Revolution #385, May 4, 2015 (

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #385 May 4, 2015

It's Right to Rebel! Get Organized for an Actual Revolution!

Baltimore Uprising: Our Fight Has Just Begun

May 4, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Freddie Gray
Freddie Gray. Photo: Family of Freddie Gray

On April 12, Baltimore police chased Freddie Gray—a 25-year-old Black man—for the “crime” of making eye contact with a cop. They threw him down and hog-tied him. Then they threw him into a police van. They callously ignored his cries for help and then his deadly silence as he lay paralyzed and suffocating. And somewhere between the brutal arrest of Freddie Gray and whatever happened in the police van itself, the pigs murdered the young man.

Days of protest, resistance, and rebellion followed the death of Freddie Gray. Then, on May 1, Baltimore’s chief prosecutor, Marilyn Mosby, brought a range of charges against six cops for their role in the arrest, injury, and death of Freddie Gray.

People were shocked when this indictment was announced. And why was that? Because time after time, down through the years, the police have carried out murders like this and have not even been indicted. This is what happened in the case of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, shot with his hands up. This is what happened in the case of Eric Garner, the father choked to death in New York City. This is what happened to Andy Lopez, the 13-year-old Latino boy killed for having a toy gun in Santa Rosa, California, in 2013. This is what seems to be happening in the case of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy in Cleveland killed by police for the “crime” of playing with a toy gun, as the months drag by with no indictment.

There is satisfaction at the fact that this indictment came down. But there are questions—questions that people have, and questions that need to be asked. Why were the police indicted, what will happen next, and what must be done to not just indict but to send these killer cops to jail? Then there’s another set of questions: Why did a young man, committing no crime whatsoever, get murdered by police? Why does this keep happening? And what must be done to finally put an end to it?

Let’s get into it.

What the People Accomplished

What made the difference is, first, that after days of demonstrations and agitation, on Monday, April 27, Black people in Baltimore rose up in rebellion. They made it unmistakably clear that they had had enough, and they were no longer asking but DEMANDING that justice be done. They dared to put it on the line.

Carl Dix, co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Movement and representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party speaks May 2, 2015 in Baltimore.

For this they were attacked—both physically by the pigs and then through words by politicians and media. Obama and the Baltimore mayor both called the youth and others who rose up “thugs,” a racist code-word meant to demonize them, and to set them up for murder. The governor of Maryland sent in the National Guard to terrorize and intimidate, and the powers-that-be clamped down with a curfew. Congressmen, too many preachers in the neighborhood, and the talking heads on TV all lashed out against the so-called “violence” of the uprisers—while they covered up the violence that this system brings down on the people, here and all over the world, in a million different ways. Everyone was told, 24-7, that there was almost certainly not going to be a charge announced on Friday, May 1, the day that they had at first promised information.

But then a funny thing happened. People all over the country began supporting the rebellion. They called out Obama and the mayor for demonizing these youth. They began to point to the institutionalized violence that is life in Black America. And they too rose up, taking the streets and getting arrested—and not just in Baltimore, but all over, from New York to Oakland. Students and middle-class people of all nationalities, as well as people from the ‘hoods, got out there and they would not play by the rules. The whole world was taking notice. People, lots of people, began talking about how this police murder has to STOP and that the stuff giving rise to this has to be identified and uprooted, and that this whole program of mass incarceration has to be over. People—everyday people and new-generation rebels both—were saying this is a system, and that this system was never designed to give justice to Black people. And they weren’t like “well, what are you gonna do about it,” but more like “and we won’t tolerate that shit any more.” Some were talking about revolution, even as different people meant different things when they said it.

The problem is not violence...

The problem is not “violence” carried out by people standing up against oppression. Who, today, would not say that the violence of enslaved people rebelling against slavery was just and positive? And who, today, would defend the violence of the slaveholders—the violence that made their very system possible, the violence used every day to keep people enslaved, or the violence they used to defend that system when it was, finally, under attack? Only a racist reactionary. Likewise, the problem today is NOT the resistance of the people, but the massive reactionary violence carried out to defend a system of modern-day slavery—by the police, the army, and that whole apparatus of force—to crush people down.

Click to share

All this gave further heart and encouragement to the oppressed basic people of Baltimore, who kept up the fight. Now the commentators changed their tune. They began to talk in worried tones about what was going to happen on Friday if there were no indictment. One city councilperson went so far as to say that Baltimore would burn if there were no indictment. With all that looming—the prospect of wider and fiercer rebellion from those that society has cast off... of growing and (perhaps) increasingly militant support from students and young people all over the country (and beyond)... of increasing questioning of the system itself and what it has done and is doing to Black people... and in the face of all that this taken together would mean for the international standing of the real thugs who run this system if something jumped off... suddenly they found out that, lo and behold, they COULD indict some pigs.

So let’s be clear: Without the struggle, then the uprising, and then the support from all over... without the sharp questions being raised in the minds of millions... there would almost certainly have been no indictment. To put it plainly, the whole uprising around the unjust, brutal, and callous murder of Freddie Gray—the anger illuminated in the streets Monday night and the growing wave of protest in support coming in the following days—FORCED this indictment. It wasn’t some “heroic” DA operating on her own—forces very high up made a calculation that they were going to have do something... for now... to cool things out.

