases sex trafficking and promotes violence against women. Your credibility as a social justice organization is in serious question with me given your actions silencing people fighting against the degradation of women. You owe Stop Patriarchy a serious apology.

I wish the organizers understood the subject matters explicitly stated in the name of their own organization—Civil Liberties & Public Policy. In this case, they've violated the Civil Liberties of these participants, and disallowed a vibrant debate on an important issue with implications on a wide array of public policy—from exploitation, pornography to sex workers' rights... sad state of affairs indeed.

The deliberate silencing of political opinions, discussions, and arguments that are in opposition to the majority WILL NOT be tolerated!!! Women (and men) who come together, and organize themselves against issues which they deem to be harmful to society, should be allowed to express their opinions without the threat of state suppression or police action. I stand with and other groups of feminists and women who work for an equitable society and women's liberation, and I DEMAND AN APOLOGY from CLPP organizers for threatening this group's safety (which I find ironic in a conference which claims to foster "safe spaces" for the oppressed and marginalized), and silencing their dissenting opinions/arguments. Shame on you, until you right what you wronged.

I am shocked that a conference that claims to advocate for social justice used the police to evict people from their conference for exposing the harm that pornography produces. CLPP you can not claim to be for social justice when you call the police on people who are fighting against all oppression including the degradation of women in the sex industry!

If Civil Liberties and Public Policy cannot tolerate a minority report, perhaps its goal is not promotion of liberty but enforcement of policy.

CLPP has a responsibility to foster debate, not silencing.

I heard that you allowed police force to suppress a group of people sharing their views at a conference, at their own table for the cause. This is not only shocking, it is outlandish and hypocritical, and hugely disappointing. I look to the CLPP to be an advocate for justice, to fight for civil liberties, and to work towards ending oppression, for all people. To hear that you didn't allow a group to speak at their own table and to voice their views about a vastly widespread form of oppression—it's just plain wrong. Debates get heated, especially when one side is on the forefront of emerging and understandings about different forms of oppression. The pioneers tend to get a lot of flack and you should know that, as a group that fights for civil liberties. To keep the field open to accepting all voices that speak out against oppression, there should be a public apology, and this type of silencing, especially without investigation, should be stricken from your organization's actions. We are all here to grow our society into one that has more respect and more love, more rights and fairness for all. Please don't become an organization that merely plays lip service to that.

Dear CLPP,

I used to feel the same as some of your attendees about pornography and the sex industry—that it was a female right. In some ways, I still do. But I'm not threatened by the views of the Stop Patriarchy group who has some very valid points which should be listened to. You really should have created a "safe space" for everyone to discuss the issue rather than just ejecting them from the space. Set some ground rules for the discussions, etc. What would you have done if I had "gotten scared" because one of the participants had a head scarf and I wanted her ejected? I'm a privileged, mature, white woman. My demands should prevail. Right? I really feel that you should do some soul-searching. Seems to me an apology is in order. I really hope you have a open mind to that.

"Safe space" and "inclusivity" are being used as codewords explicitly against radical and other consistently structuralist feminists, to silence our politics and exclude us from spaces invested in individualist, postmodern, and liberal analyses.

How long must women wait for a society that does not excuse, justify and permit their objectification and degradation? CLPP is WRONG in using anti-radical police state forces to suppress anti-porn views and those that seek to eradicate ALL forms of oppression rather than concede to some in keeping with the tenets of current patriarchal system. It should, in the interest of civil liberties, encourage lively debate amongst those who truly want an end to oppression for ALL women. And this, should issue an apology to for calling in repressive forces to silence these views.

WOW! A civil liberties conference got people ARRESTED for using their RIGHT to Free Speech? This says a lot about the kind of organization you wish to be and are!

What a shame to hear that organizers of the CLPP conference resorted to police force to suppress the free speech of fellow progressives! This is so completely inappropriate, I am at a loss as to how this was approved and not immediately condemned. Please issue a public apology for this abhorrent behavior. Thank you.

I would understand forcing a group to leave if they were disrupting the conference or distributing hateful or otherwise harmful material, but this obviously wasn't the case here. Stop Patriarchy should not have been kicked out simply because the organizers didn't agree with their viewpoint.

Are women's rights NOT to be objectified and commodified, and no longer protected under civil liberties??

No conflict of ideology can ever justify the calling of police among movements. Involving the police is very serious and highly dangerous. The world is not a safe space for women, largely because of the industry built on selling the enslavement and degradation of half of humanity. CLPP made their conference unsafe by calling the police on SP activists.

It is outrageous that a "civil liberties" organization would sic the cops on someone for questioning the pornography industry! CLPP must think about this and make amends.

Scratch a liberal and a fascist bleeds. Using the ruse of a "safe space" to suppress ideas you find objectionable is a tactic I have witnessed in Providence with Brown U. students. It is not only intellectually dishonest, it reflects poorly on the character and integrity of the organizers. You are judged by what you do and not by what you say. You can delude yourself, but you are the people you rail against. Own up to your mistake.

We have to uphold our right to the freedom of speech and assembly since these are inherent to all. Unacceptable. Utilizing the State to remove women opposing the filmed debasement of females is the mindset of a pimp—and we don't need any more of those. Fix your sh*t, A Feminist

The work of the movement to End Pornography and Patriarchy should be celebrated not silenced. At a time when few dare to speak out against the degradation of women that is glorified by pornography; the work of is precious. CLPP is supposed to be a place where ideas are wrangled and where the status quo is challenged; not where oppression is rationalized under the guise of empowerment and those who speak out are forcibly removed. There is no "safe space" in this society from porn. Every day of our life we contend with a society where pornography has become more violent and mainstreamed. I urge the organizers to seriously think about their actions and its implications.

It is utterly against any notion of public good to suppress the free speech against pornography. Civil liberties must work for women too.

Just totally outrageous what happened here! To those people who say that it is "their choice" to engage in porn, the question must be asked—Does a 9 year old girl in Thailand "choose" to go into the sexual slavery of the international porn industry when her family faces the "choice" of starvation or sending her into the cities, thinking that she'll get to go to school or at least earn an honest living working as a servant? CLPP must issue a public apology to Stop Patriarchy for what they did to SP. What is CLPP afraid of?

I can't believe you called the campos in the kind of situation described by Sunsara Taylor. Have you released any statement of explanation?

The use of police force to silence dissent is not conducive to creating any meaningful change in society. If you value your own views and struggles then you ought engage with those poised as allies rather than dismiss them out of what appears to be great ignorance and closed-mindedess.

Wow! What a ridiculous situation, how offensive, and what a disappointment. Shame on you Mia Sullivan!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This action on your part violates the most basic and essential standards of any movement against oppression. The police are the armed enforcers of a highly oppressive and repressive state. There is a long and brutal history of the role of the police—from the murder and wrongful imprisonment of Black Panther Party members in the 1960s to the more recent coordinated brutality inflicted on Occupy protesters across the country—in attempting to crush, punish, and demoralize those who would lift their heads to fight against oppression. No one who calls on the police to suppress and physically threaten others who are fighting against oppression can legitimately claim to be doing anything other than the work of this highly oppressive, violent, and repressive state.

I am very disappointed to see "safer space" rhetoric being used to justify the silencing of feminist viewpoints and using the threat of state force against people who were simply expressing an opinion. What happened here was unacceptable.

I was not at the conference. Nonetheless, I have heard about the stifling of debate at the CLPP conference and am appalled. I believe that we are all strengthened by vigorous discussions and benefit from hearing opinions that run counter to our own. I hope that this matter will be investigated so that nothing like this ever happens at the CLPP conference again.




Revolution #304 May 19, 2013

Statement issued by

Hampshire is LYING about why they called police on StopPatriarchy activists and the stakes for women everywhere are HUGE!

May 19, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


On April 13, 8 members of (SP) were forced to pack up their officially registered table at Hampshire's annual conference on Reproductive Freedom and escorted off Hampshire College under threat of arrest by campus police. Their "crime"? Peacefully arguing that pornography and the sex industry—along with the assault on the right to abortion and birth control—are part of the global enslavement and degradation of women.

For weeks since, was ignored, canceled on, and hung up on by Hampshire Administration. Eventually, in response to press inquiries, Hampshire released a statement filled with LIES.

