Revolution #351, September 1, 2014 (

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #351 September 1, 2014

Which Side Are You On?

September 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Over the past month, people have risen up—most notably in Ferguson, Missouri—against police murder, but elsewhere as well, against other outrages and abuses. The lines should be very clear: those who stand with justice and the oppressed against those who stand with the oppressors and their enforcers.

But in the course of these uprisings, some people who claim to be on the side of the people have carried out actions that put them with the oppressors. This is not a matter of having political disagreements, even sharp disagreements, about the best ways to resist and seek justice; those kinds of disagreements will, and should, happen in any political struggle or movement. No, this is a matter of actually going over to the other camp, to the oppressors, while claiming to be the biggest fighters FOR the people.

So, let's suggest some simple standards, all drawn from actual events of this past month, that everyone should be able to agree on:

If you go around helping the pigs arrest people, pointing them out and even tackling them for these pigs, then you are working with the pigs and in the camp of the oppressors.

If you go around quoting outright fascist and racist blogs as factual when they attack revolutionaries, then you are lending credibility to the fascists and in the camp of the oppressors.

If you have a journalistic platform and use it to make false accusations against revolutionaries and others who are standing up to resist, either accusing them of crimes or lightly branding them as agent provocateurs, then you are setting people up for prosecution and in the camp of the oppressors.

If you initiate or threaten violence against someone in the movement for justice over political differences, then you are aiding the enemy and in the camp of the oppressors.

If, instead of engaging in principled debate over political differences, you actively refuse and try to suppress such debate and actually spread slander and gutter-level attacks, then you are setting people up for attack by the enemy and in the camp of the oppressors.

If you stalk, pry into and seek to reveal private information about the identities, whereabouts and lives of people who are resisting in dangerous situations, especially situations in which other people have previously been attacked and even killed by counter-revolutionaries and/or the state, then you are aiding and abetting that reactionary violence and in the camp of the oppressors.

If you attack revolutionary leaders with slander or threats, never engaging or speaking to their actual deeds, work or ideas, then you are making it easier for the state and fascists to go after such leaders and aiding the oppressors.

The kinds of outrageous activities pointed to above have all happened—and they must have no place in any serious movement. People should not only abstain from these, but struggle against them when they arise. There are too many bitter experiences, paid for in blood, when this has NOT happened. We should, all of us, struggle to build a movement that is based on courageously confronting and giving no quarter to the enemy AND that is infused with vigorous debate on a foundation of largeness of mind and generosity of spirit on the side of the people.


For background see: "A Reflection on Piggery—Then and Now."





Revolution #351 September 1, 2014

Voices from Ferguson: "I'm here to represent Dakota Bright"

by Li Onesto | September 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


A call went out for people from around the country to come to Ferguson for the weekend of August 23-24 to stand with the people who had been taking to the streets for two weeks to demand justice for Michael Brown, who were refusing to back down in the face of police dogs, tear gas, rubber bullets, and arrests. Michelle Edwards, whose nephew Dakota Bright was murdered by the Chicago police in 2012, was one of the people who responded to this call, and I got a chance to talk to her about why she came to Ferguson:

"I'm here to represent Dakota Bright"

Ferguson, August 23, 2014. Photo: Li Onesto/

Ferguson, August 23, 2014. Photo: Li Onesto/

My name is Michelle Edwards and I came because my nephew was killed by Chicago police and when you see stuff like that it just dredge up all the memories of what happened to us. The same way that Michael Brown's mother lost a child, my nephew, my sister lost her child.

Tell me the story of what happened to your nephew.

The police shot him in the back of his head and then put the handcuffs on him.

When did this happen?

It happened November 8 of 2012. They shot my nephew, Dakota Bright, in the back of the head, said he had a gun. Come to find out there was no gun. He was 15 years old. They said he had a gun, he was shooting. They checked him for gun residue, there was no gun residue. They never came up with a gun. Everything about their story was a lie. After they shot him in the back of the head they just had him out there for hours, for hours, for hours. And put the handcuffs on him.

Ferguson, August 18, 2014. Photo: Li Onesto/

They put the handcuffs on him after they shot him?

After they killed him they put the handcuffs on him. He left his mama, his sisters, his brothers, his cousins, his grandma, everybody. He didn't even have a chance to grow up. Even if he was going through a bad stage as a teenager, he still never had a chance to grow up or live his life or have kids or grandkids, or none of that [crying].

Take your time.

Another family member: We need justice for all these kids that the police think that we are just animals for them to sit out here and just target like that.

Michelle:  Dakota Bright was definitely loved. Definitely loved and for them to do somebody's child like that it makes no sense. What gives them the right to take a life that they didn't give, for no reason. They have no?? What about his mama? What about his brothers, his sisters, his aunties, his uncles, his cousins?

When you saw on the news Michael Brown being killed, that brought all this back?

Oh yeah. Oh yeah, cuz the same way he was laying on the ground, without the cuffs, was how my nephew was laying on the ground. But they said he was pointing a gun at them but got shot in the back of the head. It was only an entry wound, it wasn't an exit wound. How was he shooting a gun at you but yet he got shot in the back of the head? And not only that, they intimidated all the witnesses who seen it to make them not want to testify because they afraid of what the police are going to do to them. They look at it like if they can get away with killing a kid, what are they going to do to me?

They intimidated the witnesses?

Yeah. They intimidated the witnesses. They stalked the family. They called people's jobs. They impounded people's cars.

Another family member: They were at his funeral. They followed us all the way through his burial. They had helicopters at his burial. Everything. And when we left the burial they pulled guns.

Michelle: They had shotguns, AK47s pointed at the funeral, at the burial. They ain't got no heart, they don't care about killing somebody's kid. And then they still get paid to stay at home.

My sister, Pansy Edwards, is never going to get over this. That was her baby. Like she was so scared to even come down here. They took her child, her baby from her. Like she ain't never, ever going to get that back.

Ferguson, August 20, 2014. Photo: Li Onesto/

So how did you feel when you saw the people of Ferguson taking to the street?

Man, everybody say that Ferguson – why they tearing up their street, why they doing this, why they doing that? Even if it wasn't right that they did that, if they didn't do it people wouldn't even be here like this. If our city stood up like this city stood up it'll be less killings, because they'd be scared to kill somebody's kid...

People are setting an example here. Wasn't there a demonstration in Chicago standing with the people of Ferguson.

Yeah but it wasn't nothing like this. This right here is history. These people made a stand, nobody ever made a stand before.

I came here because I feel her [Michael Brown's mother's] pain from the moment I seen it. I'm like oh my god. The videos of him laying outside, the pictures of him laying outside. That's the same stuff that we seen with my nephew, people taking pictures. The police don't care. Everybody got pictures. Like this mother going to have to go around for the rest of her life seeing -- like if she goes up on the Internet she's always going to have to see her son laying in the middle of the street, shot up, dead. They don't care. These are people's kids that they're taking.

How do you feel about the fact that when people have taken to the streets to protest the murder of Michael Brown, that they've come back with tear gas and rubber bullets?

They wrong. They wrong for that -- because if they system was put together better none of this would never happen. If the system wasn't as fucked up as it is, none of this would have happened. They don't think about the consequences we have, they don't think about the mothers, the family members who got to go home and mourn every day. Or have to wake up from nightmares from losing they kin folks or seeing pictures of they family laid out. They don't think about none of this. It's not even they problem cuz they like shit, we going home and our kids safe in the bed asleep. And they get a pass cuz they the police kids. Cuz if a police kid get pulled over they going to announce it like my father a sheriff or my father an officer and they going to look that shit up and they get a pass. But for all the people who don't got a chance to get a pass, what about them? What about them? C'mon man, that shit is wrong. It's hell and Ferguson took a stand and that was the best thing they could have ever done. And Chicago is here to represent.

One last question, if you had a message to the people of Ferguson, what would it be?

Keep standing up, don't let y'all guard down. Keep doing it and keep it up and keep doing it because I'm here to represent Dakota Bright.


And still no justice for Michael Brown.




Revolution #351 September 1, 2014

Voices from Ferguson: "It needs to be more done"; "It's a beautiful thing that people are showing solidarity"; "Indict, Convict, Send the Killer Cop to Jail"

by Li Onesto | September 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


"It needs to be more done"

On Wednesday, August 20, there was a demonstration at the county courthouse where the Grand Jury is convening in the case of the killing of Michael Brown. After the protest I talked to a young Black man who is from Ferguson. He started by talking about his own experience with the police:

Back in 1999, two police officers picked my brother up at the house and the next morning he was found dead in front of a church. Ain't nothing ever happened of it, they said it was drug-related and blah, blah, blah. They just swept it under the rug like they do everything else. So I'm a witness of what these officers do. And you know there are a lot of people out here who think that these officers don't do these type of things—it just should be, there should be something that says we as citizens should be able to protect ourselves against them because they just flat out killing us. I heard there's supposed to be a purge on Black Americans—a purge where a white American is shooting down Black Americans and since that been heard that there have been murders everywhere by cops. I'm saying this is what they do, this is what they do. It's like this is a sport for them.

Have you been out on West Florissant?

Yes, I'm heading back out there right now.

What do you think about the way they've been coming down with all the tear gas and the National Guard now and everything?

It's nonsense, it's like straight nonsense because I was out there the night they said they were getting thrown Molotov cocktails at, I was right up front, nobody thrown nothing at them.

Was this up at the Quick Trip or down by the Market?

Down by the Market. Didn't nobody throw nothing at them. They fired off rounds and then people started picking up canisters and throwing them back and then they just instantly started firing [tear gas].

Ferguson, Missouri, August 18, 2014. Photo: Li Onesto/

This is the night they started the tear gas ip[before the curfew. I was out there and then they moved everybody up towards the Quick Trip.

Last night they was literally sticking people and there's a lot of news reporters was hurt too, they cameras and stuff messed up.

By the police?

Yeah by the police. I can show you a clip where they knocked over all the news equipment.

Can you send it to me so I can put it up at

Yeah, I will give you my Facebook page where it is.

So tell me what happened last night?

It was basically the same thing. They say you violating they rules but they making the rules as you go along. Like they say you can stand right here, then five minutes later they say you can't stand there. If you speak your opinion and they don't like it, they rush you, throw you to the ground, flat out. I haven't been arrested. It don't matter, it's for the cause but it's like you shouldn't be arrested. They trying to arrest everybody for speaking they opinion.

To me this ain't enough, walking the corners. It needs to be more done. To me, they laughing at us cause they up there and all of a sudden they can't do bleep, we running.

I can respect your opinion that more needs to be done because we still haven't seen justice for Michael Brown. What do you think about these self-described "peace keepers" out there telling people to calm down, go home, respect the curfew....

They paid activists, by the police to control the crowd. Everybody's paid. You see what I'm saying. Everybody's paid, except the people. So you got all these modes set in place to make everything look like what it's not.

They are a disruption. They paid to be a disruption. To take the focus off of this case and put it on something else. Like they reported last night they caught the guys with three guns, but they didn't report about the four white guys they caught with the guns, they didn't put that in the news. There's a big difference. So they try to make certain things look good and a lot of things look bad.

But it's not against the law to have no gun. If they catch you with a gun, they lock you up. But it's not against the law to have no weapon. And how you gonna be calm? That just like something happen to their child or something like that and somebody tell them "Oh, don't worry about it, just sweep it under the rug, we'll find 'em." Come on man. And then they gotta look for the person, they send him on vacation with pay, the killer cop, the kid-killer.

They out here using us for target practice right now, you know what I'm saying. And there's only one thing for us to do—it's getting to the point where we're going to die anyway, so why not fight back.


"It's a beautiful thing that people are showing solidarity"

I asked these two women from St. Louis why they had come out to protest.

Woman #1: We came out here to show our support for the family and to also let people know an injustice has been done and we will not be silent about it—that a young man was wrongfully killed and there was no reason for that to happen.

Woman #2: I do agree with her. We are here to show our support not only to the family but for the community—that Black lives do matter, that we are people, we are here. He was wrongfully murdered, which is not right. Do we have to fear for every Black man's young life or Black woman or any minority? We all need to stick together and make sure this doesn't happen again. We are family, we are one, we are St. Louis.

One thing I wanted to ask you about is that a lot of press from around the world are here to cover this. And there have also been like at least 80 demonstrations around the country in support of the struggle for justice in Ferguson. And one of the things that's being run out there is attacking the so-called "outside people" coming in. What do you think about this?

Woman #1: I think that it's a beautiful thing that people are showing solidarity with our community because if it happens to one of us, it happens to all of us. We need to have this sense of community throughout the country, throughout the world. We very much appreciate people from around the world—I heard about Istanbul. They have had a protest at a soccer game. We very much appreciate the people in Gaza, supporting, giving us information and advice on how to handle the tear gas when the police have been militarized during a peaceful protest... We very much appreciate people coming out to show their support because it very much warms our heart knowing that this is not going unnoticed because it's been happening for way too long... Not just in Ferguson, it's been happening in New York, in California, all these cities throughout the country—Black men have been facing police brutality, just not Black men, Black women also, just people of color as well.

You mentioned this thing of people in Gaza giving advice about how to deal with tear gas. Can you explain more about this?

Woman #1: It was on Twitter. They were saying: Solidarity with Ferguson. We understand how it feels to be targeted because of your ethnicity or of your race. They were telling us not to use water, use milk to get out the tear gas. If you stand closer, they're more likely to not throw the tear gas at you because they will not want to get tear gassed as well.

I was at the press conference that the governor and police captain Ron Johnson did a couple of days ago and I asked them to explain why the whole press conference was about controlling the protesters and not about getting justice for Michael Brown. What do you think about them tear gassing people and all that, and now bringing in the National Guard?

Woman #1: I think that is very unfortunate because police should not be necessarily militarize because we are staging peaceful protests and then you bring in these things that just agitate the protesters and this needs to be about getting justice for Michael Brown and all the other countless other Black men and women who have been victimized by police brutality. And if you keep turning it toward the protesters you getting people to focus on what's not happening and we need to focus on getting justice for Michael.

Woman #2: I definitely agree with what she just said because with the police militarizing everything, they are almost making us want to turn violent. There are a few of us who are unfortunately violent and it's not shedding light to our situation in a positive way at all. The media will show what they want to show, it picks up ratings so therefore they show the violent side, not the peaceful side... Like you said, they shouldn't focus on how to control the protestors. You need to focus on how to let your police treat our people, treat everyone with respect and to equally practice our rights as humans to peacefully assemble and not hurt anybody but to just show that we want justice.


"Indict, Convict, Send the Killer Cop to Jail"

This woman protestor really liked one of the chants the revolutionaries out on W. Florissant were leading.

I see you like the chant, "Indict, convict, send the killer cop to jail. The whole damn system is guilty!" Why?

Because it sums it all up... from beginning to end. Indict, convict him, send him to jail and this whole system needs to be redone. It's just this is setup. This is an old system. They need to go back and redo all these laws. They need to get all these people that's targeting people.

I feel like if people would look at everything that happens and put a loved one in the place, think about your child and think about your child laying in the middle of the street with a bullet hole through their head. And then I think you would probably see where those parents are coming from.

You know, it's just—it's crazy. I think it's absurd that we even have to stand here and ask them to do what's right, you know?

