Revolution #340, June 1, 2014 (

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #340 June 1, 2014


Abortion Rights Freedom Ride 2014: GROUND ZERO TEXAS

May 26, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |



Abortion rights—and the lives and future of women—are in a state of emergency. Nowhere is this more concentrated than in Texas.

In 2011 there were 46 abortion clinics in Texas; if all the current restrictions go into effect as scheduled, by September 1st of 2014 there will be only 6 clinics remaining. Texas is over 800 miles wide and has over 26 million residents. Women who cannot access safe, legal abortions have their lives foreclosed when they are forced to have children against their will. Or, they risk their lives, die, or go to prison for attempting to self-induce abortions.

Sendoff for the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride, summer 2013, NYC.

Women who live in poverty, especially immigrant women and others in the Rio Grande Valley along the Mexican border, have been hit the hardest. Unable to come up with the money to travel hours to the nearest clinic and/or unable to travel through the immigration checkpoints for lack of “legal” documents, these women are trapped. On September 1st, if a medically unnecessary law designed to close abortion clinics goes into effect, the nearest clinic will be closed and these women will have to travel approximately 300 miles to the next nearest clinic.

It is immoral to abandon the women of Texas. It is also delusional to think that these attacks will not spread to the rest of the country if they are not stopped there. In reality, Texas is a concentration of the nationwide war on women. 6 states have only one abortion clinic. 203 laws restricting abortion have been passed nationwide since 2011. 8 doctors and clinic workers have been murdered by anti-abortion violence, and in March 2014 a clinic was so severely vandalized in Montana that it was forced to close. Everywhere, women who seek abortions are harassed, shamed, humiliated and terrorized.

Forced Motherhood Is Female Enslavement!
Abortion Providers Are Heroes!
Abortion On Demand and Without Apology!






Revolution #340 June 1, 2014

This call appeared on the Stop Mass Incarceration Network website:

A Call for a Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation!

April 14, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


For 2 generations, Black and Latina/Latino youth in the U.S. have been shipped off to prison in numbers never before seen anywhere in the world at any time. More than 2 million people, of all nationalities languish in prison—ten times the number 50 years ago. The U.S. has 5% of the world’s population but 25% of the world’s prison population! More than 60% of those in U.S. prisons are Black or Latina/o. 32% of Black men between the ages of 20 and 29 are in prison or on parole or probation on any given day. More than 80,000 people in prison are held in solitary confinement under conditions that fit the international definition of torture.

The incarceration of women has increased by 800% over the last 30 years. They, along with those whose sexual orientation is not “mainstream” or who are gender non-conforming—lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex prisoners—face extremely harsh and abusive treatment in prison, including widespread rape. Alongside this has risen a massive program of criminally prosecuting undocumented immigrants, essentially hidden from public view. As a result of the devastation of their homelands, these immigrants have been driven to this country to work without papers, and today they are being criminalized. The U.S. chastises other countries for human rights violations, yet it enmeshes the lives of tens of millions of people in its criminal “injustice” system. The courts, cops, prisons and La Migra all play a part in enforcing mass incarceration. There are genocidal aspects and a genocidal logic to this program, and it has been gathering momentum. All this is intolerable, and, if it isn’t stopped, it will get much worse!

Mass incarceration has grown beside the criminalization of whole peoples; a situation in which every African-American or Latina/o is a permanent suspect—treated as guilty until proven innocent by police and racist vigilantes, if they can survive to prove their innocence. This is especially concentrated among the youth, starting with cops in schools, arresting children for things that used to mean a visit to the principal’s office at worse, putting youth on a trajectory from school to prison. Black and Latina/o youth have a target on their backs in this society. Literally tens of millions of lives have been scarred and worse—both the direct victims and their families and communities. People who heroically resisted these and other injustices have been imprisoned, some of them for decades. These political prisoners must be freed.

The malignancy of mass incarceration did not arise from a sudden epidemic of crime. Nor did it result from people making poor personal choices. Instead it arose from cold political calculations made in response to the massive and heroic struggle for the rights of Black and other minority peoples that took place in the 1960’s and 70’s, and in response to the enormous economic and social changes brought about by globalized production. This cancer of mass incarceration has been, from the beginning, nothing but a new Jim Crow in place of the old one. Like the old Jim Crow, it drew on, fed off and reinforced the deep-seated roots of the racism that grew up with slavery. Like the old Jim Crow, it has been, from the beginning, unjustifiable, utterly immoral and thoroughly illegitimate.

This must stop—NOW! Not the next generation, not in ten years, not any time off in some promised future that never seems to come. NOW!

But it will not stop unless and until millions of people, of all nationalities, stand up and say NO MORE, in unmistakable terms. The history of this and every other country shows that without struggle, there can be no positive change; but with struggle this kind of change becomes possible.

It is not enough to oppose this in the privacy of your own conscience or the company of like-minded people. It is not enough to curse this out, but then tell yourself nothing can be done. If you live your life under this threat, you MUST act. If you understand how wrong this is and how much it devastates the lives of so many millions, you MUST act.

NOW is the time to act. People are beginning to awaken and stir. Resistance has begun: Heroic hunger strikes by people in prisons and detention centers and outpourings in response to murders by police and racist vigilantes. Prisoners in solitary confinement in California declared a cessation of racial hostilities as Black, Latino and white prisoners came together to resist the torture of solitary confinement. All this must be taken to a much higher level. We call for a massive Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration in October of this year; a Month that can impact all of society; one that can open the eyes of millions of people to the need to end this new Jim Crow.

In October, 2014, our resistance to mass incarceration must reverberate across the country and around the world. There must be powerful demonstrations nationwide on October 22, the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. Throughout October there must be panels and symposiums on campuses and in neighborhoods; major concerts and other cultural expressions; ferment in the faith communities, and more—all aimed at taking the movement to STOP mass incarceration to a much higher level. October, 2014, must be a month that makes clear that thousands and thousands are willing to stand up and speak out today and to awaken and rally forth millions. It must be the beginning of the end of the mass incarceration in the U.S. To that end:


Initial Signatories include:

Stop Mass Incarceration Network
Cornel West, author, educator, voice of conscience
Carl Dix, Revolutionary Communist Party
Noam Chomsky, Professor (ret.), MIT*
Marjorie Cohn, Professor, Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Robin D.G. Kelley, Distinguished Professor of History, UCLA*
Carl Hart, Professor, Author of "High Price"
Colin Dayan, Professor, Vanderbilt University
Henry A. Giroux, McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest
Efia Nwangaza, Malcolm X Center/Radio Station WMXP*
Ulis C. Williams, Olympic Gold Medalist, 4 x 400m Relay, 1964 Summer Games in Tokyo
Aleta Alston-Toure, New Jim Crow Movement/Free Marissa Now*
Pam Africa, International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu Jamal
Cephus "Uncle Bobby" Johnson - uncle of Oscar Grant, killed by Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)
     Police New Years Day, 2009
Stephen Rohde, Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP)*
Debra Sweet, Director, World Can't Wait
Medea Benjamin, Co-founder, CODEPINK*
John L. Burris, lawyer
Marilyn S. McMahon, California Prison Focus*
Juanita Young, mother of Malcolm Ferguson - killed in 2000 by NYPD
Iris Baez, mother of Anthony Baez - killed in 1994 by NYPD
Dionne Smith Downs and Carey Downs, parents of James Earl Rivera Jr. - killed in 2010
     by Stockton Police
Collette Flanagan, Founder of Mothers Against Police Brutality, mother of Clinton Allen - killed
     by Dallas Police in 2013
Gloria Leiva, mother of Dante Pomar - killed in 2004 by NYPD
Gilda Baker, Mother of Diallo Neal, Killed by California Highway Patrol in 2005
Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr., son of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr. - killed by White Plains (NY)
     Police, 2013
Miles Solay, OuterNational
Denis O'Hearn, Professor of Sociology, Binghamton University and author of Nothing but
     an Unfinished Song: Bobby Sands, the Irish Hunger Striker Who Ignited a Generation

Blase Bonpane, Ph.D. Director, Office of the Americas*
Marie Martin, retired nurse and teacher, relative in solitary confinement in CA prison
Margarita McAuliffe, Founder, Texas Moms United For Domestic Peace*
F. Luis Barrios, professor, John Jay College, IFCO - Pastors for Peace
Cynthia McKinney
Jim Vrettos, professor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice*
Marvin X, poet, playwright, essayist, Black Bird Press News*
Rev. Jerome McCorry, The Adam Project*
Rev. Stephen A. Phelps, former Interim Senior Minister, The Riverside Church* New York
Rev. Frank Wulf, United University Church*
Ray Hill, 30 years Producer and Host of "The Prison Show", KPFT, Houston, TX
Obidike Kamau, 15 years Host and Producer, "Self-Determination", KPFT 90.1 FM, Houston, TX
Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor *Tikkun: a quarterly Jewish and Interfaith Critique of Politics,
     Culture and Society*
Dahlia Wasfi M.D.
Rev. Richard Meri Ka Ra Byrd, KRST Unity Center*
Rev. Darrel Meyers, Minister (ret.) Presbyterian Church (USA)*
Dorsey O. Blake, Presiding Minister of the Church of All Peoples*
Mary Ratcliff, Editor, San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper*
Grace Dyrness, ICUJP*
Jim Lafferty, Executive Director, Los Angeles Chapter, National Lawyers Guild
Rafael C. Angulo, USC School of Social Work*
Rael Nidess M.D.
Dread Scott, Artist
Manuel Olivera, Actor
Alaudin Ullah, Actor
Elizabeth Forsythe Haily, novelist and playwright, ICUJP*
Lynne Stewart & Ralph Poynter
Mike Holman, Executive Director, Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund*
Andres Thomas Conteris, Nonviolence International*
Dr. James Cockroft, Ph.D
Rev. Jerald Stinson, Interfaith Communities United For Justice and Peace*
King Downing, Human Rights-Racial Justice Center*
Iskander Kourkjian-Mowad, #Justice4Cecily*
Afua Ampoma, Recovering and Rebuilding, Inc.
"Cye" Harold Sheppard Jr., Advancing the Ancester Coalition (ATAC)*
Vernellia R. Randall, Emeritus Professor of Law, University of Dayton
Paul Von Blum, Senior Lecturer, African-American and Communication Studies, UCLA*
David B. Rankin, Esq., Rankin and Taylor*
Tarak Kauff, Veterans For Peace* National Board Member
Bonnie Kerness, American Friends Service Committee,* Newark NJ
Mary Phillips, Lehman College*, Bronx NY
Erin Adair, Oberlin Abolition Network*, Oberlin
Amanda Morales, Welfare Warriors*
Milwaukee; People's Organization for Progress, New York Chapter
Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice
Justice For Families, Portland, OR
Global Kindness Revolution and Sagewriters
Racial Justice Now!

*for identification purposes only






Revolution #340 June 1, 2014

On the Importance of the Bookstore Sessions Digging into BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!, and the Overall Link Between Theory, the Two Mainstays, and Accumulating Forces for Revolution

May 22, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |



Editors’ Note

Between May 10 and May 17, several hundred people in four cities came out to the speech “Where We Are in the Revolution.”  This speech focused on the seizure of power through revolution as central and put forward measuring everything that we’re doing from the perspective of hastening, while awaiting, the opportunity and ability to do that.  It took as its foundation the scientific method and approach, as further developed by Bob Avakian (BA), and the strategy flowing from that.  At the end, a powerful challenge was posed to each and every person there to step up, in a big way, their level of understanding of, and commitment to, the movement for revolution with the Party at its leading core.

Right now, it is very important to follow up off these speeches.  This means getting back to people and involving them in the movement for revolution and the whole process of Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution.  A key part of that process—an essential element of it if it is actually to BE for revolution—are the two mainstays: digging into and popularizing the works and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), and the website and newspaper,

Unless these two mainstays are at the core of what we are doing, then the movement will drift into something less than—and ultimately in opposition to—real revolution.

In that light, we are publishing excerpts from something written by a young revolutionary responding to the speech and focusing in particular on the importance of the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!  The vision in here—of the showings and discussions of this film as a key element of the solid core of this movement—along with the discussion on the importance of theory are important to dig into.


Introduction: What Does This Letter Address, and Why

The question of how we are working to accumulate forces for revolution has been one of the biggest questions on my mind for awhile now, in an ongoing way.  This has been all the more true following the release of the two new talks from BA and the recent “Where We Are in the Revolution” presentation.  In the two talks from BA, as well as the “Where We Are in the Revolution” speech—and in considering the synergy between these—one thing that stood out to me is a heavy emphasis on the need and tremendous importance of accumulating forces for revolution.  This need should be framing and informing all of the revolutionary work that we are doing, and we should constantly be measuring how we are doing at accumulating forces for revolution as one of the most key forms of evaluating how we are doing overall in terms of hastening while awaiting the changes that make revolution possible. 

See times and places for sessions on film at Revolution Books locations here.

There is a fundamental and crucial distinction between evaluating whether our line is correct, or adapting/watering down that line, based on “getting numbers of people”—i.e. economism, which is unscientific, harmful and deadly and will lead us quickly off the path of revolution—versus consistently working to get numbers of people on the basis of a correct line and constantly evaluating scientifically how we are doing at this, which is essential if we are going to get to the point of actually being able to make a revolution: In order to get to the future conditions where it would actually be possible to go for the seizure of power, there will need to be a core of thousands of people who are prepared to lead millions and millions of people who are conscious of the need for revolution and determined to fight for it.  We don’t have this situation now, so we had better be working on it. Furthermore, to speak specifically to the question of the party: as the “Where We Are...” talk put very plainly—and as BA speaks very bluntly to in BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!—either the party is going to grow, or there is the risk of it being rendered “out of the game” for awhile, owing to a variety of forces that include the forces of age and repression.

In addition to the fact that the two talks from BA and the “Where We Are in the Revolution” talk objectively put a lot of emphasis on accumulating forces for revolution, there is also the fact that the event I attended—and hopefully, this was true in other cities as well—seemed to draw a significant number of newer people, as well as people who perhaps have been more at the margins, rather than the core, of the movement for revolution.  The people who came to this talk heard a tremendous presentation of what this revolution is all about: the fact that this revolution is serious and for real; the obstacles this revolution is up against that must be transformed to make that revolution; the fact that a basic framework and strategy has been developed, and the leadership is there, to overcome those obstacles; a very blunt exposition of the urgency for the party at the core of the movement for revolution to grow; and a challenge for people at all different levels to get with, or further with, this movement for revolution and the party.   Afterwards, at the reception, the room seemed to be alive and buzzing with energy.  It struck me that there was a lot of momentum, a lot of potential for new forces to get with the movement for revolution and for people already with it to get deeper with it. 

In short: this presentation seemed to me to pose a specific opportunity and responsibility for us to make a leap in accumulating forces for revolution coming off this event, while the two talks from BA in synergy with the content of the “Where We Are in the Revolution” presentation objectively posed very sharply the need—in this immediate period, and in an overall sense—to be working to accumulate forces for revolution and to measure how we are doing this.

In this letter, I wanted to speak to a few points about how we are looking at the process and method of accumulating forces for revolution, and also raise a couple of concrete ideas that are radically simple yet, in my view, really critical for how we are working to accumulate forces for revolution.  And I wanted to contrast that a bit with how I think we have often looked at this process in the past.  And I want to highlight the specific—and I think far too often overlooked—role and importance of the bookstore sessions digging into the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! in relation to the process of accumulating forces for revolution.

Thoughts on How We Are Conceiving the Process of Accumulating Forces for Revolution

I might be wrong, but my sense is that we have often conceived of accumulating forces for revolution in a narrow way, and mainly in a practical sense: What are we asking people to do? What tasks are we asking them to take up?  What events, programs, actions, meetings or discussions are we inviting them to attend or participate in?   Very importantly—what struggles, going up against the power of reaction, are we mobilizing them to undertake?  I think this has at least sometimes led to a situation where we meet people who are interested in the movement for revolution, and we follow up with them a few times in various forms (phone, email, in person), inviting them to come to or be part of a bunch of things that are coming up...and sometimes, I have gotten the sense that we tell people about several things at once that we are inviting them to do, or to be part of.... And then, if these masses don’t respond, or if they don’t come to what we are inviting them to, I worry that they sometimes fall through the cracks, or that we consciously or subconsciously conclude automatically that they are “not interested” in the revolution. 

However, once again, I think this is an incorrect—and narrow—conception of accumulating forces for revolution, and of how we should be working with people.  By that, I do not at all mean that it is unimportant to be searching out and providing practical “on-ramps” for masses to get involved in the revolution, or that we should create obstacles to them doing so, or that we should not be unleashing the masses to take up important tasks that are part of building this movement for revolution.

However, if we conceive of accumulating forces for revolution strictly—or even mainly—in terms of “what are we asking the masses to do” in a narrow and mainly practical sense, I think we are failing to grasp the essential fact that Bob Avakian has pointed to, that “theory is the dynamic factor in ideology.”

Here is an excerpt from the really important piece, “THE NEED FOR COMMUNISTS TO BE....COMMUNISTS,” where BA speaks to theory as the dynamic factor in ideology:

Theory is the dynamic factor, because how do you change your ideology, your world outlook? How do you change your understanding of a question, how do you even change your sentiments about things?  Think about that, how do you actually change even your sentiments?  You do so if and when you come to understand something in a different way, especially if you are a person trying to be scientific, trying to actually achieve the great things that we are setting out to achieve—which require a scientific approach to achieve (even if we don’t always remember that).

Does this not speak to a crucial dimension of our overall revolutionary work, and of our work with the masses—the need to be leading and struggling with the masses to change their ideology, their world outlook, their understanding and their sentiments?

Related to this point, I was thinking about the excerpt from this paragraph from the strategy statement:

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

I think it is important to note that this paragraph does not say: “ thousands can come forward, be ‘around’ in some general sense, doing things.”   No, it says: “ thousands can be brought forward and oriented, organized and trained, in a revolutionary way, while beginning to reach and influence millions more, even before there is a revolutionary situation.”

So how are we working to bring people forward, orienting, and training them in a revolutionary way, while beginning to reach and influence millions more? 

The two most importantnot the only, but the two most important—vehicles through which we are doing this are: 

1) The body of work, method and approach, and leadership of BA 

2) Revolution newspaper/

These are obviously not the only two elements of how we are working to bring forward, orient and train people in a revolutionary way: We are carrying out a full ensemble of revolutionary work, and as laid out in the recent "Where We Are in the Revolution" presentation, the different elements of this ensemble—the BAE campaign; the two mass initiatives; building support for and involvement in Revolution Books around the country; spreading Revolution/, to name a few key dimensions—must work in synergy with each other.  All of these, and other dimensions of our revolutionary work fighting the power and transforming the people for revolution—everything we do, in short—must be part of working to bring people forward, orient, and train them in a revolutionary way.

 But again, the two most important and decisive means through which we are bringing people forward, orienting, and training them in a revolutionary way are: the body of work, method and approach, and leadership of BA and Revolution newspaper/  

Why is this so? Well, this goes back to theory being the dynamic factor in ideology.

It is worth actually thinking about the following question for a minute: 

Where are people going to get the most advanced understanding of: the horrors, suffering and outrages confronting the world, the source of all this and the ways in which these different outrages, horrors, and forms of suffering are linked; the capitalist-imperialist system behind these horrors, and the contradictions, laws, and dynamics of that system; why revolution is necessary and why it is possible; what the material basis for that revolution is, and who are the key forces for that revolution;   the strategy and method for that revolution; and what we must be doing today to work towards the conditions where an actual revolution would be possible; the key contradictions and obstacles that must be transformed in making revolution; the goals of the revolution and the type of radically different society and world that is necessary and possible; the leadership we have for the revolution we need?   

And where are people going to get the most compelling and inspiring challenge and invitation—to step forward and be part of this revolution, as they are learning more?

It is through the body of work, method and approach, and leadership of BA and Revolution/

Now, in terms of the relationship between theory and practice, I think—broadly speaking—that there are two basic errors that could be fallen into. And what these errors both have in common is incorrectly separating theory from practice.   The first error, essentially, is scholasticism: i.e. studying theory in an academic way that is divorced from practice, divorced from working to actually change the world. Here, I think of this guy in the 1960s or 1970s that BA mentions in his memoir. This guy was religiously and dogmatically reading all of Lenin’s works, in a way divorced from actually changing the world. One day BA said to him, “What are you up to?” and the guy replied, “Volume 41 (!).”   Today, the form is sometimes less gross—it can take the form of “learned disputations” and treating theory as some sort of “secret temple of knowledge” that sustains what amounts to an alternative lifestyle—but it is just as pernicious.

However, the other error is to elevate practice above theory, and to fall into an orientation of “do, do, do,” thinking fundamentally in terms—and leading others to think fundamentally in terms— of carrying out practical work, taking up practical tasks, but neglecting the role of theory as a guide to practice not only in an immediate sense, but in an overall sense.

And I will say that my impression is that within the movement for revolution, within progressive and radical circles (and so-called progressive and radical circles), and within society more broadly, this second trend—the undervaluing of theory—is the far more common of the two.

And this is a real problem. For one thing, a person’s theoretical understanding will even influence the degree to which they are motivated to take up different forms of revolutionary practice, and their understanding of why this is important and what it fits into.

However, even more fundamentally, taking up revolutionary theory is essential in order for people to have an ever-deepening scientific grounding in the overall need, possibility, basis, strategy, method, pathways, and goals of the revolution.   

As a variation of my point a few paragraphs earlier, there are again two very harmful errors that we could fall into in terms of how we are approaching the relationship between theory and practice in the process of accumulating forces for revolution. And, once again, both of these errors amount to severing theory from practice: 

1) To act as if until someone is “well-versed” in revolutionary theory, and the new synthesis of communism in particular, they can’t really contribute or play a meaningful role in the movement for revolution.  This orientation would be wrong, unscientific, and really harmful, and it will prevent us from breaking through the deadly gap between how small the revolutionary forces are currently and how big they need to and can be.  In short, we will never bring forward, orient and train thousands in a revolutionary way while reaching and influencing millions with that kind of thinking or approach.

2) To act as if as long as people are “around” and “doing stuff,” it isn’t really that essential for them to get into revolutionary theory, and the new synthesis of communism in particular, and to take up the two mainstays.   We will also never bring forward, orient, and train thousands in a revolutionary way while reaching and influencing millions with that kind of thinking or approach; we might bring some people forward, at least for a time, but we won’t be orienting and training them in a revolutionary way. And, sooner or later, they most likely won’t be “around” or “doing stuff” either.

This brings me to the specific role of the bookstore sessions in which we view and discuss the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!.

The Role of Sessions on the Film
in Accumulating Forces for Revolution

To pose a provocative question:  Have we been/are we conceiving of and approaching these sessions on the film as a key part of accumulating forces for revolution?

Well, we should be!

This film is exactly what the quote from one of the filmmakers says it is:

“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.”

Instead of saying “Oh yeah, I’ve seen that quote before,” let’s actually take a minute to stop and reflect on what this quote is saying, and what the implications are...

 There is a lot more I could say on this, but if we really think about what that quote from the filmmakers is speaking to, the reality captured there is sufficient to explain why getting into the film is an essential dimension of accumulating forces for revolution.

Here, I will only add an echoing of the very related point from the “Where We Are in the Revolution” talk about how this film is an incredible introduction to this revolutionary leader and a form through which BA breaks down, in a very accessible way, his pathbreaking advances of the science of revolution.

So, that is in terms of the critical importance of this film itself.  And then there is the specific importance of the ongoing sessions at the bookstore digging into the film.

On the one hand, getting into this film and getting it out in society in all kinds of ways is really critical, for the reasons spoken to above.  As Revolution/ has spoken to, there should be all kinds of showings of this film, large and small, in projects, campuses, barbershops, and many, many other locations, as well as people purchasing the film and watching it individually and in small groups. 

However, there is a particular importance to these ongoing sessions at Revolution Books providing people with an opportunity to dig into this film collectively and systematicallyWe should be looking at these sessions as a chance to collectively, as a team of scientists, study and grapple with the work of the most advanced revolutionary scientist on the planet, discussing and struggling over how to understand the content and significance of this work, and deepening our own grasp and application of this science.

Is this not an essential part of the process of bringing people forward, orienting them, and training them in a revolutionary way? 

There should be a contagious spirit and culture permeating and radiating from the movement for revolution, which these sessions at Revolution Books viewing and discussing BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! are THE PLACE TO BE.   These sessions should be magnetic, with both “veterans of the movement for revolution” and newer people not only coming, but feeling compelled to bring new people to what should be lively, accessible sessions.  Yet this has not been anywhere nearly enough the orientation—at least as it has struck me.

I suspect that two factors at play in this negative tendency might be:

  1. The overall devaluing of theory I described above—which, again, is rampant more broadly in society and among progressive and radical circles/ so-called progressive and radical circles, and which also takes expression within the movement for revolution.

    This could take the form of “having other stuff to do” and therefore not attending the sessions.

  2. A related, perhaps at times even subconscious feeling of: “Well, I’ve already seen and gotten into the film, so it’s not that important for me to go to these sessions.”

These two approaches fail to grasp and apply the understanding that what is concentrated in BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! is a living science—in fact, the most advanced revolutionary science there is—and that this science must be studied, and ever more deeply grasped and applied to radically transforming the world, in an ongoing, never-ending way; not a set of principles or facts to merely take in once and then “check off,” or to memorize in a dogmatic way.

 Furthermore, a related point: We are not carrying out our revolutionary work in isolation from the rest of society (if we were, it wouldn’t be revolutionary work!).  This means that the revolutionaries are not somehow immunized against other social and class forces and outlooks, and dominant/unscientific ways of thinking.  So, this only heightens the importance of digging into, and living in, the revolutionary science, leadership, and method concentrated in BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

So, I really think that we, as a movement for revolution, need to make a collective rupture in terms of recognizing, acting on the recognition, and leading others to recognize that the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!—and these sessions on the film at Revolution Books—are a vital means of our work to accumulate forces for revolution. The aforementioned “place to be” spirit should permeate and radiate within and from all elements of the ensemble of our revolutionary work.

Let’s go!

Quick Concluding Thoughts and Concrete Suggestions for Our Work to Accumulate Forces for Revolution—Now, and In An Ongoing Way

Again, none of what is written above is meant to downplay the great importance of providing people with practical on-ramps and means to be part of the movement for revolution as—not instead of, not only after, but as—they learn more about this revolution. 

It is essential that we constantly be seeking out, and working/inviting/struggling together with masses to figure out ways and enable them to step forward and be part of this revolution in all kinds of ways, many of which were pointed to at the end of the "Where We Are in the Revolution" talk:  Through donating to and in different ways being part of the BAE campaign and committees; through donating to, and in different ways contributing to and supporting Revolution newspaper/; through taking up and in different ways being part of the two mass initiatives (including directly going up against reaction); through volunteering for, and in different ways supporting Revolution Books;  and much more.

Why did I keep putting “in different ways” in bold type?   Because I also think it is very important that we not look at people’s practical involvement in the movement for revolution—i.e. the practical dimension of accumulating forces for revolution—in a narrow way either.  This practical dimension doesn’t just mean people standing on a street corner selling the newspaper or passing out palm cards, nor is it just a matter of how many things we invite people to that they attend, even while we obviously need people doing all of those things and all of those things are very important.

However, when people step forward to bake cookies or pies for the BA Everywhere committee; or donate to BAE or to sustain the newspaper or support the bookstore; or to defend a clinic or fight back against a police murder or some other outrage; or contribute ideas, questions, thinking to the movement for revolution, these are also all just a few examples of very important means of practical contributions to the movement for revolution!

We should also have our ears open for—and explore with masses newly coming forward, asking them directly for their ideas about—ways they may be especially interested in and capable of contributing practically to this movement for revolution.

However, as we are doing all of this, and no matter what particular practical ways people are contributing to the movement for revolution, we should be directing them to the two mainstays. We should be urging and struggling with them to get into BA, and we should be connecting them with Revolution/

With that in mind—and while this is obviously not, by any means, exhaustive, even in terms of how we should be connecting people with the two mainstays, let alone in terms of our full ensemble of our revolutionary work—for all of the reasons spoken to above, here are 3 basic, yet very important, things that I think should be happening with everyone who steps forward in and around this movement for revolution—both in this immediate period, and in a more overall sense:

  1. We should be inviting people to—emphasizing and explaining the importance of, and working with them/struggling with them to see the importance of—the ongoing sessions at Revolution Books (as well as similar sessions held directly in neighborhoods of the oppressed) around the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!.

  2. More generally, we should be working with people, and emphasizing the need/importance for them to purchase copies of and get into BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! and BAsics, and providing the means for them to get into these works collectively—with us and with others.

  3. We should urge everyone to get a free e-subscription to Revolution newspaper, and to in other ways get consistently hooked in with, and consistently stay tuned to, Revolution newspaper/             

I am going to end this letter there.

Let’s go!





Revolution #340 June 1, 2014

A Call to Contribute to Human Emancipation

1000 Years–$1000 for BA Everywhere

May 26, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Donate to radically change the world.

DONATE to the
BA Everywhere Campaign!

Click Here

This is a call to people from all walks of life to contribute to “1000 Years–$1000 for BA Everywhere.” Make the hundreds and thousands of years suffered in the hellholes of this nation of prisons count for something that will really matter: working for a radically new world.

To prisoners, ex-prisoners, families and friends; to anyone and everyone who feels that living in a society that throws millions of its people into cages for decades is completely intolerable: Pledge to donate or raise at least one dollar for each year you, a loved one, or someone you know has been incarcerated.

To everyone inspired by this call: give big—donate and multiply those dollars many times over for the BA Everywhere campaign—a campaign to make a very big difference. For every 1,000 years of sentences that are pledged to the BA Everywhere campaign many thousands of dollars should be raised.

This is only the start of a campaign that, after the first 1,000 years have been committed, and funds matched and multiplied, we will go on to launch the next 1,000, and the next .... And the next!

The BA Everywhere campaign is raising big funds to make Bob Avakian, the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party, and the vision and framework of a new society and the plan to get there that he has developed, known and debated all over, among all kinds of people, as step one in changing the world.


Donations (checks and money orders) for the BA Everywhere Campaign may be sent to:

The Bob Avakian Institute
1016 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60607
Or donate online.

Donations to get BAsics and other works by Bob Avakian to prisoners may be sent to:

Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund
1321 N. Milwaukee Ave., #407
Chicago, IL 60622
Or online at




Revolution #340 June 1, 2014

Prisoners Write on Bob Avakian and Getting BA Everywhere

May 26, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |



The following are from letters forwarded by the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund (PRLF).

We greatly appreciate receiving these letters from prisoners and encourage prisoners to keep sending us correspondence. The views expressed by the writers of these letters are, of course, their own; and they are not responsible for the views published elsewhere in our paper.


An “angry slave” responds to the 1000 Years–$1000 project

CA, 5/8/14

Donate to radically change the world.

DONATE to the
BA Everywhere Campaign!

Click Here

Greetings Comrades! I am responding to the 1000 years–$1000 letter. It has been 12 years for me. I’m pleased that my thoughts are so welcome here! And thanks for the recent reading material...