In order to "set the record straight" and because women's lives around the world are dependent on OPENING UP—rather than closing down and criminalizing—discussion and activism towards REAL WOMEN'S LIBERATION and overall HUMAN EMANCIPATION, we are printing their 5-sentence statement (below) and responding to their lies.

"Members of the Stop Patriarchy group were asked to leave the Civil Liberties and Public Policy [CLPP] conference not because of their views, but because of their repeatedly disruptive behavior. This is an annual conference with more than 1,000 in attendance. In addition to planning the program, its staff and student organizers ask that all participants follow community norms for discussion so that everyone can participate in productive dialogues and workshops. When conference organizers raised concerns with Stop Patriarchy members about their repeatedly disruptive behavior, their response was to dismiss the negative effects of their actions on others attending the conference and to continue the behavior. They were asked to leave, and when they refused to leave peacefully campus safety officers were asked to escort them off campus.

Elaine Thomas, Dir. of Communications,
Hampshire College, Amherst,MA

LIE #1: SP was asked to leave "not because of their views, but because of their repeatedly disruptive behavior."

Truth: At no point did CLPP organizers, either before or while evicting SP, accuse SP of being "disruptive." The only reason CLPP organizers gave for evicting SP was that one group of conference participants had complained that SP's arguments against the sex industry made them "uncomfortable" and made the conference no longer a "safe space." SP argues that the sex industry reduces women to sex objects and is the "mirror opposite" of the anti-abortion movement which reduces women to breeders. These views are completely appropriate in a conference on "Reproductive Freedom" and "Social Justice." Outrageously, at a time when the sex industry is brutalizing, raping, and torturing millions of women and girls every year, it is precisely these views that are increasingly marginalized and outright suppressed—as they were by CLPP and Hampshire college—in academia and much of the so-called "women's movement."

Question: Should the real-world harms to women caused by the sex industry be suppressed in the discourse over women's liberation? Is this the "search for the truth" and open contestation of ideas that a university should stand for?

LIE #2: SP violated legitimate "community norms."

Truth: SP acted in a principled fashion in all its interactions, and abided by CLPP's written standards for the conference. CLPP's standards regarding "safety" states: "ask for consent to continue conversations that were begun earlier, allow the space for people to leave a situation that is triggering..." The pro-porn group (whose complaints were cited by CLPP as the reason SP was forced to leave) had approached SP's table, specifically to argue over pornography. At every point they were free to "leave [the] situation." SP did carry out substantive and sharp, yet principled, struggle with them over the devastating effects of the sex industry. What seemed to offend them was SP's argument that their individual "positive experience" with porn and "sex work" should NOT be elevated over the global social harm of the industry on millions and millions of women and girls.

Question: Is "safe space" to mean that participants should be protected from encountering ideas that differ from their own? Should the subjective experience of individuals be allowed to silence the experiences of millions who are harmed by the sex industry?

LIE #3: "Safety officers" were only called after SP refused to leave peacefully and they aren't really "the police."

Truth: "Safety Officers" are actual POLICE and they were present from the first time CLPP organizers approached SP and told them to leave "or be arrested." There was no request that SP ignored before police were called nor did SP ever act unpeacefully. Repeatedly, CLPP organizers—and now Hampshire administration—have referred to campus POLICE as mere "safety officers." Elsewhere CLPP wrote that, "We told campus safety that we did not want them [SP] arrested, and the local Amherst police were not involved." In reality, these "safety officers"—actual police, agents of the highly repressive/oppressive state—repeatedly threatened arrest, specified criminal charges that carry jail time, put their hands on SP activists and stated that they would detain the SP activists at the Amherst Police Precinct.

Question: Will you remain silent as the force of the police and threat of arrest is used to suppress political debate and academic discourse, especially on a question whose stakes are the liberation or enslavement of half of humanity? Or will you seek out the argument that is being kept from you, fight to open up this debate, and join in the struggle for the full liberation of women?

Learn/connect at





Revolution #304 May 19, 2013

A Call from

Summer 2013: Stand Up for Abortion on Demand and Without Apology!

May 19, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


DePaul University, Chicago,
Take Back the Night, April 25, 2013

Today abortion is more stigmatized, more difficult to access and more dangerous to provide than at any time since it became legal 40 years ago. 97 percent of rural counties do not have an abortion provider. Several states have only one abortion clinic left, and 80 percent of clinics everywhere in the U.S. have experienced harassment, violence or threats. Having a "pro-choice president" has done nothing to slow these attacks: 2011 and 2012 saw record restrictions on abortion, and 2013 has already seen the most extreme restrictions ever. For example, on August 1 in North Dakota abortion will become illegal at about six weeks (before most women even know they are pregnant!).

Let us be clear: Forcing women to have children against their will is a form of enslavement!

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

When it comes to abortion, the only question is:

Will women be forced to bear children against their will, or will women have control over their own lives and destinies?

Stand up this summer to fight for abortion on demand and without apology!

Hunter College, NYC, April 25, 2013

People who care about women must get off the political defensive and stop fighting each new attack one at a time, constantly losing ground to the whole thing. It is time to stand up nationwide to STOP these attacks on women's right to abortion and to DEFEAT the war on women.

Join in the National Day of Action for Abortion Rights in July and then travel from North Dakota, where the last abortion clinic in the state is facing extreme new restrictions, down to Mississippi where the last abortion clinic is facing laws that would shut it down. Keep checking for dates and details to be announced very soon.

Donate and get involved today!




Revolution #304 May 19, 2013

Cheers to Cindy LaCom for Insightful Comment on Cleveland Kidnappings

May 19, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


The horrific story of the three women who had been kidnapped and held hostage for a decade in a Cleveland neighborhood has been receiving sensationalist tabloid-like coverage in the mainstream media. In contrast, a sharp and insightful comment appeared in the May 9 letters to the editor column of the New York Times, pointing to how this story links to larger issues of violence against and degradation of women in this society, in particular the prevalence of pornography.

In her letter, Cindy LaCom, director of the women's studies program at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania, points to a quote from a psychologist that perpetrators of crimes like these are men "who have had longstanding fantasies of capturing, controlling, abusing and dominating women." LaCom goes on to say: "We live in a world where the 'Fifty Shades' trilogy (which has sold over 70 million copies) presents male domination over women as 'erotic,' where the porn industry generates more annual profit than the National Football League, where 30 percent of Web traffic is porn. I am surprised at the lack of national dialogue about the pornification of our culture.

"But sadly, in a world that endlessly replicates and sexualizes male domination of women, I am not surprised that this 'fantasy' narrative has been literalized. Though there are doubtless myriad factors that contributed to this nightmare crime, I hope that one positive outcome is broader critical analyses of how pornography normalizes the domination and degradation of women in pervasive and damaging ways."




Revolution #304 May 19, 2013

The Keystone XL Pipeline: An Urgent Danger to the Environment

May 19, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Things are coming to a head in the struggle over the building of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Keystone XL would increase by 830,000 barrels a day the flow of tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, where it is extracted, to Steele City, Nebraska. From there, it would be piped to the U.S. Gulf Coast for refinement. A decision on the pipeline is expected from President Obama any time between now and the fall.

Moving ahead with this pipeline would be an environmental nightmare, and would further escalate the current environmental state of emergency. (See "State of Emergency! The Plunder of Our Planet, the Environmental Catastrophe & The Real Revolutionary Solution."). Carbon dioxide emissions are the main factor in climate change, rapidly putting the lives of billions of people on this planet in danger due to rising oceans, rising temperatures and more violent weather, melting ice caps, and other environmental changes. Fully extracting and burning the entire pool of carbon from the Alberta tar sands would greatly contribute to global warming and the danger of runaway climate change. The increase in production, transport, and refinement of tar sands oil added by the Keystone XL pipeline alone would put 181 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. That is equivalent to the carbon dioxide produced annually by 37 million passenger cars or 51 coal plants.

Experts agree that a global temperature rise of about 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (F)—or 2 degrees Celsius (C)—would bring about even more, and faster, disastrous climate change than the planet is experiencing now.

Tar Sands Destruction, "Extreme Energy," and the Environmental Future

Accept Keystone XL? Or Fight It!

