Revolution #333, March 23, 2014 (

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #333 March 23, 2014

Voices from the People about Bob Avakian and

March 17, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


“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.”

—From the film


“My dear brother Bob Avakian... is the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party.... He is one of the few coming out of the 60’s who never sold out, he never caved in, he never gave up, held on to his forging of a rigorous, scientific analysis of the objective realities that are driven by a revolutionary love—because he has such a deep love for poor people, oppressed people, all around the world. Whether you agree or disagree with our brother, one thing you cannot deny: that he is the real thing. No doubt about it.”

—Cornel West, introducing his interview with Bob Avakian on the Smiley & West radio show
(October 5, 2012)

“Yes, this is a film, but that is not its essence. This is a daring, substantive, scientific summoning to revolution. 6+ hours that can change how you see the world and what you do with the rest of your life. Is this hype? No.”

—From one of the filmmakers

“[BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!] helped me to realize, that I myself need to do more... what I should be doing. You know, it’s one thing of listening and being here at the meetings; and then what I’m doing as an individual making sure that I’m trying to wake up people’s consciousness and try to transform their mind... for them to think deeper than just living and they don’t have to live this way—as people we don’t have to live this way, we need to demand change.”

—Black woman from Harlem


—a Black college student describing what he thought of Bob Avakian’s talk Revolution—Nothing Less!

“I think it’s very important for everyone, especially young people from the hood to see this because BA talks about what they go through and he has a solution to all the oppression. And I know for me, when I saw it, it changed the way I looked at everything... music, shows, commercials, ads. I just started seeing all the fucked up shit they promote and it made me want to challenge all that and not go along with any of it.”

—Young Latina from
Los Angeles

“A compelling film, and worth watching.”

—Robert Hass, former
U.S. Poet Laureate and English Professor at the University of California at Berkeley

“...My point is I think is that a lot of the movie is polemical and I think it grabs the viewer by the throat, or rather by the shirt. And says, hey, let’s deal with this. And some things make you uncomfortable, some things you’re right on but it’s challenging and its engaging. And we’ve been here for over three hours and I feel like I just woke up this morning. I mean it’s invigorating.”

—Seminary student

“If you’re anything like me, the idea of watching a six hour film seems nearly impossible. I rarely get six hours of sleep a night, six hours with a friend or family member, six hours to do whatever...

“If you’re anything like me, you probably ask yourself, ‘Is this really as good as it gets? Is this really the best of all possible worlds?’ If you’re anything like me, you’ve caught yourself compromising your hopes and dreams of a better world and a different future...

“If you’re anything like me, you MUST see this film, BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! is not just a film, it is an experience, a journey with a relentless revolutionary leader. If you’re someone who once imagined a better world or if you’re someone who has checked out revolution and communism in the past, but have found yourself believing the mantra ‘It looks great on paper, but it’s horrible in practice. Communism just doesn’t work,’ you’ve got to see this film.

“Bob Avakian is going to challenge some of your assumptions and he might even inspire you to think differently or rekindle that flame of hope and rebellion you once had. What is so powerful and potentially world changing about this film and Avakian’s re-envisioning of communism and revolution is the science behind it. BA’s words are going to tap into your emotions, your indignation and righteous anger at “the way things are.” All the while, he is going to guide you, scientifically, through how real revolutionary change is possible and how it could actually be made. That is powerful! There is NOTHING else out there like this. Truly, if you’re anything like me, you will leave this film inspired, and yearning for NOTHING LESS than a WHOLE NEW WORLD.”

—Teacher in Atlanta

“One thing—I wasn’t surprised, but in America, a lot of people do say this is the land of the free, land of this. But people like me, it’s just totally the opposite because I’m the definition of America’s enemy. I’m a young Black youth in the inner city. They wrote us off before we was born. We was convicted at birth, that’s how I feel sometimes. But one thing that surprised me—the whole thing is a surprise to me, actually.... I’m not used to actually engaging in real issues that may be in society. So this is being real direct, just talking about stuff that makes sense, really engage me as a person.

—21-year-old Black man
from Harlem

“When I say ‘Bob’s like a Black leader’ it’s because most of our leaders stood up against what’s wrong and tried to make a change in our community—and that’s what he do—but not just for our community, for the whole world.”

—Conscious young Black man from Chicago

“It’s a huge challenge. It’s a ton of work.... I’m more charged up by seeing this. And I’m an optimist so that helps. Because people that, I know certain people back home are going to say, come on, that’s never going to happen. But I have the DVD. I can put it on, I can give it to somebody and say just watch, if you can’t watch it all, just watch some and let me know what you think. I plan on sharing it.”

—A potter from Rochester, N.Y.









Revolution #333 March 23, 2014

Two Letters to Send Far and Wide for the March 2014 BA Everywhere Campaign

March 17, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |



Following is a letter to send to all who have seen BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! This letter includes a second letter for the recipient to send on to people they know who haven't seen the film yet. If you are reading this and know people who have not yet seen the film, send them the second letter. Feel free to add a personal opening or closing sentence.


Letter # 1: [to all who have seen BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!]

Dear Friend,

It's been one year since the premiere of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! Think back to when you saw it. Remember how it felt when you saw Bob Avakian for the first time breaking down where the horrors of this world come from and lifting your sights to how the world could be. Remember how it felt to see this daring, substantive film that liberates and inspires. Has anything that has happened in the past year made the need for people to see this film any less? Is the need for fundamental change any less pressing? The not guilty verdict for Trayvon Martin's murderer George Zimmerman? The mistrial for Jordan Davis' murderer Michael Dunn? The attack on abortion rights and the ongoing global epidemic of rape? Drone murders, government spying and imperialist wars? NO!

After seeing the film, didn't you think: people need to hear and experience REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! Weren't you provoked to think about and look at the world in ways you never had before? The BA Everywhere Campaign is inviting you to be a part of a special effort this month to make a big deal out of the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!—to be a part of raising funds so that this film is known and widely available; to find out about, contribute to, and be a part of the BA Everywhere...Imagine the Difference It Could Make! Campaign to make Bob Avakian and the work he has done known throughout society.

Show and spread the film. And, step one—send the letter below to people you know!

Best regards,

PS: To connect up with the BA Everywhere National Campaign send an e-mail to, or call us at (917) 741.6716. You can also contact a Revolution Books store in your area to get connected. Go to for more information on Bob Avakian.


Letter # 2: [to those who have not seen BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!]

Dear Friend,

I am inviting you to check out and contribute to a campaign that is about raising funds to make it known that there is a vision, plan and strategy for a way out of all the oppression that people face today—for a radically better world—through learning about; engaging and spreading the work of the revolutionary leader, Bob Avakian.

To start, I strongly urge you to see the film, BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! I have seen it and it is like nothing else. It's a film of a talk by the revolutionary leader, Bob Avakian (BA). He breaks down the horrors of this world exposing that the reason we live with police murder and brutality and jailing of our Black and Latino youth, with women raped, battered, and denied their basic humanity, with imperialist wars and drone murder of people like us from other countries, is because of the system we live under. This film is unique. BA doesn't just break down what's wrong, he also lifts people's sights to how a radically better world is possible, through revolution. He has developed a new synthesis of communism that we need to know about. He says straight up that we've been fed a pack of lies about communism—lies that rob humanity of important mainly liberatory experience to build on. And, in this film he lays out a strategy that makes all of this real.

You can get BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! on DVD. Get back to me and we can talk and watch it together. But the thing is, people don't know about Bob Avakian and they have never heard of this film. That's a big problem because people put up with all kinds of terrible things in the world because they don't know and have never considered that there is a way that revolution could really happen, and that BA has developed a vision and plan for a radically better society.

Imagine if instead of all the BS that people chatter about... if people were getting into this film and getting to know BA and the new synthesis he has developed. Imagine a society filled with debate and wrangling over why the world is the way it is and what this new world could be like. For this to happen, it will take money. There is a campaign called: BA Everywhere—Imagine the Difference It Could Make to raise funds and bring people together so that BA becomes known everywhere. For example, so that people can know about and see this film funds are needed to rent theaters across the country and for advertising and promotion. The powers that be are not going to fund this. It's on us—the people who see the need for change to work together to make this possible.

I'm not just saying check out this film. I 'm asking you to donate funds to this campaign and get involved so that the nightmare that millions of people have to live today can be ended. So that no more will a youth like Trayvon Martin go out to buy some Skittles and ice tea and wind up shot dead by a racist vigilante who then gets set free to go to gun shows signing autographs. Check out the website and go here to find out about the film and the campaign.

Together let's do something really meaningful to contribute to radically changing the whole world.

Best regards,

PS: To connect up with the BA Everywhere National Campaign send an e-mail to, or call us at (917) 741.6716. You can also contact a Revolution Books store in your area to get connected. Go to for more information on Bob Avakian.





Revolution #333 March 23, 2014

Ukraine: A Clash of Predatory Powers

Updated May 5, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


People are being lied to on a massive scale about what is going on in Ukraine. They are being trained to think uncritically, and to identify with the interests of the rulers of the United States. It's a very dangerous situation because there's a hair-trigger confrontation between imperialist powers concentrated in Ukraine, but in other parts of the world as well. We really have to get people to stop thinking like Americans and to start thinking about humanity, starting from humanity as a whole and looking for the truth, bringing it out.

You'll find resources for all of this at


What Is the Clash in Ukraine About?

(April 29, 2014)

At bottom, what's happening in Ukraine is a conflict between reactionaries on every level.

Read more


Ukraine: A Clash of Predatory Powers

(March 21, 2014)

Alan Goodman interviewed on the Michael Slate show
Listen now


Trampling On Other Nations?

The U.S. Empire Was Built On That

(March 9, 2014)

The situation in the European country of Ukraine continues to be tense, volatile, unpredictable, and dangerous. Barack Obama talks about respecting the territorial integrity of Ukraine, and the aspirations of the people of Ukraine. But who the fuck is the United States to lecture anybody about not respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries!?

Read more


» Ukraine: Not a "Democratic Uprising" but a Clash Between Predators

(March 3, 2014)

» From a World to Win News Service:
Ukraine: The Wolves Are Loose

(February 24, 2014)







Revolution #333 March 23, 2014

Interview with Carl Dix

The System Says Black Life Has No Value—There MUST Be a Response

March 17, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


In the last issue of Revolution, we began to publish excerpts of an interview that Revolution did with Carl Dix, from the Revolutionary Communist Party and an initiator of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. We are continuing with new excerpts this week and will be publishing more next week.

The Revolution interview began with a discussion of the mistrial of Michael Dunn in Florida. Dunn murdered Jordan Davis in cold blood and was tried, but not convicted of this murder. The interview has been edited for publication.

Carl Dix: On the trial of Dunn for the murder of Jordan Davis, this came down to Amerikkka (and I spell it with KKK) declaring once again that Black people have no rights that white people are bound to respect. If you look at this case and the trial on this case, you have some teenagers playing their music loud in a car. You have a guy pulling into the gas station, doesn’t like the music, tells them to turn it down. They won’t, there’s an argument back and forth, but the kids are going to listen to their music. And it was Black youth listening to rap music and the guy who wanted it turned down was a white guy who thought that music was crap and thug music, and he pulls out his gun and begins to fire at them, and continues firing after their car has pulled away and is driving off at high speed trying to save their lives. Then this guy gets put on trial for this and claims self-defense. He comes up with an imaginary weapon—a shotgun that no other person on the scene had seen and has never been found—and tears up over having to drive from the scene of this killing to his hotel so that his dog could relieve his bladder, but very coldly and without emotion talks about killing a young Black man. And stripped down to its essence, his testimony was a call for white supremacists to come forward and have his back, that he was striking a blow for “embattled” white people in this society and he should be supported for that, that these Black people are getting out of their place and white people need to start killing some of them to get them to change their behavior. And what I’m saying here is what he actually wrote letters to his family members from jail and what he said in phone calls from jail. The prosecution had the transcripts of those phone calls and those letters—and didn’t bring any of that into court, and I’m going to come back to that in a minute. But this is what happened and you get a jury that can’t convict this guy for murder. This was the system declaring that Black life has no value. And you put this on top of the murder of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman and the refusal of the system to convict Zimmerman for it and you see that there’s a message: Black youth have a target on their backs, a target that any cop and now any white racist could use for target practice, claim self-defense and expect to be vindicated in doing that.

This is unacceptable

This is unacceptable. This is a declaration that people cannot allow to be made without a response being mounted to it. Because, look, there’s youth who know that this target’s on their backs, that they could have a confrontation with a cop or with a white racist and end up dead. There are parents who give their children guidance: this is what you must do and this is what you must not do if you meet up with a police officer. Now that guidance has to extend to: you’re running into a white guy, you have to watch it, you have to do this, you have to not do that. Knowing all the while that no matter how good that guidance is, no matter how well their children follow that guidance, it may mean nothing in one of these confrontations. Because look at Jordan Davis, look at Trayvon Martin, look at Amadou Diallo, look at Sean Bell and many other names that I could talk about—Jonathan Ferrell1 down in North Carolina. What did they do wrong? Where did they act in ways that brought this on them? It came down to being Black or Latino and in the wrong place at the wrong time.

  • Los Angeles, California, February 26, 2014
  • Oakland, California, February 26, 2014
  • Seattle, Washington, February 26, 2014
  • Atlanta, Georgia, February 26, 2014
  • Times Square, New York, February 26, 2014
  • Cleveland, Ohio, February 26, 2014
  • Houston, Texas, February 26, 2014
  • Chicago, Illinois, February 26, 2014
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

It’s unacceptable that whether people live and how they live can be determined by the color of their skin—this is something that must not be accepted. That’s why when I issued the statement right after the verdict in the Jordan Davis case, I said: this shows us again why we need a revolution, why we have to get rid of this system. Because you’re talking about brutality and oppression that has been built into the fabric of this Amerikkkan capitalist system from the very beginning. And there’s a lot of questioning out there among people about why does this happen, where does this come from, and what, if anything, can be done about it? And that’s a discussion that needs to be unleashed very broadly in society and we gotta be right in the middle of it, bringing out why does it happen, where does it come from, and how it flows from the very operation of this system.

Because when you look at the history of Black people in this country it has always been a thing of being integrated into and ground up under the process of the production of profit in this country. In the beginning it was enslavement and being worked from “can’t see in the morning to can’t see at night,” producing tobacco and then cotton and getting nothing for doing that—just enough to keep you going so you could come back out to the fields and work the next day. And then you had a whole system of laws, institutions to enforce those laws, and customs and the way that things were to keep that in place and to mobilize all of white society as part of keeping that in effect. Slavery was ended post-Civil War, but you still had Jim Crow segregation, people largely on the same plantations where they’d been enslaved, but now they were sharecroppers producing often the same crops and being robbed for it by the plantation owners who may have enslaved them previously. This is what people were dealing with. And a whole system of Jim Crow laws, tradition, custom, to enforce it, and again white society was mobilized to do that. Because you had the sheriffs who could arrest people for vagrancy which came down to being in the wrong place at the wrong time with no white man to speak for you. And then you could be imprisoned and leased out where you were worked as a slave—slavery by another name is what it came down to. If you were deemed to be out of your place by the white mob, you could be lynched. If you were a Black person in an area where a white mob, decided that some Black guy had gotten out of his place, you could be lynched because the record of lynching in this country records all of these incidents—where they couldn’t find the person they were looking for so they grabbed some other people, where someone spoke out against the lynching and then got lynched themselves. This all went on.