But let’s also be clear on this—an indictment is only an indictment. It is not a conviction and it is not punishment. Take the case of Trayvon Martin, whose mother Sabrina Fulton was in Baltimore showing support for the struggle. They indicted the vigilante who killed Trayvon—but then, when they took him to trial, the same prosecutors who indicted him forgot how to prosecute him—and Trayvon’s killer was not even a cop! And if you want a graphic, horrific example of that, let’s take the case of Rekia Boyd, an unarmed 22-year-old Black woman killed by a cop in Chicago in 2012 as she hung out with friends (none of whom were armed). After three years, when the murdering cop finally came to trial, the judge dismissed all charges and this pig went free, as his family and fellow pigs slapped his back in glee. And this acquittal happened on the very day that people in Baltimore rose up! So, no, we should not forget that these killer cops MUST be convicted and imprisoned for what they did for there to be justice—and that will take continued and repeated and very fierce struggle from the people.

Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution!

But there’s a deeper point. The horror that happened to Freddie Gray happens to many others, and will keep happening so long as this system exists. And it is part of a larger horror, a program that has been inflicted on African-Americans over the past 40 years that has a definite genocidal element, thrust, and direction to it. Elsewhere in this issue we get into what that system is, why this keeps happening, and the revolution that we need to and can make to change all that. (See Why Do Murders by Police Go On, Over and Over Again? And What Must Be Done to END THIS Once and For All?, "Yes, it is a system -- but what is that system?", and "Yes, this society was NOT designed to give Justice to Black and Latino people. But why is that so—And what must be done about it?")

As we say in that article:

Revolution is not just a catchword. It means something, something real. As we have said:

An actual revolution is a lot more than a protest. An actual revolution requires that millions of people get involved, in an organized way, in a determined fight to dismantle this state apparatus and system and replace it with a completely different state apparatus and system, a whole different way of organizing society, with completely different objectives and ways of life for the people. Fighting the power today has to help build and develop and organize the fight for the whole thing, for an actual revolution. Otherwise we’ll be protesting the same abuses generations from now!

There is no getting around it: it will be a massive struggle, full of sacrifice, to make such a revolution. But this “completely different state apparatus and system” would represent the interests of the masses and back them up in changing all of society, emancipating all of humanity. The revolution we are talking about could easily solve the problem of police murder, for instance, on Day One—with an ethos in the ranks of its security forces in which those forces would rather sacrifice their own lives than endanger one of the masses and in which that force would overall be directed at protecting the masses in struggling to overcome exploitation and oppression, and NOT (as it is today) directed at reinforcing those horrors. Some problems would take longer—but the point is, the road would now be cleared to doing that. The ignorance in which this system keeps people chained would be shattered; the scientific method, as it has been further developed by Bob Avakian, would be right there for people to take up and apply and use to transform the world. And all of society would be able to breathe.

Revolution Club, Bay Area, April 14

Running with the Rev Club, April 14. Bay Area, CA. Photo: ©Lonny Meyer

Get with the
Revolution Club

We need to work right now to prepare for this revolution and to bring it closer. We have to build on what was achieved in the past two weeks. We have to continue to fight for justice for Freddie, not relying on them and their lying politicians for one minute. We have to continue to fight against the persecution of the freedom fighters, including those who may have been arrested for violating the outrageous, repressive curfew. And we have to mobilize masses to back these pigs up this summer on the streets. Distributing whistles to everyone in the neighborhood and having everyone from shorties to grandmas blowing them would be a big step! We need to continue to spread this and deepen this spirit all over—in the streets, yes, but also very much on campus and in schools and beyond. Get the poster from of some of the people murdered by police way out there, all the time—let people know the reality of this. Encourage people of conscience to get out there and back them up when they take stands.

Most important of all is to build this as part of getting ready for the revolution we actually need to get free. Let the Revolution Clubs be way out there, fighting all night and wrangling all day over what really is the problem and what actually is the solution, and recruiting people to “get organized for an actual revolution”—be part of the thousands today who are influencing millions and getting ready for—and pushing closer to—the day when millions can be led in the all-out struggle for power. Let this be a summer where people learn about Bob Avakian—where they watch his video BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! and watch as well the video of his Dialogue with Cornel West... and wear the “Revolution—Nothing Less!” T-shirt as part of spreading the word about, influence of, and all-round spirit of revolution. Let them learn about the scientific understanding of how to change society, about Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism and the Party he leads, the Revolutionary Communist Party.

Let’s go: our fight has just begun.






Revolution #385 May 4, 2015

Why Do Murders by Police Go On, Over and Over Again? And What Must Be Done to END THIS Once and For All?

May 4, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


The murder of Freddie Gray comes on top of murder after murder after murder by the pigs in cities and towns all over. We cannot rest with the promise to now prosecute these particular pigs—there are way too many cases where people’s struggle and even rebellion forced a trial, only to find those murderers either acquitted or, once in a great while, given a slap on the wrist. This fight cannot stop but must INTENSIFY.

On the Strategy for Revolution
Click to read

At the same time, we must ask WHY this goes on and what must be done to STOP it once and for all.

Why do the police do this? Bob Avakian, the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party, has put it this way:

The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery and degradation into which the system has cast people and is determined to keep people in. The law and order the police are about, with all of their brutality and murder, is the law and order that enforces all this oppression and madness.

Think about it. THIS is at the heart of what goes on in the ghettos and barrios all over the country. “Relations of exploitation and oppression” are being “enforced.” And these relations go far beyond the ghetto. Think about what goes into just the daily functioning of this system, in addition to the killing discrimination and slow genocide now coming down on African-Americans, and Latinos, and other oppressed peoples within the U.S.:

We Need a Revolution—A REAL Revolution!