To indict the cop?

To indict him. To let him go to court. That's the whole point of the court system, of the system that they have in place, is so that someone can determine did he do something wrong? And you won't even allow that system, you won't even, you know, indict him so that it can be determined whether he did something wrong. The fact that you won't deny it—that they won't even indict him says something about the system. Something is wrong. You don't trust the system that you put in place to make a determination as to whether or not this man has done something wrong? That's the question.


And still no justice for Michael Brown.




Revolution #351 September 1, 2014

Why IS the U.S. Waging War in the Middle East... Again?

by Larry Everest | September 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Why is the U.S., once again, bombing and militarily intervening in Iraq and thinking about military intervention in Syria, after Obama said the Iraq war was over two years ago and the "tide of war" was receding?

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the U.S. was taking action because ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) is "an imminent threat to every interest we have, whether it's in Iraq or anywhere else."

But what are those "interests" that Hagel is talking about? They are the interests of America's imperialist rulers, whose system is based on exploiting and suppressing hundreds of millions of people around the world.

Controlling the Middle East has been a key link in this global empire for over 60 years. This region is home to enormous oil and natural gas resources. Controlling their flow gives the U.S. leverage over the global capitalist economy and other powers. The Middle East connects Europe, Asia, and Africa, making it militarily crucial real estate and home to key trade routes.

The U.S. and imperialists before it have built up a whole system for dominating the region. It involves installing and backing up ruthless tyrants beholden to the U.S. who suppress their own people—like in Egypt. It involves backing the settler state of Israel and building it up into an American attack dog. And it includes violently attacking or waging war against any forces or regimes that threaten this setup.

This is what Hagel means when he calls ISIS a "threat to every interest we have." ISIS has rapidly spread and now controls much of northern Iraq and Syria. If ISIS continues to spread, it could threaten the entire U.S.-dominated order by shattering states like Iraq, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. This could give openings to other regional powers and imperialist rivals to advance their interests at U.S. expense. And an ISIS-controlled region could become a magnet for many more anti-U.S. jihadist fighters.

So now the U.S. feels compelled to get more fully back into Iraq in order to stop ISIS and roll it back. Obama declares the U.S. goal is ultimately "rooting out" ISIS, and that this "won't be easy and it won't be quick." Forget all their talk about humanitarian missions or freeing hostages—the U.S. is using this crisis to try to deal with a whole host of problems they're facing in their region and to try to keep their grip on a region where more than any other factor, it is the problem not the solution.




Revolution #351 September 1, 2014

Global Barbarians Condemn ISIS' Barbarism
NO U.S. Military Escalation in Iraq!

by Larry Everest | September 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


"Savage," the "face of a new evil," "butchers." Thus spoke U.S. officials and their media mouthpieces after the Sunni jihadist group Islamic State (or ISIS) group beheaded captured U.S. journalist James Foley on August 19. President Obama called ISIS "barbaric terrorists" and a "cancer" that had to be "rooted out."

All this is part of a campaign to whip up support for U.S. military attacks in Iraq and the Middle East. But U.S. military intervention and forces it has set in motion directly or indirectly is responsible for the lion's share of the barbaric terrorism that has wracked Iraq, Syria, and the region for the past two-and-a-half decades in particular.

Who IS the World's Most Barbaric Power?

Barbaric? Savage? Butchers? Yes, ISIS is all that. It has killed people and threatened whole towns because they won't accept its brand of Sunni fundamentalism. It has massacred prisoners, especially followers of Shi'a Islam. It aims to violently impose strict patriarchy, suppressing women. Its program preserves capitalism and oppression.

But the U.S. rulers take a back seat to no one when it comes to butchering, barbarism, and savagery. Here is a tiny sampling:

* The United States was founded on slavery and the genocide of Native peoples, butchering millions—literally millions—in the process. Barbarism on a massive scale!

* The U.S. is the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons—twice—incinerating Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan (when the Japanese government was seeking to surrender), leading to the death within six months of more than 215,000 people from flash burns, trauma, and radiation sickness. If that's not "barbaric terrorism," then what is?

* While the U.S. imperialists pose as defenders of the Iraqi people, they've been imposing sanctions on, bombing, or invading Iraq for the last 24 years—savagely killing over 500,000 children through starvation or disease in the 1990s, then bombing, invading, and occupying Iraq from 2003 until 2011, directly killing over 120,000 Iraqis, causing the deaths of between 600,000 and 1.4 million more and driving 4.5 million from their homes. (The U.S. government generally makes a point of not keeping track of civilian casualties in its bombing campaigns.) Isn't this barbarism against a whole nation?

* At the very time the U.S. was hypocritically condemning ISIS, it was directly supporting Israel's destruction of Gaza and the murder of over 2,000 Palestinians.

* And what about the savagery and barbarism of the U.S. rulers towards the masses of oppressed people right here—especially Blacks and Latinos? Millions are terrorized, brutalized, and incarcerated, and thousands, like Mike Brown, are murdered in cold blood. And America's rulers have the nerve to talk about savagery!

The crimes ISIS has committed don't hold a candle to what the U.S. has done—and is doing every day—to humanity and the planet!

Bring Forward Another Way! NO U.S. Military Action in Iraq!

The Unseenery Is Lovely

Dwayne Booth (Mr. Fish) is an award-winning cartoonist and writer whose work has appeared in numerous magazines and on websites across the country and internationally. He is also the author of Go Fish: How to Win Contempt and Influence People, as well as a forthcoming book on art as commentary, due out in September. To see more of his work visit his website,

America's and Israel's crimes have driven many toward groups like ISIS. This is a terrible situation. Imperialism and religious fundamentalism are both reactionary, and reinforce each other, even as they clash. Supporting either strengthens both. And 13 years of America's so-called "war on terror" proves this.

The world needs another way, one that breaks with all exploitation and oppression. Bob Avakian's new synthesis of communism IS the real, radical, viable, and visionary alternative to Western imperialism and Islamic fundamentalism, and getting that on the map right now is critical for humanity—and as part of that, critical for breaking through the deadly dynamic of McWorld vs. Jihad.

Getting a whole other way on the map globally means people around the world need to see people in this country resisting "our" government's crimes. That means, right now, protesting the escalation of U.S. military action in Iraq.

Over the last two months, the U.S. has sent nearly 1,000 U.S. military personnel to Iraq. It has carried out about 100 air strikes there. U.S. drones are doing surveillance. And the U.S. is directly arming and advising the Iraqi government and Iraq's Kurdish militia. The Obama administration is keeping the exact objectives of this U.S. campaign secret so far. The New York Times reports (August 26) that the U.S. is trying to mobilize its allies to support an expanded bombing campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and to increase support for the pro-West "rebels" in Syria.

Don't believe the hype! These missions are not guided by, nor do they serve, humanitarian relief. They are moves to defend, entrench, and expand U.S. domination over a world of exploitation and oppression.

How will these moves by the U.S. to ramp up military action in Iraq turn out? Will they serve as more fuel for the fire in the vicious cycle where imperialist crimes give rise to more virulent jihadist forces, and then more intensified imperialist intervention... and on and on?

Or will people step up and demand the U.S. military get OUT of Iraq!

Our actions can make a real difference, now!




Revolution #351 September 1, 2014

A Comment on Events in Syria and Iraq

September 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Any ideology or set of beliefs that can't stand criticism and denounces people who disagree with it as "heretics," and kills or otherwise seeks to silence those people who disagree with it, is a cowardly and bankrupt ideology and one that nobody should have anything to do with...

Today the representatives of the U.S. express shock and outrage at such tactics. But fundamentally, to the USA and other imperialists, whether or not to support this kind of religious fundamentalist fascism is a matter of taste—their only criterion is whether it works for, or against, how they view their interests in any situation. Think of Saudi Arabia, where the U.S. has used massive weaponry and political support to reinforce a reactionary religious state which goes so far as to forbid women the right to drive! And, quiet as it's kept today, check out the way in which the U.S. bankrolled and gave military support to Osama bin-Laden and other forces like him in Afghanistan in the 1980s, when that suited their interests.




Revolution #351 September 1, 2014

But What About the Violence??

September 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


All during the very righteous protest and rebellion in Ferguson, Missouri, the media mouthpieces and political parrots of the rulers made out like the alleged "violence" of the people rising up was the big problem. THIS, they said, was what had to be stopped, even as police were shooting tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters and stormed among them to arrest people for calling out the brutality and murder that these police routinely carry out against the people. And some of these bootlickers were even able to play people for fools and get them to stand in front of the masses to try to "calm down" their protest.

Well, do you really want to stop the violence?

First off, how many police have violently killed unarmed Black and Latino people? Michael Brown, remember, was preceded in death a few weeks earlier by Eric Garner—another unarmed Black man, this time in New York City, choked to death by a gang of police for verbally protesting his arrest. And Mike Brown was followed, a few days and a few miles away, by the murder of yet another Black man, Kajieme Powell, in St. Louis. And murders like these happen several hundred times a year!1

And what about the violence carried out against families forcibly evicted from their homes because they can't pay the rent? Or the violence and coercion visited upon young children forced to go to schools that are more like prisons than places where you could actually learn things?

So, listen here, you "violence-stoppers." Go stand in front of the police when they carry out these murders and stop THEM. We'd be more than happy to join you if you did that. But if all you can do is stand against the people when they straighten their backs against this violence, then just get the fuck out of the way, OK?

Violence? Go to Central America, where the U.S. financed and directed the murders of literally hundreds of thousands of people in the 1970s and 1980s. Ask them about violence. Go to Vietnam, and elsewhere in Indochina, where the U.S. forces directly killed three million people in their wars. Even Martin Luther King, Jr. back in the 1960s was driven to call the U.S. government "the greatest purveyor of violence in the contemporary world." Or as Rap Brown put it in plainer terms, answering the same kinds of morally blind objections during the same time period, when people rose up in rebellion in hundreds of cities, "Violence is as American as cherry pie."

But you don't have to go back in history. Just go to Iraq, where U.S. wars and sanctions have taken the lives of millions more in the past 25 years.

All those "neutral commentators" on CNN don't shake their heads and talk about how important it is to stop THAT violence. No, that violence, we are told, is different, because that's violence carried out by the "good guys"—that is, the people carrying out high- and low-tech murder FOR the interests of the rulers of America.

So you really want to stop the violence? Go stand in front of the ones massively carrying it out all over the world. Which, by the way, a number of people who sincerely adhere to a nonviolent philosophy but understand where the greatest violence comes from, have done—some at great personal cost.

The fact is, if people in Ferguson had NOT risen up and through that then inspired others to come join them—if people had obediently followed Al Sharpton and the rest of those bourgeois "firemen" who only want to pour cold water on the masses—very few people would have ever heard of Michael Brown. And then these same bootlickers not only want to condemn people for this but actually try to stop them?

This really is like condemning a rape victim for fighting back against a rapist, and even actively preventing her from doing so, while not doing or saying anything at all to stop the rapist.

No. If you can't do something righteous, just get the fuck out of the way and definitely do NOT serve the "greatest purveyors of violence" in the name of stopping it.

Ultimately we want a world without violence, and without the class divisions and oppression of groups that are enforced by violence from those on top, and even give rise to violence among the people themselves. That requires revolution—a revolution which would have to defeat and dismantle those institutions of violence. The conditions for this revolution do not yet exist, but we are working to bring forward a movement for revolution as conditions are changing. But if you draw no distinctions between the overwhelming violent repression carried out to enforce those divisions and suppress the people, on the one hand, and the actions of people trying to resist that, on the other—then that world will never come, and generations will continue to die from needless, reactionary violence.


1. See "Operation Ghetto Storm: 2012 Annual Report on the Extrajudicial Killings of 313 Black People by Police, Security Guards and Vigilantes" issued by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. [back]




Revolution #351 September 1, 2014

A Percolation on the Crucial Importance of Ideological Work Today and Winning When the Time Comes

September 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

BA in many of his writings and talks gives repeated emphasis on the need to carry out not only all-around political and organizational but also ideological work in the period before the development (and as part of hastening the emergence) of a revolutionary situation and a revolutionary people in the millions and tens of millions. And I've been thinking quite a bit about the relationship between the ideological work we're doing today and actually winning when the time comes (when there's a qualitative change in the objective situation). It's not the only thing since there's political and organizational work. And there's the work to continue developing the theory for a military doctrine that could actually defeat and dismantle the old system and its violent, repressive apparatus (when the time comes for that). At the same time, when you seriously confront all of what's involved in going for the seizure of power (and having a good chance of winning), then you do have to conclude that it is a very decisive question to be rupturing an ever-growing number of people from all sections of society (but in particular among the basic masses and basic youth) from bourgeois ideology and transforming their world outlook and method and bringing them forward as emancipators of humanity. We should not underestimate the role of communist ideology if we are serious about winning when the time comes.

Revolution and Communism: A Foundation and Strategic Orientation

Let's just look at one thing that would need to be confronted (and its relationship to ideological questions) once conditions have changed and it's time to go all-out for the seizure of power: the "savage destructiveness" which the imperialists (and other reactionary forces) will likely bring down without mercy. BA speaks to this contradiction in Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, But Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon, Part 2 (in the section "Some Further Thoughts Relating to 'On The Possibility for Revolution'") where he makes the point that the imperialists (and other reactionary forces) "will spare very little in their attempts to outright crush and pulverize any attempt at bringing a new society into being through revolutionary struggle, especially right where their base of power is." As an example of this type of "savage destructiveness" he talks about what the U.S. imperialists did to Fallujah (a city in Iraq) several years ago and how this was done to "exact revenge and to 'teach a lesson' to the people not only in that city, but in that country and more broadly in the world." He points out that "certainly in a situation in which their very power and ability to dictate and exploit throughout the world were being challenged in a frontal way, there is no question that they would unleash savage destructiveness and ruthlessness on a massive scale."

In the face of this, what would people do? How would people respond? Would people hold out? Would people withstand all this and fight from the rubble and turn this back against the imperialists and other reactionary forces? In addition, would people know real friends from real enemies? Would people reject bullshit or get pulled or fooled towards political and ideological appeals not just from the imperialists and other reactionary forces but from representatives of other strata advocating for perspectives and proposals that are not in the interest of the revolution and of humanity? What would people be willing to live and sacrifice for?

Military doctrine that takes all this into account would be decisive, and there is a need to study history and to further develop theory on this. But so is preparing people ideologically broadly in society and in particular among the basic masses and basic youth. It is a profound scientific truth, as BA puts it in the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! that "those this system has cast off, those it has treated as less than human, can be the backbone and driving force of a fight not only to end their own oppression, but to finally end all oppression, and emancipate all of humanity." But for this scientifically determined potential to become real it is going to require a lot of political and ideological work and struggle today. And this is one of the big challenges confronting the vanguard right now—the need to work and struggle on this and to fight for this to happen.

Let's take this example: There's been a situation where for the past several decades those whom the system has "cast off" and "treated as less than human" have been killing each other in "gang warfare." Tens of thousands of people have died and tens of thousands more have been affected as a result of this. How will this bitter experience be overcome? How will everyone affected rise above all the pain and the deeply felt (but very misguided and harmful) feelings for wanting "revenge" and to take it out on others just like themselves? How does this potential "backbone and driving force" for revolution go on to play that role when the time comes to go all-out to seize power (under different conditions than today)? How does this "backbone and driving force" go on to fight FOR revolution and NOT end up fighting for something different, something less than the "emancipation of humanity"? And how do different sections among the oppressed not get turned against each other but instead come together and join the fight to defeat and dismantle the old system?