Only the forms have changed

The forms have changed once more. It became a thing not of sharecroppers on the plantation but Black people being drawn into the cities to work in the factories. But again, what did that come down to? The bottom tier of those workforces, working some of the hardest, most dangerous jobs, getting paid the least. This is something that I actually know something about because I worked in a steel mill. And you go into the steel mill and there was a Black labor gang where the people in that labor gang could work all of the jobs in the place and even often trained the young guys coming in—and they told me about how white guys would come into the plant and they would get trained on the jobs that paid more, were cleaner and not as dangerous, but the Black workers could not move up to take any of those jobs. Also I know about it because I got scars from having worked there when I got burned nearly to death in that plant. So this is the kind of thing that people moved into as they got off the plantations. So it was not easy street, it was still on the bottom, being viciously exploited.

But even now there’s been a further development of that. The process of production has been internationalized so those jobs are no longer available for people in the inner cities. And what it is, is that right now large numbers of youth cannot be profitably exploited by capitalism-imperialism at this point. And what those youth face is no future within this system, there’s no way for them to legitimately survive and raise families. And the response of the authorities has been one of criminalizing these youth—that’s where that target that I talked about earlier comes from. These youth are treated as permanent suspects, guilty until proven innocent if they can survive to prove their innocence. So that’s what we’re up against right now, and we’re talking, again, about horrific oppression that is built into the fabric of this capitalist system. This is oppression that can’t be reformed away; it can’t be tweaked out of existence. It’s really going to take revolution—and nothing less—to get rid of it once and for all.

Now, I mentioned some things which I do want to go back to. Because Angela Corey, whose office prosecuted George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin and couldn’t get a conviction, also did the case of Jordan Davis and she was unable to get a conviction on murder. And this office did have these vicious racist statements from Michael Dunn that bore pretty much directly on what he actually did, like why people need to start killing these Black thugs and get them to change their behavior. He said this repeatedly over the phone, in writing—the prosecution had it and made no attempt to bring that in. They didn’t even bring it in to impeach his credibility when he said: I have never had racist sentiments. This was part of his testimony. This is the guy who said white people need to start killing Black people to get them to change their behavior. The prosecution made no attempt to bring that in, and it’s not that Angela Corey’s office is just plain incompetent. It’s that in cases like these where it is George Zimmerman on trial for criminalizing and murdering Trayvon Martin, a young Black man, or Michael Dunn on trial for criminalizing and murdering Jordan Davis, a young Black man—they “forget” how to prosecute.

But when it comes to running Black and Latino people into jail in all kinds of cases and like that, there’s no forgetfulness there. Corey’s office is very efficient at doing that. I met people... there’s one family of a 12-year-old who Corey attempted to get sent up for life—not until he became an adult, but for the rest of his life. She didn’t fully get that, but she got decades on him. Another case where a youth was charged with having carried out a robbery with a BB gun—he goes to school one morning and the cops come into the school and arrest him with no warrant. Their evidence is that there is a phone that he may have had access to that has something to do with this robbery, but the access that he had was the same access that a number of other people in the school had. They hold him, interrogate him for 24 hours, and force a confession out of him. This youth is now doing 49 years in prison. So what you have is you have an office that is very good at imprisoning Black and Latino people but forgets how to do it when it’s somebody going up for crimes committed against Black and Latino people.

Revolution: You went to Jacksonville on February 26 along with Juanita Young, the mother of Malcolm Ferguson who was murdered by New York City police. After the mistrial of Michael Dunn, the Stop Mass Incarceration Network added Jordan Davis to its call for that day. Could you speak to how you saw that and what you thought needed to be done in the face of that, why you and Juanita Young went to Jacksonville, and some of what you learned?

Carl Dix: The Stop Mass Incarceration Network issued a call for a nationwide day of outrage and remembrance around Trayvon Martin on February 26 because that was two years since he was murdered by George Zimmerman. And when the trial of the killer of Jordan Davis ended—the Stop Mass Incarceration Network decided to add Jordan Davis to that day of outrage and remembrance. And this was actually very important because there was a lot of questioning about: is there anything we can do about this? We marched when Trayvon’s killer was exonerated and then here we have it happening again. The system refuses to convict a murderer. And some people were even thinking and voicing that maybe we just have to get used to this, we have to accept this. And it was very important that a call went out: No, we must not accept this and cannot accept this and we don’t have to either. And the call from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network was for: Hoodies Up on February 26! Reports on what happened on the 26th are still coming in. And one place that I really suggest people go is they go to the website—because that’s a site where you can find out not only what happened on February 26 but what’s happening.... with the movement for revolution, that is very needed that we in the Revolutionary Communist Party are forging, what that’s doing, what’s happening in this movement of resistance to mass incarceration, what’s happening in the movement of resistance to the attacks on women in this society, and everything. And you can get guidance for how to do that, and you can also find out about the leadership we have for this revolution in Bob Avakian, the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party. And part of why we don’t have to accept it is because revolution is not only needed but it’s possible, and its possibility is greatly enhanced by the work that Avakian’s doing. And people need to check that out, engage it, get into it, and spread the word to others around it.

Revolution: I want to ask you a little bit more about the 26th. I think it would be good to talk about what would have happened if SMIN had not called what it did call and what effect that would have had, so people can appreciate the impact their actions have. And to talk some... did this reach into the media? Did it have an impact?

Carl Dix: There was a sentiment of: can we do anything about this? Not that people felt that it was anything less than a horrible outrage, but a sense of maybe we can’t do anything. And it was very important that that sense was gone against, that sense was engaged and struggled over. And we began to notice it very sharply right after the verdict came down. I remember being in Harlem and encountering some youth who listened to me speak—people had read my statement, and I got up and I spoke and expounded on some things. And they listened intently, but then when we approached them and asked them for their thoughts one of them said, “I have no thoughts.” And then the other said, “I’ve got a lot of thoughts, but it wouldn’t make any difference if I told you about them. It would just make me madder, and what could we do about it anyway?” And we realized we had to get into it with these two young people, and they ended up taking material to go into their school and to mobilize people, getting that it would make a difference if they remain silent in the sense of hammering in that assessment—nothing we can do, we just gotta roll with this stuff. But it makes a difference the other way if people like them—they and people like them—begin to act, begin to counter that sentiment, begin to say “no we don’t have to accept this.” And begin to grapple with this question of revolution and what kind of world could be brought into being—is that possible and what does that mean that people like them need to do? Which they were taking a beginning step of by getting Revolution newspaper and taking some of the palm cards around the National Day of Outrage and Remembrance, that they were actually beginning to engage that and step into it.

And this had to be spread societywide because while we had to engage it on the streets with people, we also had to get it out there to reach people that we won’t be able to run into on the street. And we worked at getting it out through social media, on Facebook, tweeting about it, spreading the word. And it did have impact because right now we know of 18 cities—including something came in last night, this morning, that it happened in Birmingham on the 26th—that people took up the Hoodies Up! call. It happened in the areas where the Stop Mass Incarceration Network already has some organization, or beginning organization. And that was important. People in the Oakland area did a rally at Fruitvale Station, the scene of the murder of Oscar Grant by a cop on New Year’s Day of 2009. People acted in Chicago, in New York. But also we began to find out that there were places were the Stop Mass Incarceration Network had no contact with people who heard about this call for the Hoodie Day and did something. There were people in a sorority in Houston. People at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee organized an event which they posted at SMIN's website and which got covered in the media there. But there were also media things like Bethune Cookman, which is a historically Black college in Florida—some students there did a vigil. This began to be taken up more broadly, and what it does speak to and address is that there was a feeling that something needed to be done. There was anger about this, a feeling something needed to be done, but that anger had to be tapped into and mobilized and organized. And that was the role that the call from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network took up and acted on and brought forth a response, and a response that... it was on BET that afternoon that this was happening and that organizers were calling for it to happen across the country. There was some newspaper that has a regional spread in the South—not a Black newspaper—a more mainstream one, had something about it and talked about the Bethune Cookman vigil. But then I saw the same write-up without the Bethune Cookman vigil somewhere in Louisiana.

So the word began to be spread, people took this up, and it was very important that in the face of... coming off of the anger people have, but also in the face of questioning if there was anything that expressing this anger could do, any role it could play, it was very important. Because when people look back at the Trayvon Martin murder and the exoneration of the killer, it made a very big difference that people took to the street, and took to the street in significant numbers—not large enough, but in significant numbers. I guess there were thousands of people who marched into Times Square in New York, people in Los Angeles who blocked traffic on an interstate—things like that happening all across the country. And it does make a difference if these are met with determined response. Because if they’re not, there’s a message involved in this: a message of the criminalization of these youth, permanent suspects, targets on their backs, no rights that white people are bound to respect—all of this is being declared. And if that becomes something that people accept as just the way things are, it is not only going to continue to happen but it is going to escalate, it is going to get even worse. Because there is really a call for the white supremacists, fascist foot soldiers, to come forward and play a role in enforcing this putting of the oppressed back in their places. And that’s all a part of the mix that’s going on right now. Also there was coverage on the Essence magazine website, NBC News had it on its site, Democracy Now! had some very good coverage on its site....

That was actually an important arena in which things happened because you think back to... as motion developed around Trayvon Martin’s murder you had things like pro basketball players wearing hoodies, the Miami Heat doing a team picture in hoodies, Amar’e Stoudemire of the NY Knicks putting on his hoodie as he’s out going through the practice line shooting lay-ups and stuff. So that was an important expression, and for the cast of Raisin in the Sun to take a stand in solidarity...

Dwayne Wade was at the heart of the Miami Heat taking a stand, he brought the whole team onto doing it.

Stay tuned for more...


1. Last September, 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell wrecked his car in a one-vehicle accident. He knocked on doors seeking help; a white woman called the police saying that a Black man was trying to break into her house. When Charlotte, North Carolina police arrived they shot him 10 times, dead in the street, as he approached their car with his hands open. [back]





Revolution #333 March 23, 2014

International Women's Day 2014

Break the Chains! Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution!

March 17, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


On March 8, International Women's Day, women and men around the world stepped out into the streets, spoke out in determined voices, and acted in various ways to fight for the liberation of women, half of humanity. As the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, said in its statement on International Women's Day 2014, "There is nothing more brutal and backward, nothing more outrageous, nothing which more concentrates the howling and unbearable gap between the world that is possible and the world that actually IS... than the way billions of women are treated every day."

A statement from the 8 March Women's Organisation (Iran-Afghanistan) declared, "...we will continue our struggle to achieve the dream of emancipation. We are seeing the struggle of our sisters to join together with the countless hands of the oppressed women all over the world to break the thousand-years-old chains of oppression that bind us."

Palestinian women, joined by men and people from other countries, marched in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank against their oppression as women, and against the brutal, deeply unjust occupation of their land by Israel. An international delegation that tried to join the Gaza march was prevented from entering the occupied area by the combined moves of Israel, Egypt, and the U.S.

In Istanbul, Turkey, several thousand protesters, mainly women, marched to demand an end to violence against women. There were fierce clashes with the riot police who tried to block them from going to Taksim Square, the center of anti-government protests that rocked Turkey last year.

In the U.S., people in different cities across the country answered the call from StopPatriarchy to take to the streets on International Women's Day to express their outrage, expose and oppose the whole war on women, and bring alive a culture of defiance and liberation. The following are accounts of some of these actions, drawn from reports from our readers,, and

New York

From a young woman revolutionary:

On IWD, we wanted to stand and rise up with women all over the world in opposing the horrific conditions women face all over the globe, including the war on women which has concentrated particularly around abortion rights, the sexual degradation of women in pornography, and the various forms of violence that bears down on women around the world. We wanted to create a scene of breaking the chains and unleashing the fury of women as a mighty force for revolution!

Sunsara Taylor's Message for International Women's Day

We gathered at St. Patrick's Cathedral because the Catholic Church has led the charge in shaming women for having abortions, using birth control, and for exploring their sexuality. We sought to challenge the Catholic Church's whole agenda that women should be subservient to men and that women's value is to be breeders. While we were out on the front steps of St. Patrick's, several women spoke passionately and vividly about re-seizing the moral high ground and why abortion is not murder, fetuses are not babies, and women are not incubators. One young woman defiantly conducted a science lesson on why a fetus is not a baby from the centerfold of Revolution newspaper. Many people walking by stopped to take in this scene, including people coming out of St. Patrick's as well as passersby who were able to begin learning about the science behind abortion at this public fetus teach-in. Some people who were walking by were very moved and joined us on the spot, while others did double takes, asked what we were doing and why we are out in the streets, and said, "I'm with you!" At one point, the police put up a barricade between us and St. Patrick's and some people did some very sharp and powerful agitation exposing how the police are no friends of women.

We then began our march in the streets chanting and flyering along the way, creating a visibly exciting scene with posters saying, "STOP the War on Women!" and "Abortion On Demand and Without Apology!" People crowded to the sides of sidewalks as we moved down the streets echoing chants such as, "Being polite and being patient is no solution! Unleash the fury of women as a mighty force for revolution!"

March 8, 2014 Fox News

March 8, 2014, New York City, at Times Square.

Our first stop on the march was Fox News. Fox News is the mouthpiece for the anti-abortion movement, routinely shaming women for having abortions and using birth control and for purporting that women's highest role in life is to be wives and mothers. Fox News was at the helm of creating the climate in which Dr. Tiller, an abortion provider who heroically and courageously provided abortion for 36 years, was murdered in 2009 in Wichita, Kansas.

We then headed to the military recruiting station on 42nd Street. There was critical exposure emphasizing the role of the military in the war on women and how the epidemic of sexual violence against women in the military concentrates the horrors women face in society at large and is woven into the very institutions of power in the U.S. This was a very striking scene as we were standing adjacent to a large display of the U.S. flag, a symbol that stands for U.S. empire and the ways in which women have been oppressed at the boot of U.S. empire. A young man in the movement for revolution made an inspiring call about why men have a critical role to play in fighting to end women's oppression and why women's liberation is not something that can just be relegated to the margins. He boldly stated that he is going to be out in the streets fighting against women's degradation, in every form it takes, until this is completely done away with, because when women are not free, no one is free.

