Revolution #383, April 20, 2015 (

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #383 April 20, 2015


A14—Going Back on the Offensive to Stop Murder by Police

April 16, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


The demonstrations against police murder on April 14 marked a new beginning for the struggle against this outrage. This is crucially important, for without mass struggle there can be no progress whatsoever and the powers-that-be will just hammer people into the ground. Further, these demonstrations had important potential significance for revolution—for finally getting free of a society in which murder by police continues to go on daily and more, and people continue to be oppressed more generally... a society in which the lives of Black and other oppressed people are treated as if they do not matter.  A14 was a great day, a great beginning—and now the challenge is to learn the lessons and take it further.

Last fall, sparked by the actions of the “defiant ones" in Ferguson, Missouri, thousands rose up. They took over the streets against the outrageous decisions to NOT indict the police responsible for murdering first, Eric Garner in New York and then, not even a month later, Michael Brown in Ferguson. Then the powers-that-be hit back. They took advantage of the killings of police in New York to silence people. The police in New York City and around the country used those killings to “flex their muscles” and threaten people, and the politicians who had temporarily posed as allying with the movement suddenly began to call for moratoriums on demonstrations. In January, demonstrators who attempted to block traffic in Massachusetts and Stanford students who did the same in California were hit with very heavy charges. Then the Justice Department and Attorney General Eric Holder—who many had told the people to put their faith in—not only failed to indict the murderer of Michael Brown, but fabricated an identical story to that of the original prosecutor, essentially blaming the unarmed Brown for his own murder.

All this put a pall on the movement. Even though masses of people had NOT stopped rising up—in Washington, in Madison, in Philly and elsewhere—there was not a nationwide retaking of the offensive. Things were in danger of being bottled back up, with masses forced off the streets and the activists burrowed into micro-projects that did not challenge things on a scale where all society had to take notice. The powers-that-be were trying to lock tight the door that had been burst open in the fall, and—to be perfectly frank—they were having some success at this. Meanwhile, one murder by police followed another, one more outrageous than the last.

Spanish language media, especially La Opinión in Los Angeles and El Diario in New York played an important role in publicizing April 14, and in covering what happened that day. See La Opinión, "Desde Los Ángeles convocan a paro nacional por tiroteos de policías"

La Opinion April 10

In the face of all that, these actions on April 14 kicked that door back open! The several thousands who took the streets, braving police attacks and arrests, stated by their actions that “no, we are NOT going back. We ARE going forward, to STOP these outrageous murders.” These were not as big as the demonstrations in the fall; nor were they as big, and defiant, as they need to be... and can become. But, again, the people on A14 DID kick the door back open and they opened up the possibility for many many more people to surge through that door—that is, to go back on the offensive. To use a metaphor, it’s as if an army that is hemmed in suddenly opens a breach in the enemy’s lines—now the question is how to push on through and change the whole momentum of things.

This must be done. And the work to do that—and to make that count toward a revolution — must begin now. From that very standpoint of now going forward, we want to emphasize a few points:

On the Offensive

It is very important to go on the political and legal offensive against any brutality perpetrated by police and any arrests they made. This is an absolutely necessary part of the fight, and an important way to draw in new people. At the same time, it is even more important to stay on the offensive against the overall outrage of murders by police.

The Role of the Youth

A major element—you could even say the driving force—in the success of A14 were the youth who are fed up with this and refuse to be bottled up, or put in the pen of protest-as-usual. These youth came with a moral certitude that was really refreshing and has to be fostered. Those who flooded into the streets blocking traffic... those who stood firm against threats and brutality... those who showed real determination—all that has to be defended and, more than that, built on. These youth included people from all sections of society, including the most oppressed. In addition, and related to that, the kinds of things done by students at UC Berkeley who refused to let other students go through the gate to school, and grew in numbers through doing that... the students in the ghetto high schools of Chicago and LA who defied authorities—and in some cases were arrested—to walk out of school... the young man at De Paul who lay down with a Stolen Lives poster the day before A14 and thereby challenged other students—this too has to be built on, given more expression and more initiative. This spirit is a major positive good thing and we need more of it!

Three Strikes

This System Is Illegitimate

It is very important to continue to hammer at the legitimacy of the crimes of murder by police and the criminals who inflict them, and what it says about the legitimacy of the whole system which defends and requires those crimes. The Stolen Lives poster, and the larger installations that were made of that, were a key way in which people were re-polarized and given strength and determination for A14. These should be used even more in the months to come.

At the same time, these posters point to something deeper—to a whole history of this country and this system... a whole current-day reality in which “white supremacy”—a way of life whose viciousness and horror cannot be captured in those two words—has been interwoven with the development of capitalism-imperialism. Today that development and that interweaving have given rise to a program with a genocidal thrust. People need to be given the ways to dig more deeply into that. And they need to be exposed to the fact that this Party has an answer to that, and a way for people to really get free.

One important lesson of this struggle was the role played by the premieres of REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion, the film of the dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. This film raised the sights and strengthened the initiative of most of those who saw it; and while this film plays and must play a far larger role than that, it is still important to note the connection. Similarly, not only carried out exposure of this outrage, but showed its source in society and its links to other struggles, here and around the world; exposed the need for revolution, and showed how this battle contributed to that; and gave guidance to the movement as to how to meet the challenges it encountered. And Revolution Clubs played an important role building for and on April 14. All this must be built on and linked even more closely to this struggle.

Build on—and Keep Fighting for—the Unity

One real strength of A14 was the breadth of those who supported it and came out to it. People came from all different parts of society, from homeless to more comfortable, as well as  prominent people from the clergy, the arts, the sciences, and elsewhere spoke out in support. A few days before April 14, La Opinión, the largest Spanish-language paper in the U.S., featured a major story on the Shut It Down protests, including a big front-page photo of the Stolen Lives banner. Activists in the struggle around the 43 Mexican students kidnapped by the government were a part of the day in NYC, and they marched with a banner with the faces of the missing youth, alongside the huge banners of victims of police murder in the U.S. This presented people very broadly with the fact they need to take a stand—and it gave them a way in to do so. Very important within that was the powerful role played by the relatives of those who have been murdered by the police. This unity should be further forged and their voice in society must be more powerfully amplified. In addition, a small but significant number of people associated with the “street life” called on people to not fight each other but to fight the system on this day.

This unity and this will needs to be organized. Without organization, what is needed cannot happen. But the Stop Mass Incarceration Network has tremendous potential to grow off A14, and grow it must—the time is now to seize that opportunity. There are all kinds of things that SMIN could do if those who actually support its mission could be organized and given things to do. In addition, there is a real need to raise money—aren’t there  all kinds of people who supported what was done on A14 who would donate to increase the capacity of the organization that worked, struggled, stayed up all night and threw all they had into making it happen?

But even if organized, this unity cannot go forward in a straight line nor can it be preserved in a static way. But it CAN advance and it MUST advance. This will require us to confront new challenges which will be posed to this unity by both the powers-that-be and forces who, for their own reasons, don’t like that unity. Bob Avakian’s work “Freedom and Necessity, and Proceeding from a Strategic Standpoint: Some Thoughts on Methods and Leadership” provides very good guidance on understanding those dynamics; as does Ardea Skybreak's discussion of the concept of being a “strategic commander” in the interview “Science and Revolution: On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian.”

Get Organized for an Actual Revolution

In our New Year’s editorial we said that the upsurge against this outrage had changed things to the point where a revolutionary situation could possibly arise out of the further unfolding of this social contradiction, in concert with other developments. This remains true, and will be truer still if A14 turns out to be the first step in weathering the counter-offensive of the rulers and coming back harder. (And A14 must be that step!)

That won’t happen without hard and creative work by people who want to see that revolutionary situation arise as soon as possible. Now some of that work involves building this struggle even more powerfully.

Yet getting to a revolutionary situation—and then being able to make good on that situation and actually WIN — will require much more than that.

There is first of all the question of really getting what Bob Avakian has brought forward—the new synthesis of communism, the strategy for revolution—way out there into society, and raising big funds to do that. Getting this out there—familiar to millions and actively taken up by thousands—is fundamental to really being able to seize on, or even recognize, any opening for revolution. Huge advances must be made on that this summer. And there are other important struggles as well that have to be built—against the oppression of women that is interwoven into the core of this system... against the ecological depredations of this system... against the wars and war crimes it carries out... and against the oppression and demonization of immigrants.

There is also the need for people to get organized for an actual revolution—actually drawing people into forms of organization, including but not limited to the Party, which would be key to both getting to a situation where a revolution could be made, and then carrying through and actually making and winning such a revolution. And people should be building and joining Revolution Clubs.

So, with all that in mind, take a moment to savor the sweetness of having burst the pall that the powers tried to put on things... celebrate the courage of those who stood up... and then get ready to go back on the offensive!





Revolution #383 April 20, 2015

Sights and Sounds of April 14

April 16, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


A powerful movement to stop police brutality rose out of the streets of Ferguson, Missouri after the police murder of Mike Brown. It drew on the anger built up when a racist vigilante murdered Trayvon Martin and got a pat on the back from the system. It was fueled by the unbearable reality that every god damn day police shoot, brutalize, humiliate, terrorize, and murder Black and brown people—from Staten Island to Los Angeles, from Pasco, WA to South Carolina... and everywhere in between. That movement, last fall, rocked this country like nothing since the sixties.

But the powers-that-be lashed back. With beatings and arrests. With slander and lies. With bullshit about what a dangerous job it is to go out and murder Black and brown people with the full backing of the system. With entreaties to “have a conversation” coupled with threats. December came with stepped up repression and threats, and the movement got chilled.

So the question that HAD TO BE ANSWERED: Are the powers-that-be going to shut this all down? Or would people regroup, get back in the streets, and begin to take the movement against police murder to a higher level?

To quote our editorial: “The demonstrations against police murder on April 14 marked a new beginning for the struggle against this outrage. This is crucially important, for without mass struggle there can be no progress whatsoever and the powers-that-be will just hammer people into the ground. Further these demonstrations had important potential significance for revolution—for finally getting free of a society in which murder by police continues to go on daily and more, and people continue to be oppressed more generally... a society in which the lives of Black and other oppressed people are treated as if they do not matter. A14 was a great day, a great beginning—and now the challenge is to learn the lessons and take it further.

Stockton CA A14 march

Stockton, California.

Among the cities where protests shut shit down: New York City; Chicago; Greensboro, North Carolina; Atlanta; Los Angeles; Houston; the San Francisco Bay Area; Springfield, Massachusetts; Stockton, California; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Seattle; Portland, Oregon; Cleveland; Pasco, Washington; Trenton, New Jersey; Detroit; Ferguson, Missouri; Birmingham; and Madison, Wisconsin. There are too many stories of defiance to recount here, and reports are still coming in, but the following gives a glimpse of what happened. Stay tuned to for photos, interviews and video from around the country. We’ll update coverage as we learn more (and continue to send photos, video, and reports to

Oakland A14 march

New York City


There were marches of a thousand and more. And actions by a handful who got it, and who didn’t let the fact that everybody else doesn’t stop them. 1500 marched in New York City, tying up the Brooklyn Bridge and busting into world news coverage. In Birmingham, Alabama, three defiant ones with a Black Lives Matter banner shut down an intersection, caused a major commotion, and went to jail. In over 20 cities and on dozens of high school and college campuses, there was no business as usual on April 14. Protests took different forms, with different forces and views in the mix—determined and defiant that police murder must STOP and that this would not be a day of business as usual.

The largest protest took place in NYC where, starting last December, the mayor has felt it necessary to defend every instance of police murder and brutality, and to viciously slander and attack just protest against police brutality. Two hours before the main convergence a crew of about a dozen people, a mix of veteran revolutionaries and people from the ‘hood, gathered in Harlem to spread the word and mobilize more people to come down. An older man tapped out a beat on a hand-held drum which had a saying from the Bible. He had lived in Harlem since Malcolm X’s time and proudly remembered seeing him on the street; he said that things had only gotten worse since then.

Oakland A14 march

Cornel West and Carl Dix, initiators of the call for April 14, spoke in New York's Union Square.

At Union Square, Cornel West, who along with Carl Dix initiated the call for April 14, called out to a thousand people: “Let the word go forth here and now.  It’s a new day in New York City! It’s a new day in the country! And it’s a new day because when those who some call everyday people straighten their backs up, they’re going somewhere.  Cuz folk can’t ride your back unless it’s bent. And when you take a stand, when you’re willing to take a risk and tell the truth... and the condition of truth is always to allow suffering to speak. And when suffering speaks, the powers that be have to respond in some way. And there’s been too many folk, not just murdered, not just killed—systematically disrespected and we’ve reached the point where we can’t take it any longer!”

Speaking of the challenge, Carl Dix told the crowd in Union Square: “Now, when you say you’re going to stop something as serious as that, you gotta get organized. That’s why Cornel and I formed the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. It exists to build resistance to this genocide that’s coming down.  It’s a slow genocide right now, but it could speed up at any moment.  If you want to see this genocide stopped then you need to get with us. The Network, the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, has people who come at things differently—we don’t all believe the same things, we don’t all practice and think the same way—but we all think that police murdering people, that people being warehoused in prison, treated like less than full human beings must stop, and we come together to stop it. Look, if you feel that way, then you need to join with the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. Sign up on the sheet with it, come out to the next meeting and be part of building up the resistance that can stop this shit. 

New York A14 march

In New York people hopped over high fences to get into the lanes of traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge.

“Now, those of you who know me know that I’m a revolutionary communist and that I will always tell you that things don’t have to be this way.  We don’t have to put up with police murdering our youth.  We can end all of this stuff, but it’s gonna take revolution, nothing less, to do it.  That is what I am out here for, that’s what I’m working on.  That’s what the Revolutionary Communist Party and its leader Bob Avakian are working on...”

Marching from Union Square, picking up people as they headed to the Brooklyn Bridge where those young and daring enough hopped over high fences and streamed into lanes of traffic.

Oakland A14 march

Blocking the train in Los Angeles.

In Los Angeles, after a rally of nearly 1000 people, dozens of protesters determined to keep shutting it down on A14 to STOP police murder stayed in the downtown area through rush hour.  Twenty of them sat down in a very busy intersection downtown stopping the Blue Line Metro train, backing up street and freeway traffic for over an hour.  

In both San Francisco and Oakland, protesters stormed into City Halls, confronting the powers-that-be and media with posters of those whose lives had been taken by police. In Portland, San Francisco, and Oakland freeways were shut down or blocked. In Stockton, CA, one of the busiest intersections was shut down. And there were defiant, determined protests in other places as well.

Oakland A14 march

Inside the Oakland, California, City Hall.

Out of the Schools...

High school and college students broke out of dozens of schools and shook up business as usual in their schools, and in society.

In Los Angeles, a teacher told a young woman she was "too small to make a change." She responded: "Look how many people I got to walk out w/ me!" Students at Kenwood Academy in Chicago staged an exuberant walkout, and two were arrested. Over 30 students walked out of Brooklyn Friends HS to march in NYC.

In Madison, high school students and others shut down East Washington for hours—several were arrested. Including a member of the media whose camera was destroyed. A statement by Young Gifted and Black said “Community members are outraged but unsurprised by this gross display of state power by MPD.”

Seattle A14 march

Die-In in Seattle

There were die-ins at UCLA, UMass Amherst, and University of Wisconsin (Madison). Students walked out and rallied on campuses including Washington U in St. Louis and Columbia in NYC. At John Caroll University in Ohio, the Black Student Union reported police "tore down our signs advertising this event." About 30 students at Seattle Central College (SCC), a working class community college with many Black and multinational students, walked out of class after a smaller group of students, organizers and people from the community marched and chanted through the hallways, up and down staircases, and held die-ins and speak-outs in the halls and cafeteria.  During a speak-out in the cafeteria, a Black male student went on about the real problem is "Black on Black crime." This was taken on by a Black woman, who encouraged people to not be tricked, saying that this is a lie to get people to think that Black people are less-than-human animals. The SCC students then marched to a nearby Catholic university, where they picked up a couple dozen more people—one said “I had to join because those are my people (the faces on the banner), you are my people (the protesters)." The students joined 200 people blocking major streets in downtown Seattle during rush hour.

UC Berkeley A14 march

Blocking the main entrance to the University of California at Berkeley, Sather Gate.

At U.C. Berkeley, fifteen students took a determined stand at the main entrance. That determination, including in the face of other students who resented having their routine disrupted, compelled dozens more—with up to 75 people physically blocking the entrance. A correspondent made an important observation: “This made a critical difference, it turned from symbolic protest to a real SHUTDOWN. And shutting down the thoroughfare of these students rushing pell mell to lunch or from one class to another is something. This is a wave of hundreds, probably thousands, streaming through in a matter of 10 minutes or so, and it is often very frustrating to try and reach these students in this mode—blinders on, seemingly oblivious to anything but where they’re getting next.  So that herd-mode was turned on its head and stopped—forcing students to stop and confront this and think about it for real.  As one Black student said: people can ignore a leaflet or a rally or a conversation, but they can’t ignore this!” The correspondent added, “It really struck me that some of the sharpest ideological struggle has to go on with those people who think they already know, or they’re already opposed to racism so they’re cool or doing all they can. Most of the UC students were respectful and basically supportive, a relative few tried to bust through the lines."

Breadth and Determination

Oakland A14 march

Revolution Club in Oakland, California

There was an inspiring breadth to the events. At the core, dedicated activists in the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, and revolutionary communists for whom the struggle to end police brutality and murder is tightly integrated into building a movement for revolution that will end ALL oppression. This core included people who saw the Dialogue, Revolution and Religion with Bob Avakian, the leader of the movement for communist revolution, and the revolutionary Christian Cornel West. Carl Dix from the Revolutionary Communist Party and others associated with the RCP were an unshakable force, giving backbone and heart to those who looked to them for leadership, and a compelling challenge to a wide range of forces, and—including through alternative media and breaking into the mainstream—reaching millions. Revolution Clubs in several cities were a critical presence, rushing to the front of the struggle, and inviting people into the movement for revolution and communism.