Despite the frightening reality of climate change we are facing, the U.S. State Department review on Keystone XL argues that it represents no real climate danger because the extraction of Tar Sands oil is inevitable and will continue whether Keystone XL is built or not. And if not tar sands oil, the U.S will get oil from somewhere else. The whole argument from the State Department and other forces and figures in the U.S. ruling class is, "Get real, if Keystone XL isn't built, Canada will build other pipelines or ship it by rail, truck, and barge. If we don't get it, they'll sell it to China."

But the logic that people should just accept this—and make no mistake, this same argument has and will be made about every other fossil fuel project to come—comes from the logic and interests of an economic and political system that can only turn everything, including nature, into a commodity and a source of profit-making. Accepting "business as usual" on this, and everything else they plan, means accepting the accelerating destruction of earth's environment. Any system that says destruction of the environment is inevitable and should be accepted, or that throws people out of work and then says the only way to employ them is in jobs that can only further destroy ecosystems and our collective future, is completely illegitimate. This system has proven its complete illegitimacy and inability to protect living ecosystems.

What these arguments show is not that we should accept Keystone XL, but that it must be fought and stopped, and that this fight has to be connected to a much larger fight against all the environmental destruction brought down by this system and against the system of capitalism-imperialism itself. And that this fight must be part of building a movement for revolution that can bring into being a system of socialism aimed at communism, where the destruction of the environment would no longer be considered acceptable or the inevitable outcome of the very operations of the economy. (See the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal).)

The stakes are high in this battle. It is connected to a much larger battle over the continued burning of fossil fuels and the environmental future of the planet.

Tar sands extraction and processing is now the largest energy and capital investment project in the world. The tar sands deposits are the third largest oil reserves in the world. Already 1.8 million barrels of oil per day are extracted in the tar sands, but there are plans to expand this to five million barrels by 2030. Keystone XL is one big part of moving toward this.

The tar sands projects are one example of how capital is racing to exploit fossil fuels that were previously inaccessible or too expensive to produce. The oil here is in the form of thick gobs of bitumen tar, mixed in with sand. Extraction and processing is expensive and uses immense amounts of energy and water, but is now profitable because of the high price of oil. The tar sands reserves represent a huge source of profit-making for U.S., Canadian, and other economic interests. Tar sands oil is now the largest single source of oil fueling the U.S. capitalist economy. Control of oil and oil markets is also foundational to competition over control of the world economy. The U.S. sees oil from Canada as a stable, reliable source of energy from a "strategic partner," in a world filled with instability.

Huge amounts of oil in the form of tar sands and oil shale have now also been discovered in the U.S. itself. Big capitalist interests are salivating to exploit these as well. The U.S. is poised to become the world's largest oil producer by about 2020 according to the International Energy Agency.

An Environmental Catastrophe in Progress

Besides the climate "carbon bomb" the tar sands represents, the project is already an environmental catastrophe in progress. Oil extraction by U.S. and other Western oil companies has created environmental disasters in the Niger Delta in Africa and other oppressed countries around the world. (See "The Gulf of Mexico and the Niger River Delta: oil spills worlds apart" from A World To Win News Service.) Such disasters are now a danger to, or happening more and more in North America.

From the Gulf Coast to Alaska, from the mountains of the Southeast to the vast new reserves being turned up in the Midwest and throughout the West, there is a relentless war being planned and waged to wrench coal, gas, and oil out of the earth and oceans—a war that is increasingly ravaging the environment and many people's lives.

November 2012, Texas: Police arrested and pepper sprayed blockaders from the Tar Sands Blockade Coalition who locked themselves to hseavy machinery used for construction of the pipeline route. Photo:

In late March Exxon's Pegasus pipeline spilled thousands of barrels of tar sands oil into a suburban community and surrounding wetlands in Mayflower, Arkansas. Around the same time a train derailed in Minnesota, spilling at least hundreds of gallons of tar sands oil. These spills come after at least a dozen others in tar sands pipelines over the last several years, including an infamous and devastating spill of one million gallons from an Enbridge-owned pipeline into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan in 2010. Much of this spill has not and apparently cannot be cleaned up, because when the tarry oil spills out into water, it turns solid and so simply sinks. Now the river bottom is filled with this toxic crap.

Vast regions of Canada's huge boreal forest—upon which indigenous people depend for survival—are being torn down. Lakes of contaminated toxic byproducts of the extraction process cover 50 square miles of the former Alberta wilderness. Lakes and rivers are being poisoned with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)—compounds known to cause cancer. For years the Canadian government and fossil-fuel companies have claimed any of these compounds present are just there because of natural processes that release the compounds from the bitumen. But now two scientific studies have shown PAHs have increased with tar sands extraction—contaminating the Athabasca River downstream of tar sands projects and also area lakes as far as 50 miles away. Cancer rates among indigenous people in the area have also risen.

The Growing Environmental Resistance and the Potential for More

Carbon Dioxide Levels Reach New Milestone

On May 9, scientists monitoring carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from measurements taken at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii announced a frightening new milestone. Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels have now reached 400 parts per million (ppm). CO2 is one of a number of greenhouse gases whose levels are rising in the atmosphere as a result of the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, and other practices endemic to the operation of the global capitalist economy. Sunlight passes through greenhouse gases but the gases trap certain wavelengths of sunlight that are radiated back off the earth's surface. This causes the earth to warm. Measurements at Mauna Loa started in 1958 and were at that time 316 ppm, up from an estimated 270 ppm in the 1700s, before industrialization. Each year with the continued burning of fossil fuels, greenhouse gases rise. And in 2012, annual emissions of carbon dioxide rose to a new record high, increasing 2.6 percent from 2011.

Levels this high have not been seen in the history of human existence. In fact levels this high have not been seen on earth in 3-5 million years. The last time CO2 was this high, according to Scripps Institute of Oceanography paleobiologist Richard Norris, "There were camels and forests in the Arctic, the tropics were locked in a near constant el Niño—the kind that typically floods the western U.S.—and large expanses of the U.S. East Coast, Florida and the Gulf States were underwater." While the number 400 ppm doesn't mean some specific, definite event will happen or represents a number more significant than 398 or 402 ppm, the level of gases it represents and the rate of increase of greenhouse gases occurring indicates a dire situation indeed for humanity and for living ecosystems in terms of the danger of catastrophic climate change.

In the face of all this destruction, there is resistance on many fronts. This past February, tens of thousands turned out for the largest rally against climate change in U.S. history in Washington, DC, called by, the Sierra Club, and others. Campaigns, groupings, and actions are proliferating in many parts of the U.S.—opposing hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for gas and oil, against coal extraction and mountain-top removal, etc. Thousands have come to speak out in hearings in Washington State against plans to increase export of coal from ports on the West Coast to Asian markets.

Before the election, Obama initially withheld approval for Keystone XL until there could be "further review." He then quickly announced plans to fast track the building of the southern portion of the pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma, to the Gulf Coast. Obama personally went to Cushing in March 2012 to announce his approval for the project, saying, "And today, I'm directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority, to go ahead and get it done."

In response, new groups and forms of resistance developed. Tar Sands Blockade and Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance developed a campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience to stop this southern section of Keystone XL. They occupied trees outside Diboll, Texas—at great personal risk—to block construction. Activists locked themselves to equipment and took many other creative actions to try to stop the pipeline. People from around the country were inspired to come and join them. The blockaders were hit with vicious repression. People who locked themselves to pipeline construction equipment were basically tortured by police agencies—pepper sprayed and Tased, and subjected to brutal pain compliance tactics to wrench them free. Activists were called "eco-terrorists" and hit with lawsuits with fines of millions of dollars for the "crime" of standing up for the planet unless they agreed to stop protesting.

In the wake of this, Tar Sands Blockade has gone nationwide. In March, around 50 actions were held throughout the country to protest and resist "Tar Sands profiteers"—corporations and banks, etc. that are invested in the tar sands.

This resistance and opposition is also intensifying among indigenous people. Efforts to move toward building pipelines from the tar sands through pristine wilderness on the British Columbia coast have so far been blocked, largely through the efforts of First Nations people.

And with the resistance to approval of Keystone XL as a sort of cutting edge, there are signs of real potential for growing and potentially more powerful resistance to environmental destruction, including this summer.