I believe it is important to get BA into the prisons as well as into the hands of the public. Not only are the prisoners oppressed but the public (or damn near all of it) is just a ½ a heartbeat away from oppression and most are in denial about that fact... BA helped me come to the terms that my “systematic oppression” was not a mere happenstance of “luck.” That there is a system in place, mostly directed against Black and Latino males (among others), which essentially criminalizes Life, and creates a “slave labor force” and that me and other Blacks like me never really escaped slavery. We just had a choice of who “master” would be and a selection of “scraps which fall from the master’s table.” I mean the dynamics of slavery changed, not the slave, not the master.

I no longer have those choices. But I got B.A. which gives me vision. I got Bob Avakian teaching me that I am not what makes this system bad, it’s this system that makes me and everybody else who’s Black, Latino, poor or female a “criminal” for its financial gain. BA is a masterpiece. Spread it everywhere. I will help, until we overcome.

An Angry Slave, seeking guidance


On the importance of BAsics for prisoners

AR, 5/8/2014


On the importance of “BAsics” for prisoners—BAsics is reminiscent of Mao’s “Little Red Book,” there is more than likely something in it on every subject. It gives the prisoner easily digested, well-explained theory and explanations on each subject; this really comes in handy if one wants to explore a subject more in depth later on. One can use BAsics as a starting point. It also makes it easy to find RCP’s line on just about any given subject. BAsics is an indispensable tool in the prison revolutionary tool kit.

Yours in struggle,


BAsics—“a priceless addition to the body of revolutionary work”

TX, 5/9/14

Dear revolutionary comrades,

Bob Avakian’s BAsics is the most politically instructive work written for the common lay person I have read in the past 25 years of reading and studying political history and theory. It is a priceless addition to the body of revolutionary work and needs to be read by every intelligent and open-minded person looking for a more equitable and just world. Even if one doesn’t agree with all his conclusions, the general history and analysis of the U.S. capitalist-imperialist juggernaut is unimpeachable.

It is truly imperative all progressive and revolutionary-minded people come together and support the R.C.P.’s and P.R.L.F’s fund drive to get a copy of BAsics into the hands of every politically and culturally disenfranchised person—that’s you!—in America. The only antidote to capital’s lies is the straight dope contained in books like BAsics, and if you won’t help, who will?

If not now, when?

Get with the Revolution!


No effort left untapped to promulgate BA’s insights to people worldwide

FL, 5/6/14

Dear Comrades,

...a pivotal part of the struggle is the battle for the minds of the masses, that have been subject to corrosive brainwash. “Knowledge is power!” This is a very accurate statement. It also happens to embellish my argument that: The unique insights and knowledge that chairman B.A. possess can really empower the masses and transform them from their passive stance to a revolutionary stance, befitting what is required to ameliorate the tremendous weight/pressure that the system brings down on the lumpen masses. What we are able to see is that, this pressure is maintained and perpetuated by the educational system and the media—all controlled by the elites.

If knowledge truly is power, then, it is accurate to say, with great power comes great responsibility. Those who possess the seed of knowledge should feel a sense of responsibility to disseminate these saving seeds to the starving masses, who are hungry for remedial knowledge. In this event, iron truly sharpens iron.

These particular understandings should drive home, to the masses, the message that the writings and works of B.A. is like an elixir in these perilous times. There should be no source, effort, or sacrifice left untapped in order to promulgate B.A. insights to as many people as possible, worldwide—bond or free. So there you have it comrades. Power only grows stronger and more powerful when left unchallenged. Push Forward!



Struggling to grasp revolutionary theory

CA, 4/30/2014

Dear PRLF,

Rebel greetings and solidarity! I received the article you sent: Demarcations—Issue #3, Winter 2014.

It is an absolutely wonderful article, which I must admit put Avakian’s Synthesis into a context of current world events. That helped me to grasp and understand it and realize its important fundamentals. To be honest, I’ve been struggling with understanding the synthesis for awhile for a couple of reasons. I’m not a theorist or intellectual and my pace of learning new revolutionary ideas and application of those is methodically slow. Another reason is because of Revolution Newspaper. Being it is a newspaper, it has to serialize articles. Well, this often hinders my ability to fully grasp and analyze what is being written in its entirety. Plus, Revolution is often confiscated by the pigs when they search my cell. Furthermore, I can better understand things revolutionary when they are applied to current events. My point being, Demarcations has been just what I needed to help propel my own personal revolutionary transformation to the next level, which I felt (prior to receiving Demarcations) was stagnated.

I’m currently writing a response to the Demarcations #3 that express my thoughts on it. I’ll be sending it to you soon. A number of things stand out to me: mechanical pseudo-Marxism vs. dialectical materialism, cycles of mutual reinforcement, and revolutionary leadership. I’ll try to focus on those, but with so much material, it may be hard.

Solidarity Forever, XXXXXX


Eyes opened by Revolution newspaper and BA’s writings

CA, 4/10/2014

Greeting, PRLF

First and foremost I’d like to let all of you there know that your hard work is deeply appreciated. Thank you. I’d also like to say that reading your newspaper and the writings of BA has really opened my eyes up to a whole new way of viewing the so-called free society that we live in. I especially enjoy the writings of Sunsara Taylor. Her passion and commitment to the cause are truly inspiring. To be honest womens’ issues were never really an issue for me. But after reading her reports on the unjust attacks on women and their freedoms I’ve become a big supporter of their cause.


BAsics—“some boiled-down wisdom”

CA, 4/2/14

To: RCP, Central Circulations,

I am just writing to say thanks for the “BAsics”, it’s awesome. It’s just some boiled-down wisdom that really deserves its place on the shelf of every adult in Amerika & the western hemi. I send my hope for a better future.



“On a mission to educate my comrades about revolutionary outlooks”

FL, 3/31/14

I just recently got introduced to the R.C.P. and the works of Bob Avakian. Immensely powerful! These two adjectives accurately describes my impression of BA’s insights. Thanks to him, I now have a better understanding of what the scientific method is, regarding revolution, and placing power into the hands of the people. True power, and not this farcical version that is being upheld; Some power...psh! government of, for, and, by the people. Yeah right!

Comrades, I am humbly requesting a copy of a particular BA material, the one called What Humanity Needs: Revolution and the New Synthesis of Communism. I had just started reading a copy when the comrade who owned it was unexpectedly transferred. I was so enthralled that, I was reading it up until the comrade made his last step exiting the dorm/cage that we are housed in. So, if it is possible, I would love to receive a copy of What Humanity Needs. As a matter of fact, I would love to receive whatever kind of material that you can send. I am on a mission to educate my comrades about revolutionary outlooks.

Be blessed, comrades. Keep up the good and necessary work


“Doing my best to help spread BA’s vision”

IL, 1/29/14

Revolutionary Greetings:

I believe in everything the “Revolutionary Communist Party, USA” stands for and struggle for, (Revolution). That’s why I’m doing my best to help spread BA’s vision and Images as far I possible can—within this prison. You (Revolutionary Communist Party, USA) are the hope and leadership that we need! No other organizations are focusing on and exposing the roots of suffering, misery, horror, and poverty that the people are going through! But you are, and you have provided the solution, which is Revolution!

If you could not send me a free subscription to ‘Revolution’ newspaper, could you send me the following article and interview: “On the ‘Driving Force of Anarchy’ and the Dynamics of Change, A Sharp Debate and Urgent Polemic: The Struggle for a Radically Different World and the Struggle for a Scientific Approach to Reality” and the interview “You Don't Know What You Think You 'Know' About... The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation: Its History and Our Future.” I really need these articles and interviews made available to me. It’s imperative!


BA Everywhere and accumulating forces for revolution

CA, 12/19/13


I hope that all is well with all of you. I’m doing okay myself. I would like to start with your question about the BA everywhere campaign. I would like to say that I think the BA everywhere campaign is great. It is a great way to “wake people up," to introduce them to new ideas; to help them understand the dynamics of the capitalist-imperialist system—and how those dynamics give birth to all the injustices/horrors that people find appalling and therefore protest against. (wars for empire, The Patriot Act, NSA’s invasion of their privacy, global warming, etc.) which in my opinion, is crucial because unfortunately, a lot of people rely on the mainstream news/media for their (mis) information, and hence are oblivious to the fact that the problem is systemic; that this is not the best of all possible worlds; that a different and better world is possible—by getting rid of this capitalist-imperialist system through revolution. In short, I think the “BA everywhere” campaign is great, because it is an excellent way to accumulate forces for Revolution.

The recent developments in the world that have impacted me the most, would definitely have to be the “Arab Spring,” the millions of people rising up against their oppressors in Egypt & Libya, to name a couple. It impacted me, because it serves as a source of inspiration. Those Revolutions (if you like to call them that) or people’s revolts, demonstrated to the world that there is no permanent necessity for things to remain the same. Another crucial lesson to be learned from those revolts, is that without a solid scientifically grounded leadership, people’s revolt don’t stand a good chance in accomplishing what is really needed—a complete revolution: The abolition of all class distinctions, the abolition of all relations of production on which these class distinctions rest; abolition of all social relations that correspond to these relations of production; and the revolutionizing of all ideas that result from these social relations. “The 4 alls” or in short, the abolition of capitalism-imperialism and the beginning of a new communist world. In my opinion, said leadership was the key ingredient missing in those revolts. We have seen in places like Egypt and hopefully learned, that without the complete eradication of capitalism-imperialism, the same oppression will continue—even if one leader is replaced by another. In the end, it amounts to a mere reform. And hopefully this serves as a lesson/learning experience to those who still believe that this system (capitalism-imperialism) can be reformed. It is like trying to turn a lion or tiger into a herbivore. The difference between reforming this system and abolishing it, is between making superficial changes or getting to the root of the problem. Instead of asking how can we get congress to approve a fair immigration reform? It’s better to ask, why are people forced to migrate? Or, how can we help out poor people? It’s better to ask, why are people poor? Or, instead of asking how can we alleviate global warming? It is better to ask, why is the planet warming up in the first place? I would like to end this letter by saying that although things are kind of bleak right now, there is a lot to be hopeful for, because like BA said that the future “is not in god’s hands, it’s in our hands.”

In Solidarity, XXXXXXXXXXX





Revolution #340 June 1, 2014

A Special Benefit Performance
for the BA Everywhere Campaign

"LEGACY: Our Wealth of Music"
Performed by Maggie Brown

May 13, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |

Update 4, May 27, 2014


Poster JPG | Palmcard JPG Front & Back

Sunday, June 1, 3:30 pm

Chicago Theological Seminary
1407 E 60th St., Hyde Park

Benefit for BA Everywhere

$20 Adults $5 Youth



The Chicago BA Everywhere committee is excited to announce that Maggie Brown, distinguished singer, songwriter, actor and educator, has generously offered to perform her one-woman show LEGACY: Our Wealth of Music as a fundraiser for the BA Everywhere campaign.

Howard Reich, the Chicago Tribune jazz critic, wrote about Maggie Brown's LEGACY show in 2012: "Tracing the history of African-American creativity, the performance piece examines the roots of Black musical culture and its greatest flowerings. From African chant, to early ragtime, from classic jazz to modern blues, LEGACY represents Brown's view of the noblest innovations in American music. Part concert, part monologue, part lecture, LEGACY has taken Brown to concert stages around the country, and perhaps more important, to schools across the city."

This benefit is part of a major fundraising campaign, "BA Everywhere… Imagine the Difference It Could Make" to make revolutionary communist leader Bob Avakian's (BA) leadership and new synthesis of communism known in every corner of society. He has developed a vision and viable framework for a new society that is working to dig up the roots and overcome all the forms of exploitation and savage inequality that people suffer from today. The problem is too few know about it. Funds raised at this benefit will contribute to popularizing BA and his work so people can engage, discuss and debate what is the way forward to emancipate humankind.

Maggie Brown lent her voice to the April 11, 2011 cultural celebration in Harlem, "On the Occasion of the Publication of BAsics: A Celebration of Revolution and the Vision of a New World," and appears in the film about this event, Stepping into the Future.

Host Committee

Timuel Black - Eminent Historian of African American History
Peter "Esaun" Keller - Founder and CEO of ULON
Pa Joof - Educator
Freddie J Mac aka "Godfather" - Entertainer
Fred Lonberg-Holm - Cellist, improvisational jazz musician
Sekou Tafari - Frontline Books
Richard Wallace - AKA Epic; and Community Organizer for Chicago Workers Collaborative
Standish Willis - Black People Against Torture, and National Conference of Black Lawyers


Tickets Available: Revolution Books • 1103 N Ashland Ave. Chicago • 773-489-0930 or





Revolution #340 June 1, 2014

Freedom and Necessity, and Proceeding from a Strategic Standpoint: Some Thoughts on Methods and Leadership

by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party

May 26, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |



Editors' Note: The following is a part of some observations that were made by Bob Avakian, and were originally distributed within the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (RCP) at the beginning of 2012. This is being published now as the second installment of the serialization of these observations. The first installment of this series, "The Mass Initiatives and Their Relation to Our Strategic Objectives," was published online May 19, 2014 and is being serialized in the print edition of Revolution, beginning with issue #339 (May 25, 2014). These observations were originally made at a time when the "Occupy" movement was having a significant—and overall positive—impact but was also increasingly running up against the repressive force of the state, as well as its own limitations. While this was an important particular aspect of the overall situation at that time, and this is reflected in these observations by BA, these observations are speaking more broadly to the overall situation and challenges facing the RCP and the communist movement in the world as a whole. For this reason—and because these observations continue to have relevance and importance in that light—the decision has been made to publish these observations. Some editing has been done, and footnotes have been added, in preparing this for publication.



A big and recurrent problem has to do with the relation between freedom and necessity. Historically, there have been difficulties with this in the communist movement and in our own Party. On another level, this is manifested in relation to "Occupy" and what it is up against. It has come up against necessity, particularly in the form of repression by the bourgeois state, and there is the phenomenon among many of not seeing any way to forge any freedom out of this—and, instead, they are trying to find some way to work within the necessity that's been imposed that they don't see any way of breaking through on. That is objectively what is going on to a significant degree.

Returning to our Party, if you have a successful program like 411 (the April 11, 2011 program on the occasion of the publication of BAsics1) even the very real advance represented by this program creates new necessity for you. All of a sudden, here you have some people come forward that have made a commitment on a certain level, and you have to allow for the fact that they're in the picture now, in terms of what to do to build on and go forward from this. But you will run into problems if you don't see that the freedom in this situation lies in grasping the principal aspect of this contradiction, and then going to work on things from there. The principal aspect is that there WAS a solid core that did cohere that program and give a central expression to what that program was about; but in going forward from there, you have to go back and have further rounds of discussion and struggle with people based on continuing to put forward the solid core, and developing elasticity on that basis.

But there is a recurrent tendency: instead of seeing the freedom, one gets weighed down by the necessity. When you have made advances, and when the situation is overall more advanced, more people take seriously and care what you say, and that brings new necessity. The constant pull is a pull to determinism—to being afraid of losing advances that have been made. Do you play to win or play not to lose? In the name of playing to win you can play recklessly—but the far bigger erroneous tendency is that people get a lead and they get conservative and they lose. People start protecting what they have and get afraid to risk that to make further advances, and therefore they begin throwing away what they've achieved.

Okay, we have new necessity—how did we get to this point? We confronted necessity and transformed it. Did everybody immediately say "great!" when we contacted them to get involved with that 411 program? No, of course not, we had to struggle to transform necessity into freedom. Then you get new necessity. So why, in that situation—or any other situation where advances have been made—should we stop the approach of transforming necessity into freedom? In going forward to build off what has been achieved, you have to recognize that the achievements themselves bring new necessity; you have to be anticipating that and working to lay the basis to transform new necessity into new freedom (which will itself involve necessity).

Another important factor contributing to the tendency to bow down to necessity is losing sight of the larger objective that this is all part of. There is not going to be a seizure of state power on the basis of what was achieved through the 411 program. As positive as that was, it was only a small building block of what needs to happen. If you keep that in mind, you have more of a basis to be less determinist in the next round of things, because you know we have to get to a whole other place. If you lose sight of that, the pull to play not to lose becomes stronger, because you see things in narrower terms. Things have to go a lot further than any particular event, or any particular movement or struggle, so how do we get things to go further? Proceeding on that basis, you are better able to handle the solid core/elasticity dialectic. This involves a combination of the freedom/necessity dialectic with whether we are really continually going back to the largest strategic perspective and looking at things in regard to that, and figuring out how to struggle through to transform necessity into freedom and make things go further to advance toward the goal it all has to contribute to.

In order to lead and not continually be pulled off the track and not be pulled down, these are key questions of ideology and methodology, as well as political orientation in terms of what we're aiming for. If you see particular things as "things unto themselves," you are going to have a tendency to go off to the right and get conservative (this could conceivably cause you to go off in a "left" direction, but that is less likely) because you're gonna lose sight of the larger reason why things have to be ruptured from the present level they've achieved to something larger.

Where does freedom come from? It comes from a correct analysis of objective reality and its contradictory character. And that has a material basis. We don't have spontaneity going for us, but we do have reality, in the most fundamental terms, going for us. Therein lies a lot of our freedom—grasping that. Here I think of a recent comment by the actor Johnny Depp about Marlon Brando. Brando, he said, had "the great gift of not caring." In other words, he didn't care about, he wasn't weighed down by, what other people thought of his acting and how they thought he should approach it. There is an analogy here, to keeping the larger picture constantly in view. I think, for example, of the 1977 Central Committee, where the struggle with the Mensheviks in our Party came to a head—concentrated over the question of how to assess and what stand to take in relation to what was in fact the revisionist coup in China, following the death of Mao in 1976. This is spoken to in my memoir.2 In that situation, a lot of freedom came from recognizing that, even if the battle was not won at that Central Committee meeting, those of us fighting for the revolutionary line, and opposing the revisionist coup, could not lose, because in any case we had to take the stand of opposing that coup and fighting to win as many people as possible to that stand, even if that meant splitting the Party, or having to leave the Party and fighting to form a new one. The question of the revisionist coup in China was that kind of a cardinal question, on which there could be no compromise. And while that presented us with a lot of necessity, it also embodied a definite freedom. Why? Because, those of us upholding and fighting for the revolutionary line, and opposing the revisionist coup, were coming from an understanding of the deeper reality and the bigger stakes than simply what happened at that Central Committee meeting, or even what happened with regard to our Party, as it had been up to that point. One way or another, that Party was going to be qualitatively different coming out of that Central Committee meeting—either strengthened as a revolutionary communist vanguard, or dragged down into revisionist betrayal. Understanding the stakes in those terms, and proceeding from the larger strategic standpoint that the Party had to really be a revolutionary communist vanguard, or if instead it became an instrument of revisionism then it wasn't worth preserving and remaining in—and something new would have to be brought into being, to reconstitute the remaining revolutionary forces—that provided the basis to not bow down to necessity.

Our thinking and approach should not be shaped by the immediate thing before us. Why can we wage struggle—dare to wage struggle—with people, including people with whom we have had a certain level of unity? Because we are waging struggle for a bigger thing, AND we know that this is grounded in a deeper material reality. And while things may be tougher in the short run, reality is what it is—and that will assert itself. We can't be governed and determined, constrained and confined, by the ups and downs of the mass movement, or of any particular struggle or initiative, or by the "chops and changes" of the situation at any given time. We have to take these things into account, but we can't bow down to them in a determinist fashion. We have to proceed from a scientific, dialectical materialist, analysis and synthesis of the deeper reality, and its contradictory dynamics.

Freedom lies in grasping, in this way, the material basis for what we are setting out to do, strategically. Grasping that, and proceeding from the larger perspective corresponding to that, enables you to wrench freedom out of necessity, because you are looking at things from where you fundamentally and ultimately need to get to, proceeding from a scientific, materialist and dialectical, assessment of reality, particularly the deeper and driving mainsprings and dynamics of that reality.


Not recognizing that reality is constantly changing AND that there are other class forces out there in the world which are working on people in various ways, directly and indirectly, will cause you to go off track and lose your bearings. People who have united and worked with us will often then come under attack as a result of having taken the step to work with us. Or they get a sense that taking another forward step in uniting with us could jeopardize their career, or make it more difficult for them to achieve certain short-term objectives they may have. To fail to take this into account amounts to ignoring the fact that there is a larger and continually changing reality out there that is also acting on and influencing other people.

The masses do know a lot about reality, and we need to learn from that, but they're not going to tell us about the deeper mainsprings of reality and where that reality can go and needs to go. When we go out among the basic masses, they can tell us a lot about what we're up against—among the masses, as well as with the authorities—and how things work. That can and should enrich our understanding of reality—but if you think that whether something is true or not depends on whether masses say it's good or bad, you will get into a lot of trouble and become disoriented. People keep getting away from the point—and we need to keep drawing people back to the point—that what the masses think is part of objective reality, but it does not determine objective reality. Rather than going up and down with the mood of the masses, we have to be proceeding with a deeper, and more strategic, scientific approach and method. What have certain opportunists and counter-revolutionaries attacked us for—what has been one of their main lines of attack? A whole pragmatic thing that our line "hasn't worked and won't work." That begs the question of what "working" means. Our line has "worked" to maintain a revolutionary communist party over a whole period in which there have been major setbacks for the communist movement in the world as a whole, and conditions for building a revolutionary movement, with such a revolutionary communist party at the core, have been very difficult, particularly in a country like this. Has it "worked" to give us a big mass base during a period when that wasn't possible on the right basis, on a basis that would actually be leading toward the revolution that is needed? No. Of course, the point is not simply to remain as a party and to "stay in the game." The point is to work, actively, to build a movement for revolution; to influence and change the "political terrain" in a way more favorable to revolution; to accumulate increasing forces for revolution; to prepare for—to hasten while awaiting—the emergence of a revolutionary situation and a revolutionary people, whenever that is brought into being. But doing that, and evaluating how we are doing in relation to that, involves and requires the application of scientific communism, and not pragmatism and empiricism.

At the same time, we also have to combat a tendency to have a superficial, and fundamentally wrong, view that what we are basing ourselves on is ideas abstracted from reality—as if we, with our set of ideas, can see that other sets of ideas are not the same as our set of ideas, and therefore they are wrong. That kind of approach explains why, as indicated in a report on a discussion of the Badiou polemic,3 people in our own ranks can say things like: "Why would anybody be attracted to the Badiou line?" That reflects an approach of not really looking at things in terms of what social position and aspirations might the Badiou line express, and therefore not recognizing that there might be a significant attraction, particularly among certain social strata within the "middle class," to ideas of this kind. This is not thinking like a materialist and not proceeding from our strategic standpoint and the recognition that this strategic standpoint flows from a scientific analysis and synthesis of a deeper material reality. Why would people in "Occupy" be pulled toward doing something that (to refer to Badiou's orientation) is "at a distance from the state"? Because they've run right up against the state—and their response to that is significantly conditioned by their social position, and correspondingly their spontaneous aspirations, and a spontaneous orientation that corresponds to those aspirations.

Failing to see this—or to really take it into account, proceeding from a scientific materialist approach—has to do with why in some cases we don't write with the audience in mind: don't proceed with a sense of where the audience, for example the audience for our website/newspaper, is "at," what at least many of them don't understand or aren't familiar with, how they spontaneously see the events and questions we are addressing, and therefore how we have to approach things in order to address these contradictions in the best way to move people from where they are in the direction of where they need to go, with regard to their thinking and their felt need to act. This happens when and to the degree that we are not really thinking about transforming people and dealing with the contradictions that weigh upon them and push them in certain directions—including ignorance in some cases, as well as spontaneous aspirations, inclinations, and prejudices—but rather approach all this as just a matter of presenting our set of ideas. We have to consistently approach things with our scientific materialist standpoint and method: that we are seeking to understand reality, as it actually is—in its contradictory nature, and as it is actually moving and changing—in order to be able to transform material reality in a certain way, and that we have to be constantly seeking to learn more and more about reality. We have to consistently come at all this from the framework of our scientifically grounded strategic objectives, as opposed to viewing it through the tunnel of this or that particular thing.

The essence of the problem is whether we're proceeding in a materialist and dialectical way, and whether we're really working and struggling to transform the necessity—which is posed by the actual reality and its changingness—into freedom, by recognizing where the pathway lies for doing that. If your framework is too narrow, you are not going to see the pathways for freedom correctly. If you are looking at only a corner of the world, and viewing things just through that prism, then you're not going to see how you're going to be able to change the world in the way it needs to be changed.


Especially in the context of the acute challenges facing our Party (and, more broadly, the international communist movement as whole), and in terms specifically of the role of people with leadership responsibility in our Party, an important part of the objective reality we have to know about is the Party itself. If people with leadership responsibility don't have a good sense of the work of the Party, the "ideological state" of the Party, and so on, then we have problems. A question: What percentage of the people in the Party really understand Marx's point about the shopkeeper and the democratic intellectual? Do we know the answer to that? We need to know the answers to those kinds of things. What is the ideological state of the Party?—that is also part of the objective reality we have to know.

Even with very real and significant positive developments, the objective situation we are confronting remains difficult. It is no doubt wearing on people that we are having difficulty breaking through in qualitative terms, and that our movement is continuing to suffer losses in the world. This is the objective reality and the dynamic we have to confront, and transform, and if we don't break through—if we think we can just go along and do a few good things—we're going to be seriously set back. Plus there are people out there—including opportunists and counter-revolutionaries—who are trying to destroy us. Those opportunists and counter-revolutionaries are, in a basic sense, motivated by the same kinds of petit bourgeois viewpoints and aspirations as someone like Badiou—except that theirs is a virulent variation of this that wants to destroy us, because these are people whose particular petit bourgeois aspirations depend on our not being there and not constituting a standing alternative to—and in fact a standing indictment of—what they're about, and not about. If, as is the case with these opportunists and counter-revolutionaries, what you do is in fact predicated on the view that you can't—or really that you shouldn't—change things in any fundamental way, but you want to pretend you are for that, then you will feel compelled to destroy a force that says you can and is actively working to do it.

In a basic sense, the world outlook of at least many of these opportunists and counter-revolutionaries is not different than a lot of other viewpoints that have sway among sections of the petite bourgeoisie. It is just that their particular form of capital—in pretending to be for some kind of social change, while not really believing in or working for a truly radical change—is invested in trying to build themselves up as what amounts to a "perpetual left opposition" within the existing system, and this involves animus, extreme hostility, toward us and a necessity to see us fail and to no longer exist as what we objectively are, even with all our shortcomings and difficulties: a revolutionary communist vanguard. Other people among the petite bourgeoisie, even where they may have certain views in common with these opportunists and counter-revolutionaries, don't have the same "investment" and thus not the same animus toward us. This is why, as the Chinese Communist Party pointed out in its polemics with the Soviet revisionists back in the 1960s, it is possible to unite with many people who are not communists but also don't pretend to be communists, while unity with revisionists (phony communists) is impossible.

So this is what we're up against—this is the objective situation, in its various dimensions, that we have to confront and transform—and we have to make real breakthroughs and advances, not just in some long-term sense but in more immediate terms. The objective situation, even if and as it could become more favorable, in strategic terms, would also involve the heightening of negative aspects, including the prospect of heightened repression and increasing attacks on us of various kinds and from various quarters. We cannot afford to be passive, or to just go along in a routine way, or even just "do a few good things." We need to transform the situation, qualitatively, wave after wave, to where on a whole other level growing numbers of people are won to this—including new and fresh people, particularly (though not only) youth, who have the advantage of youth to go out and work and struggle, tirelessly and with great energy and initiative, for this.

This is a materialist assessment. You can get absorbed in what we're doing at any given time and lose sight of the larger picture—both the positive elements that are emerging and developing, even if in a contradictory and still fragile way, as well as the negative elements—and you can lose sight of the bigger strategic orientation in which all this has to be viewed and approached.
To meet the very real and acute challenges we face requires "playing the piano" well—handling well the dialectical relation of things, and in particular the relation between principal and decisive things, on the one hand, and secondary things—correctly dealing with the question of "props on the stage," and solid core/elasticity: handling well the relation between things that require finely tuned and calibrated attention, and those things to which such detailed attention not only cannot but should not be paid. It requires keeping in mind that reality is constantly changing and that, with regard to "key links" and key "props on the stage," this is not a static matter, but something that may undergo change—what is a "key link" or a key "prop on the stage," requiring continual and finely calibrated attention, today, may not be that tomorrow—and other things may come to occupy that kind of role and require that kind of attention.

This is a key part of the challenge: constantly investigating and interrogating reality, to see what in fact should be the main theme on the piano at a given time, and how you let the fingers play the other parts without paying the same level of finely tuned attention to that (to continue, and perhaps torture, this metaphor of "playing the piano"). You have to know if you're dealing with something that would have a decisive outcome on a whole process—or even on the overall strategic process of revolution. This constantly poses AND re-poses itself—what we need to concentrate on really knowing and giving concentrated direction to, as opposed to what we do not need to pay so much attention to (or perhaps can even be relatively ignorant of) at any given time. This changes all the time. It is not just a matter of reality shifting in a general sense, but the ways in which things get posed in a concentrated and decisive way repeatedly shift.


We do have to pay significant attention to "Set The Record Straight" (STRS). The questions that STRS is addressing are coming more to the fore now, because there is more upheaval and resistance, more questioning and searching for an alternative, for another way. We need to be speaking to this in a consistent and compelling way—working to turn the negative view that far too many people have, and which generally prevails, regarding the history of the communist movement and socialist society, into something positive. The fact that many people are raising their heads and thinking about big things creates more favorable conditions for doing this—but it requires work and struggle.

I noted in a report that a basic person who has been around us, and generally supportive, for some time now has changed his thinking radically on Stalin: kind of "flipping" from really one-sidedly opposing Stalin (he had been influenced by the ISO) to thinking—once he understood, on the basis of reading Conquer the World?4 the necessity that Stalin was facing—that Stalin really had no alternative other than to do what he did. That, too, is wrong; and it is not what is said in Conquer the World? We need to win people to the correct synthesis on this—and to the new synthesis of communism overall.

But it is a bedrock fact that, in general and as an overall and at this point overwhelming phenomenon, people don't have even an inkling of a materialist understanding of things like this. What was Stalin actually up against, and how did he do at dealing with this—evaluated from a materialist standpoint and in accordance with the strategic orientation of advancing toward communism? People's prejudices are striking. Many people talk glibly about Stalin, and Mao, repeating slanders about how they "killed millions of their own people" without having actually looked into this in any serious way. And many of the same people will refer to the Bible as a moral authority! Well, the fact is that the Bible is full of figures who insist on slaughtering many, many people, often in the most wanton ways, and committing other truly horrendous and grotesque acts—and these people are upheld as positive figures, even icons—people like Moses, for example.

Moving closer to the present time, and looking at this country, how many people were killed through the Civil War? A great, great number. And it could be said that Lincoln was ultimately responsible for this. Why did Lincoln do this—why did he wage war against the Confederacy, instead of just letting it secede? His essential and basic reason was not to end slavery—Lincoln himself made that clear. It was because the Confederate forces were trying to break up the Union—the United States of America—and that, Lincoln insisted, could not be allowed, even if huge numbers of people had to be killed in a war to prevent it. As it turned out, this war could not be won—by the Union—without emancipating the slaves of the Confederacy and allowing them to fight on the Union side, a fight in which many of these emancipated slaves died. Should we condemn Lincoln as a mass murderer?