We then continued our march on to Times Square, a very crowded area that has billboards visually concentrating the commodification of women's bodies to sell products. Several people stopped and noticed our banners and signs as we read the statement from the 8 March Women's Organisation (Iran-Afghanistan). There were young women who are women's studies majors who united with us and we made the point to them of why they need to be out with us in the streets and why we have to rely on ourselves in changing the whole trajectory of the war on women that is increasingly intensifying. Throughout the day, we encountered people who said, "I'm with you!" but were not ready to join us on the spot in the streets. We sought to speak to what's driving this war on women, why this is intolerable and cannot be accepted as the "new normal," and why we cannot rely on the Democratic Party and voting to liberate women.

We defiantly marched on to the porn shops on 8th Avenue, stopping at a so-called "gentleman's club" along the way, which had an image encased by its front doors titled "Body Sushi," displaying a woman who was naked with sushi placed on top of her torso. This emphasized how women are represented as sex objects and how women are commodified in pornography. Once we got to 8th Avenue, we stopped in front of a porn shop and put up yellow caution tape with the words "Crimes Against Women!" on it. Several women did sharp agitation on what social relations porn concentrates, with the increasing rise of more violent forms of pornography, including rape pornography, and how this depicts women. Also, what kind of world pornography concentrates for women, but also how men are trained to view women due to pornography.

The whole ethos that permeated throughout the day was one of boldness and defiantly standing up against these crimes against women. There was a palpable energy of inspiration in being out in the streets with others offensively taking this on that many people seized upon throughout the march in speaking out. For many of the women who joined us, being out on IWD made them feel like they were doing something pivotal to change the terms in society around women and that there were others who were determined to put an end to women's oppression in the context of emancipating all of humanity. Among those who took to the streets on March 8, it felt like the demoralization that women face in this society got lifted. A spirit of defiance surrounded the conversation on that day of what it's going to take to end women's oppression, why revolution is the solution to ending patriarchy, and the leadership we have in Bob Avakian in fighting for a total revolution that places women's liberation as central. The dynamism of being out in the streets and declaring to the world that we will not idly stand by when abortion rights are under attack, and when women are sexually degraded and treated as sex objects.

The following day there was an IWD celebration and potluck dinner sponsored by Revolution Books, which was teeming with excitement and stories from the previous day. There was a palpable energy in the room with several people sharing their experiences while eating food from cultures all over the world. The program began with watching the section titled "Resisting the Brainwash—A Radical Revolt Against a Revolting Culture" in the film BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less! Sunsara Taylor provided a summation of what happened on the streets in NYC on IWD and spoke on building over the next four weeks for the Emergency Actions to Stop the War On Women happening on April 11 and 12. Mary Lou Greenberg, a longtime revolutionary who has been on the front lines in fighting for women's liberation over several decades, made a powerful presentation using her slides of photos she took from when she visited revolutionary China during the Cultural Revolution.

San Antonio

From Revolution readers:

A Revolution—Nothing Less! contingent from Houston went to San Antonio to join the several hundreds who turned out for the 24th Annual San Antonio International Women's Day March and Rally. San Antonio is one of the few—if not the only—city in the U.S. that celebrates IWD every year by marching in the street.

San Antonio, International Womens' Day 2014

In 2007, shaken by the powerful 2006 immigrant outpourings, the city passed an ordinance demanding exorbitant (and blatantly unconstitutional) fees for street parade permits. This year the IWD committee publicly announced that they would defy this repression, and march with or without a permit, declaring, "We will not be silenced."

Also, IWD this year followed closely on the heels of intensifying nationwide attacks on abortion and access to birth control, which have hit Texas particularly hard. This march took place within a few hours' drive of two more women's clinics that have shuttered—this time in the Rio Grande valley—which is disastrous for the impoverished, especially undocumented, women along the border. And come September 2014, there are expected to be no more than six abortion providers remaining in the entire state of Texas.

Sporting "Revolution—Nothing Less" t-shirts, we entered the scene holding high a beautiful banner saying "Break the Chains—Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution!" We went through the gathering crowd, made up of diverse elements from Democratic Party politicians to a progressive Christian all-male group wearing "Respect Women" t-shirts to labor unions, youth groups and more. We spread our message: "Revolution—Nothing Less," got out Revolution newspaper and cards with the BAsics quote 3:22: "You cannot break all the chains, except one..." to just about everyone there.

We had asked the organizing committee if we could speak, and they decided that, based on our participation in past years, a good spot for us would be right before the march was to take off, as they felt that we could arouse the spirit of the crowd with our revolutionary message. Our speaker followed a heartfelt piece from an undocumented woman who had broken out of years of torture by her husband. Our brief statement denounced such conditions worldwide, and celebrated the struggle everywhere for the liberation of women, and for communist revolution, stating that that's what it would take—and nothing less. The speaker recited BAsics 3:22 and talked about how the very conditions of the oppression of women and the resistance it generates, provides a basis for revolution. She put out a bold call for all those who want to emancipate women and all humanity to join in this movement for revolution.

Picking up on our slogan, "Break the Chains—Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution!" (in English and Spanish) one of the committee organizers began to chant "Break the Chains! Break the Chains!" As she gathered the crowd, they started chanting as well. She explained to everyone that there was no permit and put it to the people: "Sidewalk or street?" Without hesitation, people took to the streets. Chant leaders and the marchers took up our pro-abortion chants in addition to their own various ones. We stayed in the street the entire length of the permit-less march.

When we reached the end rally site, more speakers addressed the crowd with many different stories, poetry, songs, and political statements and political programs of various kinds. We got around to more people, and got out more papers and cards.

Overall, the impact of our "Revolution—Nothing Less" message, with the paper, the cards, the Party's IWD statement, the speaker, and the contingent, was undeniable. Many were challenged to rethink what it would actually take to end the oppression of women. We put out a revolutionary pole, which raised the political and ideological level of the day and the spirit of the event, we built community, including importantly, with some women on the IWD committee, and we had a lot of fun.

Los Angeles


On Friday, March 7, the Revolution Club headed out to the corner of an intersection in a predominantly Black neighborhood with banners that said "A Fetus Is NOT a Baby!" and "Abortion on Demand and Without Apology!" A woman walking by asked how we felt about murdering a baby. A volunteer responded, "A fetus is not a baby, abortion is not murder, and women are not incubators!"

A young teen walked by and took a flyer that announced plans to come out, stand up, speak out, and protest on International Women's Day in front of strip joints and shops that sold items and clothing that reduced women to sexual objects for men's titillation. She disclosed that she was also a victim. We asked if she would like to write something in chalk on the sidewalk. She wrote, "Due to rape I am standing strong 4 others."

On Saturday, March 8, Stop Patriarchy and the Revolution Club headed out to the HER clinic, an abortion provider. We passed out stickers that read "Abortion On Demand and Without Apology," "Create a World Without Rape!" and "Abortion Providers Are Heroes!" Across from our banners and bullhorns was a huge church. We yelled out "Not the church, not the state, WOMEN must decide their fate!" A couple of white men from the church came by our group to wave their rosaries, so we yelled back "Get your rosaries off my [her] ovaries!" We did not know what the two men hoped to do by waving their crosses at our faces, because we did not disappear nor did we back down.

On the way to Hollywood, volunteers from the Revolution Club boarded on the Metro and passed out palm cards that read "If you can't imagine sex without porn, you're fucked!" and "Abortion On Demand and Without Apology!" After each stop, volunteers headed out and boarded the next train to pass out more cards and announce what International Women's Day was all about. In Hollywood, we chanted "It's BULLSHIT! Get off it! Women are not for profit!" This chant broke open the atmosphere as onlookers stopped to watch activists unroll yellow tape that read "DANGER! CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN!" pulled across businesses like Playmates and Bizzy B, which sells sexy lingerie for women, and strip bars, which featured nude women for men's pleasure. As we began rolling the crime tape back up, we realized that block after block, shop after shop, the Hollywood strip was lined with businesses that sold clothing for women to be men's play-things and toys. We screamed, "NO MORE!"

On Sunday, March 9, Revolution Books hosted an International Women's Day fundraising dinner for Stop Patriarchy. The store was filled with those who wished for a better world free of degradation and exploitation of women. Food was donated by an Iranian restaurant whose owner was enthusiastic about our event to bring in a radically different world. The program featured quotes by Bob Avakian, the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, a March 8 letter by women from the Middle East about International Women's Day, a presentation by someone who visited China during the Cultural Revolution (when women's feet were unbound, women could divorce from their husbands, and women were free to walk the streets without fear of rape), a report-back about the events that unfolded during the weekend by a volunteer from Stop Patriarchy, and a video clip by Sunsara Taylor on plans for emergency actions to stop the war on women.


From Revolution readers:

We started the day protesting at a FAKE women's clinic, a "crisis pregnancy center" that is located just a couple blocks from a major high school. There are more fake clinics around the country than REAL clinics that actually care for women! These "crisis pregnancy centers" CPCs provide neither abortions NOR birth control NOR correct medical information. They are run by right-wing religious organizations made specifically to lure in women so that they don't get access to abortion! We protested to say NO! to women getting tricked and lied to about abortion, forced or scared into motherhood. We had huge signs, including Stop Patriarchy's "Abortion on Demand and Without Apology!" along with enlargements of photos from Revolution newspaper on the liberation of women. There was a lot of cars driving by and many people gave us honks in support.

Later, we went to Revolution Books for a celebration of International Women's Day. With decorations, pizza, and good music and conversation, we watched Sunsara Taylor's new video on IWD and the announcement of the big plans for the Abortion Rights Emergency Actions April 11 & 12. People were pretty blown away by this! We then took turns reading aloud the statement from the Revolutionary Communist Party for International Women's Day.

We then went back out into the cold to go to Imperial Avenue, where 11 Black women had been raped, murdered, and buried on the property. Despite calls from family members to the police about their missing loved ones, the cops had insulted them and shrugged them off saying things like, "your daughter is a crack whore!" We placed a monument to the women—a mounted copy of the centerfold of Revolution newspaper with the call to "Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution!" In the evening, a local gallery sponsored a reception for International Women's Day. A bunch of our crew went and engaged with a diverse group of people.


From Revolution readers:

A group of some 20 people came together at noon to kick off the day's protest by targeting the main Catholic cathedral in the city. The provocative yellow crime scene tape extended across a church building, proclaiming "DANGER: CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN." The whole corner was decked out with eye-catching posters, stickers, and tee-shirts demanding "Abortion on Demand and Without Apology," "Fight for the Liberation of Women all over the World," "Catholic Church Attacks Abortion and Birth Control," "Forced Motherhood is Female Enslavement" and "Revolution, Nothing Less" as we challenged all the people passing by.

From a variety of different experiences and political points of view, all agreed to take to the streets this International Women's Day to stop this war on women. Revolutionary communists were joined by a younger people as well as older people who'd been part of the women's movement and other progressive struggles in the 1960s. Half were women and half were men. A person active in LGBT issues joined in the loud street agitation which exposed the wider war on women, including the Church's role in abortion attacks—he, in particular, blasted the Church for its sexual abuse of children, which had happened to him and countless others.

A major local television outlet came out for a photo opportunity and a radio station conducted an interview with a spokesperson, with the protest as a backdrop. Outside the cathedral, a reporter from a campus radio show interviewed people walking by to find out their reaction to this public scene, which he shared with us. Every woman who stopped to speak to this reporter poured forth personal experience of the oppression of women that had been meted out to her. For example, one young woman movingly described, "A man in my life hits me. And then he tells me that it's okay that he hits me because women have equality now and I find it VERY REPULSIVE!" Another women recounted how ever since high school, women's rights and human rights have been important to her and how she speaks up every time against sexist jokes. "I am just not okay with all the bullshit!"

The protest then took off on a march for a couple of miles through some busy shopping areas of downtown Chicago, including stopping along the way to indict a fake abortion clinic. Along the march route, our chants rang out loud and clear and very unapologetically. All 500 leaflets, and many palmcards with the BAsics quote 3:22, went out, as we challenged everyone along the way. Many people connected with this, a good percentage in support and others wanting to know more, while the overall response was quite polarized. "Is it against sex trafficking?!" someone responded. A marcher who was signing people up on the clipboard to get connected with the movement to stop patriarchy said some people exclaimed, "I am so glad someone is doing something about this!" Others debated us, demanding to know, "So, people can get pregnant and just kill the babies?!" But his friends said, "I'm with you!" Some students lined up at the clipboard, eager to stay in touch.

A marcher noted that among many of the people that he spoke to who expressed real agreement that attacks on abortion must be opposed, they either did not grasp the urgency that abortion rights are in an utter emergency or else they recoiled from street protests, too stuck in "politics as usual." We worked to draw the lines sharply with people who shouted out to us "I'm with you," but then walked on by—"If you support abortion rights but are not out here acting in concert with others, these rights will be taken away from women!" One person handing out flyers reported that Black women seemed to be the most receptive, while some of the better off white woman seemed to think they were "above it all," dismissing it because "I already know all that!" In fact, many did not actually know about the situation with more Texas abortion clinics closing down this very week.

Someone handing out the palmcards noticed that, compared to past IWDs in this area of town, he was now encountering more outright opposition to abortion as morally undesirable. And some people did tell us outright that "you ought to be ashamed of yourselves," calling us "whores" and "baby killers" creating a "holocaust," even as our chants made clear— "Fetuses are not babies! Abortion is not Murder! Women are not Incubators!"

In taking to the streets on International Women's Day in Chicago, we had beginning impact and also learned how much a leap is urgently needed, where thousands and then millions of people step into this movement of resistance and bring forward a whole culture of defiance and liberation that sets society-wide terms and stops this war on women.



Seattle, International Womens' Day 2014.

A committed group of people could not be stopped by the pouring rain and joined together to speak out with Stop Patriarchy on International Women's Day. We started by reading The Call to Action to End Pornography & Patriarchy mic-check style. This seemed to help new people find their voices. Activists and revolutionaries with Stop Patriarchy gave sharp agitation about the abortion rights emergency, pornography and prostitution, and why it will take a revolution to uproot patriarchy and liberate humanity. A young woman born in Somalia talked about the common practice of female genital cutting and mutilation, and said it needed to end now. When she was trying to decide whether to speak, she said she thought her nieces in Somalia would want her to. A Black woman riffed off of the Call to Action and cried out that she was tired of being degraded by men for being a woman, and by the police through police brutality. Another Black woman made the point that she supports Black men but is not willing to be exploited by them or treated like an object. A woman active in the environmental movement brought her two children and recited her favorite poem by Adrienne Rich, "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers." One of the most energetic speeches of the day was given by a male college student who got louder and angrier as he spoke out, ending with: "Women are not objects! Women are human beings! Women hold up half the sky!"

When a bunch of us went to a diner afterwards to get out of the rain and talk and eat, we talked about personal stories that some hadn't been ready to share on the mic. Thinking back on the speak-out, what stood out most was the outrage and determination to stand up against the situation women face all over the planet, and to fight for the understanding that it cannot be justified and does NOT have to continue this way. We also observed that though we were small, the people who came out for the first time all had this in common: They had had some heavy, painful experiences that they were fed up about and they felt compelled to join up with others who were fighting back. We made plans to see each other again soon, the next day at the Revolution Books' International Women's Day Celebration and to build for the April 11 and 12 emergency actions for abortion rights called by Stop Patriarchy.