Map shows the Keystone XL Pipeline route (long dotted line) going through the Ogallala Aquifer in Nebraska. This natural underground water reservoir is one of the largest in the world. Contaminating the aquifer from leaks in the pipeline is a real and dangerous possibility.
Map: Natural Resources Defense Council

Environmentalist and author Bill McKibben reports that 60,000 people have signed an online pledge on the website Credo Action to resist Keystone XL. An indigenous group called "Idle No More" has called for a "Sovereignty Summer" of non-violent direct action in defense of indigenous people and "Mother Earth." In solidarity with this, a coalition of environmentalist groups involved in tar sands blockade, opposing fracking, etc. has called for a "Fearless Summer" of environmental protest, including a week of action from June 24-29.

Their call says, "For too long we have struggled separately and we are running out of time. If we are going to reclaim our future, we must begin to speak with one voice. That's why we are calling for the national movement against extreme energy to join in a summer of coordinated action. As this industry continues to escalate its attack on life on earth, we must respond by asserting our dignity and escalating our action for a livable future. In the face of unfathomable ecological destruction and looming runaway climate change, we must take the kind of bold action that is necessary to save the planet. We must all draw our lines in the sand. We must face our fears together; we must take our future fearlessly into our hands and change business as usual."

All this is impacting how the U.S. ruling class—and its president—will move ahead on Keystone XL. But there are tremendous interests at stake for the U.S. rulers that push them to move ahead on this project—the planet be damned. Obama has already approved the southern section of the pipeline. And news media have already been floating out that indications are he'll approve the pipeline.

Given all this, there is a great need and potential for much more powerful and massive resistance to Keystone XL, and increasingly linking up various fronts of resistance around the environment with each other and with an overall struggle against this system. There is real potential, and necessity given the tremendous stakes for earth and humanity's future, to participate in and help build such resistance to stop all this, connecting it with the movement for revolution.

(For more, see "State of Emergency! The Plunder of Our Planet, the Environmental Catastrophe & The Real Revolutionary Solution.")




Revolution #304 May 19, 2013

A Visit to Jefferson's Monticello

Packaging Barbarism as Genius

May 9, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |



From two Revolution readers:

Thomas Jefferson's slave plantation, Monticello, sits atop of a small mountain in the rolling green countryside of Virginia. As many busloads of school kids know, it's a national monument. It's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important historical sites to the founding, legitimizing myths of this country. 500,000 people visit Monticello each year.

A couple of us learned this on a recent visit to Monticello while browsing the official brochure titled "Discover the GENIUS of Thomas Jefferson."

The centerpiece of any visit to Monticello is the House Tour of the mansion designed by Jefferson—considered by many as the most advanced example of architecture in the U.S. at that time. Our tour guide was a friendly copper-haired man sporting white linen trousers, a blue blazer, and a red tie emblazoned with signatures from the Declaration of Independence—the 1776 document penned by Jefferson which declared that all men are "created equal" and "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...."

The people not included as human beings in that document were also largely absent from the House Tour. When the guide started in on the history of the house, one of us interrupted, "Wasn't this place built by slaves?" This was cut off quickly with "Yes, it's an unfortunate fact that although Jefferson wrote about how he abhorred slavery, he owned 600 slaves in his lifetime and freed only nine. We don't really know why he did this, but the man was, believe it or not, constantly in debt." He added, a bit sadly, that DNA evidence now shows that Jefferson probably also fathered a number of children by his slave Sally Hemings. (This admission, it turned out, was forced on the Monticello Foundation, a result of public battles waged by descendants of Sally Hemings and others to win acknowledgement of paternity after 200 years.)

Depiction of plantation life, with overseer beating slaves and taking a child to be sold.

Before the moment could totally sour, the group was herded into Jefferson's "inner sanctum"—a lovely library (TJ owned more books than most institutions in the U.S. at the time), and a series of well-lighted rooms, a greenhouse and aviary, where Jefferson wrote letters, gardened, and tinkered, while gazing out over thousands of acres of beautifully-tended fields. Hereafter, our guide referred to the slaves as "servants" ("that's what Jefferson called them"), and attention was directed to Monticello's art works and architectural wonders like the innovative revolving door Jefferson had the slaves build, so as to keep most of them out of sight at his nightly dinner parties.

Our urge to visit Monticello was the product of engaging Bob Avakian's extensive work delving into Jefferson, democracy, and the foundations on which the United States was forged, in particular Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy. We were also prompted by reading Revolution's recent review of Henry Wiencek's book Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves. The book has incited upset in some quarters for bringing into sharp focus Jefferson's ruthless expansion of slavery including across the entire continent with the Louisiana Purchase. And he's particularly despised by some Monticello historians for highlighting evidence that, far from being a "reluctant slave master," Jefferson was "a calculating, brutal owner of human beings who drove them relentlessly for his own profit, punished them without mercy, and saw the forced labor of black people as the surest path to his own enrichment." ("Thomas Jefferson: 'Flawed Giant' or Hardcore Defender of Slavery?," Revolution #288, December 16, 2012)

When we pulled Wiencek's book from our backpack, the House Tour guide, somewhat rattled, announced that the important thing to know about the author is that he simply "hated Jefferson." We challenged this epistemology and asked him to name one national policy decision Jefferson made as president which did not strengthen the slave system. His answer: "The 1807 law banning the importation of slaves into the U.S." We pointed out that this measure actually enhanced the market for slave owners living in the U.S.

Eventually we were politely told to take our "concerns" to the Slave Tour. So at 1 pm we joined a group of 25 or 30 outside the gift shop. The new tour guide, a young well-informed radical scholar, arrived and bluntly announced, "I have to warn you right now that what I will show you and tell you will not be pleasant. Slavery in the U.S. is one of the most horrific chapters in human history. You can leave now if you want to." No one did. What followed was an un-sugar-coated and highly detailed exposure of life on Jefferson's mountaintop as experienced for decades by hundreds of human beings, forced through physical and social coercion to erect Monticello, starting with removal by hand of the entire top of the mountain we were standing on—150 feet of stones, trees and dirt. This order-by-Pharaoh is brightly described in the brochure: "In 1768 Jefferson began leveling the Monticello mountaintop for a house"—as if TJ did the digging himself!

Notwithstanding the searing exposures by our guide on the Slave Tour (which we found out was called the "Plantation Community Tour" until nine months ago) and some revealing facts and figures on slave life on the Monticello website, the actual conditions for slaves has been rendered largely invisible for tourists on the grounds, or sanitized. No displays explaining how the slaves lived; the blacksmith, weaving, joinery and nail shops are not even reconstructed. You simply see outlines of foundations perched on a hill overlooking a bucolic landscape. The only viewable slave "home" is one nice-sized room next to the kitchen on the lower floor of the mansion where Jefferson's enslaved chef, Edith Fossett, and her blacksmith husband, Joe Fossett, lived.1 It is tastefully furnished, walls whitewashed, a great view... think Rough Guide bed-and-breakfast.

Also omitted was just how central slavery was to the founding of the United States of America. Recently one scholar noted, "It is not simply that the labor of enslaved people underwrote 19th-century capitalism. Enslaved people were the capital: four million people worth at least $3 billion in 1860, which was more than all the capital invested in railroads and factories in the United States combined." (Walter Johnson, "King Cotton's Long Shadow," New York Times Opinionator Blog, March 30, 2013,)

This, more than Jefferson's personal financial situation, explains why he not only didn't free his own slaves, but consistently fought to defend and expand the slave system, as Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy details. As Avakian succinctly puts it in the opening quote in BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian: "There would be no United States as we now know it today without slavery. That is a simple and basic truth."

Wiencek makes an important observation in his book: "The very existence of slavery in the era of the American Revolution presents a paradox, and we have largely been content to leave it at that, since a paradox can offer a comforting state of moral suspended animation. Jefferson animates the paradox. And by looking closely at Monticello, we can see the process by which he rationalized an abomination to the point where an absolute moral reversal was reached and he made slavery fit into America's national enterprise." (emphasis ours)

Indeed, every single day thousands of (overwhelmingly white) tourists are instructed to marvel at how this whole operation was orchestrated by an innovative Enlightenment thinker to run like a well-oiled clock, everything in its place, a garden setting... the slaves "allowed" to live as families and even taught trades. The take-home message: Yes, Jefferson owned these people but, let's be adults here, look at the "context": he was smarter and kinder than most planters, and how bad could it have been for anyone to live up on that beautiful mountain. Plus, it was an unfortunate trade-off but consider what the slaves' labors freed up Jefferson to do—establish a state built on the great principles of freedom we Americans continue to enjoy.