We are still not materialist enough when we are hit with stuff like this. And we need to be.

We have to confront, understand and transform material reality. We have to proceed as dialectical materialists, not as sectarian keepers of a "temple of secret knowledge." It will not do to dismiss Badiou, or similar types, as "Kautskyite," as someone did recently in a discussion. We have to have substance—and present it in a living way. What would our answer be to someone who says, "I don't know who Kautsky is and what he was about, so that doesn't mean anything to me"? By contrast, the actual polemic against Badiou is very substantive, thoroughly dissecting the Badiou line and its bankruptcy. The recent Raymond Lotta polemic against Žižek5 is also a positive example and model—it has substance and a good method. We have to do the work to actually understand different aspects of reality, and to win people to understand it correctly. We—our Party collectively and comrades in the Party—also have to make use of, wield effectively, the work that has been done. A lot of work has been done through STRS. A lot of work has been done in relation to many other dimensions of reality, in the present era and historically. We must not squander this work either—we have to immerse ourselves in what it has brought to light and wield this in a living and compelling way.


Comrades in the Party and people around us should be demanding answers from us. People should be going into their Party units and saying, "this came up, and I don't know how to answer it"—demanding collectivity and leadership in dealing with this. Where is the percolation? There is not nearly enough. But instead of bemoaning the fact that there is not enough of this, we need to find out why and do something about it. The "tone" for the whole Party gets set by leadership. Leadership IS decisive. Yes, the masses make history—but even with good aspirations, if they don't have the necessary leadership, they can't make history in the way they need to, in accordance with their own fundamental interests. Leadership is of decisive importance in all this, including within the Party, and we do have to lead on the basis of being materialists and scientists, and lead with an understanding of where we are in the process, the process of confronting and transforming the objective situation, the necessity we face, in its many different significant manifestations—and specifically the acute challenges we face now.

Where are we at in this process now, and how does that relate to what we're all about? We need to consistently keep that in mind, in order to determine how to play the piano well and to lead overall. This means constantly interrogating reality, being in touch with and learning more deeply about and keeping pace with key aspects of reality, and their changingness, in the various aspects of the objective situation, and in regard to the subjective factor (the Party itself), in order to correctly lead. If we just make a list of what we're doing, or supposed to be doing, at any given time, and try to lead that as best we can, that's not gonna cut it. We have to pay attention to important particular aspects of things—but we have to view and approach all this with a grounding in an understanding of the deeper material reality, and its contradictoriness and changingness, correctly comprehending and handling the relation between necessity and freedom, and proceeding fundamentally from the plane of our strategic revolutionary objectives.

On any and all levels of the Party, in any Party collectivity, everyone is supposed to speak up and say if something is right or wrong; it doesn't matter where it's coming from. Of course this needs to be done through the right channels, and in the right spirit. And it is true, it is a key aspect of democratic centralism, both epistemologically as well as organizationally, that the higher up the "chain" you go, the more basis there is, and the more responsibility there is, for grappling with and concentrating what is being learned, through the work of the Party overall and from other sources. That is one side of the picture, and it is important. But, at the same time, just because there are people who have more and higher level leadership responsibility, doesn't mean that other people aren't responsible. Everybody, on every level of the Party, has responsibility for the line of the Party and the direction of its work in carrying out that line, even as that gets expressed through a division of labor and through the channels of the Party, which are not simply "horizontal" (involving people on the same level of collectivity and responsibility) but are also "vertical" (involving a chain of knowledge and of command, from lower to higher levels, and back down again). But, again, in terms of fundamental orientation, everyone has responsibility for the revolution and for the line and role of the Party which must be the leading core of that revolutionary process. And everyone should be striving to take as much responsibility as they can, and to contribute as much as they can, in ways consistent with the democratic centralist principles of the Party and the structures and processes of the Party which give expression to those principles. In a way consistent with this, we need a great deal of, and continually increasing, initiative and percolation, throughout the Party, on all levels and in the back and forth process which gives life to the Party's chain of knowledge and of command.
Wield, model and insist. Wield the line of the a model of grasping and wielding this line...and insist that this line, and no other, be carried out, through the application of democratic centralism, in both its epistemological and organizational dimensions. And approach all this as an ongoing, living process.


1. BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian, RCP Publications, 2011 [back]

2. From Ike to Mao and Beyond—My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist, A Memoir by Bob Avakian, Insight Press, 2005

3. "Alain Badiou's 'Politics of Emancipation': A Communism Locked Within the Confines of the Bourgeois World,"
by Raymond Lotta, Nayi Duniya, and K. J. A., Demarcations: A Journal of Communist Theory and Polemic, Issue Number 1, Summer-Fall 2009 [back]

4. Conquer the World? The International Proletariat Must and Will, by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, published as No. 50 of Revolution magazine, RCP Publications, 1981 [back]

5. "Vilifying Communism and Accommodating Imperialism: The Sham and Shame of Slavoj Žižek's 'Honest Pessimism,'" by Raymond Lotta, Revolution #256, January 15, 2012 [back]





Revolution #340 June 1, 2014

Global Slavemasters and Mass Murderers Are NOT Liberators!

May 26, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Boko Haram and associated Islamic fundamentalist forces are a nightmare for the people. But with the “international community”—imperialist powers and their lackeys—moving to “intervene” in Nigeria and move on Boko Haram, global outrage at the kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls is being mis-channeled into lining up people behind even worse crimes.

Which country in the world, from its beginnings to the present time, has the bloodiest history of genocide, slavery, invasions, coups, installing and backing brutal regimes, bombings, massacres and mass destruction, including the use of nuclear weapons? Which government imprisons its own people, and in particular its minorities, at the highest rate in the world?

U.S. imperialism sits atop a world of exploitation and oppression, including the oppression of women. Its drones and military, its torturers and spies exist to enforce that.


This imperialist system needs to be swept off the face of the earth. And it can be.




Revolution #340 June 1, 2014

From a reader:

Why Indonesia Is the Third Largest Emitter of Greenhouse Gases

May 26, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


I have been watching the documentary on the climate crisis on Showtime, Years of Living Dangerously. Here, I'm not going to offer an overall evaluation of this series. But I wanted to write about something in the first segment that talks about deforestation and some of its effects.

The show exposes how the tropical forests in Indonesia are being deliberately burned to make way for palm oil plantations. And there is talk about how this is a major source of carbon emissions and pollution.

But what this discussion doesn't really get into is why this is happening. You don't learn about the underlying causes from that segment.

The rain forests in Indonesia--which are the world's third largest after the Amazon and Africa's Congo Basin--contain some of the highest levels of biological diversity on Earth. Above: A vast section of the rain forest on the Indonesian island of Sumatra that has been cut down to plant palm trees for palm oil production. In addition to creating huge amounts of carbon dioxide, obliterating rain forests threatens the existence of rare species such as the Sumatran tiger and the orangutans that live in Borneo—also a site of deforestation.

The special issue of Revolution on the environment, State of Emergency!, actually gets into what has been happening in Indonesia and why. Palm oil is used for commercial food production, cosmetic and chemical industries, and agrofuels. Palm oil production requires the development of huge plantation monocultures—no other crops, everything geared, with the huge application of agrochemicals, to this one commercial product—with no regard for nature.

How did this happen? Did the Indonesian people decide, "Gee, let's develop palm oil"? Is that what the indigenous people in the rain forest were campaigning for? No, these palm oil monocultures have been foisted on them by major imperialist agencies like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Major transnational corporations like Unilever, Nestlé, and Proctor and Gamble, and banks from Switzerland, Britain, and the U.S., along with others, are directly financing and profiting from sales of products based on rain forest destruction.

Plantation-based palm oil agriculture got going in a really big way in Indonesia in the late 1960s. This was after the U.S. helped instigate a genocidal coup there in 1965 resulting in the deaths of up to one million people, including hundreds of thousands of communists and their sympathizers and supporters, and bringing to power the government of General Suharto. And then, after the Asian financial crisis of 1997, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF)—institutions dominated by the U.S.—insisted that Indonesia ramp up its production of palm oil and other export crops, like timber, to generate export revenues.

Today, Western Europe is "scaling down" certain carbon emissions, Third World governments are forced to pay off loans, and imperialist investors are profiting from biofuels. How? Through the "burning down" of rain forests for palm oil production, destroying the livelihoods of millions of small farmers, indigenous peoples, and other communities, and releasing huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Because of this, Indonesia is now the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases—after China and the U.S. And because of this, the Sumatran tiger and the orangutan of Borneo are facing extinction.

These are the workings of the criminal and irrational imperialist system.






Revolution #340 June 1, 2014

Violent Suppression of Occupy Wall Street Continues with Conviction of Cecily McMillan

May 26, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Correspondence from Travis Morales

The violent suppression and brutality unleashed on the whole of the Occupy movement and specifically Occupy Wall Street continued on May 19 with the sentencing of non-violence advocate Cecily McMillan to 90 days in jail and five years probation for felony assault on a police officer. Her crime? Reflexively elbowing NYPD pig Grantley Bovell in the temple when he came up from behind her and grabbed her so hard by her breast that bruises were left on her body in the form of a handprint! She was flung to the ground and repeatedly kicked and beaten by other cops, causing her to have a seizure. If this was not outrage enough, she was then charged with assaulting the cop who had brutally assaulted her!

Police use pepper spray to attack Occupy UC Davis protesters while blocking their exit from the school's quad in Davis, California, November 2011. Photo: AP

Cecily had gone to Zuccotti Park, home of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, to meet a friend on March 17, 2012, the day marking six months since the beginning of OWS. Hundreds had gathered. The police moved in on us, beating people and arresting over 70 that night. As Cecily turned to leave the park she was assaulted.

The trial was a further outrage. The jury was not allowed to hear testimony about what the police did that night or at any other time. Only 52 seconds of a 10 minute video documenting what happened that night before, during and after this incident were allowed in the court. The judge refused to admit testimony about the history of brutality carried out by Officer Bovell. On Democracy Now!, Cecily’s attorney, Marty Stolar said, “The judge prohibited us from questioning the police officer who was assaulted about the lightness of the injury, because later that night, a couple hours after he was given the black eye that led to this conviction, he was banging some Occupy Wall Street protesters’ heads on the stairs of a bus, a guy who was in handcuffs. The judge wouldn’t let us ask about that.” Further, as reported by the Village Voice, the judge ruled, “that the information contained in Bovell’s internal disciplinary file isn’t relevant to the case and that the defense can’t see any part of it.” In 2010, Bovell was riding in an unmarked police car that ran down a young Black man while he was riding his dirt bike. In his motion, Stolar also alleged that Bovell had been filmed on video surveillance kicking a man on the floor while arresting him in a Bronx bodega in 2009.

No wonder the judge ruled that Bovell’s disciplinary file was irrelevant or that the defense could not ask him about banging a protester’s head on the stairs of a bus! Time after time, millions of people have seen video of the NYPD pepper-spraying Occupy protesters in the face, beating people, firing tear gas canisters into people’s heads, and arresting people for simply marching, speaking, or just standing—and this was a big part of people taking notice and coming to support the Occupy movement.

The Occupy movement came together to protest inequality and injustice—and such protest is supposed to be legally guaranteed. Yet, nationwide, in city after city, the state planned and unleashed naked—and illegitimate—violence and repression against people. Now with this conviction, the systematic repression against those who dared to step out and raise their heads continues.

A wide array of people came to support Cecily and demand that she not be sent to prison. She was facing seven years. After her conviction, before sentencing, two members of the Russian feminist punk rock protest group Pussy Riot visited her where she was jailed pending sentencing, at Rikers Island, New York City’s main jail. After learning that Cecily faced seven years, nine of the twelve jurors that convicted her wrote to the judge, “We the jury petition the court for leniency in the sentencing of Cecily McMillan. We would ask the court to consider probation with community service.”

Cecily McMillan of Occupy Wall Street is going to jail. How much longer will those who protest be brutalized? How much longer will dissent be criminalized and crushed? How much longer will the NYPD and every other police force beat and murder with impunity? How much longer will the United States reign over a nightmare for humanity of endless wars, grinding poverty, an epidemic of rape and horrific oppression and degradation of women, the destruction of the environment and countless other crimes? Sisters and brothers in Occupy, I challenge you once again, check out the work of Bob Avakian. Yes, it is going to take revolution, nothing less.




Revolution #340 June 1, 2014

From a World to Win News Service:

Turkey: A Mining Massacre Sets Off Righteous Fury

May 22, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


May 19, 2014. A World to Win News Service. The explosion that killed at least 301 coal miners in the Turkish city of Soma continues to reverberate throughout the country, not only because of the magnitude of the tragedy, but also because of the callousness and brutality of the response from the government of RecepTayyip Erdogan.

The Prime Minister's immediate reaction was to deny that the government or the mine owners could be accused of the slightest responsibility. When 30 men were killed in a mine disaster in Zunguldak in 2010, instead of calling for safety measures, Erdogan simply declared,"Unfortunately, this industry has this in its destiny." Now, in the face of yet another explosion, he said, "This is what happens in coal mining." Citing figures for 19th century coal mine accidents in Britain, he concluded, "So these things happen. We do have something called work accidents."

Miners risked their lives to go into the mine and rescue their comrades after the explosion and fire that killed many and trapped hundreds underground in Soma, in western Turkey, May 13, 2014. Photo: AP

Echoing this sentiment, officials issued a statement indicating that if anyone was at fault, it was the miners themselves and perhaps their immediate supervisors underground. The local chief prosecutor told reporters that there was no question of bringing charges against anyone because those responsible were already dead.

Yet miners, their relatives and increasing numbers of other people knew this wasn't true. For weeks miners in this town almost 500 kilometers southwest of Istanbul had complained that coal being hauled out was hot, a sign that fires were burning somewhere in the coal seams. When the explosion came on May 13, 787 men were in the mine—the incoming and outgoing shifts overlapped, a safety violation meant to speed up work. A wave of heat and deadly carbon dioxide gas swept through two kilometers of tunnels, setting off fires and knocking out the elevator.

How much gas accumulated before the explosion is not known, because the mine's carbon dioxide detectors were not in operation. According to interviews with miners reported in Today's Zaman, management had turned them off to avoid disturbing production if the gages indicated potentially dangerous conditions. The methane gas detectors were operational, but some miners believe that management simply ignored the instrument readings. The heat and gas build-up over time should have been a signal to get miners out.

The miners were also deprived of measures to deal with the aftermath of an explosion. The roofing was made of wooden planks, not steel, increasing the risk that fires would cause tunnels to cave in. The mine was not equipped with chambers where miners could take refuge in an emergency. Survivors later pointed out that such shelters had kept miners alive after the famous 2010 gold mine collapse in Chile.

Turkey, Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only countries that do not require owners to install such safety features. Although government officials discounted their importance, saying that no one could have survived the gas anyway, this may be just an excuse. At any rate it is a sign that the mine owners' and government's only plan for coping with a potential disaster was to skip safety investments and trust in God.

Worst of all, while some miners had been given gas masks with filters that automatically protect against carbon dioxide, they had been deliberately disabled, again, apparently, to prevent production delays. However, most of the masks issued were just cloth, designed to prevent inhalation of particles, with no anti-gas filters at all. It was not the explosion but gas that is said to have killed most of the miners whose bodies have been recovered. Adequate gas masks are expensive, but in German mines, for instance, it has been unthinkable to do without them.

There are "absolutely no loopholes in the country's mining safety regulations," said a spokesman for Erdogan's AK Party. It was pointed out that the mine had had 11 inspections over the past five years. This simply underlined government complicity with Soma Holding, the company that runs the mine. Miners said that safety inspections were always signalled in advance, to allow management to prepare, and that the government inspectors just looked at the main shafts, not side corridors and never the depths of mines.

When Erdogan went to Soma the day after the explosion, he was met by mourning family members shouting "Murderer!" and "Thief" and chanting, "Government resign!" To escape the crowd he and his entourage retreated to a supermarket entrance, where Erdogan himself slapped a miner's relative for booing him. This was captured on video, although not the sequel, when his bodyguards proceeded to beat the man. In another incident, a close Erdogan aide was filmed kicking a man being held down on the ground by two Special Forces police.

After the videos went viral, Erdogan and his henchman blamed the men they beat. The mourners who heckled the prime minister were "gang members," he said. The aide refused to apologize, because, he said, he was fed up after suffering "provocations, attacks and insults" all day.

President Abdullah Gul managed to avoid creating as much of a scene as Erdogan had, but he, too, was booed when he showed up in Soma.

Several thousand people demonstrated in Soma May 16, some carrying signs that said, "It was no accident, it was murder." They were attacked with water cannons, rubber bullets and tear gas. The next day protesters came in coaches from all over country. Security forces set up roadblocks to stop them. Among the 30 people detained were lawyers who had come to provide legal assistance for families. They were beaten and handcuffed. District authorities said they would no longer allow demonstrations.

In the city of Izmir, about a hundred kilometers to the west of Soma, thousands of demonstrators clashed with police, building barricades and fighting back with stones and fire bombs. Hundreds of people in Ankara marched from the technical university to the mine company headquarters and then the ministry of mining.

In Istanbul, police broke up a candlelight vigil. Residents banged pots and pans from windows in solidarity with the miners and demonstrators, a tactic first seen last June, when middle class neighborhoods protested the repression against the massive demonstrations in Taksim Square. At Istanbul Technical University, students took over the mining faculty to protest links between the university and Soma Holding.

This company is owned by a family linked to Erdogan's AKP. It is one of several big private companies that have flourished by leasing state-owned mines since the coal industry was privatized in 2004. During this time, the company reduced the cost of extracting coal from 130 dollars per metric ton in 2005 to less than 24 dollars per metric ton in 2012. The government buys all the coal produced. 

Turkey's coal industry has a fatality rate that is five times the death rate in China, and 361 times more than the U.S. There were 1,308 fatalities due to accidents in coal mines since 2000, and 13,000 mine accidents overall in 2013. Turkey is one of the most dangerous places in the world to work in almost any industry.

Some of the families who lost loved ones in Soma had moved there in search of work from Zonguldak, near the Black Sea, after a 1992 disaster that killed 263 miners, or after the 2010 explosion there, or other closed mines. Many are former peasants driven by poverty into the arms of the many layers of subcontractors who prey on them, known as tasheron or dayibashi, village authorities, and deliver them to the mines. The Islamist AKP's development of modern capitalism is able to draw on this traditional religious, patriarchal and feudalistic system of authority.

Cheap coal—blood coal—plays a basic role in Turkey's economy, not only because of the economic importance of coal mining itself, but also because so much of Turkey's other industries depend directly or indirectly on coal, and the price of Turkish coal is a factor in their competitiveness on the world market. The AKP has made coal its symbol, through the jobs the thriving industry provides, and even by giving out coal and macaroni noodles to win supporters.

This mine disaster carries the potential for exposure not only of the basically anti-people attitude that underlies its populist stance, its repressive "dark side," but also of its "bright side," the nature and cost of the economic growth it brags about. They are two sides of the same coin. The Soma mine was supposed to be a symbol of Turkey's economic growth. During the Gezi Park and Taksim Square protests, the AKP bullied and bribed miners to come don their yellow safety helmets and board buses to attend demonstrations against the youth and in support of the government.

Although Erdogan cynically argues that the death of workers on a massive scale is the price England had to pay to become rich, implying that such deaths will lay the basis for Turkey to "catch up," the truth is that the wealth of the European countries and the U.S. comes not primarily from domestic production but from the ability of monopoly capital to extract profit from countries all over the world. The plight of Turkey's miners, like the country's ills in general, come from Turkey's subordinate place in the world imperialist system, including the super-exploitation in the mines. 

One reason, perhaps, why the Erdogan regime reacted so angrily to the protests after the mine disaster, afraid to show anything less than an iron hand even when that might be politically costly in a region whose workers have been a source of support for the AKP, is the way the miners' cry of grief has interacted with other strands of dissent in Turkish society and the complex splits in the Turkish ruling class that have become more evident in the way that Erdogan's rivals are trying to use this incident for their own ends. The U.S. State Department issued a criticism of Erdogan for striking the protester, a sign of trouble between the Turkish regime and the U.S., which once sought every occasion to praise it.

"Now is not the time to look for a scapegoat," said government officials shortly after the explosion. By the next week, the government was so desperate for scapegoats that it detained several dozen mine company officials and arrested several on as yet unspecified charges.

After the rescue operations were called off, the mine entrances have been sealed with concrete, as if to close the whole affair. Some people believe that more corpses are still underground. Soma remains under lock-down, with checkpoints at entering streets and security forces on constant patrols, the kind of state of emergency measures more commonly seen in Kurdistan.


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 #340 June 1, 2014

From A World to Win News Service

Soma: How Long Do We Have to Keep Burying Our Dead?

Soma: Daha Ne Kadar Ölülerimizi Gömmeğe  Devam Edeceğiz

(English and Turkish)

May 22, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


May 19, 2014. A World to Win News Service. The following statement on the Soma mine disaster was prepared for distribution in English and Turkish by Ishak Baran. The Turkish version follows.

A horrendous crime has taken place and righteous fury is sweeping the country. The sentiment of millions from Diyarbakir to Istanbul is that every single one of the guilty must be brought to justice. The people are resolute in their demand that this crime be brought completely into the light of day.

The boundless arrogance, the disregard for human life and suffering of the people, the threats and the taunts, from Tayyip and his clique, has rubbed salt into the wounds of the people.
They cannot be allowed to get away with this.

Heroes from among the miners went back to rescue others, some of them giving their lives in the process of saving others. And what did this Regime of Vicdan [“conscience”] do? What face did it show the people? They sent the police and gendarmes to “secure” the area for their official visits and contain the boiling resentment of the families and others waiting desperately for news of the rescue effort.   

And how did Erdogan show himself as he claimed to be the real agent of "hizmet" [service] to the people? He dared to pronounce that these "accidents" are in the nature [using the Koranic word "fitrat"] of this line of work. When his explanation drew boos from the crowd, including many people who voted for him only weeks earlier, Erdogan, carefully protected by phalanxes of police, slapped them down. His trusted top aide viciously kicked a miner for protesting the attitude of the authorities.  

When the people need to dig out the rubble and save lives, the regime sends an army of 500 imams to "soothe their souls" and counsel patience instead of protest. Excruciatingly loud amplified readings of the Koran were used to drown out the painful mourning of the people and make consolation and discussion among the people themselves impossible.

They moved to oppress the people, deaden their consciousness, muffle their anger, and reassert the authority of the state and army.  

It is clear to millions that a regime whose top representatives behave in this fashion is revealing its true character. It has no legitimacy, it cannot hide behind the charade of its electoral victory. Its laws, its morality, its way of governing, its reaction to its own wrongdoings, all show its thoroughly rotten anti-people nature. It needs to be overthrown.

Erdogan is the face of this capitalist system and his mission is to protect it and build it up. The capitalist enterprise in the Soma mines concentrates and reveals the true workings of this brutal people-eating system. The rapid capitalist development in Turkey that Erdogan never stops boasting about, and that has been held out as a model to the people of the region, is based upon and cannot live without this kind of exploitation, the destruction of life and nature in the interests of profit. The capitalist logic compelled the authorities to ignore all of the increasingly frequent warning signs that workers, technicians and scientists were all pointing to.

Some officials are being investigated, as a small minor concession to the people, so that the master criminals can continue to assure the functioning and further acceleration of this criminal system. While people are correct to be focusing their anger on the regime, it is important to watch out for other sections of the ruling classes and their political representatives who are trying to use the anger and the struggle of the people for their own schemes to save the capitalist system with themselves in charge.

The brutal nature of the regime, the breakneck capitalist development and the authoritarian features of the government are integrally connected to the ambitions and drive of the ruling class to obtain a bigger share and role in the region within the framework of the world imperialist system. This same process is feeding conflict and wars between and among the different reactionary forces in the region and the world imperialist powers.   

Islamic ideology is playing a crucial role in this drive. It is providing coherence and legitimacy to the main section of the capitalist ruling class in Turkey and justifies its claim for a regional role. However, the opposition that is voiced to growing political Islam from the Western imperialist powers and their cohorts in Turkey must never be allowed to fool the people. They have an even greater history of crimes and an even greater blood debt to the people -– from burying people alive in mines, slaughtering people in neo-colonial wars, destroying the livelihood of the peasantry in Turkey and much of the world, poisoning the environment and strangling the hopes of generations of people.

We can and must build a movement that connects the struggle to bring the criminals responsible for the Soma crime to justice with an overall struggle to overthrow the whole system. Its fundamental nature cannot be reformed. We must reject programs that promise a more tolerable or secular version of the same thing. Everything points to the system's completely outmoded, economic, political and ideological character. It is long past time to boldly bring forward the possibility and urgent necessity of a radically new society, socialism and communism. When political crisis starts to show itself, including around unexpected fault lines such as Gezi-Taksim and now around the mining massacre in Soma, we must seize the time, seize the hour. These battles must be fought with eyes raised to the task of building a movement committed to ready itself to finally and decisively overthrow this whole system, prepare minds and forces for revolution.
19 May 2014
Ishak Baran
(a veteran of the Maoist movement in Turkey and a supporter of Bob Avakian's new synthesis of communism)


Soma: Daha Ne Kadar Ölülerimizi Gömmeğe  Devam Edeceğiz

Dehşet veren facia boyutlarında bir suç işlendi ve ülkenin bir ucundan öbürüne halk saflarında haklı bir öfke kol gezmektedir. Diyarbakır’dan İstanbul’a milyonlarca insanın micaz ve talebi bu suçun sorumlularının istinasız her birisinin tek, tek adalet önüne getirilmesidir. Bu suçun ve faillerinin tamamen ve eksiksiz olarak gün ışığına çıkartılması talebinde halk kitleleri azimli ve kararlıdır.
Tayyip ve hempalarının sınır bilmez kabadayı küstahlıkları, insan hayatı ve ızdırabına vurdumduymazlıkları ve bir de kalkıp müstehzi tehditlerle yüklü halkı hiçe sayan tavırlarıyla insanların kanayan yarasına tuz basmaktadır.

Bu yaptıklarının yanlarına kar kalmasına izin veremeyiz.

Madenciler arasında kahramanlar  hiç tereddütsüz geri döndüler, içerdekileri kurtarmak için, o zor bela çıktıkları cehennem tünellerine ve bazıları hayatını verdi diğerlerini kurtarma çabasında. Ya peki bu ‘vicdan rejimi’ olma iddaasındakiler, ne yapma derdindeydiler?  Hangi yüzle, ne amaçla çıktılar halkın karşına, ne sergilediler kitlelere onların bu ızdırablı gününde? Polisi jandarmayı yığdılar olay yerine, makam itibarı kurtarma telaşıyla yapılacak beylik ziyaretlerinde  kendi güvenliklerini sağlama peşindeydiler; bir de, kurtarma faaliyetleri ve içerdekiler hakkında son haberlerin endişesiyle ocak girişinde bekleyen kitlelerin depreşip kaynayan öfkesini güvenlik güçleri ile dizginleyip bastırabilme derdindeydiler.

Peki millete 'hizmet'in esas temsilcisinin kendi olduğunu başkalarına karşı iddia eden Erdoğan ne sergiledi? Bu cins kazaların bu işin 'fıtrat'ında oldu [kasten Kuran Arapçası kullanarak]beyan etme cüretini gösterdi. Bu izahatı kitlleler tarafından yuhalanınca --ki bu insanlardan belkide birçoğu sadece birkaç hafta önce kendisine oy vermişlerdi-- Erdoğan etrafındaki korumacı duvarlarına üvenerek onlara yakapaça girişti. Kendisinin en yakın müşavirlerinden birisi de yetkililerin tavrı ve yaklaşımını protesto etmek isteyen bir madenciyi iki jandarma tarafından yere mıhlanmiş halde buılup insafsizca tekmeleyi reva gördü.

Halk felaket altından kazıp insan canı kurtarma derdindeyken rejim kendi hesabına hareketle onların micazı yatıştırmak ve protesto yerine sabır telkin etmeleri amacıyla 500 adet imamı seferber etti. Kulakları sağır edecek şekile hoperlörlerden bağıttırılan Kuran metinleri ve dua okumalrıyla kitlelein ruh hali, aci feryadları ve birbirlerini teselli eden dayanışmasını sindirip bastırmaya koşuştular.

Halk kitlelrini bastırmak, bilinclerini köreltip uyuşturmak, öfkelerini boğup bastırmak, devlet ve ordunun otoritesini tekrar tesis ve teyid etmek derdindeydil

En kıdemli temsilcilerin şahsında böyle davranan bir rejim kendi gerçek niteliğinin ne olduğunu milyonarca ınsana apaçık sergilemiş oluyor. Bu rejimin bir meşrutiyeti yoktur, seçim zaferi denen orta oyunu düzenbazlığı ardına sığınamaz. Tertibi, kanunlarıyla, ahlakıyla, hükümet olma  ve yönetim tarzıyla, kend suç ve hatalarına yaklaşımıyla, bunların tümü ve herbir tekiyle bu rejim kendisinin baştan aşağı, iliğine dek kokuşmuş , halk düşmanı niteliğini ortaya dökmüştür.
Devrilmesi, bertaraf edilmesi gereklidir.

Erdoğan bu kapütalist düzenin çehresidir, misyonu bu sistemin muhafazası ve daha da geliştirilmesidir. Soma madenlerindeki kapitalist işletme(ler)  bu düzenin insan tüketen vahşi işleyişinin gerçeklerini sergiliyor ve onların yoğun ifadesi durumundadır. Erdoğan’ın her fırsatta kasılarak övündüğü Türkiye’de  hasıl olan ve bölge halklarına da model olarak sunulan  hızlı kapitalist gelişme işte bu tür sömürü, insan hayatı ve tabii çevrenin kar uğruna böylesi mahvedilmesi temelinde sağlanmaktadır ve ve bunsuz devam ettirilmesi de mümkün değildir. Soma’daki insan kıyımı öncesinde maden işçilerinin ve teknisyenlerin ve dışardan diğer ilgi uzmanların ve gözlemcilerin yaptığı ve giderek sıklaşan uyarılara ve endişelere otorite sahiplerinin kulak ardı edip bilmezlikten gelmeleri, kapitalist üretim mantığının getirdiği güdü ve mecburiyetlerden kaynaklıdır.

Alt düzeyden sorumlular ve yöneticileden bazıları şimdi soruşturma altıda veya tutukludur, ki böylelikle halka yatıştırmak amacıyla küçük bir taviz verme yoluyla suç şebekelerinin ağababaları, ustaları bu suç düzeninin işleyişine devamı ve daha da hızlandırılmasını güvence altına alabilsinler. Halkın öfkesinin bu rejimi odaklayıp hedef almasının doğru olmasına rağmen, şunun da hic gözden kaçırılmaması gerekir ki hakim sınıfların diğer kesimleri ve onların siyasi temsilcileri halkın öfkesi ve mücadelesini kendi tezgahladıkları oyunlara alet ederek  bu kapitalist düzeni kendi yönetimleri altında muhafaza etmek istiyorlar.