These are some of the questions that have been keeping me "up all night" and I feel are very much related to profoundly ideological questions we need to be going at right now. We need to raise the political and ideological level of the basic masses and basic youth to be emancipators of humanity and internationalists ("the whole world comes first") and rupturing people from bourgeois ideology whether it's "me first" or "my family first" or "my neighborhood first" or "my people first." A growing number of masses of people living and fighting for a new and radically different and better world, having a "largeness of mind" and a "self-sacrificing spirit" and NOT coming at things from "narrow interests and concerns" (as BA put it in his 1991 book More on "Could We Really Win? Prospects for Revolution"). This would count for a great deal in being able to take things all the way and not get "crushed and defeated."

And BA has set forward a model for how to go about doing this. And in particular I would like to make a call for everyone to really study BA's "A New Year's Message—A Call to Revolution" with all this—with winning when the time comes—in mind.




Revolution #351 September 1, 2014

Protests Demand: STOP U.S.-Israel Genocide in Gaza

September 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


In July and August, the rulers of Israel carried out a savage escalation of their genocidal attacks on the Palestinian people. More than two thousand Palestinians were killed, a quarter of them children. Hundreds of thousands remain homeless. The nearly two million Palestinians in Gaza are packed into what is in effect the world’s largest outdoor prison—cut off from contact with the outside world and the ability to live. In August, important resistance to these crimes—which are backed and enabled by the U.S.—emerged around the country. Among them:







For resources, news and what you can do to STOP U.S./Israel genocide against the Palestinian people, see Stop U.S.-Israel Genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza!






Revolution #351 September 1, 2014

The New Situation: The Murder of Michael Brown, the Resistance of the People, and the Month of Resistance

September 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


The defiant outpouring of resistance to the police murder of Michael Brown has radically changed the face of society. What has been revealed by this struggle? What new situation exists? What new challenges does this pose to revolutionaries and to people more broadly who seek real justice? And how does the upcoming October Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation!, called by Carl Dix and Cornel West, and taken up by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, along with many other groups and individuals, relate to all that?

What Was Revealed by the Murder of Michael Brown and the Resistance to That Murder?

Ferguson, August 18, 2014. Photo: Li Onesto/

Michael Brown's murder revealed, once again, that the cold-blooded murder of African-American, Latino, and other "minority" youth by police is not an isolated incident but "business as usual" in America. The resistance to the murder of Michael Brown forced society to confront the truth that every year hundreds of youth are shot down in the same way, and nobody is ever punished for it. What does it tell you when millions of Black and Latino youth feel and say that this could have been them? What does it tell you when it gets revealed that these police forces are riddled with openly Nazi operatives and vicious thugs, and that almost all the police down the line support these thugs or, at minimum, will not criticize them? What does it tell you that when people righteously demand justice, the State pens them in and, if people don't like that, clamps down on them with overwhelming and brutal force?

It tells you that this brutal killing and the vicious repression against those who protested it was not an isolated incident, but part of a whole "way of life" that is deeply embedded in this society. It tells you that this comes not from individuals but from the institutions of a system. That system is the "peculiar" form of American capitalism, which is deeply interwoven with white supremacy and racism. In fact, in the USA, you cannot separate white supremacy from capitalism-imperialism.

Resistance and Change

But the last month reveals something else, equally important: that when people defiantly resist they can radically change the situation.

Ferguson, August 18, 2014. Photo: Li Onesto/

First, resistance calls forth the kind of spirit that lies within millions, but rarely surfaces—the spirit of uncompromising struggle. Just this Saturday, August 30, in Ferguson, as demonstrators again defied orders to stay in line, one marcher told reporters that "There is no fear anymore. It's either stand up or die."

Resistance lets the people on the bottom of society raise their heads in hope. Those who are constantly told that everyone hates them learn that there are people who will stand with them, in spirit and actual fact, if they rise up. Resistance breaks up the passivity in the middle class—some "come out of their bag" with their open racism, but others who have been way too silent for way too long feel challenged to come forward in defense of the people, and finally it becomes two-sided.

Resistance puts the powers-that-be on the defensive. Revolutionaries and radicals within this resistance call into question the legitimacy of the whole way things are ordered and organized in society, and it forces the powers to send in their "firemen" to cool things down. As those "firemen"—the representatives of conciliation and compromise with the oppressor—are increasingly forced to "reveal their true colors," and as revolutionaries and radicals increasingly expose how the solutions they put forward to this horrific and totally unnecessary genocidal program of mass incarceration and endemic police murder are in fact no solution whatsoever... it shows to many just how bankrupt their programs really are.

Without resistance, real resistance, the people have no chance whatsoever to force those oppressing them to jump back. With resistance, people can lift their heads, and the possibility of revolution begins to seem more real to many more people.

What Is Immediately Demanded by This Outpouring?

In one word, more. More struggle against this system... more digging into the character of the problem, the causes of it and its solution... more participation in many different ways from many different people in this, especially on the campuses where so much ferment erupted... more mobilization of those at the bedrock of society, the outcast ones who came forward so powerfully in Ferguson... and more promotion of revolution within all this.

All this, taken together, can radically change the way that millions of people see the world. It can draw forward new people into checking out revolutionary ideas, taking on revolutionary values and the revolutionary approach to things, and moving closer toward revolutionary organization. And it can reinforce and strengthen the ranks of the conscious, dedicated revolutionaries and their vanguard.

Within this and at the forefront of it, the struggle for justice in the case of Michael Brown must not be allowed to "die down"—it must not be allowed to be derailed into dead ends of Justice Department investigations, voter registration drives, etc. IN PARTICULAR, THE URGENT DEMAND THAT THIS MURDERING PIG BE INDICTED MUST NOT BE SHUNTED ASIDE AND, IN FACT, MUST BE FOUGHT FOR AND MET—RIGHT NOW! This case is a watershed—it cannot be allowed to be hushed up or "handled by the judicial process." There is no justice in this system—we cannot have yet another instance like Sean Bell or Amadou Diallo, where killer cops walk free; or like Oscar Grant, where the cop got a mere slap on the wrist for shooting an unarmed youth, restrained by handcuffs and face down on the ground, in the back.

What is the Role of the October Month of Resistance in All This?

The Month of Resistance must not only build on the resistance that has come forward in Ferguson, it must broaden it and it must strengthen key parts of it. By the end of October, it must be clear to everyone that there has emerged in this society an active, growing pole of opposition to this genocidal program that demands that it STOP, and that everyone must throw in and throw down on one side or the other.

What must happen to change the direction of this society in one month? In short, exposure of and resistance to the whole program of mass incarceration, police murder, and the criminalization of Black, Latino, and other "minority" youth must jump from every corner of society in such a way that people in their millions are forced to pay attention to this and to confront their role in relation to it. Are they going to let this horrific program keep happening? Or are they going to actively resist it?

Most of all, this resistance must surge out of two key wellsprings of society. The student movement that has been percolating in different ways over the past few years and took a leap, especially at historically Black schools and among Black students more generally, with the murder of Michael Brown—this must go much further. The time is now for students to again become the conscience of society—to again become that force determined to shape the future, to refuse to accept the ways in which the older generation has learned to "go along to get along."

Second, resistance must come from those whom this system has no place for and who have been destined by that system for a life "on the run," hounded and harassed and beaten and jailed and sometimes outright killed by the enforcers of this system. The Black and Latino youth of this country, who have been consigned to prison cells and demonized, must be reached and mobilized to step forward again, and this time across the country. This means really spreading the "blow the whistle" movement deep among this section of people, where whole communities will be blowing the whistle every time the police come around to harass and suppress the people. It means people bringing "the Month" onto the scene of every outrage and every outpouring of protest and resistance. It also means finding the ways for the Month of Resistance to reach into the hellhole prisons of America, where millions have been penned in brutal, sub-human conditions. In all of this, in particular, there will be tremendous meshing and synergies between the work to get BA (Bob Avakian) everywhere into society and actual resistance on the ground.

The forms this takes can and must be many, and we will get into that below. But there must be some key anchoring events to have maximum impact. In particular, this must find powerful expression on October 22 itself, in school walkouts and defiant, truly mass demonstrations all across the country. In addition, there need to be other focused actions, at the beginning of the month, that embody, push forward, and spread the defiant, radical edge that emerged in Ferguson. There should also be political actions undertaken, earlier in the month, even by relatively small groups of people, which make clear that there is a force that is determined now to act boldly in accord with its conscience and to say no in radical terms.

Letting People in on This

To do this, those working on the Month of Resistance will need to marshal and build on significant strengths that do exist, but even more so they will need to "build new muscles"—very, very quickly. There are many people who have stepped forward already, with many ideas and resources, who could play a very active role at all levels of this month. Just going from the people who have signed the call for the Month of Resistance already—at a time when it really hasn't gotten that far out into society—makes clear that there are many people who want to ACT to make this stop. This is a great resource for this new movement, and people must be given a way to act on what they have signed. At the same time, it would be important for this, and perhaps other sharp statements, to find much broader circulation.

There are also all kinds of organizations and individuals who are working on one or another aspect of this problem already, coming from many different angles, who haven't even heard of the Month of Resistance yet! Anyone who is working on this problem and really, sincerely wants to end it should be able to find a way to be part of this Month. This includes everyone from people who are doing literacy classes in prison, to people working in communities to give alternatives to youth who are under the gun, to those who are doing scholarly work, etc. One excellent example of the kind of thing that is needed is the initiative launched by the Reverend Jerome McCorry for a nationally coordinated weekend of sermons against mass incarceration during the month of October. Another good example is the recent account at by a 12th-grade teacher of how s/he got the class to get into the issues posed by the police murder of Michael Brown. Couldn't initiatives like these be multiplied by the thousands? And if this were happening in a way that brought many individual efforts together around a unified message and approach—for instance, if someone were to develop a lesson unit on mass incarceration or police brutality, say, and to call for a day on which classes everywhere took this up—couldn't this have a powerful social effect? And can't a similar approach be taken to cultural expressions, or to bringing forward expressions in the fields of law, health, etc.? All these people need to be reached and drawn into active participation. All of them should be able to play a role in this.

Doing this requires that those at the core of the Month of Resistance be good at and get much better at reaching out very broadly and listening in very active ways and tapping into the now-suppressed desire to take initiative that exists in many different places.

The Radical Edge—Fully in Effect!

At the same time, the uncompromising radical edge that fought to come to life in Ferguson must be brought forward as well, and given much more powerful expression. This has several dimensions to it. Particularly on October 22, but all through the Month—the spirit of the woman quoted at the beginning of this editorial, when defying efforts of self-appointed leaders to rein things in: "There is no fear anymore. It's either stand up or die." These forces must be sought out and further unleashed. New alliances must be forged and old ones strengthened.

Within and influencing all of this, the revolutionary alternative posed by Bob Avakian and the Party he leads, the Revolutionary Communist Party, should and must be in full effect during this month. The film REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!, featuring Bob Avakian's historic speech, must get out much more broadly. The T-shirt promoting this film—which began to become iconic during Ferguson—must become widely known in society, and all barriers to its distribution must be overcome. In particular, the efforts to make the upcoming dialog between Bob Avakian and Cornel West very broadly known in society can have a very powerful positive effect on things, even though this is not a "project" of the Month of Resistance (though revolutionaries working on the month should promote it). The Revolution Club must be boldly recruiting through all of this. And in all this—the fact that not only is this genocidal program of mass incarceration and police terror outrageous, but also that the RCP has an actual program for a whole different society where the deeply rooted white supremacy at the heart of American capitalism, as well as the many other forms of oppression that poison this society can finally be torn up, root and branch... and that this Party has a strategy for getting to that new society—must become widely known.

As one key element in building both the Month of Resistance in its own right and in linking it to everything else going on in the world and the ways that all these things pose the need for revolution, must increasingly become a "go-to" website. At the same time, people going to the website of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network need to be able to get immediate direction on what to do and to be able to download materials—including stencils for T-shirts, stickers, and PDFs of other material that the Network develops in the next weeks.

All this will require everyone going to a higher level. But this is the need before us, and if we work together... if we apply science to this task and are good at learning... if we constantly return to what is the source of all this, how it is connected to everything else that is fucked up and backward in society, why it is not necessary and how this can be finally overcome... we can do this.

And we must.





Revolution #351 September 1, 2014

Chicago: Slutwalk Connects with Fighters in Ferguson

September 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


We received the following from a reader:

On Saturday August 23, in Chicago close to 1,000 people came out to Slutwalk 2014. Slutwalk has become an international movement (with marches in India, Brazil and other countries) that was sparked by events in Toronto in 2011, when a Toronto cop told a group of college women demanding answers to campus rapes that women could end rape by not "dressing like sluts." The march was a powerful rebuttal to that male supremacist mind-set with repeated, powerful chants denouncing violence against women and upholding a women's right to control their own bodies. It was mainly young women, but they were joined by women of all ages as well as men.

After a rally at the Daley Center in the heart of Chicago's Loop, the crowd immediately took to the streets in an angry and defiant march. The police tried to force the marchers back onto the sidewalks, but the marchers were having none of that. As the march approached Michigan Avenue—Chicago's premier shopping and tourist area—police tried to use their Segways and bicycles to barricade the street and force the marchers back on the sidewalk. The marchers responded with raised hands (in a gesture learned from those protesting Michael Brown's murder in Ferguson) and started chanting "Hands up. Don't Shoot!" As throngs of passing shoppers and tourists were drawn to the march, the cops turned on the sirens in their police cars to try to drown the protesters out. While the marchers were eventually forced back onto the sidewalks, they remained undaunted despite some of them now displaying bruises from being "nudged" by Segways and cop cars.

We had a crew of four who went out to unite with the marchers and help people draw the connections between fighting the war being waged on women and making the revolution that is needed to end it. One person focused on getting out Stop Patriarchy stickers and calls to come to Texas for the Week of Resistance to attacks on abortion. Two others focused on getting out Revolution newspaper. And the final person took a big poster for people to sign. "We Stand With the heroic resisters in Ferguson and the Abortion Rights Freedom Riders in Texas. It is right to rebel against oppression!"

There was widespread openness to what we brought to Slutwalk. The Stop Patriarchy stickers—mainly "Abortion on Demand and Without Apology" and "Create a World without Rape"—ended up all over people's bodies. Just looking at the crowd, you could see them everywhere. On the spot, other protesters were enlisted in getting these stickers out.

And the banner really connected with people. Ferguson was on people's minds and "It's right to rebel against oppression" was in the air. About 275 people signed the banner. At first some would just read the first line about Ferguson and sign. So the person holding it would tell people to read the whole thing first to make sure they agreed with it before they signed it. And almost everyone who read it signed it. And many people with a lot of enthusiasm. Everyone was told to go to right there on their phones to learn more about the revolution. As the number of people signing grew and the banner was covered with signatures, some people started taking pictures of it. They were encouraged to tweet it to their friends right away and many said that they would. A picture of this banner was tweeted to Sunsara Taylor, Carl Dix and as soon as the march ended. And within an hour ST had re-tweeted it to her followers. The banner is being sent to Texas.