As we were leaving, we ran into the head tour guide, who stood and listened to a round of criticism: How is it conscionable to move people from room to room describing furnishings and lavish parties, while virtually erasing the fact that hundreds of lives were ground up to make this possible—generations forced into back-breaking labor; whippings for insubordination (including 10-year-old boys); the ever-present threat of being sold down the river, ripped from family and all you know (which by the way happened to 135 members of this "plantation community" days after Jefferson's death). The guide replied, "Well that's discussed on the Slave Tour. People really don't want to hear about that on the House Tour."

The true "genius" of the modern-day Monticello experience: how this founding father's ruthlessly run slave plantation has been re-invented in a glorious house-hunter-style reality tour, with the peculiar barbarism of slavery soothingly rationalized, even "humanized"—all the way to the cookbooks in the gift shop featuring French sauces created by the slave-chef Edith in Jefferson's state-of-the-art kitchen.

But we also got a sense from the Slave Tour, the Hemings revelations, and the furor over the Wiencek book—that these issues—Jefferson, slavery, democracy... and what America was and is actually based on is a live wire fraught with contradiction, touching on core issues concerning the legitimacy of the current horrendous order.

Monticello is a key monument to Jefferson and the founding of the U.S., and as the good old narrative has been buffeted, the Monticello organization has had to incorporate some "painful truths" into the whole "flawed genius" narrative: (Slavery is a "flaw," but don't let that overshadow the genius of the founding fathers in creating the greatest political system in human history.)

There are cracks in that edifice, and we went home with a renewed appreciation of the tremendous—dynamic and here-and-now—importance of the work BA has done on the question of democracy and Jefferson—work which should be widely disseminated as part of the effort to get BA everywhere. Including at Monticello!



1. For a flavor of how Jefferson regarded even the most favored house slaves in his "family," see his letter recounting Joe Fossett's attempted escape to reunite with his wife who'd been forced to move to Washington when Jefferson became president:
1806 July 31. (Jefferson's letter to Joseph Dougherty). " pursuit of a young mulatto man, called Joe [Fossett], 26. years of age, who ran away from here [Monticello] the night of the 29th. inst[ant] without the least word of difference with any body, and indeed having never in his life having received a blow from anyone...We know he has taken the road towards Washington...he may possibly trump up some story to be taken care of at the President's House till he can make up his mind which way to go, or perhaps he may make himself known to Edy only, as he was formerly associated with her." (So much for the fact that they were actually married. Emphasis ours) [back]





Revolution #304 May 19, 2013

Cal Students Support Prisoner Hunger Strike

May 19, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Revolution received the following correspondence:

Human Rights of the Incarcerated (HRI), a student coalition at University of California Berkeley and the Stop Mass Incarceration Network joined together to support California prisoners who are preparing to launch a third hunger strike against torture.

HRI earlier had organized a week to bring awareness of mass incarceration to campus. Events were held that included panels and reading poetry from and about prisoners. The week was highlighted by a demonstration exposing many well-known corporations that are making profits off of what many call "the Prison Industrial Complex," lining up at the prison feeding trough, profiting from the system's cruel warehousing of 2.4 million human beings. This contributed to a successful effort to have the Student Senate divest (withdraw) student body funds from companies doing business with prisons. [Read the polemic, "There Are 2.4 Million People in Prison in the U.S.—Why? What Do We DO About It? And How Does the Notion of a 'Prison-Industrial Complex' Get This Wrong?"]

Off this victory, HRI members felt more could and needed to be done. They were aware that those locked in California hellholes are facing daily and ongoing torture, and are being forced once again to begin a hunger strike to end their inhuman treatment. Others needed to know this as well. Even though members of HRI were themselves in the middle of writing papers and cramming for finals, they felt the need to spread the word and build support among students before they left campus for the summer.

It was decided to distribute a leaflet to students explaining the crucial situation faced by the hunger strikers and make a banner supporting the prisoners' struggle that Cal Berkeley students could sign. The banner was done by the next morning, and the following day we took it out. It immediately started filling up with signatures. Many people gave their contact information to be part of the struggle during the summer.

One Chicano student brought his friends over to sign, and offered to take us up to his class about prison and mass incarceration. Once we got there, the professor asked us to tell her class about why the hunger strikers were putting their lives on the line, and why we should support them. She encouraged her students to take part. Many more signed the banner.

Even the few hours we were on campus had a great effect, both on the students who signed it, and even on us who took it out. One young HRI activist said that she had no idea that so many people would step forward, that they even cared.

Another point about the reach and scale of mass incarceration was driven home to us. Here, at one of the most prestigious universities in the country, we ran into many, many students (especially Latinos) who have a very intimate relationship with mass incarceration—having a parent, family member or close friend locked in one of the 33 California prisons, or having been formerly incarcerated themselves.




Permalink: to-send-revolution-reporters-to-cover-the-trial-of-george-immerman-en.html

Revolution #304 May 19, 2013

Donate Funds to Send Revolution Reporters to Cover the Trial of George Zimmerman

May 19, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Get the REAL story from the trial and hear the voices of the people of Sanford, Florida.

On February 26, 2012, George Zimmerman shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin dead and walked free. But all over the country, tens of thousands took to the streets in protest and then, more than six weeks after the horrible crime, Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder. Now the trial is scheduled to start June 10 and millions of people, all over the country—and the world—will be looking to see what is going to happen... and whether or not there will be justice for Trayvon Martin.

Revolution newspaper needs to be there!—to cut through the lies and cover-ups, to provide stories and analysis that no other reporters will do. We've seen how the mainstream news has covered this story—giving George Zimmerman a constant platform to spin out his lies and deceit. And we've seen the importance and power of the voices of the people in Sanford—their anger, their stories and insights. This is also something reporters from Revolution will be bringing into the coverage as the trial begins, getting out into the community of Sanford, and wherever there are signs of discontent and protest, talking to the people and bringing these interviews to the rest of the world.

But money is needed to make this happen. Everyone who burns with anger at the murder of Trayvon Martin and wants to see JUSTICE... Everyone who recognizes the importance of reporting the TRUTH and giving voice to the voiceless... needs to donate generously to make sure Revolution reporters are in Sanford, Florida on June 10 when millions of eyes are on the trial of George Zimmerman.


Send checks or money order to RCP Publications, PO Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654; or donate here—earmarked for “Revolution Reporter Fund."




Revolution #304 May 19, 2013

"Shame, Shame, Shame!"

SF Pride Parade Revokes Choice of Bradley Manning as Grand Marshal

May 9, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

The San Francisco Pride Parade is the largest and most famous LGBT Pride event in the world. Every year hundreds of thousands crowd into downtown San Francisco to cheer as the rainbow colors fly over a mile of floats, marching bands, dancers, celebrities, and contingents and then a huge festival. People come from around the world to be at San Francisco Pride. Today’s festivities are more mainstream and more commercialized than in its edgy earlier days, but Pride still symbolizes freedom, dignity and liberation for LGBT people.

So when the Pride organization named Bradley Manning as the 2013 Parade Grand Marshal, it was big news. Manning is the U.S. Army private now facing court-martial, charged with the largest-ever unauthorized release of classified State Department cables and other government and military documents, many of which have been published by WikiLeaks. He is 25 years old and openly gay; while in the army he became an activist for gay rights, including marching in a Pride parade and speaking to the press. He was arrested in 2010 on suspicion of the WikiLeaks files (for background see Revolution articles "The High Stakes Persecution of Bradley Manning", June 26, 2011, and "Interview with Kevin Gosztola: The Political Persecution & Inhumane Punishment of Bradley Manning", June 24, 2012).  