Bu rejimin merhaametsiz hoyratlıkları, dolu dizgin kapitalist gelişme güdüsü ve de hükümetin artan otoriter hususiyetleri, hakim sınıfın  emperyalist dünya düzeninin yapılandırmaları çerçevesinde bu bölgede daha büyük bir pay ve rol elde etme hülyaları ve dürtüsünün entegral öğeleridir. Bu sürecin kendisi bölgedeki farklı gerici güçler içinde ve arasında ve dünya emperyalistleri arasında çatışmaları kızıştırmaya ve savaşaları körüklenmesine malzeme temin etmekteir.

İslam ideolojisi hakim sınıfın  bu süreç güdüşünde canalıcı role sahiptir,  Türkiye hakim sınıfının bir ana kesimine bütünlestirici, bünye oluşturucu ve meşru’luk temin edici bir rol oynuyor ve bölgedeki emellerini de gerekçelendirmeğe hizmet ediyor. Ne var ki, güçlenmekte olan siyasi Islam’a karşı Batılı emperyalistler  ve onların Türkiye’deki işbirlikçileri tarafından seslendirilen karşıtlık ve muhalefetin kitleleri aldatmasına kesinlikle imkan verilmemelidir.Onların halklara karşı işledikleri suçların tarihiçesi ve halklara olan kan borcu çok daha yüklü ve ağırdır –insanları köle emeği için canlı canlı madenlere gömeten, yeni-sömürgecilik savaşlarında kıyımdan geçirmeğe, Turkiye dahil dünyanın dörtbir yanında köylülüğün yaşam ve geçim koşullarını mahvetmekten, çevreyi zehirleyip nesiller boyu insanlığın ufuklarını geleceğe doğru karartmaya dek, onların suç daha da yüklüüdür.

Soma’ da işlenen suçların sorumluları ve faillerinin adalet karşısına çıkarılması için micadelenin bu düzeni devirmek için gerekli olan mücadele ye canlı bağını tesis edece bir hareket inşa edebliriz ve bunun inşası gereklidir. Bu düzenin temel niteiğini reformlarla ihya etmek mümkün değildir. Aynı şeyin daha tahmmüle gelir ve bir seküler devşirmesini vaat  eden programlar reddedilmelidir. Herşey bu düzenin miyadını iktisadi, siyas ve ideololik açıdan çoktan doldurmuş olduğuna işaret etmektedir.  Kökten farklı nitelikte bir toplumsal düzenin , sosyalizm ve communizmin gerçekleştirilmesinin imkanlar dahilinde ve kendisini şiddetle hissettiren bir ihtiyaç olduğunu ortaya konmasının vakti çoktan gelmiştir. Gezi-Taksim direnişlerinde, şimdi de Soma’daki kıyıma karşı şekillenen fay hattları etrafında olduğu gibi siyasi kriz mayalanmaya başlar başlamaz, zamana ve güne hükmümüzü geçirmek üzere harekete geçmeliyiz . Siyasi muhabereler  zihinleri ve güçleri devrime hazırlayacak tarzda,  insanların görüş zaviyesini bu sistemi nihayetinde toptan devirmeye muktedir ve buna azmetmişbir hareket inşa etme görevine yükseltecek  nitelikte yürütülmelidir,

19 Mayıs 2014
Ishak Baran 
(Türkiye’deki Maoist hareketin aktivistelerinden ve Bob Avakian’ın ortaya koyduğu komünism yeni sentezinin bir savunucusu)


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 #340 June 1, 2014

This is the text of a leaflet that was recently distributed in Santa Rosa, California:

No Whitewash! Andy's Murderer Must Be Put on Trial and Face Justice!
We Are All Andy Lopez!
The Whole Damn System Is Guilty!

May 26, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Andy Lopez was gunned down 7 months ago by the murdering sheriff Erick Gelhaus. Andy was only 13 years old, but Gelhaus shot him 8 times in 10 seconds—not even giving Andy a chance to say a word.

Andy’s friends and classmates and other youth were shocked and hurt—it could have been any one of them. And they were right to rebel in anger and demand justice! That’s the only reason Andy’s name became known across the U.S., and the only reason the system even made a show of investigating Gelhaus.

Now the system—the police, the government and the media—may be getting ready to whitewash Andy’s murder by letting Gelhaus walk, and not even put him on trial. City officials, politicians and others who represent the system are telling people to calm down, “keep the peace,” and “let the system work.” Police murders, mass incarceration, and deportations ARE the system at work! “Keep the peace” is just telling us to be quiet while they keep on killing our people and getting away with it, like we’re slaves!


We say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! We don’t need to “calm down.” We don’t need “conciliators”—we need to rise up against injustice!

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


The whole damn system is guilty of Andy’s murder, and the murder of thousands of other youth. It’s guilty of locking away millions more.

This system of capitalism that rules over us oppresses, exploits, and kills people all over the world—from California’s fields and sweatshops, to Mexico and Central America, to Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s destroying our planet’s environment. It is totally illegitimate.

We need a radically different and much better system. This IS possible through revolution. The Revolutionary Communist Party is building a movement for revolution and building the party as the leading core of that revolution. And we have a leader in Bob Avakian, BA, who has the understanding and strategy to do just that. But we’re never going to get to revolution if people don’t rise up and fight injustice, and as we fight together learn more about what’s causing these things, and what the solution is. We must not let Andy’s killer walk free!!!

Join us in the streets the day of the DA’s announcement ...and days after.

Get with the revolution (go to

Get with the Stop Mass Incarceration Network (510-948-3648,!




Revolution #340 June 1, 2014

Two Months—3 Latinos Murdered in Cold Blood by Salinas Police—
People Rise Up—Enough is Enough!

May 26, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Tuesday, May 20, Alisal District, east Salinas California.

It was a terrifying scene, and Carlos Mejia clearly feared for his life, unsure what to do. The cell phone video posted at YouTube ["Officer Involved Shooting - Salinas, CA 05/20/2014"] shows Carlos trying to walk away from the two cops who had him in their crosshairs in a "lethal force triangle," pursuing him down a quiet neighborhood street—their guns drawn and pointed right at his chest. Carlos is a 44-year-old gardener, and he had his pruning shears with him. But he never made a move toward the pigs. The video shows the cops going after him for about a minute. They come to a business district, the corner of Del Monte and Sanborne. Carlos hesitates, stops and simply turns toward the cops. Never once in this whole scene are the police in anyway threatened—they’re the ones pursuing Carlos, they’re the ones deciding how close or far they are from him. Suddenly—bamm, bamn, bamn, bamn. Carlos instantly goes down. Dead. A human being murdered for no goddamned reason!

The central California city of Salinas exploded in rebellion and protest after police executed Carlos Mejia, a 44-year-old gardener, on May 20th. Photo: Special to Revolution

The next words you hear are from the neighborhood residents who filmed the killing: "Why in the fuck did you do that...Fuck that shit!!...You motherfuckers!!" They left his body there uncovered for two hours, as crowds gathered, yelling and taunting the police.

None of this stopped the police from doing what they always do: make up bald-faced, total lies justifying, once again, their murders. This time they claimed Carlos broke into a woman’s yard and threatened her dog—yes her dog!!—with pruning shears, and that when they confronted him the police were threatened with “being stabbed or slashed” and feared for their lives. No. They shot Carlos down like a dog.

Salinas is a city of 150,000 people south of San Jose, California. Agriculture is king and Salinas proudly touts itself as America’s Salad Bowl. Nearly two-thirds of the population is Latino.

Carlos was the third Latino shot down by Salinas pigs in 2 months, and each time the police justified their murders with lies. But this time these bald-faced lies were exposed when their cold-blooded murder was captured on camera and posted on YouTube.

Right after the murder, crowds gathered at the corner where Carlos was shot down to protest. As word spread, and the video went viral, protest and open rebellion involving hundreds, perhaps a 1,000 people, grew and continued late into the night. The day after Mejia was gunned down, the anger against the police murders filled the streets all day and into the night. At one point Wednesday night, as the police were amassing forces, a righteous rebellion broke out. Rocks and bottles were flying and squad cars were being surrounded. According to news accounts, "Police with assault rifles in hand were trying to control an out-of-control crowd after a shooting just blocks away from an all-day protest calling for justice." The news reported that people responded to police repression with rocks and bottles, stood their ground against police dogs, refused to disperse, and blocked traffic.

One woman demanded of the City Council: "In the last 90 days there have been three [officer-involved] homicides. How is this OK? How is this OK to treat your community with such disrespect? I saw the video where they shot this man today ... They just shot him four to five times ... You’re shooting people to death! The police are becoming trigger happy. What are we as a community going to do to stop this? What are you guys going to do about?"

We need to say here... this system relies on the police to violently enforce conditions of poverty, misery and degradation. Revolution can and will put an end to that system. And Day One after the revolution: no more police brutality and murder.

Sharp Struggle—"We Want Justice" vs. "Keep the Peace"

On Thursday, when some readers went to Salinas, a community meeting was being held in a church. City leaders and their supporters called for "peace" and "calm." But outside, at community centers and busy streets, youth were taking the corners and median strips spreading the word that they are tired of being brutalized by police and calling on the community to join them.

Whole families were taking part. Old men yelling in Spanish, urging passing cars to honk their horns in support. Moms were there with noisemakers, drummers pounded a beat, students came with home made signs denouncing the murdering police while hundreds of cars passed honking their horns in solidarity. Local street racers revved their engines and burned rubber in support. Some elementary school kids were running through the slowing traffic and handing motorists the Call for the October Month of Resistance against Mass Incarceration, which we’d distributed by the hundreds. This went on for hours.

There was sharp struggle between the people who were demanding justice and those supporting or caught up in the system’s response. People had drawn up homemade signs saying things like "We Want Justice." But when they tried to go into the "community" meeting, they were told they could not bring in their signs. One of the "community meeting" organizers told the TV news that they were there to promote "healing" and "unity" and they didn’t want any "negativity" or to see the community "divided." Apparently police murder isn’t "negativity," but people demanding justice is.

In fact it’s a positive thing that the community IS divided and many people are fed up with the "keep the peace" approach—like the woman who said "it was not right" for the "peace" organizers to refuse to let her come into the meeting with her sign saying "We Want Justice." As the leaflet from revolutionaries—passed out by the thousands at a march on Sunday—put it:

"Now City officials, politicians and others who represent the system that carried out these murders are telling people to calm down, 'keep the peace,' and 'let the system work.' Police murders, mass incarceration, and deportations ARE the system at work! 'Keep the peace' is just telling us to be quiet while they keep on killing our people and getting away with it, like we’re slaves!"




Revolution #340 June 1, 2014

The U.S. Hand Behind Anti-government Protests in Venezuela

May 26, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


For months now, there have been waves of anti-government protests in Venezuela. Now there are signs that the U.S. is stepping up its designs in Venezuela, demanding that the Venezuelan government meet the demands of these reactionary protests that the U.S. itself has encouraged and fanned.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry went to Mexico City toward the end of May and spoke about the recent collapse of talks between the Venezuelan government and pro-U.S. opposition forces. Kerry put all the blame on the government of President Nicolas Maduro for the collapse, saying there had been a "total failure" by the government to negotiate in good faith. Kerry said the U.S. Congress is preparing to enact new sanctions against Venezuela, and in fact the day before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved legislation to freeze some Venezuelan assets in the U.S. and impose restrictions on travel between the two countries. Such U.S. threats could possibly serve as a signal for renewed attempts by pro-U.S. forces in Venezuela to topple a government that has long been a thorn in the side of the U.S.

Reactionary Protests, Repression

Beginning in February 2014, there has been a wave of anti-government protests in Venezuela. This began as outpourings of students in western Venezuelan states demanding greater security from violent assaults, which then spread throughout the country, including to Caracas, Venezuela's capital. These involved hundreds of thousands of people, mainly from Venezuela's middle class and wealthy. Leading right-wing politicians threw their support behind the protests and helped spread them. One of these leading reactionaries, Leopoldo López, called the protests "La Salida"—the exit—because he wants them to lead to the overthrow of the Maduro government.

The Venezuelan government has cracked down on these protests and there have been dozens of people killed on both sides. Hundreds of protesters have been arrested. On April 10, "peace talks" began between representatives of Maduro's government and leading politicians backing the protests, overseen by the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Vatican. But the often violent protests continued. Over Easter weekend streets were shut down in the wealthy Caracas district of Chacao, a bus was burned in the Andean city of San Cristóbal, and in Merida, police fired rubber bullets at protesters blocking a main road to the city.

These anti-government protests have caused great confusion in Venezuela and internationally. There are progressive people who think that Venezuela is a revolutionary society, even socialist. But in fact, it is not. It is a society that remains subordinate to imperialism, profit, and exploitation. And then there are many people who are drawn to supporting the protesters because "the people are out in the streets." When he accepted his Oscar in March, actor Jared Leto said, "To all of the dreamers out there around the world watching this tonight, in places like the Ukraine and Venezuela, I want to say, 'we are here.'" Cher and Madonna have tweeted their support for the protests and contempt for Maduro to their millions of followers.

Views like these are not only wrong, they are harmful, whatever the intentions of those who hold them may be. When people are protesting out in the street, it's not enough to just say, "Oh, it's a good thing that people are rising up against the government." You have to ask yourself, "What are they protesting about?" What are the forces involved and do they represent the interests of the masses of people? Just look at something like the Tea Party in the U.S.—they get out there and have big rallies and carry signs and talk about being against big government, etc. But they are completely reactionary. And what about numbers? Just getting a lot of people out in the streets doesn't guarantee that this is about something good either. Again, look at the reactionary anti-abortion movement that has repeatedly rallied thousands of people behind their anti-woman program. History is full of such examples in countries across the world.

It is crucial to dig beneath the surface, to understand the real interests and forces that are clashing, the dynamics that are driving these confrontations. The stakes in correctly understanding this are great, for the people of Venezuela, and the entire world.

The "Anti-Chavistas"

The U.S. media portray these protests as spontaneous "democratic outpourings." But in fact they have been sustained and given political direction and content by powerful right-wing forces in Venezuela. And U.S. government agencies working through Venezuelan banks, political parties and organizations, and other entities have helped fan public opinion against the regime.

For more than a decade, the Venezuelan government has been a thorn in the side of U.S. imperialism. In the early 2000s the government of Hugo Chávez imposed restrictions on U.S. and other imperialist oil companies that had long profited from Venezuela's oil resources. Chávez's government adopted a foreign policy that included close relations with Cuba and cooperation with countries like Iran and Libya that the U.S. has targeted. Chávez demanded a larger share of oil earnings for Venezuela and called on other governments to put limits on revenues going to foreign oil companies. The Chávez government also wanted to become a model for other South American countries and establish deeper commercial and political ties with Latin American countries to create a kind of regional bloc. These policies angered the U.S. imperialists who have never relented in trying to destabilize and overturn the Chávez government. Such efforts continued after Nicolas Maduro, a close ally of Chávez, was elected president after Chávez's death in 2013. And now, the U.S. has found new freedom to step up these attempts to undermine the Venezuelan government.

Changing circumstances internationally and within Venezuela in recent years have provided U.S. imperialism with renewed opportunity to squeeze Venezuela. As Revolution wrote in "March 2014. The Crisis in Venezuela: Points of Orientation," the model of development promoted by Chávez and Maduro is "based on the expectation of ever-growing oil revenues to support social programs for the poor and to buy 'social peace' from the middle classes by allowing high levels of consumer imports, cheap gasoline, etc." But this oil-based program is running into difficulties.

Sources of Economic Difficulty

The U.S. is a crucial (and is still the single largest) market for Venezuelan oil. But Venezuelan oil sales to the U.S. have been falling dramatically—Bloomberg News reported in January that they are at the lowest point in the last 28 years. This is so for a number of reasons, including increased U.S. domestic production through fracking and other forms of oil exploration and drilling. The Venezuelan government has tried to offset this loss of oil sales to the U.S. by selling more oil to China. However, "Venezuela is losing out by selling crude to China," according to an oil industry consultant quoted in Bloomberg News who monitors the international market. The reason for this is that China insists on paying a lower price for Venezuelan oil than does the U.S. in order to cover higher transport costs. Also, much of the oil going to China is used to pay back loans that China has been extending to Venezuela in recent years.

Venezuela has unsuccessfully tried to increase oil production as a way to increase earnings. Meanwhile, Venezuela is racking up more debt to pay for food imports. These and other factors have left the Venezuelan government with significantly fewer resources to allocate to its social programs. Economic and social tensions from all this is a big part of the dynamic propelling discontent and turmoil in Venezuela. And the death of the charismatic Chávez signaled an opportunity for U.S. imperialism and Venezuelan reactionaries to move aggressively for a change in the country's government.

There are skyrocketing consumer prices and food shortages, high unemployment and rampant crime. Some sections of the middle classes have seen a sudden decline in their traditional living standards. The pro-U.S. forces in Venezuela are taking advantage of discontent from all this and making bolder moves against the regime. And U.S. imperialism is maneuvering in all this to advance its strategic interests.

The U.S. Connection

An umbrella confederation of several dozen anti-Chávez/Maduro organizations called the "Table for Democratic Unity" (and known by its Spanish acronym, MUD) was formed in 2008 to bring together various political trends opposed to Hugo Chávez. The forces in MUD have different and sometimes conflicting aims. But the leading core in MUD wants to get rid of not only Maduro's presidency, but also the programs and the direction of the Chávez/Maduro years.

Very prominent within MUD have been the Popular Will Party, lead by Leopoldo López, and Súmate, headed by Maria Machado. Both of these organizations, primarily based among the wealthiest sections of Venezuelan society, have been funded and shaped by their patrons in the U.S. government. In addition to providing funds, the U.S. has also helped to hone, focus, and organize the opposition. Professor George Ciccariello-Maher of Drexel University said, "Chávez came to power, the traditional parties of Venezuela collapsed, and both the domestic opposition and the U.S. government needed to create some other vehicle through which to oppose the Chávez government, and this party that Leopoldo López came to power through is one of those ... vehicles. So this is where he's coming from."

U.S. backing of powerful, wealthy anti-government forces in Venezuela has been going on since Chávez was elected president in 1998. A State Department memo made public by WikiLeaks revealed a five-point program the U.S. had to undermine Chávez and prop up opposition to him.

In 2002 leading figures in the Venezuelan military launched a coup d'etat that successfully removed Chávez from power—but only for two days. The U.S. immediately welcomed Chávez's illegal ouster from the presidency. A statement released by the White House in the first hours after Chávez's (temporary) removal read, "though details are still unclear, undemocratic actions committed and encouraged by the Chávez administration provoked yesterday's crisis in Venezuela.... The results of these provocations are: Chávez resigned the presidency."

Two of the key civilian figures in the 2002 anti-Chávez coup were Leopoldo López and Maria Machado.

Chávez continued as president, winning several re-elections, until he died in 2013. He survived several more attempts to topple or weaken his government, including two major strikes aimed at paralyzing the country and a massive petition drive to remove him from the presidency. Then came the student protests in February 2014 that provided an opening for the U.S. connected anti-Chavista reactionaries to launch renewed attempts at toppling the Venezuelan government.

U.S. Funds

For years much of the U.S funding aimed at promoting anti-government forces in Venezuela came through the "National Endowment for Democracy" (NED), an entity created by the U.S. Congress and completely funded by the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

A lot of this NED funding has been used to finance aggressive anti-Chávez/anti-Maduro media campaigns in Venezuela and in the international media, including in South America. U.S. money has flowed to journalists, TV and radio stations, newspapers, advertising firms, etc., and is filtered and disbursed through banks headed by reactionary Venezuelans, such as the Banco Venezolano de Crédito. Further, this campaign has intensified in concert with the recent protests.

U.S. funds for anti-government efforts in Venezuela have also come from USAID. Investigative writer Gary Leech wrote that "Between 2006 and 2010, USAID spent some $15 million in Venezuela with a significant portion of the money used to fund university programs and workshops for youth, no doubt with the objective of pulling them slowly away from Chavismo. The prominent role of university students in the current protests suggests that the U.S. strategy has paid off." (Counterpunch, March 14, 2014)

After the Venezuelan legislature banned foreign funding for political activity in 2011, the U.S. began to funnel money through the U.S. embassy in Caracas. The embassy received a 50 percent increase in funding in 2012 despite the fact that the U.S. has had no ambassador to Venezuela in years, and no increase in staffing.

The U.S. State Department specified that tens of millions of dollars it sent to the Organization of American States in 2012 be used to "deploy special 'democracy practitioner' teams to states where democracy faces threats from the growing presence of alternate concepts such as the 'participatory democracy' advocated by Venezuela and Bolivia."

The full extent and nature of U.S. support for Venezuelan reactionaries seeking to undermine the Maduro government may never be known. In late April, Barack Obama wrote a letter to a Venezuelan immigrant living in Miami. He told her that he is "deeply troubled by the continued repression of protesters in Venezuela, and in addition to working behind the scenes with our international partners, I have called on the Venezuelan government to release detainees, stop criminalizing dissent, and stop using government backed groups to sow violence."

Relentless Aggression, Great Stakes

U.S. domination in Latin America—which it so arrogantly considers its "backyard"—has been enforced with almost two centuries of coups, invasions, assassinations, military occupations, and genocidal wars.

Venezuela's history and position in this imperialist web has largely been determined by its enormous oil reserves. Reliance on oil production and export in a network of imperialist domination and economic relations has distorted Venezuela for over 50 years. For decades Venezuela has been one of the world's leading producers of oil, and one of the primary sources of exports to the U.S.

The situation in Venezuela remains unsettled and rippling with explosive contention and confrontations. The immediate factors that sparked the protests and outpourings have not been resolved. The suffering of the masses of people remains deep, and Venezuela remains subordinate to the domination and dynamics of global imperialism.

What happens in Venezuela is of great consequence, not only to the people of Venezuela and Latin America, but also to people across the entire world. Recent history and current events in Venezuela demonstrate that what is urgently needed in Venezuela, as in oppressed Third World countries across the globe, is a real revolution—a revolution that unleashes the conscious energy of millions of people for radical change. What is needed is a revolution that breaks the grip of imperialism on the country and that ruptures out of the vicious web of imperialist domination, and embarks on the road towards communism, towards the emancipation of humanity.

A previous issue of Revolution stated that such a revolution requires "a two-fold break. There must be a radical break with the political economy of imperialism. And there must be a radical social revolution, a radical break with traditional relations and ideas. This was neither the program nor outlook of Hugo Chávez. Venezuela remained dependent for revenues on the world oil economy, which is dominated by imperialism. It remained dependent on the world market, which is dominated by imperialist agri-business, for its food. Under Chávez, there was improvement in literacy and health care, but there was no fundamental change in the class and social structure of society. Agriculture is still dominated by an oligarchy of rich landowners. In the cities, the poor remain locked into slums. Women remain subordinated and degraded. Abortion is banned in Venezuela." ("On Hugo Chávez: Four Points of Orientation," March 6, 2013)

As tensions in Venezuela continue and threats by the U.S. mount, people—especially people in the U.S.—must resist being whipped around by developments and how they are spun by the U.S. media, or by the number of people mobilized at any point by one side or the other. People must refuse to be played by the rulers of this country into aligning with them. Instead, people must recognize the reality that U.S. imperialism has historically and up to today been the main dominator of Latin America. And they must act on that understanding: the U.S. has no right to lay a single finger on Venezuela.





Revolution #340 June 1, 2014

“My son has been in prison all his life...”

May 26, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


A national strategy meeting was held in New York City in April to plan for the October Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration. Revolution/ talked with participants at the meeting, including families of those in prison, parents of those who have been killed by the police, and others active in the struggle against mass incarceration. The following, which is one of those interviews, is with a woman who has a son who has been incarcerated for decades and participated in the Pelican Bay hunger strike in 2013.


Talk about how your son first ended up in prison.

I am the proud mother of a prisoner advocate, an advocate for prisoners. They call them prisoner attorneys. How this came to be was, this was in California and this young man was going to school and he was an honor roll student. After school he worked at a cleaners and on weekends he worked on Venice Beach flipping burgers, he was 14 and a half. And they were doing a what-you-call-it, a sweep in Venice of the Latin American youth and the African-American youth. And it happened to be in the summertime and I think some boys had taken a lady’s purse and my son happened to be in the area. So when they were doing the sweep they just swept him right in and he went to Youth Authority. And even in Youth Authority he was helping other young Latin American and African-Americans with their education. He would teach them basic math and he would take them up into algebra, trig and some of them even calculus.

In what year did this happen?

Around 1976.

And what was he charged with?

He was charged with being part of a gang and... They may have charged him by reason of association and I found out at that time through other people in the community, that whatever community where they picked up young males, especially Black or brown, they put them in a gang module, like a section in the Youth Authority or in the prison. They’re called modules and then they put on their record that they’re in a gang. So I didn’t know at the time, but they said there were Crips in Venice and they also said for the Latinos there was some gang. And most of these youth that they picked up were actually just school children, in junior high or just beginning high school. So I’m thinking he’s going to get out of there. But he actually finished high school in there.

How much time did they give him? They just kept him in there?

They kept him in there until he was like 19 or 20.

So you’re saying, they just swept him up.... and they kept him in there for the next five years?

Yes. They started the record [on him] when he was at school. A security guard at school was selling drugs and that security beat up one of my son’s friends.... The security guard knocked the guy down and then my son jumped the security guard and that started his record off. But when the security guard and the police took him to jail, they called me and I said, hey, why is my son at the police station and they said, well he had some kind of altercation at school. So they allowed me to come bring him home. But that started off a record.

This little altercation—this was before the sweep?

Yeah, this was before the sweep. He was taken for standing up for his friend because the security guard who was a big grown man had knocked him down... But my son already knew that this security guard sold drugs at the school so he didn’t have any respect for this supposed to be law-abiding person doing that.

This is a lot like what we’ve been talking about the school-to-prison pipeline, altercations or fights like when we were kids we got sent to the principal's office are now things that kids are getting arrested and sent to jail for...

Yes. And I know for a fact that they have had policing officers in the schools—because my son is now 52 years old. He’s been in prison all of his life—the whole time can only be comparable to one year that he’s been out of prison since he was 14 and a half years old. The whole entire time.

So he’s 52 years old now and he’s been in prison basically since he was 14 years old.

Yes and unfortunately there’s a lot of young promising brown and Black youth, that are so promising that could have helped America very, very much. We know that he would have been a professor simply because my oldest son is a private contractor, a builder. He’s built condominiums overlooking the ocean in Santa Monica and Malibu. And my daughter, his sister, is a social worker with two masters degrees. And he was the one who made the best grades. These are the ones they put into their system. And I’m a retired nurse and teacher.

Here’s this child that gets into their clutches, their system. How is it that he ends up never getting out?

Basically how they wind up never really getting out is because first of all, they start them with the number and second of all...

What do you mean by that? A number?

When you go to see them [in prison] you have to know their ID number. They have, I think it’s like a five-digit ID number. Then second of all when they take children that young wherever they live at, the police know what gangs used to be there, are currently there, or whatever. So they put them in that gang, even if the child is not in that gang they typecast them and that’s like letters to the number that they’re in that gang. OK, the gangs are considered criminal, ok. So that’s one way they can keep them in there.

Then another way they can keep them in there is that if another prisoner wants to get out, all they have to do is say that one of these youth is now a part of the jailhouse gang.

So in other words, they finger the person...

Yeah, but we also found out that since they don’t tell your child or your young male or your husband or your brother, whosoever in there who fingered them, then we found out that they can do that themselves and say someone fingered them. In other words the police can just say someone fingered them.

And then another way that they can keep them in there as long as possible is that—we know for a fact that there are security guards in the jails and some sheriffs and some police that bring in contraband. OK, if the prisoners are caught with contraband they can get two strikes. OK, maybe they already had two strikes so they can get three strikes. Anyway, we know of prisoners who have gotten two strikes inside the jail.

Now we also know that nobody can bring in contraband. They’ll try to say that family members or friends or whoever can visit them bring in the contraband. But we know way better than that. Because they have to go through such X-ray machines and such metal detecting machines and such everything. And you can’t even send them a birthday card or a Christmas card that has foil or little sequins or anything like that on it or even a letter. And you can’t always send certain things in a letter because they’ll never even get the letter or if you write certain things, or they’ll get the letter so late. And of course our family never having anyone in jail that we knew about we had no way of knowing about all these things until we started questioning other prisoners and also questioning other families and seeing how much money they had to pay and that the system would take half the money they were sending in to the prisoners and making them pay ridiculous amounts at the canteens or even that we can send a box once a year and we have to pay outrageous amounts. And parents got together all over the Untied States and family members got together because they weren’t even letting them have—we had to fight to see that they would get enough soap to bathe in....

He’s been in solitary for how long?

Eight years. But when he was in the other jails they would always throw him down in the hole too. So probably, I’d say over half of his life he has probably been in solitary, aside from this last eight years in Pelican Bay.

Did he participate in the hunger strike at Pelican Bay?

Listen, he was in the very first hunger strike 20 years ago, they didn’t even put that one in the media. But that was the first hunger strike and I think that was the one where I went on the media to ask the CDCR [California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation] to let them have basic things that our tax dollars are paying for that they shouldn’t have to buy, just basic things. And he was part of the one in 2011. And what happened in this last one is that they took 51 out of Pelican Bay and sent them to Folsom Prison near Sacramento. And then the reason they didn’t force-feed him was that he had a heart attack. My son has always had a weak heart. He had the heart attack when they sent him up there. They force-fed the other ones I guess.

What happened with his heart attack?

We’ve had guys die on the hunger strike before.

But what happened to your son?

They didn’t do anything. They didn’t care.

Did they put him in the hospital?

No. They don’t really care. I don’t think his heart attack was so major, because maybe if it was major they would have either just let him die or they would have put him in the hospital. Sometimes they just let people die, that’s no problem with them. Because other people have died. And they say a lot of times in a hunger strike the reason a person dies is because there is not enough nourishment to feed the heart. But my son has always had a heart condition.

But anyway, when I went to see him in September, remember the hunger strike started on July 8 and ended approximately two months later. So then he had the heart attack around the first of September. So I didn’t get to see him until December. Oh, and he had lost 50 pounds in the hunger strike. When I saw him, he did not tell me, his wife told me and he made his wife swear she wouldn’t tell me—about the heart attack. So then I couldn’t even ask him about it because I couldn’t give her up, you know what I’m saying. Because he thought that would just kill his mom.

Does he know that you’re involved in this whole struggle?

Oh yes, yes. He is the reason why I am in this struggle. Because two and a half years ago when I was working for a Christian school, he sent his wife a letter and a flier and she called me and told me about it....

Does he get Revolution newspaper?

Oh yes. He has gotten it and they stopped it for a while, but they started it back up again.