San Francisco


San Francisco, International Womens' Day 2014

International Women's Day march in San Francisco—from the anti-abortion, anti-gay halls of Saint Mary's Cathedral, to the Archdiocese and the Vatican, to the Republican senators emboldened to call pregnant women "hosts" and say women who are pregnant from rape are lying... From the "religious freedom" that demands the "right" to discriminate against gay people in Arizona to the "religious freedom" criminalizing birth control and hunting gay people down in Uganda... From the religious fundamentalism that justifies murdering doctors to the religious fundamentalism that justifies veiling and acid attacks... From the sex trafficking flesh trade that ruins women's lives and destroys their bodies, to a $12 billion industry of pornography that celebrates and feeds into rape culture, to the epidemic of rape and the overall commodification, dehumanization, violence and enslavement...

Honolulu, Hawai`i


The sidewalks, clubs and art galleries in Chinatown are usually crowded on 1st Friday so World Can't Wait-Hawai`i put out a call for a march through the district to demand an end to the war on women. But this 1st Friday it rained! When organizers got to the spot where the march was to begin the sidewalks and galleries were largely deserted. Leafleters huddled beneath a gallery awning and began passing out the palm cards and leaflets from Stop Patriarchy, loudly announced that International Women's Day was the following day, and invited people to join a march beginning at 8. At the beginning it seemed the evening was doomed to failure but things quickly turned around once people began reading the signs and palm cards.

Almost the first person who took a palm card was a woman from Mongolia who enthusiastically said: "International Women's Day is really big in my country!" Another said: "I saw that International Women's Day was tomorrow on Google!" A woman from Tagikistan related how it was celebrated in her country. A tourist couple from Melbourne, Australia held signs. A Russian woman was eager to talk about events in the Ukraine.

A man rushed up to the World Can't Wait-Hawai`i spokesperson saying "you would have loved the show on Olelo on "One Billion Rising." Then he looked at her and realized she'd narrated the show! ["Voices of Resistance"—an hour-long show on community television is produced by World Can't Wait-Hawai`i']. He went on to tell her that he had been moved to tears by the show, had watched it several times, and urged his friends who were with him to watch it as well.

A well-dressed older woman shared that she "can't believe we're still fighting for abortion rights" and then went on to share her outrage that the women's movement had largely backed off of "being radical."

Coming out in the rain had gotten a whole lot better. Most people took palm cards and thanked us. One couple initially by saying "I don't want one" and then quickly walked back to ask for one saying "I'm going to give this to my granddaughter."

At 8 pm things were definitely looking up and an organizer turned on her bullhorn and called on people to pick up signs and begin marching. More than a dozen people headed through the district chanting and holding up signs for people in restaurants, galleries and clubs to see: A few people along the short route took signs and joined up. As the march went past popular clubs, young people standing outside snapped pictures. A few raised fists.

While the march wasn't as big as we had hoped, and we didn't reach as many people as we had hoped, when the march ended spirits were high. Pictures of signs and banners were taken to send to an International Women's Day march in Gaza. Marchers seemed reluctant to leave and instead took cover and continued conversations, It was hard to believe that only a short time before organizers had considered cancelling the march.




Revolution #333 March 23, 2014

Clinic Closures, Terror, and the True Emergency Facing Abortion Rights
It's WORSE Than You Think—We Must Act to Stop It NOW!

by Sunsara Taylor | March 17, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


On March 6, the last abortion clinic in the impoverished Rio Grande region of Texas stopped providing abortions. Today, any woman there who needs an abortion must make a 300-mile round-trip to the next closest clinic. Many will never make that trip. Instead, they will be trapped in abusive relationships, be driven (deeper) into poverty, or take desperate measures—like prostitution—to support a child they did not want. Others will die attempting to self-induce abortions.

Just last year, Texas had 44 abortion clinics. By September, if nothing changes, there will only be six. But, as harrowing as that is, this problem is not restricted to Texas.

It’s WORSE Than You Think

San Francisco, January 2014, Photo: Special to Revolution

203 abortion restrictions have been passed in the last three years. Three abortion clinics have closed in Ohio since last summer. Two have closed in Virginia. Michigan went from 19 abortion providers in 2009 to just six by 2011. Arizona lost 12 abortion clinics since 2010. Pennsylvania lost five. Five states have only one abortion clinic left and one of those states—Mississippi—is in danger of losing even that clinic; on April 28, the same Federal District court that upheld the clinic closures in Texas will rule on a similar law which would close the last clinic in Mississippi.

On March 3, a clinic in Montana was so viciously vandalized that it has been closed indefinitely. Last year, a man attempted twice to burn down a Planned Parenthood in Missouri and another man was convicted of planning to assassinate an abortion doctor in Wisconsin. In total, eight doctors and staff have been murdered for providing abortions.

Already, women across the country who cannot access safe abortions are attempting to self-abort. They are inserting sharp objects up their vaginas, taking pills, asking their boyfriends to beat them up, throwing themselves down the stairs, drinking dangerous amounts, and more. A study done in 2012 found that 12 percent of women near the Mexico border who came in for abortions had already attempted to induce their own abortions but failed. Now, with the clinics near them in Texas closed, that number will inevitably rise.

This Must Be Stopped!

New York, March 8, 2014, International Women's Day. Photo: Special to Revolution

If this war on women is not directly confronted in its totality, if it is not called out and opposed in uncompromising terms, and if it is not massively resisted and decisively defeated very, very soon, a new and horrific “normalcy” will be hammered into place. Backed up by the weight of thousands of years of tradition’s chains on women, the growing strength of Christian fascist theocrats, and the crushing force of the state, women’s lives are being foreclosed and broken and the future of all women is at risk.

What is needed right now is a massive outpouring of rage. Everyone who does not want to see women forced to have children against their will, who does not want to see women forced into a position that is tantamount to slavery, must act to stop this now.

Relying on the Democrats Has Proven Deadly

By “act,” I do NOT mean give money to a political action committee, or campaign and vote for a Democrat. This is what pro-choice people have done for decades and this has caused incalculable harm. The Democrats have done nothing to stop the assault on women. Instead, they have repeatedly ceded ground to the Christian fascists who are attacking abortion and accepted the terms set by these woman-haters as the “common ground” on which to differ and contend.

Hillary Clinton, the much-hoped-for presidential candidate within the official (i.e., bourgeois) “women’s movement,” has said, “I for one, respect those who believe that there are no circumstances under which any abortions should ever be available.”

Excuse me? People who are fighting to end all abortion in all circumstances deserve as much “respect” as those who fought for Jim Crow segregation. It doesn’t matter whether they are “sincere” in their beliefs, they are WRONG and they must be uncompromisingly opposed.

And it is not just Hillary. Wendy Davis, the Texas state senator who staged the now-famous filibuster which—we must remind all those now vesting their hopes in her—did not stop the law which is responsible for all the clinic closures in Texas, has said she would support a ban on abortions at 20 weeks. Obama has repeatedly insisted on seeking “common ground” with those attacking abortion.

But, while the approach of these Democrats has done nothing to challenge the framework of the anti-abortion forces, it has done enormous damage by influencing millions of pro-choice people to be morally and politically defensive about abortion. Today, almost no one under thirty has ever heard anyone speak of abortion as something central and necessary to women’s liberation. This has left them passive and defensive in the face of a relentless war.

The truth is that, for reasons that are gone into in A Declaration: For Women’s Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity, the dynamics driving this war on women are much deeper than who happens to be elected to office at any given time. Owing to the changing position of women in society within this country, and all over the world, as well as other major economic and demographic shifts, every major force within the ruling class of this country feels the need for a greater role for religion, a return of “traditional” patriarchal values and family, and severe cut-backs to social programs. They differ over the degree and the pace of changes that are needed, but none of them are operating out of the desire to reverse this war on women.

Fundamentally, what all this points to is the need for a total revolution. It also underscores the need to rely on ourselves.

Emergency Actions April 11 and 12

By “act,” I mean we must go into the streets, confront and call out those driving this war on women, and fight with many others to join us in doing the same. It is also only in this way that we can bring forward the level of resistance that can stop and reverse this war on women.

We must tell the truth: Forced Motherhood Is Female Enslavement! Abortion must be available on demand and without apology!

We must do this not because it is “where most people are at,” but because this is the truth and it represents the urgent and fundamental interests of women. Those who agree—and there are a great many but they have been suppressed—must be rallied to stand up and give voice to this now. Those who don’t agree need to see this argued for and acted on, over and over again, until they change their thinking and join in this struggle.

This is why Stop Patriarchy is uniting people from many different perspectives—religious leaders, figures from the women’s liberation movement, students and others—for two days of emergency action on April 11 and 12.

On Friday, the 11th, we will bring alive in public testimony the truth of what happens to women when abortion is not available—the women who will die, the lives that will be foreclosed—and expose the full agenda of female subjugation that drives the anti-abortion movement. This should happen on campuses and in theaters, in religious institutions and on street corners, among gatherings large and small. People should tell their own abortion stories—both from before Roe and more recently—or go to the website to find the stories of others to read out loud. Students and others should transcribe interviews they do with people about their abortions and send them in to be posted, or send in their own. Together, we will bring alive the lives of, and repercussions to, women which all too often are left out of this fight.

Then, on Saturday, we call on everyone to join us in staging militant protests across the country right in front of the institutions and forces behind this war. Gather wearing shackles, representing the enslavement of women. And raise coat-hangers dripping with blood, representing the 47,000 women who die each year from unsafe abortions and the lives of women in this country who will die if this war is not stopped. After an hour of silent protest, we will break the chains and recite a pledge to resist—and a call for others to join this resistance—until we defeat the entire war on women.

This is the time for uncompromising truth-telling and militant protest. This is the time to expose the complete immorality of the anti-abortion movement and to seize the moral high ground back for women’s liberation. It is our responsibility to stand up and to call forth thousands, and soon millions more to actively resist. We must act now to reverse these attacks and defeat this whole war on women.






Revolution #333 March 23, 2014

Detained Immigrants Launch Hunger Strike

Support Detainees Putting Their Lives on the Line

by Carl Dix | March 17, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


About 1200 immigrant detainees at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington, began a hunger strike on March 7. Their demands include safer working conditions, better treatment by guards, more sanitary food options, and for Obama to sign an executive order halting deportations until the U.S. immigration system is overhauled.

Family members and supporters of the Washington hunger-strikers attended solidarity rallies organized outside of the Northwest Detention Center facility in Tacoma. Photo: AP

Guards at the detention center, which is run by the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), have retaliated against the hunger strikers attempting to break their strike. An attorney representing some of those on strike said: “Immigrants on hunger strike are being placed in solitary confinement, coerced into signing deportation forms, and threatened with force feeding if they continue their protest. Asylum seekers are being threatened with denial of their cases,” Five of those on hunger strike have been placed on medical observation which is one step along the way to being subjected to forced feeding.

On any given day, 33,000 people in the U.S. are held in detention centers being processed for deportation. They are being held in conditions that aren’t fit for human beings. These conditions have sparked a series of hunger strikes at detention centers, including in Arizona, Illinois, California, and Virginia.

We need to look squarely at what’s going down here. Millions of people have been driven to this country by the devastation of their homelands; devastation carried out by the U.S. dominated global economy. Once here, they are relegated to the bottom tier of the U.S. economy, working low-paying and dangerous jobs. And they are forced to exist in the margins of U.S. society, as people without papers or rights, and can be swept up and deported at any point. Under Obama, there has been a sharp escalation in ICE raids, with the numbers of those deported nearing two million, more than under any other U.S. president in history. It is outrageous that so many people are being rounded up and jailed for coming to this country in search of work and survival.

These sweeps are part of a thrust in recent years to criminalize immigrants. Many of those caught up in these raids are people who have been in the U.S. for quite some time and have lives and families here. On top of the horror that people are being torn from their families and subjected to deportation, ICE is putting them on trial before deporting them. This makes them convicted felons who can be more easily targeted if they try to return to this country because of the same devastation that drove them here in the first place.

Family members of the Washington hunger strikers attended solidarity rallies organized outside of the detention facility. The wife of one of the hunger strike leaders told Al Jazeera news that her husband was placed in solitary confinement with three other strikers for his role in organizing the protest. Everyone who stands against injustice needs to join in supporting these hunger strikers.

These detainees are putting their lives on the line to fight to end the conditions being enforced on them. They are asserting their humanity, and their struggle deserves everyone’s support. What’s happening to them is part of the criminalization of broad sections of people on the bottom of this society. Standing up to say NO MORE to the way these immigrants are being criminalized is part of the fight to stop mass incarceration. Cornel West and I have issued a proposal for October 2014 to be a Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, and the Stop Mass Incarceration Network has plans for a strategy session to flesh out the vision for that month and to develop a plan for making this month a powerful leap in the level of resistance to this horror. That month of resistance must encompass fighting the cruel criminalization, incarceration and deportation of immigrants, which is happening on a mass scale. And right now, people need to spread the word on this hunger strike and stand with these heroic prisoners.





Revolution #333 March 23, 2014

Immigrants on Hunger Strike: Seeking a Better Life, but "Treated Like Animals"

March 17, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

On Friday, March 7, a reported 1,200 prisoners in the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington, one of the largest immigration prisons in the U.S., went on a short-term hunger strike to demand improvement in conditions at the prison and an end to deportations nationwide. A smaller number continued on to at least March 13. Their current status is uncertain, as information is restricted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), part of the Department of Homeland Security. When word of the strike escaped the prison walls, a couple hundred people, many Latino, rallied in support, and some form of presence has continued there at various levels. This strike has been covered in national and international news. It should be noted that President Obama had said he would enact immigration reform his first year in office, and prevent parents from being separated from children by deportation. Instead, he has conducted a record number of deportations, almost two million to date, with many families being separated.

Supporters rally outside Northwest Detention Center facility in Tacoma. These detainees are putting their lives on the line to fight to end the conditions being enforced on them. Everyone who stands against injustice needs to join in supporting these hunger strikers. Photo: AP

The prisoners at the Tacoma detention center are not just people who were arrested locally, but come from all over the Northwest, and many loved ones have to travel long distances to see them and aid in their chances of release. Daily some of these people sit in cars or on the sidewalk outside the prison gate to pick up the few prisoners scheduled for release. Most of these waiting are friendly yet cautious in talking to strangers, but those who do reveal deep feelings of injustice and tell of hardships.

A revolutionary talked to three Latino women waiting on a prisoner who was to be released that day. They were the fiancée, daughter, and sister of that person. They had driven from across the state that morning. One said, "It is terrible, no fair. People come from far away for a better life, but they are treated like animals." The young man they were waiting for is in Washington State's DREAM Act program for immigration reform. (DREAM stands for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors, a law that has been discussed in the U.S. Senate since 2001 but has not passed yet. Several states, however, including Washington, have put in place their own versions. DREAM is supposed to allow undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors to remain and someday get some form of citizenship if they register and then complete education or military and other requirements.) The young man got a first-time citation for DUI (driving under the influence), which normally would mean 24 hours in jail. But instead, as an immigrant, and even under the DREAM Act, he has spent two-and-a-half weeks in various jails and prisons. And he is now on the path to deportation with any other offenses.