For two years around the country big “Free Bradley Manning!” contingents have marched in Pride parades, but now on the eve of his court-martial, honoring him as Grand Marshal at the San Francisco parade signaled a righteous and welcome leap in public support. (Since Manning is locked in a military prison awaiting trial, and can’t personally lead the parade, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg stepped forward to ride in Manning’s place.)

Daniel Ellsberg supporting Bradley Manning

Daniel Ellsberg at rally April 29, 2013 protesting the revocation of Bradley Manning as SF Pride Grand Marshal. Photo: AP

But just days after the choice of Manning was announced, the Pride committee revoked the decision, issuing a baldly pro-military and anti-Bradley Manning statement that said in part: “[E]ven the hint of support for actions which placed in harm’s way the lives of our men and women in uniform—and countless others, military and civilian alike—will not be tolerated by the leadership of San Francisco Pride. It is, and would be, an insult to every one, gay and straight, who has ever served in the military of this country....”

An immediate outcry went up, with a large rally outside the Pride office mobilized overnight where former Pride Grand Marshals and representatives of other LGBT organizations, including the Harvey Milk Democratic Club, spoke out, joined by other antiwar voices from the Bradley Manning Support Network, Daniel Ellsberg, World Can’t Wait, Veterans for Peace and others. Chanting “THEY say Court Martial—WE say Grand Marshal!” the protesters denounced the Pride leadership and demanded Manning’s reinstatement. Denunciations of Pride’s decision as “cowardly,” “militaristic,” and “shameful” are blistering the pages of the LGBT media, and a full-page open letter signed by dozens of LGBT leaders has already been published in The SF Bay Reporter newspaper.

On May 7 the Pride Board of Directors held a public meeting, but in a conference room large enough for an audience of only 20, with cameras and the media barred and speakers from the public limited to 60 seconds each. With 100 protesters outside, chanting so loudly that Board members at times had to raise their voices to be heard, the Board announced its refusal to reinstate Manning—but this time, carefully avoiding any mention of war or court-martials or uniforms. Now they cited several new and ridiculous points of Pride committee bureaucracy, including Bradley Manning’s ineligibility to be Grand Marshal because “he isn’t local.” The ensuing “Shame, Shame, Shame” uproar forced the Board to adjourn early, and although they say this meeting will be rescheduled, no information about when or where has yet been announced.

The political firestorm that has broken open over Bradley Manning and the San Francisco Pride parade is of great import not only for the LGBT community but far beyond. As Revolution wrote in the article "The High Stakes Persecution of Bradley Manning": “Anyone who wants to see truth revealed, war crimes exposed and stopped, and justice done must demand that the persecution of Bradley Manning be ended, his charges dropped, and that he is freed.”

The Pride organization’s words and actions should send a chill down the backs of everyone. They accuse Manning of putting American troops in harm’s way and say “even a hint of support” for him can’t be “tolerated” in the LGBT community. What is happening when a whole section of the people—who have been the victims of systematic discrimination, persecution, and violent suppression—are ordered by these purported community leaders and spokespeople to support the U.S. war machine, and NOT support courageous resistance against it?

And what morality and outlook is being enforced when gay leaders try to bully the gay community into this pro-war complicity, denying honor to this courageous young gay soldier because “Bradley Manning hasn’t done anything for gay people”? (Unless these supposed leaders are impossibly ignorant, they are ignoring the well-known fact that long before his arrest, Bradley was an activist against Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, marched in Pride parades, and spoke out publicly as an active-duty soldier advocating for gay rights in the military.)

Joey Cain is a past president of Pride, and a former Grand Marshal. At the first protest Cain responded to this raggedy excuse: “I’ve got news for you! The gay community is part of the larger human community. What Bradley Manning did was something that was heroic... It helped the larger humanity, which we are part of! And if Pride is gonna say ‘You have to do this narrow thing that’s specifically gay-focused’ we’re gonna end up with NO ONE to be Grand Marshal, because once we all have our liberation as gay people, what about everybody else? Gay people are part of the larger world. Bradley made the larger world a better, better place!”

Bradley Manning’s court-martial is scheduled to begin June 3. A massive public rally supporting him will gather on June 1 at Ft Meade. San Francisco Pride follows on the weekend of June 30.





Revolution #304 May 19, 2013

Cheers to Jason Collins and Brittney Griner...
And Jeers to Mark Jackson

May 19, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Cheers to Jason Collins—a pro basketball player who last week co-wrote a Sports Illustrated article that began, "I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay." Collins is the first man still active in a major U.S. sport to publicly come out as gay.

Collins wrote of the years he had suppressed and hidden his identity, and the toll this had taken on him. "No one wants to live in fear. I've always been scared of saying the wrong thing. I don't sleep well. I never have. But each time I tell another person, I feel stronger and sleep a little more soundly. It takes an enormous amount of energy to guard such a big secret. I've endured years of misery and gone to enormous lengths to live a lie. I was certain that my world would fall apart if anyone knew. And yet when I acknowledged my sexuality I felt whole for the first time. ... The strain of hiding my sexuality became almost unbearable in March, when the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments for and against same-sex marriage. Less then three miles from my apartment, nine jurists argued about my happiness and my future. Here was my chance to be heard, and I couldn't say a thing."

Enthusiastic support for Collins was immediately expressed by other current and former NBA players, including Kobe Bryant, Baron Davis, and Steve Nash. John Carlos, who raised his clenched, gloved fist as a salute to the Black Liberation movement when he was on the medal podium in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, told a reporter, "I have so much respect for Jason Collins because he is telling the world that he is proud of who he is. He's telling the world, 'This is who I am. Deal with it.' That's real courage. I support him to the utmost!"

Jason Collins is a powerful, 7-foot-tall man who has made his living for 12 years in the bruising, highly competitive environment of the NBA. Collins wrote that he "goes against the stereotype" many people have of gay men. Collins' "coming out" also confronts and challenges the suffocating "traditional values" of "male bonding" that infuse men's sports under this system. The men's locker room is a long-standing fortress of homophobia, woman-hating, and other reactionary values that serve to justify and reinforce an oppressive system.

And sure enough, ESPN, the major all-sports TV network, trotted out one of its main basketball announcers, Chris Broussard, to denounce Jason Collins and fight for those reactionary values. Broussard said Collins is "walking in open rebellion to God and Jesus Christ." In a subsequent radio interview, Broussard cited several books of the Bible as his authorities on the "sinfulness" of homosexuality. ESPN expressed "regret" for Broussard's ignorant and hateful statements, but never retracted or apologized for them.

Cheers also goes out to Brittney Griner—widely regarded as on her way to being the best player ever in women's basketball—who said that she is gay after she was picked first in the 2013 draft of the WNBA. Griner, who recently graduated from Baylor University, told a reporter, "I've always been open about who I am and my sexuality. It wasn't hard at all. If I can show that I'm out and I'm fine, then hopefully the younger generation will feel the same way."

Griner is not the first woman pro athlete to announce publicly that she is gay. Martina Navratilova, Megan Rapenoe, Chamique Holdsclaw, and others had previously done so. Her announcement was not greeted with the attention that Jason Collins got—but that in itself is an indication, and condemnation, of the second-class status of women's sports in the U.S., and the hateful stereotypes about women athletes common in this patriarchal society.

Griner wrote an article in the New York Times in which she poignantly described the torment she has been subjected to since she was a young girl, and continues to receive. "People called me a dude and said there was no way I could be a woman. Some even wanted me to prove it to them. During high school and college, when we traveled for games, people would shout the same things while also using racial epithets and terrible homophobic slurs. (That's nothing compared with the horrendous things people call me online today—if you don't believe me, look at the comments about me on Twitter and Instagram.)

"No one deserves to go through that type of abuse. When I was young, I put on a face as if it didn't hurt, but it's painful to be called hateful names and made fun of because people thought my feet were huge or that I looked like a guy. It was hard to hear antigay slurs under their breath whenever I walked by them."

Kudos to Jason Collins and Brittney Griner—for boldly confronting backward, repressive values and ideas, for shattering stereotypes, and for sustaining their passion for the poetry and beauty of basketball in the face of all the backward, hateful prejudices they have encountered and overcome.


Jeers to Mark Jackson, coach of the NBA Golden State Warriors. When asked in a playoff post-game TV interview why his team turned the ball over 10 times in the fourth quarter, he said, "Nothing but God. Nobody wants to hear it. Nothing but God."