New York City A14 march

New York—Eve Ensler hugs Hawa Bah, whose son Mohamed was killed by police.

There were the courageous families of people whose loved ones were taken from them by police murder. Some were brand new to the struggle. Others, like Nicholas Heyward Sr, or Juanita Young  have been fighting police murder for as long as twenty years—not just for their own sake but for everyone else as well.

In NYC, activists supporting the 43 Mexican students from Ayotzinapa kidnapped by the government marched—their banner with the faces of the 43 missing victims in painful synergy with the huge banners of victims of police murder in the U.S. and infusing the march with a global consciousness.

Those Who Catch the Most Hell and Voices of Conscience

New York City A14 march

In New York City, activists supporting the 43 Mexican students from Ayotzinapa kidnapped by the government marched—their banner with the faces of the 43 missing victims in painful synergy with the huge banners of victims of police murder in the U.S. and infusing the march with a global consciousness.

The mix varied from city to city, but in many places, the people who catch the most hell on a daily basis in ameriKKKa were on the cutting edge. In infamous Ferguson, MO, Black youth were literally dancing in the street in front of the police station on April 14, and in Chicago, the majority of the 300 who took to the streets were Black people. One high school student who said he marched because "The police are continually killing black children and nothing's happening. So today we are going to march. I am going to march for my black people.”  In a number of cities including Cleveland and Stockton, those in the streets were in large part from communities of the most oppressed.

And there were people of all nationalities and walks of life who stood with them.

A still-small but all the more inspiring representation of voices of conscience from the arts, entertainment, and politics lent moral strength and made it harder to attack the protests, and harder to turn away from them. Several important statements of conscience were issued in advance of the day.

Ferguson, Missouri youth dancing in the street in front of the police station. Video special to

On the 14th, poet, journalist and human rights activist Rose Styron issued a statement: “The shooting of unarmed blacks, Hispanics and poor youths on the streets of America, and the long-term incarceration of young offenders are among the most flagrant examples of failure in our policy and justice systems. March on today!”

At Georgia State in Atlanta, rapper Jasiri X got on the mic as students blocked a walkway with a banner of photos of victims of police murder. Residente from the musical group Calle 13 tweeted a photo of himself with Cornel West and Carl Dix at the rally in NYC.

Jazz great Arturo O’Farrill spoke in New York City: “It’s very simple—you have to connect your life, you have to connect your art, you have to connect your job, you have to connect your soul to something that is bigger than you.  You have to connect all of this to justice. You connect to caring, to loving, to loving one another and demanding better of the NYPD, the SFPD, the LAPD. If we don’t demand better from them, they are paid to govern and protect us. We cannot sit idly by while they kill our children.  No more!  No more killing young Blacks and Hispanics!  This moment has to end!”

Legendary feminist Eve Ensler was at the front of the march in New York City. She issued a powerful statement that included “I am here today in outrage and sorrow. I am here to say no to the racist epidemic of police murders of black and brown women and men and children that continues despite massive protests and outcry. I am here to say we must escalate our efforts and our resistance to these gruesome shootings. I refuse the 8 bullets in Walter Scott’s back, the 12 bullets in Michael Brown’s chest, the 4 Taser shots that killed Natasha McKenna. I refuse the knee in the back that smashed Tanisha Anderson, the 2 bullets in Yvette Smith, the 23 bullets in Malissa Williams, the 2 bullets in 12 year old Tamir Rice’s chest, the bullets fired into Meagan Hockaday just 20 seconds after they arrived in her home. I refuse the bullets of a police state that continues to murder the oppressed rather than lifting their conditions. I call on every white person who has the privilege of walking the streets without fear of being snuffed out by those who brazenly exercise their license to kill, to walk out today and every day until our brothers and sisters are safe and free. I stand with a broken heart for the families, for the friends for the terrorized witnesses, for their sorrow and loss.”

Oakland A14 march

Everywhere people carried giant 10-15 foot-long banners of the iconic "Stolen Lives" poster; compelling others to stand with the marches.

Wherever the Stolen Lives banner went, it drew a line in the sand. People saw faces they knew, and loved. People who hadn’t a clue as to the extent of police murder were shaken up. Nobody could just walk on by.

Voices of Faith

Religious forces were an important part of the strength of the day. Speaking in Union Square in New York City, Reverend Calvin Butts declared “I have come today to represent with members of the clergy from all five boroughs. The power of the church must stand with the people in this because we can no longer watch our young people be shot down. I’ve watched this for over 40 years.  And we get the same story each and every time. Enough is enough! And we must, we must, stand up! We must stand together because power is the only thing that power understands. Shut it down!” Reverend Butts helped mobilize a coalition of clergy from around the city that marched together on April 14.

Rabbi Michael Lerner of the Network of Spiritual Progressives spoke in both Oakland and San Francisco. He said “In this society there is a racism that is deep and imbedded and has not gone away.  We have to recognize that every specific manifestation of that racism has to be stood up to and fought against” And, that “The only way to counter this is to have a different world view that says that we are all in this together...  That there is a fundamental unity and that unity has to extend to all the divisions in this country but to recognize our fundamental unity with all people on this planet."

Reverend Amos Brown, San Francisco branch president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was in the crowd in San Francisco on April 14 and said, “I know that business as usual has been interrupted, but there comes a time when we the oppressed must rise up.”

A contingent behind a banner from St. Paul and St. Andrews United Methodist Church was in the crowd in Union Square.

Frederick A. Davie, M.Div. , Executive Vice-President, Secretary to the Board of Trustees at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York sent out an email that included: “Students, faculty and staff are welcome to make their own choices about attending the Shut It Down Rally tomorrow in Union Square at 2pm.... Serene and I are fully supportive of this event, as we are horrified by the killing of primarily black and brown people by law enforcement in our nation. If you do decide to attend the event, please be safe and exercise care."

Pigs Acting Like Pigs

In many places, the authorities, who send their police out to kill every day, sent their police to attack the protests. In Cleveland police brought out horses to corral and attack the protest. There were dozens of arrests in NYC, and at least two people were seriously injured in vicious police assaults.

Cleveland A14 march

In Cleveland, Ohio, police brought out horses to corral and attack the protest.

Over a dozen people were arrested in Springfield, MA and authorities published the names, faces, and addresses of those arrested. A protester defiantly responded, “The mayor needs to be here, see this, be arm-in-arm with us and standing up with this to let the system know we are no longer going to sit back and watch our black and brown children get killed.” And when asked about the arrests, he said, “That’s how much it means to us, that’s why we put our lives on the line. This means so much to us, we’re fighting to survive.”

There were dozens of arrests in other places as well. Having the backs of those attacked and arrested is critical to defending and building the movement.

Being part of this was transforming, for all involved. At the emergency meeting in Manhattan to make plans to respond to the police attacks, where there was controversy over whether it had been right, and worth it, to actually SHUT IT DOWN on the Brooklyn Bridge, a 16-year-old woman high school student who had been arrested said that A14 was "the best day of my life."

Heard Around the World

April 14 was heard around the world. The press in Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America gave significant coverage to the protests, and people heard about them around the world from going to And people around the world are attuned to the state of struggle in the empire built on genocide, slavery, and unjust wars.

A Revolution reader from South America wrote: “I am very proud about what you did on A14 (and what you are doing now). I am watching photos and videos that you are publishing, it is very inspiring for me to know that there, in ‘the belly of the beast’ as you say, the people are beginning to awake. It is important for the world that in the USA, people in general and revolutionaries in particular, have a very strong movement for the revolution, it is important to publish more of the A14 in order to break the block out of the official media, the media of the imperialist burgueois, that never will talk  about the movement that is borning now, ‘the American spring’, that will remove the very base of the imperialist system.”

* * *

All this shows, more than anything else, the potential for the movement that was revived and strengthened on April 14 to burst out on a whole other level.





Revolution #383 April 20, 2015

Voices of Conscience Speak Out on April 14

April 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Cornel West and Carl Dix (center), with Eve Ensler (front row left), and Rev. Calvin Butts along with members of the Clergy Coalition stand with family members whose loved ones were murdered by police. Photo by Cindy Trinh/Activists of New York

The following people delivered these statements at rallies on April 14:

Cornel West, Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary in New York and an initiator of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network

What a blessing to be here in New York City! Let the word go forth here and now. It’s a new day in New York City! It’s a new day in the country! And it’s a new day because when those who some call everyday people straighten their backs up, they’re going somewhere. Cuz folk can’t ride your back unless it’s bent. And when you take a stand, when you’re willing to take a risk and tell the truth... and the condition of truth is always to allow suffering to speak. And when suffering speaks, the powers that be have to respond in some way. And there’s been too many folk, not just murdered, not just killed—systematically disrespected and we’ve reached the point where we can’t take it any longer!

Well, I come from a people who’ve been terrorized for 400 years. We’ve been traumatized for 400 years. We’ve been stigmatized for 400 years. And we have a freedom movement that is every generation—those who’ve been able to tell the truth and bear witness. Sojourner Truth ain’t no joke. Harriet Tubman ain’t no joke. Malcolm X ain’t no joke. Curtis Mayfield ain’t no joke. Aretha Franklin ain’t no joke. Bob Marley ain’t no joke. Nina Simone ain’t no joke.  The Reverend Dr. Gardner C. Taylor ain’t no joke. Martin King ain’t no joke.

We’re here because we love the folk. And when you love folk you hate the fact they’re being treated unjustly, you loathe the fact they’re being treated unfairly. And if we don’t do something the rocks are gonna cry out! That’s why we’re here. And that’s the center of it... it’s the Love Supreme of John Coltrane. Because we love the people and when you love the folk you tell the truth and you stand up for them. How many of you all love the people? [crowd cheering] You got to love the people. That’s the only way you be empowered—to be able to stand together of all colors, all sexual orientation, all cultures, all civilization. We’re here because we love and respect the people.

We love those who are oppressed in the Middle East—500 Palestinian babies in 50 days. We love the people. We love those killed by U.S. drones in Somalia and Yemen. We love the people. We love the peasants in Mexico. We love the people. We love our poor white brothers and sisters in Appalachia catching hell. We love the people. We love them in Asia. But we love them in New York, and we want the police accountable!

And one last point. Don’t be confused by some Black faces in high places.  For seven years there’s been a Black and Brown brother and sister shot down by the police—Black president, Black attorney general, Black cabinet security of homeland—and not one policeman sent to jail. Something, something just ain’t right! Something, something just ain’t right! And I don’t know about you, but I come from a people and a tradition that says if you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything.

And that’s why I want to introduce to you my dear brother Carl Dix. Now people have raised a question: why would a revolutionary Christian like me, a Jesus-loving free Black man like me, work with a revolutionary communist like Carl Dix. And we say: don’t confuse a jazz orchestra with a military band. In the military band everybody got to hit the note in the same way at the same time. I come from a jazz people—we want everybody to raise your own voice. We don’t want full agreement, we don’t want full unanimity—just raise your voice and get on the love train and take a stand. That’s why I work with a revolutionary communist like Carl Dix. We don’t agree on everything, but we on the same love train—that’s why we’re here in New York. My brothers and sisters, my dear brother Carl Dix! 

Carl Dix, a representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party and an initiator of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network

Okay, I want to thank Cornel for that introduction. And look, let’s just get started. 

First off, we gotta shout out some people. We gotta shout out the parents who lost their loved ones at the hands of the NYPD. We gotta shout ‘em out for enduring the pain of that loss, but becoming people who stood up for justice. You saw some of them up here today. Juanita Young is also here. She ain’t up here right now, but she’s here. I want to shout them out. I also want to shout out all the youth that’s here today. Let me break it down now – I want to shout out the youth who are tired, the Black and Brown youth who are tired of going through life with a target on their backs, who refuse to accept that anymore. I want to shout out the students who are here. I want to shout them out because you know enough to know what’s right and what’s wrong and to stand with what’s right. And that’s what you’re doing out here today. I want to shout out the young people and the O.G.s who are in the street life who said today: “We ain’t gonna be fightin’ each other, we not going to be set-tripping, there ain’t no colors, today we’re standing together and fightin’ the real enemy, the system that’s bringing all this hell down on us.”  I want to shout out the faith leaders and faith congregants of all different denominations who are out here with us today. We value your participation. I want to shout out the people in the arts, the musicians, the writers, the artists. Want to shout out the professors, the lawyers, the doctors – everybody who has come out here to stand with this. And I’m going to shout you all. We’re hundreds here in New York City, thousands across the country. We represent something, sisters and brothers.  We represent the rising waves of struggle that are coming back onto the scene, that are aiming to deal with this, to stop these horrors. 

Now, folks ask me: “Well, why are you all coming out today, brother Dix? What are you all out here for?”  Look at that poster behind you.  That’s why we’re out here. And know that the forty-some pictures on that poster are just an illustration of the hundreds of people that police kill every year in this country. That’s why we’re out here – because that has to stop and we are here to stop it!

Folks also say to me: “But WHY does this keep happening again and again and again?” What it comes down to is the police are doing what this system has them out here to do – beat us down, pen us in, and even kill us off. This goes deep into the history of this country – because this is a country that’s founded on white supremacy from the very beginning: dragging African people to these shores in slave chains, stealing the land and carrying out a genocide against the native inhabitants. And they’ve kept it up. They stole half of Mexico. They go around the world suppressing people. They’re at war with people around the world and they’re at war with us right here in this country, sisters and brothers. We gotta recognize that. We gotta know that that’s what’s going down. Today it has reached the point where they have no way to profitably exploit a lot of these young Black and Latino folks growing up in the inner cities. Their approach to that is a program of suppression – police, courts, jails, beating us down, penning us in, killing us off. This is what they’re doing. That is their answer to the problem. We have to recognize that, and that it’s got a genocidal thrust. Now, when I say genocide, I’m not up here trying to hype it up to get somebody excited – I’m telling you like it is.  Look at those pictures again on that poster. Know that there are thousands of other people who could be on a poster like that. Know that there are several million people warehoused in prison, that there are tens of millions of people, Black and Brown, subjected to being hounded, harassed, beaten down, penned in and even killed by the police. Subjected to denial of opportunities, denial of education, denial of respect, put in conditions where they cannot survive and thrive as a people—which is what genocide is. That’s what we’re dealing with sisters and brothers. And we are out here acting to stop it.

Now, when you say you’re going to stop something as serious as that, you gotta get organized.  That’s why Cornel and I formed the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. It exists to build resistance to this genocide that’s coming down. It’s a slow genocide right now, but it could speed up at any moment.  If you want to see this genocide stopped then you need to get with us. The Network, the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, has people who come at things differently—we don’t all believe the same things, we don’t all practice and think the same way—but we all think that police murdering people, that people being warehoused in prison, treated like less than full human beings must stop, and we come together to stop it. Now look, if you feel that way, then you need to join with the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. Sign up on the sheet with it, come out to the next meeting and be part of building up the resistance that can stop this shit. 

Now, those of you who know me, know that I’m a revolutionary communist and that I will always tell you that things don’t have to be this way.  We don’t have to put up with police murdering our youth. We can end all of this stuff, but it’s gonna take revolution, nothing less, to do it.  That is what I am out here for, that’s what I’m working on. That’s what the Revolutionary Communist Party and its leader Bob Avakian are working on. So you need to check this out.  Look, Bob Avakian in his book BAsics talks about how we should live in a society where those entrusted with public security would sooner lose their own lives than kill or injure an innocent person. That’s the kind of world we should live in. But it’s gonna take a revolution to bring that world into being – that’s what we’re working on. And look, if you want to know more about that revolution, you want to get with it, two things: One, go to the website – check out what we got to say and what we do. You can even see a film of a dialogue between my brother Cornel West and Bob Avakian getting into revolution and religion—that’s And there’s a Revolution Club New York City out here – get with them because those folks are organizing for an actual revolution and you need to check them out and run with them. 

But today, what we are out here for is to stop this genocide. That’s what we’re up against and people might use to be able to say: “well, I didn’t know this kind of stuff was happening.” Turn on the TV – every time you look there’s another video of someone being shot down unarmed, killed, murdered, a video of the police beating somebody brutally, savagely, for nothing, no reason. So you cannot say you didn’t know it was going on. It’s happening right before your eyes. What you have to say is: are you going to be the kind of person who sees this savage brutality and murder and stands aside and lets it go down or are you going to be a real human being? Are you going to step up and say this has to stop and act to stop it? Our humanity is at stake here. If you don’t stand up against this, you’re saying it’s OK – and you should not be those kinds of people, sisters and brothers.  

And look, stopping this is going to take struggle. You gotta put something on the line. What happened last year was beautiful, powerful and very necessary. Starting in Ferguson, spreading across the country, thousands of people taking to the streets, getting out there and saying: if business as usual includes your cops murdering us, then we’re going to stop your business as usual. Your traffic is not gonna run on these highways, on these bridges and tunnels. That shopping that goes on in your malls – that’s going to be stopped too. That’s what disrupting business as usual comes down to, sisters and brothers. Now they tried to force us off the streets with arrests, with intimidation. They tried to draw us off into dead-end roads; getting policies that ain’t gonna do nothing about what the real problem is. Well, we are stepping back out in the streets, sisters and brothers. We are saying: we gonna take back the initiative. We are here and we are gonna stay here. We’re gonna resist until this stops, that’s what we’re saying today.  We’re saying it here in New York and it’s being said in more than 30 cities across the country – that’s what we’re doing. 

Now here today, what we’re going to do in a little bit – everybody’s seen that big banner, right?  Today we are acting for the people on that banner. They can no longer speak so we have to be their voices. They can no longer act so we have to act for them. We have to take this banner and take it into the streets, challenge people along the way with the reality that it represents, challenge them to get into it with us. We are letting people know around the country and around the world that there’s a force of people in this society who are determined to stop this shit. That’s what we’re acting for, sisters and brothers. That’s what we’re here today for, that’s what people are in 30 cities across the country for. Now let’s do this! Let’s get started and let’s get it done! 

Every city, every town!  There’s another Michael Brown!  April 14th Shut it down!  

Eve Ensler, Tony Award-winning playwright, performer, activist

I am here today in outrage and sorrow. I am here to say no to the racist epidemic of police murders of black and brown women and men and children that continues despite massive protests and outcry. I am here to say we must escalate our efforts and our resistance to these gruesome shootings. I refuse the 8 bullets in Walter Scott’s back, the 12 bullets in Michael Brown’s chest, the 4 Taser shots that killed Natasha McKenna. I refuse the knee in the back that smashed Tanisha Anderson, the 2 bullets in Yvette Smith, the 23 bullets in Melissa Williams, the 2 bullets in 12 year old Tamir Rice’s chest, the bullets fired into Meagan Hockaday just 20 seconds after they arrived in her home. I refuse the bullets of a police state that continues to murder the oppressed rather than lifting their conditions. I call on every white person who has the privilege of walking the streets without fear of being snuffed out by those who brazenly exercise their license to kill, to walk out today and every day until our brothers and sisters are safe and free. I stand with a broken heart for the families, for the friends, for the terrorized witnesses, for their sorrow and loss. We must reclaim our country from the endless tactics of hate, racism, stupidity, violence, revenge that perpetuate all aspects of our life. We must open our hearts and our minds and listen—to the men as well as the women—to those who suffer without resources, equality, liberty, hope, or dreams.

We must #SayHerName, and #SayHisName, like a mantra, like a prayer, like an honoring, that the loss of their lives will fuel our fire.

May we melt our bullets to tears, our fear to love.

Kindness not killing.
Kindness not killing.
Kindness not killing.

Arturo O’Farrill, Grammy Award winner, jazz musician

Arturo O'Farrill

Arturo O’Farrill

It’s very simple. You have to connect your life. You have to connect your art. You have to connect your job. You have to connect your soul to something that is bigger than you. You have to connect all of this to justice. You have to connect to caring, to loving, to loving one another, and demanding better of the NYPD, the SFPD, the LAPD. If we don’t demand better from them—they are paid to govern and protect us. We cannot sit idly by while they kill our children. NO MORE! No more killing young Blacks and Hispanics. This moment has to end. I know there are NYPD officers who can hear my voice and feel the same way. Step up, step up. STEP UP. This moment has to end and must never be repeated. Connect your lives. Connect them now. Demand better. Thank you.

Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts III, pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York

Shut it Down! Shut it Down! Shut it Down!

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will. And until the forces-that-be understand that the people united will never be defeated, we will not be able to win this struggle. Young, old, Black, white, rich, poor. We must all stand together and demand justice in the killing of our children, no matter who they are, no matter where they come from. Shut it down! Shut it down! We demand that the officer responsible for the killing of Eric Garner, Daniel Pantaleo, be dismissed from the New York City Police Department immediately. We demand justice all across this nation for young men and women who have been killed, unarmed. We demand justice for the parents who cry each night and we say to the police if you can’t respect us, you can’t protect us. If you can’t respect us, you can’t protect us. If you can’t respect us, you can’t protect us.

We have young people marching from New York City to Washington, DC, and I have come today to represent with members of the clergy from all five boroughs. The power of the church must stand with the people in this because we can no longer watch our young people be shot down. I’ve watched this for over 40 years and we get the same story each and every time. Enough is enough. And we must, we must stand up. You see ministers standing behind me from all five boroughs, members of our churches standing in front and they are dispersed throughout the crowd. We must shut it down. We must stand together because power is the only thing that power understands. Shut it down! Shut it down! Shut it down! We are happy to join with our brother Cornel West and our brother Carl Dix. And we stand united with them. And we must recognize that these crowds will only grow larger—despise not small beginnings for God is grateful just to see the work begin. The next time we gather it will be larger. And we send a warning out—get rid of Pantaleo now. We send a warning out—stop broken windows, stop “stop, question and frisk.” We send a warning out—these crowds will only get larger across the nation. And we will stand together. And one of the chants that I’ve always loved and it makes sense today as I look out across this beautiful rainbow crowd—a people united will never be defeated! A people united will never be defeated! The struggle continues. Thank you very much and let us all stand together.

Rabbi Michael Lerner, Editor, Tikkun magazine; Chair, Network of Spiritual Progressives

Rabbi Michael Lerner

Rabbi Michael Lerner

I’m here representing the Jewish community. Many of us in the Jewish community have been deeply, deeply upset by the manifestations of racism that have been increasing rather than decreasing in the past several decades. We’ve had an advance at the level of laws but a retreat at the level of heart. People are willing to allow legal advances but they are more and more deeply embedded in a racism that is manifested in the extremes that the Republican Party is going to try and discredit and limit any accomplishments of the Obama administration. So you have, from the top of the political structure in this country, people who are acting in an overtly racist way in the Congress. And you have, at the bottom, police forces all over this country who can read the signs of what is popular in the society: a racism that is deep and embedded and has not gone away. We have to recognize that every specific manifestation of that racism has to be stood up to and fought against. And it has to be fought against across all the different groupings in this society who recognize that an assault on one is an assault on all. When a policeman kills a Black teenager, when a group of policemen strangle to death a Black man, when people talk about the immigrants as though all immigrants are a problem to this society, everyone is affected.

There is no way to deal with the effect on one group without realizing that it will affect all groups. When you’re hearing people saying, “We’re not so sure about immigration reform,” they are really saying, “I have a constituency that hates Mexicans, that hates brown and Black people, and I can use key words to get the message across, little words that symbolize to everyone that I will stand up against African-Americans, that I will stand up against Latinos, that I will stand up against whoever is the other.”

The only way to counter this is to have a different worldview that we start to articulate, a worldview that says that we are all in this together, that we are all one. That there is a fundamental unity and that unity has to extend not only to all the divisions in this country but to recognize our fundamental unity with all people on this planet. In other words, we need to not only stand up and fight on each specific issue, but we need a way of articulating a new worldview, a different worldview than is popularized in the media and in our political life today. In short, it’s like this folks, we have lots of individual complaints and our complaints are right about every specific incident of racism. But Martin Luther King, Jr. did not become an icon of social change by giving a famous speech in which he said, “I have a complaint.” We need also to have a dream. We need to have a shared vision of the world we want. And that’s part of what we in the Network of Spiritual Progressives, that is interfaith and goes across all of the different boundaries, say, that we need a new bottom line in this country, so that every institution, every social practice, every corporation, every government law, should be judged efficient, rational, and productive not only to the extent that they maximize money and power, but also to the extent that they maximize love and caring, kindness and generosity, ethical and environmental sensitivity, enhance our capacity to respond to other human beings as embodiments of the sacred, and enhance our capacity to respond to the universe, not as something we can maybe sell, but as something that brings awe and wonder. That’s a new bottom line. We need that kind of vision, a new bottom line in this society in which we see every human being as being equally entitled, as equally valuable. In short, folks, what I am saying to you is let us make sure that we simultaneously articulate our complaints about every specific outrage and, at the same time, put forward a vision of the world we want, a world of love, a world of kindness, a world of generosity, a world of caring for each other and caring for the planet. It’s in that spirit that I stand in solidarity with all of you here today and with all of the millions of other Americans who have suffered various forms of abuse and say this will not continue, this cannot continue. And we in the religious and spiritual community must stand up, with all secular people, to say, no more oppression, no more rogue cops, no more destruction of people because of the color of their skin, or their religion, or their ethnicity, or whatever it is, but instead we replace that with a world of love and justice. And that’s what we need now, a political party and a political movement for justice and also for love. Thank you.

Jim Lafferty, Executive Director, National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles Chapter

Jim Lafferty

Jim Lafferty

Thank you, I am so proud to be with you today. The Lawyers Guild is proud to stand with you every day in this struggle every day. Sisters and brothers think about it. Think about it for a minute, despite all of the media attention, all of the protests, it’s still open hunting season for cops killing Black and brown sisters and brothers in this country today. Now, you can be a cop, or you can just be a white guy, kill a Black guy and walk free. But be a Black guy in the neighborhood trying to keep your family alive, run a little neighborhood numbers game, you’re off to prison. In fact, prison is the only affirmative action program left in this damn country for our Black and brown sisters and brothers. And speaking of affirmative action, it’s also the only damn housing program and employment program. There’s over a million of our sisters and brothers of color in prison today, working for pennies today and that’s the only damn roof over their heads and the only damn job this country gives them, this white, racist country. Think about the fact that every month or two in this country, cops in this country kill more Black and brown sisters and brothers every month or two than all the people who have been murdered by the police in England in the last 100 years.

So I ask you, what are we to do? What are we to do? Are we gonna get bought off by the bullshit promises of some civilian review board that has no subpoena power, that has no independent investigator, that has no independent coroner to investigate the true depth of what happened to our brothers and sisters? Are we gonna settle for crumbs of justice or are we gonna demand nothing less than the full loaf of justice? Because I tell you, sisters and brothers, if we fall for that bullshit, if we listen to the politicians of either of those two capitalist parties who don’t give a shit about people like us at the bottom of the heap, we will be bought off and we will never get the justice we deserve. Remember your history. Remember our history. What was it that won every great civil rights battle in this country? That’s right, it was people like you and I in the streets of this country, saying to hell with the politicians, saying we will not leave these streets until all the loaf of justice is ours. So we know, sisters and brothers, that history itself is on our side. And if we will not be bought off, if we will not give up, if we will keep coming back to the streets no matter what repression they throw at us, victory will be ours; history itself is on our side, our day will surely come. Thank you.

Reverend Frank Wulf, Pastor, USC United University Church and member of the National Steering Committee of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network

Rev. Frank Wulf

Reverend Frank Wulf

It does my heart good to see all of you, especially young people. Since my church is on the campus at USC, I want to give a shout-out to all the USC students who stepped out of classes to be with us today. You know Walter Scott has taught us one thing—that they are determined to tell lies and they’re gonna tell lies in whatever way they can in order to justify continuing this epidemic of murder against Black and brown people. And I represent in many ways the faith communities of this city, and the faith communities are starting to stand up and say that this has to stop, whether we’re Muslim, whether we’re Jewish, whether we’re Christian, whether we’re Buddhist, we are coming together and saying that our faiths will no longer sanction this kind of violence in our society. As a Christian pastor I serve Jesus who was crucified on the Roman cross by Roman police. And as a follower of someone who was crucified, I cannot allow this kind of crucifixion to continue day after day after day after day. And it has to be exposed. Thank God for that brave man who used his cell phone to videotape what was happening with Walter Scott. We need to videotape all the time. A man of strong faith and courage and conviction, in spite of his fear he did what was right. And we’ve got to do what’s right, today as we take the streets, whatever religion or non-religion we might be, we’re here together and we’re here together for a powerful and a righteous and a just cause and that is to say: NO MORE! NO MORE KILLINGS! THEY STOP NOW! Amen.





Revolution #383 April 20, 2015

Interviews from around the country

Standing up to murder by police

April 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


The following is a selection of voices from among the thousands who took action on April 14 to Shut It Down to stop murder and brutality by police.


High school student, San Francisco
I remember thinking to myself... what difference am I going to make? A single powerless high school student? I wasn’t sure if my voice mattered, but as time went on I realized if not me then who? I am a part of the youth whose voices have been muted for too long. As I arrived at 24th and Mission I felt a sense of unity and experienced a moment of great accomplishment. Seeing so many young people come together for a very important cause motivated me and ignited something indescribable inside of me. I remember feeling anger for the injustices that police around the nation have caused, but a part of me also felt pride and happiness seeing so many people that I didn’t know but somehow trusted them... The highlight of my day was when we were being pushed off of the block in front of the police station. I had to make a choice of walking away or showing the police that they couldn’t intimidate me. I felt fear but once I interlocked arms with people next to me I felt strength and I realized that together we can make our voices heard... we will defeat this era of unjustified police murders.

Middle-aged Black man who goes to Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem
What compelled me to come out today was because we have a string of events that’s been going on with police brutality and police killings. It’s unfortunate that we still, in 2015, still going through this. You’d think that we’d be at peace, but we’re not. So we need to come together to find some solution. We try to sit down and talk—it’s not working. So I think that the goal—everyone’s purpose out here is to let everyone know that we need to stand up... and fight. Period. We need to let these cops know that we will not tolerate any more of this.

16-year-old female high school student in Brooklyn, interviewed on April 16
Did you try to get other people to come on April 14?
I tried to get my friends to go, but they wanted to go to school. They said school was more important. I said, no it wasn’t.
Why did you think it was important?
It was important because if people don’t stand up, then nothing will change.
And you felt strongly about police brutality and murder...
Yeah, I’ve been seeing it on the news and I know it happens a lot. This is the first time I heard somebody doing something about it. So I wanted to join and support.
How did you get arrested?
I was in the front, and I was on the bridge. And when the cops came, they started arresting people. They cuffed me really tight. I still have the marks...
I heard you saying it was the best day of your life.
It was the best day of my life! It felt good even though I was arrested. I didn’t really care because it was for a good cause. And just knowing I did something—it’s really nice... I saw it happened all over, and it makes me feel so proud to be part of it.

Three Black students who walked out of their school with a dozen others in Chicago
What compelled you guys to come out here today?
Female student #1: Police brutality.
Male student: And we’re tired of it.
Female student #2: And racial profiling.

Latina woman who helped organize a walkout at the LA high school her children attend
Stop the violence already. So many youth dead at their hands. I came because I support my children, so that they see that I support them. And because I wouldn’t want this to happen to them. We are all human beings.

Middle-aged woman marching in LA with an American Friends Service Committee sign
I’m here today for justice for the young people. They are so courageous, so committed, so disciplined... This is the civil rights movement of today, this together with defense of immigrants, because it is the same struggle about the same issue.

Obdulio Oliva, father of Carlos Oliva, killed by LA County Sheriffs in 2013 with eight shots in the back
This is called genocide. Because they are armed commandos of the government who are terrorizing the community. It’s because of capitalism, which is based on money.

A Latino man whose son was killed by police
The [Mexican] government is washing its hands [of the case of 43 missing students from Ayotzinapa]. The army, the narco-politics, they’re all involved. They are committing a lot of crimes there... Here, they killed my son in broad daylight. It’s too much, it’s unjust... The governments don’t want rights, they don’t want justice. You have to go out in the streets to make your voice heard.

Black youth in late teens, Oakland
We’re out here because it’s important to stand here with the people, the community, because the police are taking out our people. What we’re doing right now, we’re taking a stand against the wrongs against us, talking about the real situation and letting our voice be heard, and we need a lot more people. I think this will rattle up a lot of the big political forces all over the world. But that’s what it’s supposed to do.

Middle-aged white lawyer, Oakland
I came here because I am occasionally shocked by the amount of privilege I have and I’m reminded by events that impinge on that privilege how most of the people in this country have to live day by day, and I realize the contrast between my life which is filled with invisible privilege versus what the youth and people of color have to put up with on a daily basis their whole lives... There’s youth, there’s youth, there are beautiful, beautiful youth out here.

Latina student, San Francisco
What did Martin Luther King do? He tried his whole life to make change. We should do the same thing. Continue with what we got to do and don’t let anything stop us. Society is fucked up but you know what? We have to defeat that. The government is telling us what to do and no one sees that so they go along with it. This is our time to show who we really are and say what we got to say. Everybody has to stop just being quiet. We have to have our word out there now so people can see how we really think.

Black woman, Cleveland
The police are out of control, I don’t understand what’s going on, everyone is a statistic. Today, the passion and determination of people, we weren’t afraid today. We all desire a right to talk. I don’t feel protected when I see a police... It has to stop.

Protestor in Springfield, Massachusetts, quoted in a local news report
The mayor needs to be here, see this, be arm-in-arm with us and standing up with this to let the system know we are no longer going to sit back and watch our Black and Brown children get killed. [Question from interviewer: “You saw a lot of people with you that got arrested, what did that mean?”] That’s why we did it, that’s how much it means to us, that’s why we put our lives on the line. This means so much to us. We’re fighting to survive.

Young Black man who says he’s a “justice advocate,” New York City
Well we have a Black president... and he ain’t done nothing. Young Black people are dying every day by the hands of these cops. And we’re putting that on the mayor, too. We got the president of the United States—he’s a Black man, he’s a Black man... President Obama... he’s a Black man. We got our young Black people dying, Hispanic people. It’s our youth. This is our future. It’s like there’s no potential. We got no laws to protect us.

White student from a Manhattan college-prep high school

Why did you feel you yourself had to join in?
I felt like I had to come because it’s a movement that not only my friends are, but I also firmly believe in. I think it was important that I act and that I was part of the march rather than just talking about it with my friends, which we do a lot in school.

What kind of things do you talk about?
Well we actually had a day which we talked about equality and racism and how Black lives matter and all lives matter. We talked about that, and how these types of things apply to this movement that’s happening in our city.

What do you think it’s going to take to actually stop this?
I think it’s not going to take just one march but a lot. And I think that even though a lot of people are getting arrested, I think that people will still keep on fighting and fighting. And I think it’s going to take a long time but eventually it’ll be accomplished.

A social media post from aunt of a Black high school student arrested in Chicago
My niece did that... so proud of her.

High school student, Los Angeles
We all decided to come over because we’re tired of all this injustice that is happening. At any time it could happen to us. We’re teenagers, and we don’t know what’s gonna happen. We live in a neighborhood that’s not the greatest, so anything could happen. We’re scared. We’re scared for our lives. The teachers were like no, we don’t want you guys to go. We’re seniors, and they took away prom, but it doesn’t matter because we want to stand up for what we believe.

And our school is a school that teaches us something called “Facing History,” so we have to stand up for our rights, at the same time when we want to stand up for our rights they don’t let us. So it’s kinda hypocritical of the teachers, of the school that isn’t letting us do what we want to do. Around 100, 150 students walked out. Juniors, sophomores, freshmen, seniors, we all got people to come.

I personally thought of it, and then we started organizing it. I told them how to get out; what’s the process of getting out; how we were gonna do it; how we were gonna walk; so I got them organized.

How long did it take you to organize it?
One day!

High school student, Los Angeles
We were actually stopped from walking out, so we went around the security guard and went out the attendance office.

Did you plan this ahead of time?

How’d you do that?
By gathering all my peers, and telling them to walk out as well, for a good cause.

And why did they think it’s a good cause?
Because people are getting shot for no apparent reason.

Do you think this is going to have an impact? This took place all over the country.
I think it SHOULD have an impact. Because people get pulled over for dumb reasons. Just because you’re Hispanic, or Black, or because you have a hat on, or because of stupid stuff.

When you go back to school what are you going to tell your friends?
That you should have come and support the cause. More of us should have came and support the cause, because I think for a GOOD cause, because as we get older, we’re the ones that are going to have nephews, nieces, granddaughters, daughters, sons, everything, cousins, and you might never know. One of their lives can be taken instantly by the police, for a dumb reason... This [demonstration] is just a beginning.

High school student, San Francisco
What the cops are doing, killing all these people is wrong and it needs to stop. Most of them are unarmed. And there’s the mass incarceration. They are targeting young people of color, and it’s just not right. Recently my nephew was incarcerated for a month, and he has been on house arrest for eight months for something petty that he didn’t do. He’s an African-American male and what they did to him was wrong. They don’t help us. They just try to bring us down. It’s like another genocide. They can’t put us back in slavery, so they are just going to find a way to lock us up... We all need to stand up. We all need to say something. This can’t go on. Us as a whole, we are stronger than those who are trying to bring us down. If we all just come together we can stop it.

Latino student from a San Francisco high school
I’m a senior so I’m taking a big risk right now. I believe that it’s time to take a step to notify people that it’s not OK what’s happening and that we’re not blindfolded any more. These deaths are unjustified and can’t keep going on. I’m a youth. I’m Latino. I’m 17 years old and I’m tired of watching my brothers and sisters of a lot of races just go down like that. It starts me thinking, who is going to be next? Will it be a family member? One of my friends? I just can’t handle that anymore. We never know when it is going to happen with us. So it’s time to take a step in and put an end to this.

Young man in San Francisco holding a banner for Amilcar Perez and Alex Nieto (both killed by police in the last year
We all need to get together as one. It’s unity. That’s what’s going to stop this. Not just one person and not just one community. We all got to get together, the brown community, the Black community. Actually, all communities—the Asian community, the white community. If we keep on letting police kill people of one race, then it’s going to happen next to a person of another race. They shouldn’t wait for that. They should just join in today so we can stop this shit... They shot Amilcar Perez in the back. Alex, they fired more than 50 shots and hit him with 20. That’s outrageous... They are supposed to be here to serve and protect, not shoot us and kill us.

High school student, San Francisco
The day of April 14, I felt nervous. My friends and I were still deciding how and when we would walk out, but we were sure we were going to make it memorable. At 11, a group of us walked out of math class with our fists up saying “Black Lives Matter!” From there we felt ready to hit the streets. Starting at 24th and Mission, listening to the guy speak made me feel strongly about the cause. Then when we began marching together, I felt enormous vibes and unity. I felt powerful and like change is possible and near.

UC Berkeley student, at A14 action on campus
Several people have asked me, what are you doing, you’re just blocking Sather Gate, you’re just making students mad. And we’re like, no, look around, you see all these students standing around here? We’re raising solidarity... They say another “thug” was murdered, another “illegal alien” like myself crossed the border or something. What we’re doing is we’re dehumanizing people. We’re rationalizing whatever action we take against them. And that’s not OK.





Revolution #383 April 20, 2015

Celebrate May 1!

Updated May 1, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Communism: A Whole New World and the Emancipation of All Humanity – Not "The Last Shall Be First, and The First Shall Be Last."

BAsics 2:1

On the weekend of May 1, the movement for revolution should celebrate this holiday with revolutionary internationalist dinners. These celebrations should have international dishes and internationalist culture, and should feature the excerpt “What If...” from the filmed Dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West. REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion.

In addition, there should be special efforts on Saturday, May 2, to get out massive amounts of the palm cards advertising this Dialogue, raise funds for BA Everywhere, and get out this issue of Revolution.

Revolutionary Internationalist Dinners:

New York: Saturday, May 2, 6:30 pm
Revolution Books
146 W. 26th St., between 6th and 7th Avenues
Donation of $5-$20 and/or bring an int'l dish for five or more

Houston: Sunday, May 3, 2-6 pm
The Montrose Center, Rm. 113,
401 Branard St.

Berkeley: Sunday, May 3, 2-5 pm
Mosswood Park, at McArthur Blvd. and Broadway
Potluck and picnic

Los Angeles: Sunday, May 3, 5 pm.
Revolution Books/Libros Revolución
5726 Hollywood Blvd.

Chicago: Sunday, May 3, 5-7:30 pm
Quaker House,
5615 S. Woodlawn in Hyde Park

Cleveland: Sunday, May 3, 4-7 pm
1066 E. 62nd St., off St. Clair
Donation requested


Internationalism—The Whole World Comes First!
We Refuse To Accept Slavery In Any Form Here And Around The World!
Fight The Power, And Transform The People, For Revolution!






Revolution #383 April 20, 2015

Blackwater's Nisour Square Massacre, a Glimpse of U.S. Mass Murder in Iraq

by Larry Everest | April 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


This past Monday, April 13, four Blackwater contract killers were sentenced to long prison terms for the 2007 massacre of 17 unarmed civilians in Nisour Square in Baghdad during the height of the Iraq war. (The mercenaries were only charged for 14 of the 17 murders.) After years of investigations and hearings, they had finally been convicted late last year. One got life in prison for first-degree murder, three others got 30 years each for manslaughter.

This unprovoked massacre, the lies rolled out to attempt to cover it up, and the years it took to get any taste of justice for the Iraqi victims isn’t some exceptional incident that “tarnished,” as the New York Times put it, America’s war effort. It provides a glimpse into, and speaks volumes about, what the U.S. brought—and is still bringing—to Iraq, and what imperialism brings all over the world.

September 16, 2007, Nisour Square, Baghdad, Iraq. The U.S. had invaded and occupied Iraq four years earlier, in a war based on the deliberate, conscious lie that Saddam Hussein’s regime had links to Al Qaeda and possessed weapons of mass destruction. By 2007, an armed resistance to the U.S. occupation and installation of a new reactionary regime was raging, based largely in the now-dispossessed Sunni population. At that point, roughly half of the more than 300,000 personnel the U.S. imperialists were using to occupy Iraq and suppress the Iraqi people were private military contractors. Blackwater was one of those companies, run by a Christian fascist—Erik Prince.

That day a gang of Blackwater operatives had been called to respond to a reported incident across town. They drove furiously, but then they hit the traffic-crowded Nisour Square. According to journalist Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, here’s what happened next:

What often would happen in Iraq is that mercenary contractors would start throwing frozen water bottles at cars, trying to force them off the street, and then eventually escalate up to shooting at vehicles. These guys basically tried to take over this traffic circle, the Blackwater guys, so that they could speed around and continue on to their destination. A small white car with a young Iraqi medical student and his mother didn’t stop fast enough for the Blackwater convoy, and they decided to escalate it all the way up to assassinating those individuals. And I say “assassinating,” because they shot to kill these people, and then they blew their car up. And then, that started this massive shooting spree that went on for—it was sustained for minutes. And at the end of it, 17 Iraqis were killed, including a nine-year-old boy named Ali Kinani, whose story we’ve told on the show before, and some 20 others were wounded in the attacks. And it was—you know, it became known as Baghdad’s “Bloody Sunday.” (Democracy Now!, October 23, 2014)

For years, Blackwater claimed that its forces had been fired upon and were simply defending themselves—a bald-faced lie—and the Bush regime had resisted any prosecution. And while in Iraq, both U.S. forces and private contractors were immune from any prosecution by Iraq’s authorities. (The current proceedings are in U.S. courts—not Iraqi courts.)

These contractors were not “rogue” operatives; they are a key part of how the U.S. wages war—in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and globally. According to the Christian Science Monitor, “By 2008, the US Department of Defense employed 155,826 private contractors in Iraq—and 152,275 troops. This degree of privatization is unprecedented in modern warfare.” (March 19, 2013)

And right now, while the U.S. currently has 9,800 troops in Afghanistan—it has 40,000 private contractors.

And U.S. regular forces were just as capable of committing heinous massacres as the contractors were, as one former contractor bitterly writes pointing to the 2005 massacre of 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians at Haditha in a “revenge killing spree” by the U.S. Marines. After the Marine Humvee was hit by an IED, “the squad immediately killed five people in the street. They then went house to house, and killed 19 more civilians, ranging in age from 3 to 76. Many were shot multiple times at close range, some still in their pajamas. One was in a wheelchair.” One Marine ended up getting “a slap on the wrist,” and the Pentagon blamed “an unscrupulous enemy” for an operation gone bad. (“Reining in Soldiers of Fortune,” New York Times, April 17, 2015)

But these examples are just the tip of an iceberg of massive killings, dislocations, destruction, and torture. A new study by the German affiliate of the Nobel Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) finds that a million Iraqis were killed as a result of the U.S. invasion and its aftermath—five percent of the entire population of Iraq. (The study finds that 220,000 have been killed in Afghanistan and 80,000 in Pakistan for a total of around 1.3 million killed by the U.S. “war on terror.” See “Doctors group releases startling analysis of the death and destruction inflicted upon Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan from the ‘War on Terror’ in Body Count,” March 19, 2015.)

The conviction of the Blackwater murderers is not about the U.S. imperialists turning over a new leaf and repudiating mass violence. This has everything to do with the necessities now facing the U.S. rulers in Iraq—especially their need to send troops and mercenary contractors back into Iraq. (Prince blamed the prosecution of his operatives for the Nisour massacre and Blackwater’s collapse on “shifting political tectonic plates.”) “There was a lack of confidence between the Iraqi people and the United States administration,” a spokesman for Iraq’s vice president told the New York Times. “I think this verdict will help restore confidence.” (April 14, 2015) In short, to pave the way for more U.S.-sponsored atrocities in Iraq.






Revolution #383 April 20, 2015

400 Migrants Drown in the Mediterranean—Imperialist Hypocrisy and the Imperialist Death Trap

April 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

It is an outrage. It is human suffering writ large. It is the death trap that is imperialism. 400 migrants drowned in the Mediterranean Sea last weekend after their boat capsized. They were fleeing North Africa and seeking refuge in Italy. In 2014 alone, 3,200 migrants from Libya, Syria, and parts of Africa died making the horrific crossing to Western Europe. The Western governments and BBC and CNN blame traffickers for poorly equipping boats, for coercing refugees, for abandoning ships. As though it all started with the boats!

Migrants from North Africa rescued from a capsized boat arrive in Italy, April 13, 2015. Photo: AP

But who are the refugees and why have they have become refugees? They are the victims of imperialism. Of the fact that the U.S. and the Western imperialist powers have turned North Africa, the Middle East, and great stretches of Africa into killing zones and regions of chaos. These refugees are the victims of the illegal, unjust, and murderous wars waged by the U.S. and West European imperialists over the last two decades to overthrow regimes in Iraq, Syria, and Libya. These refugees are the victims of the strangulating economic adjustment programs and the civil wars that the Western powers have fueled and provided weapons for in Africa.

Don’t tell me about the abuses of traffickers... and, please, enough of your imperialist crocodile tears. You have now turned the Mediterranean Sea into a ghastly tomb.






Revolution #383 April 20, 2015

April 14 Protesters Have Right on Their Side
Police Who Attacked Them Are Unjust and Immoral

April 16, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


On April 14, in over 30 cities across the country, the streets were brought alive with thousands of people acting with courage to deliver a clear message: The murder of Black and Brown people by the police must STOP. People blocked streets, bridges, and highways...walked out of schools and marched on campuses...went into city halls...disrupted business as usual. People of different nationalities and a wide range of backgrounds joined together in a just cause.

What happened on April 14 was righteous, powerful, beautiful and much needed. The police and the powers behind them were stung by the defiant protests—and they struck back with arrests and brutality.

In New York City, as many as 42 were arrested according to news reports, including high school students. Sunsara Taylor, writer for Revolution/, reported about what she saw of the pig brutality: "They broke bones, crushed the air out of people as they kneed their heads on the concrete, smashed faces and bodies (including mine) against brick walls and then body-slammed into us to add to the impact. They denied medical care for a long time to one person they'd rendered unconscious and mocked and laughed as we demanded they get an ambulance." Witnesses said an undercover cop pulled a gun at protesters, including a high school student, during the march across the Brooklyn Bridge. Several protesters were held overnight and were not released until the next day. On top of this, the "liberal" mayor and the media spread lies about the protest and threatened protesters with investigations and prosecution.

In L.A., police and sheriffs in riot gear arrested 14 people who were doing a die-in downtown on the tracks of the Blue Line train. At the same time, students were marching through the UCLA campus and later blocked traffic on the 405 Freeway off-ramp, where four students were arrested.

There were outrageous police assaults against April 14 actions in other cities across the country. These are from what we know about at this point:

The police attacks on the April 14 protesters in cities across the country are completely unjust and immoral. And those outrageous actions highlight the utter bankruptcy and illegitimacy of the system these police serve and enforce.

Those who were arrested—for taking to the streets to Shut It Down—are freedom fighters. All who were arrested must be defended—in the courts and as an important part of a new wave of broad and determined resistance across the country to say that police murder of Black and Latino people must STOP.

Drop all the charges against all the protesters arrested on April 14 Shut It Down day!




Revolution #383 April 20, 2015

From an ex-prisoner and Revolution Club member

From the Streets of NYC on April 14

April 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


A14 Shutdown was so powerful! People came together in a big way. I was so excited the night before April 14 because we had been all over the city building for April 14, telling people that April 14 was about ending police murder and making a whole different world. A world that people would actually want to live in. We carried an actual canvas that was about 20 feet in the air. This canvas was the centerpiece of our movement. People would see this and just stare at all the faces murdered by the police. It was so many faces. Beautiful faces. Aiyana Stanley-Jones, a 7-year-old murdered by police. She has a cute smile on her face, or Tamir Rice. This canvas of the Stolen Lives reminds me of my high school or middle school yearbook, but instead of thinking what are these people doing with their lives, you hear that all the faces are murdered people.

New York, April 14

Demonstrators march through NYC streets carrying the 20-foot installation of the Stolen Lives image on their shoulders. Photo:

The people took the streets with this huge canvas with the police pushing us and hitting us. I think the number of people had to be close to 1,000 but I’m not sure. People shut down the Brooklyn Bridge. People shut down traffic all around the country. The cops were steadily trying to arrest people. People that were peacefully protesting police murder were continually arrested and brutalized by police. The police viciously attacked people. This vicious attack reminded me of the viciousness of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama, and I thought nothing has changed and it is worse! This is why we need a revolution! The police kept attacking us, especially the Rev Clubs. They were trying to stop us from rallying the people and letting them see the reality.

When they would arrest us, we would regroup and come back at them. It kind of felt like military maneuvers—they would hit us and we would “hit” them back (metaphorically). It was just so inspiring to be a part of something so much bigger than you.

The Rev Club stayed pretty much together even though we could not stop our comrades from getting arrested. People were on break or just going about their day or having lunch or coffee. They would see us and just join in right on the spot.

Photo by Cindy Trinh/Activists of New York

Union Square, NYC April 14. Photo: Cindy Trinh/Activists of New York

New York, April 14

Face-off with NYPD, April 14 Photo:

I met so many people that did not know anything about A14 until we came through with our canvas of Stolen Lives. We would stop through the city and do die-ins and chant and sing together. It was so many young people that the police could not catch it. It was so funny watching these fat pigs struggling to catch us. We got word that the Freedom Fighters were at the 78th Precinct, so we marched on it and had a confrontation with the pigs. We demanded the release of our people.

Then we went to the 75th Precinct and agitated the neighborhood. People came out to see what was going on. We signed up people and got lots of contacts. We told people that it’s an emergency, the police are still murdering unarmed people. I would tell people I’m with the Rev Club and you need to be with it as well. I’m part of the force that is going to end police murder and you should be on the right side of history.

I saw people that I didn’t expect to see. This one lady I met on the train, she was a young girl that was on the train I came on and told her about A14 and all the horrible things this system does. She was obviously very thoughtful. She listened to me then said, “I go to school for criminal justice.” I asked her why would you want to be an officer and you probably know what they do. She was sincere and said she wants to change the criminal justice system and do good. So I told her about Anthony Baez, how the cops all stuck together on the murder of this unarmed man except one officer. And soon after that, the officer that did not go along with business as usual was fired. I told her because a system is in place. So you conform to the rules or you won’t be part of the team for too long. She just stared at me, but she did give me her contact. I saw her on the Brooklyn Bridge. She said, “Hey, remember me?” This time she had a big smile on her face. That was inspiring because mentally I had cast her off as hopeless, but I was incorrect.

I met a high school couple and it was interesting because I talked to the guy after Cornel West and Carl Dix had an emergency Call to Action for A14, “Emergency: The Police Are Still Killing Unarmed People, and This Must STOP!” I asked the guy what he thought about the A14 ShutDown and he asked me what was A14? I marked him off as hopeless in my head even though I got his contact and his partner’s. I saw them on the bridge as well. They said, “Hey man, what’s up!” I was so happy to see them because these are all young people that the Revolutionary Communist Party is trying to attract. Seeing the Party mobilize this around the country makes me want to help deepen the strength and reach of this Party.

I was thinking, no major verdict had come down. Like in the fall with Eric Garner and Mike Brown. But the Party called and people mobilized pretty broadly. Revolution is in the air right now and on a lot of people’s lips.






Revolution #383 April 20, 2015

New York, April 14

"We're young, we're strong, we're marching all night long"

by Sunsara Taylor | April 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


“Why are we stopping? We’re not done!” I turn to see a Black youth with both arms in the air. His face is radiant and he is speaking to everyone and no one in particular. Even more, at this moment he is speaking for all of us. We’ve been marching for over five miles and just finished shutting down one of the busiest intersections in Brooklyn, and the police are scrambling to corral people onto the sidewalk. For a moment, it seems like they might succeed. Seconds later, hundreds once again surge into the middle of Flatbush Avenue. Joy and triumph fill people’s cry: “We’re young, we’re strong! We’re marching all night long!

New York City, April 14

Above us, the 15-foot installation with faces of people murdered by police is lofted high on the shoulders of high school students and others who have found a way—once again—to keep this right in the middle of the street. At the kick-off rally in Union Square, Cornel West promised that today would be a new day in the fight for justice. Families of police murder victims opened their hearts and laid their burden of pain and their hope for justice on our shoulders. Carl Dix declared, “When we take this huge poster into the streets, we are breathing the air that the people on the poster will never breathe again. We are voicing the shouts for justice that they will never get to voice. We are fighting for a future that they will never see, and we are saying that THIS MUST NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN.” Exactly. All of this fuels us as we move forward.

Out in front are a diverse range of youths, many of them Black, who intersperse their chanting with shouts at the police about how they have been stopped and frisked and treated like dogs. Still with us are several relatives of people murdered by police, at least one having found the energy to keep up with kids less than a third his age. We are dragging the brutality of this capitalist-imperialist state and its vicious white supremacy out of the shadows and making it seen by the whole world. We are showing our love for those this system has cast off and treats as less than human. We are reclaiming our own humanity by refusing to be Good Germans.

Just as palpable as the defiance and thrill emanating from the marchers is the cold hostility of the police all around us. For five miles they have been seething at the fact that their everyday culture of terrorizing and brutalizing Black and brown people was being called out in a way that could not be ignored. From our very first steps off the sidewalk at Union Square, they have lashed out—running over people’s feet with motorcycles, punching kids in the face, even drawing a gun on a 15-year-old and other UNARMED protesters on the Brooklyn Bridge.

But rather than cow people, their brutality and malice only made people more determined. For several hours, hundreds of protesters—at times up to 1,500—clogged up the city to say NO MORE! Traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge was disrupted in both directions. When police blocked off the ends of the bridge to trap protesters into being arrested, drivers opened their doors and drove many of the freedom fighters off the bridge. Helicopter news cameras captured the spectacular image of our 15-foot banner with the faces of people murdered by police lofted atop the Brooklyn Bridge against the iconic Manhattan skyline. Die-ins had backed up traffic in the Holland Tunnel and the Manhattan Bridge.

Now, as we march deeper into Brooklyn, the police are trying to unfurl huge orange nets. They bring these out to make mass arrests, literally wrapping these nets around whole crowds. But they are fumbling, their net is tangled, and everyone can see what they are trying. The crowd takes off running. Whooping and hollering, jumping and holding onto each other, we are way ahead and running free. The police try again with their net; and once again—and with even greater triumph—they are left panting behind us.

When they catch up, the police go crazy. Someone high up must have let them off their leash. Nearly a mile past the Barclays Center die-in, the police attack viciously. To my right, a very dear friend is grabbed by several huge cops and thrown to the ground. I see his face crushed to the pavement as a beast grinds his knee—and full body weight—into his head. To my left, a Black woman is thrown violently by police into/over a metal fence. She writhes on the ground with a broken rib. As I move up the sidewalk, officers point at me and before I know it I am lifted off the ground by what seems like 17 rough hands and my body and face are smashed against a brick wall. More cops body-slam into me from behind.

I am outraged—at the murder by police that has driven us into the streets in the first place, at the brutality I see all around me in this moment, at the machine-like inhumanity of those yanking me in different directions. But I am also soaring with joy and deep love for the beauty, daring, and determination of the freedom fighters who made this day ours.

The contrast between the two forces contending in the streets—and in a very real way, contending for the future—is stark. This contrast hits me hard as I am pushed into a tank-like vehicle and locked into a tiny cage within a cage. As I struggle to get my bearings, some young brothers two cages back call out, “We love you!” “I love you, too!” I respond, and I mean it. We talk excitedly about how proud we all are to have stood up right in the face of such brutality on behalf of those who can no longer stand for themselves. It is several minutes before one of them mentions that he thinks his leg is broken. Also, a man way in the back is completely unconscious. We resume our demands for an ambulance, but the police only mock and insult us. It’s an unforgivably long time—well over an hour (and we are very close to a major hospital)—before an ambulance arrives. I am convinced that if we hadn’t been there yelling, the pigs would have delayed even longer.

When we finally enter the 75th Precinct, the scene that greets us only reinforces how necessary the fight we are waging is. It is quite possible it was a display of cruelty put on intentionally to scare us. More than 15 pigs were standing around joking as a young Black man lay face down and handcuffed in the middle of the precinct lobby. He wasn’t moving. When the police finally picked him up, they deliberately bent his wrist so far forward I would be astounded if it weren’t broken, and they wrenched his arms up behind him, lifting his entire body weight by his handcuffs—likely tearing his shoulders. His face was covered in vomit and he didn’t make a sound. I yelled, “Brutality, that’s brutality!” The police response? Surrounded by other officers, one of them felt no hesitation to openly taunt us, “Oh yeah? Where are your cameras now?” The rest laughed.

If you can find that funny, you are no different than a Nazi. And this is what they do every single goddamn day to our people. Every day. Every hour. Right now as you read this, a jail cell is being spattered with the blood of someone Black or brown.

I began belting out the “I Can’t Breathe” song over and over as they separated me from the men. As I rounded a corner, a chorus of young women I couldn’t see—some as young as 16—joined in singing. They cheered as I told them we had made it onto CNN’s national news. Several times throughout the night, we set the entire wing of the jail shaking as we rattled our iron doors and jumped up and down on the benches so loudly the women could be heard all the way over in the men’s wing, and vice versa. I imagined all the heartache and brutality that had been inflicted in these jail cells. Never, I am sure, was this dungeon so liberating!

Two days later, my friend whose face had been crushed told me, “Your singing really got to them.” Apparently, the cops complained bitterly about “that woman” who wouldn’t stop singing “that song Samuel Jackson sang.” They swore they’d never see a movie with him again.

Sunsara Taylor with other A14 protesters released from jail
Sunsara Taylor with other A14 protesters released from jail.

When we finally began to be released in the wee hours of the morning (others wouldn’t be released until late the next day), a diverse and wonderful crowd was waiting to greet us. We all hugged. Some faces I recognized from years of friendship and struggle, others I knew only from sharing the streets that day, and still more were brand new, but all felt like family. It was so inspiring to see so many there, including one man who lost two sons to police murder, in the middle of the night. Turns out, the police were so pissed about this show of love they brutally arrested two protesters who were outside the precinct doing jail support!

Each time a new protester was released we chanted, “Freedom Fighter! Freedom Fighter!” and held a new rally to hear how they felt.

A disillusioned ex-marine picked his words carefully, explaining that he had fought for this country but was coming to feel that the country is uglier than he had realized. He insisted, “We have to come back even stronger.” A young member of the Revolution Club who had been out almost every day for several weeks leading up to A14 building for this spoke about how real the brutality of the police had become through the stories of the parents, through the Stolen Lives poster we had taken everywhere, through the brutality we had just experienced. With great indignation she pointed out that we’d each just done more jail time than all the cops who murdered more than 90 unarmed people already this year combined. “What does that tell you about the kind of system we live under?” she asked, before promising to come back even stronger and calling on others to do the same. A soft-spoken 16-year-old smiled irrepressibly as she told us, “This was the best day of my life!”

Indeed, it was a truly beautiful day. Not only did thousands across the country break through the pall that had been cast over the heroic outpourings against police murder that had erupted and escalated last year, they reacted to the brutality of the police with renewed vigor and determination. Not only did they make an important advance in the fight for a whole different and better future for our people, they became different and better people themselves in the process. We need more of this! Let’s learn from it, build on it, and spread it!






Revolution #383 April 20, 2015

Springfield, MA: “We are no longer going to sit back and watch our black and brown children get killed”

April 14, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |



"That's why we did it, that's how much it means to us, that's why we put our lives on the line. This means so much to us, we're fighting to survive."

Springfield Mass

Credit: Michael S. Gordon |

Several dozen activists took to the streets of Springfield, MA to protest on April 14, blocking traffic and creating a major scene at a busy intersection. Signs included "Prisons are slavery, police are the slave trade" and "Black Lives Matter - Shut It Down."

Over a dozen protesters were arrested.

From mainstream news coverage of the protest: "One protester explains, ‘The mayor needs to be here, see this, be arm-in-arm with us and standing up with this to let the system know we are no longer going to sit back and watch our black and brown children get killed.’”

[Interviewer:] “You saw a lot of people with you that got arrested, what did that mean?”

[Protester:] “That’s why we did it, that’s how much it means to us, that’s why we put our lives on the line. This means so much to us, we’re fighting to survive.”


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Revolution #383 April 20, 2015

From A World to Win News Service:

What Future for Cuba Did the Handshake Between Barack Obama and Raúl Castro Herald?

Updated and reposted March 28, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


April 13, 2015. A World to Win News Service. What future for Cuba did the handshake between Barack Obama and Raúl Castro symbolize? It was a heartbreaking moment when the leader of a country once a symbol of defiance to the despised “Yankee empire,” as Cubans and others in revolt against U.S. domination labelled it, shook hands with the “honest man,” as Castro now praised the man currently in charge of that empire. It was a bitter moment for Cubans and for people everywhere, including in the U.S. where Obama and the state machinery in general would like this gesture to relieve some of the discredit earned it by the man who is now presiding over the “slow genocide”, as it has been called, of African-Americans, and wars of aggression and attempts to reboot American hegemony throughout so much of the world.

Check out "Three Alternative Worlds," the Supplement to Chapter 2 of BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian.

One especially bitter element in this moment was the way Obama focused on the possibility of removing Cuba from his government’s “international terrorism” list as a way to bludgeon the submissive Castro regime into even more submission. It is the U.S. that held sway over Cuba through terrorist tyrants for decades, that attempted to invade Cuba to bring back the old regime two years after it was overthrown, that mounted all sorts of terrorist attacks on the new regime including, most notoriously, blowing up an airliner full of civilians, and constantly plotted to bring down the regime through the assassination of its leaders. The history of Cuban-American relations is a history of unbridled U.S. violence.

Cuba fell into the hands of the U.S. for the first time in 1898, when the U.S. invaded the island with double purpose of finishing off Spanish rivalry for control of the Caribbean and putting down a Cuban revolt that threatened to turn it into what American statesmen called “a Negro republic.” Slavery and sugar cane had created modern Cuba, and although slavery had been abolished, sugar cane still enslaved the economy and its people.

U.S. troops occupied Cuba for a total of 12 years over the course of the next two decades. The U.S. wrote an amendment into the Cuban constitution allowing it to intervene at will, which it did openly until the American ruling class fashioned a Cuban military that could be entrusted with their interests and political structures to run the country accordingly. This meant some of the world’s most notorious tyrants, generals obsequious to Washington and unspeakably cruel toward the people. U.S. installation of torture republics was standard operating procedure in many places, including in the neighboring Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Sugar cane is a crop that thrives on human flesh. Under U.S. domination, sugar plantations ate up much of the arable land. The U.S. sucked wealth out of Cuba in two ways, by dominating big agriculture and other businesses (such as rum, a sugar-dependent industry), and selling food and nearly everything else to a country that used to be extremely fertile before its forests were burned down to make way for sugar.

People worked unbearably hard in dangerous and life-shortening conditions during the harvest months and went hungry the rest of the year. A sugar cane mill worker killed in a strike was found to have no underwear or socks to be buried in. Cubans worked on U.S.-owned cattle ranches, but only a tenth of the people in the countryside ever drank milk and less than half of that percentage ever ate meat. In fact, it was often family labor on tiny plots of land that enabled people to survive from harvest to harvest in the cane fields. Small farmers, often poor whites, were not much better off than plantation workers.

Cuban society was as devastated as its economy. Under the watchful eyes of Washington’s ambassadors, the U.S.-based Mafia set moral standards and the Catholic Church blessed them. Among the most sacred values was men’s right to rule over women and women’s confinement to the following categories: mothers, wives, mistresses and prostitutes.

Prostitution flourished—in brothels and on the streets, ten percent of Havana’s population “served” American military men, civilian sailors and sex tourists. The biggest growth industry was casinos. Even as Cuba became known as a country where “anything goes” for rapacious foreigners, ordinary Cubans had no rights. The aspirations of the better-off middle classes and professionals were trampled underfoot by the country’s corrupt, arbitrary, vicious and tiny ruling class in association with the ultimate rulers, U.S. monopoly capitalists and their political representatives in Washington.

The 1959 Cuban revolution led by Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and others was an inspiration to people everywhere at that time, not a “disaster” as some commentators call it, nor some obscure “Cold War” quarrel as Obama claims. It was right to overthrow a U.S.-backed regime that murdered as many as 20,000 people in its last years.

But that revolution was not led by a party with a real understanding of and commitment to what it would take to end all forms of oppressive economic and social relations and thinking they engender, despite use of the names “Communist Party” and “socialism.” Its leaders traded dependency on the U.S. for dependency on the Soviet Union. (The USSR itself had already abandoned socialism in the 1950s and had become “social imperialist”, socialist in words, monopoly capitalist and imperialist in reality.) Since the fall of the USSR that leadership has floundered, and not just economically. They have been unable to offer the Cuban people a viable alternative to an uninspiring and untenable status quo.

The unrevolutionary character of the Cuban regime led by Fidel Castro was apparent in the attempt to continue the island’s submission to sugar (now to be sold or traded to the USSR) in forms that reproduced the old relations of exploitation and oppression in old and new ways. Neither the dependent economy nor the society that economy had created were ever thoroughly transformed in a liberating way.

The lack of political rights and ferment of dissent that the Cuban regime’s reactionary critics complain about was stultifying. Yet the most central right such people never talk about and will never agree to anywhere, and that the Castro regime never dreamed of, is the right of the masses of people to increasingly take part in running society through a new kind of state, transforming economic, social and political relations and themselves, leading to a world free of all oppressive relations among human beings. Raúl Castro’s attempt to ensure his regime’s survival by crawling to the U.S. imperialists, the biggest criminals against humanity today and Cuba’s historic slave masters, is painfully ugly, but it is consistent with the nature of the regime and society he and his brother Fidel have led.

The country’s dependency is shifting from sugar plantations to tourism plantations, an “industry” that offers no hope for economic independence and the fulfilment of human potential. And prostitution, which has been reintroduced and thriving for decades, is both a metaphor and mechanism for the further destruction still to come as the “free market”, whose awful power was never abolished in Cuba but now to be stoked by U.S. capital, further destroys bodies and souls.

The lust with which the U.S. now looks at Cuba is terrifying. More generally, however, the Obama-Castro handshake does not represent a new and durable triumph for U.S. imperialism, but manoeuvring in a world where American hegemony is increasingly endangered. An understanding of why the Cuban revolution has ended up where it is today, and why that was not and is not inevitable, would be important for people everywhere whose revolutionary aspirations have not been quenched.


For more, see “Re-Colonization in the Name of Normalization—Behind the Re-Establishment of U.S.-Cuba Diplomatic Relations,” by Ramond Lotta, Revolution #367, December 29, 2014, at Also “Burn Down the Cane Fields! Notes on the Political Economy of Cuba,” A World to Win magazine nos. 14 and 15, available at

Further, despite its theoretical flaws, the classic Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galeano, who died April 13, 2015, remains a valuable, highly insightful and poetic denunciation of that continent’s history under colonialism and imperialism. (Monthly Review Press, 1997)





Revolution #383 April 20, 2015


April 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


On April 7 and April 9, the film of the Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian, REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion, was shown in two parts at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

The UCLA screenings were introduced by Annie Day, who is from The Bob Avakian Institute and a co-producer of the film. Day gave people background on the Dialogue and talked with great urgency about the (then) impending national day of protest against the murder and brutalization by police of Black and Latino people.

Some 25 students from diverse departments attended on the first night. The screening was followed by informal discussion. A philosophy major responded this way: “Avakian put very big and important ideas before people, ideas people had not likely encountered before. It was demanding and I particularly appreciated the fact that Avakian took the necessary time to meticulously explain and elaborate on these ideas. West was different. It was a very concise but existential presentation that went right to the heart. If you think about it, the two presentations were complementary.” A student whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico wanted to get more deeply into issues of revolution vs. reform, wondering if you could rule out the possibility of really fundamental reform under capitalism. Someone from a nearby community college said that this was the first time that he had heard anyone—he was referring to Bob Avakian—discuss an actual plan for revolution.

The second night’s screening was of the question-and-answer portion of the Dialogue. The original plan was to have another informal discussion afterward. But several students (and this was largely a different crowd) wanted a more structured discussion. So Annie Day and political economist Raymond Lotta, who was at UCLA that week speaking to students and professors about Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism, led what turned out to be a very lively back and forth with the audience.

An African-American science student, clearly provoked by the film, posed a series of questions that opened into wider discussion: How would a socialist economy actually be able to distribute resources and overcome inequality? Isn’t there a danger that people in a socialist society would themselves stop being revolutionary once their living conditions improved? In organizing for revolution, how do you reach more mainstream people? Day and Lotta spoke to these questions, drawing from the Revolutionary Communist Party’s “On the Strategy for Revolution” and the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal). A political science major said he totally agreed with the need to step out around the killings by cops but vehemently disagreed on revolution—and that led into discussion about elections and “citizenship” under the current system.

Two students from China talked with Lotta. One was especially touched by what Bob Avakian and Cornel West had to say about the role of art and culture in the revolution (she was “air-clapping” at the remarks made by BA in that part of the film) and the other eagerly got the new compilation of writings by Avakian on law and constitutions in capitalist and socialist societies and the special issue of Revolution on the history of communist revolution. A student who attended both screenings commented later that the film helped her understand what revolution is about and the importance of fighting right now and coming out to the April 14 Shutdown Against Police Murder.






Revolution #383 April 20, 2015

UC Berkeley's Sather Gate Shut Down—Again!

April 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Sather Gate, UC Berkeley, April 18
Photos: Special to


UC Berkeley, April 18

Sather Gate, UC Berkeley, April 18

Three days after students at UC Berkeley closed down Sather Gate as part of the nationwide Shut It Down actions on April 14, the Black Student Union (BSU) shut things down at Sather Gate again for more than an hour. Saturday, April 18, was “CalDay”—a day to “showcase” the University for thousands of prospective students and their families. The BSU and supporters, carrying a gigantic “BLACK LIVES MATTER” banner, first occupied Sproul Plaza and then blocked Sather Gate. According to the Daily Cal, "In addition to protesting in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement — which emerged following police killings of unarmed black men in various places across the country — the students spoke of 10 demands made by the BSU to Chancellor Nicholas Dirks." Finally, the BSU and other students and supporters marched through campus and down Telegraph Avenue. This past week showed a new combative spirit among students at Cal—keep it up!






Revolution #383 April 20, 2015

Chicago Pays $5 Million to Suppress Dash Cam Video of Laquan McDonald Shot 16 Times by Police

We Demand the Video Be Released Now! Indict the Cop Now!

April 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Laquan McDonald
Laquan McDonald

On April 14, the day of nationwide protest to stop police murder, the City Council of Chicago voted 47-0 to approve a $5 million payment to the family of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times and killed by Chicago police last October 20 for “refusing to put down a knife.”

The so-called “independent” police review board investigation has made no findings yet in its ponderous process to nowhere. The cop has not even been named, has not even been charged, and is still working for the police department. The family had not yet filed a lawsuit. Yet $5 million was awarded to the family. A Chicago Tribune editorial reports that the city attorney made the offer to pre-empt a federal lawsuit. Why? The City does not want the video of the murder released and the settlement stipulates that the family cannot release it.

We can only surmise that what the video shows must be bad, really bad—so bad they don’t want anyone to see it. Mary Mitchell from the Sun-Times (“Why the city doesn't want video of Laquan McDonald's shooting release.” Posted: 04/14/2015) reported that the lawyer for the family who has seen it said the video has not been aired because of the “fear of violent protests.” The lawyer reported that Laquan's uncle was really concerned and afraid he would see their neighborhood burned.

Fear of THIS is why the City Council made the settlement offer.

Jeffrey Neslund, the family’s lawyer, described the scene on the video to Mitchell: Laquan is walking away from police with a knife in his right hand. “He is not running. He is not lunging. He is walking. Two Chicago police officers jump out of a Tahoe with their guns drawn. McDonald is still walking west toward the sidewalk with a full lane of traffic separating him from one of the officers. When the officer begins shooting, the first shots spin McDonald around. The officer continues to fire from a distance of between 12 and 15 feet. McDonald falls. The only movement is the puffs of smoke coming from the teen’s torso and his head.”

Jamie Kalven and Craig Futterman reported in (“Sixteen Shots”) that the autopsy report shows Laquan was shot in the left scalp, neck, left chest, right chest, left elbow (2), right upper arm (2), left forearm, right upper leg (2), left upper back, right arm, right forearm, right lower back.

Sixteen shots. This is hard to read without a sense of overwhelming horror, and anger, and fury—what must it be like to watch it? A snuff film of a young human being, with his whole life ahead of him, shot down in cold blood—his future gone in a hail of bullets.

The six cops on the scene who participated in this execution, and the higher ups, have been lying and covering up and demonizing Laquan from the very first press release when they said Laquan lunged at a cop and the cops feared for their lives. Neslund says that detectives went the next day to the Burger King and seized their surveillance footage without a warrant.

And now the Mayor and City Council are trying to buy the suppression of the dash cam video. If the video backed up the cops' story, then there would be no need to suppress it. And that is an explosive contradiction for the state. Being “transparent" is a problem for them because those videos reveal the murder of a young Black man by police. One Black person is killed by a cop, vigilante or security guard at least every 28 hours in this country—something that more and more people are becoming aware of and angry about and determined to stop. And that reveals the ugly reality of the very nature, role, and regular practice of the police—to brutalize, torture, and murder Black, Latino and other oppressed people and forcibly use the armed might of the state to keep them in an oppressed condition, backed up by the whole system. (The same day, the City Council also voted for $5.5 million in reparations to a long list of victims of torture by the CPD.)

The City should have to pay Laquan’s family $5 million—but $5 billion could never make up for stealing the life of this young man or all the others cut down day after day.

The murder of Laquan McDonald is recorded on video. The truth must come out. The Chicago Tribune published an editorial on April 16, calling for the release of the video and making the point: what good are body cameras if the cops control who sees the video. The City and the cops cannot be allowed to get away with suppressing the video, nor can they be allowed to justify police lies and murder by buying their way out.









Revolution #383 April 20, 2015

Genocidal Realities

Nevada Prison Guards Set Up Gladiator Fights—Then Fire on Prisoners

April 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


In speaking to the situation facing Black and Latino people in the U.S.—mass incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline, the criminalization and demonization of a whole generation of youth, the overt or just-below-the-surface racism prevalent in society, etc.—Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party has said what is taking place is a slow genocide that could easily become a fast genocide. The word “genocide” comes from the ancient root words “genos” (people) and “cide” (killing)—according to the UN, genocide is the deliberate imposition on a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group of “conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.” This regular feature highlights aspects of this slow genocide.


November 12, 2014—It started out like any other day in the High Desert State Prison north of Las Vegas. Twenty-eight-year-old Carlos Manuel Perez, Jr.—who had four months to go on an 18-to 48-month sentence for assault, off a beef he got into with someone in a rival set—had showered, then had his hands cuffed behind him before being returned to his cell. Andrew Jay Arevalo, 24, housed in another isolation cell next to Perez on a one- to three-year sentence, had gotten his shower and was also cuffed behind his back, waiting to return to his cell.

Perez and Arevalo had conflicts. According to prison policy, they should have been returned to their cells one at a time to keep them apart. But the guards released both into the hallway at the same time anyway, knowing what would happen. Words were exchanged, and the handcuffed inmates began kicking at each other, while the guards watched and probably laughed.

After a few minutes, a guard trainee fired a warning shot, quickly followed by three shotgun blasts down the hall. Arevalo was hit three times in the face but survived. Perez, however, was hit in the head, neck, chest, and arms—and his death was later ruled a homicide. But the prison covered it up and said nothing about how Perez had died until a coroner’s report was released four months later. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department was called to the prison about an “assault with a gun” but has no record of Perez’s death and did not investigate it.

Perez’s family didn’t even know how he had died until they went to claim his body and found it riddled with gunshot holes. “We had to undress him ourselves and take pictures of his wounds,” said his older brother. “Everything was hidden from us.”

Most of the major news media has ignored this story, but an ongoing investigation by the Las Vegas Review-Journal found that guards had fired their weapons at least 215 times at High Desert from 2007 to 2011, 63 percent of all shots fired in the state’s 21 prison facilities. The real-world consequences are horrifying:


This is probably only the tip of the iceberg. Cal Potter, the attorney for the Perez family and others, is considering a class-action lawsuit. “There’s people coming out of the woodwork, talking about their loved ones being shot,” Potter said. “We believe that there’s got to be hundreds of people shot at High Desert.”

The Perez family has filed a lawsuit claiming two guards “created a gladiator-like scenario” when they allowed Perez and Arevalo to fight in the hallway outside their cells before ordering a rookie third guard to shoot them.

The family’s suffering goes on. Four days after they started a GoFundMe online fundraising campaign to raise the $2,000 for a funeral, the site was shut down. “A GoFundMe representative told me the warden called them directly to shut it down,” said Perez’s older brother. “The prison claimed an investigation was ongoing and that donation services for Carlos weren’t allowed.”

Perez’s ashes still sit in his brother’s living room in a cardboard box.






Revolution #383 April 20, 2015

St. Louis OUTRAGE: Police Kill Thaddeus McCarroll for Holding a Knife and Bible

April 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


The St. Louis police are claiming that a 23-year-old Black man holding a knife and a Bible posed such a threat to their entire Tactical Operations Unit that he had to be shot multiple times by two cops and killed him.

Thaddeus McCarroll murdered by St. Louis police

This videotaped murder happened in the city of Jennings, a suburb of St. Louis, four miles from where Michael Brown was killed by a cop in Ferguson. On Friday night, April, 17, the mother of Thaddeus McCarroll called the police, hoping to get help. According to the police, she told them that her son was acting erratically and had locked her out of the house. But instead of getting help, she ended up like so many others who have had their children’s lives stolen from them by the police. The police went to the home and then later the Tactical Operations Unit showed up with a negotiator.

The video is from after McCarroll comes out of the house. The cop negotiator questions Thaddeus about why he is angry. He says, “We are not here to harm you.” And then, "We will walk away from your house but first I want to know why you're angry tonight. Just because we won't leave is not the reason why you're angry. I need to know why you're angry. Is it your mom? Is it you?"

Seconds later there is a single shot that rings out... then a brief pause... then what sounds like multiple shots of gunfire.

The St. Louis County police say they had “no other option” but to shoot dead Thaddeus McCarroll. BULLSHIT! A whole bunch of cops and a whole tactical team confronting a very upset young man holding only a knife and a Bible—and the only possible outcome was to shoot and kill him because he was supposedly “charging at the police”?!

Jennings protest
Photo: @deray
Jennings, blocking street
Photo: @joelcurrier

One neighbor told a local TV news reporter, “I felt like they was threatening him and the way that they was threatening him they shouldn’t have if they really wanted him to come outside. And once he did came outside they didn’t say nothing to him like put you hands up or nothing, they just got to shooting.

Another neighbor, Linda Wade, has lived next door since before Thaddeus McCarroll was born. She told Fox news, “He said, ‘All I just want is for you guys to leave. Just leave, I’m not doing anything.’ He had a Bible in his hand. And the next thing I know is you can’t hear nothing but it was like a bomb had went off.... It just seems like they gotta find a better way than just shoot people down like that. I don’t know if he had a knife or whatever but they have AK-47s."

The fact that the police “resolved” this situation by killing Thaddeus McCarroll only underscores the total illegitimacy of these cops and the whole system that they protect and serve.

The next day, people protested outside the Jennings police department. People also went into the intersections and into the streets, chanting, “Black Lives Matter” and “Who shuts shit down? We shut shit down!” Cars going by honked to show support and people stayed in the streets, protesting until after dark.






Revolution #383 April 20, 2015

South Carolina Cop Caught on Video Murdering Black Man

Statement by Carl Dix

April 8, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Carl Dix

Carl Dix

Another cop caught on video murdering a Black man. This time the victim was Walter L. Scott, a 50-year-old man who had been stopped for a traffic violation. The murderer was Michael Slager, a South Carolina cop, who shot Scott 5 times, 4 of them in the back as he ran away. And this murdering pig didn't stop there. He handcuffed Scott's lifeless body, ran back to the spot where he initially confronted Scott. It appears Slager picked up the taser he had shot Scott with and carried it to where Scott lay and placed it beside the body, after shooting him in the back as he ran away.

This case was shocking, and not at all surprising. Shocking because you can see the cop chasing Scott and gunning him down as he tried to flee, AND because it appears Slager planted evidence to make it look like Scott was some kind of a threat. Also shocking because you see other cops come onto the scene and watch this evidence planting occur. But none of them said anything about it before the video got out.

Not at all surprising because there have been many, many cases of cops murdering people, including more than a few where the murders were caught on videotape. There have been many, many cases where witnesses to these murders have said that the cops planted evidence to try to justify their criminal actions. And in almost every single one of these cases, the system let the killer cops walk.

This time the killer cop has been charged with murder, but let's be clear. This would never have happened if there hadn't been a video that made it impossible to claim that the cop had reason to fear for his life. Slager hasn't yet been convicted for the murder that we can all see him committing. We saw Eric Garner get murdered by police last year, and the system still exonerated his murderers. The prosecutors may still forget how to prosecute in this case, and this killer cop may still be allowed to walk.

Don't get this twisted. The indictment of the cop who murdered Walter Scott doesn't mean that the system is working to provide justice in this case. The system was working the way it always works; well on the way to exonerating another killer cop, until the video came to light. The real message from this case is not that there is one bad cop who murdered someone and planted evidence to try to justify that murder. It's that police are still wantonly murdering Black and Latino people. And that the system still works to exonerate cops when they murder people. THIS MUST STOP!

Anyone with a shred of justice in their hearts needs to join in acting to STOP it by taking to the streets on April 14! to stop the “business as usual” of killing by police.

Carl Dix


Watch Cornel West and Carl Dix Speak on April 6—

The Police Are STILL Killing Unarmed People, and This Must STOP!





Revolution #383 April 20, 2015

Houston Police Kill Two Unarmed Men in Two Days

April 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


On the night of April 13, Houston pig D. Sudderth shot and murdered an unarmed Black man whose name still has not been released by authorities. Police claim the man was a “suspect” in a robbery at a gas station, but they have released no evidence to demonstrate that. Police also claimed that the man had a shotgun in his lap as he sat in a truck when Sudderth approached him, a charge echoed word-for-word by the few Houston news outlets that ran small online stories of the killing.

The Houston Chronicle wrote that Sudderth “looked inside [the truck] and saw a man with a shotgun in his lap” and quotes an HPD spokesman saying that the man “raises it towards the officer.” The cop stepped back and fired into the truck, killing the man. But it turned out the man, who according to a witness was talking to himself and “acting erratically” before the cop came at him, had a welding tool in his hand. Sudderth fired what one witness said seemed like 15 bullets in two volleys at the man while he sat in the truck.

Two days later, on April 15, HPD shot and killed another unarmed Black man, 41-year-old Frank “Trey” Shephard. Police had chased Shephard through a semi-rural community after he tried to avoid being pulled over. He had warrants out for minor violations. But he was portrayed as a big-time criminal, and the scene of pigs chasing and murdering Shephard after he collided with another car was broadcast live on local TV.

HPD claims that Shephard said he had a child in the car with him, and the video of his murder shows him getting out of his car and reaching back into it after it came to a stop. At this point, the cops unloaded their guns on Shephard and killed him. No weapon was found. There was no child in the car. And think about it—these pigs fired over a dozen bullets into a car they claimed had a child they were trying to save in it.

Lushondra Glover, Frank Shephard’s cousin, said, “He was loved, he had life, he was a really good person; and everybody has their mistakes, but overall he was a hard working person.”

The demonstrations on April 14 against police murder marked a new beginning for the struggle against these outrages—and the continuing killings by police in Houston and across the country underscore the urgency of retaking the offensive in this fight.






Revolution #383 April 20, 2015

National Guard in Ferguson: Protesters Are "Enemy Forces"

April 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Last November, right before the grand jury decided that Ferguson cop Darren Wilson would not be indicted for the murder of Michael Brown, the Missouri governor declared a state of emergency. The National Guard was activated to assist state and local police in responding to protests.

BAsics 1:24

Official communications and internal documents recently obtained by CNN through the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the National Guard deployed in Ferguson referred to protesters as “enemy forces” and “adversaries”—using military terminology as if they were engaged in a war. The documents talk about how the protesters might use phone apps and police scanners to obtain information about Guard operations. According to CNN, among the groups characterized as “hate groups” were “General Protesters.” One communication specified gear that “rioters” would likely have for protection, like goggles, gas masks, and plywood shields—as if people trying to protect themselves was a crime.

Later, the National Guard worried about the repercussions if people found out the Guard considered them the “enemy.” Before the grand jury decision, an email from the Army chief of staff at the Missouri National Guard warned that such language could be “construed as potentially inflammatory.” Two days later, commanding officers were notified that all references to “enemy” should be changed to “criminal elements.”

Whether they use terms like “enemy” or “criminal elements,” the armed protectors and enforcers of this oppressive system see large sections of the people as forces that must be put down, repressed, locked up, and more. This system has no future for millions of Black and Latino people, especially the youth. Their “answer” is to try to keep a lid on all this by brutalizing and murdering Black and Latino people on an epidemic level. And when the people righteously stand up and rebel against this, the powers-that-be unleash their police and troops to attack the people with rubber bullets, tear gas, and mass arrests.







Revolution #383 April 20, 2015




Revolution #383 April 20, 2015

Outrageous Injustice! Cop who Murdered Rekia Boyd Goes Free Without Even Having to Make a Defense

Police Murder Must Stop!
We Need a Revolution!

April 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


On Monday, April 20 the courtroom exploded in an emotional outburst when the only cop indicted and tried in Chicago in 15 years for killing a civilian was acquitted by the judge for the murder of Rekia Boyd. Rekia’s brother expressed righteous outrage at this unjust verdict and pointed at Servin, “That man killed my sister.”

Rekia BoydRekia Boyd

Rekia was 22 years old on a warm March night in 2012. She was hanging out with a group of friends in the park. Dante Servin, an off duty CPD detective who lived in the neighborhood, pulled up near the group and had words with one person. Then Servin shot over his shoulder 5 times into the group who were all facing away from him, hitting Rekia in the back of the head and another man in the hand. She died within 24 hours. Servin claimed that he “feared for his life” but the investigation later showed that none of the people he shot at were armed, nor were they threatening him. But the truth and Rekia’s life did not matter in the court of law.

The City had already settled with Rekia’s family for $4.5 million without admitting guilt. But the family wanted real justice – they wanted Servin indicted and convicted. Servin was not charged with murder but rather with the lesser charges of manslaughter, reckless discharge of a firearm, and reckless conduct. Court observers noted that charges like these are usually brought against someone who discharges a gun while cleaning it, for instance, not for intentionally firing a gun into a crowd. This “undercharging” enabled the judge to say essentially that the cop was guilty of much MORE than “recklessness,” and then turn around and find him “not guilty” of all counts!

The only reason that Servin was indicted and tried at all was because of a huge and prolonged struggle by Rekia’s family, friends and supporters. But the prosecution, according to a number of observers, “forgot how to prosecute” and didn’t even mount a half-hearted case. The prosecutors also allowed a law student intern to conduct some of the direct examination during the “trial,” and failed to call any of the family members for the prosecution. Yes, not at all what the masses face when they come into court! Then halfway through the trial, the judge ruled in a rare directed verdict that the prosecution had not proved its case: “the evidence presented does not support the charges on which the defendant was indicted and tried.”

With the bang of a gavel another murdering cop walks free, while another wronged and heartbroken family gets a kick in the gut – in the form of a ruling that says it’s just fine for the cop to kill Rekia and walk away unpunished. How can anyone accept this as “justice”? It is intolerable, twisted and cruel. As Servin left the court, people shouted “murderer, murderer.” To add insult to injury, Servin was quoted on the news as saying he “hoped the family will find closure.” Fuck that!

Meanwhile the sheriffs had a police dog waiting in the hallway when people were pushed out of the courtroom. This all had to have been planned in advance, it happened so fast. And then the elevators opened and dozens of sheriffs flooded into the hallway outside the courtroom. Once again, the supporters of the families were treated as criminals while the killer cop walked free!

This shows once again that the capitalist/imperialist rulers of this country refuse to punish their murdering enforcers – regardless of how clear cut the evidence is. People need to confront and dig deeply into why this happens and come to grips with the fact that this system has no future for millions of Black and Latino youth and little other than prison and terror to keep them in line. We need a revolution to get rid of this genocidal program once and for all. Let’s get with preparing for that revolution that is so urgently needed.

Protesters block Roosevelt Road, April 20
Protesters block Roosevelt Road, April 20

As of this writing, some streets on the west side of Chicago have been shut down for two hours by protests. A tweet which accompanied one photo described the protesters: “four lanes of traffic shut down on Roosevelt Road by protest demanding justice for #RekiaBoyd.”





Revolution #383 April 20, 2015

From the Streets of Baltimore—Protests in the Streets after the Murder of Freddie Gray

From Our Correspondent on the Streets of Baltimore

April 22, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Baltimore April 22, 6 pm, protests against the murder of Freddie Gray
Above, 6pm April 22, in the streets for justice for Freddie Gray

April 22, 6 pm: This afternoon people gathered at the corner where Freddie Gray was brutalized—before his death. The youth were angry and ready to march. They didn’t want to stick around and have a rally so they started marching down to the police station—seven or eight blocks away. The police station is barricaded with concrete and cops. People have climbed up on the barricades. They are raising their hands “Hands up, don’t shoot.” And chanting: “All night, all day, we are fighting for Freddie Gray!” A strong demand is that ALL the cops involved in his murder be charged— “We want all six!”

Some clergy and activists are in the streets, and so is the Revolution Club with the “Stolen Lives” poster. People are holding up prints of that poster. Overwhelmingly it is younger people, from the neighborhood—even junior high kids—in the street, rallying at the station while others march around the neighborhood.

Baltimore April 22 protests against the murder of Freddie Gray
Above, 6:15pm April 22, in the streets for justice for Freddie Gray

People are asking “why” does this happen. They are saying “Everybody should be here.” A 50-year-old man told us, “Look at these kids, their nightmares used to be about monsters, now they are about the police.” In the mix: A youth from the streets told our correspondent that “I’m tired of us killing each other, that’s what the police want.” As we post this, protesters are blocking the streets.







Revolution #383 April 20, 2015

"All night, all day, we're gonna fight for Freddie Gray"

April 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


On Wednesday afternoon, April 22, people gathered at the corner near Gilmor Homes projects in Baltimore, as they've done every day since Freddie Gray died, murdered by the police. A group of youths was impatient—"Come on, we gotta march and occupy the police station." They formed a line, five or six men and women in each line, and started down the middle of the street—"All night, all day, we're gonna fight for Freddie Gray."

From a Revolution/ correspondent:

"We're gonna be out here every day, until something happens. We're out here all week, even if next week I got to be out here by myself out here... because we need a change."

--A young Black woman from Freddie Gray's neighborhood

On Wednesday afternoon, April 22, people gathered at the corner near Gilmor Homes projects in Baltimore, as they've done every day since Freddie Gray died, murdered by the police. A group of youths was impatient—"Come on, we gotta march and occupy the police station." They formed a line, five or six men and women in each line, and started down the middle of the street—"All night, all day, we're gonna fight for Freddie Gray."

The impatience of these youths was reflected throughout the protesters, some 150 strong at the beginning and growing to several hundred by early evening at the intersection right next to the Western District police station. Everybody can recount the life experience of living in a police-occupied neighborhood, constantly harassed, disrespected, brutalized. A man talked in anguish about being in constant fear that his 26-year-old son would be beaten or even gunned down by the pigs. People from junior high kids to teens to older folks talked of police targeting people for small bullshit like walking out of stores with a loose cigarette. People have seen what happened to Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, and others at the hands of the police... and how the cops have gotten away with murder after murder. Several people said that they knew something like that was going to happen there in their neighborhood. When the news of Freddie Gray's death hit the street, it was the straw that broke the camel's back.

By early Wednesday evening, the march grew to several hundred at the intersection right next to the Western District police station. Many in the march can recount the life experience of living in a police-occupied neighborhood, constantly harassed, disrespected, brutalized.

People want answers—now—about what the police did to Freddie Gray, after they beat him on the street, dragged him as he screamed in pain, and threw him into the van. They want the cops involved to be charged with murder—now—not walking around, suspended with pay (in other words, a paid vacation). The Revolution Club members who came down from New York City to join with the protests brought in the chant "Indict, convict, send the killer cops to jail"—and people at the protest made the connection between the fight for justice for Freddie Gray and the fight around other police murders around the country. Copies of the poster with the faces and names of dozens of police murder victims were grabbed up and carried around.

At the end of the day, we learned that the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police had made a statement comparing the protesters who are demanding the arrest and indictment of the cops involved in killing Freddie Gray to a "lynch mob." A lynch mob?! People have been in the streets after Freddie Gray's life was stolen by a mob of cops, righteously demanding justice. They, and people in other cities around the country, are standing up against police murder after police murder, an epidemic that is part of an all-around assault by the system against Black and brown people with a genocidal edge. That's what they're doing in the streets of Baltimore—and why the Fraternal Order of Pigs are foaming at the mouth.

In the intersection next to the Western District police station, most of the people there were Black—mostly from the neighborhood, but also from other parts of the city. There was a handful of white people there—including a community college student who had come by himself to his first political action, who said, "At some point, you can't remain silent. You have to speak out." A Black woman at the protest said, "Everyone should be here... They're all welcome."

Yes. Everyone should be rising up for justice for Freddie Gray... and for all the victims of police murder.

And when people rise up in righteous resistance against this outrage—from Ferguson to New York City to the S.F. Bay Area and other places—they are attacked by police with illegal and illegitimate violence, and slandered by official voices and the mainstream media. This is totally outrageous and illegitimate! All people of conscience should be standing with the protesters, and against the powers-that-be and their armed enforcers.





Revolution #383 April 20, 2015

April 23, 2015

Update from Baltimore Protests against the Murder of Freddie Gray

April 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a correspondent:

Thursday, April 23—This was the fifth straight day of protests in the streets of Baltimore since Freddie Gray died in the hands of police. After a rally and a march around the plaza in front of City Hall, hundreds poured into the streets of downtown Baltimore, snarling rush hour traffic. Many of the protesters were young and Black—but there were also people of different ages and nationalities. Heading first to the federal courthouse, the protesters then marched through the Inner Harbor tourist area, the historic Federal Hill neighborhood, and eventually to the Western District police station where the police pulled Freddie Gray from their van after they had beaten and arrested him. Two people were reportedly arrested in the confrontation with the police at the station.

People are making good on the determined pledge in the chant heard from the first day of the protests: “All night, all day, we’re gonna fight for Freddie Gray!”

A few sights and sounds from the day:

At one point we march past state police in their green uniforms standing along with the regular cops. The Baltimore police had called in the Maryland state police as reinforcement to "monitor" the protests. Shades of Ferguson, where the Missouri governor mobilized National Guard troops as reinforcement against the protests.

* * * * *

At the same time as he called for help from the state police, Baltimore's Black police commissioner, Anthony Batts, made a show of promising a real "investigation" and invited members of Freddie Gray's family and others for a talk in his office. One young family member, addressing the rally at City Hall, spoke positively of Batts—as opposed to the mayor, who is also African-American.

* * * * *

Carl Dix, from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and the Revolutionary Communist Party, speaking at the rally: "Freddie Gray, his life was stolen. Those cops did it. I don't want to hear about investigation. We've seen investigations, and investigations become cover-ups..." (Listen to Carl Dix's speech at the April 23 rally here.)

* * * * *

Reverend Jamal Harrison Bryant, Senior Pastor at Empowerment AME Temple Church in Baltimore, and the MC for the City Hall rally, talks about how Freddie Gray was walking around in the neighborhood the day he was targeted and set upon by cops because, like so many other young Black men, he had no job, no prospects—and then looked upon as a "criminal" by the police. Rev. Bryant is one of the signatories to the Statement of Conscience from Cornel West and Carl Dix, "The Horror of Cops Getting Away with Killing Again and Again Must STOP!"

* * * * *

There are a fair number of people with 1199SEIU (a healthcare workers local of the Service Employees International Union) signs and shirts. One young Black man with a 1199SEIU shirt says several of their members were related to or were friends of Freddie Gray, and felt they had to show support.

* * * * *

A group of five-six students from Towson University marching together. An Asian student in the group, when asked why they'd joined this action, says, "Because Black lives matter."

* * * * *

An older Black woman in a battery-powered wheelchair and holding on to a Stolen Lives poster is part of the march going boldly down the middle of the downtown streets. "You've been sticking with this," someone says. The woman points to the meter on the chair: "Still got half a charge left."

* * * * *

A smartly dressed middle-age Black woman who came in from a Baltimore suburb with her husband and daughter for the rally and then joined the spontaneous march says, "Apathy doesn't work. We all have to be out there—otherwise, nothing will change. The system doesn't change itself."

* * * * *

Seen among the cars stuck in the rush-hour jam created by the street protest: a white woman in a shiny SUV with her hands raised in solidarity in a "hands up, don't shoot" gesture.

* * * * *

At one point in the march, Revolution Club members hand out whistles—and the streets resonate with the combined noise of marchers "blowing the whistle" on police brutality and murder.





Revolution #383 April 20, 2015

Call from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network for solidarity actions with Saturday's Baltimore protests

Updated April 24, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | received the following from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network: 


To Stop Mass Incarceration Network activists and friends,

Justice for #FreddieGray, Come to Baltimore Now! April 23, 2015

The outpouring of protests in Baltimore responding to the police murder of Freddie Gray is tremendous. It's another case of the cops brutally murdering a Black man; and the people being told they should suffer this in silence, while waiting for the system to finish its investigations. NO! People were right to stand up here, and they need to keep on standing up and fighting, both as the way to get justice for Freddie Gray and as the way to build a fight to STOP the system from continuing to give a green light to their cops to brutalize and even murder Black and Latino people.

Stop Mass Incarceration Network (SMIN) activists and supporters need to act and respond to the outpourings in Baltimore. We should plan solidarity actions wherever we are so that people can be involved in standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the fight for Justice for Freddie Gray. And if you are close enough to Baltimore to mobilize people to get here, you should come down on Saturday to be part of the SMIN contingent in the march planned for 3PM at the sight of Freddie's arrest and marches to Baltimore City Hall. Contact the New York SMIN at 929-249-7996 to join the contingent. Or the national number at 646-709-1961.

Carl Dix urges those readers who are not able to get to Baltimore to organize protests in solidarity in their own areas on Saturday.






Revolution #383 April 20, 2015

Baltimore –

Another Black Man's Life Stolen by the Police!

Statement by Carl Dix

April 22, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Freddie Gray

Freddie Gray

Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Black man, is dead after being taken into custody by Baltimore City cops. Freddie was chased and arrested on April 12. Why? We don’t know because police haven’t yet made public why they arrested him. All we know is that Freddie ran when the cops swaggered into the neighborhood like an occupying army. A video made by a witness to his arrest shows him being dragged to the police van screaming like he was in excruciating pain and seemingly unable to walk. 40 minutes later, the police call an ambulance to the precinct Freddie was taken to, and at the hospital doctors find his spinal cord had been broken. Freddie died a week later. The city has exploded in protest, with 2000 people in the streets on April 21 demanding Justice For Freddie.

Baltimore City officials are saying, “People should wait for the results of our thorough investigation.” Apologists for the cops ask, ‘Why did he run in the first place?” I don’t want to hear any of that crap. Freddie is another Black man whose life was stolen by the police. This is a horror that has been going on for decades and is intensifying today. It is a concentration of the slow genocide being enforced on Black and Latino people by this capitalist/imperialist system. It will take revolution, nothing less, to end this, and all the other horrors this system forces humanity to endure. And everybody who refuses to stand by while the color of someone’s skin determines how they live and whether they live needs to join those in the streets of Baltimore and everywhere else saying that “Police Getting Away With Murder Must STOP!”

April 21: Thousands march in front of the Baltimore Western District police station to seek justice for Freddie Gray, who died after being taken into police custody. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)





Revolution #383 April 20, 2015

Communism or Nationalism?

Report of Discussion of Polemic Written by Comrades in Mexico

April 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

Some regular readers of Revolución with close ties to Mexico got together to discuss in Spanish the polemic “Communism or Nationalism?” by the Organización Comunista Revolucionaria de México. Some of us had read a lot of BA’s (Bob Avakian’s) work, some almost none; and there were wide differences in reading level. The polemic and our discussion overall sharpened and concretized our understanding of the difference between nationalism and communism, why the national bourgeoisie is incapable of leading the revolution, and why it is so critical in the current international situation, and the crisis in Mexico in particular, for this communist line to spread and gain material force.

To start off, we set the context of why it is particularly urgent now to have revolutionary communist leadership, given the intensification of the crisis in Mexico. One person analyzed in considerable detail why the situation in Mexico is much more critical now: anger over neoliberal reforms of the oil and other state industries, education, etc.; massive uprisings among students and professional and middle class sectors, the role of independent journalists. Ayotzinapa students and parents threw stones at Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas—they don’t believe in the electoral parties. He mentioned that an immigrant co-worker joined a march of Black people against police murder as it passed him on the street, as an example of how the uprisings in the U.S. are affecting immigrants. It was also brought in that there are many U.S.-born students who are going to school in Mexico; some are involved in the student struggles around Ayotzinapa, and this is also a factor for spreading ferment back and forth.

We also touched on how certain forms of nationalism that we run into are holding people back from taking up revolutionary thought and struggle. For example, at a protest one man told me that Marxism is a European ideology, and that in Latin America we have our own ideology, Socialism of the 21st Century, with roots in indigenous culture and social organization; that it is racist to denigrate indigenous forms of socialism. For this reason he was telling people around him not to read Revolución! In fact, “Socialism of the 21st Century” is demagogy in the mouths of people like the late president Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. We dug into the Raymond Lotta article which had just come out, [“La recolonización en nombre de la normalización, lo que motiva la reanudación de las relaciones diplomáticas entre Estados Unidos y Cuba,”1] to flesh out why bourgeois nationalism cannot and does not lead to liberation of oppressed countries from the imperialist market and investment relations.

One person brought up how the Mexican government pressured peasants to plant coffee for the international market instead of maize for food. Then coffee prices plummeted, and the peasants are ruined: in debt and without corn. Development in the context of an imperialist-dominated world ends up causing more suffering, but the national capitalists fear unleashing the people to make revolution; so on their own, the most they do is mount a half-hearted negotiation for a larger share of the spoils of oppressing their “own” people. One person volunteered to do further study on the ideology and practice of Socialism of the 21st Century for further discussion. We should also understand how to defend and build off positive aspects of indigenous culture at the same time as we fight for an understanding that communism is an internationalist ideology representing the international proletariat.

I found in the course of summing up the discussion that I had brought a lot of nationalist and determinist baggage into it; that is, my attitude toward nationalist ideas and people was that they just are, they don’t change. The discussion jumped off around a comment made by one of the participants a couple of months prior, that nationalism is good and the strongest or the majority forces fighting against the system are nationalist. Another comrade argued that nationalism is a bourgeois ideology, therefore it is bad, and communists should struggle against it; at the same time, he pointed out, we do need to unite with revolutionary nationalists like Cornel West. My response was that the point isn’t that nationalism is good or bad, but rather that nationalists should fight imperialism and not cave in to it (which on their own they tend to do)—communists need to unite with such nationalists but we should not confuse communism with nationalism. There’s some truth to this, but also a tendency to see things as static.