I have one of the letters [from him] where he was congratulating me when I first got into this. [The flier] was about the Geneva Convention and bringing attention to the United Nations about solitary confinement. This was about two and a half years ago and it called on people who were aware of that, legislators, leaders. And I did contact Ms. [congresswoman] Waters about it and I did contact another person about it in Los Angeles, a councilman. I never got a reply back, there was a meeting in front of the State Department in downtown Los Angeles. The attorneys that we met there at the United Nations, they were excellent. I was happy to say there were two channels there, I think one of them was Channel 7. My daughter tried to come, she couldn’t find it. But my oldest son came. And believe it or not my son [in prison] saw his brother on television. So he wrote me a letter of congratulations and he said, mom, I’m so proud of my family standing up for all the prisoners. He never relates to himself. He always relates to all of them. He said for standing for all the prisoners and for standing up for human rights and civil rights. Because I’ve been a human rights and civil rights worker all the way back to the '60s.

His wife and I both asked him to not be in this last hunger strike because we knew about his heart and we knew that in the very first hunger strike that he did 20 years ago that it weakened him down very badly and also with the one in 2011. So we begged him not to. But they’re gonna do what they’re gonna do.

And then he was so proud—whatever gang leaders were inside of the prisons as well as the ones who were on the outside—that they agree [to] not have any racial [hostilities]—of coming together in peace, and not in war and not in any kind of criminal activity. He was very proud of that.

What are your thoughts on the October Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration?

The October Month of Resistance is not only an excellent idea, but absolutely necessary!  I say the whole month is important, and October 22 has to be a mass march all over the U.S. against solitary confinement, against the school-to-prison pipeline, against police brutality and all the police murders.  I've recently found out that October 22 is when human rights and community organizations have kept that date for years... have kept that date to make aware to society the genocide that is happening right up under our noses, in the form police killing people and incarcerating our youth, men and women—especially people of color.  The month of resistance is about putting a stop to all of this oppression.




Revolution #340 June 1, 2014

McDonald's Workers Arrested for Demanding a Living Wage

May 26, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |



On Wednesday, May 21, at the opening of McDonald's annual shareholders meeting, approximately 1,500 protesters, including hundreds of workers dressed in their McDonald's uniforms, marched onto the campus of McDonald's corporate headquarters in suburban Chicago demanding $15 per hour pay for its workers. They were met by a phalanx of 250 police, including state police in riot gear. 138 were arrested, including 101 McDonald's workers, plus union organizers, clergy, and other supporters of the growing movement demanding a living wage for fast food workers in the U.S. and other countries.

One McDonald's employee who was arrested, the mother of two small children who has worked at McDonald's for four years, said: "I make $8.98 and it's not enough. I have to depend on public assistance and my family, and I shouldn't have to do that when I have a job with a big corporation that makes billions of dollars every year on my back."

The action at McDonald's headquarters followed an international strike day on May 15 where hundreds of fast food workers in cities in the U.S. and in 30 other countries walked off their jobs for one day and took to the streets demanding higher pay. Many of these actions are being organized and supported by Service Employees International Union and other unions.

These beginnings of mass resistance by low-wage fast food workers are taking place in the context of growing attention to the gross inequalities that exist between millions and millions of people in the lower tiers of society and the obscene earnings and profits of corporations and the so-called top one percent.

Indeed, McDonald's workers earn an average $8.25 in this country, a wage that keeps most well below the poverty line—while the CEO of McDonald's has an annual compensation package of $9.5 million. In 2013 McDonald's reported $5.6 billion in net profits. And yet faced with the demands for higher employee wages, McDonald's CEO declared that a $15 hourly wage was "unrealistic." Last year in an on-line site for employees McDonald's advised them on how to budget their earnings—as if poor budget management is what keeps McDonald's 1.8 million employees worldwide living in poverty!

But this is not simply a matter of corporate greed—this is the product of the workings of a system which is rooted in the accumulation of wealth by a handful of capitalists based upon the exploitation of millions and millions of workers, a system whose dynamics are driven by the compulsion of these individual capitalists to maximize this exploitation in competition with other capitalists in an expand or die race for the greatest profit and share of the market. The current oppressive world order can't exist without this kind of anarchic drive for profit and grinding exploitation of people here and all over the world.

A society like this—where the lives and potential of millions of people are squandered, crushed, and demeaned to serve the dictates of the accumulation of the most profit—is completely unacceptable. The resistance that is developing among broad sections of low-wage workers should be supported and strengthened as part of building a movement for revolution to rid the world of this scourge of capitalism and put in its place a society where people's energies, labor and ideas can be marshaled to actually meet the common needs of all of society.




Revolution #340 June 1, 2014

Worldwide Protests Demand:
Close Guantanamo NOW

May 26, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

Hundreds participated in the May 23 Global Day of Action to Close Guantanamo and End Indefinite Detention around the world
Above: Munich, Germany credit:
Below: Times Square, NY credit:

To mark the May 23 Global Day of Action to Close Guantánamo NOW and End Indefinite Detention, before dawn in Erie, PA, a banner saying “Close Guantánamo” was dropped over a highway. In Mexico City, several young people in orange jumpsuits stood outside the U.S. Embassy with a sign saying “No Mas Guantánamo.” In London and Washington, groups gathered in front of government buildings displaying photographs of the 154 men still held by the U.S. in Guantánamo, almost all without charges, for as long as 12 years. Groups gathered in front of county courthouses in Bozeman, Montana, and Tiffin, Ohio, as part of actions in 46 cities.

A dozen students from York College in Queens, NY, came to protest at Times Square in Manhattan with more than 100 others after seeing a film about Guantánamo in their international studies class. They, like a majority of students approached on another city campus, either did not know that the U.S. set up the Guantánamo prison in 2002 where more than 700 men have been held without charge and tortured, or thought it had been closed by Obama. The York College students, most not born in the U.S., said it meant a lot to them to hear, at the protest, the words of the prisoners and different kinds of people saying torture and mass incarceration are wrong.

“We were a small group but we had a big impact,” reported protesters from World Can’t Wait who talked to groups of soldiers on Waikiki Beach in Oahu, Hawaii. In Chicago, 50 people involved in the protest found that more people were stopping, photographing, and taking fliers than in previous years.

One year ago, Obama responded to the prisoners’ collective hunger strike in protest of their detention by saying that he would take steps to close the prison. But since then he has released just 12 prisoners. All of the 57 Yemeni prisoners, cleared to leave years ago, are still held. Abu Wa’el Dhiab, a prisoner who sued the government to stop the painful torture of force-feeding him during his long-term hunger strike, won a temporary respite—but on May 23, a federal judge allowed the military to resume forcing a feeding tube into his stomach. Dhiab, who has been “cleared” for release since 2009, is one of six Guantanamo prisoners the president of Uruguay has offered to give residency immediately, but the U.S. government has taken no action.

In an ominous action, the U.S. Senate just voted to authorize Obama to move all the 154 prisoners at Guantánamo to prisons in the U.S. This would allow Obama the claim that he has “closed” Guantánamo, while creating a terrible precedent of holding prisoners indefinitely and without charge within the U.S. (while possibly trying those few they have charged in sham military commission trials). Some of the prisoners’ attorneys say that disappearing the Guantánamo prisoners into the hellhole of mass incarceration here would make it even harder to get them freed.

All of this makes the demand to close Guantánamo and release the detainees now more urgent. More coverage of this struggle is at





Revolution #340 June 1, 2014

Janet Napolitano Demands "Civility, Respect, and Inclusion" for Defenders of Death, Destruction, and Ethnic Cleansing in Palestine

May 21, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


During recent student government elections at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Students for Justice in Palestine and other groups urged candidates to sign a pledge that they will not take trips to Israel paid for by pro-Israel organizations. These trips are billed as "educational" but, according to the LA Times, the representatives of the sponsoring organizations say students are chosen on the basis of their "promise to share the group's viewpoints."

The students promoting the pledge came under heavy official attack from Janet Napolitano, the president of the University of California system, who declared, "The principles of civility, respect, and inclusion... should also govern our campuses... The actions of these students at UCLA violate these principles." It's the height of hypocrisy for Napolitano to preach about "inclusion" when, in her previous position as the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security from 2009 to 2013 under President Obama, she oversaw the deportation of record numbers of immigrants and the increased militarization of the border.

And let's see how the state of Israel stacks up in terms of "civility, respect, and inclusion":



Israeli forces and armed Zionist vigilantes regularly shoot at Palestinian protesters. Palestinians are also regularly arrested, beaten and jailed for demanding their rights. As of April 2014, 6,354 Palestinians were being held in Israeli jails. In 2013, Israeli security forces killed 27 Palestinians in the West Bank in 21 separate incidents and nine Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in seven incidents.

A Palestinian man cries for help as he reaches the body of 17-year-old Mohammad Abu Daher, who was killed by Israeli police during a protest near the West Bank city of Ramallah, May 15, 2014. Photo: AP



From 1967 to 2011, Israeli forces demolished about 25,000 Palestinian homes—90 percent of the time under the justification of "administrative" reasons, because the residents either lacked a permit or were in an area designated for expansion by the Israeli military. No permits have been issued by Israeli authorities for Palestinian construction in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 1967. The remaining 10 percent of the demolitions have been "punitive" demolitions of the homes of Palestinians accused of taking part in resistance against Israeli occupation.

Israeli army demolition of a Palestinian home in Beit Hanina, near Jerusalem, November 2011. Photo: International Solidarity Movement/



The Nakba—the Arabic word for “catastrophe”—refers to brutal expulsion of almost a million Palestinians from their land, homes, and villages in 1948 at the founding of the state of Israel. People were forced to flee with only the possessions they could carry—many were raped, tortured, and killed. Their villages and even many olive and orange trees were thoroughly destroyed. There were 31 documented massacres during the Nakba—and probably others. As a result of this ethnic cleansing by Israel, backed up by imperialist powers, there are today almost 4.5 million Palestinians dispersed throughout the world; in addition, 1.5 million Palestinians live within Israel as second-class "citizens," and 1.4 million Palestinians live under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and 1.3 million in Gaza. As part of its occupation of the West Bank, Israel has built a cement "Apartheid Wall" eight meters (26 feet) high that zigzags through hundreds of miles of Palestinian territory, expanding the area seized by Israel and making life untenable for the Palestinian people.

Palestinians fleeing Galilee towards Lebanon during the Nakba, 1948.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons





Revolution #340 June 1, 2014

First Donald Sterling, Now Mark Cuban:

NBA Owners—Stop Your Racist Shit and Get the Fuck Out of Here

May 26, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a Reader:

First we had Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers of the NBA (National Basketball Association), with his racist shit. (See Revolution/ article "Donald Sterling Rears His Ugly Racist Head") Now we have Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA team the Dallas Mavericks, coming out with more racist shit. In trying to say that "we are all bigoted" in an underhanded way that in reality supports Sterling, Cuban said in a May 21 interview with Inc. magazine online, "If I see a black kid in a hoodie, and it's late at night, I'm walking to the other side of the street. If on that side of the street there's a guy that has tattoos all over his face—white guy, bald head, tattoos everywhere—I'm walking back to the other side of the street."

First of all Mark, we are not all bigoted like you. Further, your comment about "a black kid in a hoodie" is the same outlook as that of George Zimmerman, who in 2012 murdered Trayvon Martin, "a black kid in a hoodie." And this bald-headed, tatted-up white guy could be Chris Anderson (also known as the Bird Man), who plays for the Miami Heat of the NBA. I guess you don't want to sit courtside when Chris Anderson is on the court.

Having come under heavy criticism from various sources, Cuban on May 22 apologized to Trayvon Martin's family, saying that "In hindsight I should have used other examples." Do you think, Mark, it would have been just fine if you used "different examples" that were not as sickening as referring to Trayvon Martin but which also reflected your bigotry? Cuban makes his position clear: "beyond apologizing to the Martin family, I stand by the words and substance of the interview."

This system has criminalized a whole generation of youth in this country, and the world outlook of people like Mark Cuban, who fear these youth because of the way they look and dress, only buys into and reinforces their criminalization.

This shit has got to go. We ARE building a movement for revolution, and building the Party as its leading core, to put an end to this shit and this world outlook once and for all.





Revolution #340 June 1, 2014

CHEERS!!! Cutting Tweets Flip the Script!

May 26, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |

As last week's article on "Boko Haram's Crimes Are Obscene, But Global Oppressors Are Not the Answer" put it, "The global outrage at this kidnapping is being mis-channeled into lining up people behind even worse crimes." Some people have not let their outrage at U.S. crimes get mis-channeled by the crocodile tears of one of the main spokeswomen for U.S. imperialism.




Revolution #340 June 1, 2014


Genocidal Realities

The School-to-Prison Pipeline Begins in Pre-School

May 26, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


In speaking to the situation facing Black and Latino people in the U.S.—the mass incarceration and school-to-prison pipeline, the criminalization and demonization of a whole generation of youth, the overt or just-below-the-surface racism prevalent in society, etc.—Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party has said what is taking place is a slow genocide that could easily become a fast genocide. This regular feature highlights aspects of this slow genocide.


Black children are 18 percent of students enrolled in public pre-school in the United States but are 42 percent of those suspended. First of all, what the fuck are the schools doing suspending two-, three-, and four-year-olds? Second, this is an early start to shoving these kids into the school-to-prison pipeline.

It begins in pre-school and continues all the way through 12th grade. Nationwide, Black students are 16 percent of the public school population but 32-42 percent of students suspended or expelled. If you are Black and disabled, you are really screwed: 27 percent of Black boys who are also disabled were suspended during the 2011-2012 school year. The rate for Black disabled girls during the same period is one in five.

These figures come from a U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights report published in March. An online comment in response to a New York Times editorial about the report is reactionary but revealing: "Speaking as a taxpayer, I am not interested in funding public schools that give every child a chance to fulfill his or her potential. I am willing to fund public schools to prepare the next generation to participate in the workforce. This is why publicly funded schools exist; because a well-prepared workforce is a common good."

In other words, schools under capitalism-imperialism are about training people to serve the system. When there is no room and no future for a segment of the population in the present-day U.S., then the education system serves to funnel Black and other "undesirable" kids into penitentiaries where they are warehoused and even tortured. The school system has nothing to do with enabling "people to pursue the truth wherever it leads, with a spirit of critical thinking and scientific curiosity, and in this way to continually learn about the world and be better able to contribute to changing it in accordance with the fundamental interests of humanity." That's from the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal). All those toddlers getting suspended from school need that kind of future, not the future that capitalism-imperialism is preparing for them, and preparing them for.





Revolution #340 June 1, 2014

Fight for Justice for Rachel Corrie Goes to Israeli Supreme Court

May 26, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |



On March 16, 2003, 23-year-old Rachel Corrie put her life on the line. She protested the illegal bulldozing of Palestinian homes by the Israeli army in Gaza. As she stood in the path of a bulldozer driven by an Israeli soldier who was under direct orders to keep moving, her life was violently snatched away, crushed under the American-made Caterpillar.

Rachel Corrie. Photo: Courtesy Rachel Corrie Foundation

Rachel Corrie was from Olympia, Washington, and she had traveled to Gaza with the International Solidarity Movement. The aim was to shine a light on Israel’s destruction of Palestinian society. A continuing project of ethnic cleansing has been underway with a vengeance since 1948 when the state of Israel was established. “A land without people for a people without land” was and is the big lie used to justify Israeli occupation of almost all the land in Palestine and horrific crimes against the Palestinian people. (For more on the nature of the state of Israel, see the special Revolution issue Bastion of Enlightenment or Enforcer for Imperialism: The Case of Israel)

After Rachel’s murder by the Israeli army, her parents, Cindy and Craig, along with many people outraged by this crime, launched a campaign not only for justice for Rachel, but to continue Rachel’s work in resisting oppression. (See Revolution Interview with Cindy and Craig Corrie, October 10, 2010.) As part of this, a lawsuit was filed against the state of Israel for the death of Rachel.

Nine years after Rachel was killed, in 2012, a ruling came down saying the Israeli army was not responsible, despite numerous eyewitness accounts that Rachel was clearly visible to the military bulldozer driver and the revelation in court that the Israeli army had a standing “shoot to kill” order against any adult in this zone. The system that uses its state power to treat Palestinians as less than human, steal their land, demolish their homes, confine them to chopped-up parcels of territory in their own homeland, jail thousands for resisting and force millions into exile as refugees, ruled that Rachel Corrie was responsible for her own death.

On May 21, the appeal of that outrageously unjust ruling was heard in the Supreme Court of Israel, with Cindy and Craig Corrie in the courtroom. The court is expected to take months before issuing a ruling. At a recent press conference, Craig Corrie stated, “The Supreme Court now has a choice, to either show the world that the Israeli legal system honors the most basic principles of human rights and can hold its military accountable, or to add to mounting evidence that justice can not be found in Israel.”





Revolution #340 June 1, 2014

On the Santa Barbara Mass Killings:

How Long Will Women Face Violence, Terror, Rape and Oppression?


by Sunsara Taylor | May 28, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


The mass murder carried out on May 23 in Santa Barbara by a young man who professed profound hatred of women—and who released a manifesto which revealed years of cultivated resentment, score-keeping against women for living lives that did not reduce to sexually servicing him, “loving” him, and hanging on his arm in a way that elevated his “status” as a man—poses these questions:

How long must women live with the fear of violence at the hands of men who are trained by society to hate them, to feel entitled to their bodies, to view women not as human but as things who exist to sexually and emotionally service them or bear their children?

How long will young women in “the West” face the likelihood of rape while in college while girls in Nigeria, Afghanistan, and elsewhere face the terror of death, abduction, or acid-attacks simply for going to school?

How much longer will we tolerate a society where every 15 seconds a woman is beaten, where every day three to four women are killed by their male partners, and where—on top of all this—the jails and prisons are then filled with the women who have dared to defend themselves against this abuse?

How long will we tolerate a culture which mainstreams violent and vicious pornography that trains millions and millions of men to see women's degradation, torture, and humiliation as “sexy”?

How many more girls and very young women will be kidnapped or tricked, sold by starving families or drugged and beaten into sexual slavery in every part of the world including here, where the average age of entry into prostitution is 12?

How long will women's lives be foreclosed by forced motherhood because they are unable to access safe, affordable, and unstigmatized birth control and abortion—rights which are under vicious and escalating assault in every part of this country right now as you read?

And how long will we be fed the bullshit LIE that women have “achieved their equality,” that all that is left is for individual women to “empower themselves” within this landscape of abuse and degradation?

The answer is simple: UNTIL WE MAKE REVOLUTION!

All this violence and terror against women is NOT “human nature.” It is the system that rules over the people. Today, this system is capitalism-imperialism, and in every part of the world the workings of this system are intensifying the vicious and cruel oppression and exploitation of women.

It is possible to end all this terror and oppression, but not without ending that system. NOT WITHOUT REVOLUTION—GENUINE, ALL-THE-WAY COMMUNIST REVOLUTION.

NEW from Bob Avakian:

Break ALL the Chains!

Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution

Sampler Edition

Break ALL the Chains!

Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution

Through revolution, we can end once and for all the millennia of women being terrorized, abused, degraded and oppressed. Through revolution, we can get rid of the deep divisions in society that give rise to and require the oppression of women by men. Through revolution, when the time is right—and as a key part of what revolution actually means—the people can and must defeat and dismantle the state which rules over us and enforces all this oppression, and whose military and police forces actually concentrate this hatred of women. With a new revolutionary state power, a new form of rule that puts the needs of the people and the fight to dig up all forms of oppression and exploitation first, we can fully unleash and give backing to the pent-up fury of women at thousands of years of tradition's chains as a mighty force in achieving the full emancipation of all humanity.

This revolution is possible. This revolution is urgent. And the leadership and understanding for this revolution exists in Bob Avakian (BA) and the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. As concentrated in a just-released compendium, Break ALL the Chains! Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution, and in A Declaration: For Women's Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity, the vision and strategy for this revolution have been forged, and movement for this revolution IS being built. Get into this deeply and with urgency, and be part of spreading it.

At the same time, as part of hastening the development of such a revolution and preparing people to seize on it and take it all the way—OR even if you are not yet convinced of the need for such a revolution—join in the fight today to stand up against and shake off the ways this system puts on us. Refuse to stay silent or go along. Link up with the movement to End Pornography and Patriarchy: the Enslavement and Degradation of Women, becoming part of the fight right now to defeat this war on women and forging a spreading culture and community of revolt and liberation up against all the woman-hating that is so prevalent.

Answer the call of the future by stepping to the front lines of the fight to #BreakALLtheChains.

As BA has said over many years:

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

BAsics 3:22





Revolution #340 June 1, 2014

Speaking Out About the Santa Barbara Mass Murder

May 28, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Various Voices from the Movement to End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women, posted on the Stop Patriarchy blog.

On the Santa Barbara Mass Killings:

How Long Will Women Face Violence, Terror, Rape and Oppression?


by Sunsara Taylor

May 28, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |

The mass murder carried out on May 23 in Santa Barbara by a young man who professed profound hatred of women—and who released a manifesto which revealed years of cultivated resentment, score-keeping against women for living lives that did not reduce to sexually servicing him, “loving” him, and hanging on his arm in a way that elevated his “status” as a man—poses these questions:

How long must women live with the fear of violence at the hands of men who are trained by society to hate them, to feel entitled to their bodies, to view women not as human but as things who exist to sexually and emotionally service them or bear their children?

How long will young women in “the West” face the likelihood of rape while in college while girls in Nigeria, Afghanistan, and elsewhere face the terror of death, abduction, or acid-attacks simply for going to school?

How much longer will we tolerate a society where every 15 seconds a woman is beaten, where every day three to four women are killed by their male partners, and where—on top of all this—the jails and prisons are then filled with the women who have dared to defend themselves against this abuse?

How long will we tolerate a culture which mainstreams violent and vicious pornography that trains millions and millions of men to see women's degradation, torture, and humiliation as “sexy”?

How many more girls and very young women will be kidnapped or tricked, sold by starving families or drugged and beaten into sexual slavery in every part of the world including here, where the average age of entry into prostitution is 12?

How long will women's lives be foreclosed by forced motherhood because they are unable to access safe, affordable, and unstigmatized birth control and abortion—rights which are under vicious and escalating assault in every part of this country right now as you read?

And how long will we be fed the bullshit LIE that women have “achieved their equality,” that all that is left is for individual women to “empower themselves” within this landscape of abuse and degradation?

The answer is simple: UNTIL WE MAKE REVOLUTION!

All this violence and terror against women is NOT “human nature.” It is the system that rules over the people. Today, this system is capitalism-imperialism, and in every part of the world the workings of this system are intensifying the vicious and cruel oppression and exploitation of women.

It is possible to end all this terror and oppression, but not without ending that system. NOT WITHOUT REVOLUTION—GENUINE, ALL-THE-WAY COMMUNIST REVOLUTION.

Through revolution, we can end once and for all the millennia of women being terrorized, abused, degraded and oppressed. Through revolution, we can get rid of the deep divisions in society that give rise to and require the oppression of women by men. Through revolution, when the time is right—and as a key part of what revolution actually means—the people can and must defeat and dismantle the state which rules over us and enforces all this oppression, and whose military and police forces actually concentrate this hatred of women. With a new revolutionary state power, a new form of rule that puts the needs of the people and the fight to dig up all forms of oppression and exploitation first, we can fully unleash and give backing to the pent-up fury of women at thousands of years of tradition's chains as a mighty force in achieving the full emancipation of all humanity.

This revolution is possible. This revolution is urgent. And the leadership and understanding for this revolution exists in Bob Avakian (BA) and the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. As concentrated in a just-released compendium, Break ALL the Chains! Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution, and in A Declaration: For Women's Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity, the vision and strategy for this revolution have been forged, and movement for this revolution IS being built. Get into this deeply and with urgency, and be part of spreading it.

At the same time, as part of hastening the development of such a revolution and preparing people to seize on it and take it all the way—OR even if you are not yet convinced of the need for such a revolution—join in the fight today to stand up against and shake off the ways this system puts on us. Refuse to stay silent or go along. Link up with the movement to End Pornography and Patriarchy: the Enslavement and Degradation of Women, becoming part of the fight right now to defeat this war on women and forging a spreading culture and community of revolt and liberation up against all the woman-hating that is so prevalent.

Answer the call of the future by stepping to the front lines of the fight to #BreakALLtheChains.

As BA has said over many years:

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


In Light of the Tragic Shootings at UC Santa Barbara

by a California college student with Stop Patriarchy

In light of the tragic shootings at UC Santa Barbara, we need to stop dodging the cold truth: we live in a culture where despite the horror of seven bodies, this is not that shocking.

The shooter, Elliot Rodger, has been portrayed as a psychotic outlier; and the shooting has been reduced to a senseless, isolated incident. It is easier to blame the individual because if these mass shooting were a symptom of patriarchal culture, that would be an admission that women are oppressed, and if women are oppressed then the answer to mass shootings is bound up with dismantling the institutions that reinforce this oppression.

Rodger created a video describing his intentions that has since been published on YouTube where he declares, “If I can’t have you, girls, I will destroy you.” After watching this it becomes clear that this was a blatant hate crime against women rooted in male entitlement.

Like other mass shootings, the media has fought to remove this event from the revolting culture that continues to produce male shooters (out of 22 school shootings in this country, only 1 shooter has been female.) The problem is not mental illness, although this does play a role. The problem is a construct of masculinity that teaches male entitlement to women’s bodies; and that problem cannot be solved without confronting the patriarchy that institutionally desensitizes all of us to violence against #yesALLwomen.


The Montreal Massacre...and the UCSB Shooting

By a member of Stop Patriarchy in the Northwest

Every year in Canada on December 6th there’s a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, to commemorate what is known as the Montreal Massacre. In 1989 on Dec. 6th, Marc Lepine entered an occupied classroom in an engineering school, and after sending the men out of the room, and after proclaiming that he was “fighting feminists,” and that all the women there “were a bunch of feminists,” he shot the nine women in the classroom, killing 6 of them, and then went into the hallway to find more women to kill. All in all he shot 28 people and killed 14 women.

It was later revealed that one motivation for the attack was that he had not been accepted to the engineering program, and that he was angry that women had been accepted into the engineering program instead of him. He blamed women for ruining his life.

Fast forward to 2014, and the recent UCSB shooting where Elliot Rodgers proclaimed in a YouTube video before the shooting that he wanted retribution against the women that wouldn’t date him, and that weren’t interested in him, and who wouldn’t give him “their affection, and sex, and love.” His stated goal was to enter “the hottest sorority house and slaughter all the spoiled stuck-up blonde sluts.”

With both of these shooters there was an immense hatred of women, and frustrated entitlement that women had refused to conform to patriarchal notions of how women should behave. Either women were entering into universities to take away occupations and opportunities from men (more specifically Lepine), or women were not giving Rodgers the sex, love, and affection that he felt was his right, and that they were denying to him.

Are these both examples of a sick, mentally ill person...Yes, absolutely. But neither of them came up with these ideas and outlook on women and women’s roles in society and in relation to men. These massacres were not “isolated acts by individual madmen,” as the media outlets have been continually discussing with Rodgers, and as they posited about Lepine. We should not blatantly and irresponsibly ignore that these ideas and patriarchal notions are held by far more people than just those who shoot to kill, and these ideas are enforced and re-enforced by a whole system that rests on the continued and intensifying oppression of women. There is an actual war on women happening, to #yesALLwomen, and this is a life and death matter, for #yesALLwomen!

There is not much positive about this shooting, this is horrific...but if it kick starts a society-wide conversation about patriarchy, if it would cause society to have a National Day similar to Canada’s, if people throughout society were recognizing violence and hatred toward women and demanding a stop to it, if people came out into the streets against the war on women and were seeing that together we could stop patriarchy....those actions could be positive things that come out of this horrific tragedy. And things like that, they could contribute to ultimately ending patriarchy, and ushering in a day when no longer do women have to fear violence, or a possible death sentence being carried out against them, or actually be killed, simply because they happen to be female in a patriarchal world.


On the UCSB Massacre – We live in a society that dictates that it is human nature for men to be aggressive and controlling.

By a member of Stop Patriarchy in Southern California

We should remember those lost and injured at the UCSB massacre. We live in a rape culture where women have fear of walking down the streets at night. Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid's Tale, wrote that when she asked a male friend why men feel threatened by women. “They are afraid women will laugh at them.” She asked a group of women the same of men. “We’re afraid of being killed.”

There is a militarization of our young boys through pornography, video games, American chauvinism, extreme individualism, institutions of authority and terror, and a culture of rape and male entitlement. It is the patriarchy which grooms and arms young men into accepting masculinity as a capital of dominance and terror. This is an outrage.

Toxic masculinity, male entitlement, and patriarchal notions that men's titillation comes first are pathologies and the war on women is an epidemic. Every 15 seconds, a woman is beaten, maimed, tortured, raped or murdered. Women die everyday at the hands of men and are not isolated occurrences of a psychopath or mental health problems when we live in a society that dictates that it is human nature for men to be aggressive and controlling. The fact is that there is not a safe place in the world for women. Women are more likely to be beaten, raped, tortured, and murdered by their intimate partners in their home than anywhere else.

It’s no exaggeration to say there is a war on women! If what happened at UCSB were to happen at a church congregated by an ethnic minority, we would call this a crime of hate. This is misogyny rooted in patriarchy. If what happened to women were to happen to any section of people in the country or in another country, there would be massive outrage. Females are more likely to be killed in mass shootings. As sociologist Michael Kimmel has said, if women made up the majority of mass shootings against men, you bet gender would be an issue in the news. This was not an isolated or unique occurrence.

The suspect was a victim of countless bullying.

A former classmate said that Rodger was treated by his classmates as an oddball and that students mocked him and played jokes on him; once when Mr. Rodger fell asleep in his seat, classmates taped his head to his desk, he said.

“We said right from the get-go that that kid was going to lose it someday and just freak out,” he said. “Everyone made fun of him and stuff.”

Why do we want to stop talking about bullying the day he murders someone, and then it’s about personal responsibility? “Lock him away and throw away the key!” they say, or “Okay... now let’s talk about strengthening the family.” We want to pretend that there is no link between bullying and patriarchy and misogyny and violence against women.

Women do not have access or control over their own bodies. In this culture, women are to be used, abused, degraded and shamed. The bodies, lives, and futures of women account for nothing unless she can be an object of some man or men’s fantasies and his property.


“We want to believe he was unique...”

from a member of Stop Patriarchy in the Midwest

The destructive and deadly acts of Elliot Rodger provide a shocking view into the ongoing war on women. This was made painfully clear to me while talking to a group of old friends on Sunday afternoon. They are women of a certain age who remember their old days of activism and despair at the current state of women's rights. The conversation went from the gender wage gap to the closing of abortion clinics. I began to talk about the organization Stop Patriarchy because it seemed a natural transition. As rightly identified by the Stop Patriarchy group these issues are not isolated nor accidental; they reflect a larger war on women. This idea derailed the conversation. My friends could see each issue as a distinct social problem but seemed to short-circuit at the idea that the issues were all connected and part of an underlying culture of control. One woman, with eyes wide and head cocked to one side, asked me for an example. Yes there were still battles to conquer but how do these individual issues translate into war on women? Could I provide one clear, unifying example?

Elliot Rodger. The words came out before I even had a chance to think. I do not dismiss the influence of mental illness and the out-of-control gun culture but those are all incidentals layered over the glaring reality of misogyny. Women may earn degrees, run for political office or strive for a variety of personal achievements but these actions are set against a backdrop of entrenched prejudice, even hatred, toward women. The rantings of Elliot Rodger were full of examples: women were one dimensional beings recognized only for their sexuality. Women gained his attention only because they reflected the status of men. Women disappointed him, rejected him, and deserved his wrath. Like the rapist who feels justified in taking what he wants, Rodger felt justified in his rage and in his violence. There was no moment of hesitation or speculation, his view of women was deeply ingrained.