Revolution #351 September 1, 2014

From A World to Win News Service:

Gaza and all of Palestine still need liberation

September 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


27 August 2014. A World to Win News Service. Israel's bombardment of Gaza has stopped with the signing of an open-ended cease-fire agreement with Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Palestinian Authority. No one can regret any interruption in Israel's murderous attacks, which have killed almost 2,200 people in three weeks, some 500 of them children. But the blood that has been shed demands that the results be looked at objectively from the point of view of what it will take to liberate Palestine.

Hamas has celebrated this cease-fire as a victory, and so have many supporters of the Palestinian cause abroad. It seems that Israel did not achieve its immediate aims in this campaign, especially the destruction of Hamas, and the mood in Israel is now considerably darker than in Gaza. But what has really changed?

The agreement is, after all, a rerun of previous Israeli agreements, in 2012 and at the end of previous campaigns against Gaza: Palestinian fisherman will be able to sail in the coastal waters within 10 kilometres off the Gaza coast, and Israel has promised to allow some limited and as yet unspecified humanitarian supplies and construction materials to filter through the border crossings it controls. But the siege of Gaza has not been lifted.

As if to underscore this point, just before signing the cease-fire Israel bombed the only door to Gaza it does not control, in Rafah, on the Egyptian border. Although the border crossing was not completely destroyed, it goes nowhere but to Egypt. As the official sponsor of the cease-fire, the U.S.-backed Egyptian military regime will surely do its best to basically enforce the Israeli blockade.

Israel's separation wall still surrounds most of the West Bank, which remains under occupation. The settlements remain and Israeli settlers will still be allowed to burn down Palestinian olive trees and lynch their Palestinian neighbours. Within the formal boundaries of Israel itself, including Jerusalem, the Israeli state has never been more brutal toward Palestinians.

The status quo for Palestinians is unbearable. How will this latest cease-fire change that?

The outcome so far may be viewed by Hamas as some sort of victory in terms of achieving its own goals, because its goal is religious rule and not the national liberation of Palestine, let alone a new and liberating society. But even in this regard it would be a big mistake to underestimate Israel's viciousness and thirst for revenge in the completely unjustified guise of "self-defence", which can only mean "defence" of the oppression of a people.

Most likely for Hamas, and explicitly in the thinking of some advocates for the Palestinian cause, the underlying reason for considering the cease-fire a victory lies in the idea that Israel's massacres have produced "a shift in public opinion" that would oblige the U.S. and the European Union to change their policies on Israel.

In an article on the valuable, multilingual Web site, its co-editor Mouin Rabbani wrote, "If in the aftermath of this crisis the U.S. responds with a renewed diplomatic initiative, it is unlikely to cut Israel as much slack as in years past. If it decides not to engage—and perhaps to reduce its protective embrace of Israel while Netanyahu remains prime minister—the prospect that the Palestinians and others will attempt to fill the vacuum with an agenda that seeks to end the occupation is greater than at any point since the 1993 Oslo agreement. The possibility that this Israeli government can pre-empt such scenarios with a diplomatic initiative enjoying significant international support is zero." (Posted 26 August)

The problem with this one-sided conclusion is this: the U.S. and its allies have to take public opinion into account in their backing for Israel, but they will not and cannot stop protecting Israel. Any concessions they may pressure Israel to make would be for the purpose of ensuring the survival of the Zionist state. The current situation in the Middle East makes Israel even more central to their regional domination. The U.S., UK, France and Germany are not going to give up Israel just because of "shifts in public opinion".

Furthermore, it is inconceivable that Israel will not try to use its military strength to enforce its domination of the Palestinians. This is because Israel's existence as a "Jewish state" depends on crushing the rights and lives of the Palestinians who were driven out of their homes and national territory.

In fact, through the decades since the U.S. brokered the Oslo Agreements, Israel has made few if any significant concessions to the Palestinians. Every time the Palestinian Authority has made concessions, Israel has only turned around and humiliated it further. As for Hamas, its methods of war reflect its war aims—to pressure Israel and force it to accept Hamas' rule.

For the U.S., while it may have some tactical differences with Netanyahu based on broader American regional interests, being able to both support Israel unconditionally and hypocritically "distance" itself from the Israeli government has worked out so far.

The U.S. and its allies will never come to the aid of the Palestinian people in any real way, and the failure to understand that can only harm the Palestinian cause.

Yes, "public opinion" is extremely important, especially if that means more and more people around the world coming to an attitude of total opposition to Israel and what it stands for, and beginning to "connect the dots" between its crimes and all the crimes committed by the capitalist/imperialist system in every country and against the planet itself. In rallying support for Palestine, including demands for lifting the blockade of Gaza, for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign and in other ways, a full understanding of the nature of the problem can only strengthen the fight.


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 #351 September 1, 2014

Hey Al Sharpton...

September 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader

I was part of the "We Will Not Go Back" march, led by the Rev. Al Sharpton in Staten Island, New York City, on August 23. Thousands and thousands marched to protest the murder of Eric Garner.

I was furious on that march. Still am. Furious, for one thing, because there is still no justice. The pig who choked Eric Garner to death on July 17 for supposedly selling loose cigarettes is free. All those who supervised him, trained him, and made him what he is haven't faced justice. As Gil Scott Heron used to sing, here, and everywhere else, "the dogs are still in the street."

I wasn't the only angry one. Some people on the march carried signs: "Justice for Eric Garner" and "Stop police brutality." Others said, "Hands Up, Don't Shoot," what the defiant ones and others have been chanting in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, demanding justice for Michael Brown, the 18-year-old Black youth gunned down, murdered, his body left to lie in the sun for four hours.

But I am also furious because all Al Sharpton was trying to chill out people's righteous anger, or divert it. Not just down the dead-end of electing so-called "progressives" (didn't they just do that in NYC?!), but twist and turn people's anger at police murderers against our youth! And those who stand with them. Turning everything upside down—making it out like the police are the good guys in all this!

Even running an ad in the paper saying:

"We know that New York's police officers put their lives on the line to protect and serve every day, and we respect and value their commitment to our city."

Oh, they serve and protect all right. Those pigs protect and serve a system of oppression.

Hey Al Sharpton: Stop and watch Rob Hustle's video "This Is What Happens When You Call the Cops." You don't know this? You don't know they brutalize, they degrade, they "stop-and-frisk." They terrorize. They humiliate. They insult. They are the ones who push our youth through the schools-to-prisons pipeline.

Not to mention how they spy on activists, beat, gas and arrest protesters, make a point of gassing, beating, and busting a lot of bystanders while they're at it just to make a point.

Oh. And they kill! They kick down doors and murder little girls (have you heard of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Reverend Al?). Atlanta police shot 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston in her home in what they called a "botched" drug raid—firing at her 39 times. Thousands of Black and Latino youth, and others caught in their sights, have been killed over the past 10 years or so.

They kill youth for being defiant. For being in the wrong place at the wrong time. For having a comb. A cell phone. For putting their hands up and saying "don't shoot." For allegedly selling loose cigarettes.

But like Eric Garner said, that stops now. And since he said that, we had Ferguson. Now everyone has got to take the "Ferguson test." The uprising in Ferguson set the standard. The world saw the snarling dogs blasting away with their tear gas and armored personnel carriers and rubber bullets. And they saw defiant youth. For once, the reality of life for Black people in AmeriKKKa was on the stage—at least breaking through the bullshit here and there.

Credit the rebellion. With it? Or against it? Which side were YOU on?

People: go back and check out what wrote when Al Sharpton was putting down those courageous freedom fighters in Ferguson:

Hey, Sharpton: instead of scolding the youth and others who directed their anger and their bravery and their daring where it NEEDS to be directed, who went up against tremendous odds in a righteous cause, how about SUPPORTING them? How about talking about how GOOD it is to see young people, who all too often direct their hurt and anger against each other, direct it instead against the real cause and the real culprits—this system, and this system's murdering police?
("On the Struggle for Justice in Ferguson, MO and the Whole USA").

And then you want to make these "you know who I'm talking about" kinds of comments about the revolutionaries, or others who aren't trying to chill out the just anger of the people—threatening to "expose" us?

Everyone reading this: look at what they said at—Al Sharpton has a cause too: "the cause of getting people all caught up in the bullshit dead ends and safety valves that this system uses when people finally do rise up." And like the article said:

WE have a whole different cause—REVOLUTION, to put an end to these outrages, these horrors and the whole genocidal program that the people on top of this prison-house society are running. That "cause" makes us totally down for fighting to win justice when this system brings its shit down on people, as it did to Michael Brown, and for standing with the youth and everyone else, of whatever view, who feel the same way. And it makes us totally down for REVOLUTION to bring in a whole other way, a whole other society, where millions of Black and Latino young people like Michael Brown are not harassed and hounded for nothing, are not disrespected by authorities and the larger society everywhere they go and with every breath they draw, and are not finally shot down in the streets for nothing, hours before he was to leave for college, and then left to lie there—NO!!!! HELL NO!!!! A whole better way is possible, where all nationalities of people can flourish and where women and men participate equally in building a new and emancipatory society, here and around the planet. And if jailing and shooting down one young Black or Latino person after another is all that the people running things now can do—and it is—along with all their other great crimes, then they need to get the fuck off the planet! And if all Al Sharpton can do is run his double-talk in defense of "working within the system" and against those who are fighting against it, then he needs to shut the fuck up.




Revolution #351 September 1, 2014

August 30: 1,000+ Demand Justice for Mike Brown in Ferguson

September 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Revolution/ received the following report from revolutionaries in Ferguson.

Saturday, August 30, three weeks after the murder of 18-year-old Mike Brown by Ferguson, Missouri, police, more than 1,000 people from across the country came out for a national march to protest his murder.

Buses of students came from such places as Howard University. Carloads came from New York, New Hampshire, Oakland, Houston, and other groupings of people from many different places. Many Ferguson locals who had been protesting in the streets since Mike Brown's murder were out there.

August 30, Ferguson, police station

All photos: Ferguson, August 30. Special to Revolution

The crowd was mostly Black, but there were also a lot of white people and pockets of other nationalities. Many different ages were out. At the start of the march, it was mainly middle-aged people, but with a significant section of youth. Whole families were there, including children of all ages.

Various social forces were out: unions, a Palestinian support group, religious groups, youth groups, nationalist forces.

The march gathered on the corner of West Florissant and Canfield, the scene of some of the most intense standoffs with the police, and then marched down the block to the site where Mike Brown was gunned down by Officer Darren Wilson for a moment of silence with Mike's parents.

The march then stepped off into the streets of Ferguson—with the announced destination of the Ferguson Police Department. The crowd took up various chants, including the iconic "Hands Up! Don't Shoot!", "Who are we? Mike Brown!" and calls to jail the killer cop. Shortly after stepping off, pouring rain drenched the march. Most of the crowd was undeterred by the rain.

A crew of revolutionaries who have been in the streets of Ferguson for the last several weeks was out in the mix of the march. We had a huge Stolen Lives banner with hundreds of names of people killed by the police from across the country, and a number of people stepped up to carry the banner through the march.

In addition to getting out posters and placards with the demands to jail the killer cop, We Stand With the Defiant Ones, the BA Three Strikes posters, over 2,000 palm cards for the October 2014 Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation, as well as Revolution newspaper and the Proclamation from the Chicago Revolution Club got into the hands of the people. We were also inviting folks to come to our Labor Day picnic in Ferguson, to get connected with the movement for revolution and to hear the special announcement from the Party.

From the start of the day, and throughout the march, there was a lot of contention in the crowd over the role of the so-called "peacekeepers" and why were people there. This got sharp at one point when the march was very quickly diverted off of West Florissant—a big public street—onto an isolated side road, and then into a park. Groups of people, incensed that the march was being diverted from going to the police station as announced, started chanting, "Ain't no justice in the park!" and "The park didn't kill Mike Brown!"

Small groups started peeling off to march towards the police station, which grew into a stream of people. Several hundred ultimately gathered at the police station. This was more of a younger crowd, those who live under the gun of the New Jim Crow. It started with a mix of rage and movement-type chants. Then things began to polarize as more of the raw anger began to surface. Revolutionaries started to agitate, pointing out that all this talk of calm and healing is part of sweeping under the rug the fact that the killer cop is STILL walking free, and all this talk about how it's no good that people stood up, rebelled, and got rowdy and out of hand is WRONG. That's the only way people can get justice, the only reason people are here and know what happened, and we are here to stand with the defiant ones.

Others, including angry Black women of varying ages, spoke out on another bullhorn, sharply challenging the crowd on the sidewalk and those hanging back across the street to come in close, confront the police, and FIGHT for and demand justice. One of them called on people to stop going along with the way police are oppressing people. An older woman said she stood behind what the youth had accomplished, and not to criticize them—"I'm pro-youth!" Another woman turned her bullhorn toward the line of cops and said, "I do know what this is. This is white supremacy, and we aren't having it."

The defiant ones started to take the scene, with more youth speaking out in the faces of the police. People shouting, "Where's your tear gas?" "We want Darren Wilson!" "Where are you hiding him?", and called out the Black police officers brought to the front of the line as "house n——s." Youth led chants calling for shutting things down, from Ferguson to Dellwood to St. Louis and beyond, and chanting at police, "We're ready, we're ready, we're ready, for YOU." A section of the crowd also took over the street in front of the police station.

This scene continued for a couple hours, with a lot more debate and contention breaking out into the open over where this struggle needed to go, what was the role of the peacekeepers and those calling for calm, as well as whether voting was the way to go. But what was clear and carried the day were those voices declaring this is NOT OVER, they still haven't arrested Mike Brown's killer, who people want brought to justice. And in the midst of all this, people were coming up to revolutionaries to learn more and get connected.




Revolution #351 September 1, 2014

Voices from Ferguson:
Talking with "the Regulars" on W. Florissant

by Li Onesto | September 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


I was out on West Florissant almost every night while I was in Ferguson, talking to people, and got to recognize a lot of the "regulars" who came to protest every evening. They got to recognize me as well and some would come up to greet me. People really wanted to talk—to express their anger and why they had been coming out every night—in spite of the tear gas, rubber bullets, and the pleas for "calm and peace" rebuking those who were telling people to go home. What really came through was their determination to keep fighting to get justice for Mike Brown. Here are the voices of some of the "regulars" I talked to out on West Florissant.

Much, much thanks to the Revolution STOP Mass Incarceration Project volunteers who helped transcribe the audios of these interviews.


"We ain't calming down"

Have you been out here like this whole week?

Yes, I've been out here. I—I really think it's bullshit.

That what?

That they killed Mike Brown. Because he didn't do anything. It's very messed up that they killed him.

Ferguson, August 20, 2014. Photo: Li Onesto/

Did you know him?

Yes, I knew him. He was a friend of mine. He went to—to Riverview Gardens High School with me. We was cool and stuff, but that's messed up what they done to him. The police had no right to kill him. I'm screaming, "Fuck the Police!" for real. The police got to go.

What's your experience with the police?