These horrors are a big part of what we’re talking about when we say “relations of exploitation and oppression.” This is what is enforced by their cops, their armies, their prisons, their courts, and all the rest. This is what is defended and covered over by their media and their politicians. A system that not only produces these horrors, but feeds on them and requires them to keep going, is a system that must be done away with. And the only way it can be done away with is through revolution.

Revolution is not just a catchword. It means something, something real. As we have said:

An actual revolution is a lot more than a protest. An actual revolution requires that millions of people get involved, in an organized way, in a determined fight to dismantle this state apparatus and system and replace it with a completely different state apparatus and system, a whole different way of organizing society, with completely different objectives and ways of life for the people. Fighting the power today has to help build and develop and organize the fight for the whole thing, for an actual revolution. Otherwise we’ll be protesting the same abuses generations from now!

There is no getting around it: it will be a massive struggle, full of sacrifice, to make such a revolution. But this “completely different state apparatus and system” would represent the interests of the masses and back them up in changing all of society, emancipating all of humanity. The revolution we are talking about could easily solve the problem of police murder, for instance, on Day One—with an ethos in the ranks of its security forces in which those forces would rather sacrifice their own lives than endanger one of the masses and in which that force would overall be directed at protecting the masses in struggling to overcome exploitation and oppression, and NOT (as it is today) directed at reinforcing those horrors. Some problems would take longer—but the point is, the road would now be cleared to doing that. The ignorance in which this system keeps people chained would be shattered; the scientific method, as it has been further developed by Bob Avakian, would be right there for people to take up and apply and use to transform the world. And all of society would be able to breathe.

Constitution of the RCP,USA
Click to read

We, our Party, have taken responsibility not only to take up this fight today but to build it as part of getting organized for an actual revolution. We are working to make that revolution as soon as it is possible—the chance for such a revolution could possibly develop out of the sharp contradictions and struggles of today, and we are working as hard as we can to make that happen. Based on the new synthesis of communism that BA has brought forward, there is a strategy to make revolution.1 There is a vision and blueprint for the new society.2 And the foundation for the theoretical doctrine through which the people could actually be led to WIN the all-out struggle for power has been hammered out, and that doctrine is being further developed.3

AND: we have in Bob Avakian (BA) a leader who has given his heart and soul to the masses of people and who has developed a visionary new synthesis of communism, a deeper understanding of human emancipation. A leader like BA is something rare, and this is a great strength for our movement. “If you are serious about an actual revolution, you have to get seriously into BA.” Our Party is made up of revolutionary fighters dedicated to leading masses of people to get free of this madness, applying science to the problems we face, and organized into the structure of our Party to do that. And we have a way for you to get with this, to learn about this as you are fighting back, to get organized to actually make a revolution.

The time is now. The challenge is there... the leadership is there... what is needed, very urgently right now, is YOU.

Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution!

Get Organized for an Actual Revolution!


To learn more, explore the website And check out the Dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West, REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion.



1. “A Statement from the Revolutionary Communist Party: On the Strategy for Revolution” (Also available as a supplement in BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian, RCP Publications, 2011) [back]

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

3. “On the Possibility of Revolution.” [back]






Revolution #385 May 4, 2015

Transcript of Carl Dix in Baltimore, May 2, 2015

May 4, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


All right, Baltimore. You are looking good! You brought me home again. I want to start out with a chant. It’s a chant that you gonna have to learn and use as a checklist. I’m gonna do it once and I want you to do it with me twice:

Indict, Convict, Send those Killer Cops to Jail. The Whole Damn System Is Guilty as Hell!
Indict, Convict, Send those Killer Cops to Jail. The Whole Damn System Is Guilty as Hell!
Indict, Convict, Send those Killer Cops to Jail. The Whole Damn System Is Guilty as Hell!

OK. You gotta remember that, because they did indict those cops, right? But that’s just one step. Let’s talk about why they indicted those cops. This is not their system working. This is their system showing its fear of you. They saw you stand up. They saw you saying “not this time.” They hear you saying “no more.” So they said, “Well, maybe we should indict and maybe they’ll go home and maybe they’ll forget about it.” Because I’ve been around a while. This gray is real. I have seen them a few times indict killer cops. But I haven’t seen them convict too many killer cops. I have not seen killer cops go to jail. You gotta stay on the case like that. You gotta fight through to make this happen. That’s a responsibility that you gotta take up. I’m gonna be working on it with you. I’m gonna be coming here. I’m gonna be telling people around the country to stand with you. But you got the ball on your shoulders. You gotta make that happen. So that’s the checklist part.

Carl Dix, co-initiator of the Stop Mass Incarceration Movement and represntative of the Revolutionary Communist Party, speaks in Baltimore, May 2, 2015.

But what about, “The whole damn system is guilty as hell”? I’m not kidding sisters and brothers, because it’s not just that the cops kill us. They do. They are. But that’s a concentration of an overall program of suppression that includes mass incarceration. That’s why Cornel West and I formed the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. Because they should not be warehousing our people in prison. And that’s what they’re doing, warehousing ’em in prison. And it’s their system that’s doing it. They take the jobs out of the communities. They gear the education system to fail our youth. They got nothing for ’em except cops that patrol the neighborhoods like an occupying army. Except courts that railroad them into prison and treat them like permanent suspects, guilty until proven innocent if they can survive to prove their innocence. So as we fight for justice for Freddie Gray we gotta recognize that it’s bigger than Freddie Gray. Look at this poster. These are just some of the victims killed by the cops. But it’s bigger still than that. There’s two million people, mostly Black and Latino people, that they warehouse in their prisons. And there’s tens of millions of people who are being treated like permanent suspects, their lives caught up in this criminal injustice system. We need a movement standing up and saying this must stop as well. And you gotta be a part of that as well. That’s why we formed the Stop Mass Incarceration Network.