We want to believe that he was unique but that is not true. His actions were extreme but his attitudes were painfully common. Others have written about this already, I claim no personal insights, but to me this is the essence of the war on women. This culture of misogyny lays like a blanket of heavy smog over our society. We fight our daily battles but we are always bogged down by the weight of the pollution. The gender wage war, the attack on abortion clinics and the exploitation and abuse of women in the porn industry are important individual issues but we have to look at the big picture. These are all part of the war on women; they grow out of the attitude that women are one dimensional and secondary members of society.

My friends nodded and smiled and even told a few stories of their own about the ways that society works to control women. For a moment we were of one mind and it was powerful. Then one friend said, "But men are just built that way. It is in their nature to always want women and sex." The moment of our common understanding had passed and we were back at our table of isolation. The conversation turned toward something light and off we went. Did they think about this later? Did they see an article in the paper and recall our moment of understanding? Will they remember this moment when they see the next Elliot Rodger in the next attack on women?

I do not believe that we have to live this way. I do not believe it is natural or organic to live in a world where one group oppresses another and then makes up reasons why it is okay. Do you want an example of this war on women and of the culture of misogyny and control? Look at the attitudes of Elliot Rodger and then look again. It is ugly but you cannot turn away. We have to see this and fight this together.




Revolution #340 June 1, 2014

From the Tweets into the Streets!

May 30, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |



Take to the streets one week after the misogynist murders in Santa Barbara, in resistance against the whole culture of rape, violence against women, and patriarchy.  Join different individuals and organizations in cities across the country in bringing these messages and more into rush hour, into the public square, and into the conversation.

In response to the mass murder in Santa Barbara by a man who openly proclaimed his hatred for women, stand up to STOP violence against women in every form.

Protest - Rally - Speak Out

Seattle: FRIDAY, 5:30 pm, Westlake Center
San Francisco: FRIDAY, 6 pm, 24th St / Mission
NYC: SATURDAY, 3 pm, Union Square Park
Chicago: SATURDAY, 1 pm, Jackson & State
Philadelphia: SATURDAY, 4 pm, Rittenhouse Square
Portland: SUNDAY, 3 pm, Pioneer Courthouse Square

Santa Barbara (Isla Vista):  A march begins at 2 pm SATURDAY, May 31 at I.V. Deli Mart (where one of the students was killed), 6549 Pardall Rd., Goleta (Isla Vista), CA 93117.  Join a team heading there from L.A.; meet at 10:30 am at Revolution Books, 5726 Hollywood Blvd.

Los Angeles:  Speak Out! in the Crenshaw district - SATURDAY, May 31, meet at 11:30 am at Crenshaw & Slauson at the Burger King; and at 2 pm at Crenshaw & MLK at Krispy Kreme Donuts.


It is true, and a very good thing, that not all men violate, beat, and disrespect women.

But it is INTOLERABLE and OUTRAGEOUS that #YesAllWomen face degradation, harassment, derision, ridicule, shame, and violence -- or the constant threat of violence -- and sexual assault.

We must go from tweets into the streets -- to express our outrage, to stand together publicly, and to draw forward others to stand up and say NO MORE!

No more rape, rape jokes, gang-rape, or rape porn... no more acid attacks, "honor" killings, or kidnappings... no more street harassment or roofies... no more anti-abortion restrictions or denial of birth control... no more forced motherhood or sexual objectification... no more misogyny and no more excuses.

We can and must END the enslavement and degradation of women in all its forms.

What better time than now? What better place than here? Who else, if not all of us and YOU?


After UCSB student Elliot Rodgers went on a shooting spree on May 23, 2014, to exact his revenge on women for not having sex with him, social media exploded with conversations and stories about misogyny, male entitlement, the oppression of women, rape culture, and patriarchy, under the hashtag #YesAllWomen.

In a video he recorded the day before he shot several students in Santa Barbara, Rodgers revealed his plan:

On the day of retribution, I am going to enter the hottest sorority house of UCSB and I will slaughter every single spoiled, stuck up, blonde slut I see inside there.  All those girls that I’ve desired so much, they would have all rejected me and looked down on me as an inferior man. If I ever made a sexual advance toward them, while they throw themselves at these obnoxious brutes.  I’ll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you.  You will finally see that I am in truth the superior one, the true alpha male.

The initial conversation on Twitter about this tragic incident as a product of a male supremacist system and culture was met with backlash under the banner of #NotAllMen (as in, don’t blame men, this is a gun control issue, this is a mental health issue, this is any other kind of issue than the oppression of women).  The result was an outpouring of stories and the wide acknowledgement of a culture that objectifies women and feeds male entitlement. #YESALLWOMEN live under the constant threat of violence.

For more info, including ideas to call your own event, and to get connected, go to




Revolution #340 June 1, 2014

Reflections on “#YesAllWomen”

by T. Redtree | May 30, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


The spring 2014 school year wound down with a mounting number of female students coming forward to testify about their experience with campus rape and to protest the callous failure of universities to acknowledge and address this. Then last week Elliot Rodger unleashed his murdering retribution against women, which also took the lives of four male students in Isla Vista, California. UC Santa Barbara is a campus that had already been plagued by two gang rapes this winter. Students there held a small protest which together with a Twitter campaign has sparked an outpouring of grief, rage, and soul-searching discussion about rape culture on campus and in society at large.

Two young women started a hashtag titled “#YesAllWomen” to answer the all too typical response epitomized by a Twitter account titled “Not All men”—which was objecting to attributing the massacre to misogyny (women hating) and claiming this was portraying all men as sexist aggressors when this was just an act of a mentally deranged individual. The #YesAllWomen tweets stepped off with messages like “Not all men harass women but ALL women at some point have been harassed by men.” Within a few days, #YesAllWomen had over a million posts with an international following including celebrities, news reporters, and authors weighing in.

As women and young men poured their hearts out and gave testimony, a picture of what most people tolerate as normal began to take shape and pick up steam—challenging and changing the way that people have been thinking about these things:

“Because how often does a man text his friend to say he got home safe”; “Because the response ‘I have a boyfriend’ is easier than saying No”; “Because I was taught to scream fire instead of rape because it increases the chances of someone coming to help”; "Because women are taught to hate themselves if a man rejects them and men are taught to hate women who reject them”; “Because when men say No it’s the end of the discussion but when women say No it’s the beginning of a negotiation”; “Because I don’t make eye contact on the Street. I don’t put my drink down at parties, I cross the street when I see groups of men, because I use a buddy system"; "Because I use keys as a political weapon”; “Because we walk in groups not because we like to be in cliques”; “Because rape is the only crime where the victim has to prove it wasn’t their fault.”

Young women are expressing encouragement by the numerous posts by men giving their support and saying how much they are learning from absorbing the torrent of posts: “Because I started to read this site because I have a daughter but now I see I should keep reading because I have two sons”; “Because as a man I don’t have to carry pepper spray everywhere in case a man rapes me behind a dumpster.”

“Because the backlash from speaking out can be more traumatic than the incident”—this tweet was shamefully substantiated when the two women who started #YesAllWomen had to take down their personal accounts due to the online threats and harassment they received. In many of the posts, women confessed debating whether they should tweet, knowing they would be told by friends and colleagues to not be so angry or oversensitive. Bloggers testified to losing followers for posting. Feminist and mainstream journalists shared how often they are threatened with rape online for their reporting and having to take down the comment pages because of piling on by men acting like an online lynch mob.

NEW from Bob Avakian:

Break ALL the Chains!

Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution

Sampler Edition

Break ALL the Chains!

Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution

This outpouring is giving voice to emotions normally shoved down and silenced—where what women too often put up with as “normal” is starting to give way to anger and a collective strength of spirit that women shouldn’t have to live like this. And it’s about time! These are the kinds of cracks in the normal routine that people have to step through and pry open so that there are real alternatives to how women at great cost accept and internalize their oppression. Cause let’s face it—it’s been fucking degrading and disheartening that the highest young women can shoot for in the 21st century is “owning” your own sexuality so you can “get yours” out of the dominant social relations that are saturated in patriarchal privilege and firmly embedded in the capitalist dog-eat-dog commodity relations that shape every choice you can make—no matter how free you think you are to make them.

It’s been disorienting that women have gained formal equality—while the culture has been seething with backlash, resentment, and brutality. You are supposed to “lean in” and have it all—to put longing for a loving meaningful relationship on hold while you pay attention to your education and consume yourself with a career, and in the meantime you can “man up” and do what the boys do... except you can’t really. Because the boys don’t have to walk home with their keys between their knuckles, and they are not the ones who are going to be looked at and treated like a slut.

Elliot Rodger’s manifesto was full of self-pity and resentment that he was being deprived of his rightful privilege; he was outraged at Black and Mexican men who were able to have sex with white women when he, who was half white, could not. He wrote in his manifesto, “Tomorrow is my day of retribution, the day in which I will have my girls are not attracted to me, but I will punish you for it. I’ll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you... I am the true victim of this. I am the good guy... I didn’t start this war.” These are ravings of someone who was mentally broken, but what has to be called out as even more disturbing is that these are the very same ravings being promoted by very powerful people in the political culture, in government, by organized fascist political movements and in the actions of resentful individuals this unleashes. From soldiers who have committed atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the endemic use of rape as a weapon of war, to the man who rapes—to the gangs who rape, to Bush then Obama who justify military intervention, torture, and drones in the name of “We didn’t start this war... We’re the Good Guys,” to the men’s rights groups that paint themselves as the true victims—this shit is epidemic.

Yes this was a very extreme event exaggerated by mental illness, but there is a reason it has also struck so many people as not just an aberration. That same sense of privilege denied—that act that says “if I can’t have her no one can”—is manifested in three women a day being murdered by a current or former intimate partner. This same spring a popular high school student in Connecticut stabbed the girl who declined his invitation to the prom. The same week a crowd of 30 men stood and watched as a young woman, who had married the man she loved and not the one her family had arranged, was bludgeoned to death with bricks as she met with her lawyer in front of a courthouse in an honor killing in Lahore, Pakistan. Patriarchal traditions dictated that she deserved to die for disgracing her family. Elliot Rodger's massacre is just a peculiarly American form of honor killing. The satire magazine The Onion captured this with the headline “‘No Way to Prevent This’ Says Only Nation Where This Happens Regularly.”

Rape—including campus rape—is not about sex. It’s about the violent assertion of male right and power over women. Popular culture has desensitized rape and blurred lines so many male students actually don’t know that “No” does not mean “I know you want it.” Generations of people are being raised in a pornified culture. Young men (and young women) are assaulted with imagery and advertising where sexuality is modeled as objectification, and selling your body as your product. Prostitution is taught as a legitimate career choice in Women’s Studies departments, as if the best a women can do is negotiate a price instead of asking the question What kind of society is this that does this to women and what does the explosion of sexual slavery have to do with imperialist globalization?

As Bob Avakian points out in the film of the speech REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!—“You can do in this society today to women what you could not do to any other group without a huge outcry. Or imagine if you literally showed lynchings [of Black people] and depicted them as a source of titillation.... There would be outrage as there should be.... What goes on, particularly in the increasingly violent and vicious pornography, is very much along the same lines as the postcards of the hanging: the titillation of men through the physical torture and degradation of women, which is becoming more and more the norm and more and more mainstream in pornography. We should all think about the fact that one of the most popular forms of pornography, as it’s being more and more mainstreamed, is rape pornography, depicting literally the woman being raped.”

The right of women to abortion is now all but outlawed in seven states and is in a perilous state of emergency in the whole country—and yet too many people don’t get what the big deal is. Elliot Rodger's rantings—that “Women should not have the right to choose who to mate and breed with. That decision should be made for them by rational men of intelligence... Women have more power in human society than they deserve, all because of sex”—isn’t any different than what is being shouted in women’s faces on any given weekend in front of abortion clinics across the country being besieged by religious right-wing fanatics. It’s the same logic that has higher courts upholding reactionary local legislation that is closing abortion clinics with technicalities and making it unavailable, especially for women who do not have the money to travel to another state for an abortion. These are not unconnected issues—they are all part of a war on women—all made of the same stuff linked and woven from the same fabric.

Anguished parents are blaming gun laws, but the causes are much deeper, more intractable and more systemic. It’s part of the very fabric of this society. As A Declaration: For Women’s Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity by the RCP puts it: “This fabric ropes back into history, it winds its way around the globe, braided into all the dominant religions and ‘moral codes’ and woven into every aspect of human societies. It is a heavy veil that casts the darkness of humanity’s first oppressive divisions over the lives, the dreams and prospects of every corner of humanity in the 21st century.” To live like this cannot be justified and should not be excused away with counsel of patience or false promises that this can be changed within the confines of the system of capitalism.

There is another radically different way society could be. As a young high school student in the early 1970s, I had the opportunity to hear a speaker talk about having been to revolutionary China, where she described that women could walk the streets at night without fear of being assaulted. I have to admit I just could not believe it. I had to do my research, which confirmed that many others who had traveled there also found this to be true. But more than that I realized that I just couldn’t even wrap my head around what that would even feel like. Now that capitalism has been restored in China—it has the world’s fastest growing pornography market. But I learned at that time that the subordination of women was not human nature—it was the nature of the system. I, like tens of thousands of others, began to ask the question: What kind of a system is this and why should anyone accept this as the best possible way things could be?

We Need A Revolution! We need a new and radically different state power! To learn much more about that, a must read is Break ALL the Chains, Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution, now available at




Revolution #340 June 1, 2014

Firebombing in Ramona Gardens
Why Should We Do What They Want Us to Do?!

May 31, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


From readers:

On May 12, Black homes were firebombed in the mainly Latino housing project of Ramona Gardens in East Los Angeles. In the middle of the night Black children awoke to the terror of crashing glass and flames, pulled outside to safety by their parents. This is a familiar terror, reaching through the whole history of this monstrous country. Take the example of Chicago in the 1940s and '50s, described in the current issue of The Atlantic magazine (and I urge readers to check out the whole article "The Case for Reparations" by Ta-Nehisi Coates, in The Atlantic, May 21, 2014):

In 1947, after a few black veterans moved into the Fernwood section of Chicago, three nights of rioting broke out; gangs of whites yanked blacks off streetcars and beat them. Two years later, when a union meeting attended by blacks in Englewood triggered rumors that a home was being "sold to niggers," blacks (and whites thought to be sympathetic to them) were beaten in the streets. In 1951, thousands of whites in Cicero, 20 minutes or so west of downtown Chicago, attacked an apartment building that housed a single black family, throwing bricks and firebombs through the windows and setting the apartment on fire. A Cook County grand jury declined to charge the rioters—and instead indicted the family's NAACP attorney, the apartment's white owner, and the owner's attorney and rental agent, charging them with conspiring to lower property values. Two years after that, whites picketed and planted explosives in South Deering, about 30 minutes from downtown Chicago, to force blacks out.

Attacks like those in Chicago happened throughout cities of the North, over and over again for decades, especially in places where Black people were migrating in waves out of the South, pushed and pulled to the cities by economic factors and to escape KKK lynchings and other horrors, coming out of hundreds of years of the most unimaginably brutal and dehumanizing conditions of slavery (see the movie 12 Years a Slave if you don't know about this). Today it's Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis who are gunned down by racists, and the way the courts work end with verdicts that refuse to come up with murder convictions, sending the same message the Supreme Court gave in 1857 when it ruled that Black people have no rights the white man is bound to respect.

In Ramona Gardens, where Black people only recently began to move in after firebombings in 1992 drove them out for many years, those doing the driving out are Latinos who live in the very same conditions of poverty and discrimination.


Because this is what happens when people are trained in and actively take up the outlook of the very system that is fucking them over, capitalism-imperialism.

Bob Avakian has described this many ways in many of his talks and writings. In Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About, he describes a scene where you have a bunch of people lined up, and a guy with a gun in one hand and a club in the other going down the line, hitting people with the club and breaking their legs. And somebody jumps up and says, "Alright then, I'm gonna be the baddest broke-leg muthafucker there is!" And BA goes on, to laughter, and then resounding applause from the audience: "Something's wrong here. What we need to be doing is saying, 'Hey, that man's breaking everybody's legs! Let's get together and stop that muthafucker from breaking everybody's legs!'"

This system has always worked to pit one section of people it oppresses against another. And for many years now in places like Los Angeles, it has been Black people and Latinos fighting against each other. People know almost nothing about each other's history and how while the ways they've been tormented are different, they share the same tormentors. (To find out more about the history that is kept hidden from people, listen to the clip from BA's Revolution talk, "Why Do People Come Here From All Over the World?")

On January 1 of this year, Bob Avakian gave a New Year's message—A Call to REVOLUTION—and in it he shows how people don't have to go along with how this system trains us to think and act:

Why should we do what they want us to do—killing and crippling each other, trying to beat down or beat out each other, ending up in jail, or paralyzed, or dead at an early age—instead of joining together to go up against the system that has got us in this mess in the first place? Why should we accept the lies that people who are of a different color, or live in a different place, or speak a different language, or love in a different way, are less than human and deserve to be locked up, or beaten down, or murdered? Why should girls and women be treated like things, whose only value is to be used for sex and having babies? Why should we go along with the sickening culture of this system which says money is more important than people, and people are only a means to make money? Why should we believe that "it's all in god's hands," when all this horror and suffering is completely unnecessary and could be ended? Why should we accept the way things are, or just try to make things a little bit better, still living within this system that will keep on destroying the lives of human beings, and denying a decent future to the youth, all over the world?

Revolutionaries who heard about what happened in Ramona Gardens went there with this message, to take this to people who are caught up in the logic of the system and connect up with people who don't want to go along with all this. We also brought two other things to help people get clear on who are their friends and who are their enemies: the Call to End Racial Hostilities that was written in 2012 by SHU prisoners in Pelican Bay who were leaders of prisoner hunger strikes to stop the torture of solitary confinement, and copies of Revolution newspaper with a poster on the back page that vividly exposes the oppression of Black people from slavery until today and points clearly to the need for revolution to uproot this (Three Strikes poster).

We talked mainly with Latinos, young and old. We didn't find a neighborhood full of racists. We found people who said they didn't like that this happened, and some were even outraged and upset. But they also didn't want to confront what this country has done to Black people, historically and today. One way several people avoided confronting this reality was to talk about the attack only in terms of gang violence. Perhaps it was gang-related (which we don't know), but for the people, this is much bigger than a feud—and it means something when three out of the four apartments firebombed were Black people's homes, when there are only 78 Black residents out of the total 1,791 who live in Ramona Gardens, and everybody knows that, as one Black person commented to us, "Black people aren't supposed to be here."

We also got a feel for the resentment that was just under the surface in the people we heard from, but clearly is a big part of the larger picture. More than one person said that the victims of the firebombings were now going to get Section 8 vouchers and be able to move to Long Beach (a nicer area), so what's the big deal, they're actually benefiting from what happened!

This is part of how people who are themselves held down and treated like something less than human, become part of holding down other people in the same situation. They get caught in the trap of seeing their problems as how to survive individually or as a family or as an oppressed section of people that is competing for resources and opportunities with each other and with other oppressed sections of people. They don't see the common source of their problems, and the common solution.

This also contributes to the feeling from those who don't like what they see happening and don't want to go along with it, that there's nothing they can do about it anyway. Reading to people the questions posed by BA in the New Year's Message challenged their thinking about this. It made them seriously think about what they are going along with and they went from saying there's nothing we can do, to asking, what can we do about changing all this? We had discussions with people about the need for revolution and the strategy for how to get to the conditions where it would be possible to seize power, establish a new state power, and lead a new society. And we also explored with some people the possibilities of how people could come together in that area to take a stand and not go along with the ways the system has people thinking and acting in opposition to each other—in particular in this situation the violence against Black people.

There was a clear distinction that what the revolutionaries are about are values and thinking and acting in ways that are part of building a movement for revolution to emancipate humanity. This was most sharply in contention with the massive and constant police presence in the neighborhood—with both their constant threat of violence and force against the people, including a gang injunction there that prevents groups of young people hanging outside together, as well as their Community Snitch Program (CSP "Community Safety Program") that has been going on in several housing projects the last couple years.

There is still a need for people in the neighborhood to stand up/speak out in support of the Black people in Ramona Gardens and in ways where they are changing the overall atmosphere by what they do. When people begin to challenge how everyone thinks the way things "just are," it changes what others understand and how they see what's possible. One lesson we summed up after going there is that as important as it was to learn about and challenge people's thinking, we also needed to have concrete ways people could act. When people said, "what can we do about it?" we actually needed to have an answer! In some other places when there have been fights or other ways the Black/Latino contradiction has sharpened up, there is experience leading people to put together unity picnics or mass wearing of black and brown ribbons.

One of the concrete ways we've thought of for people to act is popularizing that question from BA, whether on a sticker, button, t-shirt, or other forms: Why should we do what they want us to do—killing and crippling each other, trying to beat down or beat out each other, ending up in jail, or paralyzed, or dead at an early age—instead of joining together to go up against the system that has got us in this mess in the first place? And together with that quote, an image of black and brown hands together breaking out chains. People need to act in ways that are part of building and strengthening the movement for revolution, and we're heading back to Ramona Gardens to work with people there to do that.





Revolution #340 June 1, 2014

Putting on Our Boxing Gloves—and Other Key Methods, Principles and Objectives

by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party

June 2, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Editors' Note: The following is a part of some observations that were made by Bob Avakian, and were originally distributed within the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (RCP) at the beginning of 2012. This is being published now as the third installment of the serialization of these observations. The first installment of this series, "The Mass Initiatives and Their Relation to Our Strategic Objectives," was published online May 19, 2014 and is serialized in the print edition of Revolution, beginning with issue #339 (May 25, 2014). The second installment, "Freedom and Necessity, and Proceeding from a Strategic Standpoint: Some Thoughts on Methods and Leadership," was published online May 26, 2014. These observations were originally made at a time when the "Occupy" movement was having a significant—and overall positive—impact but was also increasingly running up against the repressive force of the state, as well as its own limitations. While this was an important particular aspect of the overall situation at that time, and this is reflected in these observations by BA, these observations are speaking more broadly to the overall situation and challenges facing the RCP and the communist movement in the world as a whole. For this reason—and because these observations continue to have relevance and importance in that light—the decision has been made to publish these observations. Some editing has been done, and footnotes have been added, in preparing this for publication.


We have to start by returning to the reality that the international communist movement, and our Party specifically, is faced with the rather acute contradiction that we must make significant, qualitative breakthroughs and advances, in the near future, or we will be seriously set back, or even face the danger of being rendered "out of the game" for a certain historical period. And the consequences of that for the communist movement and ultimately the masses of the world are very, very heavy. This is another way of formulating—and underlining the importance of—what is said in the Manifesto from our Party,1 regarding the crossroads facing communists today: vanguard of the future, or residue of the past. We have to soberly and scientifically reground ourselves in this, and deepen our grounding in how all this has to be approached. It is not that there are no favorable objective developments, and no prospects for making the needed breakthroughs and advances—but the point is that the basis must be seized and new, more favorable conditions created through struggle, in order to actually make these breakthroughs and advances.

This calls to mind a comment from another leading person: In this context where there are more contradictory but overall favorable developments happening, in particular mass upsurge and the sharpening of the objective situation overall, if we don't go forward, then we'll go significantly backward. If we take this seriously and recognize in fact the acute contradiction we are confronting, then we will see that we do not have infinite time to make the necessary breakthroughs. And, while there should not be any panic in this regard, there most definitely needs to be a sense of urgency. This orientation has to form an important part of the grounding for everything we do.

We Need Revolution—Anything Else, in the Final Analysis, Is Bullshit

We are doing some positive things with BAsics,2 for example, and some comrades have gathered people around them on this basis—although this, too, is contradictory. And the events, the dialogues, involving Carl Dix and Cornel West have been very positive—drawing large numbers of people and having a significant impact. There are the two mass initiatives—against mass incarceration, and pornography and patriarchy—and masses have come forward around those initiatives. Some of the advanced people closely around the Party are continuing to advance. All that is on the one side. But then there is what we could call "what is objective to us, department one" and "what is objective to us, department two" that we have to deal with—the second "what is objective to us" being the opportunist and counter-revolutionary attacks on us.

In regard to this "objective to us, two" factor, we are not correctly recognizing, let alone dealing with this. And how we understand and approach this has everything to do with fundamental principles concentrated in the "as long as" point (in essence: as long as what we are actually about is revolution and communism, it should be easy to correctly appreciate and promote BA and the new synthesis he has brought forward). What is concentrated in that "as long as" point has to do with our whole core message—you could rephrase it as that core message and the "because" statement3: the fundamental fact that what we're about is radically transforming the world through revolution and the seizure of power, with the dictatorship of the proletariat as the transition to communism, and how BA/the new synthesis relates to all that, is crucial for all that.

There is the first quote in Chapter 3 of BAsics, which begins: "Let's get down to basics. We need a revolution. Anything else, in the final analysis, is bullshit."

We don't proceed enough from the understanding that anything else, in fundamental terms, is bullshit. I took note of a report about a youth who worked with us closely for a while in "Occupy" but lately has been pulled toward anarchism and influenced by opportunist and counter-revolutionary shit. This happens all too often: people come around us and get close—or, in some cases, youth in particular have been recruited, but on the wrong basis and with a heavy influence of a revisionist line, and then some quit and pull away from us—in some instances going over to the camp of counter-revolution. This is both a result of objective factors—including what I'm calling "objective factor, two"—and is a result of revisionist lines and influences within our own Party and how, consequently, we work with people. This reminds me of how Lenin said that, in the revolutionary movement of his time, anarchism was to a significant degree payment for the sins of revisionism within the ranks of the communists—this revisionism, gutting the revolutionary heart out of communism, made it easier for anarchism to appeal to some people. But, speaking of our situation specifically, it is a combination of remaining revisionist influences on our part and the pull of objective factors. This involves the influence of what exists and predominates in society and the world as a whole, under the rule of the imperialists—including, as a very significant factor, the reality and continuing effects of the reversal of socialism and the restoration of capitalism first in the Soviet Union and then in China. But it also involves the role of opportunists and outright counter-revolutionaries.

You can see this reflected in some reports on work with students. People are initially attracted to what we're about, in a general and basic sense, and then they begin to get a fuller sense of what we're about, and everything this involves—and the heaviness hits them. They get introduced to BAsics and they are drawn to what it concentrates, but then they come up against everything this involves, and many back away, at least in the short run. We should understand that this is part of the process. We shouldn't get freaked out. We should remain firmly grounded in our scientific materialist understanding of the whole process, and maintain the orientation of struggling this through with people. But we also have to understand that what happens is not just that people come forward, come up against the heaviness of it, come up against the difficulties in taking this out, and then they back away. In the age of the Internet, there's an analogy between people who defect from our camp, so to speak, and the Christian Fascists in society at large. If the Christian Fascists were just scattered, just a bunch of scattered individuals, they'd be a problem—but nothing like the problem they are, where they are given a coherent and organized expression and powerful backing by sections of the ruling class. The analogy is that when people drop away there is a place where they can go where they will get a coherent counter-revolutionary program that is directly in opposition to us and is determined to viciously attack, undermine and if possible destroy us.

It is time for us to put on our boxing gloves. We have to realize that this process involving counter-revolutionary attacks on us is not going to go away—we have to incorporate in our approach the understanding that this is objective to us, is a significant part of the objective obstacles we face. The conscious opportunist and counter-revolutionary forces—which are objective to us—this is part of the terrain we have to reckon with and deal with correctly. And we are not really doing this the way we need to.

Not that this should be our main thing. But if we don't incorporate this understanding and deal with this—recognize that this is a real part of the "encirclement" we're dealing with: people and forces which have a passionate, active orientation of trying to destroy us and keep people from joining up with us—then we are going to pay a heavy price for failing to recognize and deal with this. If it weren't for the Internet, it wouldn't be the same thing, although it would still be a problem on a certain level. But there IS the Internet, and the Internet provides a means whereby people who really represent nothing—or at least nothing positive, in terms of actually opposing and going up against this horrific system, and offering any kind of real alternative to it—can magnify their influence, especially in today's putrid cultural atmosphere, and especially if they engage in "snarky" attacks against those who are seriously going up against this system and actually working for revolution. Yes, this is part of the process; but dealing with this, in the way it needs to be dealt with, is OUR part of the process. We have to take on this opportunist and counter-revolutionary garbage—with the right approach, flowing from and consistent with our fundamental revolutionary communist orientation and objectives. And this means we need a lot more "down on the ground"—and, yes, "up on the mountain" at the same time—ideological struggle and polemics to hit at this crap and expose it for its utter bankruptcy and its role in aiding the ruling class in maintaining this oppressive system. And, overall, we have to hit hard, in polemicizing against and exposing things that help to keep the masses in an enslaved and degraded situation.

For literally more than 10 years we said, let's write something on the Illuminati, and nothing appeared. That can't continue.4 I noted that someone who was drawn to us but then got pulled by slanders as well as spontaneous petit bourgeois thinking, read a statement by some anarchists and said: "This is the greatest statement I have read." We should get hold of that statement and polemicize against it, including in our paper. Let's dissect a statement like that and tear it apart. Because this matters—it is actually of profound importance in relation to the fundamental interests of the masses of people—which road leads to actual emancipation, and which to a dead end, or worse. We have to learn how to do quick, short and concise, hard-hitting polemics. The Badiou polemic5 is great, very powerful. It is a living and compelling application of the new synthesis of communism. But we can't approach everything as if we're writing the Badiou polemic. This gets back to the basic point: everything else, in the final analysis, really is bullshit. But we don't proceed that way, from that basic understanding—or at least we certainly don't do so consistently. We are too afraid to be sharp. Yes, we need to do this in a principled and lofty way—but sharply.

Ignorance and Arrogance—Answering This with Science and Substance

I am sorry but the culture that has been "imbibed" to a significant degree by this younger generation is very bad. Many of them are arrogant—frankly on the basis of very little substance. Not all, but far too many, have the ignorance/arrogance thing that Mark Twain talked about, when he said: What you need to get along in America is the perfect combination of ignorance and arrogance. They don't ask questions, they just make assertions. And I get the definite sense that we don't respond strongly ourselves—and, in fact, we are still often defensive in the face of this stuff, when there is absolutely no good reason to be defensive. The point—at least with people who are not conscious and dedicated opportunists and counter-revolutionaries—is not to "demolish" them, but there is definitely a role and value to administering a good "shock" to them, through sharp ideological struggle.

When people say stuff that reflects ignorance—like someone at a protest who demanded: why isn't Bob Avakian out here among the masses who are protesting?—our people don't respond the way they should. They should be ready to say: "Even assuming BA wanted to come here, it would be extremely irresponsible for our Party to allow him to do that." And then, in basic terms, they should explain why. How about wielding my memoir6 when someone says, "Why isn't BA out here"? There is a whole history of activism, as well as revolutionary leadership, there. And let's get into the substance of what communist leadership actually is, and what role I play in relation to that.