Oh, I done been locked up numerous times. By the Ferguson Police Department. They feed you honey buns at 5:00 o'clock in the morning, then at 12:00 afternoon they give you a pot pie ,then at 5:00 in the afternoon you get another pot pie, and then you've got to wait another 12 hours until 5:00 in the morning...

What are they locking you up for?

Everything. All type of bullshit.

Just picking you up on the street or what?

I get locked up for every goddamn thing, everything.

Like what? Give me an example.

Shit that they always blame me with. Like I should throw a rock over there at their ass now. I don't like the police. The police got to leave...

A lot of people are saying, you know, this murder with Mike Brown was like the last straw and that's why people are so angry.

Yes, it is. That's why they... That's why they gonna fuck the police up...

People are like saying they're going to stay out here until we get justice. And you know there's been no indictment, there's been no arrest and now they're telling us, be peaceful, go home. What do you think about these people who are saying like calm down, go home?

No, we ain't calming down shit. "No Justice, No Peace! Fuck the Police!." We in Saintghanistan.

All that 'hood—all that 'hood stuff don't matter right now. We—we out here for dude. I don't even know dude and I'm out here, you know what I'm saying?

Like some people are—you've got some people doing one thing... you've got some people doing another.

Do you mean that the different sets are putting aside their differences right now to be together?

Yes. Yes.

Ferguson, August 15, 2014. Photo: Li Onesto/

Could you tell me about that?

They be like we see an op. Which is somebody you don't like. And like two ops to be up here, they'll see each other but they will be like no, that—that shit dead right now. We are here for dude, you know what I'm saying?

You mean before Mike Brown they'd be fighting?

No they'd be clapping—they'd be clapping some shit up. They might—so they will fight. Before this somebody might get shot.

But you're saying now that's not happening?

Yes, now that ain't happening. Now everything is just—they just letting it pass, for right now. After all this done then it's going down again, you know what I'm saying?

I told you, we got hella thoughts. We got hella thoughts.

What's your deepest thoughts about this whole week?

We got MAN: I told you—we got—we got hell of thoughts.

"Fuck the Police!" that they killing people for no reason. They killed another dude in the city like three days ago. That was fucked up.


"They done went too far"

OK, so tell me what happened tonight.

Well we was doing the march...

What time was this?

Just say about 9:20

OK, this was over three hours before the midnight curfew.

An armored truck and the police, they came on out and all of a sudden, the next thing you know, they was throwing gas and we got to running. The kids didn't start anything tonight. You know I understand the first and second time they looted, but tonight it was very peaceful. Because I've been here every day but yesterday and I came today and I said I was gonna stay. This time I was gonna stay you know then before the curfew I was going to leave. And we start marching so I say I'm gonna stay for a little more while and when we march got down and a little girl got hit with one of the gas things and it don't make no sense. They always say, you know they had everybody thinking it was the kids, it's not just the kids, it's the police because this time... they started it. This don't make no sense. I was out here, I got gas in my eyes, on my heart and I got hit with a rubber bullet and I'm real hurt. I couldn't get out. I was on my way home after they said they're throwing the gas. I'm trying to get home. They done blocked us in here. It don't make no sense. I think it should... this is one time, it should be something did about this. It's not right."

And what do you think about the fact that people have been out a week now trying to get justice and there's still no arrest of the cop who killed Michael Brown?

Well what I think about it, it's terrible because how can we get justice? How can we be out here for Mike-Mike and they won't let us? It's not even 12 o'clock. This started at 9:20 and it was peaceful. The kids didn't start nothing this time. This don't make no sense. They need to stop it, the police need to stop. They done went too far and somebody need to come in and help us. We need help because it's not working. They need to get them out of here. Whoever those police was that just started this, they need to be fired, all of them. And I'm not by myself. Bryant from the Riverview Times done saw it, you saw it and others... Channel 4, Channel 2... I know they done saw it, it don't make no sense. This time something needs to really be done about it and I'm not going nowhere. I'm going be here in the walk or whatever I can. But tonight I fixing to go to the hospital because the rubber bullet still got my leg stinging [laughter]."


Like a Sundown Town

Let me ask you this, why are you out here tonight?

I wish they would be... justice prevail. And justice will prevail, honey, peoples are tired. I'm 72 and I've seen this too much, too much, too much.

You've seen what?

The Blacks being killed by the police. And then I don't like Blacks killing each other, OK? That's the other side. Stop killing each other because you're being killed enough by the police, you know?

Is this your first night out here or have you been out here every night?

Oh, I've been out here every... I missed two nights. I had to rest.

But you've been out here every other night?

I've been here since—I went to the place first where they shot him and I saw some flesh on the side of the curb. I don't know what it was, but it was some flesh was there. I don't know if it was some of his brains or what. But I saw it.

You mean this was right after he was killed?

Right after he was killed... My daughter lives here in Ferguson. And when we heard, I said I have to go see what is going on. I want to see it for myself. This Black-on-Black crime we're going to have to stop.

But this was a police killing.

Yes. It was a—that's what I'm saying. They always doing it. But the Blacks need to stop killing each other, also.

Let me ask you this, because you've been out here every night. What do you think about how they've been bringing in the tear gas and like the rubber bullets and all that against people?

You know, it made me think about when they army time, you know what I'm saying? That's what brought it to my mind.

What time?

The army, you know, when they're bringing in the military... Yes. That's what that reminded me of. And then getting out of town before sundown, that's called a sundown line.

A sundown law, yes, right.

Everybody know about that. Because I'm from Mississippi and we couldn't be in town when dark come. We had to get out of the town before dark get there. I was in there, all right? I remember. I was young, but I remember my daddy and mama had us and told us... We had to get out of town before sundown. And lo and behold, don't let it be Halloween night.

It's like the KKK would be out?

Yes. That's who was out, the KKK. Believe me honey, I've seen some stuff that you just have to shake your head and say why, lord, why?

So you're saying that—that brought that back, that memory?

It brought it back, honey. It brought all of that back to me, all of that back to me.


"It's already rigged"

Are you from the neighborhood?

No, actually, I'm from St. Louis City and the reason I come out here, I come out to support the people out here that's marching for Mike Brown. And I think about—I have a grandson that's 15 years old. And, you know, when you've got kids and it can happen to anybody. And I would not want this to happen to one of my kids. So that's the reason I'm out here. And it's just, we already know that there's nothing that's going to be done, even though we're out here marching. You know, I just heard tonight, they've got nine white men on the grand jury and three Blacks. That's really nice. At least we could have came up with seven and five. Is it possible? Seven and five? You know, nine means that they're going to say no conviction. And you know what else...

It would mean there wouldn't even be charges, this is just to even decide whether they're going to even indict him.

Yes, that's what I mean. So if they don't indict him... he's free to go and do this again. And another thing is, you know, when they talked about—brought out that Mike Brown had some weed in his system, I want to know when that policeman was taken to the hospital, did they do a drug screen on him? Should have been. Most jobs—most jobs you are on, when something happens, you do a drug screen immediately. You don't wait until two or three days later. They ask them to do it to drive. That's simple. You know, he was at the hospital. They could have do it—easily did a drug screen. Well, why not? You know, we don't know that—the day that that occurred, he could have been high... and I'm going to tell you something else. It's not just that. We don't know what about his family life, you know, his personal life.... I don't know if this man is with a wife or having stresses with a family matter. And all of a sudden, he's angry today. It happens. It's possible. Why don't we dig into that background?

And meanwhile, they bring out all this stuff about the victim... like they're dragging out all this stuff about him showing the video of him at the store and demonizing him like he's the criminal.

Yes. That's exactly right. That is exactly what they do. This is how they cover up. This is how they always cover up. It's—it's just like the young man that was killed over there in St. Louis. That young man was mentally challenged. And I'm going to tell you something, when I sat back and thought about it, I said, you know, this is a young man that probably goes in this store all the time. These people know this man. He's not new to the neighborhood. They know him. And even though he stole something...

Well, maybe. We don't even know that.

You know what I—you know, whatever. But the store—my understanding is the store—somebody called the police in the store. And he went back in there and got something else, supposedly, and came out. Whatever happened, those store—you know, they—they're not focusing on those two police, how they... shot this young man, talking about 21 feet. They didn't even really talk to him. They didn't even talk to him. But they shot and killed him. Nobody is listening to that. Nobody is paying attention to this. These are matters that truly need to be looked into, not act like, oh, just another shooting. They're shooting them dead, point blank, young men. Think about it...

And the next thing is, have anybody ever thought about—I'm not sure what state that was when what's his name, Clive [Bundy], when all those men out there... had all that...When you think about all of them out there with the guns, nobody did nothing. Nobody went up there to arrest nobody. Nobody went to shooting. Why is that different?

That is something that they should have—like they had those armored trucks out here, they should have been up there with that. They have them in Missouri, you sure they don't have them there? Nobody did anything. That went on for days and days and weeks and weeks and nothing happened. And this man was threatening. And they're still there. And he owes the government a million dollars. What's the difference? Why are we not doing anything about that?

Threatening authority. But here, they say you're threatening authority. And here they come with all this here utility—guns ready to shoot.

What do you think is going to happen now?

Oh, there's no conviction because all nine of those white men is hand-picked. The people are going to be upset again, very upset. And they're going to be out here in droves. That's exactly what's going to happen. Because this is what they want. And you know what, they want—they want some violence. They want to bring those tanks back out. They don't mind shooting up a bunch of Blacks, young men. They want to do that.

You think they want an excuse, is that what you're saying?

That's an excuse to do it. That would be an excuse to shoot up a bunch of Blacks out here, because they—they already know.

You know, it's interesting, because some of the young Black men who have been out here every night, one of the things that this young man said to me, he said, you know what, they're already killing us, so I'm just going to stay out here until I get justice.

And they will. They don't, you know, they young. They don't understand... They don't mind that.

But they're kind of saying look, the system is already killing me...

It's already—it's already rigged for them.

Yes. So I might as well be out here fighting.

Yes. So they fighting for something. You know, it's already rigged. You know, look how things are...

Also, everybody feels like, what? There's not enough evidence? They're talking about October before they're going to actually [come back with a decision].

You know what they doing. They are—let me tell you what they're doing. They've got a lot of people that have made statements and they're trying to make those statements... taking those statements so they can fix how they going to come out with his statement.

You mean like twist it around...

Yes. How to make that comport with the murder.

Also I heard something on the news today where they're starting to like try to say those witness are not credible... that they have criminal backgrounds and all thi. Un other words, they're—they're attacking—not only attacking Mike Brown now, but they're attacking all the witnesses.


You know what I mean, this is what they always do here, right?

That is the system. Dorian—"oh, he got a criminal background."... The young lady, they haven't said anything about her. But they're digging. They're going to try to find something...

They did the same thing in the Trayvon Martin case with the woman [who was talking to Trayvon Martin on the phone], they just tried to like drag her through the mud...

Yes. This is exactly what they do. So it's no different. I already know what's happening—what the outcome is going to be. I'm not even trying to debate. I know they got nine white men. They can't find no Blacks out here.

So are you planning to keep coming out here?

Yes, I'm going to be coming out here.


And still no justice for Michael Brown.




Revolution #351 September 1, 2014

Interview with a Former Prisoner, Part 1

Breaking with the Gang Life
Getting with the REAL Revolution

September 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


EDITORS' NOTE: This is an interview with a former prisoner, who through contact with Revolution newspaper and the writings of Bob Avakian and literature of the Revolutionary Communist Party, decided that being an emancipator of humanity was what his life is going to be about. It has been edited for publication. We will be posting it in three segments. This is Part I. Part 2 (Science, Revolutionary Theory, and Getting into Bob Avakian) was published on September 8, 2014 and Part 3 (Don't Risk Your Life Over Stupid Shit—Be Down for Revolution) on September 15.


Revolution: You became a revolutionary in prison doing an 11-year sentence. Can you talk about the process you went through of going from a gang mentality to a different way of thinking?

X: It was a lot of struggle, struggle with myself... it was a process of struggle that happened as I read more. I was stuck in the cell and would just be reading out of boredom. You just pick up a book and start reading shit. And then you think about it. You think about the role you’re playing and all this shit.

I started getting into radical literature and it appealed to me. Because on one level, I always hated cops. I hated the cops cause I saw their hypocrisy. So I had this dislike of authorities, dislike of the government. I saw it as bullshit. You look at TV and you see these fools that come up and these fake ass politicians and the way they would talk about the neighborhoods, you know, like what they were doing there. The fucking pigs would get up there and you recognize their hypocrisy when they would talk about “oh, we’re trying to serve these people, protect these people and these fucking thugs are the problem.” Well they don’t say it that way, they polish up the way they speak about people, I guess they go through some kind of training to talk about this shit. And then you hear these politicians, “such an upstanding officer of the law” and all this shit. And you feel like everybody is against you, the pigs are against you, these fucking reporters interviewing them are against you, the politicians are against you and you start to feel like the whole world is against you. So you want to fuck up, you just feel like fucking up.

But you’re also conscious of some things and then you start reading things. Like a lot of the radical literature I read was coming from people who sent literature to prisoners, the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund (PRLF) being my favorite one. They would send things and they would talk about prisoners. They didn’t think we were the scum of the earth. Realizing there were people out there who saw prisoners as a potential positive force had a big impact on me. And they actually had a better opinion of me than I did of myself. I really did think I was a piece of shit sometimes. “I’m no good. I do all this horrible shit.” And you embrace it as a way to cope with all of it. Then there’s people who don’t see me as an irredeemable monster, and they were trying to fight something that I was against, that I didn’t like from the time I was a child—I didn’t like the government, the system. I didn’t like none of that shit. And so it appealed to me and I started reading more and more and as I read more and more, I became more and more conscious.

Political resistance appealed to me. But it wasn’t life changing in the way revolution was. It changed the way I thought about a lot of things. I was struggling with the way I was feeling but I didn’t see a reason for me to be different. I would kinda lie to myself, that we could make revolution some day, one day. Because I had that sense that we’re not going to change shit unless we make a revolution. We need a revolution to change all this shit that these people are talking about. In a lot of this radical literature, they weren’t talking about revolution, not in a substantive way. They were just talking about gradual change or resistance—people uniting against this or that particular crime that stems from the system. They were saying we could change things, but weren’t really talking fundamentally about how. How would we overthrow the fucking government and what are we going to put in its place? What do we need to do to get to that point? Nobody was saying that. Nobody... all this shit was frustrating me so I didn’t see the possibility of it. Until my friend sent me the PRLF address in a kite. [Kites are small notes passed amongst prisoners.]

To be clear, I had read Marx, Lenin, Mao, Engels and they were clearly revolutionary—they were serious about making a REAL revolution. But when I read all these “modern day revolutionaries” I felt like they were watering down the content. But when I started reading Revolution newspaper, they were talking about actually making revolution in a serious way. “This is our strategy, this what we need to do. We need to build a movement. But it has to be a movement FOR revolution.” A lot of people talk about movement building but they didn’t talk about movement building for what? It was always real vague. Or some people talk about socialism but they didn’t say how we were going to get to socialism. Revolution newspaper was different. BA’s works were different. I started reading all this and then I was like “Oh shit!” it really inspired me, that was life changing. I started thinking about it more seriously and about all the things I had thought about before, then I started taking a serious look at what I was going to make my life about.

One thing I knew I wasn’t going to do—I wasn’t going to conform. Even when I was less conscious, I knew I wasn’t going to conform, that just wasn’t an option. But when I got into BA and Revolution newspaper then “I saw the light” but I also asked questions. I didn’t take anything up without questioning it. At the beginning, I wrote in with a lot of questions. And my questions were answered through reading more and more of BA’s works.

Communism definitely appealed to me. There were other people who called themselves communists but their line was bullshit. It was based on a lot of wishful thinking about resistance in the Third World spontaneously developing into the kind of consciousness needed for a revolution. On the flip side, they looked at difficulties of making revolution in the U.S. and concluded that you couldn’t make a revolution here. That wasn’t life changing. Nothing in there made me want to make my life about revolution, in the way they viewed it. If you’re going to be into wishful thinking or just... I don’t want to be part of no culture of resistance. “Oh I lived my life and I resisted so I could sleep better at night.” Fuck that! If I’m a change my life it’s gotta be because I think we’re actually gonna change shit. I’m actually gonna make contributions, actually changing it not just to feel good about myself. I wanna make a fucking revolution.

The more shit I read and the more I compared and contrasted to BA, I came to see, “Okay, if we’re really going to make revolution we gotta get into BA.” When I first read the paper and it talked about “we have this leader BA, we have this newspaper, we have this Party with these principles we could build.” It didn’t really get to me at that moment, it didn’t really hit me but the more I got into it, the more I read, at a certain point, it did hit me. One day I was just thinking, I was like “fuck! It’s such a precious thing.” I remember reading BA saying the Party is a precious thing, and I’m like “yeah, okay.” But I didn’t really get it until I thought about it. “Man, we do have this Party and all these people acting in support of this Party, to build this Party but for the purpose of making revolution. And there’s a Party leading this.” And I thought this is very powerful and then I looked into the strategy. That’s one of the things that really got to me, when I read “On the Strategy for Revolution.” The more I thought about it, the more I could see that this strategy conformed to objective reality.

Revolution: One of the first things you said was about hating the police. What was your experience with the police? And how did such a deep hatred for the pigs get shaped?

X: The pigs in my neighborhood were the bad guys. You grow up like a lot of us did and you see the pigs as the bad guys, but it’s really fucked up when you think about it because the people you end up looking up to are the gangbangers. The gangbangers are the only ones I saw in an open antagonistic relationship with the pigs. They didn’t seem to be just going along with the way shit is. I say, “don’t seem to be” because they still do. They’re not following the rules or going to work but they’re still caught up in all this other shit. They profit off the misery around them by selling dope and all this other shit but they’re feared or have money and under this system, that’s what counts. It’s no wonder a lot of kids think to themselves, “I want to be like that guy.” Then you see the pigs fuck with them and you think to yourself “fucken assholes.”

But also when I was young, my dad would point things out to me about the pigs. My dad came from Mexico in the early ‘70s and he got to see a little bit of the hippie culture, the radical times and he would speak good about those times, he’d say about the hippies “those guys were cool.” And he used to hate the pigs. My dad hated the pigs and he would point things out. “These fucking pigs are fucking with these people right here for no goddam reason.” Cuz you see the pigs fucking with street vendors. They fuck with everybody. And my dad would say, “Why are they fucking with that man for just trying to make a dollar or something?”

Then I had one experience when the pigs grabbed my brother by the throat when he was about 5 years old. He was throwing rocks at the neighbors’ kids and somebody called the pigs. They came and they took my brother to the back alley and my brother came back crying and went over and apologized to the neighbor. At first, he didn’t want to tell me what happened. Eventually he told me and he was crying as he told me. The fucking pig grabbed him by the neck and had him against the wall and was talking shit to him. My brother’s five years old. There was a neighbor who told me, “Hey man, that pig, he grabbed your little brother by the throat.”

Revolution: How old were you when that happened?

X: I was about 9 or 10 years old. But I was real protective of my brother. And it was one of those things that just fucked me up because I couldn’t do nothing about it. I’m a little kid but I’m just so angry. I’m like these fucking pigs; these muthafuckers and I can’t do anything.

But then as I got older I had more direct experience with the pigs. I saw what they were about and the way they treated you. If you’re Black or Brown and young, you’re going to have direct experience with the pigs. And we were always on the lookout for the pigs.

I had countless encounters with them and I would see them when they fucked with other people too. I was always having run-ins with the pigs because we were hanging out and just constantly on the street. You’re in the gang and they know that you’re up to no good. So they come and they want you to leave or they want you to disperse or whatever, they want to fuck with you and they constantly fuck with you. They would snatch you up from the street even though they knew they couldn’t get you for anything. But they would take us for whatever fucking excuse, like to update gang pictures or whatever. And then they’d leave us stranded in a rival gang neighborhood and then we’d have to walk back through all these other areas where all these other gangs were at so hopefully you get killed or something.

There was one thing I would think about as I got older and as I got more conscious about the shit that they used to do. They have the “gang unit” and they had this board where they list the most active gangs in the area, they would have lists of 1 through 10 of who were the most active gangs in that division. They would sit you in front of this board and you’d be looking at it, and if you’re a gangbanger and you look at it and don’t see your neighborhood up there, you’re like “fuck this.” Or you see your neighborhood but it’s not at the top of the list, or worse your rivals are ahead of you, you want to make it to the top of the list, and you want your rivals to see it. They would sit everybody in front of this board, all the gang members that they’d catch; they would sit them in front of this board before they went through the whole process. So you’d see it and these guys would come out wanting to compete for who’s doing the most stupid shit... killing each other and all this stupid shit that we do when we’re in gangs. Yeah, so basically I hated the pigs.

Revolution: You’ve made a point that you’ve come to understand the way the youth are fighting each other is meaningless, but you didn’t always see it that way. Can you talk about that?

X: Yeah. When you grow up and you see it’s your friends, the people you’re closest to, you end up coming together in the gang. You become the little G’s. You’re the young ones and you’re out there and you’re fucking up. You have a friend that you might know from school and then you get together, you’re still friends but this time you’re in the gang together and you want your other friends to come into the gang and then all of a sudden you’re all part of that local gang. It seems like all fun and games in the beginning, you join it because it provides some excitement in an otherwise purposeless, monotonous life, but then somebody gets killed and it becomes something very serious. These friends that you love get killed, you’re in the same gang and there’s something expected of you when that happens. Like, your friend just got killed and you hate the people who did it. You just want to kill ’em and it doesn’t really matter who it was. If you can, you would love to get the person who actually did it, but it doesn’t really matter if you get his friend. I remember one time, after one of my friends got killed, we went to his house and his dad tells us... he’s crying, his whole family is crying, and he tells us “I just want the other side to cry... I want you guys to make sure that there’s people crying on the other side too, just like my family’s crying.” You’re part of that life and you don’t understand that it’s the system causing all this shit. You don’t understand so you’re like, “of course, don’t worry. That’s what we’re here for, that’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna make sure that muthafucker’s are crying on that side too.” So it becomes a big part of your life, like all you’re about and all you care about. Everything you go out for is the gang, the hood—that you don’t really own or control. And the pigs come in there. You say it’s your hood but you can’t keep the pigs from coming in there.

Revolution: Why is that so attractive and why was there so much meaning bound up with the hood, despite the fact that you don’t own it or control it? You’ll have a situation where you might have three blocks and five gangs fighting each other literally over a street corner. But there is a coherence to that still. So what’s the logic and what’s the glue of that? Why did that have so much meaning?

X: There’s more to it than just fighting over territory, I would even say that that street corner is not even what people are really fighting for. There’s not much out there that you could really feel is yours but there’s also not much out there that can really make you feel better about yourself. When you’re in the gang, there is a certain level of control over the territory that you do have and there’s a certain amount of respect and fear that comes from exercising what little power you do get when you’re in the gang. People fear you, people respect you. You feel like you’re not just shit. In this society, what you have is what you’re worth and you have all these youth who don’t really have shit but what they do have is people fearing them because they do have some control over the territory that they call their hood. Drug dealers, armed or not, have to pay you rent if they’re not from your gang and want to sell in your hood. Nobody who actually lives there has a realistic chance of going up against you and that makes you feel pretty tough. This makes you feel like you’re not so worthless after all. But then you have the other gangs who you have run-ins with and you end up fighting. They’re going through the same thing you’re going through and they’re being shaped by the same forces and conditions you and your friends are being shaped by. You think you’re bad but they think they’re bad. The rival gang in the process of trying to prove that they’re, as BA says, the “baddest broke legged muthafuckers” around by riding through your hood threatens your mode of existence by in effect saying “you ain’t shit.”

From within this mentality, that is not something that you can allow, you have too much invested in this already; it’s where you get your whole sense of purpose and your whole sense of self-worth. If you don’ t have that what do you have? You don’t see where all this shit comes from. You don’t see that you could change it. You don’t see the possibility for you to play a different role other than this. So what else do you have and you hold on to that as much as you can and it becomes your whole life. You go to prison and a lot of people still feel that way. After they’re locked up in prison, they’re still representing. “I’ll represent my hood... while I’m in prison doing life.”

Revolution: What was the process of making you step back and pull the lens back on that? You talked about coming to see it was like they killed two birds with one stone.

X: Oh yeah. Let’s say you’re charged for killing someone. First, they don’t give a fuck about the victim because the victim is someone just like you. They don’t give a fuck about them. Now you’re facing life in prison. It’s like they just killed two birds with one stone. And they love for us to act that way. On top of that they could still say, this is why we need the police. “This is why we need to send more police down there” and have more fucking pigs patrolling these neighborhoods.

Revolution: How did that make you feel when you thought that?

X: Like I was getting played, I was letting these pigs use me. I was playing their game. I was making everything easier for them. I was helping them out. I was helping them out in the best way I could. [Laughs]

When you’re young somebody could tell you, “You know you guys are just killing each other and these pigs are taking you to prison.” A lot of people would recognize the reality of that, but their response is, “Yeah, it is kinda stupid, but that’s what we do. This is what we do for the hood and all this shit.” That’s all you really care about, that’s your world—the gang life. That’s all you really care about. So on one level you know you’re getting played but you really don’t care because you don’t see an alternative that offers you a sense of purpose and self-worth. A lot of it has to do with the fact that you don’t understand the system as being illegitimate. You think they’re the ones who rule and they could do all this fucked up shit—they’re the ones who launch wars and get us all fucked up but they’re the ones with the power so might makes right. [Laughs]

Revolution: What made you be able to, even on that level partially step back and step out of the situation. What made you come to that level of understanding?

X: Just thinking about the situation. I’ve never met anybody who I talked to who was involved in that who couldn’t realize it on one level—if they were willing to have a serious conversation about it. If you tell them, “okay, just stop and think about it for a minute,” they realize it on one level. All these guys have been dealing with this shit their whole lives, they’ve had numerous direct experiences with the pigs. They’ve been snatched up and thrown in jail by those self-righteous pigs, they’ve had their whole fates decided by the fucken courts, and they’re being held in these prisons for a great chunk of their lives, some of them never to see the outside of those walls again. That whole repressive tool is working against them, and for what? For taking up the values promoted under this system and mimicking on the street corner the crimes, and the way of thinking about those crimes, that those who rule over you commit on a mass scale throughout the globe. You just got to stop and think about it and the reality of it is hard to dismiss.

Revolution: So you could see it on one level that “we’re getting played” but like you said, a lot of people still accept it. So what made you come to the deeper ruptures with this way of thinking?

X: One of the things that had an impact in beginning to change my thinking on a deeper level is when I started paying attention to world events. I talked about the hypocrisy of the pigs, the politicians and media. The way they would look down on the people in my community. And then I would pay attention to world politics and events going on around the world and I’d recognize the same pattern, the same hypocrisy to the people in other parts of the world. They would use different terms, but it was that same essence. “This lack of democracy, these backward countries, we can’t force democracy on them. They wouldn’t know what to do with it,” all this bullshit. “Our men and women are doing the best job we can do with these backward people.” That’s pretty much what they say about us. “The pigs are doing the best job they can with these youth out here.”

But then I had to get into radical literature to really see it, for it to really piss me off. Cuz then I started blaming the death of my friends on the system. I had a lot of friends die behind all this gangbanging shit. I’d be raging against the system because what it’s doing to these youth—where they don’t have no sense of purpose. All they see is, you know like BA says on the REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! talk, it’s something that gets to me when I hear it... these kids, the only thing they feel, the only sense of purpose they have is on the fucking street corner that they don’t own or control. When I hear that, I have to fight back tears because I know exactly what he’s talking about. That’s me and that’s so many people that I know, my friends and that’s all they feel and they don’t understand where it's coming from. They think they know but they don’t know. So my hate for the system started becoming more personal, the more I realized where it was coming from and all my friends I lost and all the shit I’d done.

But it was also a process of redeeming my humanity, cuz at the time I thought I had lost it. I felt like I was heartless, like I didn’t give a fuck about people. Cuz I felt that people didn’t give a fuck about me. So I didn’t give a fuck about society and I recognized that things were fucked up, but I said as long as society is fucked up and the world we have to live in is fucked up, I’m a be a fuck up. I’m not gonna go by the rules.

Revolution: Can you identify certain turning points in your thinking in prison? We talked about pulling the lens back and being able to see how the masses were being played but then there were other ruptures along the way. Can you identify certain turning points?

X: Running into other prisoners that were also reading radical literature was definitely one of them. That was something that impacted me like, “Whoah, I’m not the only one.” I remember finding somebody who I agreed so much with and we talked about revolution but we didn’t really know how we could actually make a revolution or if there was really a possibility of revolution. We would tell ourselves that, but we didn’t really understand how that was true.

Also, when I read things that criticized capitalism. You come to understand, “Man, these people are just doing everything for profit.” And that seemed so obvious, so obviously true. How could you escape that fact that all this shit is done for profit? The connection was just so easy to make. Once you read it and somebody who explains it a little better than you, then you’re like, “yeah.” So I wanted to read more about it.

Even before I became a revolutionary, there was the LA Uprising. I remember thinking, “Man! We could do something.” Some people had the response like “aw, we just burned shit down and we don’t ever do nothing so that’s why you can’t change it.” It didn’t have that effect on me. To me, I saw it like “if this were more organized, we could do something better, we could really change something.” But I didn’t think about an actual revolution because I wasn’t really clear about what that would be. I’d be like, “throw out these motherfuckers and we’ll take over.” But I didn’t understand it; I didn’t understand how we would do it and what we would do if we had power. There were events like that that were inspiring. Or I would hear about other places resisting or I would find out about people actually rising up to fight the system like Vietnam. I was like, “Oh shit, the U.S. got defeated in Vietnam, this little ass island actually defeated the fucking U.S. military.” I would be inspired by that and feel like “shit, things can be done.”

Another turning point was when prisoners got together to politically struggle against unjust conditions; I would say, “okay there’s something there that could be tapped into.” One time, I ended up in the hole with a very like-minded friend of mine and we had this political protest against these fucked up conditions. In the hole you’re just stuck, you’re dependent on the pigs for everything. You can’t do shit, you’re just stuck in the cell all day. There’s not really shit you can do. But there were forms of political protest that prisoners could take up in unity. But if you did participate in solidarity actions that they didn’t like, the response would be severe and inhumane. For example, they have extraction teams who come in and pepper spray the shit out of your cell with big ass canisters and they empty them inside your cells. Then they took everything out of the cell that wasn’t welded down. By the end of it we didn’t have mattresses, we didn’t have shit, no toilet paper, we didn’t have nothing. All we had were boxers and we were barefoot, we didn’t have anything. They take away everything they can. And some even had their boxers taken away so they’re sitting next to each other butt ass naked and they had no choice but to sit next to each other. Then they blast the cold air through the vent while we had no clothes or blankets. The pigs were mad, but they realized we didn’t give a fuck and we were willing to put ourselves through this shit just to show them that we weren’t just gonna go along with their non-stop inhumane and illegal treatment of prisoners.

Revolution: What were you protesting?

X: We were protesting the illegal and arbitrary removal of people’s property. We had this response where “if you gonna do that to one, then you gonna do it to all of us. Okay then, leave us all without shit.” We knew that that’s how we were gonna end up. We knew they were gonna take all our property and they would leave us without nothing. But we wanted to show that we were willing to do it. If you keep randomly picking people out unjustly, we’re gonna stand together and you’re gonna have to do it to all of us. So we did that. So for a while they calmed down and stopped doing it. But I would tell people, “they’re gonna stop but they’re gonna start again.” So it’s something that we have to keep resisting. We can’t just be satisfied, like “Oh, we had this protest and feel all good about ourselves and okay that’s done.” Because we haven’t changed shit, we haven’t changed shit yet. But I saw that these guys are willing to do all this. Go through all this shit, for something that, on one level, was very minor.

I was starting to understand more about the system and capitalism and seeing the pigs as a repressive force, not just “oh, they’re doing their job” like some guy said, “pigs just doing his job, man.” Fuck that, his job is to repress people. So I saw that collectively, if we come together, we’re capable even inside these cells, we could fight back. We could start learning to fight back. I saw possibilities, I started seeing possibilities. Then I read things like George Jackson and I came to recognize the back and forth influence that it could have from prison and people out there because there were things going on on the streets when George Jackson became political. So there’s an influence there, it’s not just separate... it’s interrelated. And I saw how prisoners could have an influence and there could be this back and forth thing. We’re not totally isolated and there are things that we can do. Including that the more we resist, it could be part of a larger class struggle going on somewhere else, or outside the walls.

Revolution: So you were reading different political lines and trends and then how did you encounter Revolution newspaper?

X: It was a fortunate coincidence because the friend I’d been in the hole with—we had been talking about how we could come together, and how this kind of political resistance was related to opening people’s minds up to more radical ideas. We came to see that people are more open in the midst of a struggle to hear these ideas. When everything is passive and boring, people in prison would often just want a novel or some shit and they read anything. So we were talking about how struggling creates a more favorable situation.

We both got out of the hole around the same time and he got a subscription to Revolution. So he sent me a kite saying, “hey, write to this place and tell them to send you Revolution newspaper. You’re gonna like it.” So I wrote and got a subsidized subscription from the PRLF. I was beginning to check it out but I had a lot of questions.

Revolution: What kinds of questions?

X: All kinds of questions. Like how do we actually do it? How do we have a revolution? What is communism? Isn’t communism a bad thing? Because I had been influenced by the other people who hated communism more than they hated capitalism. So I wanted to read it. And they keep talking about objective reality and what’s objectively true and like, “okay, well let's find out what is objectively true.” So I had some disagreements because I had heard communism was bad and authoritarian and totalitarian and whatever. As I’m starting to dig into it, I get a neighbor who’s been reading Revolution for a while already and he has a bunch of literature that the PRLF sent him already.

So I started talking to this guy and he shows me the Constitution for the Party, he showed me the Party’s Manifesto. He had a copy of the Memoir [Avakian’s memoir: From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey From Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist]. I’m just reading through all this stuff that he has. “Okay, send me another one, send me another one.” It’s answering a lot of my questions. I would write to the PRLF and show him the letters I’m writing to show him what I’m going through and he would struggle with me, about what I was reading and where I was wrong. There were some things he couldn’t answer sometimes because he was struggling to learn too. That’s the thing about having no collectivity but we found it when we got connected.

I was also reading other radical literature that talked about capitalism. I started reading Che and all these different ideas of how to go about revolution. And I wasn’t really convinced of one or the other. But the more I got into Revolution newspaper the more I started thinking about it more seriously. One of the things was when I read “On the Strategy for Revolution.”

Revolution: Why did that have an impact, what about that?

X: Because it started from the point of looking honestly at the contradictions. It was looking to solve the contradictions of what do we do, what are we supposed to be doing when there’s not a revolutionary situation. A lot of things I read, a lot of the answers we’re coming up with was, “We have to go for revolution now.” For example, the Che Guevara line was you kick off the guerilla war and that will create the conditions for revolution. But if you think about that for a second in a country like this, that’s not gonna happen. What’s gonna happen is you’re gonna get isolated, you’re gonna get killed and there goes the revolution. And shit just continues to be the way it is. But with the Statement on Strategy, it recognized the fact that there is not a revolutionary situation at this point, but there’s all these contradictions that this system can’t resolve so there’s something that we can do—hastening while awaiting. We have to hasten while we await the crises that come about from the contradictions of the system itself. But what we can be doing is revolutionary work in a non-revolutionary situation and keep coming at those contradictions. There was something I got from What Is To Be Done? where Lenin said that every instance of even rudimentary protest, we have to be there and this is how we accumulate forces but it’s complicated and it’s not easy. And whenever I would read Revolution or BA’s works, he’s taking that into account. He wasn’t just ignoring those difficulties and just trying to look at the good side. “Oh we can do this, we can do that... the people will rise up one day.” It wasn’t no shit like that. It was like, “ok, look at the situation, what is the situation? This is what we’re facing, these are the obstacles.” I felt like, “Okay, it’s being taken seriously here.” Not like these other groups who claim to be talking about revolution but were ignoring a lot of the obstacles or they’re ignoring potential. When you get into BA’s works then you see this is more scientific. He is actually taking into account all the obstacles and wrangling with how do we get past those obstacles and what could we do. With the strategy, the more I thought about it, I came to see “okay there’s things we can do.” I still wasn’t very clear on how we actually do it. How do we overthrow it? We hasten while await, but what do we do when the revolutionary crisis comes up? But there was enough there for me to see the possibility for revolution.

Then when I read "On the Possibility of Revolution" in the pamphlet  Revolution and Communism: A Foundation and Strategic Orientation, I was like, “man, these guys take revolution seriously. They really want a revolution, they’re really working for a revolution.” They’re clearly wrangling with the question of how we go for power and win, that was a big thing because if you’re serious, you’ll wrangle with that question. It will actually keep you up at night. You won’t dismiss the idea of wrangling with that, some people might say “it would be arrogant to do so.” No, we aim to seize power and we don’t hide that because it’s necessary.

In contrast to this, there were groups who just came off as being just real content with having a culture of resistance. “The best you can do is just resist.” Or we can talk about revolution but not seriously making the effort to make a revolution. I didn’t want to be part of that. I don’t want to dedicate my life to a dead-end. Fuck that. But if it’s an actual movement that’s actually conscious of the need to make revolution, taking it seriously, and working on how are we building the movement for revolution... but with that goal to make revolution... I became convinced just by reading a lot of the Party’s line and BA’s works. I was like, “This is really great if people are really taking this up. I hope that people are really taking this up and being serious about it.” I was planning as soon as I’m on parole, I’m going to Revolution Books, I’m gonna go meet these people. [Laughs]


This interview is posted in three segments. See also Part 2 (Science, Revolutionary Theory, and Getting into Bob Avakian) and Part 3 (Don't Risk Your Life Over Stupid Shit—Be Down for Revolution).




Revolution #351 September 1, 2014

Check It Out: Alice Rothchild's On the Brink

by Alan Goodman | September 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Alice Rothchild's On the Brink

Alice Rothchild's new book, On the Brink: Israel and Palestine on the Eve of the 2014 Gaza Invasion (Just World Press, 2014), is drawn from journal entries written while the author was in the West Bank region of Palestine on the eve of the savage massacre of the Palestinian people in Gaza in July and August of 2014—slaughter enabled and backed financially, militarily, and diplomatically by the United States.

Alice Rothchild is a physician, an author, a journalist and a long-time activist. Introducing the book in the context of the current Israeli massacre in Gaza, she writes "the very idea that Jewish suffering and Jewish exceptionalism gives 'us' the right to eliminate or oppress another people, created the environment for this explosion. This is not about the last ten or twenty years, this is about the very unsettling consequences of Zionism itself."

And she adds, "I have come to these conclusions by witnessing the facts on the ground, asking difficult questions, challenging myself beyond my comfort zones and yes, seeing myself in the eyes of my so called enemy."

Alice Rothchild invites readers to walk with her on "a challenging and empowering journey to a more honest place, where the potential for lasting political and social change is grounded in our common humanity and the recognition of injustices wherever and to whomever they may fall."

Take her up on that invitation.

The iconic concrete, eight-meter-high separation wall in Qalqilya (a Palestinian city in the West Bank region of Palestine), with security cameras and guard towers, changed the drainage and created areas of open sewerage, which floods during the rain, and confiscated massive amounts of agricultural land, undermining the local economy and creating an enormous urban prison.
Photo: Alice Rothchild / On the Brink - Israel and Palestine on the Eve of the 2014 Gaza Invasion

The heart of On the Brink is this journey—full of unexpected vignettes and unsparing insights that dig beneath the surface and bring to life the real nature and role of Israel. Every Palestinian man we meet seems to have served harsh time in Israeli prisons for suspected involvement in resistance. (Eight hundred thousand Palestinians have been arrested since 1967, 40% of the male population!). In the chapter "Walking with Ghosts"we visit the ruins of Lifta—a thriving center of Palestinian commerce, community and culture, until it was one of the 650 or so Palestinian cities and towns wiped out by Zionist ethnic cleansing. We brave virulent Israeli tear gas and rubber bullets with Palestinians and their allies who attempt to wage peaceful protests. We experience the incessant humiliation of the most overt and obscene Apartheid-style humiliation to which Palestinians are subjected not only every waking hour, but even in late night and early morning raids on their communities and homes. And we confront the genocidal terminology ubiquitous in Israeli culture. (E.g., A "clean area" is a term used by the Israeli military to describe areas where no Palestinians live.)

Over and over again, including through a selection of photos, Alice Rothchild helps shine a light on, helps us feel the ways in which the Nakba— the 1948 orgy of Zionist violence on which the state of Israel was established—casts its dark shadow over the every day lives of every Palestinian. She insists on challenging readers to confront the reality that "the ethnic cleansing of Palestine is an integral part of the history of the creation of the State of Israel, just as much as the history of Native Americans or African slaves is part of US history. There is no 'dual narrative' here. The Nakba is not an alternative history.... It is a story that must be heard."

What emerges is a piercingly subversive critique of the legitimacy of a state based on ethnic cleansing.

Check it out!




Revolution #351 September 1, 2014


September 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


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Revolution #351 September 1, 2014

William Bratton—Counter-Insurgency Architect for Imperialist Policing

September 2, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


On September 11, 2011, Tayshana Murphy, a promising nationally ranked point guard, was gunned down outside her door—in the hallway of the Grant Houses project in Harlem. People mourned for the high school senior who might have been able to escape the projects on a basketball scholarship, and hung their heads in despair for the youth caught up in a senseless crime like this. A lot of people thought that in this case, the police had a legitimate job to do. A lot of people—including many people actively opposing police harassment in the projects—said something had to be done about this.

What happened next is a lesson oppressed people need to learn. Shortly after Tayshana’s murder, two young men from the Harlem projects were arrested and then convicted for her murder. The mother of Tayshana and the mother of one of the men convicted had joined together in common cause to do something about violence among the youths from rival projects.

Then in June of this year, the NYPD descended on Grant Houses and Manhattanville Houses, with helicopters flying overhead in a full-out military assault, kicking down people’s doors, dragging whole families from their beds, and forcing them to the floor with guns to their heads. Young children were threatened and the pigs made jokes as they tore people’s houses apart. The images of waging war on a people looked no different than in Gaza or Iraq.

The justification cited by the NYPD for this escalation of police tactics, touted as “one of the biggest takedowns in NYPD history,” was an investigation into Tayshana’s murder. As Tayshana’s younger brother was hauled out of his mother’s home during the raid, the cynicism of this justification has about as much credibility as the lies the U.S. government tells to wage every unjust war it has begun.

This isn’t just excessive policies that no longer match the crime statistics—nor is it just rogue cops. The lesson oppressed people need to learn from this is that the police are there to protect a system of exploitation that rules over the people. The police, the courts, the prisons, the parole system, the welfare system people report to, are part of a state apparatus that enforces exploitation and the misery, inequality, and oppression that this stems from. “The law and order the police are about, with all of their brutality and murder, is the law and order that enforces this oppression and madness.” (from BAsics 1:24)

New York mayor Bill de Blasio defended the military assault on Harlem, saying that the two housing projects “are a lot safer today because of this action, and you’re going to see a lot more of these kinds of actions whenever we are in a position to put together the evidence to do that kind of whole sweep.” “Troop movements have already begun,” he said. “You’re going to see a lot more next month, when our [police] recruits graduate.”

And this militarization of the police isn’t just in New York City. In June of this year, the American Civil Liberties Union released “War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing,” a report that includes tracking of equipment donated through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice to funnel money and military materiel (firearms, explosives, vehicles, battle uniforms, and armored vehicles) to hundreds of local police departments.

Bill de Blasio was elected mayor with a campaign promising an end to stop-and-frisk. What he actually did was bring in as police commissioner William Bratton—the architect under the Giuliani regime of “zero tolerance” policing, also called the “broken windows” theory—that police could prevent crime by going after petty offenses and minor crimes like drinking in public, jumping turnstiles, sleeping on the streets, littering, etc. This is a method of policing that has been adopted nationwide and has been responsible for drastically driving up the number of arrests and incarcerating a hugely disproportionate number of Black and Latino people. It is a genocidal doctrine that has jacketed people with criminal records at very young ages. In Los Angeles, where Bratton was sent after the LA rebellion in 1992, mass stops of young Black men and boys resulted in a database containing the names, addresses, and biographical information of the overwhelming majority of young Black men in the entire city. The database was justified as a tool for tracking “gang-related activity.”

William Bratton is a strategic operative for the U.S. ruling class—from the early ’90s he has pioneered police strategy like the “broken windows” policy—aimed at making large cities like New York centers that are safe for imperialism to operate from. Bratton, as police commissioner, and Mayor Giuliani declared war on the homeless and the city’s poorest neighborhoods. They laid siege to artistic expression and the right of Black and Latino youths to hang out or congregate in public. After his stint in NYC, Bratton started a string of lucrative private security companies, including one that served as the LAPD’s so-called “independent review” agency. He then left the private sector to serve as police commissioner of Los Angeles after the LA rebellion—to rebuild the crumbled credibility and morale of the LAPD.

Bratton has specialized as a consultant for cities that have experienced civil unrest: London, where David Cameron tried to hire him as police chief after the London Riots of 2009; Oakland, in the wake of a sustained upsurge of resistance after the police murder of Oscar Grant; and a crackdown on the Occupy movement that aroused tens of thousands to march in support of Occupy and against the police repression. He’s been a visiting consultant for the governments of Mexico City, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Johannesburg, South Africa.

De Blasio has stood by William Bratton’s decision to continue arrests for marijuana possession that have disproportionately impacted hundreds of thousands of Black and Latino youths who have been charged for possession of minor amounts of marijuana since 2002. De Blasio, in the tradition of Giuliani, has also remained committed to Bratton’s racist doctrine of zero tolerance, rolling this out with a campaign to arrest teenagers in hip-hop dance crews for performing on subway cars!
Now that stop-and-frisk has become the subject of exposure and public outcry, those who run the city have simply shifted gears to drive the same systematic oppression forward, using the zero tolerance doctrine to continue the harassment and terror being perpetrated in Black and Latino neighborhoods. Within days of the July 11 police execution of Eric Garner for selling untaxed cigarettes, bystanders filmed the same illegal chokehold being used for the “crime” of jumping a turnstile.

William Bratton’s stated goal has been to make cities like New York “safe.” Safe not for the people living under police terror but safe to be the financial center for an empire of worldwide exploitation—and Bratton, like others at the top of this system, sees a potential threat to that “safety” in the many millions of oppressed people who also live in the mega cities of the world. Police doctrine like stop-and-frisk or zero tolerance is based on carrying out counter-insurgency against millions of oppressed people and several generations of youth who the system has no future for. Bratton’s so-called “broken windows” theory, with its objective to prevent crime before it occurs, really is the selling of a doctrine of domestic counter-insurgency with the objective of preventing possible insurgency before it occurs.

The criminalization of whole peoples—the militarization of the police departments that enforce a daily hell for those who have to scratch out a way of survival in this capitalist system—this has to end. And there’s another lesson to take away from this as well: They may seem all powerful, but all their doctrine tells you that they don’t think they are. They are more convinced of the possibility of insurgency—of the possibility of revolution that the oppressed themselves cannot see. It takes science and a party to wield science to be able to see how that could all crack apart—and for a real revolution to get rid of this system and replace it with something radically and entirely different. To learn more about why revolution is possible and how it could be fought and won... check out the RCP’s “On the Strategy for Revolution,” printed as a supplement in Bob Avakian’s book, BAsics.




Revolution #351 September 1, 2014

Where Will You Be on November 15, 2014?

September 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


On September 1, at events in major cities, this announcement was made, followed by a talk.  The texts of both follow:  


I am excited and profoundly honored to make this announcement today:

Revolution and Religion
The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion

A Dialogue Between Cornel West and Bob Avakian
Live and in person!

November 15, 2014 from 3-7pm
The Riverside Church, New York City

A historic dialogue on a question of great importance in today’s world between the Revolutionary Christian Dr. Cornel West, and the Revolutionary Communist leader Bob Avakian



Wow! Imagine these two people in dialogue. At this moment in time.

Both standing firmly with those at the bottom, those who catch the hardest hell, with a tremendous love for the people, a hatred of oppression. Not accepting of the way things are, fighting for a different future, in their own ways.

Cornel West—a major public intellectual in the Black prophetic tradition, a revolutionary Christian. And Bob Avakian, BA—the revolutionary leader who has forged a whole new synthesis of communism.

In dialogue, talking about Revolution and Religion.

This is a world in turmoil. Genocidal crimes committed by the U.S. and Israel in Gaza. Large sections of the world aflame with reactionary forces at war with each other. Defiant—and righteous—youth night after night rebelling against the pig killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, letting the world know that “going back to normal” means a living hell for a large section of youth and that they are standing up for justice... because there is no justice under THIS system.

At a moment like this, for people to come hear these two extraordinary people: think about the difference it can make. The Dialogue as a whole—Cornel West and Bob Avakian, on Revolution and Religion—will be putting out a whole different pole in society, posing alternatives to the world as it is, raising sights, shattering through the acceptance and complicity with the way things are. This event can change the discussion and terms in society—on questions of what sort of change is needed, possible, and desirable—and bring us closer to a different future.

Opening up and talking about the big questions in society. Questions about the problem of the oppression and exploitation of billions the world over... and the solution—revolution and the fight to emancipate all humanity.

Religion is deep among the people and for most it is the source of meaning, of purpose, and of “what is good.” Can you be good without god? What is the role of religion in the struggle for humanity to be free?

Cornel West’s profound Christian faith leads him to advocate for the least among us, and he has been scathing in calling out complicity in the face of monstrous crimes against the people.

Bob Avakian, BA, actively leads the Revolutionary Communist Party and has developed a strategy for revolution. He is continuously working on how to always be pushing things forward for revolution here and around the world. His book, Away with All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, as well as his other writings and talks on atheism, religion and morality, break new ground. 

November 15, 2014... A rare opportunity to see and hear BA live and in person. In dialogue... talking with Cornel West.

 * * *

You have never heard anything like this before. I am extremely excited about and cannot wait to see what will come out of their exchange—deepened insights coming from the chemistry of the moment.  To get just a taste of this, check out the radio interview Cornel West did with BA in the fall of 2012 and play it for others.

At a time like this ...  Goddammit—The world really needs this! What a difference it could make, and what an opportunity.


We have to make good on this, to maximize this. Why? Because it is about the future.

Let’s go out of here and build a social movement for this Dialogue. Go out in the world and tell everybody you know about this. Raise funds for this. Friends and family—yes—but also EVERYBODY you know needs to hear about this and contribute to making this happen.

If you are east of the Mississippi, then get together with others and organize buses. Get on the bus!  West Coast, raise the money, so that some folks can get on a plane and get to NYC for November 15. You don’t want to hear afterwards, “You should have been there!”

Teachers, bring not only your classes, but other teachers and classes. History, Black Studies, Women’s Studies, the Sciences, Morality and Philosophy, Religion... all who are concerned about the state of the planet and humanity, all those who are just questioning, who look around and see this system doing no good.

Let’s go to all the youth groups and programs we know of, and those we don’t know about yet—those that aim to keep youth out of trouble, athletic youth groups, artistic and cultural youth groups. Come as a group. Youth hanging out on the basketball courts and at fast food joints, get them involved now—spread this T-shirt signifying defiance—let youth represent with Revolution—Nothing Less!... creating an atmosphere that this Dialogue is of and for them.

One of the crimes of this system is that youth are not welcome—and don’t feel welcome—in a lot of places, those of the art, scientific, and intellectual life of society. This Dialogue IS radically different. Here, you ARE welcome. And we have to make them feel: ‟This is for you!”

If you are coming, tell people why you are coming! Send us a video or YouTube clip that we can post to We want voices from all sections of society saying why they are coming, a growing social movement for this Dialogue. In fact, let’s start with that today.

Old-heads, tell the young folk about this.

Young folk, tell the old heads.

Women, struggle with the men—why they need to be there.

Men, if you want a radically better world, talk to the women, why they need to be there...  make it possible so that all the sisters are in the house.

Let’s go to all the progressive priests, rabbis, and imams. Invite their congregations to hear Cornel West and Bob Avakian in Dialogue on Revolution and Religion: the Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion.

What about all the artists, the conscious hip-hop artists, spoken word, or those in theater?  From Lincoln Center to the underground hip-hop scene, you need to be there.

We need to raise tens of thousands of dollars—not only to put on the event but for publicity. We want this in front of millions, ads in the New York Times, in campus newspapers, in Black newspapers, in Spanish media, on websites where youth go, hip-hop sites, Facebook and social media, everywhere. Letting people know, creating the compulsion and forging the social movement for this.  

“I am going and you should too.”  Tell people: “This is more important than the Million Man March.” Tell them why: This is about revolution... changing everything... emancipating all humanity. 

We need funds to rent buses and for transportation so that people can get there, from the projects and the barrios, the streets of the big city and the suburbs. Look at Ferguson—aren’t there other suburbs like that from which youth should come? From Harlem to Ferguson, get on the bus! Raise funds so we can get these buses and bring people here.

Let's be on a mission—with purpose and inspiration. Be a part of making history—build for this, contribute and raise funds—starting today—so that everywhere people know that Cornel West and Bob Avakian are going to get into Revolution and Religion on November 15 at Riverside Church in NYC.

We want to raise a ruckus on campuses with this. Get this out, and stir up the big questions—with professors and students alike. On Revolution and Religion... Is another world possible? What about the history of communism? What does communism have to say about questions of morality and purpose? We need to be creating an atmosphere of: “I have got to be there.” We want your thoughts and participation.

On campuses and in society at large, we should—and we will—take this Dialogue EVERYWHERE people are standing up against injustice—whether it be protests against the war on Gaza, against police brutality, or global warming.

BA and Cornel West—each in his own way—embodies a largeness of mind and generosity of spirit. This stands in stark contrast to how too many today just think about “Am I interested in this? What will I get out of this? What about ME? 

Let’s go to work on this, struggle around this me, me, me. What about the billions—in the sweatshops, shantytowns, and brothels of the world? The millions—killed and cast out as refugees in wars of empire, shackled in lives of isolation in the prison cells of this country, leaving their families to cross the border only to face the guns and hate of this system? .. We could go on and on and on. 

This Dialogue is about changing all that. It’s for the millions and billions.

So, what about you?  Where are you going to be on November 15?

As this Dialogue shakes things loose, there will be those who will passionately welcome it, there will be those who will be honestly wrestling with what they think, and then there will be those who will snarkily slander the event or the two speakers, working to undermine or even attack it—people who are coming from a vested interest in keeping this brutal system on people's backs, not wanting to unsettle things, especially in any genuinely radical and revolutionary way.

This hate gets especially targeted against BA because he stands for a radically different alternative to this system—for Revolution—Nothing Less! And, against Cornel for speaking the truth. Unprincipled bullshit must not be tolerated because it seeks to destroy the hope and possibility for a new world.  At the same time, we need to bring forward the “love”—for BA, and for CW. The “love” being given voice to those who know and appreciate who BA is, who Cornel is, and who want and cannot wait for this Dialogue.


What a moment for this Dialogue.

A world of horrors but also of rage against injustice. For years anger has been simmering beneath the surface, occasionally breaking through. Over the last few weeks, there has been the beginning of something new—inspired and sparked by people, especially the defiant youth rising up and rebelling in Ferguson, with reverberations around the world.

People must not be forced back.  Basta Ya! Enough! We are not quietly “going home.” All of the key fronts of struggle must be pushed forward.

And as people raise their heads, November 15—Cornel West and Bob Avakian on Revolution and Religion—should be coursing through all of the streams of struggle and discontent.

Everyone—from those deeply troubled by all the horrific oppression that is rained down on the people, to those who are on the front lines of struggle—need to be in the house.  Over the next 10 weeks we and they need to come to understand how this Dialogue will be a crucial part of changing how people think and what they then feel that they can...  they should... and they must do—to be a part of radically changing the world.

Cornel West, one of the most provocative voices of conscience of our time and a revolutionary Christian, in dialogue with Bob Avakian, the revolutionary communist leader—talking about the most important questions for humanity, Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion.

We're Making History.

When you leave here, reach out to everyone you know—tell them about it.  Raise funds so that millions hear of this, so that thousands are there. The question of the hour must be:  Where will you be on November 15?

I am going to be at Riverside Church in NYC to be a part of Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion: A Dialogue Between Cornel West and Bob Avakian.

For the seven billion of humanity around the planet.

For a radically different and far better world.

Thank you.





Revolution #351 September 1, 2014


Standing Up to Stop Police Abuse at the Basketball Court

September 4, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

Friday evening a Peace Festival was held at a park in the Chicago Westside neighborhood where Roshad McIntosh had been killed by police on August 24 and where a series of protests for Justice for Roshad had been held throughout the week. (See "Chicago West Side: Hundreds March for Justice for Roshad McIntosh and Against ALL Police Abuses") The festival was both a call for Justice and an encouragement to the youth in the area to come together to end the violence among the people.

There was a brief press conference where Roshad’s mother spoke, demanding the cop who killed her son be named and arrested and charged. After the press left the area people were kicking back, eating hotdogs and playing baseball and basketball. The baseball field had been padlocked all summer but now, following the angry protests for Justice in the community—and with the example of Ferguson, Missouri in the air, the park department decided that the field could be opened for the youth. 

At the festival lawyers from First Defense, a legal aid group that provides free interim lawyers for anybody right after an arrest, had a table set up letting people know about their services. Others who had been part of the Occupy movement and had been in the protest earlier in the week were there as well. Revolution newspaper, palm cards for the October Month of Resistance, the Chicago Revolution Club Proclamation and whistles were passed out to people at the festival.

One revolutionary was hanging out with people in the park just chatting when someone noticed that a couple police cars had pulled into the park and cops were messing with youth on the basketball court. 

The revolutionary began to head over to where the police were and someone said, “Look, he’s on business—I’m going too.” A crowd began to head over with the revolutionary while another crowd of people was coming from the other side of the park with some blowing whistles that had been passed out earlier.

In a very short time the police, their cars, and a young man they pulled off the basketball court and put in handcuffs were engulfed in a sea of people—a few blowing whistles while others were right up in the faces of the police demanding to know why they were messing with this young man—and demanding that they let him go. Lawyers from First Defense were in the crowd videoing and shouting out people’s rights.

The cops’ story, shouted out over the outrage of the crowd, was that they were “responding to a call that someone in a red and white shirt (which described a number of people at the event) had a gun.” The people, many of whom had been at protests against police brutality throughout the week, weren’t having it.

The pigs kept coming—more cars with blue lights flashing. And the people kept coming, too. One of the cops, with a young woman up in his face, unsnapped his holster. Someone yelled, “What you think you gonna do with that?  Shoot her?” A few people put their hands in the air chanting, “Hands up—don’t shoot.”

The people did not back down. They didn’t just go about their business. They stood together. In the face of the determined crowd (and, no doubt, with Ferguson on their minds) the police uncuffed the young man and pulled back. And people also pulled back with the young man safely in their midst.

As the police backed their cars out of the park and people talked about how this is what they needed to do every time cops came after the youth, including the need for more whistles, someone called for the basketball and the game started back up.





Revolution #351 September 1, 2014

The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion

A Dialogue Between Cornel West and Bob Avakian
Live and in person!

November 15, 2014 from 3-7pm
The Riverside Church, New York City

Presented by
Revolution Books &
The Bob Avakian Institute


Updated September 6, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Tens of thousands of dollars are needed for the production of the event and for publicity that will reach millions of people: in major media, campus newspapers, Black newspapers, Spanish media, on radio and websites with youth audiences, hip-hop sites, Facebook, Twitter – everywhere. Travel subsidies will make it possible for young people and others from the northeast and across the country to attend. Funds are also needed to produce a high quality video of the event.

To donate go to:

The Bob Avakian Institute

Revolution Books, New York

You can earmark your gift if you prefer, by entering "Nov.2014 CW-BA Dialogue" where you are asked for the purpose or description for your donation (at The Bob Avakian Institute, this is when you confirm your payment).

For more information, including how you can volunteer for this event, go to