The wife of another prisoner to be released that day said, "My husband has been here [in the U.S.] for 10 years, is a good man who works hard, has three kids, and doesn't bother anyone!" But he was a Latino living in a small town and was pulled over one day because one taillight on his truck, although operating correctly, had a piece of the red plastic missing and was patched with a piece of clear tape. "He was profiled. I drove that truck that way for years with no bother, because I'm a U.S. citizen!" The husband had no identification. He has been in prison for one-and-a-half months. His wife got a loan of several thousand dollars from the bank, which a lawyer said would be plenty to pay his release bond. But on arriving at the prison she was told it was a couple thousand dollars more for the bond, so she had to drive back home to raise more money and then return. Now they are deeply in debt, and the husband, who works in the fields, is under threat of deportation.

When shown this quote in the Spanish language version, Lo BAsico, of Bob Avakian's book BAsics, she read it with interest: "Now I can just hear these reactionary fools saying 'Well, Bob, answer me this. If this country is so terrible, why do people come here from all over the world? Why are so many people trying to get in, not get out?'... Why? I'll tell you why. Because you have fucked up the rest of the world even worse than what you have done in this country. You have made it impossible for many people to live in their own countries as part of gaining your riches and power." She then commented "Yes, that's the truth. That's it in a nutshell!"





Revolution #333 March 23, 2014

From A World to Win News Service

Should immigrants be criminalized or supported?

March 17, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


March 10, 2014. A World to Win News Service. People who live in the West and other destinations for immigrants are constantly told things like, “Our country is being invaded by immigrants.” Hardly a day goes by that they don’t hear politicians and the media making racist attacks against immigrants, blaming them for unemployment, abusing the benefit and welfare system, being a burden on taxpayers or spawning crime.

The way in which the current anti-immigration hysteria is deliberately driven by the authorities and not a spontaneous reaction among ignorant people was underlined earlier in March in what should have been a major scandal in the UK. It was revealed that when an academic peer-reviewed study commissioned by the government concluded that there is little lasting connection between immigration and unemployment, the Conservative Party simply suppressed it and continued with its campaign to convince Britons that to maintain living standards they must choke off the inflow of foreigners.

The ruling classes of the Western imperialist and other developed countries that attract immigrants stick the term “illegal” on these human beings to criminalize them and legitimize a witch-hunt against people who have already gone through tremendous mental, physical and economic suffering. In different ways and to different degrees, even though the number of people entering these countries has remained roughly stable, vicious anti-immigrant propaganda has become a major factor shaping the political landscape in Western Europe and Australia, the focus of this article. (For historical, demographic and other reasons and the military importance of a border contiguous with a country the U.S. has crushed, the question of immigration presents itself differently there.)

What Refugees Risk and How Governments Use That Risk to Impose the Death Penalty

Right now tens of thousands of people from all over Africa are living in shacks in camps in the hills around Ceuta and Mellila, two enclaves that are remnants of Spanish colonialism and its domination of Morocco. Because these two stolen bits of land are legally part of Europe, gaining entry is a major goal of migrants and refugees.

In the past few years, Spanish governments have repeatedly had police gas, beat and even shoot people trying to climb over the double rows of high razor-wire fences that surround them. Over the last few months, as immigrants become increasingly desperate, there have been mass attempts to storm the barriers involving as many as 1,500 people at a time, and at least one has been successful. On February 6, as hundreds of Africans battled police in an attempt to get over the fences, an unknown number of people jumped into the ocean on the Moroccan side and tried to swim around the seawall to the Spanish side. Spanish police fired rubber bullets and smoke canisters at the men in the water as well as threatening them by shooting blanks, and fifteen are known to have drowned. Twenty-three immigrants made it. The Spanish government at first denied the shooting, then when caught out by YouTube videos praised the police and blocked an investigation.

This incident represents the immigration situation all too well: the great desperation of people who consider such deadly odds the best option they face, and, on the other side, the cruelty of the authorities in the imperialist countries that have played a major role in creating such desperation in the first place.

In one of the worst recent tragedies to strike refugees, on October 5 last year a boat carrying 500 African refugees from Africa to Europe sank near Lampedusa, an island off the coast of North Africa that belongs to Italy. More than 300 people lost their lives. It was Italian fisherman and not the authorities who took the initiative to rescue people drowning not far offshore. Lampedusa residents held a demonstration demanding that more be done to save immigrants at sea.

Only a few days later, on October 11, 2013, another boat carrying 200 immigrants sank near Lampedusa, and 27 refugees died. Around the same time a boat carrying around 130 refugees went down near Alexandria, Egypt, killing 12 Palestinian and Syrian immigrants. On October 31, the bodies of 87 people, mostly women and children, were found in a desert in Niger. They are believed to have been would-be immigrants and their families seeking work in Europe. It seems that they died of thirst after the vehicle carrying them broke down. There is hardly a week that a major accident involving immigrants losing their lives doesn’t occur. Most fatal incidents go unreported or unpublicized.

According to figures released by the European Union, during a year-long period in 2012-13 more than 30,000 people tried to cross the Mediterranean to Italy, most hoping to travel on to other parts of Europe. Many didn’t reach the other side. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, some 2,000 people have perished in the Mediterranean since the beginning of 2011. EU reports estimate that about 20,000 immigrants trying to cross the Mediterranean have died since 1998.

Another dangerous route for immigrants is to cross the Indian Ocean to Australia. Every year hundreds of boats carrying thousands of refugees set out for Australia. Most are from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and other South Asian countries. About 45,000 asylum seekers have arrived in Australia since late 2007. Last September 27 a boat carrying migrants to Australia sank off the Indonesian coast, killing at least 21 people.

Among those accidents at sea many lives are lost because of the indifference or perhaps deliberate negligence of the naval authorities reluctant to rescue refugees, even when they are in a dire emergency and communicate to ask for help. Concerns are rising that this could be a tactic designed by top-ranking Australian officials to deter the flow of immigrants.

A man eventually rescued off Australia gave this account: He and many other immigrants were in a boat that lost its engine at sea. Soon they ran out of food and water. A satellite phone was used to contact Australian authorities, giving their exact location. They were told, “We know where you are—we will be there in two hours’ time.” The man continued, “We waited for two hours, 24 hours but nobody came... we kept calling them and told them we don’t have food, we haven’t had any water for three days, we have children, but nobody came, I don’t know why. We were 60, now we are 24, we lost our family. Another man lost nine family members. Yet another lost all three of his daughters and his wife...” (Video-clip interview, The Sydney Morning Herald website, September 28, 2013)

Then there is this story told by Ramin, an 11-year-old boy from Iran. “We were five days and four nights on the boat. It was cold. I put my mother’s clothes on and lay down because the sea became stormy. When a wave hit our boat hard I was thrown into the sea. I sank a few meters under the water—a strip of my clothing caught on a bar connected to the boat. My father came to my rescue and freed the cloth. When I came to the surface another wave smashed my father’s head against the boat. Blood ran out from his nose and he went under water... Later I was transferred to a hospital... I had no news from my family. I was hoping they had been rescued. I was waiting for my father to come to me but there was no news. Five days ago the picture of bodies of my mother, father and sister were shown to me. At first I didn’t recognise them. When I saw the bodies of my father and mother I didn’t cry, but when I saw my sister’s, I cried.” (BBC-Persian website, November 15, 2013)

Ramin was the only Iranian among 28 people who survived when a boat with around a hundred passengers sank off the coast of Australia. During their five days at sea they asked the Australian Navy for help but nobody came to their rescue. The stretch of ocean between Java in Indonesia and Christmas Island in Australia is about 250 kilometers wide. It has become a killing field for refugees.

Hussein is a refugee from Afghanistan. In his attempts to reach Australia, he has boarded a boat four times so far. He says: “Over a year ago my brother and his wife took a boat with 26 people on board bound for Australia. The last time he contacted the family was when he was in the middle of the sea. After that we have no further news from him...” (BBC-Persian website, November 15, 2013)

As in Europe and the U.S., the Australian authorities have introduced draconian laws to restrict immigration. Those who are rescued or make it to shore are sent to Papua New Guinea to live in detention camps in harsh conditions while their application for asylum is being considered. It is reported that many such refugees have committed suicide in the camps.

Inmates staged a protest against their detention in Manus Island, one of several such camps run by the Australian government in Papua New Guinea on February 17. They were attacked by Australian police, who shot projectiles and live ammunition and had attack dogs brought in. A 24-year-old Iranian man, Reza Barati, died of multiple head wounds. Another 64 people were injured.

A young Australian woman who works at this camp blew the whistle on the reasons behind what the authorities called a “riot.” She said that employees were required to tell the asylum seekers that contrary to law, they would never be allowed to leave Papua New Guinea, either for Australia or a third country of refuge, so that they would drop their requests for asylum status—and most importantly, discourage others from trying to enter Australia. Further, she said, the camp “was designed as an experiment in the active creation of horror to secure the deterrence.” The young man’s death, she explained was not a result of a “crisis” in the camp’s functioning but “an opportunity to extend that logic one step further.” (Guardian, February 25, 2014)

This incident, not the first of its kind, made many Australians horrified at their government. Some 15,000 people at 750 places across the country, from cattle stations to major cities, held simultaneous candlelight vigils to express solidarity with the young Iranian victim and other immigrants, and demand an end to what an organizer called “what’s being done in our name.”

Refugee Home Countries Ravaged by Reactionary Wars and the World Market

The horror stories about refugee journeys are endless. In many cases traffickers (who might be called “businessmen” or “entrepreneurs” under other circumstances) cheat the refugees who often pay them by sacrificing their life savings and selling all their household belongings. Frequently, halfway through a journey the traffickers extort more money, or just disappear. The biggest criminals, however, are the imperialists and other reactionary ruling classes that create conditions in which accepting these and other perils is the only rational choice.

According to the United Nation High Commission for Refugees (UNHSCR), there are more than 45 million displaced people worldwide today. The vast majority of people who leave their countries do so because they believe there is no other option. The underlying factors are often complex and multiple, but two stand out: war and economic displacement, by which we mean not just poverty but sudden and disastrous loss of livelihood.

The country that has produced the world’s highest number of refugees is Afghanistan. The number of people leaving the country has gone up and down for decades, under Soviet occupation, civil war and U.S.-led occupation today. Some have left and gone back, while today many more people are leaving. About 90 percent are now located in Pakistan and Iran.

Syria is the latest major victim of a war spurred on by world and regional powers. As the conflict in Syria has escalated in the last few years, an estimated two million people have been displaced within the country. A half a million have fled to Jordan alone, where they live in unbearable conditions kept prisoner in refugee camps. Even more have gone to camps in Turkey or to Lebanon. Those who can—because they are young enough, or have a small amount of money—try to get into Europe.

Similarly, Iraq has seen 1.3 million flee a civil war that would have been inconceivable before the U.S. and UK occupation.

Renewed fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo, also fuelled by reactionary neighbouring countries dominated by imperialist powers, has displaced 2.7 million people. The number of Somalian refugees is 1.4 million. The war in Mali now being ramped up by French troops has displaced more than 227,000 people within the country.

Figures given by the UNHRC reveal a great deal. First of all, 80 percent of all refugees are hosted by neighbouring countries and not the developed countries. Some of these refugees then seek asylum to live in another country, mainly developed countries, but this is a small percentage. If any countries have been “burdened” by massive inflows of refugees, most are poor. They are not the imperialist countries.

Yet it is the imperialist countries that bear the biggest (if not the sole) responsibility for forcing people to become refugees and immigrants, due to their intervention and meddling in the political affairs and economic domination of third world countries in the past or present.

More than 55 percent of all refugees worldwide come from five countries: Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Syria and Sudan. Let’s look at these countries one by one.

First, did Afghanistan and Iraq invade the U.S., UK, Germany and Russia, or was it the other way around?

As for Syria, it is being torn apart by a civil war for which the Western powers, Russia and the reactionary Gulf states all provide weapons and funding and are fanning the flames. The threat of stepping up Western military “aid” or direct intervention could only bring greater disaster for the people.

The West is behind the intervention of neighbouring states stoking the fighting in Somalia. The U.S. and its allies also played a major role in dividing off South Sudan from the rest of the country, and U.S./China rivalry is another factor there.

While an analysis of the major and extremely ugly role of the various reactionary Islamist forces in these countries is beyond the scope of this article, it has been rightly said that without the crimes committed by the Western powers (and the U.S.’s Israel), not to mention their economic domination, Islamism would be far less able to win supporters in the dominated countries.

The Question of “Economic Refugees”

There are millions of people in countries around the world who can no longer feed themselves and their families. What makes them leave their homes and gamble on extremely dangerous journeys? This requires some understanding of the functioning of the global imperialist economy.

The world economy dominated by capital in the imperialist countries, due to its functioning and necessities and in line with the interests of the big powers, has reorganised the economy of the oppressed countries over more than a century, but this trend has accelerated since World War 2 and even more in the last few decades.

The imperialist-sponsored land reforms starting in the 1960s, with names like the White Revolution in Iran, the Green Revolution in South Asia and the Philippines and the Alliance for Progress in Latin America speeded up the process of displacing peasants and small farmers and paved the way for these economies to be flooded with commodities and capital from the imperialist countries and further integrated into the network of world capital. This development triggered a huge population shift within those countries, mainly from the countryside to towns and cities.

The development of the world economy took another leap in the 1980s and ‘90s. The globalization of the world economy has significantly affected the lives of hundreds of millions of people all over the world, devastating traditional subsistence and local-market agriculture and producing “surplus populations” rather than new employment.

Imperialist financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have played a central role. IMF loans to third-world countries are usually conditioned on: 1) Eliminating subsidies to small farmers and on basic food items, fuel and other basic needs of the masses. 2) Removing all obstacles, such as import quotas and taxes, that prevent these countries from being flooded by Western agricultural commodities (often subsidized by the U.S. and European governments) and food products. 3) Facilitating investment by Western multinational companies and other imperialist investments, including in agricultural production.

The effects of these policies put massive pressure on the economies of the dominated countries, strips them of their self-sufficiency in food production, and most of all squeezes the poorest sections of the people in the countryside, often making it impossible for them to make a living. This development has upended the lives of hundreds of millions of people not only in the countryside but also other sections of society in most third world countries.

As a direct consequence of capitalist penetration of rural markets and the consequent need for the remaining farmers to go into debt to compete, in India an average of more than 17,500 farmers killed themselves every year between 2002 and 2006. These suicides are continuing. Although the number has fallen, this is not necessarily because the situation has gotten better, since the number of farmers has been reduced. Many have fled their land in search of a subsistence while their land is used by multinational companies.