But now we gotta ask a serious question: Why does this keep happening? How long are we gonna have to suffer this? And I will tell you, sisters and brothers, things do not have to be this way. We should live in a world where those who are entrusted with public security would sooner lose their own lives than kill or injure an innocent person. We should live in that kind of world. We should live in a world where women are treated as full human beings. [applause] That’s right, the sisters are cheering on that and the brothers should be cheering, too. Because this is real and important: full human beings, not sex objects and punching bags. We should live in a world that protects the environment, not destroys it. To bring that world into being, I’m going to tell you sisters and brothers, it’s gonna take revolution, nothing less. And the Revolutionary Communist Party, which I’m a representative of, and its leader, Bob Avakian, we exist to make that kind of revolution. We got the leadership for it and the strategy for getting ready and into position to make a revolution when the time is right. But we gotta get organized. If you see people with this T-shirt, get with them. Get hooked up with this movement for revolution. If you see people with this poster, handing it out, get organized with them with the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. We have to be organized. It’s not gonna be a thing of a few unconnected people who are gonna do this. It’s not gonna just happen. We have to make it happen. Ain’t gonna be no savior in D.C., whether it’s a Black president or a female president. If they the head of the empire, they’re not serving our interests. They’re serving the empire that has beat us down, murdered us, ever since they dragged the first African here in slave chains.

So I’m gonna wind this up, but remember, get organized. Get with this movement for revolution. Go to the website that’s on this poster, Go to the Stop Mass Incarceration Network website. Find out how to get involved.

And one last thing. This is about getting free. Freedom is not a spectator sport. It requires your involvement.

Indict, Convict, Send the Killer Cops to Jail. The Whole Damn System Is Guilty as Hell!





Revolution #385 May 4, 2015

"An injury to one is an injury to all! Stop police terror that's our call!"

May Day: Oakland Longshore Workers Shut Down Port & March Against Police Murder

May 4, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


May 1, Oakland

More than 1,000 people, including workers, activists, students, and members of families whose loved ones have been murdered by police, marched from the Port of Oakland docks to a rally in front of Oakland City Hall. Photo: Special to

On May 1—May Day—the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10, shut down the Port of Oakland, the fifth largest port in the U.S., to protest police brutality and murder. It then led a diverse march of more than 1,000 people, including workers, activists, students, and families whose loved ones had been murdered by police, from the docks through the streets to a rally in front of Oakland City Hall.

This was the first workers’ strike against police abuses in recent memory, and was part of a wave of protests across the San Francisco Bay Area against police murder. On May Day alone, another march of hundreds took place in Oakland that evening, and one of 800 in San Francisco. To the south, in San Jose and nearby Mountain View, thousands of people joined annual immigrant rights marches that included demands to stop police brutality and state violence. A Muslim speaker said, “African-American brothers and sisters need us now”—referring to demonstrations in Baltimore, New York City, Oakland, and elsewhere against killings by police. On Monday, April 27, 150-200 people, mainly youths, marched through Oakland in support of the Baltimore uprising.

People at the ILWU’s May Day march were very open to revolution and the remarks made by Carl Dix later at the rally. All this points to how profoundly this issue is shaking society and the potential for very broad segments of society to join the opposition.

“The longshore union has stopped work today and when we stop work the cargo doesn’t move. All the cranes are up,” Jack Heyman, a retired longshore leader said at the beginning of the demonstration. “We’re out here to protest the police killings of mainly Black and Brown people in this country. The police have created an epidemic of terror against these communities. And we in the longshore union are here to let them know that it has to stop!”

Revolution Club contingent, May 1, Oakland.

The Revolution Club contingent participating
in the May 1st march in Oakland, California.
The large Stolen Lives banner drew lots of attention.
Photo: Special to

Chants rang out: “An injury to one is an injury to all! Stop police terror, that’s our call!” There were youths, students, and older folks, people from many different unions throughout the Bay Area, including the SEIU and the Inland Boatman’s, as well as representatives from the ILWU from as far away as Los Angeles. Oakland teachers, representatives of UC Berkeley’s Black Students Union, and Native American and Aztec dancers took part. Everywhere there were signs with the faces of people murdered by the police. Many people held signs for political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. As the march went through the ghetto of West Oakland, people ran up, cheered from their porches, and some joined. At several schools, students ran to the fence, jumping up and down with smiles on their faces and often fists in the air, and often with the support of their teachers.

The Revolution Club contingent was loud and bold with red flags, bullhorns, and “BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less” T-shirts. They marched in front of two large banners of the Revolution newspaper Stolen Lives centerfold and carried another banner, “Humanity Needs Revolution and Communism.” “All night and all day, we’re doing this for Freddie Gray!” was one of their most popular chants.

Family members of Pedie Perez, murdered by Richmond, California, police on September 14, 2014. Photo: Special to

Family members of Jeremiah Moore, killed by Vallejo, California, police on October 20, 2012. Photo: Special to


Stacey Rodgers, a ILWU member, told the rally why she made the motion for the union to take a stand: “I made the motion because I, like most of you, have been tired of watching the endless onslaught of police killings across the country. And it hit more to our union as well. What tipped it off was Charleston, South Carolina and, Walter Scott. His family members are members of Local 1422 in Charleston and it was about time that labor stood up.”