All this backward stuff comes from the fact that people are not really talking about changing the world in a fundamental way—or they haven't really thought about and grappled with what that really means. We shouldn't just let that go and be liberal. There is a time and a place to be sharp, to draw the lines sharply. If people don't like it, TOUGH. In one report I read, someone was complaining that Raymond Lotta was being sharp. That's part of waging the struggle for people. That's part of why I responded the way I did to hearing about a religious person attacking Mao as well as Stalin for "killing their own people." Along with refuting this, we should put back to such people: How about Moses? How about all that monstrous shit in the Bible—mass rape and slaughter, including the killing of babies, which is ordained and commanded by the Bible's god and that god's representatives like Moses? Even with people with whom we should be and need to be uniting, when they come up with rank shit, we need to call it out and hit back, ideologically. Let's put on our boxing gloves—get ready for some ideological battle here.

Someone else (a person from the "Occupy" movement) is quoted in a report as saying, "Well, I've been thinking about these big questions all my life, so what's so special about BA?" Okay, then, here are some questions:

Being defensive in the face of a comment like that?—you've got to be kidding me! There is not enough in our paper of: "Here's the reality and here's bullshit"—and if people don't like it, tough.

If that guy says my statement ("Reflection") on "Occupy" is the last straw—good. [This refers to someone who had been, or who had appeared to be, coming close to the RCP, but then went to join the camp of counter-revolution.] That is a reflection of the fact that my statement didn't just tail "Occupy," but went into things that needed to be gone into and hit at things that needed to be hit. That statement didn't say anything like "Occupy" is all fucked up; it recognized the positive side of "Occupy," and got into the material contradictions that are involved and laid out what we need.7

Is it true, or not true, that fundamentally everything else is bullshit? There are real tactical problems, and necessary tactical considerations, in putting forward the need for revolution and what revolution is actually all about and requires. But we have to talk about what revolution really means—we have to find the best and most mature ways to get across the essential point that revolution means overthrowing capitalism and replacing it with socialism (and then continuing on the socialist road toward the final goal of communism). We do have to take tactical concerns seriously into account, but we can't let tactical problems set the fundamental terms. And we have to tell people that anything else in the final analysis is bullshit, as it says in BAsics. And then the next paragraph in BAsics (3:1) "rounds things out," making clear that it is necessary and important to wage struggles against particular outrages and injustices of this system—and, in doing so, to unite with people who do not, at that point, agree with the need for revolution—while we act on the scientific understanding that all these outrages can only be fully and finally eliminated through revolution, aiming toward the final goal of communism throughout the world. Is that true or not? Or is that just our "narrative"? Our "mantra"? "Our thing" that we're feebly trying to impose on reality?

What is the problem in the world? What is the solution? We need to keep going back to that, and then get into the role that different people and social forces play in relation to that. We let these other people set the terms too much, instead of bringing them back to the real terms. What are the terms here? You want to say we don't need leadership?—let's talk about what you're going to encounter if you are really trying to fundamentally change the world, and what you need to do that. And if you have someone who has in reality emerged as a leader on another level than the rest of those around, you should celebrate it—it is precious, if your goal is really the emancipation of the masses of oppressed humanity, and ultimately humanity as a whole.

The problem is that, with people we encounter, and where they're coming from spontaneously, we're not talking about the same project. I am not upset that youth we encounter, who are newly awakening in mass movements, see things in ways that reflect a lot of spontaneous misunderstanding—but what are WE saying and doing about this? The point is not to club people over the head or swear at them. The point is, what do WE really understand, and point toward, about what is fundamentally needed? It is important whether people in the Party are actually (re)reading the Badiou polemic. There are real and important reasons why studying that was called for in the midst of this upsurge, with "Occupy" and some other things. The Badiou polemic continues to be highly relevant, and it is very substantial.

We can't put out every slanderous fire. But we have to have the right orientation and approach. There are positive things developing, objectively and through work we are doing, but they're not going to go anywhere good with a wrong orientation. We can't afford another rerun of the movie "The Movement Is Everything, the Final Aim Nothing"—where it's worse than just a rerun because, among other things, you're going to have people going to the camp of counter-revolution. I don't want to see that kind of rerun, or any rerun, of "The Movement Is Everything, the Final Aim Nothing."

The "to the masses" orientation has to apply to the Party and Party units as a whole—but also to more than just the units. We have to look at the whole thing. The Party leadership, and certainly those people with particular responsibility for speaking for the Party and being propagators of the new synthesis and the leadership of BA, have to put on their boxing gloves. The real issue got focused in a program/debate between Bernard Harcourt and Raymond Lotta—and I was glad to see the issue get joined in that way: Is being a permanent opposition within the existing system all you can do, while the machinery hums in the background, crushing lives and destroying spirits, to paraphrase the Badiou polemic?

Speaking of "Occupy," there's still a lot of American national chauvinism in the "Occupy" thing—some more conscious and some less. When we came forward in the '60s, one of the reasons we weren't arrogant in the way still too many youth today are, including many in the movements of today, is that you had a sense of your responsibility to the people of the world—you felt that responsibility. "Look at Vietnam, what they're doing in our name." This point that Raymond Lotta brought out about communizing the spoils of imperialism—how that's what anarchism ultimately amounts to—is very important. And that's what "Occupy" would represent, even in its most radical expression, left on its own terms and taken to its logical conclusion: more economic equity in the framework of being good patriotic Americans. Should we just whisper about this among ourselves, or should we take this out there to people?

We're not getting up in the morning itching for battle ideologically. We go out with our basic toolkit of revolutionary materials, and that's fine, that's important—but we have to be itching for ideological battle. Not sectarian diatribes—and that should be stopped if it starts. Leading people should be modeling this. Unity-struggle-unity. Advance through struggle—uniting with people, but advancing THROUGH STRUGGLE. We should be itching for ideological battle—we should be looking for people to join this with. The problems with this are related to why our own people don't take out the Cultural Revolution in our Party8—don't bring this up with people and get into it with them. If this is going to happen—if it's going to be done right, the way it should be—it's going to have to happen by Party leadership actually leading it and modeling it. If something happens that's important, call something at the bookstore and talk about this. If opportunists and counter-revolutionaries are running shit and confusing people, get people together and expose the bankruptcy of these people—set the terms the way they should be set, with the focus on the problem and the solution.

I was reading a report about the ISO9—people pulled to that trend canceling out on meeting with us because they're pulled by the shit that ISO puts out. We should be having things at the bookstores. Don't overcomplicate things—get right into it: what the deal is with this ISO, and why it won't lead anywhere good. What is this "S"—this "socialism"—they have in their name: what does that actually mean, and how do they say it will get brought about? Let's dissect this and expose what it really represents, and where it will lead—and won't lead. Or what the deal is with anarchism and why it just reinforces the existing system. If we can't do this, and do it well, we should learn how to—QUICKLY. And we should model that from the top. Don't answer rumors and slander with rumors and slander—don't descend to addressing things on that level and on those terms—answer it with substance, speaking to essential questions regarding problem and solution. This is not a matter of "sectarian squabbles"—and it should not be allowed to become that, or to be treated as that. This is nothing less than a matter of the fundamental needs and interests of the masses of oppressed people in the world, and ultimately humanity as a whole.

State Power: in Whose Interests, for What Objectives?

There should be a combative atmosphere in a good sense. We actually believe BAsics 3:1, and we know what the content of that revolution is. "Dictatorship of the proletariat" is not an unfortunate phrase (as the opportunist Kautsky once said as part of his attacks on Lenin). The dictatorship of the proletariat is a fucking good thing. Do you want to keep having vicious police repressing, brutalizing, and murdering masses of people—or a state power in the interests of masses of people and backing them up in overcoming exploitation and oppression? Why in the world would you be defensive? Yes, there have been some problems in how the dictatorship of the proletariat has been exercised in the experience of socialist society so far—but, mainly, there have been some really great things. I certainly don't feel apologetic about that. It's time we stop any defensiveness now. You're not going to get anywhere good without the DOP. All these contradictions you can't solve now—divisions among the masses, etc.—you won't solve them within the confines of this system, and you won't solve this without the DOP. These are simple, basic facts—and anything else, fundamentally and in the final analysis, is bullshit. Let's talk about that.

We cannot afford another round of squandering things and squandering people. If we do that, we are going to be much further behind. Part of the backdrop for the backward lines that some comrades are running into and tailing is also people getting demoralized about the "Occupy" thing. People are finding out even that's not so easy. First, "oh it's great..." But then there's state power that you have to go up against. State power exercised on behalf of the "one percent." They don't give a fuck about you—other than to stop you. If you persist in getting in their way, they'll do a lot more. Some of us have been through that—and if you're new to this, you need to learn about that, too. If people are not learning that, and we are not challenging them in order for them to learn what they need to learn, that's on us.

Overcoming Obstacles, Making Breakthroughs and Accumulating Forces for Revolution

All this relates to how we view this fundraising campaign—this massive fundraising campaign to project BA Everywhere, to have that actually create societal impact, raise the level of discussion and debate throughout society about the state of the world and what can and should be done about that. It has everything to do with whether this campaign is really going to be what it needs to be—or falls short. We are not really going to succeed with this, and we are not going to make the critical breakthroughs overall that we need to make, unless leading people model this and lead with this, and insist that people do this—applying democratic centralism. If you get a report that speaks about a lot of problems comrades are encountering—and maybe also reflects problems with how these comrades are dealing with this, ways they are being pulled by spontaneity and tailing wrong lines—you deal with those contradictions and have people learn from how you deal with it.

Even small things can't be squandered. This whole situation we face can't be turned around by just winning and recruiting twos and twos. But we can't squander that either. We have to be thinking in terms of winning and recruiting masses, in waves. If we're not thinking in terms of masses, we won't even get twos and twos. But we also can't step over the twos and twos. Some people will go backward, and some will even go into the camp of counter-revolution—but we have to be winning and recruiting people, in growing numbers, and in waves.

We have to look at comrades' situation on different levels, and take tactical things seriously into account, but we cannot let that fundamentally set the terms as to whether people are being unleashed and utilized in the correct way. We cannot keep this knowledge we have about the history of our project, about the DOP and what the transition to communism has to be about—we can't keep that bottled up among a few people. We have to mobilize all positive factors and the synergy between them, to get this line out there, contending in a big way.

In carrying out ideological struggle—particularly when people are influenced by and caught up in bullshit—we have to strongly insist: that's not the question, here's the question. Whatever it is—dredging up and regurgitating unprincipled attacks against the Party and its leadership, or in talking about what's wrong with society—an important part of struggling with people is constantly recasting the terms: "that's not the question, this is the question." And then you have to back it up, with substance. But we do have people to back it up, and others should learn from them how to do it. We are perfectly willing to argue with you all day if you're principled and serious but not convinced—fine, we'll talk with you and struggle with you all day... unless you're not principled and not serious.

We cannot do things to organize people for revolution, and accumulate forces for revolution, on the wrong basis, where the wrong terms are being set. Not only do you lose people, you lose at least some to the camp of counter-revolution. When we do things on the wrong basis, we go backward and hurt ourselves. We have to have a core that's really won to what this is all about—including people who may not be quite ready for the next leap to join the Party, but are really close, and are being struggled with to make that further, crucial leap. That is the struggle with them: are they going to go forward to that? You can have your electrons around that solid core, but the electrons can't be the nucleus.

Really Being in It "For the Long Haul"

What HAVE we been working for, for nearly 50 years? What have we been learning through all this? Does everyone have to repeat the mistakes of the past? Do people in these movements today really think nobody ever tried this before? In the past upsurges, we didn't succeed in getting all the way to revolution—that's what remains to be done—and you don't have to repeat every lack of knowledge and mistake that we made. And, yes, we're here to teach you what we've learned. And not just in terms of this or that practical aspect of a particular movement, but in relation to the broader questions and the fundamental interests of humanity.

I read a comment by someone involved in the "Occupy" movement in NY—saying that the problem with the '60s was that people gave up, "but we're in it for the long haul." That's still the ignorance/arrogance thing. It goes along with the culture of tabloids, of short attention spans, and of solipsism and individualism. Do you really think there weren't many people in the '60s who were very dedicated and went up against a lot, and made many sacrifices, for a number of years, really trying to bring about radical change? Do you really think nobody has been in this for the real "long haul," and that nobody has learned anything in the process? There is too much of people proceeding from subjectivity—from how they see something from a limited perspective, or even how it "makes them feel." For example, whether we need leadership doesn't turn on the personal experience you've had, or "how it makes you feel." The question is what the masses of people are going through, and what's the solution to that? Is there an answer? What does the answer consist in? How it makes you feel is definitely not the question—how it makes you feel depends on what you understand. What is needed is not these tendencies of empiricism and individuals proceeding from their subjective impressions. No, we need a scientific method and approach—the scientific method and approach of communism, as it has been further developed through the new synthesis.

Critical Thinking and Discipline—A Unity of Opposites—A Scientific Approach to Understanding and Changing the World

In terms of the communist vanguard, democratic centralism is not just a matter of discipline in an organizational sense, but a matter of how you actually come to know and transform the world in the most profound ways in the interests of humanity. You don't get a better understanding of reality if everyone in a party goes off in their own direction. There is an important lesson relating to this in my memoir, regarding the struggle with the Mensheviks within our Party who tried to take our Party into the swamp—supporting the revisionist coup in China after the death of Mao in 1976 and arguing for a whole revisionist line—and why it was important to apply d.c., even in the face of factionalizing by those Mensheviks. People should review and reflect on that experience and how it is summarized in the memoir. We definitely need lots of initiative and creative and critical thinking, within the right overall collective framework and with the right spirit and orientation. But you won't learn more all on your own, and you definitely don't learn more by having factions within a party. Factions among the communists (or alleged communists) of Lenin's time were a remnant of social democracy, which led to the collapse of the Second International of supposed socialist and communist parties. Having factions was a part of that social democracy—in reality a form of bourgeois democracy, in the name of "socialism"—which actually rendered support to the existing imperialist system, in opposition to real revolution and communism. The Bolsheviks breaking with and moving against that was part of rupturing with everything that led to the collapse of the Second International, the degeneration by almost every one of its parties into open support for "their" imperialists in the context of World War 1.

Can prohibiting factions be misused to suppress initiative and the necessary lively atmosphere and ferment within the Party? Of course. But the possibility of its being misused does not change the fact that it is correct, and is essential, not to have factions. It is correct and essential, not just in terms of organizational functioning and discipline, but even more fundamentally in terms of epistemology and epistemological discipline, in terms of increasingly gaining a correct understanding of reality and moving to radically transform it in the direction of communism.

The "Party-State Paradigm" Is Much Better Than the Dictatorship of the Bourgeoisie, and Much Better Than the Prejudices of the Petite Bourgeoisie

We are not going to make it if we continue to have too much of a revolving door—where people come around us and become supportive, but then they are pulled away, and in some cases even turned against us, and we don't correctly recognize, and counter this, winning people over more deeply through really joining struggle with them. We will never make it, if we don't get down in the trenches ideologically and have a hunger for ideological struggle. Really, we don't think we can take on anarchism? Come on. You just have to ask a few questions. We can't answer the weak shit the anarchists put forward? Come on!

Who shot Lenin in the early years of the Soviet republic, seriously wounding him while attempting to assassinate him? It was forces that were essentially anarchist. Why did they do that? Because Lenin approached things from the largest perspective, proceeding from the interests of the proletariat as a class, in the most fundamental sense, and he understood what would happen if you allowed the terms of things to be set by workers in this or that factory, or a particular group of peasants, or the sailors on a ship, acting on the basis of their more particular and narrow interests. He understood that, if you proceeded in that way, different sections of the masses would be pitted against each other, in opposition to their most fundamental interests, socialism would be undermined and destroyed, and things would be dragged back to the anarchy of capitalist production and capitalist competition, and the overall dynamics of the capitalist system, with all its horrors.

Anarchism is an outlook representative of the petite bourgeoisie—and it will not and cannot lead to a radical rupture with and advance beyond capitalism, beyond the anarchistic dynamics of commodity production and exchange.10 There is much in the Badiou polemic that is very relevant in this regard.

As opposed to what people like Badiou try to argue, the "party-state paradigm"—state power, the dictatorship of the proletariat, led by a communist vanguard—is a very good, very necessary thing, so long as the line of that vanguard is correct. And you have to use that state power, to keep the revolution and to continue the revolution. Do we think the whole petite bourgeoisie in socialist society will just be wildly in favor of carrying forward revolutionary transformation in that society, that there won't be any opposition among them? As long as there is the material basis for the petite bourgeoisie to exist, including in socialist society, there will be manifestations of the assertion of the outlook and aspirations of the petite bourgeoisie. I think of students at a university in Canada who, during the high tide of the 1960s, staged a march under the banner: "as the future managerial class, we demand our rights." You're going to get that—whether expressed that crudely or not. You think that outlook doesn't exist in the "Occupy" thing? And, while this outlook basically corresponds to the material position and corresponding aspirations of the petite bourgeoisie, it's not only among the petite bourgeoisie itself that petit bourgeois ways of thinking exist—this kind of thinking exists among basic people too. The idea that we should tail this in any way is ridiculous and should be solidly combated and overcome.

Of course, the point is not that the petite bourgeoisie is the same, or should be treated in the same way, as the big bourgeoisie—the class that dominates ownership of the means of production and exercises dictatorship in capitalist society. The orientation is not that, in socialist society, dictatorship should be exercised over the petite bourgeoisie. In strategic terms, the point is, as Lenin put it, to live with and transform the petite bourgeoisie, through the course of the socialist transition to communism; and the relations involved are fundamentally non-antagonistic. But the terms cannot be set by an orientation that corresponds to the social position and spontaneous aspirations of the petite bourgeoisie, or there will be no revolution, no socialism, and no transition to communism.

My "Reflection" on "Occupy" welcomed "Occupy," but then went into the depth and complexity of the contradictions involved and what needs to happen if you don't want to maintain a society and a world marked by profound inequalities, oppression and exploitation—if you don't want people to continue suffering needlessly in this world.

Leading People, Comparing and Contrasting Revolution and Bullshit

We really have to come out strongly on this. We have to sharpen up this orientation. And we have to use this website and newspaper of ours, for many things—but including quick, concise, and sharp polemics. "What's wrong with Slavoj Žižek?"—that is, what's wrong with his viewpoint? What about Gramsci? Can't we do a few paragraphs on Althusser? Is it so hard? Can't we do simple things that provoke people, in the good sense? Can't we do that? And people do learn by comparing and contrasting. They learn by doing, but also by compare/contrast. We're cheating people and cheating ourselves by not struggling with them and joining the questions with them that are of objective importance—questions that they are often raising in somewhat distorted form (not always, but often). This is not surprising, because how they see things, spontaneously, is refracted through the predominant bourgeois outlook in society. Even people who are not consciously doing so, but are more spontaneously doing so, still represent the outlook and aspirations of classes other than the proletariat when they open their mouths to speak. The fact that you, in "Occupy," are discovering that it's much harder than you thought: ask yourself WHY it's much harder than you thought it was. It's not just that you are confronted by a wall of police. Why are they there, and why are they acting the way they do? And why does Mayor Bloomberg call them out and you can't? There are bigger, more powerful social forces at work, and underneath those forces are dynamics—the fundamental dynamics of this system—that even they don't control. Can't we get into joining these kinds of things with people? How to wield spokespeople and leadership to do this?—we have to pay systematic attention to that. We need to become good at quickly developing the forms for doing this. If five or 10 show up for a meeting or discussion, then give them something, some basic substance, to take out and join with others.

Without this basic orientation and approach, there won't be a real fundraising battle. We won't get where we need to go unless these questions are being fought through on the correct basis. There will be funds raised, but there will be no massive, multi-faceted fundraising campaign unless we lead with this orientation. Not only with the masses, but if you go to people who do have real money and you tail, you won't get anywhere. We need to put it to these people, straight up, and struggle on this basis: If you give your money to something like Obama, and not to this BA Everywhere fundraising campaign, it will have bad results and bad consequences for the masses of people and for humanity. We need a revolution, a communist revolution, and what you think you know about this is NOT true.

We can't let "Stalin and Mao were mass murderers" just go down. More than a few people sit in a privileged position in this country, with the "luxury" of accepting "verdicts" on crucial things without really bothering to learn the truth about them, because people have been slaughtered on a massive scale—in reality, and without hyperbole, their lives have been snuffed out in the tens and hundreds of millions—by the rulers of this country and the workings of their system, all over the world. People just can't get away with accepting the slanders about communism and refusing to face the real, truly monstrous crimes of this system. There are tactics and tact in struggling with people—but strategically we cannot let this go down. We can't let people go on talking about how Qadaffi (or whoever is identified as the villain of the moment) is somehow the worst person in the world. Can we talk about reality? We need to join these things with people—from a lofty and principled position, and with substance, but sharply.

If we don't do this, we are going to go backward and toward the abyss. Some of what I am talking about can happen right away, including with the website and newspaper. Can't we back our shit up?

Simplicity and Complexity—Handling This Contradiction Correctly

BAsics is very important—a very valuable tool—and we need to be wielding it in even greater ways. But it is a distillation of much bigger things. Do we think Marx is obsolete? No, there is much to learn, much of importance, in studying Marx. In speaking of the shopkeeper and the democratic intellectual, for example, Marx points out that they are driven to the same problems and solutions—not just the solutions. There is a lot to learn from repeatedly going back to this. There is great importance to correctly, scientifically understanding, and presenting, the problem—to setting the terms on the right, scientifically grounded basis.

On Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy.11 This is on a high level of theoretical abstraction, even while efforts were made to break that down as much as possible, without "dumbing it down." It is an important work and definitely serves a very important purpose. But we need to take the line that's in there and go with it—popularize it, without distorting it or watering it down. And we need things besides that work which deal with the same basic subjects. There is a need for things that are shorter, hard-hitting—boom boom. We should correctly understand and deal with, and not mis-handle, the simplicity-complexity contradiction. Dealing with the complexity of things is necessary, and very important—and we should struggle with people when they want things to be too simple, oversimplified, when they don't want to do the work you have to do to really understand and therefore be able to transform the world in the way it needs to be transformed. But we also need forms for boiling things down to their essence—things that are simple in that sense. If someone wants to say, "It's more complex than that," we can speak to the complexity, and we do speak to it.

We definitely should not do what opportunists do, where they vulgarize things, including by chopping up and distorting the statements of people they disagree with, in an unprincipled, instrumentalist way. But we shouldn't overburden ourselves with the complexity of things. There is a trend like that—to overburden ourselves with attempts to deal with complexity, to where we mumble and then don't get to the point. We don't want simplicity in the sense of vulgarizing and taking cheap shots—but in the sense of really getting to the essence in a concise and basic way. There is a point to boiling the complex down to the simple and basic, so long as it is accurate.

You want the masses to learn?—let them see someone doing this. That's one of the main ways masses learn. Training them involves letting them see how it's done. Let them see the confrontation of opposing views. When we had the struggle vs. the Bundists (nationalist opportunists, posturing as communists), way back in the day, a few of us wrote things and everyone grappled with them. And people learned a lot.

"There Is Nothing There"

In my memoir, there is a part that talks about this guy, Robere, who was a dogmatist who intimidated a lot of people, back in the day, by spouting from memory passages from Mao and Lenin, and so on. He created this "larger than life" image around himself. But some of us knew enough to recognize that rote recitation of "classics"—in the manner of a religious zealot repeating scripture—did not mean that there was a lot of substance, or a correct method for that matter. Then, one time, he got up and spoke at some demonstration at a courthouse, and in listening to him it struck me: "there is nothing there"—no real substance behind the supposedly intimidating front. And there is nothing there with these other lines, as far as problem/solution. This is an important point of orientation. Robere wasn't speaking to reality, and wasn't correctly dealing with it, and he had no "solution" other than dogma.

In short, with these opportunist forces: strategically, there's nothing there. And especially when you get to solution, there's nothing there. Now, it's different with someone like a Chomsky, or Arundhati Roy. There is much they do that is positive. In contrast with opportunists and counter-revolutionaries, their orientation and intent is to proceed in a principled way, and they do a lot of good work particularly in exposing many crimes of oppressive forces throughout the world, with a lot of focus on bringing to light the crimes of U.S. and western imperialism. But, in fundamental terms, and particularly when it comes to the solution, there is nothing there—no real orientation or program that can actually lead to a radically different world. With the opportunists and counter-revolutionaries, there is nothing there at all—that is, they have nothing positive to offer—they can only do damage. And we do have something—there is something here—because we are dealing with reality, that's what we're grappling with, scientifically, and struggling to transform. We have learned a lot in this way, and of course we have much more to learn—but we have a foundation to learn a lot more as we go forward.

Combating Opportunism and Counter-Revolution: A Necessary Part of Making Revolution

It is not a matter of preoccupation with opportunists and counter-revolutionaries. But we do have to take into account, and actively counter, the one thing they can do: cause real damage through their counter-revolutionary activity. They are profiting from the larger putrid culture that still holds sway to far too great a degree, and profiting from the fact that they are not seeking to really go up against the powers-that-be, but in fact can and do act in ways that not only don't threaten but that actually serve those powers. We do have to actively take on the harm they are able to do, with their counter-revolutionary activity, particularly with today's technology and in the context of today's putrid culture. We have to take that shit on sharply and powerfully, even while not becoming overly preoccupied with it, in order to counter—and to provide a positive, substantive and uplifting alternative to—their opportunist and counter-revolutionary garbage. Again, the point is not to answer them on their terms, getting dragged down into the gutter—the point is to answer with substance, and by focusing things on the fundamental questions related to problem and solution, to what is needed to actually transform the world in an emancipatory way.

The "advanced" who, in today's situation, are simply "immune" to this all this "stuff out there" simply don't exist—or are very few. People come forward the way they come forward—this is part of the objective reality we're dealing with—and people running into, and even being influenced by, opportunist and counter-revolutionary shit is part of the objective reality we have to become better at recognizing and dealing with—struggling effectively to bring more and more people through it. Too often our response to this kind of stuff is watered down and namby-pamby. Again, we need to answer this with substance—but not in a way that is merely academic and educational, in the wrong sense. There is a battle to be waged. Part of the struggle we need to wage, an important part, is over the question: what matters, and what should we focus on and get into? Is it tabloidism, gossip, rumor-mongering and slander—or lines? Of course it should be lines, and where they will lead. We have to fight for people—which means fighting with people, ideologically—in order to make breakthroughs.

The fact that some people get drawn forward and then get turned away because we are "making too much of BA" isn't happening in a vacuum—or simply because of the influence of the ruling class and the dominant institutions and what prevails in society generally. Opportunists and counter-revolutionaries are telling them shit. They work on people that we draw forward. "Work on" doesn't really get it. Often they descend on people, including through the Internet. Some of this is studied counter-revolution. To use a metaphor, if people are sitting in the bushes and taking potshots at you, and you ignore it because you don't want to be dragged down to a petty level, or into the gutter, then you are making a mistake—you have to deal with it, without allowing yourself to get dragged down. If we don't sharply deal with this, shame on us. Not to answer it on its terms, but by pointing out the bankruptcy of this—and, in some cases, the outright piggery as well as the ideological and political bankruptcy.

I recently read again our response to Mike Ely's "Nine Letters." That response is quite good.12 In particular I was struck by the exposure and refutation of Ely's rank relativism and agnosticism—his attempt to undermine the understanding that, while there are of course things human beings cannot know with certainty at any given time, on the other hand there is much human knowledge that has a well-founded and well-established basis in reality and can be judged to be true, with a great deal of certainty, and does not simply have a tenuous link to reality, to use Ely's formulation. As part of our response, since Ely had invoked—and in fact had crudely distorted—Mao in an attempt to buttress Ely's agnosticism and relativism, the following was posed, pointedly, to Ely: Does he think that dialectical and historical materialism, the need for revolution and the seizure of state power, the DOP and socialism as a transition to communism, and the continuation of classes and class struggle in socialist society—do these have a tenuous link to reality? And would Mao agree? There is no good answer to that, if you are proceeding according to the opportunist "logic" of Mike Ely. He has also never been held to account on his shit with Nepal—tailing all the revisionism there and attacking us for not tailing it. Apparently, being an opportunist and a counter-revolutionary means never having to be accountable for anything—so long as you attack what is genuinely revolutionary and communist, you can get a "pass" from some people for just about anything you say and do. When he first quit the Party, Ely's opportunism and his attacks on me and the Party were mainly rationalization for giving up—for capitulating to imperialism and everything that represents—while putting up a shabby pretense of still being some kind of "communist" or "revolutionary." But here something Lenin pointed to is very relevant. It is one thing to make a mistake, Lenin said (although capitulating to imperialism, turning your back on and attacking what actually represents revolution and communism—even stooping so low as to appeal to ignorant and crude prejudice against communism and communist organization, invoking the specter of "thought control" within the RCP, and so on... garbage literally on the level of a J. Edgar Hoover—is more than a mere mistake; but to continue with Lenin's essential point) if a mistake is persisted in—and if "profound justifications" are sought for this—then this can become something truly monstrous. This is the basic process that has taken place with Ely.

Again, the point is not to have a disproportionate preoccupation with these opportunists and counter-revolutionaries, but to take seriously the fact that they can, and do, cause real harm, especially in today's situation and with the putrid culture that prevails, including far too much among people who claim to be some kind of opposition. It is part of the process that some people who are initially drawn toward us—especially if they are worked, and struggled, with well—will continue to make leaps forward, while some others will fall back after a certain point. But, if things are dividing out the wrong way with this, something is wrong. Part of the problem is that we don't join these issues sharply enough with people. Too often there is too much of trying to evade or finesse things, rather than getting into the essential questions frontally and sharply. Our sharp edge should not be dulled.

When people come around, and then they begin to get a sense of how big what we're talking about is—how hard and complex, and how much up against what most people think, as well as being up against the state—they discover this, and they come to a juncture. Now you're in a different stage with people than when they first came around. The questions are not simply the same as when they first came around, first got on the escalator. And the things that are pulling them down, pulling them away from this, are not just the objective things that come from the bourgeoisie and its ruling institutions and ideas—what also pulls on them is what these other forces are saying, what they are saying about our Party and BA and the whole communist project, really. These forces do fight for their line—such as it is. We certainly cannot afford not to fight for ours. To really counter their shit, we need to get, deeply and sharply, into what the differences are—the real and substantial differences that matter—and why this is right and these other people are wrong: why there really is "nothing there," when it comes to an analysis of the fundamental problem and the solution, why in fact everything else is bullshit.

As you learn more about the actual process of building a movement for revolution, and carrying out that revolution when the conditions for that emerge, the more complicated and difficult it seems, particularly as you first come to grips with these contradictions. But the fact is that actually making revolution involves and requires consistently applying a scientific method and approach to identify and analyze, and to develop the means to radically transform, the contradictions that are bound up with this process. We have gone to work, in a substantial way, on these problems—and we have more work to do to solve these problems as we go forward. We have a foundation, and there is a need for new people to join in and help do the further work that is needed. And the truth is, nobody else has anything underneath what they're talking about, because it doesn't correspond to reality. This point needs to be driven home.