When millions of people from Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and elsewhere in Africa are driven to France; millions from Turkey and Africa and other parts of the world to Germany; millions from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other South Asian countries to the UK; and millions from Mexico and other Latin American countries to the U.S.; this tells us something about the unequal relationships between the imperialists and the oppressed countries and the immigration those relationships produce.

For example, in 1994 the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. This agreement has been a cause of misery for the Mexican farmers who have not been able to compete with cheaper imported U.S. maize and other products. By 2002, one-third of all Mexican pig farmers had been driven out of business. Many had no choice but to abandon their farms and go to the cities of Mexico or to seek work in fields and factories in the U.S.

What Is the Solution?

In fact, what has caused these waves of migration from third-world countries to the developed (monopoly capitalist/imperialist) countries is the imperialist system and its functioning. Who is guilty? Certainly not the people whose land, food and income, and often the right to live in security, have been stolen. The criminals are not the immigrants but the gangsters who run the world as it exists and try to keep it that way.

Certainly it is necessary to fight against government restrictions on immigration, the cruel repression inflicted on immigrants who arrive in Europe and North America and the inhuman and even illegal measures meant to keep out new arrivals even if it means their death. We should expose and oppose the way the Western authorities slander, criminalize, demonize and attempt to dehumanize refugees who take desperate risks to find a way to feed their family. It is very important to support immigrants in their fights for their basic rights and for a life they deserve.

But it is essential to relate and link these just struggles to the fight to put an end to the imperialist system whose functioning requires and enforces the crushing of people all over the world. The fight for immigrant rights cannot be separated from the struggle against these gangsters, a global struggle in the interests of the vast majority of the world’s people. The struggles waged by immigrants are not a “problem” but a potentially very positive factor for revolution.


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




Revolution #333 March 23, 2014

Cheers to SXSW for Featuring Edward Snowden

March 17, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Cheers to Hugh Forrest and other officials of South by Southwest (SXSW) for organizing a video conference of a talk and interview by Edward Snowden, and for standing up against ominous threats by a powerful congressman against Snowden and SXSW.

Edward Snowden talks during a simulcast conversation during the SXSW Interactive Festival on Monday, March 10, 2014, in Austin, Texas. Photo: AP

Snowden, who has been granted temporary political asylum in Russia, is the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor and Central Intelligence Agency employee who boldly and with great conscience released thousands of classified documents exposing massive government spying, surveillance, and monitoring. He now faces three federal felony charges for these disclosures.

Snowden and people who support him, in particular journalists who published some of the files Snowden released, have been maligned and threatened repeatedly by leading political figures. In a speech this January at the Department of Justice, President Obama said Snowden "revealed methods to our adversaries that could impact our operations in ways that we may not fully understand for years to come." The "operations" Obama referred to mainly mean the military and espionage measures, including spying on its own allies, the U.S. uses to maintain its position as the world's foremost exploiter and oppressor.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has called Snowden "a traitor." Cheney—a man who was a key and leading figure in unleashing a network of global torture chambers and continues to defend torture by the U.S. military and spy agencies—said in a CNN interview that he wants the U.S. to catch Snowden and give him "the justice he deserves."

In fact, it is a fine thing that Edward Snowden revealed to the world the pervasive, almost incalculably large-scale spying on the world the U.S. government does routinely. It is also a fine thing that this courageous act has inspired and motivated many people to find ways to resist and oppose government spying. And it was great that SXSW not only invited Snowden to speak, but broadcast his talk around the world.


SXSW started in Austin, Texas, 27 years ago as a showcase for regional music. But over the decades it has become a major, international cultural event—a gathering of people from across the U.S. and many countries for cutting-edge music, film and interactive technology.

Ben Wizner, one of Snowden's American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attorneys, pointed out the significance of his appearance at SXSW. "The tech community, particularly people worried about security, has been radicalized by these exposures. They now see the NSA as an adversary if they are going to protect their systems."

Snowden's March 10 appearance was billed by SXSW as "a Virtual Conversation With Edward Snowden" in which Snowden would "urge the entrepreneurs, innovators, makers, hackers, geeks, founders, investors and leading-edge thinkers who attend SXSW Interactive to build better systems that better protect user privacy." Of the hundreds of events at this year's SXSW, Snowden's speech became the major event at the week-and-a-half affair. Other highlights included video casts by Julian Assange, who released the WikiLeaks files, and Glenn Greenwald, who brought Snowden's exposures to light in the media.

The room for Snowden's video conference was overflowing, as were two other Austin auditoriums where the talk and interview were shown. The ACLU and the Texas Tribune provided simulcasts of Snowden's two-hour talk and interview for Internet viewers world wide.

Snowden gave his talk and interview with an enlarged copy of the U.S. constitution as a backdrop. Despite casting his remarks largely in the context of how best to serve the "national interest" of the U.S.—which regardless of one's intent, can only lead to defending imperialist domination and oppression—Snowden made blistering criticisms of U.S. officials and the U.S. policy of mass spying. He said the actions of the NSA and other government agencies are "burning the Internet," and called on the audience to be the "firefighters." Snowden made it clear that despite living in forced exile and facing criminal indictments, he had no regrets. "Would I do this again? The answer is absolutely yes. Regardless of what happens to me, this is something we had a right to know."

He was given a standing ovation by the SXSW audience, many of whom no doubt agreed with Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the worldwide web, who tweeted to Snowden that when he released the files, he was "acting profoundly in the public interest."

Standing Up to Threats

Mike Pompeo, a Republican congressman from Kansas who is a key member of the House Intelligence Committee, wrote an open letter to pressure SXSW organizers into rescinding their invitation to Snowden to speak. Echoing Obama and Cheney, he called Snowden a criminal and a traitor. He called Snowden and his "media enablers"—meaning people like Glenn Greenwald, who has been publishing articles based on Snowden's NSA leaks—"intentional distorters of truth."

Hugh Forrest, interactive director for SXSW, responded that Internet and social networking privacy is "a big focus at the 2014 event, as well it should be. It's something I think impacts all of us given how much social [media] is now just part of our lives. It's essentially woven into everything we do.... I've never uninvited a speaker, and so we wouldn't do this with Snowden.... I think it's the biggest thing we've ever done, in terms of political and cultural relevance. I'm proud and excited that Snowden wanted to get this message out at SXSW." Forrest also said that he was concerned about the possibility of the video cast being disrupted and said that SXSW was working to see that it "goes off flawlessly."

Congressman Pompeo accused Snowden of committing "treasonous acts," and specifically said information released by Snowden provides "comfort" to Russia's leaders as they "work to re-establish their empire." Talking directly to SXSW's organizers, Pompeo called on them not to "stamp the imprimatur [official approval] of your fine organization on his [Snowden's] lawlessness." He accused Snowden of putting the lives of U.S. military personnel "at risk", and also endangering "the lives of the people who will attend your [the SXSW] conference."

So Snowden is somehow endangering the lives of people at SXSW? Coming from a leading representative of the government that has killed hundreds of thousands of people around the world in the last decade alone while it has established a surveillance system that literally monitors the globe and tracks vital information on millions of people, Pompeo's statements are not just astonishingly brazen hypocrisy, but are a thinly veiled threat upon conference organizers and attendees.

Readers should look to previous Revolution articles for a fuller analysis of the content and importance of Snowden's NSA leaks and the battle to defend him from prosecution by the U.S. government. But here we want to give cheers to the organizers of SXSW for seeing the importance of providing a broad platform for Snowden to speak, and for not backing down in the face of intimidation and threats from a powerful government official.





Revolution #333 March 23, 2014

Revolution Interview with Professor Brenda V. Smith

The Sexual Abuse of Women in Prison: "It Is Widespread"

March 17, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Revolution Interview
A special feature of Revolution to acquaint our readers with the views of significant figures in art, theater, music and literature, science, sports and politics. The views expressed by those we interview are, of course, their own; and they are not responsible for the views published elsewhere in our paper.


Brenda V. Smith has published and spoken widely on issues affecting women in prison. She is a professor at the Washington College of Law at American University where she teaches in the Community Economic Development Law Clinic. Professor Smith is also the Project Director for the United States Department of Justice, National Institute of Corrections Cooperative Agreement on Addressing Prison Rape. In November 2003, Professor Smith was appointed to the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission. As part of covering the story of sexual abuses going on in Tutwiler, the women's prison in Alabama, Revolution correspondent Li Onesto recently talked with Professor Smith. The following are excerpts from this interview.

Li Onesto: I just finished talking to Charlotte Morrison at the Equal Justice Initiative who told me horrendous stories of what is happening to women at the Tutwiler prison in Alabama and I thought maybe now we could pull the lens back a little bit and get more of a sense of just how widespread this phenomenon of sexual abuse and rape is in women's prisons. I have a quote I found from you where you said, "The problems at Tutwiler are so much more severe than what I have seen at other prisons... The way to think about Tutwiler is it is an amalgam and very intense concentration of the problems that exist in women's correctional institutions." Can you talk about what you mean here?

Brenda V. Smith: That the thing about Tutwiler is first, that it's Alabama and it's hard to separate what goes on in institutions where people end up there because of sort of what is going on in terms of public policies and so on. So Alabama has a long history of oppression and racism. And you have that grafted on to so many of its institutions—its prisons, its jails, its juvenile detention facilities.

Something very similar to what happened in Tutwiler happened to girls at Chalkville in Alabama, where there were 49 plaintiffs and the state settled for $12.5 million. This was a case of sexual abuse in a juvenile detention facility and it was in 2007. I mean, Alabama has a terrible history regarding penal institutions whether they're for juveniles or for adults. And so when I made that quote about sort of the concentration and the amalgam, it's not suggesting the problems we see at Tutwiler are isolated. It's just that the scope, the depth, the concentration, is something that, for lack of a better word—just shocks the conscience. But there have been other scandals. You can think about them in almost every state—there was one in Michigan where they had a settlement of $100 million for 500 women sexually abused in custodial settings. The settlement was in 2009, so we're talking about something recent. Then you had a similar situation in D.C. where I represented a class of about 700 women who made very similar claims about sexual victimization in D.C.'s prison. I filed suit in 1993 and that case lasted until 2003. And then you have the situation out in California prisons where you have sort of a situation of forced sterilization.

Li Onesto: Can you talk a little bit about that?

Brenda V. Smith: I don't want to call it forced sterilization, but it's where you had several women, it was around 200 women, who were sterilized without their knowledge and this is going on, OK?

Li Onesto: And what is the practice there? Women are just going in for medical examinations when this happens?

Brenda V. Smith: They're going in for sort of routine medical stuff and then they're told they have some gynecological problem and then they are sterilized without their knowledge. This came to light through an advocacy organization out there. They were working with women and little bit by little bit that story came out. It's all over the news now in California.

So several scandals have occurred, and that if you kind of google almost to any state—I mean, I can tell you there was a situation in Ohio involving Scioto, which is a juvenile facility. There have been cases in Alabama, there was another case in Oregon, there was a case in Washington State. And so this pattern of victimization of women in custody is widespread. What was so shocking about Tutwiler was really the degree, the detail, and I guess just the widespread "equal opportunity" victimization of women. I mean, it was like everybody in that institution, all women in that institution, suffered.

Li Onesto: So basically you're saying this goes on in many prisons, that it's very, very widespread.

Brenda V. Smith: Very widespread.

Li Onesto: The other thing is that part of the problem here is not only that this is going on but the kind of repression around this, the fear factor. Anybody who complains about this, who talks to a lawyer, is immediately punished for this, put in segregation...

Brenda V. Smith: Right, you're right. There is a real culture of oppression and people fear retaliation. And when we talk about people's fear of retaliation, we're not just talking about the women in prison, there is also the staff who fear retaliation as well. Sometimes staff knows what's going on but because of the culture of silence in the institution, will not report.

Li Onesto: When the Justice Department investigated Tutwiler around sexual abuse allegations, they also found evidence of other constitutional violations for inadequate conditions, medical care and mental health care, as well as discriminatory treatment based on race, sexual orientation and gender identity. Human rights abuses are going on like the shackling of pregnant women. Could you talk about that?

Brenda V. Smith: The kind of abuses that have captured people's attention at Tutwiler: it's rare that they happen in isolation. And so when you get sexual abuse, you also get substandard and inadequate medical care. You get the viewing of women by the staff of the opposite gender while using the bathroom; cross-gender searches that should not be occurring; degrading language that women experienced. And so what you really have is a culture that is rotten to its core, from the inside out. I've talked with several people about what can be done at Tutwiler. I have asked if it is possible to turn Tutwiler around. And the common view is the place must be torn down. It is not salvageable. The institution, the physicality of the institution, is not salvageable. And then the staff, unless you are going to fire all of the staff and hire a totally new staff, it is not salvageable. Sexual, physical, and emotional abuse seems to be a part of the fabric of the institution. It is the lack of basic respect and regard for the humanity of the people in these institutions.

Li Onesto: Yes, there is this overall point about not treating people as human beings and human rights abuses. And then there's the point many people have made about the kind of "plantation culture" in prisons in the South. I wonder if you could talk about that whole aspect, how the oppression of African-Americans and racism intersect with mass incarceration.

Brenda V. Smith: Tutwiler is one of those institutions. Some prisons do a better job than others. But prisons are not good places. I mean, it is about total control. It's about power and as power corrupts. The South is still struggling—but struggling implies they're trying to shake it off—but still "grappling" with sort of the legacy of slavery and disenfranchisement. They're struggling and then there's a scandal. OK, you've got Orleans Parish prison in New Orleans. You've got Angola, in Louisiana. You've got abuse past and present in Florida. Look at the most recent revelations about the Dozier Reform School for Boys where researchers from the University of Florida have unearthed 55 bodies of boys who died while incarcerated there.

The seminal case, Dothard v. Rawlinson, which ended height and weight restrictions and permitted women to work in men's [penal] institutions, was a case from Alabama. And even though the court allowed women to work in the Alabama Maximum Security Men's Prison as officers, they were not permitted to work in direct contact with men because of the "jungle-like environment." They feared that Kim Rawlinson, a young white woman, would be raped by the prisoners. The element of that narrative that I focus on here is the use of the term "jungle-like" which from my perspective is racial code for Black, which is in terms viewed as less than human, and is thus not entitled to humane treatment.

Li Onesto: Well, this is part of the whole demonization of prisoners.

Brenda V. Smith: Exactly.

Li Onesto: It's like saying, "These people aren't really human."

Brenda V. Smith: Well, "this is the jungle and these people are animals here." So prisons in and of themselves are places where power gets perverted. But if you graft that on to a place that doesn't have a good history with regard to justice and equality it gets even worse.

Li Onesto: It's interesting, you were earlier struggling with this concept of people in the South "struggling around the legacy of slavery" because...

Brenda V. Smith: Yes, that's why I was having trouble...

Li Onesto: Yeah, some people are defending the Confederate flag and you're touching on something in terms of this legacy of slavery. You know, Michelle Alexander has written about the New Jim Crow and there is this big divide in society about this question—what is this legacy and what is it ongoing...