Two recent victims of police murder in the Bay Area also had family ties to the ILWU. The family of Pedie Perez marched and spoke at the rally. Pedie was killed on September 14, 2014 by Richmond, California, police. Jeremiah Moore was killed by Vallejo, California, police on October 20, 2012. Jeremiah’s uncle, Eugene Moore, a member of Local 1, spoke at the rally and told Revolution, “It’s so sad that I have to wear this shirt with his picture on it. Every day I cry for him.”

Revolution spoke with a number of Local 10 members about why they were out there. Mark, a Black man in his 30s, said, “We need a movement to facilitate people really caring about people being killed—not only Black people but people in general. It just happens to be that there is a huge rash of Black people being killed. So this is my way of saying I care, so I will be out here.” Mark went on to challenge others to come out and take a stand: “You don’t have to be a member of a progressive organization or union, just be yourself. If you care in your heart then make that move.”

Lou, another union member, spoke to Revolution about how he fears every day that his son will be attacked by the police. As he talked, though, it became clear that his concerns went beyond his immediate family: “It feels good to take a stand. The guy who was killed in South Carolina—his brother was a longshoreman, so it’s kind of like family. But it feels good to take a stand whether it was a brother or not. It’s ridiculous what is going on. The police are supposed to be here to protect you, but it seems like you are the enemy the instant they approach you if you are a Black person.”

The strong stand of the ILWU brought out diverse support. Jennifer, who teaches theology at American Baptist Seminary of the West, was among a group of religious activists. “We’re here because people are dying. The system is broken. We have to come out here to disrupt business as usual and make long-lasting change to the system,” she told Revolution. She went on to say that she believed the church is called on to be “an ally and a co-conspirator” in the struggle.

Carl Dix speaking at the May Day rally and march in Oakland, California,
organized by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU),
Local 10, which shut down the Port of Oakland
to protest police brutality and murder.

Carl Dix, speaking for the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, was one of the first speakers to lead off the rally at Oscar Grant Plaza. He gave props to the ILWU for organizing the protest and noted the significance of the action taking place on May Day. Carl asked, “Why does this happen again and again? Why does the system let the cops get away with this again and again? Because they have nothing to offer these Black and Latino youth growing up in the inner city. They have taken the jobs out. They have geared the educational system to fail them. All they have for them are cops patrolling the neighborhoods like occupying armies and courts to railroad them into prison. This is an overall program of oppression that amounts to a slow genocide and we have to act to stop it.”

Carl continued, “I am also a representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party and I always tell people that it will take revolution, nothing less, to end this horror and all the other horrors. We should live in a world where those entrusted with public security would rather lose their own lives than kill or injure an innocent person. We should live in a world where women are treated as full human beings and not punching bags or sex objects. Where immigrants are seen as our sisters and brothers and not subjected to immigration raids that tear families apart. It will take revolution to bring that into being and we in the Revolutionary Communist Party are building a movement for revolution.” Significantly, Carl’s remarks drew very wide and spirited applause from the hundreds at the rally.

The Revolution Club contingent in the May 1st march in Oakland, California.
Spearheaded by the ILWU Local 10, the march shut down the
Port of Oakland to protest police brutality and murder. Photo: Special to

Other families whose loved ones had been killed spoke: Idriss Stelley’s mother, Mesha Monge-Irizarry; a representative of Alan Blueford’s family; and Oscar Grant’s “Uncle Bobby” and mother, Wanda Johnson. Drawing links between these killings, Uncle Bobby said, “These are not isolated situations. These are not rogue or bad cops. It’s systemic and it goes to the core of their existence. In order to stop this killing we are going to have to tear down this system... If we go back and analyze capitalism and its relationship to racism we’ll understand that this system is working according to how it was designed. We must break up this concrete foundation, pour new cement of real freedom, justice, and equality for all.”

The National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa sent a message of support for the May Day Action to the ILWU, which was read at the rally: “Your struggle is our struggle and your pain is our pain,” the letter said. The letter also reported that the metal workers had staged a protest in front of the U.S. consulate in South Africa against police brutality in the U.S.

More than 400 copies of Revolution newspaper, and hundreds of copies of Carl Dix’s statement, “On the Uprising in Baltimore,” were distributed, as revolutionaries and others took out the orientation posted recently online (“What Is It That The Masses Most Fundamentally Must Be Led to Understand and Act On?” A number of DVDs of the Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian were also sold.





Revolution #385 May 4, 2015

Obama & U.S. Imperialism: Pushing Yemen Deeper into Hell

by Larry Everest | May 4, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


April 29, 2015

The United States claims to be the good guys in the world. Fighting terrorism. Standing with the downtrodden. Promoting democracy. Representing law and “human rights.”

Bullshit. Just look at what the U.S. is doing to the people of Yemen right now: They’re backing a savage bombing campaign and naval blockade led by their close ally Saudi Arabia that’s murdering, displacing, and starving the people of Yemen—all in an effort to impose yet another bloodthirsty tyrant of their choosing on the Yemeni people.