Revolution #304 May 19, 2013

A Tale of Two Parties:

LAPD Brutalizes, Arrests Black Students At USC Graduation Party

May 19, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


The following letter was sent from a reader:

Early Saturday morning, May 4, a graduation party attended mainly by African-American University of Southern California (USC) students was descended upon by 79 LAPD cops in full riot gear, many brandishing batons, a helicopter overhead. After barricading the adjoining streets they shut down the party, brutalized and arrested six students, then formed a cordon that reached entirely across the street and forced the students five blocks down the street before they were allowed to get away. A male student had his shoulder blade fractured while being arrested; a female student had bruises on her arm and hip from her arrest.

The police had supposedly been responding to a noise complaint; the DJ at the party turned down the sound, but the cops weren't satisfied; they shut down the party and arrested the party's host. When the students protested, the cops called in massive force.

In no time social networks were lighting up with videos and tweets about the attack; and videos started going up on YouTube. One of them had been viewed 189,000 times by the end of the week. In it the student says, "I want you to witness... LAPD right now. We were having fun at a college party. No one had a gun, it was straight up college students. ID's were checked [by the host].... I want you to realize there are 79 LAPD officers right now." In a second video the same student is walking in front of the wall of cops telling them "I am a scholar, better believe that. I am not a criminal, better believe. I'm just out here having fun. This is real racism. You better believe that."

It turns out there was another graduation party that night happening directly across the street—only this one was attended mainly by white students. Their party was not shut down; they were told to lower the sound and to go inside "to be safe." These students were then given a rare window—a "ringside seat"—to a glimpse of what "racial profiling" and police brutality look like when visited on the masses of Black and other oppressed people in this country—or in this case, even on those about to graduate from a prestigious university.

One of the white students at this party said, "The attitude of the police officers toward the two parties was completely different. It was absurd. I couldn't believe it." At the campus forum several days later another white student said: "I saw my brothers and sisters... treated like criminals. But not just criminals, worse than that, they were herded like animals." And yet another white student said, "They were degraded, humiliated, and insulted and called names... thrown to the ground and injured." One of the Black students said a student from the other party joined them as they were being forced down the street by the police cordon that night, he was so angry at what the police were doing.

USC is a private university with almost 18,000 undergraduates. It is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top 25 colleges in the country, with a reputation as a conservative campus. USC is located in South Central L.A., surrounded by a poor Black and Latino neighborhood tightly and brutally policed by the LAPD. Police brutality led to the '92 Rodney King rebellion there—a fact mentioned a number of times at a forum held a few days later to talk about the incident.

The LAPD has been carrying out a campaign of massive criminalization, even demonization of Black and Latino youth in this area for years. At one point many years ago there were reports that the police were demanding that young children riding their bikes had to carry proof of ownership or their bikes would be taken from them. In part this has been in response to the increased pressure to gentrify more of the surrounding areas as students search further from the campus for affordable housing. In April 2012, two USC international students, both from China, were shot and killed in one of these areas. And last Halloween four students were shot while attending a party on campus; police believe the shooter was not a student and came from the surrounding community. The LAPD has used these incidents as an excuse to ratchet up their harassment even more.

There is a certain belief, an understanding, that if you make it to USC, or any of the other elite universities in America, you're on your way to a privileged position in this society, as long as you don't mess up. For Black and other students of oppressed nationalities who make it there, particularly those who have come out of poorer, inner-city areas, graduating from one of these universities essentially means you've "made it"; wherever you choose to apply your knowledge, skills and position. And these are also the schools that the children of those who are already coming from the upper middle strata from the oppressed nationalities attend as well.

This sheds light on why what the students experienced at the hands of the LAPD that night—or witnessed from across the street—struck such deep emotions among the Black and other oppressed nationality students; as well as among many of their white friends and classmates. As one Black student wrote:

"Instead of studying for the last final of my undergraduate career, I am writing this letter in protest of the University of Southern California's latest atrocity.... I did not attend last night's party, but I could hear the helicopter circling from my dorm room over a mile away. When the Facebook posts and photos started appearing on my news feed around 2:30 a.m., I had flashbacks to an era I wasn't even alive to suffer through. I was too scared to go outside, legitimately fearing that an officer would see me and arrest me for being Black and inquisitive. I can only imagine how my peers felt when they saw over 20 LAPD patrol cars pull up and release 79 officers to end a peaceful, congratulatory party."

And a white student from D.C. whose parents work for the government told Revolution of his deep concern for his two Black friends arrested at the party, one for a misdemeanor, the other for a felony. He talked about a multinational business they both hoped to work for; saying they would never hire someone with this kind of bust on their record.

An extremely ugly lesson was taught to all these students by the LAPD in those early morning hours; the reality that there is no escape from the way in which Black and other oppressed peoples as a whole will continually be faced with forms of degradation and oppression old and new; no escape short of a revolution powerful and fundamental enough to sweep this system and its centuries of brutal white supremacy off the stage, and into the pages of history. Long ago Malcolm X cut to the bone when he posed this short quiz: "What do they call a Black person with a PhD? A n*gger." And Bob Avakian speaks powerfully to this reality in his statement "Three Strikes..."

Students Organize Sit-In, and Major Campus Forum

Despite rain, and the start of finals, more than 100 students took part in a sit-in from noon to 4 p.m. on campus. Students held up signs like "79 cops," and "I'm a scholar, not a criminal!" The student who hosted the party addressed the protesting students, describing how he had been pushed by two cops before being handcuffed and arrested. He said "... my white brothers and sisters were having a party across the street. They told them to stay in the house and be safe, that they were going to handle us across the street, as if we were the problem." A white student was holding a sign saying; "I was at the party on 23rd Street across the street, why wasn't I arrested?"

The top section of the L.A. Times front page Tuesday morning featured a large photo of the sit-in; the caption pointed out that students from both graduation parties felt the incident was an example of LAPD racial profiling. Coming only a few months after the rampage by ex-LAPD cop Christopher Dorner had drawn attention far and wide to his charge, from someone who'd been on the "inside," that the LAPD was as racist and brutal as it had been at the time of the 1992 Rodney King rebellion, if not worse—the actions of the LAPD were again making these charges of racial profiling and brutality inescapable.

This set the stage for a major forum held at the USC Campus Center Tuesday night. The room was packed; and hundreds were unable to get in as over a thousand students, along with faculty, administrators and people from the community, came out. The USC president did not attend the forum and instead issued a statement that took no position at all on what had happened to the students at the hands of the LAPD, which only added to the anger and frustration of nearly all who read it.

On the panel were several LAPD officials, including Commander Bill Scott, Deputy Chief Bob Green, and Captain Paul Snell; a representative of campus security; and city and university officials. The forum was moderated by a black USC law professor. The first hour was taken up by the officials of the LAPD attempting to justify what they did that night; believing their lives were in danger. And then they reported their findings to the audience: "We've looked at this really thoroughly, and there is no indication that it was race-based." And they went on to say that "While we will diligently examine whether that [charge of racial profiling] is true or not, in the vast majority of incidents, police officers are just responding to behavior."

After an hour of this, the students and others in the audience finally got to speak; and from here the forum got increasingly emotional. The party's host was allowed to speak first. Halfway through he broke into tears as he made clear this was a product of the racial profiling that is taking place in Black communities generally. And he said repeatedly, "This is about more than us" and called on his generation, the "millennials," to take this battle on.

The student who'd hosted the party across the street spoke out: "The only difference between those two parties was that racial component, and if you're going to deny that, then I'm sorry, I'm just not going to stand for it." (ABC News) As more and more students took the mike, the reality that what happened was a product of the all-encompassing oppression and degradation of oppressed Black and other minority nationalities nationwide could not be kept out. Even the moderator had told the audience that he has three teenage sons, and he agonizes every time they leave the house about what might happen to them. At times the audience had to be cautioned to stop the outbursts.

Near the end of the night, LAPD Commander Scott asked the students to raise their hands if they believed the incident was based on race. Practically the entire audience raised their hands. The organizer of the party across the street said afterwards; "The hands that I saw were white hands, black hands, brown hands, everybody in the room, so that means something to us."