Brenda V. Smith: Manifestations...

Li Onesto: Yes, manifestations in economics and politics and in every aspect of society. And there are certain people, including in high places, that are saying, oh, get over it. And then there is the reality that, NO, look what is going on.

Brenda V. Smith: Yes, where people are still being treated like slaves. The one place where you can treat people like slaves is in prison. Because you have the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery except where it is punishment for a crime. You have to remember that while the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, it creates an exception for conviction of a crime. The behavior that has been described at Tutwiler approximates the conditions of slavery—the inability for women to control viewing or touching of their bodies by individuals of the opposite gender, the violence and the lack of respect for their basic dignity.

Li Onesto: That's true and then you have the whole layer of women's oppression...

Brenda V. Smith: Sex is embedded in the fabric of prisons, right—even in the earliest prisons in England. The reason you went to prison was because you were beyond the control of your community. Women went to prison because they had left home for the cities and were often involved in the sex industry. And many prisons sold children and women for sex. The precursor to the development of many women's prisons was a scandal involving sexual abuse.

Li Onesto: So this was basically a state-sanctioned institutionalized form of prostitution?

Brenda V. Smith: Exactly, and always has been. In two of my articles I mention the creation of women's prisons in the United States. I mean, the primary rationale for women's institutions was women were being sexually victimized by men in these institutions where they were housed. Because women were housed with men—they weren't housed in the same places as men, but they might be in a separate section or in a separate room. But invariably there would be a pregnancy, a huge scandal about them using, selling the women out for prostitution and so forth.  The public would get upset and that concern led to the development of women's prisons run by women. When women began to work in men's institutions, they left women's institutions and then after that it was wide open and so you were back to the same situation you had in the earliest prisons where you had men supervising women and then you had these scandals around sexual abuse. That's not to suggest there's not same-sex going on. And that's not to suggest that female staff can't be abusive to female inmates. But these big scandals about sexual victimization violations are typically cross-gender.

Li Onesto: Some of this sexual abuse in women's prisons, like at Tutwiler, has come to public light now, although it's not like the department of corrections in these different states haven't known about this problem. There have been different cases brought to the courts about these things. But like at Tutwiler, even where there have been convictions they've been like a slap on the wrist and then things go on like they've been going on.

Brenda V. Smith: Exactly. People know there will be a hue and cry for a minute and then things will settle down and then there will be another scandal. There is not long-term commitment nationally about saying we don't have to do this, there are a set of practices we can adopt that make it less likely these kinds of scandals can happen. As long as you have people in custody and under the power of others, there is the potential for abuse—sexual and otherwise.  There are things that you can do. I sat on the Prison Rape Commission and so there is a set of standards to address sexual victimization in custody.... But the best thing you can do to decrease sexual violence in custody is to get people out of custody.

Li Onesto: Yes, and this gets back to the question of why do we have 2.2-plus million people in prison to begin with. And a lot of women are in prison for nonviolent crimes because of the war on drugs and mandatory sentencing laws; there are women doing crazy time in prison for something like writing a bad check.

Brenda V. Smith:  In recent testimony before the review panel on prison rape, states indicated that the way that they reduced sexual abuse in custody was by reducing their population. So we should get people out of custody.

Li Onesto: And a lot of those people shouldn't be in custody to begin with.

Brenda V. Smith: Exactly.





Revolution #333 March 23, 2014

Oakland's Domain Awareness Center:

Muzzling Protest in the Name of "Safety"

March 17, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Editors' Note: The following letter from a reader is a follow-up to a letter that appeared on this website last summer on the Oakland City Council's decision to move ahead with a repressive surveillance program called Domain Awareness Center, linking surveillance cameras, license plate readers (already mounted on all Oakland police vehicles), Twitter feeds, alarm notifications, and other data.

The March 4 meeting of the Oakland City Council was filled with loud and angry protesters who came armed with signs and banners to express their outrage at the city's efforts to muzzle protest, all in the supposed name of making the city safer. Some 100 people signed up to speak at the council meeting, the vast majority opposing the council's plans to move forward with further plans for expanding the Oakland Domain Awareness Center (DAC). Additionally, the Oakland Privacy Working Group threatened to sue the city of Oakland if they pursued the DAC project. Just eight months ago, the Oakland City Council voted unanimously to move forward with the DAC. But the active and growing movement in opposition to the DAC has forced the council to take a step back, this time narrowly voting to limit the DAC to monitoring the Port of Oakland and Oakland Airport instead of the entire city—at least for the time being.

As I wrote in July, the DAC was originally conceived and funded by the Department of Homeland Security as a project to protect the Port of Oakland from "terrorist attacks," but grew into a full-scale effort to give the Oakland Police Department added power to surveil, harass, and suppress the people. The Center for Investigative Reporting describes the DAC: "...the center would integrate computer dispatch systems for the Oakland police and fire departments, gunshot detection microphones and license-plate readers. It includes use of crime mapping software and stationary video cameras, private alarm detection programs, Twitter feeds, news feeds and other alerts for increased 'situational awareness and 'more effective incident response,' according to [Oakland's information systems manager Ahsan] Baig, who briefed the City Council's Public Safety Committee this month [July 2013].

"Key to the operation is a geographic information system map with overlaid points that represent cameras, license-plate readers, sensors and other infrastructure that feeds into the central network. Multiple camera feeds, sensor indicators and maps can be viewed simultaneously on-screen alongside alerts from other government agencies. Alarms, crime reports and trends in offenses are accessible through a 'Crime View' portal."

The Electronic Frontier Foundation writes (in an online letter updated on March 5) that Phase 1 is already operational, integrating port security cameras and an intrusion detection system with the City of Oakland traffic cameras, city geographic information system mapping, and a gunshot detector. This information is integrated using "Physical Security Information Management," allowing the police and other agencies to access and analyze all of these data sources through a single system in real time, setting up the terms for Big Brother-type surveillance of anyone in Oakland.

The DAC was billed as an important tool to fight crime, but documents recently obtained by the Oakland Privacy Working Group, an activist group opposed to the DAC, revealed that in the hundreds of emails between various ruling class forces discussing the DAC, there was no serious discussion of crime abatement. Having reviewed these documents, the East Bay Express wrote, "In more than 3,000 pages of emails, the terms 'murder,' 'homicide,' 'assault,' 'robbery,' and 'theft' are never mentioned." Email between various government officials revealed that the DAC has already been used to monitor political protest and not violent crime. Some of the 3,000 pages of disclosed documents also show that the notorious Oakland Police Department itself is tasked with designing the DAC and related policies. ("The Real Purpose of Oakland's Surveillance Center," East Bay Express, December 18, 2013)

Everyone take note: similar police initiatives are in the works in Massachusetts, Texas, and New York.

Oakland is a city with very active protest movements, as well as an important center of the budding movement for revolution. In fact, Oakland's head of the team responsible for the development of the DAC, Renee Domingo, wrote in a trade publication last August, "Oakland's long history of civil discourse and protest adds to the need [for the Domain Awareness Center].The Oakland Emergency Operations Center has been partially or fully activated more than 30 times in the past three years to respond to large demonstrations and protests."

No one should think for a minute that Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and other forces do not intend to extend the DAC's reach as soon as possible. Following the City Council vote scaling back the DAC project, Quan said, "I wish I had paid attention to it a little earlier. I really thought it was a no-brainer." Following the March 4 meeting, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, "Quan said she supports the center and she would resurrect parts of the plan for the council to reconsider once the city has written firm privacy rules. 'We'll bring them back one at a time. This is obviously an issue that is splitting the country. Unfortunately, the poor little video system gets to be the target.'"




Revolution #333 March 23, 2014

Students for Justice in Palestine at Northeastern Banned for Telling the Truth About Israel

March 17, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


In a letter dated March 7, the administration at Northeastern University in Boston banned the student group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). The banning was in response to actions by activists in SJP exposing Israel’s policy of random, brutal, traumatic evictions of Palestinian people from their homes. (For background on Israel’s apartheid-like oppression of the Palestinian people, see “Israel and Apartheid: It’s not a ‘Branding’ Problem—It’s Reality,” at

Above, Palestinians walk through the rubble of a not-yet-completed home demolished by Israeli authorities on January 27 of this year in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of al-'Esawiyah.

As a result of wars since 1948, Israel militarily occupies much of the area designated as Palestine by the UN. These areas—still populated by Palestinian people—include the eastern part of the city of Jerusalem and much of the West Bank of the Jordan River (the western-most section of Palestine). These areas are referred to as the "occupied territories" and Israeli occupation of them is illegal under all international mandates and agreements.

The government of Israel has repeatedly expanded what it calls "settlements" in the "occupied territories" in the West Bank. These "settlements" are armed outposts of highly armed, fanatical Zionists who spread terror among the Palestinian residents of the "occupied territories."

On top of this, Palestinians are the targets of ongoing evictions to make way for expanding Israeli colonization and occupation. Often, the areas desired for seizure by the Israelis are suddenly labeled as “military zones.” Another tactic is to tear down Palestinian homes under the pretext that the residents do not have permits for home construction. Or that the Palestinians are not “legal residents” even though a family might have lived there for generations.

Photo: AP

Max Geller, a representative of SJP, told Revolution “We simulated and mimicked the Israeli practice of giving a very brief notice—four days—before demolishing homes. According to ICAHD [Israel Committee Against House Demolitions], such evictions have occurred 27,000 times since the occupation. The mock eviction notice had basic facts based on ICAHD statistics, basic facts.”

As a result of complaints by Zionist groups to the school administration, SJP has been banned for a year. Students who participated in the mock eviction were threatened with suspension from school and with criminal charges. A disciplinary hearing against two students that could have resulted in suspension or expulsion was cancelled only after 3,500 people signed a petition defending the students and school administrators were flooded with phone calls supporting them.

According to a statement issued by SJP, university police called students on their cell phones and came to their homes supposedly pursuing a criminal investigation.

This outrageous repression comes at a time of increasing isolation of Israel worldwide, and growing awareness of Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people. Max Geller told Revolution that there were more than 100 incidents of pro-Palestinian campus speeches suppressed in 2013.

Ali Abunimah, who has written extensively on Israel and the Middle East, has been invited to speak at Northeastern by SJP. In an interview on Democracy Now!, he spoke to the state of repression against support for the Palestinian people on campuses: “It really is a free speech emergency. And just this week in New York City, at Columbia University, at Barnard College, students had gotten permission—they had gone through all the authorizations to put up a banner that said, ‘Stand with Justice in Palestine,’ and the university administration took it down after complaints from pro-Israel groups and basically said, ‘We’re not going to allow any more banners.’ Free speech is losing out to support for Israel on our campuses, when administrations are left in charge of people’s rights. That’s why we have to stand by the students at Northeastern and all over this country.” (July 13, 2014)

The SJP activists at Northeastern have stood strong and defiant. They have indicted the hypocrisy of the university’s claims to value academic freedom while suspending SJP. In a recent posting at its Facebook page, SJP declared: “Those throughout the country who, despite threats, suspensions, and arrests, continue to work for justice inspire us. Northeastern SJP has a message for its supporters: WE WILL FIGHT OUR SUSPENSION. WE WILL DEFEND OUR MEMBERS! We call on all our comrades and our allies to join us. We must demonstrate that we will stand up for one another against all forms of injustice—that the university can never isolate or separate us. Our sanctions become victories the moment we band together to fight them!”





Revolution #333 March 23, 2014

Revolution Interview:

Max Geller, Students for Justice in Palestine, Northeastern University

March 17, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |



Revolution Interview
A special feature of Revolution to acquaint our readers with the views of significant figures in art, theater, music and literature, science, sports and politics. The views expressed by those we interview are, of course, their own; and they are not responsible for the views published elsewhere in our paper.


Editors' note: In a letter dated March 7, the administration at Northeastern University in Boston banned the student group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). The banning was in response to actions by activists in SJP exposing Israel’s policy of random, brutal, traumatic evictions of Palestinian people from their homes. (For background on Israel’s apartheid-like oppression of the Palestinian people, see “Israel and Apartheid: It's not a ‘Branding’ Problem—It's Reality,” at Max Geller, a member of SJP at Northeastern, spoke with Alan Goodman from Revolution. The following is a slightly edited transcript of that conversation.


Alan Goodman: Max, can you explain the situation that led to suspension of SJP at Northeastern?

Max Geller: Sure. Ahead of Israeli Apartheid Week, which is a national coordinated week of solidarity with Palestinian people in an effort to raise awareness on college campuses—in order to kick things off—we planned and did a door to door flyering campaign where we simulated and mimicked the Israeli practice of giving a very brief notice—four days—before demolishing homes. According to ICAHD [Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions] such evictions have occurred 27,000 times since the occupation. The mock eviction notice had basic facts based on ICAHD statistics, basic facts.

Alan Goodman: The mock eviction notices gave students a feel for what this means to people. Can you talk about the significance of that? And they were not actual eviction notices. Right?

Max Geller: You would have to have a pretty poor command of the English language to think this was a real eviction notice. But this home demolition practice, I think, crystallizes the ethnic cleansing, the changing of the ethnic dynamic of the West Bank and East Jerusalem by uprooting the homes of people you’re also uprooting their connection to the land.

And this is perfectly in line with this sort of narrative Americans just don’t get. We decided to do this direct action because prior to being suspended we were suspended in everything but name. The university constantly put up roadblocks. They would move our events around, delay approval until the window for booking Palestinian speakers and cultural figures passed. So we were suspended in everything but name. And the only recourse was direct action to bring our educational message to our fellow students. We were left with very few options, and direct action was one. It’s a pretty good tactic, I think.

Alan Goodman: What impact did this have on students?

Max Geller: There was not a singular response. Some students thought it was interesting, some did not find it interesting. But no students that I’ve heard of thought they were being singled out because of their religion. That was precisely the complaint the Hillel organization on campus claimed, and they put pressure on the administration. The administration responded by deploying the police force to the homes of people who participated in our flyering. This is a crazy, inappropriate, outlandish response to political speech. The regulations we are charged with violating are so petty as to never ever have required a police investigation in the past. They are reserved for Palestinian students on campus.

Alan Goodman: It seems the state of things on campuses is that there is severe repression of not only criticism of Israel, but of any fact-based discussion of Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people.

Max Geller: American campuses in particular. If you go to a campus anywhere else in the world, the views expressed in this flyer that Palestinians have a right to stay in their homes is not a controversial one. It’s only controversial on American campuses. And the obvious question is why. I think the answer is because of Zionist activist organizations, whether it be more mainstream ones like Hillel or the Anti-Defamation League or more far right ones like the Zionist Organization of America and Stand With Us, all are united in stifling criticism of Israel. Their attempts are to demonize this point of view so as not to have to debate them. It’s been a clear tactic. And an effective one. The best way to maintain the status quo in Israel and the U.S. relationship to it is to demonize all people who suggest another path.

Alan Goodman: Specifically, in the form of conflating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism. Right?