Bombs from the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition destroyed this school in Yemen in early April, 2015.
Bombs from the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition destroyed this school in Yemen in early April, 2015. Photo: YouTube

It’s hard to imagine the hell that life is in Yemen in normal times, much less how it could become even more hellish. Even before this last month’s escalating warfare, this small country at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula was one of the poorest in the world. Over half of its population of 26 million was unemployed or impoverished. A million children under five suffer life-threatening malnourishment. Another million are chronically malnourished. That’s two of every three children in Yemen whose growth has been stunted by hunger.

But make Yemen even more hellish is just what the U.S. imperialists and their key Middle East ally, Saudi Arabia, along with various reactionary forces in Yemen, are doing day after day.

Yemen’s Reactionary Civil War

Yemen is an impoverished, relatively small country which is largely rural and feudal. Yet its location—at the mouth of the Red Sea, which leads to the Suez Canal, through which enormous amounts of oil and global trade flow, along Saudi Arabia’s southern border, and close to northeast Africa—makes it strategically important to global powers like the U.S. and regional powers, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

For 33 years, Yemen was ruled by the pro-U.S. military despot Ali Abdullah Saleh. But despite its domination, imperialism proved unwilling and incapable of developing Yemen in an all-around way or relieving the crushing poverty and deprivation of Yemen’s people. Hatred of Saleh boiled beneath the surface of Yemeni society. One source: Yemen was also a key ally and staging area for “war on terror” drone strikes against Al Qaeda and other Sunni Islamist forces who had taken root and grown in Yemen in the 1990s. Between 2002 and 2015, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the U.S. staged between 182 and 275 drone strikes and other covert operations which killed between 911 and 1,471 people. People were murdered at wedding parties. For being in their homes. For driving. For being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Bringing Forward Another Way

Bringing Foward Another Way is an edited version of a talk by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, to a group of Party supporters, in 2006. It is must reading for a serious understanding of what the U.S. "war on terror" is really about and how to bring forward a positive force in the world in opposition to both Western imperialism and Islamic Jihad.

Download PDF

This rage erupted in 2011 into massive nationwide protests against Saleh’s regime when the “Arab Spring” upheaval rocked the region. The U.S. decided it was time for Saleh to go, forcing him out as it had with Mubarak in Egypt. But there was no revolution. The Yemeni state, in particular its military, remained in place, now run by Saleh’s vice president. Major General Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, with backing from the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf states, took over as the head of state in early 2012. (For important analysis of Egypt and the “Arab Spring,” see: Bob Avakian, “EGYPT 2011: MILLIONS HAVE HEROICALLY STOOD UP...THE FUTURE REMAINS TO BE WRITTEN“.)

Hadi was no different or better than Saleh, and U.S. imperialist claims—and no doubt desperate hopes—that the transition from Saleh to Hadi was a “a model for post-revolutionary Arab states,” as the New York Times put it, proved illusory. Fueled by the ongoing desperation and thwarted aspirations of Yemen’s people, the rise of Islamic fundamentalism of various stripes, traditional historic and regional rivalries within Yemen and the region more broadly, the upheaval in Yemen continued.

The situation took a leap in August 2014 when a combination of Houthi fighters and elements of Yemen’s military still loyal to Saleh seized control of Sana’a, the country’s capital city. Most “Houthis” (named after the leader of their 2004 uprising against the Saleh regime) live in the north and are members of the Zaidi branch of Shia Islam. Zaidis make up about a third of Yemen’s population. (Zaidi religious authorities—“Imams”―ruled North Yemen for centuries until the early 1960s.) The Houthis are fighting under the reactionary Islamist banner of Ansar Allah (Partisans of God) and have been accused of massacres and indiscriminate killings themselves, and are not supported by millions of Yemenis. The situation escalated further this February when the Houthi-Saleh forces took over the central government, and President Hadi was driven into exile, first to the southern port city of Aden and then Saudi Arabia.

Bombing and Starving an Already Devastated, Starving Country

Saudi Arabia responded to the situation and other developments in the region, with U.S. backing, by forging a military alliance with other regional states and by launching a savage bombing campaign against the Houthis on March 26. The Saudis’ air campaign is aimed at halting the Houthi offensive. (Reportedly, the Saudis wanted Pakistan and Egypt to provide troops for a ground offensive, but neither agreed.) The Saudis claim they’ll settle for nothing less than restoring Hadi to power.

For over a month now, Saudi Arabia has been pummeling Yemen with an air assault. Yemenis report that millions are suffering enormously. Bombs are hitting residential areas, airports, and other civilian facilities. So many are being killed or wounded that hospitals can’t absorb them all.

But that’s not all. Yemen is a country that imports 90 percent of its food! Yet the Saudis and Egyptians, again, with direct U.S. support and intervention, have been strangling this already starving people with a blockade of medicine, water, fuel—and yes, food. When an Iranian convoy was reportedly sailing toward Yemen with what it claimed was humanitarian relief, the blockaders charged (without any demonstrated proof) that the Iranians, who have supported the Houthis politically (and perhaps in other ways), were bringing in weapons, and they deployed 12 war ships including the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt to head it off. The Iranian convoy turned around. Then the Saudis even bombed a major airfield to prevent Iran from airlifting any supplies to Yemen.

Recently the UN Commissioner for Human Rights called the situation in Yemen a humanitarian catastrophe, with over 1,000 dead in recent fighting, another 300,000 displaced, and the country on the brink of collapse. Yemeni journalists report that very little electricity, water, gasoline, or food is available, so people can’t even leave.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hypocritically and obscenely denounced Iranian intervention, declaring that “Yemen’s future should be decided by Yemenis, not by external parties and proxies.” This, as Obama and the U.S. rulers are giving the obscurantist tyranny in Saudi Arabia intelligence, speeded-up arms shipments, the deployment of U.S. warships, and more in support of Saudi Arabia’s murderous assault, while proclaiming all the while their commitment to humanitarianism! Meanwhile the imperialist media is staying largely silent about the carnage.