Looking back on this, I think that I was digging up an old (always incorrect) interpretation of a United Front against Imperialism line in which communists lead (how? by organizing it and declaring their leadership?); nationalists are included, and we all march against the imperialists in a static formation, each in their assigned spot, as it were. Rather, the way communists lead is by struggling for internationalism at the same time as we struggle to make the struggle against imperialism as fierce, massive, and inclusive as it needs to be.

Another weakness was that, while we did need to clarify and concretize why nationalism as a leading ideology cannot achieve independence from imperialism, to concentrate on that tends to make such independence too much of a focus and goal, rather than the achievement of communism, the elimination of all oppression on a world scale. I also think that we didn’t fully get the key point that communist internationalism is not simply a good, moral position but rather, since it is based on the scientific reality that the communist revolution is a world process, it is also the ideology most capable of fully recognizing and seizing on the revolutionary opportunities that exist on a world scale.

As the polemic concludes, “El comunismo, en cambio, al comprender científicamente la interrelación dialéctica entre el proceso mundial y la lucha revolucionaria en cada país, y al identificar acertadamente la base material en las contradicciones del mismo sistema capitalista-imperialista de las que surgen tanto la necesidad como la posibilidad real de su transformación revolucionaria hacia el comunismo, puede y necesita guiar el proceso de abrir paso por medio de una difícil y tortuosa lucha, a un futuro muy distinto y mucho mejor.”2

5 Stops

I found it quite difficult to expand the lens in concrete terms to turn on its head the example that Mao puts forward of how the egg is a metaphor for internal contradictions within a particular country that make revolution possible, while the hen or incubator represents developments on a world scale, i.e. external contradictions, provide the conditions under which the internal contradictions play out. Mao’s example was clear enough. (Without warmth, the egg won’t hatch, but no matter how long the hen sits on a stone, it will not hatch.) But when I tried to “zoom out” and explain the philosophical point made by Avakian elsewhere and applied in the polemic, that the same thing is true on a world scale, i.e., the key contradictions of the epoch are internal to the world process of revolution; what is an external contradiction in the context of the one country is internal in the context of the world process, well, it just became too abstract. “What does the egg stand for?” someone asked, and I said, “It’s the revolution trying to be born.” Trying to build on the egg metaphor, I said, imagine now that, we’re not looking just at the hen’s nest, we draw back and see that the foxes are surrounding the henhouse; that’s a bigger and more important contradiction that will impact the egg/revolution. Most of the folks in attendance have roots in the countryside, and they immediately cast themselves in the role of the farmer guarding the henhouse, and the philosophic point, that a contradiction can be external in one context and internal in another, got lost and tangled up in the foxes! This is what I call beating the egg metaphor to death! I understand why the polemic must deal with the egg metaphor, but it does seem to inherently limit to a small scale.

It was more helpful to delve into the example of a human body. Each cell of the body, each organ has its own internal processes which make it live, but the body as a whole is a single unit. What affects that unit affects each part of the body. So it is with the world revolution. If a doctor is single-mindedly focused on a single organ, he or she will fail to understand even that organ; if we only analyze what is happening in a country in isolation from its world context, we will fail to seize the opportunities. Here people spoke to the effects of Ferguson and the Black Lives Matter struggle on people in Mexico and immigrants from Mexico, and also the impact of the Ayotzinapa struggle on immigrants and on people in the U.S. People see that others like them are rising up and exposing horrors that they have suffered in silence for so many generations, and it inspires and strengthens them.

All the participants felt that there is a lot in this polemic for us to dig into and grasp more concretely, and I encourage other people to do the same. One person spoke for all of us when he summed up, “Sinceramente quiero dar un saludo a los camaradas de México por esta polémica porque representa un salto muy grande que han dado en entender la nueva síntesis del comunismo de Bob Avakian y lo que significa para los pueblos del mundo.” (“I want to send a heartfelt greeting to the comrades in Mexico for this polemic because it represents a very big leap which they have made in understanding Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism and what it means for the peoples of the world.”)


Re-Colonization in the Name of Normalization: Behind the Re-Establishment of U.S.-Cuba Diplomatic Relations” [back]

“Communism, on the contrary, by understanding scientifically the dialectical interrelation between the world process and the revolutionary struggle in each country and by correctly identifying the material basis in the contradictions of the capitalist-imperialist system itself that provide both the need and the real possibility of its revolutionary transformation toward communism, can and needs to guide the process of opening up the road by means of a difficult and tortuous struggle to a very different and much better future.” [back]







Revolution #383 April 20, 2015

In Defense of Cornel West: Is Barack Obama Right, or Has Michael Eric Dyson Lost His Mind?

By Carl Dix and Lenny Wolff

April 22, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


(Right now Carl is in Baltimore focused on the fight against police murder and mass incarceration.  Given, however, the seriousness of the attack against Cornel West, he and I have talked at length about this, and I am writing for us both.  Lenny Wolff)

This Sunday, the New Republic posted a vicious attack on Cornel West, “The Ghost of Cornel West,” by Michael Eric Dyson.  This attack is not an academic dispute; it is a hit job against a deeply principled intellectual who refused to put away his critical faculties when Obama took office, who has increasingly stepped out into the struggle against murders by police and mass incarceration, and who has done so in a way that condemns and exposes the crimes—and yes, they are crimes—of the Obama Administration.  All the sound and fury of Dyson’s long rant cannot hide that essential, and shameful, fact.

On one level, Dyson’s attack is beneath contempt and barely merits reply.  But because principle and intellectual rigor are currently so debased in this society, and because powerful forces seem intent on promoting Dyson’s takedown of Cornel West, reply we must. 

Instead of making a reasoned critique of Cornel West’s actual positions, Dyson vacuums up a toxic brew of speculation on personal motives, rumors, criticisms from all kinds of quarters (some of which he says he doesn’t even agree with), and out-of-context bits and pieces from West’s personal life (taking special advantage of moments where Cornel made himself vulnerable by confiding personal regrets), and then he spews this all over his readers.  Dyson has combined this brew with mis-readings of key concepts developed and/or worked on by West (the rise of nihilism in the Black community during the 80’s/90’s, the role of prophecy as a strand in Black leadership, the relevance of jazz to intellectual undertakings, etc.) that are as superficial as they are willful.  All of this is designed to overwhelm people’s critical faculties and hide the actual substance of what Dyson is attacking and defending.  This is what passes for intellectual criticism in the era of reality TV.  Let’s look at what Dyson says.

First, Dyson indicts Cornel West for a lack of new thought.  Dyson must not have read and listened to West lately, for surely he would have noticed that Black Prophetic Fire is actually a further development of West’s thinking on a number of very important questions.  West uses the form of conversations about six pre-eminent figures in the cause of Black emancipation.  He draws out the contributions and shortcomings of each as he sees it, and in the process further develops his thoughts on the particular role of the Afro-American people in U.S. history and the current day, the (varying, multiple and sometimes contradictory) qualities of what he calls prophetic leadership, the challenges posed by the current era, among other things.  Yes, this is a different form, in keeping with West’s drawing on the jazz tradition—this is improvisation on a theme, done collectively in dialogue with someone who has differing but overlapping views.  How refreshing! 

The actual content of WHAT Cornel gets into here—what he is driving at, how he is posing and approaching these questions, the actual evaluations he makes of these different signal historical figures, the synthesis he is driving at and our respective “takes” on this—is beyond the scope of this letter.  What is relevant here is that Dyson, in claiming that West has no new thinking, never actually engages what Cornel has been saying, in this and other works and forums.  This kind of blatant non-engagement should be seen as unconscionable and ruling whoever does it out of any sort of serious consideration.

Second, Dyson dismisses Cornel West’s work of the past six years as driven by personal spite.  Please!  What a commentary on this gossip-driven culture that such a claim has any legs at all.  One of us, Carl, has actually been in public dialogue with Cornel at least half a dozen times, stretching from the June 2009 dialogue on “In The Age of Obama: What Future for our Youth?” to a dialogue this month on the emergency of murder by police.  You can see these dialogues for yourself online, or you can check out any of the other dialogues that Cornel has done with a whole range of people over these past years—including the recent unprecedented dialogue with Bob Avakian at Riverside Church this past November on revolution and religion—and even a few minutes should convince you that Cornel West’s critique of Obama focuses on questions of empire and of Obama’s actual actions as the head of that empire.  (It is—again—stunning, and a sad commentary on intellectual discourse today, that Dyson feels he can get away with attacking Cornel West and never once mention the word “empire” in the whole steaming 9500-word heap.)

If the stakes were not so high, it would be almost comical when Dyson instructs Cornel in “how to deliver criticisms of Obama to Black audiences.”  Dyson says you have to start with how much you love and respect Obama and his “achievement” of becoming President, then acknowledge the animosity he’s incurred among the racists and fascists, and only then offer your criticisms for his “missteps and failures.”  As Carl strongly pointed out in discussing this with me, this pat little formula totally leaves out the fact that Obama is Commander-in-Chief of the biggest empire in the world, and is raining down terror and horror on people in that role, and these are CRIMES and not “missteps.”  Dyson then boils Cornel’s supposed inability to follow the formula to West’s “lack of respect” for Obama, when the key difference between the approaches of Dyson and West is precisely whether you expose the objective ROLE of Obama.

Third, it is telling—and speaks very much to the point and purpose of Dyson’s screed—that he delivers a back-handed slap at the fact that Cornel West has increasingly assumed a front-line and very important role in the struggle against police murder.  Dyson goes so far as to say that this activity is nothing but stunts for the camera. 

Let’s look at the facts.  One of us, Carl, co-founded the network to Stop Mass Incarceration with Cornel in August of 2011 in a basement meeting with a dozen other people and nary a camera in sight.  The first action of this network was to link up revolutionaries and anti-police brutality activists with the Occupy movement in October of 2011 to do a series of civil disobedience actions against Stop-and-Frisk in New York.  Yes, Carl, Cornel and the others involved sought to make this known, to get this outrageous abuse in the front of the cameras—innocent as charged!  Cornel came to critical, out-of-the-limelight meetings where strategy and political will was forged with the parents and relatives of police murder victims, immigrant rights activists, clergy, and many others and he made time on a number of occasions to speak at events organized by parents and clergy in particular, and to lend his name and platform to their cases.  It is highly ironic that the New York actions against the police a week ago which Dyson briefly cited in his New York Times op-ed of Friday April 17 were part of national actions which Cornel and Carl led in calling for and helped to organize, including at a critical rally where the two spoke on April 6 in NYC leading up to these actions. 

What exactly is Dyson’s problem with all this?  Is it that during these past few actions West has been quoted making the point that here we are six-plus years into the reign of a Black president, Black attorney general, and Black head of “Homeland Security” and there has not been a single successful federal prosecution of murder by police?  That in fact this crime has grown during their reign? 

(And here it has to be said, in the face of Dyson’s accusations of egotism, that—as Carl often points out—Cornel has gone out of his way since 1996 and the first time they worked together to credit others and bring them into the spotlight, and more generally to reference the work of others and graciously point to their contributions at any opportunity, even when this goes against the grain of his audience.  In many ways, Cornel West fights to represent what Bob Avakian has called the “largeness of mind and generosity of spirit” so badly needed in society today.)

Dyson’s rant takes on what would, again, be comical proportions were it not for the stakes and dangers of these times when, toward the end of his piece, Dyson delivers his pathetic list of Obama’s “achievements.”  These are supposed “left-wing” accomplishments that Obama has carried out while cleverly pretending to “talk right.”  Here Dyson blots out and covers over Obama’s record as deporter-in-chief, his refusal to even half-heartedly criticize murders by police (let alone do anything about them) until not doing so would have seriously undermined his legitimacy among Black people, his defense of draconian surveillance and attacks on those daring to reveal these crimes, his all-out support for Israel’s genocidal attacks on Gaza, his vicious military predations and outright war crimes from Afghanistan to Libya and most recently Yemen (where, with true  Obama-esque double-talk, he now “condemns” the Saudi airstrikes that he himself authorized!), etc.  And as Dyson once knew when he (correctly) took a whole book to go after Bill Cosby’s “pull-up-your-pants” poison, “talking right”—as Obama does when, at his “Brother’s Keeper” press conference in 2014, he all but openly blamed the murders of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis on absent Black fathers (when such “absences” have everything to do with the very consciously designed genocidal policy of mass incarceration)*, or when Obama does his own Bill Cosby imitation at places like the Morehouse graduation ceremony in 2014—has seriously bad consequences.

There is a further irony here when Dyson, who praised Race Matters when it came out, now faults Cornel West’s criticism of nihilism in that book as “blaming the victim.”  First of all, read the damn book and engage it—get into what he’s actually saying and if you, Dyson, have changed your opinion on it now, say why you agreed back then and why you now have changed your mind.  More to the point, it’s really outrageous to say this about Cornel, when a large part of his vocation over decades now has been precisely to uphold, defend and stand with in deed as well as word “the least of these”—those who have been cast out, stigmatized, demonized, despised, incarcerated and murdered by this system. 

I want to conclude by saying that Carl particularly emphasized to me that one has to wonder at the timing of this attack when the network which he and Cornel co-initiated has just mounted a mass outpouring against police murder on April 14, making a major contribution to re-seizing the offensive on this for the movement as a whole.  You have to wonder at the timing of this compendium of cheap shots, rank distortions and half-truths, right when we are beginning what promises to be a long hot summer, to invoke that 60’s term—a time when the police have been emboldened by the Justice Department’s whitewash of Darren Wilson’s murder of Michael Brown but when masses of people are increasingly refusing to take this, and not so persuaded by those who would want them to work within the system, and when the Obama administration that Dyson so cherishes has no real answers to this horror.  You have to wonder as well why Dyson offers not reasoned criticism or disagreement, but a really foul farrago of snark, half-truths and straight-up slanders, seemingly designed to destroy a rare and important truth-teller and, increasingly, front-line activist at just this crucial time.

Michael Eric Dyson: which side are you on?


* The conference on Brother’s Keeper took place just days after the anniversary of Martin’s unpunished murder by the vigilante George Zimmerman, and shortly after Jordan Davis’ killer had been found not guilty, in his first trial, of the homicide of Davis.  It is painfully ironic that for all of Obama’s emphasis about absent fathers, the very real presence of both these fathers in their sons’ lives could not prevent white supremacy from murdering them.







Revolution #383 April 20, 2015

Interview with a young Black woman from Freddie Gray's neighborhood

April 22, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Marchers in Baltimore April 23, 2015

Here, one of many marchers in Baltimore who have carried the posters with names and faces of people killed by police in the streets. Photo: special to

A young Black woman from Freddie Gray's neighborhood: I understand how everyone feels. I feel the same way they do. But two things for certain. Police corruption just has to stop. It needs to come to an end. For them to just be running around and getting away with killing people is not okay. Therefore the six police officers that killed Freddie Gray to be still walking around, on suspension with pay, is unacceptable. Very unacceptable. That's all I have to say.

Q: People have been in the streets every day...

A: Every day. We're gonna be out here every day, until something happens. We're out here all week, even if next week I got to be out here by myself out here... because we need a change. It has to start somewhere. It definitely has to start somewhere. And if it has to start here in the community, then this is where it has to start.

Q: What do people go through with police every day?

A: Police every day, here, is they pull people over for petty stuff. You might see people come out the store with a loose cigarette, you're harassing them for that. They just don't have anything to do but to mess with people. There's a lot of innocent people getting hurt, for nothing. For nothing. What they need to do is leave everyone alone. Period. Just leave them alone.

Q: What do you think of the poster with the names and faces of people killed by police?

A: That's too many people. That's too many people that had gotten killed by the police. That's too many people. That's unacceptable. You'all supposed to be here, to protect us, not to harm us. And right now we're being harmed. So how are we supposed to look at police departments in any state, in any country? Because people not just getting hurt here, people are getting hurt everywhere.





Revolution #383 April 20, 2015

Urgent: Mumia Gravely Ill

April 25, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Editor's note: The following was posted by We encourage readers of Revolution to speak out demanding that political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal receive required medical attention immediately. For background see Who Is Mumia Abu-Jamal?


Condition Critical: Friday Report From Prison Mumia Gravely Ill

Mumia Abu-Jamal was seen today by his wife and his condition has worsened. He, is gravely ill. We are asking everyone to call the prison. Right now. It may be late, but call whenever you get this. 

Mumia needs 24 hour care and supervision. He can not be in this condition in general population. In this state he may not be able ask for help, he may lose consciousness. He is too weak. (He was released from the infirmary two days ago).

His condition: He is extremely swollen in his neck, chest, legs, and his skin is worse than ever, with open sores. He was not in a wheelchair, but can only take baby steps. He is very weak. He was nodding off during the visit. He was not able to eat- he was fed with a spoon. These are symptoms that could be associated with hyper glucose levels, diabetic shock, diabetic coma, and with kidney stress and failure. 

Please call these numbers, and any other numbers you have for the Prison and the Governor.

Demand that Mumia Abu-Jamal see a doctor ASAP. Right Now!

Demand that the prison officials call his wife Wadiya Jamal and his lawyer Bret Grote immediately.

Demand that he be seen immediately, and the not be left to go into a diabetic coma. 

John Kerestes, Superintendent SCI Mahanoy: 570-773-2158 x8102 | 570-783-2008 Fax | 301 Morea Road, Frackville PA 1793

Tom Wolf, PA Gvrnr: 717-787-2500 | | 508 Main Capitol Building, Harrisburg PA 17120

John Wetzel, PA DOC: 717-728-4109 | 717-728-4178 Fax | | 1920 Technology Pkwy, Mechanicsburg PA 17050

Susan McNaughton, DOC Press secretary 717-728-4025. PA Doc

We need your help right now. Please forward this far and wide. 

We need more phone numbers to call inside SCI Mahanoy. If you have one send them to us

Every call matters. Every action matters. We need to be in the streets. Call your friends, your neighbors. Take action.