This has to be very sharp. In the current situation, and in terms of the forces coming forward in the movements of today, we are dealing to a very large degree with forces representing the petite bourgeoisie. Something like "Occupy," while it has attracted and drawn in some people from the basic masses, is largely and essentially a movement of the petite bourgeoisie, and you are going to get lines, tendencies, and pulls characteristic of the petite bourgeoisie—coming at things from a different point of view than that which represents the interests of the proletariat, in the most fundamental sense. Approaching this scientifically, we can see that this is what we're dealing with, in terms of things like "Occupy"—even with its very definite positive aspects. We had better understand that and struggle accordingly. And, again, this way of thinking is not limited to just the petite bourgeoisie itself—it exists more broadly in society. Add to that the fact that people actually know very little about communism and its history—and most of what they think they know is wrong. With all this in mind, it should stand out very prominently what is profoundly wrong with the idea that we should tail this, rather than waging principled but fierce struggle, ideologically, with what is wrong—with what represents a misguided, unscientific sense of the problem and solution.

Yes, we should discuss and wrangle with people over questions like what direction movements that arise, like "Occupy," should take, as such. That is part of our responsibility, even an important part, but it is not our main responsibility. Our main and essential responsibility is building a movement for revolution—and we have to approach everything from the fundamental perspective of how it relates to that.

The problem that some of our comrades have, in relation to movements like "Occupy," stems to a significant degree from the fact that they are not proceeding systematically from an understanding that there is not an antagonism but there is a real contradiction between what's represented by things like "Occupy" and where things need to go. There needs to be unity/struggle/unity to resolve contradictions among the people—but if we are not proceeding from the correct foundation and the correct, scientifically based understanding, we will not have a real chance of correctly handling the very real contradictions and the unity/struggle/unity dialectic.

The Problem and the Solution

Problem/solution. Problem/solution. Problem/solution. Everything revolves around problem-solution: what the fundamental problem in the world is, and what the solution is. In a fundamental sense, this includes me and my role. The emphasis we give to my leadership, and what it has brought forward and concentrates, has real meaning and great importance—but only in the context of problem-solution. It is not simply an appendage or addendum or footnote to that—but it IS in that context.

This applies also to polemics—in an overall and fundamental sense, they should focus on and continually ground things in the problem/solution.

Keep in mind: "there is nothing there." Polemics should focus to a large degree on the fact that what is represented by these various other forces—and in particular organized opportunist and counter-revolutionary forces—will not lead to anything good and is actually working against what is needed.

Three Quick Points

One: There is the phenomenon that when you are drawn to our Party and what it represents, and then you step out with this, people representing the disaffected but self-absorbed petite bourgeoisie bray and bark. This is fundamentally how we have to understand these attacks—and, in a living way, explain it to others, including those who come in for such braying and barking.

Two: Every time we tail, we kick ourselves in the teeth and get seriously set back.

Three: We are for revolution and communism. You opportunists don't like it because, in reality—in terms of the content of what you put forward—you want to make this system "work"; your vision and aspirations actually do not extend beyond the narrow horizon of this system, to paraphrase Marx. Let's recast the terms to what they actually are. Our Party, and in a concentrated way BA, represents the leadership that is needed and the struggle for revolution, and the state, the dictatorship of the proletariat, that is the necessary outcome of that struggle— and in turn is a transition to the final goal of a communist world. That is why people, and in particular those who constitute political and literary representatives of the petite bourgeoisie, react the way they do. They want to make this system "work," at least for themselves. That's not what we're about.

We should take a lesson from the experience in the Bay Area with the group STORM some years back. Unfortunately, there was a marked tendency on the part of comrades there to be intimidated by STORM, because these comrades were approaching things incorrectly, looking too much at surface phenomena and not grounding themselves in the deeper dynamics of things. STORM seemed to be a "going thing," for a while, and was wielding nationalist identity politics as a weapon, while putting up some kind of a pretense of being Marxist, or in some way against the system. But where is STORM now? And where are the people who were put forward as its leading lights—someone like Van Jones—what's the deal with him now?! Openly working for this system. Which is a kind of leap, but a leap that, in a real sense, is an extension of the outlook and approach of something like STORM. This is not a matter of "personal traits," but of line—of outlook and method, and the strategic orientation flowing from that. Of course, so long as there are class distinctions, and so long in particular as there are people constituting the political and literary representatives of the petite bourgeoisie, including among the oppressed nationalities, there will continue to be different incarnations of the kind of phenomenon that STORM represented. But lessons should be drawn from the experience with STORM—and the fact that STORM itself is now defunct!

Short-Term Advances and the Fundamental Goal of Revolution: Correctly Handling a Real Contradiction

Apparently Chris Hedges declared that "Occupy" is "too big to fail." This is simply wrong. "Occupy," as such, will have a certain life—and, as I put it in my "Reflection" on "Occupy," it can make a significant contribution to the revolution that is needed, IF the revolutionary communists approach this correctly. "Occupy" itself will have a certain life and, as has already happened, it will face a series of challenges; and how those challenges are dealt with will have a major role in determining what course it takes and whether and in what ways it can continue to have a mainly positive impact. Right now this is concentrated in whether there will be a powerful challenge to the concentrated move by the ruling class to suppress and disperse "Occupy." There are important things that we can and should seek to do in relation to that, but the most important thing that we should be doing is accumulating forces for revolution, in relation to this movement and in other ways as well. If we don't really and deeply grasp this, and act on it, then not only "Occupy" but our Party, too, will either go out of existence or be absorbed into the political scenery of bourgeois society, to paraphrase the recent polemic against Slavoj Žižek13.

Can anyone claim that they've never been influenced by the line that something good has happened, so let's not spoil it by bringing in the solid core, by bringing alive the need for revolution and the final goal of communism? No it happens—but we have to be very attuned to that, recognizing and struggling against that.

We have to think about different ways of working with the advanced around us—to struggle things through and make some much-needed advances in bringing forward new forces, new initiators of the new stage of the communist movement—accumulating forces for revolution and recruiting more of the advanced into the Party. We need to make breakthroughs in all three objectives of the overall Campaign we are carrying out: really putting revolution and communism on the map; making BA a household name and what BA represents a subject of substantive discussion and debate throughout society; and bringing forward waves of new initiators of the communist revolution. This—and in particular the third objective—requires winning people to be really partisan for and then fully committed to THIS. We have to get more and more people to the point where they want to go out and take on the braying hounds. Let's instill that Black Panther Party spirit from back in the day. The BPP members really believed they were the vanguard, and they didn't want to hear any shit from you about how they weren't. We need much more of that basic spirit. The point is not to attack people, but to have a spirit of itching for ideological struggle.

We need to unleash and marshal the people who feel that way—give them substance, and get them out there fighting for this.

We don't think enough in terms of fighting for people who are being influenced toward wrong lines. Let's go up against the spontaneity—let's put on our boxing gloves. Let's jump into ideological contention, spoiling for a fight. If you are a leading person, take some others, including advanced masses, with you when you do this. Take these masses coming around with you. Engage these other lines. Call them out: "You don't even know what the problem is, let alone the solution." Then get into the substance. We have a developed line with a lot of substance. But you have to fight for it. If you want to win masses you have to fight, and you have to take masses with you so they see the contending lines and which ones have substance and are based on reality, and which ones don't and aren't.

Some Basic Questions

How do we make sure that people go out in the right way to do revolutionary work? One of the advantages of BAsics is that this book lets you do good work. But, as we've seen, you can do work with BAsics with a wrong line seriously contending in that work. BAsics is not some kind of inoculation against the wrong line—it's a factor that creates more favorable conditions for work to be done correctly. With many people we need to figure out how to simplify things without being reckless, and get people into the mix and swirl of what's going on these days.

Let's pose a series of very basic questions. Do you think that this outrage of police brutality is going to be eliminated with a few sit-ins? If not, is that tolerable? And if not, further, what is it going to take to get rid of this outrage? Do you think this is the only outrage of this system, and how are all those other outrages going to get dealt with? How does what we are doing fit into a revolutionary movement to get rid of this whole thing? This resistance is great as a beginning and part of what needs to happen—but not so great as just a thing in itself and unto itself. Bring people back to what they know, and have a basis for knowing.

Do you really think that "Occupy" just growing and growing is going to solve everything we're about? People in the Party and close to us know the answers, and "forget" them. We have to constantly bring them back to what they know. There are line questions and the pull of spontaneity.

In situations where there are increased numbers of masses awakening and in motion politically, and we are working to relate to that, what we say matters more. And the more it matters, the greater the pull to tone it down. When you introduce something like my "Occupy" statement, it breaks up some of the unity that exists, even as it has the potential to unite people on a higher level. It is the same thing with regard to STOP "Stop & Frisk." Is it a static linear thing of more and more unity—or is it unity-divide-more unity, through junctures and struggles? Comrades, and in particular comrades with leadership responsibility, know the answers. So why does it happen that people lose sight of this and tend to tail? One, the pull of "the movement is everything, the final aim nothing"—and part of you is pulled toward thinking that revolution and communism is not viable, or is in some abstract realm, unrelated to what is going on now. And two, the pull to thinking: bringing this in is going to disrupt the unity we've forged, when we've got something good going here. This has to be fought through, in repeated rounds of struggle. Comrades need to see their responsibilities above all as communists, and not as people dealing in a particular realm.

We should use the website and newspaper to model things. Even a short piece, like the one I wrote on "The American Enterprise,"14 can concentrate a lot. If someone raises the present Constitution of the USA, we can respond by saying things like, "that belongs in the museum"—as opposed to an academic argument. The effect of a punchy response like that is to change the terms to more what they should be. And then you get further into the substance. That Constitution represents the past, here's what we need for the future—and point to the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal)15. Use the website and newspaper to model things like that. They should have some more in-depth analysis, but there is also a definite need for a lot of shorter, biting stuff.

Leading Consistently with the Correct Method and Approach

We have to consistently lead with the correct line, and most fundamentally the correct, scientific method and approach. That has to be what we're striving for. That's the standard we have to set and aim for—nothing less. And, even as we are persevering to make breakthroughs in things we have identified as crucial, we need to keep looking afresh at things, and not fall into ruts and routines. We have to adhere to certain fundamental matters of principle and keep our eye on the prize of decisive objectives, while looking at things anew repeatedly.

We do have to get more focused in what we do and how we wield our forces, but the principal and decisive thing is leading with the correct line, and then how to get the correct combinations and synergies. We don't want to just judiciously wield our forces—we want, we need, to grow. We want more people to carry out the correct line and not some other line. Attention needs to be paid to how to lead that and effect the right combinations and synergies to make that happen. Think about the effect of a leading person going with a comrade in the work and doing the work correctly and fighting it through and summing it up with them. And we should involve advanced masses where that's appropriate. Masses learn by seeing things done correctly and seeing them in contention with other things. There are people who can do this right, and do it really well, but there are still too few—we need to wield them correctly and combine them, correctly, with basic Party members and people who are coming forward, so others can learn and develop.

How do we wield the strengths we have and the strengths of people around us in the best possible combinations and synergies, and get into the real-world places where this can go on? We can't just bring masses to our bookstores—we have to do that, but we also have to go TO the masses. This goes along with simplify, simplify, simplify. Radical simplicity. Get people together in groups and go places with somebody who's gonna set the terms in the right way.

A Final Point: On Unity and Struggle

Because I have given so much emphasis to the confrontation of opposing lines where the contradiction is in fact antagonistic—dealing with opportunists and counter-revolutionaries—I don't want to underplay the importance of non-antagonistic struggle, struggle with people with whom it is also correct to seek unity, even while carrying out ideological struggle over big questions and matters of principle. The difference is that there are many people who disagree with us, who are objectively representatives of an incorrect outlook, which ultimately leads things away from where they need to go, but they haven't made themselves in effect an appendage of the ruling class. They are not setting out to destroy our Party. And they are not framing their disagreements with us in the guise of "revolution" or "communism." This relates to why the Chinese Communist Party made clear, in its polemics against the Soviet revisionists in the 1960s, that unity with many forces who do not claim to be communists is possible, but there can be no unity with revisionists—phony communists who distort and oppose the revolutionary core of communism, while attacking those who uphold and act on the basis of real, revolutionary communism.

The emphasis on the need to hit back, with substance, ideologically, against the opportunist and counter-revolutionary forces that do make it their business to wage unprincipled attacks against our Party and BA—this should not lead to ignoring or undermining the importance of engagement and carrying forward the unity/struggle/unity process with what are objectively non-antagonistic representatives of other classes and strata. That remains very important.


1. Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage, A Manifesto from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, September 2008 (RCP Publications, 2009) [back]

2. BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian, RCP Publications, 2011 [back]

3. The "because" statement refers to the following:

Because of Bob Avakian and the work he has done over several decades, summing up the positive and negative experience of the communist revolution so far, and drawing from a broad range of human experience, there is a new synthesis of communism that has been brought forward—there really is a viable vision and strategy for a radically new, and much better, society and world, and there is the crucial leadership that is needed to carry forward the struggle toward that goal. [back]

4. After BA made these observations, Revolution/ published "The 'Illuminati' Is a Myth! Wake Up and Deal With the REAL Problem!," #272. June 17, 2012. [back]

5. "Alain Badiou's 'Politics of Emancipation': A Communism Locked Within the Confines of the Bourgeois World," by Raymond Lotta, Nayi Duniya, and K. J. A., Demarcations: A Journal of Communist Theory and Polemic, Issue Number 1, Summer-Fall 2009 [back]

6. From Ike to Mao and Beyond—My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist, a memoir by Bob Avakian, Insight Press, 2005 [back]

7. "A Reflection on the 'Occupy' Movement: An Inspiring Beginning...and the Need to Go Further," by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, Revolution #250, November 13, 2011 [back]

8. For a discussion of the Cultural Revolution in the RCP, see Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage, A Manifesto from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. Part VI, "A Cultural Revolution Within the RCP," begins on page 34 of the pamphlet. [back]

9. International Socialist Organization [back]

10. For an analysis of the driving force of anarchy as the most essential expression of the fundamental contradiction of capitalism, see "On the 'Driving Force of Anarchy' and the Dynamics of Change—A Sharp Debate and Urgent Polemic: The Struggle for a Radically Different World and the Struggle for a Scientific Approach to Reality," by Raymond Lotta, Revolution, November 4, 2013. [back]

11. Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy, by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, RCP Publications, 2008 [back]

12. "Stuck in the 'Awful Capitalist Present' or Forging a Path to the Communist Future? A Response to Mike Ely's Nine Letters," by a writing group in the RCP, 2008 [back]

13. "Vilifying Communism and Accommodating Imperialism: The Sham and Shame of Slavoj Žižek's 'Honest Pessimism,'" by Raymond Lotta, Revolution #256, January 15, 2012 [back]

14. "The American Enterprise—Property and Slavery: Peculiar Notions of 'Freedom' and Profound Contradictions," by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, Revolution #252, December 11, 2011 [back]

15. Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal), RCP Publications, 2010 [back]




Revolution #340 June 1, 2014

We Don't Need "Reconciliation" Between the Youth and the Police—We Need Revolution, Nothing Less!

Comments on hearing Fania Davis at the Left Forum in New York City

by Sunsara Taylor | June 2, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


I really appreciated the recent polemic published in Revolution/, "Mass Incarceration, the Democrats, and Angela Davis—Don't Be Fooled; and Don't Let Others Be Part of Fooling You." That piece reveals powerfully and poignantly the way that she is misdirecting people's anger and leading them towards a harmful and poisonous dead-end. If anyone hasn't yet read it, they should do so right away.

I am writing because recently I heard Angela Davis's sister, Fania Davis, speak and this further drove home the need for clarity on the fundamentally different approaches being advocated in response to what is actually a slow genocide of Black and Latino people in this country, as well as the question of reform or revolution. Fania Davis, who is the director of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth and who shares the same overall political and ideological outlook as her sister Angela, was speaking on a panel focused on mass incarceration at the Left Forum in New York, a major conference of various "leftist trends" and activists.

Fania began by sharing how she and her Restorative Justice project have spent the last two days "training police officers." As one major part of this, she proudly described organizing a "youth/police healing circle" in which the youth complained about the way police make jokes and laugh at the crime scenes of murders in their communities and where the police explained that that was just their way of handling the ongoing stress and tension of their jobs. Then, she explained, they all played a game of basketball together and this has "significantly eased tensions between them."

Later, she addressed the theme of the conference while at the same time implicitly polemicizing against Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. The main title of the Left Forum this year is "Reform and/or Revolution," and Carl Dix had just argued that you cannot have both reform and revolution as your main approach. Either you make revolution and defeat and dismantle this whole foul system that rules over and destroys the lives of billions, he argued, or you end up tinkering around the blood-soaked margins of this nightmare of a world. In the fight to make revolution, it is correct at times to take up the fight for certain reforms, (for example, demanding justice for victims of police murder or fighting to overturn laws that have closed down women's abortion clinics), and it is important to unite with and "stretch a line" to people who are rising up against this system's crimes even if they themselves are not coming from a revolutionary perspective. But it is necessary to do this in a way that strengthens people's understanding and ability to go forward to make revolution. Carl called on people to join with the major October Month of Resistance being planned against mass incarceration and wrapped up by explaining how this fits into the RCP's strategic approach of "Fighting the power, and transforming the people, for revolution."

In stark contrast to this is the approach of reformism—making a principle of the notion that all one can, or should want to do is make some reforms to the system. That approach is very harmful—and all the more so when it is advocated by people who claim that their brand of reformism is somehow actually "revolutionary," even though they never put forward the clear understanding of the need for revolution or how the particular struggles they are advocating today can advance the people towards such a revolution.

About halfway into her presentation, Fania referenced Carl's remarks by calling them "binary." She said that we have to get away from that kind of "binary" and "simplistic" thinking that things are all one way or the other—either reform or revolution. Instead, she argued that we need both reform and revolution, putting them on equal par with each other (thereby opposing the need for clarity on which one is primary and must set the terms for the other) and went on to describe a very reformist, gradualist, non-revolutionary vision of personal change, spiritual "healing" and more about bringing the police and the youth together. She included in this the proclamation that she was "not just about protesting" or just saying what she is against (again, an implicit polemic against Carl Dix), but that she is bringing alive what she is for.

What a bunch of poison!

First off, revolution—especially as Carl Dix and the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA are fighting for it—is not just "what we are against." It is a profoundly positive and realistic vision and program and strategy for a world without exploitation and oppression in any form. It is about defeating and dismantling the capitalist-imperialist system that is on track to lock up one out of every three Black male babies born today, that carries out terror from the sky in countries around the world, that traps millions of children worldwide in sweatshops and fields as the basic fuel for its international economy, that is devastating the natural environment, and that requires and is ramping up the enslavement and degradation of women everywhere. Revolution is about bringing into being a world where not only people's basic needs are met, but where everyone—including those who have for millennia been locked out of these realms—is part of a rich cultural, intellectual, and social life that is breaking down former divisions and social antagonisms. To get a sense of the real world history of this kind of revolution read the interview with Raymond Lotta, ("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 to get a living and concrete sense of what this will look like dig into the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. What could be more "positive" than this?

Second, this whole notion that it is categorically wrong or simplistic to be "binary" (i.e.: draw clear lines of demarcation) is just bullshit. During slavery, was it "simplistic" and wrong to be "binary" by standing unequivocally for the abolition, not the reform, of slavery? Is it simplistic and wrong to be "binary" towards, and fail to find anything redeeming about, the Nazis? Is it simplistic and wrong to be "binary" about, and to firmly oppose, torture?

Those questions should answer themselves. And the same applies to the question of revolution. The system of capitalism-imperialism causes—and can only cause—tremendous misery and suffering. This system cannot be reformed; the actual dynamics of this system as well as generations of struggle and sacrifice have demonstrated that even hard-fought reforms will be undercut and turned back against the people (often in new, and disorienting ways) until this system is swept off the face of the earth and a new revolutionary society constructed in its place. Again, while the fight for reforms can at times be part of the struggle for revolution, and while it is essential to unite with and reach out (especially through our newspaper, Revolution, and website, to the many outbreaks of struggle coming from other perspectives, all this must be done in a way that contributes to and hastens the development of an actual revolution.

By actively spreading unclarity about this, by criticizing this for being "simplistic," Fania Davis is just using her "radical" image to foster poisonous illusions and turn people away from the only path to real liberation.

Third, as one vivid dimension of where this approach of trying to combine reform and revolution (in reality defanging the idea of revolution by submerging it in a program of reformism) leads, lets look at the real meaning of Fania's "police/youth healing circles." A slow and grinding genocide is taking place against Black and Latino youth. Millions are locked out of any sort of decent education, healthcare, housing or prospects of work and instead turned against each other on the streets, sent off to kill others in U.S. wars, and locked in concrete cages.

What is the role of the police in all this? They are the armed enforcers of the system that is carrying out this genocide. They are not just a collection of individuals any more than the overseers and slave-catchers during slavery or the Nazi guards at Auschwitz were. They are organized, trained, and deployed to enforce the policies and programs of the state and system they serve. And the program of working to improve interpersonal relations between oppressed youth and the police, in opposition to leading those youth to join with others to fight against this terror and criminalization as part of building up the strength and understanding to make revolution as soon as that becomes possible, is deadly! It is exactly analogous to having organized the slaves to sit down with and seek "understanding" and a "defusion of tensions" with the lynch mobs and slave-chasers, rather than joining in the fight to rise up and abolish slavery. Or to trying to get Jewish people to build "understanding" and "defuse tensions" with the concentration camp guards, without doing anything to break people out of the camps or put an end to the overall genocide.

Again, the question should answer itself. We do NOT need to "foster understanding" between the police and those they terrorize, brutalize, and massively imprison. We need to build massive resistance against this terror and criminalization, among all sections of society including the oppressed youth who are the most direct targets of this, and do so in a way that increasingly strengthens people's fighting capacity, organization, and understanding of the need for revolution at the soonest possible time to put an end to this outrage as well as all the other crimes of this system!

Finally, a word on simplicity and complexity. The world is, indeed, complex and it is important to be willing and able to deal with the world in all its complexity. But some things are very simple. And frankly, if you don't get clear on some very simple things you cannot even begin to make sense out of all the various layers of complexity. For example, there is a lot of complexity to the strategy of basketball, but you can only begin to master all that if you are clear on the basic and simple rules that define the game. Or, there is lot of complexity to the different kinds of breads and pastries that can be baked, but there are some simple and basic things that you have to grasp to even begin to master all that, like the need to turn on the oven. Similarly, making revolution and going on to achieve the emancipation of all humanity is a tremendously complex process and it requires deep study and theoretical work. This is why it is so precious and so significant for the world that this work has been taken to a whole new level through the new synthesis of communism developed by Bob Avakian (BA), Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. But one thing that is very simple and which must be grasped clearly—and which BA has consistently fought for—is that without making a real revolution humanity will remain trapped in horrific wars, exploitation, degradation, and terror.

With that, I want to end on a "binary" but basic and true statement: There is nothing good about the confusion and misdirection that Fania Davis is spreading. Get with the real revolution at And get with the fight today to resist the slow genocide of mass incarceration at the "Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution" page at





Revolution #340 June 1, 2014

From A Former Prisoner Who's Answering the Call to Contribute to "1000 Years - $1000 for BA Everywhere"

May 30, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


I'm a former prisoner who's answering the call to contribute to "1000 Years - $1000 for BA Everywhere." I'm also extending a challenge to everyone who hates and wants to eliminate the many outrages that unceasingly flow from the capitalist-imperialist system - or anyone who hates to see injustice go unchallenged - to match not just the amount I'm raising, but all that will be given by prisoners, ex-prisoners, and their loved ones. All those that haven't been directly affected by the mass incarceration of Black and Brown people need to step forth and answer this call, but it's also urgent for those who remain behind the walls I left to answer this call as well.

There is an important role that prisoners can play by answering this call. The "BA Everywhere" campaign is a mass fundraising campaign aiming to make Bob Avakian and the leadership he concentrates known throughout all society, it's about putting REAL revolution back on the ideological map in order to prepare the ground for a revolutionary rising that has a solid basis and a real chance of winning. I'm aware that prisoners have very limited funds and that is why it would be so meaningful for prisoners themselves to answer this call. If those locked down in the hellholes of this nation of cages, who have so fucken little as it is, can come up with ways to raise a dollar for every year they've spent in prison, they could have a resonating impact not only on our fund-raising efforts out here on the streets, but also in the overall work we are doing in building the movement for a REAL revolution.

This isn't about raising money for some feel-good-about-yourself charity that doesn't change shit, this is about filling the great need to raise the consciousness of the masses to a level that, when conditions are right, opens up the possibility to meet, defeat, abolish, and dismantle the repressive forces and institutions that have targeted and hounded us on the street, decided our fate with the mere hit of a gavel, and held us in torturous conditions for years on end. Huge chunks of our lives have been stolen from us, while the real criminals - those BA has said make the godfather look like Mary Poppins - remain free to plunder and exploit, bomb and invade whole countries whenever and wherever they feel the need to pursue their interest, the interest of their horrid capitalist-imperialist system. Despite the horrible consequences pursuing those interests have on innocent children and humanity as a whole, these monstrous criminals never have to worry about setting foot in one of those cages that currently hold more than 2 million people.

I'm making the years that have been stolen from me count for something that will really matter, but I want to make the years that have been stolen from my family members, childhood friends, cellmates, and other people I got close to while in prison count as well. However, adding up all those years is overwhelming in more ways than one. The list of people I jotted down and the number of years they've spent in prison up until now is incomplete. I started adding from the 17 years I did until I got up to 324 years before giving up - there are more people and a lot more years that need to be counted. I'm pledging to donate $200 (of the $324 goal) and I'm doing it to help spread BA's vision, strategy, and leadership in every corner of society so as to increase our chances of making real breakthroughs in our mission to sweep this heartless system off the face of the earth and bring a truly liberating world into being. A world where there will be not just no more of our youth in the inner cities robbed of a future, killed at an early age or destined for prison, but where there will be no more children unnecessarily dying from hunger and preventable disease the world over. Raising money to get BA known everywhere is part of bringing that world into being.

I want to call on all those who can find the means to help me reach the goal of $324 and then others to match the full amount. And I especially want to call on prisoners to make their own years count as well because of the inspiring effect they can have in answering this particular call, "1000 Years--$1000 for BA Everywhere." I want to urge you to not just raise money but to become actively involved in building the movement for revolution-inside and outside the walls that hold you. Contributing to this project can be one of the first steps you take on a road full of struggle and sacrifice but also full of the great joy that comes from making your life about something that is really worth living for and fighting for. As BA said in his new year's message, "The challenge is there. The leadership is there. What's needed... is you."




Revolution #340 June 1, 2014

Check It Out: Ta-Nehisi Coates on “The Case for Reparations”

June 3, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


If you haven’t read it yet, check out the article by Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The Case for Reparations,” in the June issue of The Atlantic (available at the newsstand or online at

Coates starts off his article with these sentences:

250 years of slavery.
90 years of Jim Crow.
60 years of separate but equal.
35 years of racist housing policy.
Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.

What follows is a deep and searing look at the the oppression of Black people in the United States of America—an indictment that makes a case for reparations. The just demand for reparations—that the descendants of slaves in the U.S. be given some kind of compensation—has been debated since the end of the Civil War. Coates says the very idea of reparations threatens “America’s heritage, history, and standing in the world.” And his article has set off a whole new round of much-needed public discussion in these times—of mass incarceration, the killing of Trayvon Martin, and police murder and brutality.

Coates goes deeply into the profound consequences of 250 years of slavery in the United States. He gets into how the enslavement of Black people was so foundational to this country that “those who sought to end it were branded heretics worthy of death.” He painstakingly chronicles how Black people in this country have been systematically treated as “sub-citizens, sub-Americans, and sub-humans.” And he says that perhaps no statistic better illustrates this “enduring legacy of our country’s shameful history” than the wealth gap between Black and white people.

In these times, when we got a Black president constantly blaming the youth for their predicament and pointing the finger at “bad fathers,” Coates' argument for reparation says:

“The early American economy was built on slave labor. The Capitol and the White House were built by slaves. President James K. Polk traded slaves from the Oval Office. The laments about “black pathology,” the criticism of black family structures by pundits and intellectuals, ring hollow in a country whose existence was predicated on the torture of black fathers, on the rape of black mothers, on the sale of black children. An honest assessment of America’s relationship to the black family reveals the country to be not its nurturer but its destroyer. And this destruction did not end with slavery. Discriminatory laws joined the equal burden of citizenship to unequal distribution of its bounty. These laws reached their apex in the mid-20th century, when the federal government—through housing policies—engineered the wealth gap, which remains with us to this day. When we think of white supremacy, we picture Colored Only signs, but we should picture pirate flags."

We encourage readers of Revolution to not only read “The Case for Reparations,” but join the conversation and debate. Talk to others and write to Revolution about your thinking on this important issue.




Revolution #340 June 1, 2014

From Stop Mass Incarceration Network:

Stop Mass Incarceration Network–NYC and NYC Revolution Club Condemn NYPD Assault on the General Grant and Manhattanville Houses in Harlem

June 5, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |



HARLEM, NY—The Stop Mass Incarceration Network-NYC, the NYC Revolution Club, and others, will rally to denounce the June 4 military style assault by over 400 NYPD cops in the General Grant and Manhattanville Houses. Using battering rams, officers in body armor broke down doors as helicopters whirled overhead, arresting 40 people that the NYPD claims are gang members. The raid and arrests are not about fighting crime and violence. They are about criminalizing the youth and terrorizing whole communities.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton claim that the 103 people indicted, ranging in age from 15 to 30, are gang members. Bratton said, “If you choose this lifestyle, you will suffer the same fate as these individuals.” Did these young men choose to be born into a future of poverty, housing projects, no educational opportunities, no jobs and no future? What kind of system is this where many of the youth see the gangs as their only way to survive? If the authorities really cared about the lives and safety of the people in the housing projects they would do something about the horrible conditions of life that many suffer, they would provide decent jobs, they would educate the youth, they would provide a bright future. Instead, their only answer is to criminalize the youth and mass incarceration. Yes, some young people turn to crime. But who put them in these conditions? And why aren’t they doing anything to help them for real?

Many of those indicted and arrested are charged with conspiracy. The NYPD and Manhattan District Attorney’s Office built these conspiracy cases based on monitoring over 40,000 calls and spying on hundreds of Facebook pages. Conspiracy charges based on police state spying? Conspiracy charges mean the police have no way to tie those arrested with the actual crimes but claim they were part of a “conspiracy”. The real conspiracy is to deny our young people a decent future and to criminalize them at an early age in the school-to-prison pipeline.

The real conspiracy is, “For 2 generations, Black and Latina/Latino youth in the U.S. have been shipped off to prison in numbers never before seen anywhere in the world at any time. More than 2 million people, of all nationalities languish in prison—ten times the number 50 years ago. The U.S. has 5% of the world’s population but 25% of the world’s prison population! More than 60% of those in U.S. prisons are Black or Latina/o. 32% of Black men between the ages of 20 and 29 are in prison or on parole or probation on any given day. (From “WE SAY NO MORE! A Call For A Month Of Resistance To Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression And The Criminalization Of A Generation!”)