Ghoulish Imperialism, Not Humanitarianism

Why is Saudi Arabia bombing Yemen, and why is the U.S. backing them? Not for any humanitarian reasons, but for nakedly reactionary and imperialist interests.

The U.S. and Saudis are carrying out the ghoulish torture and massacre of innocent people, literally blockading food from a country that imports nearly all of its food, with millions of already starving people, because they would rather see a whole country laid to waste and thousands murdered or starved, than see the fundamentalist monarchy in Saudi Arabia or U.S. imperialist geopolitical interests and domination undermined.

The Saudis are desperately fighting to maintain their extremely oppressive, Islamic fundamentalist, absolute monarchy. They have been jolted by the “Arab Spring” upheavals and the growth of Iranian influence in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine. They’re concerned that rapidly shifting sands of regional alliances will leave their regime in a more precarious situation. Everywhere they’ve sought to fund, arm, and restore tyrants they can deal with. Now they’ve organized an Arab League initiative—supported by Egypt, Jordan, and the Gulf States—to form a 40,000-man military response force to combat Iranian influence in the region. The Saudis are increasingly nervous about the erosion of U.S. power in the region and its drawdown of forces in the wake of its failure to restructure and strengthen the regional order with massive troop deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. The potential for a U.S.-Iran deal that in effect legitimizes Tehran’s role in the region adds to Saudi concerns. So the Saudis are determined to crush the Houthi-Saleh uprising in Yemen because it’s not directly under their control and it could give Iran further influence in the region (even if it turns out that Iran is not directly arming the Houthis). These tensions and concerns are reflected in the recent “shake-up” within the Saudi monarchy and royal family, which reportedly has put proponents of more aggressive Saudi action in charge. (New York Times, April 30)

The U.S. imperialists for their part are desperately fighting to maintain their overall regional dominance. Saudi Arabia—the world’s leading oil exporter with the largest petroleum reserves on the planet and enormous cash reserves—has been a crucial pillar of the U.S. empire since the 1940s. So the U.S. is determined to maintain its stability, including by reassuring the Saudis that, Iran negotiations or not, they are standing by the Saudi kingdom. The U.S. is also demonstrating to Iran that even if a deal is reached with Tehran, the U.S. is going to remain the dominant power in the region and protect its interests—including by combating any moves by Iran that could erode that. One of those interests is global—maintaining the U.S. status of military guarantor of trade and navigation, in this case through the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, and the Suez Canal, which are major arteries of world trade. For instance, some 30 percent of world maritime oil shipments flows through the Persian Gulf and over eight percent through the Suez Canal. And the U.S. recently deployed ships to the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf as a show of force after Iran seized a cargo ship there. (New York Times, May 1).

For Imperialism, Lunatic Fundamentalism Is a Matter of Taste

The fighting and the Saudi bombing campaign have been concentrated in the western part of Yemen, and apparently something of a political vacuum has been created in the east, where Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula has been based and is now gaining new ground. One reason: The U.S. “counter-terrorism” forces that have been directing drone strikes have been forced to leave Yemen because of the collapse of the Hadi regime.

A lot of people in the U.S.—both those in the ruling class, but also antiwar progressives and liberals—are commenting that the problem is that U.S. policy is “inconsistent”: the U.S. is fighting Sunni jihadists in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet seem to be supporting them in Syria, as well as backing Saudi Arabia, which is the fountainhead of fundamentalist Sunni jihadist ideology and has long backed or had ties with Sunni fundamentalist lunatics. And now in Yemen, U.S. actions seem to be contributing to a vacuum that is strengthening Al Qaeda, while targeting the Houthis, who have been the main force in Yemen battling Al Qaeda.

But U.S. policies are not “inconsistent.” And the essential issue isn’t one of hypocrisy. The core of U.S. imperialist policy is precisely that no force is too draconian, too obscurantist, too reactionary, too repressive, too isolated, too hated, or too overtly the opposite of the democracy the U.S. claims to be bringing to the world, to be embraced and supported when it serves the interests of the empire! Who to support—or not to support—for the monsters who run the U.S. empire is a matter of strategy, tactics, or simply taste. Then the mainstream media obediently plays down exposure of the U.S. imperialists’ grisly crimes, while ramping up the terror-mongering propaganda against whoever is perceived by the ruling class to pose the greatest threat to their interests at the moment.

For all their massive firepower, despotic allies, towering lies, and the life-crushing social orders they’ve violently enforced upon the peoples of the Middle East, the problems the U.S. imperialists face in the region are multiplying (and becoming increasingly complex) faster than they can keep up with. Yemen, a country the U.S. just a year or two ago touted as a bastion of its “anti-terrorism” campaign, and “a model for post-revolutionary Arab states,” is just the latest example.







Revolution #385 May 4, 2015

"F*%king horrible"

The Public Execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal?

May 4, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


by Linn Washington, Jr.