Max Geller: Exactly right. I am a proud Jewish person, and I find the view that Jews must be monolithic anti-Semitic. Jews are not all alike. While many Jews support Israel, many do not. To suggest that criticizing Israel is criticizing Jewish people is offensive to me and patently false.

Alan Goodman: Do you think that when Jewish people like yourself speak out against the oppression of the Palestinian people, that tends to undercut that whole attack?

Max Geller: I think the Zionists and those who would like to see the status quo in American-Israeli relations are really threatened by Jews like me, and the bile with which Jews like me are greeted is symptomatic. When one can’t debate us in fact, when they can’t just charge anti-Semitism, they have to resort to overt attacks. I have been individually targeted in the Boston community. They want to play a Jewish “identity card,” so when I play my Jewish identity card I can inoculate myself from charges of anti-Semitism. So I have been on the receiving end of violent threats from these groups because they can’t charge me with anti-Semitism.

Alan Goodman: What is the status of repression against SJP at Northeastern, and other campuses, and what is the state of the battle against that?

Max Geller: This Tuesday the administration announced a meeting to bring disciplinary charges against two students. These were serious charges that could bring suspension and expulsion.

Alan Goodman: Did the university back off from that?

Max Geller: They did but only after 3,500 people within 24 hours signed our petition and flooded the university with phone calls. The outpouring of support for our group has the administration backtracking.

Alan Goodman: What is the state of the invitation SJP extended to the activist and scholar Ali Abunimah to speak at Northeastern?

Max Geller: If this level of support keeps up, I have every confidence we will be able to accommodate Ali Abunimah on April 1. If we are still suspended, Ali has agreed to engage in a more guerrilla-style lecture, and we’re very happy to hear that. But we don’t intend to remain suspended; we intend to fight this by any means possible.

Alan Goodman: Do you have anything else you think is important to add?

Max Geller: I would add that the experience of our SJP, based on statements we’ve been getting from university campuses across the country, is not unique. This campaign to suppress pro-Palestinian speech is a pervasive one. There were over 100 incidents of pro-Palestinian campus speech being suppressed in 2013. I think that’s why we’ve attracted support from SJP chapters across the country. Everyone has their own experience with university administrators. People see this injury to our chapter as an injury to all of them. And a victory for us would be a victory for all of us. And we have been emboldened by the outpouring of support.





Revolution #333 March 23, 2014

“Revisiting” LBJ: Rehabilitating a War Criminal, Training the People in Complicity

March 17, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

History matters!

Whether to get it right, to face up to what really happened, or to cover up and distort history, has everything to do with how people view, and how they act in relation to, what is happening now and what will be happening in the future.

On February 15 of this year, the New York Times published an article titled: “Rescuing a Vietnam Casualty: Johnson’s Legacy.” The article focused on, and also fully endorsed and never in any way questioned or challenged, efforts by the surviving family of former U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) and by political and intellectual supporters of his, to rehabilitate Johnson’s very negative “historic legacy.” In their view, Johnson was actually a “near-great” president who was unfairly tainted by what his supporters refer to as the “failed war”in Vietnam. In fact, to them, LBJ was yet another tragic casualty of that war.

These efforts and this article say that really, the most important thing about Johnson is that he fought for pathbreaking legislation that was good for the American people, and in particular was good for poor people and oppressed nationalities. They point to the passage of major civil rights and anti-poverty legislation under Johnson, to the establishment of PBS (government-funded “educational” TV) and other reforms, and say this is what should mainly be remembered about LBJ, but “that it has been overwhelmed by the tragedy of the Vietnam War.” In order to cast Johnson in the most favorable light, they contrast his legislative accomplishments to the blatant hostility to the poor and to minorities of the current U.S. Congress.

They are looking forward eagerly to a national “Civil Rights Summit” at the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum, which will be attended by former presidents Clinton, Carter, George W. Bush, and they hope Barack Obama. They see this as a nodal point in the resurrection of LBJ’s image.

Let me say this plainly—this is an effort to prettify a monstrous war criminal, and, even worse, it is an effort to train people in the thinking that says that the lives of Americans are more precious than those of other people, and that any horrors should be supported, or at least “understood” and overlooked, as long as they are carried out in the service of strengthening America, and in the name of helping its people.

Let’s look at the real history, let’s examine just who were the real casualties of the Vietnam War.

Fifty years ago, the streets of every major American city and many smaller ones, as well as college campuses, rang out with the deafening roar of thousands, tens of thousands, and hundreds of thousands of youth and others chanting: “Hey, Hey, LBJ, How Many Kids Did You Kill Today?”

This captured the dawning realization of a whole generation that our leaders were not “good and wise men fighting for freedom and justice,” or even venal and stupid men chasing after votes, money, and careers. They were the monstrous heads of a monstrous system that rained death and destruction on innocent people and sought to violently crush any resistance to their rule.

This chant resonated with the pictures of Vietnamese children, their clothes and much of their skin burned off by U.S. napalm attacks, running down a road, with the reports of savage massacres of hundreds of villagers by U.S. soldiers, of mass rapes, of the practice of soldiers making necklaces of the body parts of women and children they had killed, of the “carpet bombing” of the fields and villages of the Vietnamese peasantry, of the “body counts” (a U.S. military term at that time that measured their “successes” in the war) that mounted, and mounted, and mounted until at least two million—yes, two million civilians had been slaughtered by the U.S. war machine.

This was a chant that concentrated a growing sense that the interests of the oppressed in this country were bound up not with the rulers of the U.S., but with those of the victims of the U.S. empire, with growing support for liberation struggles against the U.S., and with the de-legitimization of the U.S. ruling class as a whole in the eyes of millions in this country. It was bound up with the rise of revolutionary sentiment and revolutionary organization right here “in the belly of the beast,” as people would say back then.

For five years, Lyndon Baines Johnson, LBJ, was the commander-in-chief of that military machine, as it grew from a few thousand troops to over half a million, engaged in a desperate and unsuccessful effort to crush Vietnamese resistance to U.S. rule, or at least to make an example of them to any other people who might think of standing up to the U.S., a warning that the price they would pay was too terrible to even consider.

The towering, almost unimaginable crimes of the U.S. in Vietnam, and the truly heroic and inspiring resistance to them of people around the world, from Vietnam to the streets of the U.S., is something that we should never, ever forget, and in fact should keep very much in mind as the U.S. again wages military actions in its imperialist interests around the world, again, always, under the banner of “freedom.”

I strongly recommend that people read Revolution’s review of Kill Anything that Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam (February 17, 2013) for a fuller picture of all this, and a deeper understanding of why and how the U.S. carried out these barbaric crimes.




Revolution #333 March 23, 2014

Take the Revolution onto the Campus

March 20, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


From Boston to LA, from Florida to Wisconsin to DC and beyond... some fresher breezes are beginning to blow on campuses.

Building for the premier showing of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION-NOTHING LESS! on campus, February 2013.

Building for the premier showing of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! on campus, February 2013.

Now is the time to take the revolution—and to take REVOLUTION—onto these campuses. 

Keep it simple—radically simple. Keep a stash of Revolution newspapers, quote cards from BAsics, and palm cards for the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION–NOTHING LESS! Keep flyers to post. When you have an hour or so to spare, go on to the campus near you and get these out—get them to individuals, and leave them around in places where people can see them. Go to organizations which are doing things on campus and get them some of these materials. Many of the students in these organizations—and the organizations as a whole—can be won to take up BA Everywhere and the fight to Stop Mass Incarceration and to join with Stop Patriarchy, with its focus now on defending the right to abortion. Discuss this with them.

Do NOT wait for group outings to be organized. Organized forays with a bunch of people are great, but if we only go onto campuses when we have a large crew, then we won't really make enough headway. Just grab any time you can over these next two months to go onto campuses, or around campuses if they are locked down, and get these materials out. When you can, make announcements and broadly distribute Revolution in classes and especially the special issue You Don't Know What You Think You "Know" About... The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation: Its History and Our Future, and then talk with people when they exit their classes.

Then, yes, of course, be part of organizing special efforts—and let these two forms work together.

Look on bulletin boards for programs that sound interesting and go to those. Seek out budding movements of resistance. And post your materials when you can on these bulletin boards. Students have been acting on, or planning to act on, the environment; racism and mass incarceration and the detention of immigrants; the oppression of women; against the vicious attacks on Palestinians; and other questions, and beginning to take significant risks. Take the revolution to them. Find out what they are thinking. If you go to a public event, or a meeting, and feel confident speaking from the floor, great. If you don't, just get out the materials, including Revolution newspaper, and see if you can talk with individuals. And if all you have time for is getting a palm card on each chair before a program starts, well... that, too, counts.

Coordinate your materials with the focuses of the month. Right now, you should be emphasizing the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION–NOTHING LESS! and the fund raising going on around that—and this paper will help you in this. For the first week of April, take the special issue on the history and future of communism—and spread the flyers which we'll be posting soon letting people know about this special issue, posting them all over. Then the middle of April take the materials that relate to Earth Day, which will be a focus of BA Everywhere that month. And be sure to distribute palm cards with the QR code for the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal).

Bring BA and REVOLUTION to everything going on—including to events that will be going on supporting the right to abortion on and leading up to April 11-12 and events and public meetings against mass incarceration. But there is more—if students are acting around Palestine, bring the special Revolution issue The Case of Israel: Bastion of Enlightenment or Enforcer for Imperialism? along with other material. 

Talk with students, professors and people who work on the campus! Take some time to talk with people about how they see the world. Go up to people, individuals and in groups, and ask them if they have 10 or 15 minutes to tell you what they think. Learn. And don't just go to the social science departments—get out into the natural sciences and the humanities!

Have fun—and let know what you are learning! (Send email to




Revolution #333 March 23, 2014

Letter from a Prisoner:

The Importance of the Special Revolution Issue on the First Stage of the Communist Revolution

March 20, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


We received this from the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund (PRLF). The online version of the special issue of Revolution that the prisoner refers to can be found here.



As always I hope this letter finds you and all the PRLF staff in good health and in high revolutionary spirits.

Coming soon as an expanded e-book!

Click to read the special issue

I'm excited about the special issue that is projecting the truth about the first stage of socialist revolution: “You Don't Know What You Think You ‘Know’ About The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation: Its History and Our Future.” 

A lot of harm is done by distortions and attacks on the history of socialist revolutions. Vilifying the history of socialist revolutions does more than keep people from learning about some interesting historical facts, it objectively robs us of hope and of the immensely better future that we could have if only we understood the role we should play in making revolution. I think understanding what communism actually is and learning the truth about the history of socialist revolutions has everything to do with that, it makes all the difference between people being inspired to carry on that struggle or becoming dejected by false solutions. A lot of "well-intentioned" activists are leading people, (while claiming to shun leadership) away from the only hope we have for a better world. Revolutionary potential is being veered off the path to communism by slanders on the socialist revolutions of Russia and China coming from people who seem to be very dedicated to radical change.

From talking to many prisoners I've come to realize that many of us come to hate the hypocrisy of the U.S. ruling class without even being exposed to radical literature. Like other prisoners I've met throughout the years, I hated the way low-income people were looked down upon and blamed for being poor. The middle-class lifestyle that flashed through our TV screen, and supposedly was characteristic of life in the U.S. stood in stark contrast to the reality around us. The pigs heaped one abuse after another upon the people in our neighborhoods and the media always justified those abuses. It's not difficult to recognize that same pattern on a much greater scale when we hear from these same propaganda organs about the lack of “democratic values” in the Third World. The exceptional “can-do spirit” that makes America great is just absent in these lesser countries and their peoples. Much like the local pigs patrolling our neighborhoods are the good guys doing the best job possible considering the dangerous drug-ridden areas they have to work in, so too are the imperialist armed forces who have no choice but to bomb, invade and occupy weaker nations and brutalize their people because they serve as bases for global terrorism or some other ridiculous cover for the real imperialist motives or crimes.

I found all this very sickening long ago and I had a favorable view of communism for no other reason than it was something the ruling class hated. But then I came to prison and read things by people who, as BA has said of Slavoj Žižek and others, “go around saying that they're anti-capitalist, but really they hate communism much more than they hate capitalism, and they're much more willing to accommodate to capitalism-imperialism than they are to fight for communism, which is the only real radical alternative to it.” (from WHAT HUMANITY NEEDS: Revolution, and the New Synthesis of Communism, pg.35) Their anti-capitalist rhetoric appealed to me but they also vilified communism and the first stage of socialist revolution. I was influenced by these people because they railed against something I wished with all my heart I could tear down but by slandering the experience of the Soviet Union and China when they were socialist, they also turned me away from the only real radical alternative there is to capitalism. The more I struggled to understand how unrealistic, dead-end solutions could work, the more disillusioned and uninspired I became.

Like many prisoners who have been exposed to that same kind of literature but who have a sense that nothing less than an all-out revolution will change anything, I saw nothing that I could do that would make any kind of difference. I didn't want to struggle for anything that left this system intact. I didn't want to dedicate my life to reforms or a culture of endless protest that allowed the imperialist machine to continue humming in the background. I wanted to fight back but the most revolutionary-minded people I could find weren't willing to take responsibility for leading a revolution, they didn't aim to take state power, and they had nothing but negative criticisms for the most successful revolutions so far.

A friend of mine was released a few years ago after doing well over a decade in prison. His views were similar to mine before I had been introduced to BA. He initially had a favorable view of communism for the same reasons I did, but was later taken in by the argument that attempts to get to communism could only result in utter failure. It was clear to me that he wasn't going to consciously conform and “play by the rules.” I didn't want him playing into the hands of the pigs again so I struggled with him over the viability of revolution and the role he could play in making that happen. I couldn't convince him to make his life about something that even I was having a hard time believing was possible. He got pulled back into the life he was living before going to prison almost immediately after being released. The last I heard of him he was back in the county jail fighting 25 to life.

The point I want to make is that superficial analyses and condemnations of communism and socialist revolutions have real consequences. Too many people who could be led to be the backbone for revolution are having their sights lowered by those who pose as serious radicals dedicated to revolutionary change but who are much more willing to accommodate to capitalism-imperialism than fight for communism. This is why I recognize the importance of getting the special issue of Revolution out there and spreading it as widely as possible as well as directly taking on people like Slavoj Žižek.

Thanks again for the literature. I'll study it and spread the understanding I gain from it as widely as possible like I always do with everything you send. Keep up the great work.

In Solidarity,




Revolution #333 March 23, 2014

Sunsara Taylor on Abortion Rights Emergency Actions April 11 & 12, 2014

March 20, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


We must act NOW to stop the war on women. This is an emergency: 203 abortion restrictions in last 3 years, clinics closing, terror, and the force of law. Sunsara Taylor, writer for Revolution and initiator of the movement to End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women lays out big plans for April 11, 12, 2014. Join the fight today!




Revolution #333 March 23, 2014

It's On Us to STOP the War On Women! – International Women's Day 2014

March 20, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |