Revolution #355, September 29, 2014 (

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

Host Committee to Promote Cornel West-Bob Avakian
Dialogue on Revolution and Religion

Updated November 6, 2014

A prestigious group of people from a variety of fields have signed a statement to be part of a Host Committee to promote Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; A Dialogue Between Cornel West and Bob Avakian. Scholars, theologians, scientists, musicians, actors, filmmakers, parents of children murdered by the police who have become fighters for justice, as well as revolutionaries—all people of accomplishment and stature have joined together in a statement that says:

Members of the Host Committee have diverse political and philosophical viewpoints, yet agree that Cornel West and Bob Avakian dialoguing on this topic at this moment will matter and that people throughout society need to know about it.

The Host Committee signatory statement goes on to say: “We recognize that the Cornel West/Bob Avakian dialogue and the speakers could come under different types of attack and slander from the media, social media, as well as from agencies of the state. These would be attempts to keep public discourse confined within terms acceptable to and reinforcing the status quo. Host Committee signatories can play an important public role in countering slander, social and political pressure, as well as more overt attacks through utilizing our public voice.”

In various and creative ways, the Host Committee is a tremendous positive factor contributing to raising the profile and maximizing the impact of this unique and urgent dialogue—to getting the message out that nobody with an interest in human emancipation can afford to miss this dialogue.



Kwame Anthony Appiah—Professor of Philosophy and Law, New York University author of The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen

Ed Asner—Actor, Emmy Award winner

William Ayers—Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois, Chicago (retired)

S. Scott Bartchy—Professor Emeritus History of Religion, Dept. of History, UCLA; Director Emeritus, Center for the Study of Religion at UCLA

Richard Brown—Former Black Panther and San Francisco 8 Defendant

Rev. Dr. Meri Ka Ra (Richard Byrd)—Krst Unity Center of Afrakan Spiritual Science, Los Angeles

Dr. James H. Cone—Union Theological Seminary, Professor of Systematic Theology; author of The Cross and the Lynching Tree

Peter Coyote—Actor, writer

Annie Day—The Bob Avakian Institute

Carl Dix—Revolutionary Communist Party, USA and Stop Mass Incarceration Network

Emory Douglas—Artist and former Minister of Culture, Black Panther Party

Carol Downer—Author, lawyer, co-founder Federation of Feminist Women’s Health Centers

Farah Griffin—Professor, English and African American Studies, Columbia University

Fredrick Harris—Professor of Political Science, Columbia University 

Carl Hart—Professor of Psychology, Columbia University, author of High Price

Robert Hass—Professor of Poetry and Poetics, University of California, Berkeley, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner, former U.S. poet laureate

Obery M. Hendricks, Jr.—Ph.D, Visiting Scholar, Dept. of Religion & Institute for Research in African American Studies, Columbia University

Nicholas Heyward—Father of Nicholas Heyward, Jr.—murdered by New York Police Dept. in 1994; October 22 Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation

Ted Jennings—Professor, Chicago Theological Seminary

Philip Kitcher—John Dewey Chair of Philosophy, Columbia University

Raymond Lotta—Writer Revolution/, political economist

Rev. Cecil L. "Chip" Murray—Professor, Center for Religion and Civic Culture, University of Southern California; Co-Founder, the Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement, USC

PZ Myers—Associate Professor of Biology, University of Minnesota, Morris; founder and author Pharyngula science blog

Arturo O'Farrill—Pianist, composer, educator, founder Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, Grammy award winner

Rev. Stephen H. Phelps—Member, Presbytery of NYC

Anthony B. Pinn—Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities, Rice University; Director of Research, The Institute for Humanist Studies (Washington, DC)

Katherine Ragsdale—President, Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, MA

Saskia Sassen—Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, co-chair Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University

Matthew Shipp—Musician and composer

Dr. Donald Shriver—President Emeritus of Faculty, Union Theological Seminary, NYC

Mark Lewis Taylor—Educator, author, activist; Professor of Theology and Culture, Religion and Society, Princeton Theological Seminary

Juanita Young—Mother of Malcolm Ferguson—murdered by New York Police Dept. in 2000; October 22 Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation

Robert Young—Filmmaker

Andy Zee—Spokesperson, Revolution Books, NYC

David Zeiger—Filmmaker


Institutional affiliations for identification purposes only.


We need it desperately

I have been a fan of Cornel West for many years. I have been deeply impressed by his intelligence and his purity and to find him in dialogue with Bob Avakian, a fearless leader of the left is a consummation to be wished for.  Work prevents me from being at the dialogue, but know this, I envy all of you who are. If hope and clarity can only come from this dialogue to lighten the dark times we live in, then I would wish this same dialogue will be played throughout the land. We need it desperately.

Ed AsnerActor, Emmy Award winner


I strongly support the Dialogue

When you consider that religion influences the majority of humanity in one way or another, the Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian can be extremely important—particularly if it encourages religious leaders and their followers to develop a strategy that plays a major role in the struggle for emancipation. With this in mind, I strongly support the Dialogue.

Richard Brown—Former Black Panther; San Francisco 8 Defendant


Two people with differences about how to resolve our quest for a moral way of being... having a principled discussion

Both Cornel West and Bob Avakian say we are moral people with responsibility to look at what is really happening in this world and to decide what is right and wrong and to act accordingly. This is very different than the view of people whose religious faith is shaken that without a belief in God, no one can prove anything, and there are no moral standards to stop one from from raping and murdering and stealing. They then often go on autopilot, acting on whatever forces impinge on them or whatever feels good at the time. Ironically, since they believe there are no objective standards, they are unable to identify the larger forces that are oppressing them, and they do not join with others to fight back against injustice. They end up either blaming themselves for their difficulties, or they blame the nearest individuals or groups in their environment for their suffering and spend their days attacking them either physically or on cyberspace, fighting fruitless “twitter wars.” This “horizontal hostility” serves the purpose of those forces in society that are oppressing them. This Dialogue between West and Avakian is an important discussion because it is very different than that. Two people with differences about how to resolve our quest for a moral way of being and how to create a more just, humane world having a principled discussion. People can learn from this.

Carol DownerAuthor, lawyer,
co-founder Federation of Feminist
Women’s Health Centers


Anyone with deep concern about the future of this world needs to be there.

I admire and respect both Cornel West and Bob Avakian. Both are fearless fighters for the poor and oppressed throughout the world. One, Bob Avakian, is a revolutionary fighter; the other, Cornel West, is a Christian. Anyone with deep concern about the future of this world needs to be there, and needs to hear this very important dialogue between two champion crusaders. 

Nicholas Heyward—Father of Nicholas Heyward, Jr.—murdered by New York Police Dept. in 1994; October 22 Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation


A great occasion to explore how revolutionary Marxism and radical Christianity may find common ground in articulating the hope for transformation

If humanity is to survive and thrive we all know that there must be radical and fundamental change. The rule of avarice and violence is destroying the lives of myriads and indeed the very planetary basis for life. Two forces for this fundamental transformation are revolutionary Marxism and radical Christianity. The dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West is a great occasion to explore how these movements may find common ground in articulating the hope for transformation and organizing to bring it about.

Ted JenningsProfessor,
Chicago Theological Seminary


I do look forward to the results of this Dialogue on questions of such vital importance to humanity.

The Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian of the Revolutionary Communist Party will hold anyone of care in fascination and examination. My initial probing is to ask BA, a man of sensitivity, courage, and caring, what he explicitly means by "revolution." I agree that we must "rise up and fight back" but feel strongly in the road of Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King. I also share both Cornel West's and Bob Avakian's thoughts on the need to have a face off on questions such as prison or police brutality, such as women's struggle for equality, but the question remains: while Avakian has masterfully given description, I part ways with him on the prescription.  I do look forward to the results of this Dialogue on questions of such vital importance to humanity.

Rev. Cecil L. "Chip" Murray—Professor,
Center for Religion and Civic Culture,
University of Southern California;
Co-Founder of the Cecil Murray Center
for Community Engagement, USC

Let the conversation begin!

If knowledge is power, we need sustained and robust exchange of ideas in order to harness and productively utilize this power for change. This discussion between West and Avakian points in the right direction, and holds great promise as a model of how we can work beyond our disagreements to find common ground framed and defined by the sufferings of those most in need of life transformation. Without this type of dialogue and the knowledge and understanding it promises to provide, we stand little chance of moving beyond our differences and toward healthy life options for all. Let the conversation begin!

Anthony B. Pinn—Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities; Director of Research, The Institute for Humanist Studies, Rice University


A more radical way of looking at where we're at...that draws me


What I like really about this dialogue is that it is not the typical dialogue. It is not the typical people. And it is not this very domesticated, careful mode of talking about where we're at and what we need. I think what both Cornel West and Bob Avakian are about is opening up new ground. We're in a disastrous situation. Our state, our liberal state, is in severe decay—not just ours, by the way, all around. So I think we really need to focus in a way on the extreme conditions that are often left out. We are always focusing on the middle, the medium, the mean. We really need to focus on the edges, the horrors that are happening. So I think a more radical way of looking at where we're at, where there are no easy remedies—that draws me. And each of them has a very strong category that organizes their thinking and their passions, and that is also very good. That's good theater even: religion and revolution. Can you ask for more?

Saskia Sassen—Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, co-chair Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University


This is a Needed, Needed Dialogue 


This is a needed, needed dialogue—the religious impulse has been responsible for a lot of altruistic acts through the ages that have fostered compassion and hence an attempt to live a life of real social justice and meantime organized religion has also been used as a tool to brainwash and control the minds of the masses and quite frankly has been one of the most evil forces in the modern world fostering violence and intolerance to people who don't think like them.  Should be interesting to see what these two great thinkers come up with as to religion's role in restructuring society.

Matthew Shipp—Musician and composer


Can religion in our 21st century be a servant of justice rather than an enemy? It remains a vital question, one that religious people in America dare not neglect.


My predecessor president of Union Theological Seminary, in the 1960s, was John C. Bennett, also a professor of Christian Social Ethics. That era of the 'sixties was rife with political talk among Americans hostile to Soviet communism. Bennett believed that, even if one defines communists as enemies of democracy and religion, dialogue between  communists and American Christians was necessary for human pursuit of peace and justice globally. Bennett was a leading critic of America's involvement in the Vietnam war. He never flagged in his conviction that we Christians must listen to the criticisms of religion by Marxists. He was sure that Christianity and Marxism had a proper common concern for how capitalism often harms  the world's poor. He was sure, with the Hebrew prophets, that religion without justice is bad religion.

Can religion in our 21st century be a servant of justice rather than an enemy? The dialogue of Cornel West and Bob Avakian is sure to focus on this question.  It remains a  vital question, one that religious people in America dare not neglect.

Donald W. Shriver, Jr.—President Emeritus, Union Theological Seminary


If we really want fundamental change...look at fundamental questions—“Revolution and Religion” is as fundamental as it gets.

What kind of world do we live in? A world where Michael Brown’s murderer still walks free while we’re told to have a “conversation” about race, where oil companies rush to grab up the new oil fields exposed by the melting polar ice cap while “world leaders” make meaningless, hypocritical pledges to stop global warming, where entire families incinerated in an instant by unmanned drones is not considered barbaric, where a so-called “progressive” president has out war-mongered the war-mongers. In this insane world, why isn’t revolution on everyone’s lips? Why aren’t millions of people striving for a whole new future instead of debating the pros and cons of Hilary Clinton for president? C’mon, people. If we really want fundamental change, we have to look at fundamental questions–and “Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion” is as fundamental as it gets. I welcome it, and you should too.  

David ZeigerFilmmaker





Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

Build the Dialogue Between Cornel West and Bob Avakian Among "Those Who Catch the Hardest Hell Every Day"

September 8, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


The Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian on Revolution and Religion can speak to—and must reach—everyone with a shred of concern for what is happening today. Those who get a sense of this—whether we are veterans of the struggle, newer, or even if we are just starting out—need to take responsibility to make this Dialogue reach that potential. That means building this all through society, in many different sections of people—from the campuses to people losing sleep over the environment to the cultural world, among students and youth, and all over.

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

At the same time, we've got to urgently and broadly build this among those who catch hell every day. And we've got to start RIGHT NOW!

How can this be done? We can start very simple.

We can get the word out far and wide with fliers and leaflets that can be posted in the neighborhoods of the oppressed—not just a handful of people doing this, but involving all kinds of community people in getting these out, posting them in stores and community centers, etc. Wear Revolution—Nothing Less! T-shirts as you do, and have some ready to sell to people. Everywhere you go, give out the QR cards that let people connect on the Internet to BA's New Year's Statement "A Call To Revolution"—or play it on the spot for those you meet and talk with. Take the time to show people, and to get them started reading, "Watching Fruitvale Station With Bob Avakian."

People have made, and will make more, statements on why they are coming to hear this Dialogue, which you can and will get on this site. We can begin posting copies of these statements in places where people pass through or congregate.

We can—and must—spread fundraising far and wide, with car washes, sweet potato pie sales, and house parties. We can encourage people to make "revolutionary change" jars, raising money from friends and families—and in the course of all this, the film REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! can be shown and discussed (See "Harlem Bake Sale Raises $700+ for BA Everywhere" for an example of how to do this.). The best part is that not everyone has to do everything, but everyone can do something!

We need to raise money to make this event reach as far and wide as possible. Raising money also enables people very broadly to not just participate in this but to get to know what BA stands for and to begin connecting in a powerful way with this revolutionary leader. It lets them know that they will be welcome at this, and that their deepest questions will be addressed.

In all this, we should strengthen and spread the 1,000 Years/$1,000 for BA Everywhere—letting people hear those in prison or who have been in prison challenge others to raise money to get the word out on how people can actually get emancipated—which is what this Dialogue is all about!

Many people reading this will also be building for the October Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. That's not a problem, that's a plus! Do both things at once. If you're doing a fundraiser for the Dialogue, be sure to have materials for the Month of Resistance on hand; if you're out there blowing the whistle against the police carrying out abuse, wear your Revolution—Nothing Less! T-shirt. Let's keep it simple.

These are radically simple ways to begin right now—this week—to get this out there. As we create a mass movement on the bottom of society for this Dialogue, as we use this website to write about experiences and questions and learn from others, we can do more and better. But the main thing for now is: Let's get going! And tell us what you're learning as you do...




Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

Updated September 28, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |

The following call for funds needs to reach many thousands of people in the next few weeks:

IF you burn with rage about the generations of youth in the U.S. and around the world who have no prospects for a future fit for human beings...

IF you are sick to death with a society and culture that promotes and rewards selfishness, that celebrates surviving and thriving at the expense of others...

IF your desire for something truly emancipating to emerge on this planet is great enough for you to move out of your comfort zone and focus on the biggest questions bound up with changing the world...

Then you need to be in New York City on November 15 for the historic Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian, REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion.

But you need to do more. This fall, you have an opportunity to help open people’s eyes to the possibility of a whole different world. Tell everyone you know that this Dialogue is happening and donate funds—dig deeply and give generously—so this event can have the impact it MUST have.

This Dialogue will be a rare opportunity to hear Bob Avakian live and in person. He has been fighting for the people for 50 years and leading the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA for nearly the last 40 of those. He has taken the understanding of how to make revolution, and how to keep a revolutionary society on the path to full emancipation, to a new level. BA has come up against repression and suppression, and endured slander and sacrifice in doing so. And through all that time his deep commitment to the people has never wavered and, indeed, has grown stronger. He is the author of many books, including Away With All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World. (To get a fuller sense of BA, check out the article “Watching Fruitvale Station with Bob Avakian” at

Cornel West is widely recognized as one of the most important and provocative public intellectuals of our time. Coming out of the religious prophetic tradition, he has been fighting for the people for decades—“speaking truth to power,” defending those on the bottom of society, and lending support and often front-line involvement to key protests and resistance. He plays a unique and invaluable role in the political and moral life of this country. And Cornel West connects very deeply with those who most hunger for liberation—“the least of these.”

This Dialogue is about revolution and religion. It will touch on the deepest questions of what it means to be human. Just think of everything that is bound up with religion, spirituality, the moral dimension and how people see that relating to revolution and getting free. This is a question affecting the lives of billions in the world, including those at the bottom of society who would have to be and would be in the front ranks of any revolution worth fighting.

These two people are coming together from different perspectives with largeness of mind and generosity of spirit, with sincerity and heart and deep unity about the need to be rid of centuries of oppression at the earliest possible time.

All this speaks volumes to the uniqueness and importance of this exchange.

Think about it: When was the last time there was a program like this on a major public stage where two people—of this stature and with this depth—were talking about the fight for human emancipation?

And Cornel West and Bob Avakian are taking the public stage together with the full comprehension that doing so is not risk-free. There are those who do not want this subject aired so publicly and unabashedly—they fear the potential of revolutionary understanding connecting with broad sections of society, including with those whose daily existence cries out for radical change. And they hate and vilify those who have refused to give up and give in but, to the contrary, have dared to lead.

You need to step up too. Tens of thousands of dollars are needed to make it possible for this Dialogue to have the kind of impact needed. Along with putting on the event, there is the need to advertise in print, on the Internet, and to as many media outlets as possible. The news of this Dialogue needs to reach broadly and deeply throughout society, penetrating academia, religious communities, social movements, the ghettos and barrios of this country, and out to the suburbs. And most especially this has to reach the younger generation, those opening their eyes and stepping into political life on campuses and among those who catch hell every day. Funds are also needed to help pay for travel and event tickets for what will be an extremely important section of the audience: the most oppressed sections of this society, especially the youth.

Dig deep and donate generously. If $5 or even $1 is a major sacrifice for you given your life conditions, this is a cause to put that toward, and you will be part of thousands just like you around the country who will be doing likewise. If you have the ability to give more, then do so—$200, $500, $1,000, or $10,000. The more that is raised, the more powerfully this Dialogue can impact the terrain.

We sit at an important juncture in the world. Will things continue to hurtle rapidly backwards while people’s hopes and dreams stay confined to the world as it is? This Dialogue can be a major part of changing what people are thinking about, debating, dreaming, and how they see their lives. It will go up against all those who say this is the best of all possible worlds, that you should just make peace with what is, find your place in it, or even get a piece of the plunder for yourself.

Supporting this dialogue is where your funds can make a real difference—isn’t it time to move beyond giving to projects that amount to window dressing on a burning house on top of a rotten foundation, or to piling fortunes into the killing confines of the election cycle where the “lesser evil” in reality continues the same evil that needs to be stopped? Instead, contribute to putting the question of fundamental change before the eyes of society.

There is nothing more important right now than making this possible. Attend the Dialogue, help spread the word about it, introduce people to who Bob Avakian is and what he is all about, and build broad and deep support.

And make the greatest financial donation you possibly can and call on others to do the same.

You have a role to play in daring to change the world.


Make your donation to one of the following Sponsors of this Dialogue. In the memo line put "for the Cornel West/Bob Avakian Dialogue." (At The Bob Avakian Institute, the memo line is available when you confirm your payment):

The Bob Avakian Institute

Donate online.

Mail checks or money orders to:
The Bob Avakian Institute  OR  The BA Institute (either name is acceptable)
1016 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60607

Please be aware that The Bob Avakian Institute is not tax exempt and contributions made to it are not tax deductible. If you are a resident of these states: Georgia, Michigan, & Washington D.C. online donations cannot be accepted from residents of these states. The Bob Avakian Institute is sorry for the inconvenience. At this time, The Bob Avakian Institute can actively solicit donations from residents of the following states: Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Vermont, Washington, Wyoming. All gifts (donations) from these states are greatly appreciated. Residents of these same states can donate online.

Revolution Books, New York

Donate online.

Mail checks or money orders to:
Revolution Books
146 W. 26th Street 
New York, New York 10001







Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

"Holy Shit!"

Three Thoughts on the Dialogue

September 22, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |



When I first heard news of the Dialogue between Bob Avakian (BA) and Cornel West (CW), I had three major thoughts.

First, I thought, "Holy shit, it's a really huge deal that BA is speaking in public! This hasn't happened, in this way, in a very long time, and there is both tremendous positive potential and very serious stakes to this... This is truly an extraordinary and exciting opportunity!"

The fact that BA is speaking publicly and the prospect of more than 1,000 people seeing him do so, with the Dialogue having even much broader societal reverberations/impact, really has the ability to be a game-changer and to effect a leap in terms of the societal influence and organized strength of the movement for revolution and the campaign within that to make BA much more broadly known to people... while at the same time, there is real risk involved here and there are people who would like nothing more to seize on this opportunity to do real harm to BA, so we better get busy making leaps in building a wall around him. The sentence in the article "Watching Fruitvale Station With Bob Avakian" stuck in my mind: "We had better fully recognize and appreciate what we have in BA, and act accordingly." As did the whole explanation of why this is so.*

Second, the fact that BA and CW are having a public dialogue, and the whole rich, deep back- and-forth between this revolutionary communist leader and this revolutionary Christian and radical intellectual—full of unity, struggle, mutual warmth, and appreciation—the exchange between the two speakers can really inspire the hell out of people, awaken them to big questions, and challenge and transform the way people are thinking.

Third, the fact that BA and CW are having a dialogue on these particular huge questions confronting humanity and bound up with the future of humanity—revolution and religion—is a really big deal that can really inspire/challenge people's thinking and transform the terms around huge questions.

All three of these factors are related to the major, game-changing societal impact this Dialogue can have...

A further thought: The fact that CW, with his intellectual integrity, moral courage, and love for the masses, is having a public dialogue with BA makes a big statement that Bob Avakian is someone people had better find out about... if we're not recognizing that, I think we're missing something big.

And, a question: Having said all that, and in thinking about how people are approaching this thus far, I wonder whether Point 1—"Holy shit, BA is speaking in public... do we realize what a huge fucking deal this is?!?!"—is getting the adequate recognition, attention, and projection it deserves.

A revolutionary

* From the article "Watching Fruitvale Station With Bob Avakian": " BA is not only the leader of the revolution, he is also a best friend to the masses of people.  He is a leader who has done decades of work in the realm of theory to bring forward the scientific method, strategy and vision needed to make revolution and bring into being a radically new world where all the horrors that humanity suffers unnecessarily would be no more. He is continuing to develop the advanced scientific method that he has forged, and apply that method to all of the big questions and obstacles confronting the revolution. He is able to break down all of this down for people, without even slightly watering it down, in a way that everyone can understand, take up, and be inspired by. He has taken on the daily responsibility of leading a party and a movement to make revolution right here in the most powerful imperialist country in the world. He has dedicated his life to the emancipation of humanity. And, through all of this, he maintains a deep, visceral connection to and feeling for the masses of people who most desperately need this revolution." [back]




Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

For those this system has cast off:

September 29, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


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

To those who rule this system, the people who catch the most hell every day are expendable, dangerous. When it comes to those who catch the most hell digging into ideas, understanding and changing the world, this system has one big “DO NOT ENTER” sign. But BA says: “Those this system has cast off, those it has treated as less than human” are the ones who “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.” This Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian on Revolution and Religion is for everyone who gives a damn about the state of humanity and the planet. And yes, that includes YOU! Get with people like yourself who maybe never have had a chance to even get out of their neighborhoods, let alone go to a historic event like this Dialogue. Get with people organizing for this Dialogue. Work out the ways and means to get to Riverside Church in New York City on November 15. DO NOT MISS THIS.




Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

Cornel West Interviews Bob Avakian on PRI Smiley & West radio show, October 2012.

October 6, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper |


Click here to play or download the audio file.
Transcript available in Spanish HERE.


In early October, the revolution crackled on the airwaves when the Smiley & West radio show on PRI (Public Radio International) across the country aired an interview that Cornel West recently conducted with Bob Avakian.

This interview is sharp and wide-ranging, challenging and inspiring. Cornel West, a prominent public intellectual, engages with Bob Avakian, the leader of a new stage of communist revolution. The importance of getting this exchange out broadly into society, and fundraising as we do so, should not be underestimated—and in fact, the reach and impact of this interview should be maximized in many different ways.





Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation

Updated November 3, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


New: Click for Printable and Shareable Poster: PDF | JPG
Poster with more text

“The October Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation must be like a giant STOP sign stuck right in the face of American society, day after day, so that it can’t be covered up, whited out, ignored, neutralized or suppressed. Many different people will act in many different ways—from teach-ins, sermons and social media postings to street demonstrations. The defiant youth who refuse any longer to accept being demonized and criminalized will be in the streets and raising their voices in other ways in October. People whose loved ones have been murdered by cops or who have been locked away in the dungeons of this incarceration nation will join them.”

Through all this and more, the message
must come through to the whole society:

We REFUSE to live in a society that has no better fate for tens of millions of its people than segregation, harassment, brutalization, incarceration and outright murder at the hands of its enforcers—and we will not rest until this is STOPPED. We refuse to make our peace with this “new Jim Crow”—a social system which targets Black, Latino and other oppressed peoples and is nothing but a slow, structural genocide. We will not tolerate this. WE WILL RESIST!

This is what must mark October 2014.

All who agree must act!

October 22: Initial Reflections

(October 29, 2014)

Call and Signatories

We Pledge NO MORE!

For the Month of Resistance
A powerful new artistic work by Alice Walker


A poem dedicated to Carl Dix and Cornel West

October 30:

Wearing orange in opposition to mass incarceration

(November 3, 2014)

October 22:

National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation

Points of Assembly

Breaking News on October 22 National Day of Protest / Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation

The Stop Mass Incarceration Network

Mass Incarceration + Silence = Genocide — Act to STOP IT NOW!

October 1st: Resistance!

Get Involved! Actions Nationwide

Ferguson: Justice for Michael Brown!

Statements of Support

Re: Month of Resistance


Calling from Fruitvale Station: STOP Police Terror, Mass Incarceration, Repression, and the Criminalization of Generations! #O22

The Revolution Club Bay Area, the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, and "Uncle Bobby" call on YOU to be part of a national month of resistance against police terror, mass incarceration, repression, and the criminalization of generations

Bob Avakian, "The police, Black youth and what kind of a system is this?"
A clip from Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About, a film of a talk by Bob Avakian given in 2003 in the United States




Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

A Pledge of Resistance

September 15, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Revolution received the following from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network:


The October Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation has issued a Pledge of Resistance. Spread the pledge broadly thruout society, getting it to everyone you can.

On October 1st, everyone who hates the horrors of mass incarceration and all its consequences should gather at their schools, in their neighborhoods, at their work places, or at symbols of the abuses of the criminal justice system and take this pledge. Then we all need to act on it.

A Pledge of Resistance

What kind of society do you want to live in?

Today we pledge:

Black lives matter.
Latino lives matter.
All lives matter.

* Mass incarceration: WE SAY NO MORE!

* Police murder: WE SAY NO MORE!

* Torture in the prisons: WE SAY NO MORE!

* Criminalization of generations: WE SAY NO MORE!

* Attacks on immigrants: WE SAY NO MORE!

We will NOT be silent.

We WILL resist!

Until these shameful horrors really are... NO MORE!




Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

Chuck D takes the pledge for the Month of Resistance

September 29, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |





Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

The following is posted on Alice Walker's website.

Month of Resistance NYC Alicewalkersgarden


©2014 by Alice Walker
for Carl Dix and Cornel West

It is still hard to believe
that millions of us saw Eric Garner die.
He died with what looked like a half dozen
heavily clad
standing on his body, twisting and crushing
especially his head
and neck.
He was a big man, too. They must have felt
like clumsy midgets
as they dragged him down.

Watching the video,
I was reminded of the first lynching
I, quite unintentionally, learned about:
it happened in my tiny lumber mill
town before the cows were brought in
and young white girls
on ornate floats
became dairy queens.
A big man too,
whom my parents knew,
he was attacked also by a mob
of white men (in white robes and hoods)
and battered to death
by their two by fours.

I must have been a toddler
overhearing my parents talk
and mystified by pieces of something
called “two by fours.”

Later, building a house,
i would encounter the weight,
the heaviness, of this varying length
of wood, and begin to understand.

What is the hatred
of the big black man
or the small black man
or the medium sized
black man
the brown man
or the red man
in all his sizes
that drives the white lynch mob

I always thought it was envy:
of the sheer courage to survive
and ceaselessly resist conformity
enough to sing and dance
or orate, or say in so many outlandish
You’re not the boss
of me!
Think how many black men
said that: “Cracker,* you’re not the boss
of me;”
even enslaved. Think of how
the legal lynch mob
so long ago
tore Nat Turner’s body
in quarters
skinned him

and made “money purses”
from his “hide.”

Who are these beings?

Now we are beginning to ask
the crucial question.

If it is natural to be black
and red or brown
and if it is beautiful to resist
and if it is gorgeous to be of color
and walking around free,
then where does the problem

Who are these people
that kill our children in the night?
Murder our brothers in broad daylight?
Refuse to see themselves in us
as we have strained, over centuries,
to see ourselves in them?
Perhaps we are more different
than we thought.
And does this scare us?
And what of, for instance,
those among us
who collude?

Come see what stillness
lies now
in the people’s broken

It is the quiet force of comprehension,
of realization
of the meaning
of our ancient

and perfect
of what must now be understood
and done to honor
and cherish
no matter who
today’s “bosses”
may be.

Our passion
and love for ourselves
that must at last
and free us. As we lay our sacrificed
beloveds to rest
in our profound
and ample caring:
broad, ever moving,
and holy,
as the sea.

* Cracker: from the crack of the whip wielded by slave drivers.
Reprinted with permission.

All Out for the Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation! Join a daily vigil starting on: Friday, September 12, 5 pm – 7 pm. Please read more.




Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

We Urge You to Come to Ferguson, Missouri, October 10-13

September 24, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


A call has been issued by Hands Up United, Organization for Black Struggle, and a coalition of local and national organizations demanding justice for Mike Brown and an end to police violence and racial profiling. This is a very important development, and a very important call. People across the country are being urged to travel to Ferguson on October 10 through October 13 to participate in a series of events and marches to stand with those who’ve been in the streets for the past seven weeks fighting for justice. The main march is scheduled for Saturday, October 11, in downtown St. Louis.

Ferguson, August 30, 2014

Protest against the police murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, August 30, 2014.

We urge everyone who understands that the murder of Mike Brown and the subsequent military assault on the people are howling outrages, to answer this call and come to Ferguson. Your participation in this struggle to achieve justice will make a huge difference in strengthening the people on the front lines here in Ferguson and in other parts of the country. Send a delegation from your campus or church or neighborhood. Parents and families of loved ones murdered by the police should lend their voices. Organize a car caravan. Jump on a bus or train! If you can’t make it, send a banner to the people of Ferguson signed by all who are standing with the struggle, but could not be there in person.

You are also invited to be part of the "Revolution—Nothing Less" contingent in the march. And, you are also invited to be a part of a “Stop Mass Incarceration” contingent letting everyone know about October 22—the national day of protest against police brutality—and the October Month of Resistance.

This call for people from around the country to come to Ferguson October 10-13 comes at a crucial juncture in this battle. Everyone who wants to see an end to the police murder and brutality that Mike Brown’s murder has brought to light should be part of advancing the struggle in the face of efforts from the highest levels of government to repress and derail it.

The people, especially the defiant ones in Ferguson, have heroically stood up...protesting this police murder, and refusing to back down in the face of tanks, tear gas, police dogs, and rubber bullets. Over 200 people protesting the murder of Mike Brown have been arrested. Just now on September 24, after the memorial to Mike Brown was burned down in the early hours of the morning, the anger boiled over—people not only rebuilt the memorial but took to the streets in outrage.

The system continues to work the way it was designed to work...refusing once again to indict a murdering pig. The approach has been to wear people down, slander Mike Brown over and over again, and employ tactics to confuse, demoralize, and divide the people, and cover up this murder in order to lay the basis to let Darren Wilson, the pig who murdered Mike Brown walk free. The grand jury’s life has been extended until January.

The stakes in this struggle for justice are high. If the system is compelled to back up and concede to the demands of the people, it will have an enormous impact on the struggle against police terror across the country...and it will also objectively strengthen people standing up all over the country during the October Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation. On the other hand, if the system is allowed to get away with murder and triumphs over a struggle that has inspired people around the world...this too will convey a message, that Black lives do not matter.

October Month of Resistance

The national Stop Mass Incarceration Network has fully endorsed the call for protests in Ferguson demanding justice for Mike Brown and an end to police violence and racial profiling, October 10 through October 13.

In addition, the newly formed chapter in Ferguson of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network calls on people to support these actions, and is also calling for these protests:

October 9, 5 pm: Protest at Ferguson Court and Police Station, 222 S. Florissant Rd. Demand authorities drop ALL charges on people arrested during the rebellion after Mike Brown was murdered in August. One of the first hearings for arrested protesters is scheduled for the criminal court at 6 pm.

October 22, 5 pm: Rally/march will gather at Canfield Drive (9300 W. Florissant). March will proceed to Canfield Apartments where Michael Brown was murdered by police and proceed through Ferguson community to the police station at 222 S. Florissant Rd.


For more information, schedule of events and updates go to:




Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

All Out for the October Month of Resistance!

How Long Will Murdering Pigs Continue to Walk Free?—Grand Jury Lets Murdering Police Walk Free in Ohio!

by Carl Dix | September 25, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


It's been more than two months since the police murder of Eric Garner, and none of the cops who choked him to death have yet been charged for this crime! More than six weeks since the police murder of Michael Brown, and the killer cop has still not been indicted! Now the grand jury reviewing the evidence in the police shooting of John Crawford at an Ohio Walmart has decided not to indict any of the cops who killed him!

The videotape of the murder of Eric Garner, with the cops choking him and ignoring his cries that he couldn't breathe, has been seen by millions, but that hasn't been enough to convince the DA to indict the killers. Witness after witness has told how the cop who killed Michael Brown chased him, shooting as he ran, and then fired the kill shot after Brown had turned around and held his hands up. But again, the killer cop hasn't been charged.

Now we have the cops who killed John Crawford walking free. There's a video of this murder which the authorities refused to release until after the murdering pigs walked. This video shows Crawford carrying a pellet gun walking around the store and talking on a cell phone. Most other customers walk past him unconcerned, but one calls 911 to report a man pointing a gun at customers. The cops come to the Walmart and gun him down within seconds of arriving!

LeeCee Johnson, the mother of Crawford's children, who was talking on the phone to him while this happened, said: “[Crawford] said ‘It’s not real,’ and the police start shooting and they said ‘Get on the ground,’ but he was already on the ground because they had shot him... I could hear him just crying and screaming. I feel like they shot him down like he was not even human.” The attorney for Crawford's family said the police “shot him on sight.”

This is what you get when you "let the system work." It works the same damn way it's always worked, giving a pass to cops who murder Black people! How many times are they gonna slap us in the face, telling us that the lives of our youth don't matter, that their enforcers can murder them with impunity? This must stop, NOW. Not improved incrementally or eased over the next ten years, but stopped right fucking NOW!

We don't need more talk about having a conversation about race. And federal investigations won't do shit about this either. The Department of Justice investigates cases of police murder or police brutality to cool out the people's anger. They investigate for months or even years and then they almost always refuse to bring cases against the brutal, murdering cops.

It's up to us to stop this. Doing that will take revolution, nothing less. We should live in a world where those responsible for public safety would sooner take a bullet themselves than kill or injure an innocent person, and it will certainly take revolution to bring that kind of world into being.

And right now, we need mass determined resistance. Resistance that can put up a huge STOP SIGN to police murder, to mass incarceration and all its consequences right up in the face of U.S. society. And the October Month of Resistance is when we need to make a big leap in the direction of erecting that stop sign.

Everybody with an ounce of justice in their hearts needs to be part of erecting that stop sign to mass incarceration, police terror and the other horrors the criminal “injustice” system enforces on people. They need to take the Pledge of Resistance on October 1, gathering in their neighborhoods, at their schools or at hated symbols of the system's abuses. On October 22, the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, tens of thousands of people need to take to the streets, with young people who refuse to any longer accept being criminalized and those who've lost loved ones at the hands of the police in the forefront. And throughout October, people need to participate in panels and symposiums on campuses, cultural events and more. October must be the beginning of the end for mass incarceration in the U.S.




Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

There IS an EPIDEMIC of Police Murders: 60 Stolen Lives from July 17-August 17

September 22, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


A group of volunteers for Revolution/ is compiling statistics for police murders since cops in Staten Island, New York, used a chokehold to kill Eric Garner, a 43-year-old Black man, on July 17, 2014. So far the group has established that just in the month after Garner's murder, police around the U.S. murdered at least 60 people--about two a day. This is staggering and outrageous--there IS an epidemic of police murders in the USA!

Valuable work on exposing this has been done by the Malcolm X Grassroots Coalition and others. The group is continuing to document lives stolen by police since July 17 and asks readers to contribute to this work. Send instances of police murders you know of to: The world needs to know this AND people need to be part of putting an END to the epidemic of police murder.


Eric Garner

Eric Garner

Joaquin Cibrian

Joaquin Cibrian

Diana Showman

Dante Parker

Dante Parker

Gabriel Lopez-Gonzalez

Gabriel Lopez-Gonzalez

Michael Brown

Regan Wagner

Omar Abrego

Maria Rodriguez

Anthony Calloway

Michelle Cusseaux

John Crawford

Ezell Ford

1) July 17, ERIC GARNER, New York City: 43-year-old Black man killed by NYPD chokehold. (New York Daily News, July 17)

2) July 17, MISTY HOLT-SINGH, Stockton, California: 41-year-old woman held as a hostage in a bank robbery, killed by police bullets. (Associated Press, July 17)

3) July 17, GILBERT RENTERIA JR., Stockton, California: 30-year-old Latino shot and killed after an alleged bank robbery and a high-speed chase. (Associated Press, July 18)

4) July 17, ALEX GREGORY MARTINEZ, Stockton, California: 27-year-old Latino shot and killed after an alleged bank robbery and a high- speed chase. (Associated Press, July 18)

5) July 17, JUSTIN DAVIS, Germantown, Maryland: 24-year-old suicidal veteran with PTSD, sitting in a car with a rifle shot and killed by three police. (The Commercial Appeal, July 18)

6) July 18, KENNETH JOHNSON, North Las Vegas, Nevada: 34-year-old man shot and killed after fleeing from a routine traffic stop on a motor scooter and brandishing a fake weapon. (FOX5VEGAS, July 18)

7) July 20, RICHARD DUNCALF, Kent, Washington: 28-year-old man shot multiple times by five police in an alleged shootout after a manhunt [alleged crime unspecified]. (Seattle Times, July 22)

8) July 22, JOAQUIN CIBRIAN, La Joya, Texas: 29-year-old Latino, murder suspect, shot and killed after the house he was in was rammed by an armored vehicle and tear-gassed. (, July 22)

9) July 24, LORI KNOWLES, Henry County, Georgia: 37-year-old woman shot by police at her house. (Atlanta-Journal Constitution, July 25)

10) July 25, LUIS JOBEL, Los Angeles, California: 33-year-old Latino shot and killed after reports of someone allegedly vandalizing property and throwing rocks. (NBC Los Angeles, July 25)

11) July 25, NICHOLAS LISTER, Millcreek, Utah: 31-year-old white man after a domestic dispute at his apartment. (Salt Lake City Tribune, July 25)

12) July 27, ROBERT HENDERSON, Huntington, West Virginia: 37-year-old man shot and killed by police after a dispute in a bar and making a “threatening gesture.” (Associated Press, July 27)

13) July 28, STEVEN ISBY, Chicago, Illinois: 53-year-old burglary suspect. (CBS News, July 28)

14) July 28, CHARLES MOZDIR, New York City: 32-year-old suspected child molester shot and killed by police in Greenwich Village during an attempted arrest. (CNN, July 28)

15) July 29, JOSH EDWARDS, Christian County, Colorado: 25-year-old shot and killed when police tried to serve a warrant. (, July 30)

16) July 30, RICHARD NELSON: Honolulu, Hawai'i: 52-year-old shot and killed after he allegedly rear-ended a bus, was seen drinking in his car and driving erratically. (Hawaii News Now, July 30)

17) August 1, DANIEL PIERRE, Winslow Township, New Jersey: 42-year-old, shot by the police at his trailer home. (ABC News Channel 6, August 1)

18) August 1, ANTHONY CALLOWAY, Fulton County, Georgia: 27-year-old Black man shot by a Fulton County Sherriff’s deputy. (WSB-TV News 2, )

19) August 1, FRANK AL MENDOZA, Los Angeles, California: 54- year-old Latino bystander shot by police in a hostage situation at his home. (Los Angeles Times, August 1)

20) August 2, CEDRIC OSCAR RAMIREZ, Los Angeles, California: 24-year-old Latino killed by an LA County sheriff’s deputy after allegedly taking people hostage in their home. (Los Angeles Times, August 2)

21) August 3, OMAR ABREGO, Los Angeles, California: 37-year-old Latino, beaten by the LAPD after a traffic stop, died 12 hours later. (Los Angeles Times, August 12)

22) August 3, MARK LANZA, Phoenix, Arizona: 23-year-old man shot and killed by police, suspected of a burglary. (The Arizona Republic, August 4)

23) August 3, JACOREY CALHOUN, Oakland, California: 23-year-old Black man shot and killed by Alameda County sheriff’s deputy after a car stop. ( Channel 2, August 3)

24) August 3, RYAN SWEARINGEN, Ft. Madison Iowa: 27-year-old white man shot and killed by police after allegedly slashing car tires. (WQAD TV, August 3)

25) August 3, YEE VANG, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota: 20-year-old Asian-American man, shot and killed by police after an alleged car-jacking. (WCCO Channel 4, August 3)

26) August 2, STEVE MATTHEW DOLL, Stockton, California: 40-year-old shot by police after a car chase. (The, August 19)

27) August 3, VINCENT HINES, Harris County, Texas: 58-year-old man shot by Harris County Sheriff’s deputies after allegedly robbing a bank. (, August 6)

28) August 4, MARIA RODRIGUEZ, Bakersfield, California: 42-year-old Latina, shot and killed by Bakersfield PD after allegedly pointing a BB gun at them. (ABC News August 4)

29) August 4, MANUEL FLORES, Albuquerque, New Mexico : 28 -year-old Latino, shot and killed by a San Bernardino County sheriff after a car accident. (KOAT TV, Albuquerque, August 5)

30) August 5, DONYALE ROWE, Cincinnati, Ohio: 37- year-old Black man shot by the Cincinnati police after an alleged traffic violation. (, August 5)

31) August 5, JOHN CRAWFORD, Beavercreek, Ohio: 22-year-old Black man shot and killed by police while shopping at Walmart holding a pellet gun that he got off the store shelf. (New York Daily News, August 7)

32) August 5, JEREMY LAKE, Tulsa, Oklahoma: 19-year-old Black man shot and killed by his girlfriend’s white father, who is a cop, after an argument in front of his home. (CBS, August 9)

33) August 6, JAMES PICKARD, JR., Pearl City, Hawai'i: 51-year-old man shot multiple times, killed by Honolulu PD after allegedly stealing a car. (KHON 2 TV, August 6)

34) August 7, REGAN WAGNER, Longview, Texas: 23-year-old, white man killed by police after a traffic stop. (, August 9)

35) August 7, JOSE REYES-TORRES, Folsom, California: 20-year-old Latino shot and killed by police after allegedly confronting them with a knife. (, August 10)

36) August 8, AUSTIN DAVID UNCLES, Denver, Colorado: 26-year-old white man shot by Colorado State Troopers going after him for an alleged car theft. (ABC 7 News Denver, August 13)

37) August 8, UNIDENTIFIED MAN, AGE UNKNOWN, Detroit, Michigan: Shot and killed after a routine traffic stop. (WWJ TV 62 CBS, August 8)

38) August 8, JUSTIN WAYNE HIGGINS, Fort Smith, Arkansas: 23-year-old white man shot and killed by Fort Smith PD after an alleged hostage situation. (, August 10)

39) August 9, JOSE PAULINO, JR., Tamaqua, Pennsylvania : 38-year-old Latino tasered to death by Tamaqua police. (PA Homepage, August 9)

40) August 9, MICHAEL BROWN, Ferguson, Missouri: 18-year-old Black man, shot multiple times by police officer Darren Wilson, Ferguson PD while his hands were up in the air. (New York Times, August 20)

41) August 9, JOSEPH PENDERGHEST, Springfield Township, Pennsylvania: 40-year-old man shot by the Pennsylvania state police after an auto accident. ( News 8, August 10)

42) August 9, ALBERTO CORNELIO MORALES, Walnut Park, California: 41-year-old Latino shot and killed by police. (Eyewitness News ABC 7 Los Angeles , August 9)

43) August 11, TORREZ HARRIS, Canton, Mississippi: 52-year-old Black man shot in a laundromat by the police after he allegedly shot his step-daughter in a family argument. (WAPT News, central Mississippi, August 12)

44) August 11, EDDIE DAVIS, DeKalb, Texas: 67-year-old Black man shot and killed by DeKalb police in his home. (, August 11)

45)August 11, JOSE MANUEL GONZALEZ, Dallas, Texas: 18-year-old Latino, tasered and shot by the Dallas police in his home; he later died at the hospital. (Fox News, Dallas, August 11)

46) August 11, EZELL FORD, Los Angeles, California: 24-year-old Black man with a history of mental illness, shot and killed by the LAPD while lying on the ground. (Washington Post, August 15)

47) August 12, RONALD PIFER, Fairfield Township, Michigan: 54-year-old man shot and killed by Lenawee County Sheriff deputies who went to his house to enforce a court order for hospitalization. (Michigan Live, August 12)

48) August 12, GABRIEL LOPEZ-GONZALEZ, San Fernando, California: 22-year-old Latino, shot and killed by San Fernando PD. (NBC News, Los Angeles, August 13)

49) August 1, JAMES DE VITO, Suffern, New York: 59-years-old, killed by off-duty NYPD cop, who was driving drunk and going in the wrong direction, in a head on collision. (ABC News, New York, September 17)

50) August 13, REAGAN JONES, Muscle Shoals, Alabama: 35-year-old with a history of mental illness, shot by the police. (, August 14)

51) August 13, UNIDENTIFIED MAN, Houston, Texas: Shot and killed by Houston police. (Houston Chronicle, August 13)

52) August 13, MICHELLE CUSSEAUX, Phoenix, Arizona: 50-year-old Black woman shot and killed by the Phoenix PD after her family called the police to take her to a mental health facility. (Arizona Republic, August 23)

53) August 13, JACINTO ZAVALA, Greeley, Colorado: 21-year-old Latino veteran with a history of PTSD, shot and killed by police. (NBC News 9, Colorado. August 13)

54) August 14, DIANA SHOWMAN, San Jose, California: 19-year-old, shot and killed by SJPD after she allegedly pointed a drill at the police. (San Jose Mercury News, August 14)

55) August 14, SONNY WAGNER, Newton, Kansas: 52 year-old man shot by the Newton police in response to a domestic violence call. (KAKE News, August 15)

56) August 14, DANTE PARKER Victorville, California: 36-year-old Black man tasered to death by San Bernadino County sheriffs. (, August 15)

57) August 14, ALVIN CURTIS JENNINGS, Davenport, Iowa: 61-year-old man shot multiple times by police after a domestic dispute. (WQAD 8 News, August 14)

58) August 17, LEVON LEROY LOVE, San Antonio ,Texas: 44-year-old man found passed out in his car, tasered to death by the police after refusing to go with paramedics. (San Antonio-Express News, August 19)

59) August 17, STEVEN R. PIIRAINEN, Mexico, Maine: 52-year-old white man, shot by Maine police after allegedly stealing a truck. (WMTW Channel 8 TV, August 19)

60) August 3, JUSTIN ARMSTRONG, Pinetop, Arizona: 28-year-old man (nationality unknown), suspect in a shooting, shot and killed in a casino parking lot. ( August 8, 2014)





Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

On the October Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation

Reverend Jerome McCorry on the Battle for Justice for John Crawford and the Month of Resistance

September 29, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


The following is an interview Revolution/ recently did with the Reverend Jerome McCorry, who has been leading the initiative for a nationally coordinated weekend of sermons against mass incarceration during the October Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation.


Revolution: First, why do you think the October Month of Resistance is so important?

On September 22, people marched from the Walmart to the county courthouse where a grand jury let the murdering cop walk free. AP photo

Rev. McCorry: I think many, many people need to be part of it. Two and a half million people being locked up in this country is a total atrocity. We have the highest prison population. In the world. There's no doubt about that. We have an invisible war called the war on drugs that has been disproportionately aimed at Black people, just like everything else. So when we look at those numbers, and the fact that we have the most incarcerated people in the world, it's a disproportionate number.

There's a real problem here. And Americans should really be outraged. When you look at the numbers, you look at the causes, you look at an unjust war on poor Americans that is disguised as a war on drugs, we should be concerned.

We've got to turn this around. Even if we have to get a UN resolution on this. We have to get other nations involved. We are not an island unto ourselves. We bill ourselves, and we sell ourselves in this nation as we're the greatest nation in the world. And I'm not so sure I've bought into that.

Revolution: In particular, this is a plague upon young Black and Latino people especially...

Rev. McCorry: That's correct. It is a plague upon Black and Latino communities. These are clearly targeted populations. It is clearly something that must be addressed by all Americans.

Revolution: You were one of the main initiators of the Faith Based Initiative for the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. Can you talk about this?

Rev. McCorry: Yes, absolutely. What we have done is we have set up with churches across the country, synagogues, temples, mosques; we have asked them to engage in a movement that would end the kind of atrocities we're now facing. When you talk about ending mass incarceration, you're not just talking about those who are locked up. You're talking about racial profiling, you're talking about terror and abuse, you're talking about police brutality. You're also talking about mistreatment in prisons.

We think that there has to be a response from the spiritual community that leads a movement much like the civil rights movement of the late '50s and early '60s. As we engage the faith community in this effort to stop these atrocities, the criminalization of this generation—we want messages of hope, messages of love, aimed at putting an end to mass incarceration. Our faith institutions play a tremendous role in the educating of people, so these are opportunities in October where people can engage this.

What we've done, we've prepared responsive meetings, litanies, sermon topic ideas, and we're asking congregations across the nation, over 500 congregations, to participate. We're asking people to preach and to teach, to stop these atrocities. And we're asking people to engage in the effort to end mass incarceration and those things that go along with it. Specifically the criminalization of this generation.

John Crawford, murdered by a cop in an Ohio Walmart on August 5, with his mother, Tressa Sherrod. AP photo

Revolution: Can you talk about the fight you and others in Ohio have been involved in around the brutal police murder of John Crawford, and now the refusal of the grand jury to indict the killer cop?

Rev. McCorry: Absolutely. On August 5, the situation was here's a young man, and now that the tape has finally been released everyone can see ... here's a young man who's in a Walmart store, and who's handling a product in the store. Who's walking around the store and not really a threat to anyone. A young man who is on the telephone. Police officers came in and literally opened fire before even giving a command or otherwise engaging this young man.

After the grand jury decision came out, I was asked the question if I was disappointed that there was no indictment. Asking me if I was disappointed means I would have been expecting something else. Unfortunately, the mood and thinking in this country is not to indict law enforcement almost no matter what they do. They do this over and over and over again. It's very hurtful when people think there isn't any justice when they are victimized by law enforcement.

So for this Ohio jury not to indict these police officers means, unfortunately, that we can expect more of this in our country. Our deepest thoughts and prayers go out to the Crawford family. But these are the kinds of injustices we have to fight each and every day.

Revolution: The religious institutions that are going to be participating in the "Sunday Sermons" the first two weekends of October—these represent people and institutions with influence in different communities. How do you see this affecting society and people's thinking on mass incarceration and criminalization?

Rev. McCorry: When you talk about that many religious groups and organizations, and we're very fortunate to have had a major response from the Jewish community, a major response in the Muslim community, and the Christian churches have come on board in a major and new kind of way. This is an effort to engage faith institutions in what needs to happen. It's about educating and about allowing people to understand what these atrocities are all about.

We have all been taught to respect authority—law enforcement certainly chief among that. People all too often don't want to question them. And the facts show that, unfortunately, we're at war with law enforcement. More what I mean is, war has been declared on the people of this nation. We think the faith community has a tremendous responsibility to address what's going on.

And when I'm talking about a war, I'm talking about a social war. I'm talking about the fact that we have a certain demographic who has been targeted. People of color have been targeted by unfair, unequal enforcement of the law, and profiling, and that kind of thing. So, the church community, the faith community, must speak to these kinds of issues. The responses have been overwhelming, and it's ironic how a number of clergymen have said to us, "We understand there's a problem, but we're not sure what to preach." I think even in our education institutions where we train our clergy, our seminaries, our Bible colleges, we need to teach a new theology, and that is a true theology of liberation.

We need to study a liberationist theology as we begin to come together. We begin to teach tolerance and understanding within our churches that says we must engage in a movement for justice regardless of people's backgrounds, regardless of where we think people have come from. And I don't think we've done a very good job of that. And so we plan even after October to engage the faith community in this effort to stop mass incarceration and end these atrocities.

Revolution: The Month of Resistance hopes to go beyond just a day of protest, important as that can be, to change the situation societally...

Rev. McCorry: There's no doubt about it. I say to people in my travels, my journeys, I say to congregations, this is the start of a movement whose time has come. I think that October 2014 will be a major kickoff to a new day, and a new movement being enacted in this country. And it will do more to bring us together. When you fight these kinds of injustices, oftentimes people say, "Well, that makes you anti-police." And I tell them, I'm not anti-police and I don't think any of us who represent the faith-based community's efforts are anti-police. What we are is pro righteousness. And pro righteousness says there's some corrective action that has to be taken. And it's going to take the power of the people to bring that about.

October 2014 absolutely must be used as a starting point, not an ending point.




Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

Bringing Solitary Confinement to Campuses for the October Month of Resistance

September 29, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


In the summer of 2013, The Stop Mass Incarceration Network, Bay Area displayed a life-sized replica of a SHU cell in downtown San Francisco to build support for the California prisoners' hunger strike

In the summer of 2013, the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, Bay Area displayed a life-sized replica of a SHU (Security Housing Unit) cell in downtown San Francisco to build support for the California prisoners' hunger strike that began July 8 of that year. Nearly 4,000 prisoners are kept in solitary confinement in California SHUs, some for decades. Throughout the two days many different kinds of people, including whole families and tourists from around the world, came into the "SHU" cell. Ex-prisoners told of their experience and voiced their support for the hunger strike. Visitors to the "SHU" left with a new understanding of why the prisoners were going on hunger strike and many signed up to help, stay in touch, and took materials to spread the word about the strike. Photo: Special to Revolution

A Stop Mass Incarceration Network organizer from Los Angeles reported that students are organizing many different activities for the October Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. These will be happening on campuses around the country, including at several elite universities. There are plans for panels, teach-ins, protests, walkouts, and creative acts of resistance. At Harvard, Yale, Columbia, NYU, Brandeis, Tufts, Suffolk, Rutgers, UCLA, UC Riverside, and University of Southern California, students will be creating a “mock SHU” on campus during the Month of Resistance.

Drawing by a prisoner at Pelican Bay

Drawing by a prisoner at Pelican Bay, California SHU depicting a prisoner who was stripped and hog-tied. Photo: Pelican Bay Prison Express

The SHU, or Security Housing Units, are this nation’s dungeons of solitary confinement. Every year 20,000-80,000 prisoners in the United States are put into the SHU and forced to endure dehumanizing conditions tantamount to torture.

If you get put in the SHU you’re locked up in a small, windowless concrete cell for 23 hours a day, without any face-to-face contact with another human being, not even a guard. You may or may not be allowed reading material. You get only one hour outside the cell, by yourself, in a small indoor space. You never see sunlight or a blade of grass. Whenever you leave your cell you’re handcuffed and shackled, hands-to-waist, ankle-to-ankle.

The students at these campuses want to push their peers out of their comfort zone and force them to confront the crimes against humanity that are taking place behind the walls and bring to light the reality of mass incarceration in all its brutality. The students are conducting the actions in highly visible areas of campus, taping off 7’ x 9’ boxes to represent the actual dimensions of a SHU. Twenty-three volunteers spend one hour each confined in the space, the last hour is left open to represent the one hour prisoners are allowed outside the SHU. During previous actions, students have shared what it felt like to be confined for one hour in this small area without interaction with other humans and compared it with the immense torture and dehumanization faced by prisoners who literally spend years and decades in the SHU.

The students are looking for ways to expand these mock-SHU actions and create a bigger impact on campuses. These students' bold and creative actions should be embraced, built upon and spread. The October Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation must be like a giant STOP sign stuck right in the face of American society, day after day, so that it can’t be covered up, whited out, ignored, neutralized, or suppressed.




Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

Joshua's Story:

Beaten and Locked Away in the Torture Prison of Rikers Island

by Li Onesto | September 29, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


It's completely intolerable and no one should numb themselves to these facts: Some 2.2 million people are locked up in hellhole prisons all across the USA, the majority Black or Latino; thousands swept up in decades of a war on drugs designed to criminalize and lock up whole generations of youth; all this a critical element of a program of slow genocide that can easily become fast genocide.

Rikers Island in New York City is one of the largest prisons in the U.S. It concentrates this horror of mass incarceration. Recently all kinds of horror stories have come to light. One prisoner there who had been diagnosed with a mental health problem was deliberately placed in a cell where the temperature soared above 100 degrees and was left there until he literally baked to death! The New York Times revealed a secret report that detailed 129 cases of people who suffered "serious injuries" in altercations with guards at the Rikers Island in 11 months in 2013. And in most of these cases, the inmates were beaten while they were handcuffed! Seventy-seven percent of the people beaten had been diagnosed with mental health problems. None of the guards involved in these incidents have yet faced criminal—or even administrative—charges.

Recently I got a chance to go to Rikers and talk to one young Black man who has been subjected to the horrors of mass incarceration. Here is his story.


Joshua Richardson

Joshua Richardson

Terry Hubbard, who is active in building the October Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation, has been fighting to prevent her 23-year-old son, Joshua Richardson, who has been diagnosed with mental illness, from being brutalized in prison. In early September Joshua was beaten up by the staff where he was being incarcerated, at the Central New York Psychiatric Center in Marcy, New York.

Terry only found out about this weeks later, when her son called her. Then he seemed to be "disappeared"—Terry and her lawyer couldn't find out where Joshua was. Then they learned he had been transferred back to Rikers Island.

On September 24, I went to Rikers with Terry to visit Joshua, who wanted me, as a reporter, to come hear his story. We wait hours before we finally get in to the visiting room to see Joshua. He comes in, walking with a cane, clearly in pain. When Terry introduces me, he greets me with a hug and then gives his mother a big, long embrace. We all sit down and Joshua tells me what happened:

This story starts on Wednesday, September 3, 21 days before this interview.

Joshua is in the dining room eating dinner. He's really hungry and sees that another inmate has a piece of chicken he isn't going to eat. Joshua asks if he can have it. The guy says yes so Joshua goes over to get it. But one of the Treatment Assistants [TAs, who essentially act as guards] steps to him and intervenes, saying he can't do this. Joshua questions this, asking why not? This is too much for the TA—you're not allowed to question anything they say. More TAs come over and when Joshua continues to talk back they all jump him. They quickly put him down, hitting him. They get a nurse to shoot him with an injection. When he doesn’t fall asleep, the nurse moves to inject him again and Joshua says, “Why are you injecting me again, I’m not resisting?” But she puts the needle in him again anyway. The TAs rip off his clothes until he is naked. They strap him to a restraint bed, take him to a side room, throw him in, and leave him there.

The next day several TAs come into the room, and when Joshua stands up, they rush him and push him up against the wall and beat him. He can't remember everything that happened next because he’s still woozy from the sedation. But what he does remember is that they were hitting him over and over again with their closed fists, they stomped on his hands and feet, they kicked him on his knees, shins, feet and head. Joshua remembers one TA saying to him, "We run things here, you don't run things." Another said, "Take his black ass out of my ward and put him on a bus and send him to where the hell he came from." Another said, laughing, "That should soften him up."

This was Wednesday and after this beating, they leave Joshua in this side room until Monday, September 8. Then they take him to a room, basically putting him in solitary confinement until September 19, when a TA comes in and says "Get up, you're being transferred." They put him on a bus—they didn't even let him get any of his personal belongings. Joshua says they stole his letters, legal papers, money order receipts, and release papers from parole. His mother had just given him $20 for the commissary when she visited him, and they steal this too.

AND for all this time—from the time of the beating on September 4 to when he gets to Rikers—Joshua does NOT receive ANY medical attention. Then, at Rikers all he gets is some x-rays.

Joshua shows me his injuries that are still hurting him badly after 20 days. He shows me his baby finger which they stomped on. It's still very swollen and crooked. He shows me several bruises and bumps on his head. He says his ribs are very, very sore and that on one side he has "an indentation" where his stomach is. His knee and ankle are hurting so much he has a hard time walking.

Joshua has been through this before—just six months ago he was beaten up by guards here at Rikers. I ask him to tell me about that.

He says on that day he was in the bathroom by himself when the "turtles" came in—guards all suited up in their ninja riot outfits. They accused him of being involved in a fight and ordered him to put his hands behind his back. Joshua says the bathrooms are one of the places in the prison where there are no cameras—so he tried to walk out of the bathroom so that whatever they did to him would be captured on the cameras. This is when six of these "turtles" started attacking him mercilessly. When he tried to defend himself they maced him in the face and straight into his mouth. Joshua remembers one of them saying, "Kill that motherfucker." They beat him up, then took him down to the intake area in handcuffs, threw him into the shower, and left him there.

Very soon our visiting time is up—they only give families and friends one hour. There's another round of hugs and there are tears in Terry's eyes when we leave—she's so worried, she thinks they might kill her son in Rikers.

Two days later Terry visits Joshua again. He tells her he’s still hurting real bad but still not getting any medical care. He says he saw a counselor who said he is now suffering from PTSD—he’s waking up 4-5 times a night, screaming and sweating with nightmares of the beatings.


Joshua's story is NOT an aberration. This kind of brutality is happening to hundreds of prisoners at Rikers and to tens of thousands of others in the prison hellholes all across America. There is the special cruelty of what happens to prisoners with mental illness. Like many other prisoners who have mental illness, Joshua has been DENIED medical help in prison. He was supposedly transferred from Rikers to the Central New York Psychiatric Center to be evaluated. But as he told me, "The conditions there are hardly any different than being in prison," and for the whole time he was there they refused to give him his medication!

On top of all this, there's the torture of long-term solitary confinement, where some 80,000 people are held in cramped, concrete, windowless cells in near total isolation for 22-24 hours a day, with no human contact.

The brutality being inflicted on those behind bars says something about what this whole U.S. prison system is about and concentrates the injustice of mass incarceration in the U.S.

The October Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation must be like a giant STOP sign stuck right in the face of American society, day after day, so that it can't be covered up, whited out, ignored, neutralized, or suppressed.

As the Pledge of Resistance for the Month of Resistance says at the end:

* Mass incarceration: WE SAY NO MORE!

* Police murder: WE SAY NO MORE!

* Torture in the prisons: WE SAY NO MORE!

* Criminalization of generations: WE SAY NO MORE!

* Attacks on immigrants: WE SAY NO MORE!

We will NOT be silent.

We WILL resist!

Until these shameful horrors really are... NO MORE!




Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

Mission Statement
Stop Mass Incarceration Network
Roosevelt University, Chicago

September 22, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


This statement appears online at the Stop Mass Incarceration Network website,

We are students and faculty at Roosevelt University who have joined the national call for the October Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. We intend to encourage and mobilize fellow students and faculty to join forces to stop the injustice of mass incarceration.

Our group began spontaneously from a university course on social movements and social change.  When the professor mentioned involvement in the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, a number of students asked, “Where do we sign on?”  The result has been a vigorous organizing effort at the university and beyond.

We are organizing public forums on the New Jim Crow, Police Militarization, and the Lessons of Ferguson and on Mass Incarceration, Immigrant Detention, and the Militarized Border, study groups on the New Jim Crow and militarized policing, outreach to high schools and universities, a workshop on legal rights in police encounters, and a major cultural event on the evening following the October 22 Day of Protest. Please join us in the united effort for October! The U.S. now imprisons a higher proportion of its population than any other society in the world.

There are over 2.2 million incarcerated in the U.S. prison system. The U.S. has only 5% of the world’s population; yet has a full 25% of the world’s prison population. The prison system targets the most vulnerable and marginalized in our society. It funnels the poor into the system, and weeds out the wealthy.  We, in Chicago, are all too familiar with mass incarceration, police torture and abuse.



Leon Bailey
Department of Sociology
Roosevelt University




Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

Ex-Prisoner: The Potential of Prisoners & the Impact of Bob Avakian

September 29, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | recently posted an interview with a former prisoner who, through contact with Revolution newspaper, the writings of Bob Avakian (BA), and literature of the Revolutionary Communist Party, decided that being an emancipator of humanity was what his life was going to be about. The following are two short clips from the interview, which appeared in three parts (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). To prisoners: If you would like a printout of the whole interview, write to Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund, 1321 N. Milwaukee Ave #407, Chicago, IL 60622.


"If we're really going to make revolution we gotta get into BA"

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.

Prisoners Can Play an Important Role in the Revolution

Revolution: What role would you say... in talking to people who are reading this in prison now, what role do you think prisoners can and need to play in the revolution?

X: They need to take up revolution and communism. They need to take these goals up. And they have to figure out what they can do wherever they're at to fight the power, and transform the people, for revolution—and do whatever they can from within the confines of prison. Because they're not helpless. They can still contribute. They can get into BA and help get others into BA, to get people to wrangle with all these big questions.

Another way prisoners can make an important contribution is by writing letters to the PRLF [Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund] and Revolution newspaper.

While I was in prison, I opened up the paper one time and saw an excerpt from one of my letters on a sign that people were using on the street. I was like, "What the???" I started realizing that there's still contributions you could make just by writing. I was able to speak to a whole section of people through the pages of Revolution—not just my celly or the guy in the cell next to mine. That's very important because of the back and forth between outside and inside the prison walls. I was someone about whom the system would've said, "You can't teach this dumb-ass anything," or "You would have to water down the content for him to understand." But I did get a meaningful education in prison, because I was learning fundamental things about how the world works, why things are the way they are, and what we could do to change it. Then through writing in to Revolution, I was able to challenge others with what I had come to understand.

I was surprised to see one of my letters being taken out to challenge these youth who are caught up in the things that most of these prisoners were caught up in before they came to prison. A lot more of that needs to be done to reach out to those youth before they get caught up in this system's game and their life is snatched away from them by these pigs and the system they represent. Prisoners have a very important role to play and an obligation to speak to these youth—we know what they're going through and we know where they're heading. But if you've gotten into revolution, you also know their lives could be about something radically different—they could be the gravediggers of this system and emancipators of humanity.

In addition, if people from all walks of life see prisoners stepping forward, that could be very inspiring—if even prisoners with their very limited means are finding ways to contribute to this, then why can't I? It can change people's thinking—the people that this system is always telling you are monsters are actually capable of tremendous love for humanity. And it is this system that is monstrous.

There's another level, too, where prisoners should be raising their questions and differences—to share questions, which others might have who don’t write into Revolution, but which everyone can learn from. Also, raising their questions can provide real insights into significant contradictions they might be dealing with or thinking about that the movement for revolution may not be aware of. Or even if you're wrong about something that you raise and someone is writing back to you and answering your question, it makes the person answering have to work to further develop the line, and this can contribute to all kinds of breakthroughs. The deeper our understanding is, the better equipped we are to make revolution. So posing those questions is important, as they're wrangling with all this... and make those questions known so we can get to work on answering them and helping raise that level of consciousness for the movement as a whole.

If more prisoners recognize this and find ways to be writing and engaging the line, you could have a very positive impact.




Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

Grand Jury in Murder of Michael Brown—A Vehicle for a Cover-Up

September 29, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

Rebuilding the memorial to Michael Brown

Early morning September 23, someone, or some group, burned down the memorial at the site where Michael Brown was killed. Earlier Ferguson police had let one of their dogs urinate on the memorial and had run over it with their car. Many in the community thought the cops had attacked it again. Outrage spread and people quickly rebuilt the memorial. Photo: Special to Revolution/

The pig Darren Wilson publicly executed unarmed Mike Brown on August 9 in the middle of the day, in the middle of a suburban apartment complex in front of multiple eyewitnesses, with cell phone video recordings documenting key aspects of it in Ferguson, Missouri. Mike was shot multiple times with his hands up in the universal sign of surrender. It took an uprising to force the police to even identify the killer. Over 51 days later (as of September 29), Darren Wilson has not been arrested. WTF?

Meantime, over 200 people have been arrested protesting this police murder with over 35 reportedly for felony charges. 



We cannot wait and see whether the grand jury is going to come back with an indictment. There is too much at stake. If after the righteous uprising in Ferguson awoke the country to not only Mike Brown’s murder at the hands of the police but to the epidemic of police murders nationwide... If after the reverberations that this could have been any one of millions of Black and brown youth... If after the resistance dragged into the light of day the everyday police terror directed at the Black population and especially the youth who this system has no future for... IF after Trayvon Martin... If after all this, Darren Wilson walks—then it will be a big green light for open season and a target on the back of every Black and minority youth in this society.

Time and time again, police murders of unarmed Blacks and Latinos have been ruled justifiable homicide. You can probably count on one hand the number of cops who have been indicted and given what amounts to a slap on the wrist for state-sanctioned murder of thousands of people in the last decade alone. You can’t know for sure because no official agency keeps track. The experts will tell you, it is EXTREMELY, EXTREMELY RARE for a murdering pig to be indicted. The system is set up to let them off.

We cannot allow that to happen yet again. We cannot allow the agonizing and rage over what happened to Mike Brown to be yet again shoved back into the stifling normalcy of America where millions suffer these horrors in silence and millions more look away and ignore the howling injustice being perpetrated.

There's a Cover-Up Going On

There is no investigation going on... there is a cover-up taking place. 

First, there was the character assassination of Mike Brown.

Then they raked his friend Dorian Johnson, who was a victim of the trauma of seeing Mike murdered in cold blood, over the coals.   His credibility as a key eyewitness was dragged through the mud. He was threatened with arrest on an old warrant. Remember the witness who videotaped the strangling to death of Eric Garner in New York City and who was later arrested, while the cops go on paid vacation? Remember the ridicule of Rachel Jeantel, a key witness who was on the phone with Trayvon when he was murdered by wanna-be cop George Zimmerman? This is an all too familiar pattern.

One of the many Ferguson police wearing

One of the many Ferguson police wearing "I Am Darren Wilson" bracelets. Darren Wilson is the pig who murdered Michael Brown. So don't tell us about killer cops being a few bad apples—the whole barrel is rotten.

Legal experts say that the grand jury will indict a ham sandwich if the prosecutor asks it to. It is normally a rubber stamp. But when it comes to a case of police murder, all of a sudden the grand jury is “investigating” to decide whether to bring a charge for a cold-blooded murder in the middle of the day in front of many witnesses. This is one piece of pork that the grand jury will try to let walk. Look at what just happened in Ohio where the video inside Walmart shows John Crawford walking around the store talking on his phone and then gunned down in a blink of an eye. 

In Ferguson, the life of this grand jury was recently extended until January 2015. This gives the authorities the maximum time to carry out their cover-up while they work overtime to repress and derail the struggle for justice for Mike Brown, including into channels safe for the system like voter registration and healing.

We repeat: the grand jury is a way to actually FORGE the cover-up of the murder of Mike Brown in secret proceedings that are supposed to have a stamp of the (UN) justice system working.

Darren Wilson recently testified before the grand jury for four hours. A veteran criminal defense attorney was quoted in St Louis Post Dispatch as saying: “It’s unusual but not unheard of for a prosecutor to extend an invitation” for the target of an investigation to testify to a grand jury. The defense attorney said he had rarely allowed it: “I would only consider allowing my client to testify at a grand jury proceeding if I was convinced that the prosecutor presenting the evidence to the (grand jury) was convinced that his testimony would help them reach the decision not to indict.”

Put this up against the stonewalling by the police against releasing any information so as to allow the maximum freedom for concocting a “narrative” for the murdering pig. The only thing the police released was a blanked-out police report and no other information other than things to try and demonize Mike Brown.

An expert on forcing disclosure of police documents in Florida, Albuquerque, New Mexico (in relation to a rash of police murders), and now in Ferguson told that he “believes the police incident report was created, but then buried." According to the expert, "Originally the ACLU was told that the report existed, but that it could not be released due to the bogus claim that it was an investigatory document (which it is not, under Missouri law). However, it may take a trial, with full discovery, to finally settle the matter of what was created when. Either way, however, the police have not followed procedure, violating both their own internal policies and Missouri state law.” [The expert, Charlie Grapski, blogs at Photography Is Not a Crime (PINAC) where he documents the cover-up going on in Ferguson extensively.]

There Is NO Justice in the Justice Department.

For those who think that the federal government’s Justice Department will fix the problem—you need to get real. There is no justice in the Justice Department . Have you seen any justice for the murder of Trayvon (the FBI is still investigating)... have you seen any in the murder of Sean Bell... or in Albuquerque where the Justice Department condemned police practices? You cannot because there has not been any. The Justice Department is there to cool out people’s righteous anger. Look at the way the Justice Department stepped in after the recent Ferguson City Council meeting turned into a public relations disaster as the people took the microphones and in front of the media spoke bitterness about all the years of racist abuse they have endured at the hands of the police. What happened? The Justice Department told the City Council to only hold three more of these kinds of sessions (not the planned five), to not let the media inside to cover them, and to restrict attendance to people who can prove their Ferguson residence—as if this is a local problem and concern.

Month of Resistance—A Big Stop Sign to Society

For Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Anthony Baez, Andy Lopez, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis and the thousands of others whose lives were stolen—WE SAY NOT THIS TIME. ENOUGH. NO MORE. This is what the October Month of Resistance is all about—putting up the stop sign to society that this must stop, starting here and starting now.

As Carl Dix said after the not guilty verdict in the Trayvon Martin case: “Enough with this system and its savage oppression of Black people. No more of its open season. This capitalist system arose on the foundation of slavery and genocide and is today a worldwide system that enforces lives of poverty and misery on countless millions. We need to get rid of this system. We need a society and a world where our Black and Latino youth can live and thrive, where women don’t face violence and enforced motherhood, where instead of making wars on the oppressed of the world, the new society is backing their revolutionary struggles, where the environment isn’t being ravaged but being protected for current and future generations.  This kind of world could be brought into being through revolution.” 

We in the RCP are building a movement to sweep away this rotten system at the soonest opportunity. We have the leadership in Bob Avakian and the party he leads, the Revolutionary Communist Party. There is a strategy for how to make this revolution. As we fight for justice for Mike Brown, for an end to mass incarceration, police terror and the criminalization of a generation through the October Month of Resistance, you need to learn about this revolution that can CHANGE EVERYTHING.




Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

New Outrage in Ferguson: Memorial to Michael Brown Burned Down

September 23, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


People in the neighborhood rebuild the memorial to Michael Brown after it was burned during the night September 23. Photo: Special to Revolution/

Right away, after Michael Brown was gunned down and killed by the Ferguson police on August 9, the people in the neighborhood set up a memorial—right in the middle of the street where the cops let Michael Brown's body lie for hours. They put stuffed animals, candles, baseball caps and many messages of love and anger. For weeks, people from around the country and the world have come to this memorial, to place flowers, put their own messages, and stand in silence, staring at the blood-stained road—especially during the weeks of defiant protests in the streets.

In the early morning hours of September 23, someone, or some group of people burned this memorial down. Some people think this was done by the cops. When the people in the neighborhood saw this very early in the morning they got together to rebuild the memorial right away, and it was rebuilt by 9 am. Two things can be seen here. One, the outrageous and cowardly nature of this system–how it can't even let the people have a memorial to the people the armed enforcers murder. They want to destroy this memorial because it is such a reminder to the people of the CRIME that was committed at this spot, of the life that was stolen–and of the need to keep on fighting to get justice for Michael Brown. Two, the people are determined to fight for justice for Michael Brown, to not let this get swept under the rug, and this was the spirit behind how they came together to put a new memorial up right away.


Below: People in the neighborhood are determined to fight for justice for Michael Brown; the memorial was rebuilt within hours after it was burned down.
Photos: Special to Revolution/






Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

Carry Forward on Your Convictions!

We Must Stop Climate Change

September 29, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


People's climate march sept 21 2014 - Banner reads CLIMATE CHANGE AFFECTS US MOST

The march was led by young people representing indigenous peoples and people from the Global South—those who have done the least to cause climate change, but those suffering the most. Photo: AP

On September 21, 300,000 to 400,000 people took part in the People's Climate March in New York City. This was the largest demonstration ever about climate change and the threat it poses to life and to the ecosystems of the planet. And this demonstration could be a real turning point in the fight to save the planet.

Participation in the march was broad. An estimated 50,000 students from hundreds of colleges marched. There were science, labor, and religious contingents. Middle class and ordinary people turned out. At the head of the march were indigenous peoples and contingents from the poor nations of the Global South, where global warming is causing rising sea levels, more severe weather, and the ruin of agriculture that may endanger the lives of many millions of people.

A Broad Movement, Contending Lines and Programs

The march tapped into a deep wellspring of concern among millions of people about the fate of the planet. In all kinds of creative ways—signs, chants, banners, floats, marching bands, art, and T-shirts—this sense of growing peril was expressed. People were marching for the future of humanity and the fragile ecosystems of the Earth. People were not only motivated by a sense of impending catastrophe if the course of things is not changed dramatically and drastically. They were also marching in such large numbers out of dissatisfaction with the actions and programs of the governments, countries, and those sitting in the world's seats of power.

The environmental movement has many different social forces within it. Different trends and outlooks are interacting and contending over how to understand the cause of the climate crisis and what needs to be done. All this was in play in the buildup for the march and at the march.

Some forces advocate legislative strategies to halt fracking, an environmentally destructive means of extracting natural gas. Others call for local, grassroots measures to limit carbon emissions. Anarchist philosophies and programs put the emphasis on building resistance toward a goal of decentralizing society and living in small, self-governing units. There are those arguing that people need to give Obama one more chance to act on climate change—and that the demonstration could pressure him into "doing the right thing." Revolutionary communists were also involved, arguing that protecting planetary ecosystems requires revolution.

This Revolution special issue focuses on the environmental emergency that now faces humanity and earth's ecosystems. In this issue we show:

  • the dimensions of the emergency...
  • the source of its causes in the capitalist system, and the impossibility of that system solving this crisis...
  • a way out and way forward for humanity—a revolutionary society in which we could actually live as custodians of nature, rather than as its plunderers.

Read online....

Also available in brochure format (downloadable PDF)

There is a growing groundswell of struggle. Many students, outraged by the fact that their universities have investments in oil companies, have launched protests demanding that their schools get rid of these holdings.

Maneuvering by Ruling Class Forces

Sections of the U.S. ruling class have been working to bring their influence to bear. They are trying to keep this growing movement within dead-end channels that do not threaten the status quo. They also want to "put an arm around it" to help sanitize and even give backing to the image of U.S. imperialism in the world: "Hey, we're all trying to work on climate change, and the U.S. can and must lead."

The march took place a day before a major United Nations global summit on climate change. The U.S. imperialists have no interest in reversing the trajectory of profit-driven growth that has led to this dire climate emergency. But they are quite intent on using these talks to pursue their great-power interests—in particular, to conduct rivalry with other major capitalist powers, especially China, and to make sure that any measures taken to aid the poor countries of the Global South to cope with the climate crisis fit the needs of maintaining U.S. global dominance.

A Dynamic Situation, Planting the Pole of Revolution

People's thinking about the causes and solutions to the climate crisis is very dynamic and back and forth. This is a moment of tremendous grappling for answers and big potential for radical shifts. In this situation, the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA brought a revolutionary understanding of what is driving this crisis and what it is going to take to truly confront and act on it—in all its enormity.

Revcom Banner at the Climate March: 9/21/14 reads Capitalism is destroys the planet We need Revolution Nothing Less

The RCP organized a contingent for the march: the "Capitalism Is Destroying the Planet, We Need Revolution, Nothing Less Contingent." The contingent had a real impact with its big banner and striking chants. It spoke on a loud sound system to thousands of people in and alongside the march about the source of and revolutionary solution to the emergency, and linked the battle to save the planet with other key fronts of the ensemble of the movement for revolution.

Only the overthrow of capitalism, and then the most radical and thoroughgoing socialist transformation of the economic and social system and its values, can enable humanity to act on the climate crisis. What that would look like, and how a new and radically different state power would function, is spelled out in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) from the RCP, USA. A socialist economy and society would be organized around meeting social needs, spreading world revolution to emancipate humanity, and protecting the environment. Only a sustainable socialist economy and liberatory society would make it possible to mobilize the knowledge and creative potential of people and to devote the necessary resources to truly confront and tackle this climate crisis—on the scale and with the urgency required.

Thousands of people put on bright green stickers distributed by the revolutionaries with the contingent's slogan. There were conflicting views among people taking the sticker on what capitalism really is and what kind of revolution is needed: Is it a big upheaval, a huge mass movement to transition away from the system, a change in consciousness, or what it is in fact: an actual revolution to seize state power? These questions are very important to continue to go to work on, as we join with people further in fighting to save the environment.

The revolutionaries also reached out very broadly on the campuses, and to many of the other programs, films, protests, and major dialogues taking place in New York City, reaching many thousands. In the buildup to the march and at the mobilization, thousands of palm cards for the November 15 dialogue between BA and Cornel West went out.

The day after the main march, 1500 people participated in an important action to "Flood Wall Street," shutting down lower Broadway in the heart of the financial district for eight hours. By the end of the day, 102 people were arrested as they sat in the streets and refused police orders to disperse.

In the wake of the People's Climate March, there is much debate in the environmental movement over its significance and where things need to go now. This is a moment to seize, posing a challenge to the revolutionaries. It's of great importance that the movement go forward from here, with people following through on their convictions and principles to do whatever is required to save the planet. The situation is urgent, critical. As we join with others and encourage them to follow through, it's crucial to work consistently with people to raise their sights to revolution, connecting the fight to stand up for the planet with building a movement for revolution, and building up the forces for revolution.




Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

Obama Speech at UN Climate Change Summit: Another Demonstration of Why This System Is Incapable of Saving the Planet

September 29, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


President Obama spoke at the UN Climate Change summit in New York City on September 23. The climate crisis is accelerating and threatening to spin out of control. The U.S. is the largest contributor to climate change by far, historically—so what did Obama do? He tried to fool people into believing that the U.S. is already leading the world in addressing climate change, and to press China to do more! Obama's speech is yet another demonstration of why this system is not capable of saving the planet and why Obama is part of the problem, not the solution.

Obama made reference to the People's Climate March to try to give backing for his pitiful moves on climate and especially his new proposed EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) rules on cutting carbon emissions. He claimed these showed the seriousness of the U.S. in leading the world. As we said in the article "Obama EPA Rules on Pollution... On a Path to Earth's Destruction":

"But the truth is 1) what these rules aim to accomplish is puny in the face of the actual environmental crisis humanity faces; 2) even these rules will almost certainly be challenged in the courts, Congress, and at the state level, and powerful ruling class forces oppose such regulations; and 3) Obama's move is part of staying with—not moving away from—a whole energy program that is destroying the earth."

Further, under Obama the U.S. has vastly expanded oil and gas exploitation so that the U.S. is now a world leader in fossil fuel extraction. Expecting the U.S. to lead on climate change is like expecting the Nazis to have led on protecting the rights of Jewish people. (See "'The U.S. Must Lead' in Solving Climate Crisis? Excuse Us, But What Planet Do You Live On?")

As Obama spoke about the great things the U.S. is doing and his intention to do more on climate change, new studies in the scientific journals Nature Geoscience and Nature Climate Change showed that last year, more carbon pollution was poured into the air than ever before. The studies demonstrated that the world's leading carbon polluters—China, the U.S., and India—had jumps in carbon emissions, and no other countries even came close to these increases.

After trying to appear as the climate savior, Obama returned to the UN the next day to push for his brutal and unjust imperialist bombing in Syria.

Obama's UN climate speech again demonstrates that the U.S. and the other imperialist powers can only address the dangers of climate change from within the economics and politics of their system—and that these climate talks are just another form through which they pursue their imperialist interests, including to push forward their great power rivalry against competitors. None of this has anything to do with saving the planet. It's instead about saving and advancing the interests of the system that is destroying the planet.




Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

Hundreds of Thousands Join People's Climate March in New York City

September 29, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


View shown of whole people's climate march from above

Photo: AP

In response to the climate crisis, 300,000-400,000 people came into the streets on September 21 in New York City two days before a UN Climate Change Summit of world leaders. The people's climate march is the largest march of its kind in history and represents a potential turning point. The march's slogan "Change Everything" meant different things to different people. There were many contending viewpoints at the march about the cause and the solution to the crisis, but the march showed a deep feeling among millions that the actions of the world's powers do not measure up to what is needed, and that if the planet is going to be saved, it's up to the people. After the march, there is a moment to seize, a challenge to the revolutionaries to work consistently with people to connect standing up to save the planet together to building a movement for what has the only possibility of saving the planet, a revolution.

kids with climate change affects us most banner from slide show

Photo: AP

The march was led by young people representing indigenous peoples and people from the Global South—those who have done the least to cause climate change, but those suffering the most. The poorest on the planet will suffer indescribably more if things continue as they are, from drought, flooding, sea level rise, lack of food, massive displacement of whole populations and increasing conflicts. Youth and students poured out in record numbers to the march. Students came from hundreds of different campuses and one estimate said 50,000 students participated in the march.

picture of Revcom contingent

Photo: Special to

The Revolutionary Communist Party organized a contingent for the march: “Capitalism Is Destroying the Planet, We Need Revolution Nothing Less” (right). It had real impact with a big banner and striking chants about the source and revolutionary solution to the emergency. Only the overthrow of capitalism, and then the most radical and thoroughgoing socialist transformation of the economic and social system and its values can enable humanity to act on the climate crisis. What that would look like, and how a new and radically different state power would function, is spelled out in the Constitution for The New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) from the RCP, USA. Only a sustainable socialist economy and liberatory society make it possible to mobilize the knowledge and creative potential of people and to devote the necessary resources to truly confront and tackle this climate crisis--on the scale and with the urgency required.

Bangladesh flooded during monsoon season.

Bangladesh flooded during monsoon season. Photo: AP

Climate change is already causing more extreme storms and sea level rise. Scientists say the climate crisis is accelerating toward a catastrophe that will hit the poorest people on the planet the worst. The changing climate is caused by the build-up in Earth's atmosphere of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and other practices driven by the capitalist system.




Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

South Central LA Protest: "If you're sick of the murdering police—out of your houses, into the streets!"

September 23, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |



From a reader:

On September 20, people again took to the streets in the neighborhood where Ezell Ford and Omar Abrego were murdered by LAPD Newton Division police last month. About 50 people marched for miles through South Central, demanding justice and calling others into the streets (including explicitly, with the chant "If you're sick of the murdering police—out of your houses, into the streets!").

South Central LA March on September 20 against police murder

South Central LA: September 20, people take to the streets protesting the murders of Ezell Ford and Omar Abrego by police last month. Photo: special to

In front of Newton Division, people spoke and shouted and cried their bitterness and anger, in front of a line of pigs smirking and laughing at the horrific suffering the people were throwing back at them. Tkeyah Boyd, whose boyfriend Tyler Damon Woods was murdered by Long Beach police last year at the age of 19, yelled and demanded at the police: I have a two-year-old son, what am I supposed to do? Tell me what I'm supposed to do! A youth angrily told how police killed his cousin who was blind and had a twin brother, and how those twins relied on and helped each other. People demanded the arrest and jailing of the cops who killed Ezell and Omar, and a stop to the murders by police.

A youth who had been arrested for blowing a whistle at the police was brought up to the front. Ceebo tha Rapper, who has been targeted by police for his video "Fuck tha Police" in honor of Ezell Ford, explained that the whistles are a way people are protecting themselves from the police, and he exposed the police for harassing this youth, challenging them to arrest him now for blowing a whistle, while dozens of people blew whistles as loudly as they could. On the march back through South Central, people blew whistles the whole way, to the chant "Yo brother/sister, we got your back, we blow that whistle when the pigs attack!"

As the march arrived back at its beginning on 65th and Broadway, people stood in the intersection and immediately the pigs decided they were now going to try to put people back in their place. When people did not leave the intersection, more and more police cars showed up and dozens of pigs filled the streets—wearing riot gear, with tear gas/rubber bullet guns in hand, running in formation to block off the streets and push people back. People fell back off the main street and into the neighborhood but did not leave the street, and some people began to come out of their houses and join in. People blew whistles and refused to back down. Eventually the police retreated, and as they did one woman began a joyous chant: "Get on out!"

At the march on September 20 against the murders of Ezell Ford and Omar Abrego, the call went out to join the October Month of Resistance. Photo: special to





Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

World’s Number One War Criminal Declares He’s Ready to Lead!

by Larry Everest | September 29, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


The Stink Tank by Mr. Fish

The Stink Tank, by Mr. Fish

On September 24, U.S. President Barack Obama stood before the world and declared he was ready to lead. Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, Obama condemned the "cancer of violent extremism" in the Middle East, denounced "Russian aggression," and demanded other countries curb their pollution. "At this crossroads, I can promise you that the United States of America will not be distracted or deterred from what must be done."

Aggression? Violent extremism? Environmental devastation? The U.S. is already the leader of all this and more! Obama might as well have been covered with the blood of mangled civilians and stinking of exploded missiles and bombs dropped on Syria just the day before he spoke.

The U.S. has been the dominant power in the world for the last 70 years—the most threatening era and trajectory for humanity in recorded history.

The U.S. of A. birthed—and used!—nuclear weapons. It spread the sweatshop tentacles of capitalism-imperialism all over the earth, enslaving billions, fueling new rivalries, savaging the planet. It has contributed more than any other country to the global climate crisis. It has strangled the Middle East through religious tyrannies, Israel's ethnic cleansing of Palestine, and over 30 years of continuous economic, political, and military assaults on Iraq.

There's no force too reactionary, backward, or depraved for the U.S. to ally with when it suits its interests. In the 1980s, it armed and funded Osama bin Laden and other reactionary jihadists in Afghanistan. Since the 1940s, the U.S. has backed Saudi Arabia's fundamentalist monarchs, who routinely carry out public executions including beheadings. Now the U.S. is considering dealing with the blood-drenched mullahs ruling Iran. It declares whatever collection of gangsters it has pulled together as representing the "Free World."

Inside its borders, America has unleashed a slow genocide—a New Jim Crow—against Black and other oppressed peoples. It has presided over savage attacks on women and their basic rights. And while an epidemic of police murder rages, Obama had the nerve to mention Ferguson, Missouri, and then tell the world America was a model because it "has steadily worked to address our problems and make our union more perfect."

Right now the U.S. global empire—what Obama calls "the international system"—is facing a host of unprecedented challenges from various forces. And it's having a hard time dealing with them. That's why Obama condemned Russian aggression in Ukraine, China for not abiding by the U.S.-dictated "rules of the road" in the Asia-Pacific, and declared unending war on ISIS and religious fanaticism.

American imperialism has brought nothing but suffering and death to the world. Now Obama's latest call to do "what must be done" is about keeping the world as it is—with all its horrors and heading toward environmental catastrophe. He and the system he represents aren't fit to lead anything. Time's up! Time to work for revolution.




Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

Who Are You Calling Savages, USA?

September 29, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


More than anything else, it is the United States that has created the nightmare that is Iraq today.  The U.S. ruthlessly bombed Iraq during the 1991 Persian Gulf war, killing 100,000-200,000 people. The U.S. continued to bomb and sanction Iraq for the rest of the decade, killing over 500,000 children—with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright saying in response to being questioned about those deaths, “We think the price is worth it."  At the time that Madeleine Albright made this statement, she was the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

A constant theme in the U.S. media and other propaganda organs is that people in the Middle East are uncivilized, religious fanatics or bloodthirsty savages, and that whatever blunders the U.S. makes, it's doing its best to help them.

In "Iraq: The Outlaw State," Max Rodenbeck writes, "Constant and fearsome violence has obviously added hugely to Iraq's woes." (New York Review of Books, September 25, 2014, emphasis ours)

He frames the beheadings by ISIS (or ISIL, the reactionary jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) this way:

"In short, the country that is now Iraq—although alas not, perhaps, for much longer in its current shape—is no stranger to the ghoulish and macabre. The Mongols, famously, built pyramids of skulls when they pillaged and razed Baghdad in 1258 and again in 1401. It was in Iraq in the 1920s that Britain introduced newer, cheaper methods for keeping unruly natives under control, such as chemical weapons and aerial "terror" bombings. Saddam Hussein's three-decade-long Republic of Fear, with its gassing of Kurdish villagers, grotesque tortures, and mass slaughter of dissidents, made the later American jailers of Abu Ghraib look downright amateur."

Use of white phosphorus shells by the U.S., Fallujah, November 2004

The U.S. used white phosphorous shells in a massive and indiscriminate way against civilians in Fallujah, November 2004, during the offensive against Iraq. AP photo

What is left OFF this list? In regard to Iraq alone: only the deaths of more than 700,000 on both sides in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war stoked by the U.S. Only the 500,000 children killed between 1990 and 2003 as a result of U.S.-UN sanctions against Iraq. Only the 600,000 to one million who died and the 4.5 million driven from their homes as a result of the 2003-2011 U.S. war and occupation, which installed reactionary Shi'a fundamentalists and directly fueled religious fundamentalism and sectarian ethnic cleaning. In other words, what's been left off is the actual history of U.S. crimes—crimes which make every other invader, conqueror, and tyrant look like "downright amateurs."

These omissions and outright lies are training people how to think about the unending wars the U.S. is waging in the Middle East: that they're necessary and for good, that U.S. enemies are evil, and that people should support more barbaric imperialist crimes in the region!




Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

Cheers to Denver Students for Walkout vs. History Censorship

September 29, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Cheers to the thousands of students from at least nine high schools in the Denver, Colorado, area who have staged four days of rolling walkouts protesting school board efforts to change the history classes to ban teaching about the history of people's resistance to government authority in the country!

Newly elected conservative school board members have called for revamping the curriculum to "promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free-market system" and "respect for authority," and to avoid any material that would "encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law."

Hundreds of students lined pedestrian overpasses on the freeway or stood along streets waving signs like "It's world history, not white history" and "Don't censor my education."

Students protest at a busy intersection in Denver suburb of Littleton, September 25.

Students protest at a busy intersection in Denver suburb of Littleton, September 25. AP photo.

The experience seems like it has been a real eye-opener for the students, most of whom are white. "People think because we are teenagers we don't know things, but we are going home and looking things up," said a senior at one high school. "If they don't teach us civil disobedience, we will teach ourselves."

As the walkouts have spread (apparently organized mainly through Facebook and other social media), students have also taken a stand in support of the teachers against school board efforts to tie teacher pay raises to an "evaluation-based system." This would mean focus on test results, not whether teachers are actually teaching students to think critically.

Sympathetic parents have brought poster board, magic markers, and bottles of water, or have signed excuse slips so their kids can skip class to protest. And now there's word that emails are circulating among parents calling for them to protest as well. Meanwhile, students say they're planning an all-district walkout next week.




Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

Societal Abuse of Women—One Day, One Section, New York Times

September 22, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


From readers

A protest in the Philippines in  2009 after the rape of a Filipina woman by a U.S. Marine. The U.S. refused to turn the rapist over to Philippine courts citing the "Visiting Forces Agreement" (VFA) which provides immunity for U.S. military personnel accused of committing rape. On the protester's arms and on the ground is written "Jail Smith" (the Marine rapist) and "Junk VFA."

Not only are women within the U.S. military subject to high levels of sexual assault, an oppressive, dominating morality promotes a culture rape wherever the U.S. military goes. Above: A protest in the Philippines in  2009 after the rape of a Filipina woman by a U.S. Marine. The U.S. refused to turn the rapist over to Philippine courts citing the "Visiting Forces Agreement" (VFA) which provides immunity for U.S. military personnel accused of committing rape. On the protester's arms and on the ground is written "Jail Smith" (the Marine rapist) and "Junk VFA." Photo: AP

You think violence and brutality against women and patriarchal brutality against children is a National Football League (NFL) issue? Or a problem concentrated among Black athletes? Nobody should get a pass on brutality against women, but look around! We are just now leafing through a single section of today’s New York Times (9/20/14). There is a front page story on the NFL’s “blind spot” for “domestic violence.” No shit.

But jump ahead a few pages.

In Florida, a 28-year-old woman—who for six years tried to flee from or get legal protection from her father who brutalized and threatened her—was killed—according to police by her father who not only killed her, but her six children, and then himself. Agencies supposedly responsible for protecting women and children had piles of complaints and pleas from the victim on their desks when she died.

Next page: an article on how women in the U.S. Forest Service filed a legal complaint that they suffered sexual abuse from male co-workers and that top agency officials not only failed to do anything about it, but retaliated against them for reporting the assaults. One of the plaintiffs alleges that her supervisor put her in a chokehold and tried to rape her. After filing the complaint, she was fired. The Forest Service is—according to the Times—“reviewing the complaints.”

A few pages later, a headline: “Science’s Sexual Assault Problem.” The article documents that 26 percent of female scientists surveyed had been sexually assaulted during field work. The author of the piece notes that such assaults are usually co-workers and that a survey revealed that “perpetrators were predominantly senior to them professionally within the research team.”

And we’re not even addressing the situation on U.S. campuses, where the culture of pornification, an ethos of male right, and the legal system have created a situation where one in five women will be raped or sexually assaulted while in college.


This Constitution (Draft Proposal) is written with the future in mind. It is intended to set forth a basic model, and fundamental principles and guidelines, for the nature and functioning of a vastly different society and government than now exists: the New Socialist Republic in North America, a socialist state which would embody, institutionalize and promote radically different relations and values among people; a socialist state whose final and fundamental aim would be to achieve, together with the revolutionary struggle throughout the world, the emancipation of humanity as a whole and the opening of a whole new epoch in human history–communism–with the final abolition of all exploitative and oppressive relations among human beings and the destructive antagonistic conflicts to which these relations give rise.

Buy online at or at amazon (search for: Constitution-Socialist-Republic-America)


Send money orders or checks of $8 plus $2.78 shipping/handling/tax to: RCP Publications, PO Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654

Now Barack Obama has a YouTube up —joined by people who probably mean well—saying “It’s on us” to stop violence against women. Maybe someone should ask: who the fuck is the commander-in-chief of what is arguably the most dangerous place for a woman in the United States —the military—to be talking about violence against women? A 2013 study by the Pentagon found that it had received 5,061 reports of sexual assault involving troops (overwhelmingly by men against women, both in the military and civilian) but over half of women in the military say they would not bring charges of sexual assault for fear of retaliation. And of the thousands of reported assault cases, only 484 went to trial, 376 resulted in convictions, and 90 percent of the assault victims were eventually involuntarily discharged.

And beyond that, Obama is the president of the country that sits on top of a WORLD of women’s oppression.

EVERY woman in this society—and around the world—lives in the shadow of the threat of violence. You can’t “choose” your way out of this. And as much as we need to challenge the degradation of women—and unite with people who do—violence and brutality against women is so deeply embedded in every aspect of the culture of this society that trying to solve this piece-by-piece is like trying to dry up the ocean with an eyedropper.

That does not mean we have to live like this! Men aren’t born with a gene or an inherent desire to brutalize women. We want to direct readers attention to the piece “Reflections on ‘#YesAllWomen,’” by T. Redtree and in particular this story the author shares:

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

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




Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

Unleashing the Fury of Women at the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride Celebrations Nationwide

September 29, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Week of Defiance, August 2014

August 25 – September 1 was a nationwide WEEK OF DEFIANCE: Abortion on Demand and Without Apology! Image: Special to

In recent weeks in cities across the country (Los Angeles, Seattle, Berkeley, Chicago, and New York City), celebrations have been held to welcome back the courageous Abortion Rights Freedom Riders. These are over two dozen volunteers—ages 17 to 71—who put their lives on hold, traveled to Texas, and braved the blazing August heat, brutality and arrest, attack not only from anti-abortion forces but also from some very vicious "pro-choice" forces, to resist the greatest round of abortion clinic closures to hit a single state since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in 1973.

In 2011, Texas had 46 abortion clinics. By the beginning of this summer it was down to just 19 and it was on track to close all but six of those clinics on September 1. Fortunately, this final round of clinic closures did not go forward; it was blocked at the very last minute by a federal judge. Even more positively, two of the previously closed clinics—in the Rio Grande Valley and in El Paso—were given legal permission to re-open. However, the Texas attorney general immediately appealed this decision—thus the danger is far from over. Further, this attack in Texas is but one front of a nationwide assault on women's abortion rights. Around the country, abortion rights are in a state of emergency.

Sunsara Taylor and four other members of the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride were arrested on Wednesday, August 27, in Austin, Texas in the middle of Guadalupe St., bordering the campus of the University of Texas where 50,000 or so students just started class this week. Credit: American Statesman

All this constituted the backdrop and reason for the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride 2014: Ground Zero Texas. Without this ride, there would have been no public protest in Texas as these clinic closures went forward. Because of the ride, not only did the bold and uncompromising message, "Abortion on Demand and Without Apology," reach millions through the English- and Spanish-language media that picked up on the riders' efforts, but many people throughout Texas stepped forward to join in speaking out and standing up to resist. A new path of uncompromising resistance was carved out in opposition to the conciliation and capitulation to the anti-abortion fascists who have characterized the Democratic Party and those pro-choice forces who have subordinated themselves to the Democrats. This is tremendously significant and a profound accomplishment to build from.

audio LISTEN
Project Censored discusses why even left-leaning media outlets censored coverage of the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride with guests Dennis Traynor and Sunsara Taylor. Credit: Project Censored

At a time when people are told to think only about how much stuff they can acquire, how much prestige they can build up for themselves, or perhaps how they can "give back" just a bit within the confines of their own self-pursuit, the Abortion Rights Freedom Riders set a whole different example. They put the lives and the future of women before their own comfort or convenience, and put their bodies on the line to change the course of history. This truly is something to celebrate, to popularize, and for many more to learn from and emulate.

The celebrations included presentations from the riders about why they went to Texas, what they did over the course of more than a month on the road, and how this impacted people on the ground, throughout the country, and the riders themselves. Videos were shown depicting the heroic protests and arrests of the Freedom Riders on two different occasions. Many volunteers spoke of how they had planned to attend only for a few days or a couple of weeks but then extended their stays once they experienced directly not only the profound impact the ride was having, but also the uplifting camaraderie of living and working together with folks who were fighting together for the liberation of women. More than a few—including some in their 70s—said that taking part in the ride was the most meaningful thing they had been part of in their entire lives.

A woman in her 70s spoke about how she found the courage to tell for the first time the story of having been raped when she was younger and traveling to Mexico for an illegal abortion, and how this telling made her feel "lighter" than she'd ever felt before, especially knowing that this was part of fighting for a world where no woman ever has to face that again. Several young people spoke movingly about their decision to risk arrest and go to jail, some having to defy the threats and pleading from their parents, but who determined that the future of women was worth risking jail time. Volunteers told stories of watching each other go from polite and timid young women (much in line with how society trains women to be demure and nonaggressive) to bold and firm, including in the face of men who were issuing threats or even trying to run them over during their protests. Together, they brought alive the stakes and the meaning of stepping out and putting oneself on the line for real liberation.

Sunsara Taylor, writer for Revolution/ and key initiator of, which led the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride, attended the celebrations in Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, and Berkeley. She built off of and deepened the observations and stories shared by the other riders, drawing together a fuller picture as to why the ride was so viciously attacked—both because it was breaking with 40 years of the failed strategy that dominates the "pro-choice movement" and because of the participation of communists like herself and other supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Party in this effort.

"Of course the RCP and its supporters were involved in this fight," Taylor said, explaining that they refuse to see women beaten down and slammed backwards and that they see building up this fight as a key part of hastening and preparing for a revolution that finally puts an end to the oppression of women as well as the terror against Black and Latino youth, the destruction of the environment, and the other horrors of the system of capitalism-imperialism. She explained that the RCP and its supporters welcome and stand with everyone coming from other perspectives who see the need to stand up and fight back. She took on the attacks that were leveled with particular venom against Bob Avakian (BA), Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, explaining that BA has made leaps in forging a strategy to actually win a revolution in a country like this and the vision of how to take that forward to complete emancipation and challenging everyone to get into this. She highlighted and invited all to attend and help build for the upcoming historic Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian on Revolution and Religion on November 15 in New York City.

Taylor concluded by returning to the heightened stakes facing women's right to abortion and the battle for women's liberation more broadly and called on everyone present to get involved in taking this struggle higher, in particular through plans being developed to mobilize major outpourings under the banner "Abortion on Demand and Without Apology" on January 22, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, in both San Francisco and Washington, DC. This will counter the annual "March for Life" that brings tens of thousands of anti-abortion fanatics out in both of those places.

In Los Angeles, Carol Downer, co-founder of the Feminist Women's Health Centers and Advisory Board member to the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride, spoke about how invigorating it was to be part of the ride for a week. She shared how struck she was at the impact the riders had, how much they were able to transform the thinking of those they encountered and how correct it was to "put women back in the picture" of this battle. In New York City, Merle Hoffman, CEO of Choices Women's Medical Center in Queens and Advisory Board member to the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride, gave a salute to all the riders present and spoke powerfully to the great import of people being willing to fight for the truth and take actions that were consistent with the stakes confronting women. Both of these women started providing abortions in 1971 and brought their decades of experience and wisdom to the ride, which was recognized and appreciated by the riders as well.

In all, deep lessons were summed up and shared for those who gathered—friends, family members, classmates, progressive congregations, revolutionaries, abortion providers, and folks from all walks of life. Before and after the formal presentations, folks hung out, shared food, and got involved in the efforts going forward. All this truly was something great to celebrate and the gatherings lasted late into the night.


See report from the LA celebration here.




Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

A Report from a Rider on the Los Angeles Abortion Rights Freedom Ride Celebration
Break the Chains! Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution!

September 29, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

On September 14, Revolution Books Los Angeles held a celebration to welcome and honor the Abortion Rights Freedom Riders and hear them report back from a historic month-long battle which focused on not only preventing the closure of abortion clinics in Texas but 1) Launching a national counter-offensive against the assaults on abortion rights 2) Changing the terms in the fight around abortion, as the attacks on abortion have never been about babies, they have been about controlling women 3) Relying on ourselves to turn the tide on these attacks on abortion, and fight through to defeat the war on women.

A fellow freedom rider and I relayed what went through our minds when we decided to get arrested as part of the resistance waged during the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride:

We imagined what our lives would look like in a worst-case scenario—6 months to 2 years in prison, not finishing college, and being disowned by our parents. But, after imagining what the lives of women would look like—the thousands forced to self-induce and millions more forced into motherhood, we realized there was an objective need to put our lives-our bodies, on the line. Proceeding from the reality that WHEN ABORTION IS ILLEGAL WOMEN DIE, our determination to bring the woman back into the picture was fully unleashed. Knowing that we were reminding humanity that women are full human beings, and their lives and dreams are worth more than blastocysts, embryos, and fetuses, made being in handcuffs the most liberating experience of our lives.

Our report back struck a chord with a lot of people: some were so touched by our righteous rebellion, they cried, saying that more "people need to be taking this up," and others believed the riders' actions were reminiscent of the individuals that galvanized the movement of the '60s.

What struck a chord with me was one of my comrades revealing that the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride gave her a platform to tell her pre-Roe v. Wade abortion story for the first time in her life, which she described as an act that made her "feel lighter."

A rider who participated in last year's ride described the two rides as incomparable. He comically explained how Stop Patriarchy gave him countless "Oh shit" moments because members never feared bringing in revolution or confronting patriarchy head on and "WITHOUT APOLOGY."

Sunsara Taylor talked about how we were hated by some and loved by others for the same reason—our refusal to compromise women's lives concentrates our principled method and approach during the ride. The fact that supporters of abortion rights despised us caught many by surprise. The slander, which consisted of unprincipled attacks on Bob Avakian, accusations of racism—even sexism, ad hominem attacks on Sunsara, and even calling us "little bitches" for not asking certain self-proclaimed organizers in Texas before we came to fight for the lives of women, encapsulates that the phrase "War on Women" is no hyperbole. These attacks really brought to light the great NEED to link everything up, to go after patriarchy as an institution and fight not just for abortion to be readily available, but to break all the chains that enslave women, and to break with the culture that perpetuates the oppression and degradation of women.

Carol Downer, co-founder of the Feminist Women's Health Centers and member of the Advisory Board to the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride, emphasized the importance of bringing the woman back into the picture which epitomized what we were out to do and how this ride was one of the best times in her life (read "No One Has to Ask Permission to Fight For Women's Liberation" by Carol Downer).

Another comrade exposed the dire situation regarding women in Brownsville (a place in southern Texas with no clinics) where she said the women she spoke with would tear-up when she asked them about the rape and sexual violence that 80 percent of the women crossing the border face. This comrade also stressed the importance of getting the BREAK ALL THE CHAINS! compendium by Bob Avakian out and called on everyone in the audience to read and wrangle with it.

This celebration modeled what breaking away from the revolting culture looks like. There were discussions of the essential importance of unleashing the fury of women and what it will take to end this degradation, which manifests itself throughout the entire globe. These conversations are the conversations we should be having in society. This is what our culture should consist of—people getting together, wrangling with theory, discussing BA, reading poetry and, of course, eating good food, and having fun.




Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

It's ALL about Getting Free:

The Forest and the Trees

September 18, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


To the editor:

I went to a meeting this week on building the dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West coming up on November 15. The meeting had a really good short talk on the importance of this Dialogue and then people broke down into groups to get into how to build it. There was a good spirit in the air. But that’s not what I’m writing about here.

Instead, I’m writing about a conversation I had with a friend right before the meeting, as people were hanging around. This comrade told me he had gone to a big rally of hundreds of students against police murder and mass incarceration. He told me how he had talked about the Month of Resistance against Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation at this rally, and really got into some good points on that, but that he didn’t get into the dialogue until the end and he was running out of time. He felt bad about this and he asked my advice.

I told him honestly that it sounded like he was losing sight of how things were related in reality. If you keep reality in mind, it really shouldn’t be that hard. If I were at that rally, I told him, even if I only had a few minutes to talk to people, I would tell them that I was there to talk about getting FREE of the horrors that this system just can’t seem to get rid of. I’m talking about ENDING this shit, and I’m talking about emancipation, and if YOU want to get free I’m here to recruit you into a movement to do that. Right now this movement is working to make a giant leap, and it’s doing two huge things this fall as part of that.

One big thing is working with hundreds and even thousands of other people all over to make October a whole month of resistance against this genocidal system of the “New Jim Crow,” to change the very way that people think, talk and act about these questions and to actually move to STOP all this. And then, right after that, we’re building a major Dialogue on November 15 between Bob Avakian and Cornel West on “Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion.”

Then you could talk about the Month—and this could be very simple, along the lines of the short new piece that is on page one of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network home page about how this month is going to be like a giant STOP sign to society. I would make sure to let people know how they can get hooked in, and that however they want to act, there is room for them. You could even at this point lead people in the oral part of the pledge (that is also on the first page of the Stop Mass Incarceration website).

Then, right away, you get back to the Dialogue. You say that many people know about Cornel West, but you could still say a little about him just the same—what a unique and invaluable role he plays in fighting for a just and meaningful life, and fighting for the people, up against the dominant culture and ethos of this society. And then you could say that not enough people know about Bob Avakian—yet—but that’s gotta change and it’s gonna change. 'Cuz BA is the leader who’s actually developed a strategy for REVOLUTION right here in this country as part of a world revolution AND a plan for a new society where these horrific outrages are done away with and we build a new society where ALL people can flourish and be free. And this dialogue is gonna be all about that: Can we get free? Can we really do away with this monstrous way of life, which is nothing but a way of death? Can we get to a different world? You’re going to hear BA—someone who’s done the work on this on a whole other level, who’s developed the science of revolution and gone way beyond what has been done before and has been leading a party that is built on that foundation—in dialogue with Cornel West, who from his own standpoint has also been right there on the front lines, fearlessly telling the truth and standing with the people and never settling in. You’re going to see two people who share a deep love for the masses of people. I would tell people to definitely listen to the interview that Cornel did with BA at to get a sense of what this was going to be getting very deeply into. And you tell people how there’s nothing like seeing BA live and in person, and this is definitely NOT to be missed if you are at all interested in getting free.

You could say that we are gonna build up the love to defend these leaders against all the attacks that we know this system brings down on leaders who do lead people to stand against it, especially as they begin to get a hearing and a following, attacks that are coming down even now. If you’re speaking to an audience of those the system has cast off and dogged, you can make the point that this dialogue is for YOU, that you will be WELCOME there, and we will work with you to make sure that you can get there—because you have a crucial role and special role to play in this whole revolution we’re talking about and you need to know this leader. And you could tell people they need to stay plugged into to know all about this, to get the real deal in real time. And that again, you are here to recruit people into a movement that is going for a whole different way of life.

Now you might not have enough time to do all that. Or you might have time and freedom to do more. But you make that big point about what is fundamentally needed—getting free, revolution—and who you are and that we got something for people to do right now to make a big leap in getting there. And you get into those two big things that are going into the big leap. And if you’ve been asked to speak representing a specific organization—like Stop Mass Incarceration, the level of unity of which is around that specific goal—you make clear that “speaking for yourself” you are down with making a revolution to get free and you see fighting to stop this horrific genocidal program as part and parcel of that, laying out that people need to be making plans for and telling people about this Dialogue.

It shouldn’t be—it isn’t—that hard. But we get bollixed up when we lose sight of the basic relationship in reality of the different things we are doing. We lose sight of the forest for the trees, and begin treating each tree like a boxed-off thing unto itself. But in reality, a tree is part of a larger eco-system. And everything people are up against in society, and wanting and needing to fight, springs from—or at least is maintained, reinforced and driven forward—by a social system, an OPPRESSIVE social system. Everything we do is about leading people to get free of that system and is part of a plan to do that—to get free, through revolution. That means uniting with people in resistance and taking that resistance higher. It means showing, as we do, that there’s a way out of all this insanity and needless oppression. And if you’re doing that—if you’re “living there”—then you’re gonna see both how important it is that this Month of Resistance involve tens and even hundreds of thousands of people in resistance, AND how crucially important and potentially impactful this November Dialogue could be—the unique chance to hear BA live and in person and in dialogue with Cornel West, and the very rare and absolutely-not-to-be-missed opportunity that it is.




Revolution #355 September 29, 2014

We Call Bullshit!

October 7, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper |

The following was written by two young revolutionaries:

Can we talk about the world? Over one billion people live in slums. In the past century, tens of millions of civilians across the globe have been murdered, tortured, and driven from their homelands by the leading global superpower—the United States—alone. That same global superpower imprisons nearly 2.4 million people, the majority of whom are Black and Latino, while working to the bone, terrorizing, detaining, and deporting millions of immigrants who cross its borders after making life unbearable in their home countries. Millions of women around the globe are raped, beaten, and trafficked as sex slaves each year. Tens of thousands of children die every day from starvation and preventable diseases. The planet itself faces the threat of literal extinction due to a multifaceted environmental emergency. And all this isn't even the half of it. Or anywhere close.

If anyone wishes to argue that the above statements are not true, that humanity can do no better, or that all this can be fixed with merely a few minor adjustments—let's hear it. And good luck! Otherwise, the following demands serious, substantive, and honest engagement:

There is a person on this planet who has dedicated his life to putting an end to these and countless other horrors confronting humanity. For the past several decades, that person—Bob Avakian, the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party—has been engaging in exhaustive, uncompromising, and ever-deepening analysis of why the world is the way it is and how it could be radically different. On the basis of the work Avakian has done over those decades to sum up the positive and negative experiences of the communist revolution so far, as well as many other streams of human endeavor, he has come up with a new synthesis of communism. Because of Avakian and the work he has done, there is a vision—and an actual Constitutionfor an entirely different and far better socialist society, on the road to a communist world free of all exploitation and oppression. Because of Avakian and the work he has done, there is a strategy—and an actual strategy statementfor how to make a revolution to reach that society and world. Because of Avakian and the work he has done, there is a Party and a movement—which Avakian is leading—working every day to hasten and prepare for the emergence of the future conditions that would make revolution possible.

It bears repeating: All this objectively demands serious, substantive, and honest engagement from anyone who yearns for a different world than the nightmare in which humanity is currently trapped. And indeed, as has been powerfully brought to life in the pages of Revolution newspaper, increasing numbers of people from all strata and in all spheres of society have been finding out about and engaging Avakian, transforming in powerful and exhilarating ways as a result, and contributing to spreading his work and vision throughout society. And yet, it is still the case that far too many people—including those who consider themselves radicals and progressives and say that they want to change the world—choose to dismiss Avakian and his work without even the pretense of engagement.

In no other realm would this fly. If a doctor had spent decades tirelessly studying cancer and, on that basis, announced that she had found a cure for the disease... if an astronomer made an unprecedented breakthrough in further understanding the origins and development of the universe... if a musician had pioneered a whole new style or sound or technique... if a sports coach had invented a whole new offensive or defensive strategy... and people, including those who fancied themselves enthusiasts of these various spheres, reacted by saying: "I don't need to check this out. I already know what I need to know"—this would be laughed out of town. But somehow, this dismissal without engagement is viewed as a perfectly valid and acceptable response to breakthroughs that forge the pathway for all of humanity to be emancipated from conditions of unbelievable misery and suffering.

We call bullshit.

In What Humanity Needs: Revolution, and the New Synthesis of Communism, an Interview With Bob Avakian, Avakian makes the point:

"When people are falling into bullshit, they should be told so. Now, that's not all you should say. You should show them why. You should give them the substance. You should explain to them what's wrong. But this idea that everything has to be all so super-polite—this goes along with the relativist notion that everybody's ideas should be considered equally valid. Well, no. It's not a question of the person, it's a question of the ideas. It's not that one person counts for less than another person, but it's a question of whether the ideas are correct or incorrect. If they're incorrect, and if they're doing harm, they need to be called out sharply. Not in a way that puts people down. Not in a way that's antagonistic toward them—unless what they represent is really, fundamentally antagonistic to the interests of the masses of people, and they're digging in their heels around that. But among the people, so to speak, wrong ideas should be struggled over. Where people are putting forward different notions that are really wrong, and they are digging in their heels around them, they should be struggled with sharply. And where people say things that they don't have a basis for saying, where they haven't really investigated, they need to be told: you don't know what you're talking about."

In that spirit, and with that orientation, let's look at some of the common ways that this dismissal without engagement gets expressed, as well as some of the underlying assertions and arguments:

"I don't need to engage Avakian; I already know what I need to know."

We call bullshit.

You already know what you need to know? OK, then: What is your analysis of the system that we live under, its fundamental laws, dynamics, and contradictions, the things it does all over the world and how these things are connected, and the major global changes created by the unfolding of this system over the last several decades? What will it take to get rid of this system and completely uproot the global divisions and inequalities that exist between those who work with their hands and those who work with ideas, between men and women, between people of different nationalities and between nations? Do we really need to make a revolution? And, if so, then why is revolution necessary, what kind of revolution do we need, what's the strategy, and—when the conditions for this have been brought into being—how could we actually win against the most powerful, vicious, and repressive state in the history of the world? What are the key driving forces, obstacles to be transformed, and questions to be wrestled with in the process of making revolution? How would we go about building a whole new socialist society and ensure that it is a transition to a whole worldwide system of communism? What role can and should dissent play in a socialist society? What actually happened in China and Russia when they were genuinely socialist countries? Did communism "fail" in these countries, or was it defeated? What was tremendously positive about these socialist revolutions, and what must be done differently the next time we make revolution?

Since "you already know what you need to know," what are your answers to all these questions? Have you even thought of all these questions?

Avakian has spent more than three decades studying these and many other questions, and developing a new synthesis of communism that actually answers them. He has done this while learning very broadly from many different realms, including science, art and culture. He has dug into the rich history of the previous socialist revolutions—into their great achievements, and yes, their shortcomings. And through this work, and from continuing to learn from the masses themselves and the continuous struggles that have developed, he's forged a way out of the horrors of the capitalist-imperialist system. And if you actually care about the future of humanity, then you have a responsibility to get into his work and engage it. And you have a responsibility to examine for yourself whether it really does hold the answers we say it does.

"Communism is a nice idea on paper... but it doesn't work."

We call bullshit.

First things first: Where has capitalism ever worked? Can you name a period of even one day when capitalism hasn't meant the brutal exploitation of the masses in the name of profits? Can you name a capitalist-imperialist power that hasn't sat on top of a worldwide system of oppression that has led to the wholesale destruction of the planet and its resources? And let's talk about this country—the "good ol' US of A"—that has waged more murderous wars of terror than any other nation in history, that was born out of a history of genocide of native people and centuries of slavery, that today actually has more Black men locked away in torturous conditions in prison than it even held under slavery, and that imprisons more women than any country in the history of the world. So, again: where has capitalism ever worked? Even for a minute?

And guess what? That same capitalist system of destruction, torture, and murder is also a deceitful one! That capitalist system has fed you countless lies about the history of socialism and communism! Did you know, for example, that because of the socialist revolution in China, the literacy rate went from 15 percent to 80 percent in less than 30 years? That socialist China was able to wipe out prostitution in just a matter of years and lift the stigma off of women who had been victimized by sex trafficking while also doing away with the horrific practice of foot-binding that had been practiced for generations?

That before the socialist revolution of 1949, massive famines periodically caused the deaths by starvation of millions and millions of peasants in China and that even in "good times" severe hunger and starvation were common—but that within roughly 15 years after this revolution, China had solved its food problem and everyone had enough to eat? Did you know that socialist Russia—which emerged from a backward, semi-feudal society—made strides in the emancipation of women that had never been done anywhere else in the world? That before the socialist revolution of 1917, Russia had been characterized by such horrific oppression of minority nationalities that it was known as the "prison house of nations," while after this socialist revolution, Russia placed a priority on channeling resources to minority regions and working to uproot the tremendous inequalities between nations? [See the Set the Record Straight website,] Did you know that the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China was actually a movement of hundreds of millions to prevent the revolution from being betrayed and to instead carry forward that revolution's emancipatory and transformative mission in every sphere of society?

And guess what else? Avakian has not only dug deep into the real history of Russia and China and brought forward the reality that they were incredibly emancipatory societies that were really working toward a world free of exploitation and oppression. He has also shown why those revolutions were defeated, and how to do better and go further next time. And while upholding the overwhelmingly positive character of these societies, he's also made criticisms of this experience and made significant ruptures in areas including epistemology, strategy, internationalism, and the nature of socialist society—as part of developing a new synthesis of communism that forges the way for us to do even better in the next stage of communist revolution.

"Who is Avakian to say he has the solution to the world's problems?"

We call bullshit.

Who is Avakian to say he has the solution to the world's problems? He is someone who does have the solution to the world's problems. He's someone who has done the work. Engage that work honestly and you will see for yourself. He has dedicated his life to digging deeply into what the problem in the world is, and what the solution is. He has deeply studied Marx, Lenin, and Mao and the entire past experience—in theory and practice—of the international communist movement and the socialist societies it has brought into being. He has learned from history and science, art and culture, philosophy, and even sports and music and comedy—all to forge a new synthesis of communism! This new synthesis is not just a "cut and paste" job but a real re-envisioning of what it will take for humanity to be free and what we need to be doing to get there. He's someone who has also, all through that process, been leading a revolutionary vanguard party. A party that is forging a movement for revolution right here in this country! And he's someone who continues to learn very broadly, who continues to provide answers to the most vexing questions facing the revolution while also posing new questions that must be wrangled with in the process of working towards a radically different world. And he's someone who has taken the responsibility of leading the masses of people to understand all of this for themselves.

Now here's a question in return: Who are you to say Avakian doesn't have the solution to the world's problems? Are you someone who has actually deeply engaged his new synthesis and, on that basis, has a substantive argument to offer for why it is not what humanity needs? If so, let's hear it, because we are the last people to be afraid of a principled, substantive debate focused on the question of what is the problem facing humanity and what is the solution. And we are confident that this new synthesis does, in fact, represent the way out of the horrors facing the world.

Or, are you instead seeking to rule out of order the very idea of putting forward a solution to the world's problems, without even engaging the specific solution being put forth and hoping nobody calls you on this?

"I don't follow leaders."

We call bullshit.

Did you just wake up one morning and come up with the idea, "I don't follow leaders" all by yourself? Out of nowhere, without anyone or anything leading you to think that? You and how many other people?

News flash: Under this system, you didn't—and don't—get to decide anything of consequence about how this society and world function, about how individuals and groups relate to each other, and about the ideas, culture, and morality that predominate. Did you decide how the food you eat and the clothes you wear were made? Did you decide that the U.S. and other imperialist countries should slaughter and torture people around the globe? Did you decide that a woman should not be able to walk down the street without fear of being raped? That a youth of color should not be able to walk down the street without fear of being killed by the police? Did you get to decide whether or not you have a job, and what kind of job, and whether you earn enough income to have food and housing? And if you do have a job, when you go to work do you get to decide what you do there and how you can best contribute your knowledge and abilities to the betterment of humanity? Or even how long your lunch break is? Did you pick what is taught in schools? What is played on the radio? What is covered in the media? The programs that are shown on TV?

Wake up. You are being led every second of every day, in every sphere of your life. You are being led by a system of capitalism-imperialism in which nothing—including the basic necessities you need to survive—is made or done unless it generates profit. A system in which billions of people—and entire groups of people—are viciously and violently subjugated, and in which the entire planet is plundered. And you are being led—and forced—to accept all of this by the people who rule and enforce this system, and who shape the ideas that have influence in society.

And here's something else: Any idea you have about the state of the world and what should be done about it is one you were led to have. If you think this system is the best humanity can do, or that the world is the way it is because of human nature... if you think that the world is the way it is because of "god's will" and we need to "leave things to the lord"... if you think the problem is the "two-party system" and the solution is a third party... if you think that the problem is "capitalism run amok" and the solution is "more regulation"... if you think that the problem is that the U.S. "is not living up to its democratic principles" and the solution is "expanding democracy"... if you think that the problem is "hierarchy" and the solution is "horizontalism" and "leaderless movements"... if you think the problem is that "capitalism and communism have both failed" and the solution is "something in between these two systems"... there is not one of these ideas that you thought up on your own.

The question is not whether or not you follow leaders. The question is: What kind of leadership will you follow? Leadership that traps, tricks, and tails people—lowering their sights, in one form or another, to accept this system, its confines, and its ways of thinking as all that is possible? Or leadership that raises people's sights beyond the horizon, by challenging, training, and unleashing them to deeply understand and radically transform the world, and to unleash still others to do the same? Or, put another way: Leadership that is rooted in, reflects, perpetuates, enforces, and ultimately keeps things contained within this system and all the shit it brings down on humanity? Or radically different leadership to get rid of this system and bring an entirely different and much better world into being—leadership to emancipate humanity?

And if you don't want to choose the first of those two options, then here is a further question: Do you really, honestly think it is possible without leadership for millions of people to see the need for, and—when the future conditions have emerged—to actually make a revolution to defeat, dismantle, and abolish this capitalist-imperialist state and bring new institutions of a new, revolutionary system into being?... For the new society to go on from there to meet the material, cultural, and intellectual needs of the people while working to overcome inequalities and divisions that have been entrenched for centuries, keeping things moving in an overall direction towards communism while allowing for the maximum dissent and ferment at all times? Do you think all necessary societal tasks can be fulfilled, and all contradictions that are bound to arise in the process can be navigated? All in a way that advances—rather than undermines—the world revolution and works towards an entire planet without any exploitation, oppression, or antagonistic divisions?

Really?! You think all this can happen without leadership?

Here's what it all comes back to: The world is a horror, it has been for thousands of years, and it doesn't need to be. Either that is going to remain the case, or the world is going to be fundamentally and radically changed in a way that puts an end to the suffering of billions. When someone has done the work, forged the vision and strategy, and is providing the leadership necessary to emancipate humanity, it is the responsibility of anyone with a heart and a conscience to engage this.

As Avakian puts it in An Invitation:

"Let's go on a crucial journey together—full of unity against oppression and lively struggle about the source of the problem and the solution. Pursue your own convictions—that the outrages that move you are intolerable—to their logical conclusion, and be determined not to stop until those outrages have been eliminated. And if this, as well as learning about other outrages, and ideas about how all this fits together and flows from a common source—and how it could all be ended, and something much better brought into being—leads in the direction of seeing not only the need for bold and determined resistance, but also the need for revolution and ultimately communism, then don't turn away from that because it moves you beyond your comfort zone, challenges what had been your cherished beliefs, or because of prejudices and slanders. Instead, actively seek to learn more about this revolution and its goal of communism and to determine whether it is in fact the necessary and possible solution. And then act accordingly."




Revolution #355 September 29, 2014


September 30, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Message from Carl Dix, co-founder, Stop Mass Incarceration Network


We are right up on October. Every day there's another story about someone being murdered by the police. These are accompanied by report after report of people in prison being subjected to brutality that amounts to torture. We must take up the spirit of the youth of Ferguson and say NO MORE to these horrors.

We must begin this by gathering and reading the Pledge of Resistance on October 1, and we must act on that pledge thruout the month. Thru our activities we must show to one and all that there are thousands of people who are determined to end these horrors, and we must continue to act to do that beyond October.

There are a few things I think we need to highlight as we go about putting up a big STOP SIGN to mass incarceration and police terror.

1. Let everyone know about Alice Walker's poem “Gather” and Chuck D's audio Pledge to Resist in October by spreading the links to them everywhere.

2. Drive as many people as possible to the web site:, so they can find out about October and see what's being done in cities across the country.

3. Spread the link to our Indiegogo crowd funding page and raise money to make our efforts in October as powerful as possible in other ways. Volunteers are needed to call those who have endorsed the call and ask them to support October in additional ways, especially by giving money.

4. Continue to send your plans for October into

5. Take pictures, record videos and do reports on everything you do and send them in to

Also we are assembling a delegation of people to Ferguson in response to the Call for Ferguson Weekend, October 10-13. If you can go down to Ferguson for this weekend, or part of the weekend, let us know and start raising money to help defray the cost of the delegation. If you need financial assistance to get to Ferguson, let us know. If you aren't able to go to Ferguson October 10-13, raise money to make it possible for the delegation to go down and stand with the people in Ferguson AND spread the message of the October Month of Resistance.

And finally, we are assembling a beginning speakers bureau that the media can contact for interviews. The people on it are: Iris Baez, Carl Dix, Collette Flanagan, Nicholas Heyward Sr., Rev. Jerome McCorry, Efia Nwangaza and Juanita Young. This info will go up on the web site very soon, and it will include brief bios and ways to contact these speakers.

Let's do all we can to mobilize the kind of resistance that can make October the beginning of the end for mass incarceration.

Carl Dix  




Revolution #355 September 29, 2014


Featuring Cornel West and Carl Dix—Joined by Iris Baez and Juanita Young

October 2, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Tuesday, October 7, 8:15 PM
Columbia School of Social Work
C- Level Rooms 

1255 Amsterdam Ave.
New York City

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