As the students poured out afterwards, there was no sense of satisfaction that anything of substance had been accomplished, as far as changing the LAPD. As the school year comes to a close, if anything, the tension is greater than it had been on the way in.





Revolution #304 May 19, 2013

Censorship Alert! Revolution Withheld from Prisoners in Pelican Bay Prison, CA

May 14, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Revolution newspaper has just learned that several prisoners from Pelican Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit (solitary confinement) in California have sent word to the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund (PRLF) that the prison has withheld from them issue #302 (May First 2013) of Revolution newspaper. The documents from the prison officials forwarded by these prisoners to the PRLF cited specifically pages 3, 12, and 13, claiming that issue #302 is "contraband" and alleging that these pages contain "plans to disrupt the order or Breach the security of any facility." While the prison officials were not more specific as to what they were referencing, the following articles were included on those pages: "Celebrate May Day 2013—Humanity Needs Revolution", "Support Prisoners' Struggle Against Torture", "Agreement to End Hostilities", a quote from Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:28, "From Carl Dix: A Proposal for Action to the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and All Others Who Want to Fight the New Jim Crow", and "Defend Noche Diaz, Revolutionary Fighter for the People".


Regular (non-tax-deductible) donations can be made online at or by check/money order, payable to PRLF, and mailed to PRLF:

1321 N. Milwaukee Ave #407,
Chicago, IL 60622

To volunteer, or to contact PRLF: 773.960.6952,

Censorship of the newspaper that many prisoners call their "lifeline" is outrageous, illegal and immoral and must be fought. As the prisoner subscriber writes below, "... it's not enough we are kept in windowless cells w/ no sunlight, but we are further tortured with holding our mail hostage." The PRLF currently sends revolutionary literature into prisons in 41 states, including subscriptions to Revolution newspaper, books like BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian and other revolutionary and progressive literature and is solely funded by donations from the public.

The three pages cited by the prison authorities on official forms do have in common news coverage of the courageous and inspiring stand prisoners in solitary confinement in California have taken in calling for a hunger strike to begin on July 8 to end the inhumane conditions they face [see: prisoners call for hunger strike, "Peaceful Protest to Resume July 8th 2013, If Demands Are Not Met"]. These pages also called on people throughout society to START NOW to build support for this hunger strike and quoted Carl Dix: "People who have been locked down in the dungeons of this country and have been condemned as the worst of the worst have stood up and said NO MORE!... If at all possible, we must through this protest force the state of California to meet these demands and make it unnecessary for these prisoners to take such a desperate action." The allegations made in official documents issued by prison authorities are clearly as outrageous as they are bogus and are nothing short of an attempt to isolate, demoralize and further torture these prisoners through denying them revolutionary sustenance, including news of growing support beyond the prison walls for their efforts to stop the criminal and unimaginably horrible conditions of long-term solitary confinement to which they have been subjected.

Regular readers of Revolution may remember that in 2010 Pelican Bay authorities banned Revolution newspaper before they were compelled by sharp political and legal struggle to reverse the ban. To learn more about this previous ban and the struggle to overturn it, read "Prison Officials Attempt a Cover-up of the Ban on Revolution Newspaper—Mobilize to Say: NO WAY!" and "We Demand: Overturn the Ban of Revolution Newspaper at Pelican Bay and Chuckawalla Prisons in California and All Prisons". And watch the pages of this paper for more news on this censorship battle and prepare to spread the word, donate to PRLF, and join the fight to put this paper back in the hands of prisoners like one who wrote in 2010, "Once I was challenged to dream of a better world, I can't stop thinking about it." Specific efforts to keep news of growing outside support for the planned hunger strike from reaching the prisoners themselves must be exposed, opposed and turned into further impetus to urgently spread and build a more powerful society-wide determined protest to end this torture.

The PRLF received the following letter from one of the prisoners being held in solitary confinement who was denied access to issue #302 of Revolution:

"...we are kept in windowless cells w/ no sunlight but we are further tortured with holding our mail hostage."



Today I received an 1819 Disapproval form ["California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Notification of Disapproval—Mail/Package/Publications," eds.] saying the Revolution issue #302 5-1-13 is being denied, the reason this prison states is..."Title 15 3006.contraband (c)(5) Plans to disrupt the order or Breach the security of any facility, pg. 12". [p. 12 of Revolution Issue #302 is the CDCR's official basis for refusing to give the issue to the prisoners. Other prisoners got notice citing pgs. 3, 12 and 13 as the basis, eds.]

This is the same reason they rubber stamp everything, most information that is denied can be found in USA Today, Time magazine, etc. etc. It's just more harassment and censorship! It's really ridiculous how they deny pubs that they disagree with, it's not enough we are kept in windowless cells w/ no sunlight but we are further tortured with holding our mail hostage.

I am 602ing this [appeal within prison, eds] but I wanted to notify you. I was going to contact the ACLU which got at the prison last time but I was out of postage. So I wanted to let you know.

—Prisoner in Pelican Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit (SHU)


See article this week by Carl Dix, "Emergency Situation: Act to Stop Mass Incarceration and Racist Murders of Our Youth Now!"





Revolution #304 May 19, 2013

Outrage in the Bronx!

Judge Tosses Indictment Against Cop Who Murdered Ramarley Graham

by Carl Dix | May 16, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Ramarley Graham
Ramarley Graham, gunned down by police inside his family's home on February 2, 2012

On May 15, a judge in the Bronx, New York, threw out the indictment against Richard Haste, the NYPD Officer who gunned down 18-year-old Ramarley Graham inside his family's home while Ramarley's grandmother and 6-year-old brother watched in horror.  The judge said he had to toss the indictment because the prosecutor had given faulty instructions to the grand jury that indicted Haste.

How come judges never throw out indictments on our youth when prosecutors manufacture evidence to railroad them into prison?  Or when cops get up on the witness stand and tell lies on them?  How come the prosecutors are so skillful in sending Black and Latino youth to prison in such horrific numbers that the U.S. has more people in prison than any other country on earth, but they forget how to prosecute when the defendants are cops who brutalize and even murder our youth?

This comes down to another case of the criminal injustice system working to exonerate a cop who murdered a Black youth.  Cops kill people all the damn time.  Most of those they kill are either Black or Latino, are unarmed and doing nothing wrong when they are killed by police who are sworn to protect and serve.  Yet killer cops are seldom if ever put on trial, and they are rarely punished in any way for killing people.

In this case, you can see the whole system working to get this murdering cop off.  News reports on the indictment being tossed out also contained supposedly sealed information from Ramarley Graham's juvenile record that branded him a repeat offender.  And they were full of police lies intended to paint Ramarley as a criminal that the cops were justified in treating him like he was guilty until proven innocent.  Only Ramarley Graham didn't survive his encounter with Richard Haste to even get a chance to try and prove his innocence.

Radio and newspaper reports claim that Ramarley ran from the cops who had to chase him to his home.  But surveillance video from the apartment building shows Ramarley walking up to his door.  It also shows the cops who came after him trying to break down the door.  One of those cops forced his way into the apartment and gunned down Ramarley in cold blood.  On top of all that, the cops then took Ramarley's grandmother into custody and held her for interrogation.  They refused to let family and friends who came down to the police station talk to her for hours.  At first, they wouldn't even let a lawyer in to see her.

A big part of why Richard Haste faced charges for murdering Ramarley was that this police murder was met with mass protests on the streets of the Bronx.  And now there is an urgent need for people to get back out in the streets to make clear that exonerating this murderer will not be tolerated by the people.

We need to live in a world where shit like this doesn't go down all the damned time; a world where those who are responsible for public safety would sooner put their own lives on the line than kill or injure an innocent person.  It'll take Revolution—Nothing Less to bring that kind of world into being.  People going into the street to manifest their rage against this outrage and raising their heads as they fight back, getting a clearer sense of what is the source of this official brutality and murder and what it'll take to get rid of it once and for all is an important part of enabling growing numbers of people to see the need for and possibility of revolution to sweep this and all the other horrors this system enforces on people away once and for all.


Justice for Ramarley Graham!
Jail the Killer Cop, Richard Haste!
The System Is the Problem; Revolution—Nothing Less, Is the Solution!