Editors’ note: Mumia Abu-Jamal, one of the most well known political prisoners in the U.S., has been unjustly imprisoned in Pennsylvania for nearly 35 years. A well known revolutionary journalist and former Black Panther, he was tried, convicted, and given the death penalty for the murder of a cop—in a trial that was a complete travesty of justice. He was denied the right to serve as his own attorney, barred from the courtroom for half the trial with an overwhelmingly white jury; the prosecution claimed Mumia had confessed, which was a lie. Mumia spent a quarter of a century in solitary confinement on death row until courts overturned his death sentence while affirming his conviction, leaving him to face the prospect of life in prison without parole. There has been an international movement to free Mumia and throughout all this, Mumia has continued to denounce the crimes against humanity perpetrated by this system in both audio and written commentaries. The following article is reprinted with permission from the author.


In August 1936 nearly 20,000 excited spectators filled a vacant lot next to a municipal building in a small Kentucky town to watch the hanging of a man convicted of rape. That hanging would be the last public execution in America.

Although states across this country have banned executions in public as barbaric, some contend that the American public is again witnessing the spectacle of a public execution. This time it is an inmate in Pennsylvania that evidence indicates is experiencing a barbaric “slow execution” through calculated medical mistreatment and medical neglect.

Mumia Abu-Jamal, perhaps the most widely known prison inmate in America, is gravely ill, hardly able to walk or talk because of severe complications related largely to the diabetes which medical personnel inside a Pennsylvania prison failed to diagnose for months. Those prison personnel either did not detect the diabetes earlier this year while giving Abu-Jamal numerous blood tests that easily identify the elevated blood sugar levels of diabetes or did not inform Abu-Jamal of the blood test results.

That failure to find his raging diabetes—a disease easy to diagnose and easy to treat—led to Abu-Jamal’s emergency hospitalization at the end of March, after he collapsed, unconscious and in sugar shock. At the time he was finally transported to the hospital, Abu-Jamal was on the verge of a potentially fatal diabetic coma.

Despite Abu-Jamal’s obvious painful and deteriorating medical condition, Pennsylvania prison authorities have barred Abu-Jamal from receiving access to or consultation from medical experts assembled by his supporters. Those experts could provide the quality of care unavailable at either the demonstrably incompetent or malignant infirmary inside the prison where he is housed or that non-prison hospital authorities utilized.

The refusal of Pennsylvania prison authorities to either properly diagnose and treat Abu-Jamal or permit him access to non-prison medical personnel who could effectively treat his conditions fuel justifiable and understandable fears among Abu-Jamal’s far-flung supporters that anti-Abu-Jamal forces are trying to effectuate the death sentence that hung over Abu-Jamal on death row for 28-years before it was voided by reason of constitutional flaws cited by a federal court. Abu-Jamal initially was convicted and received a death sentence during a controversial trial in 1982, where he was found guilty of killing a Philadelphia policeman.

“They are outright killing him in front of us,” Pam Africa said. Africa, a close associate of Abu-Jamal and head of International Concerned Friends and Family of Mumia Abu-Jamal, visits him regularly.

“He is in pain. His skin is so bad from that rash that he looks like a burn victim,” Africa said. “The is F*%king horrible ...”

Abu-Jamal was still seriously ill when he was returned to prison after spending just a few days in a nearby hospital ICU, yet prison authorities ordered him returned to his prison cell after keeping him in the prison infirmary for only a few days following his return from the ICU. Authorities returned him to his cell despite his visibly weakened condition, dramatic 50-lb. weight loss, labored breathing, swelling of his body parts and open sores on his skin from a rash.

These authorities certainly knew that Abu-Jamal’s weakened condition would make it difficult for him to seek help by walking back to the infirmary, which is the distance of about three city blocks from his cell. Certainly authorities knew the difficulties facing Abu-Jamal even in obtaining meals from the dining hall, a nearly two-block distance from his cell.

Prison Radio, the San Francisco-based entity that has broadcast Abu-Jamal’s prison commentaries for decades, recently issued an update on his condition utilizing information provided by Abu-Jamal’s wife Wadiya, following her latest visit.

According to that report, “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.”

Prison Radio, a few days before that undated report on Abu-Jamal’s condition, had released information that Pennsylvania prison authorities were refusing proposals to address Abu-Jamal’s worsening medical condition. (Such proposals are not out of line. Millionaire John DuPont, serving time in a Pennsylvania prison for murder, was allowed to have his medical issues treated by his own private physician at his expense.)

Prison Radio reported that prison authorities had notified Bret Grote, a lawyer for Abu-Jamal, that they would not allow Abu-Jamal to be examined by his own doctor, and that they had denied access for that doctor to even communicate with prison medical staff to assist or direct Abu-Jamal’s care. Prison officials are refusing to allow regular phone calls between Abu-Jamal and his doctor and they said they would not allow Abu-Jamal to be examined by an endocrinologist (a diabetes specialist).

Charges that prison authorities are deliberately mistreating Abu-Jamal are routinely dismissed as hyperbole in the media despite abundant examples of mistreatment endured by Abu-Jamal and other inmates.

For example, in 2010 an inmate serving a life sentence like Abu-Jamal filed a lawsuit against Pennsylvania prison authorities challenging their refusal to provide him with medical treatment for acute kidney stones despite a previous court settlement where authorities had agreed to provide that inmate with the needed treatment.

That inmate, Walter Chruby, secured an injunction from a judge in Pittsburgh ordering immediate treatment. Chruby’s lawsuit, according to a court ruling, found that immediately after he won that first court order for treatment, prison authorities “began withholding or intentionally delaying adequate medical care...”

The medical mistreatment of Mumia Abu-Jamal comes at a time when callous law enforcement, particularly brutality and fatal shootings by police, is in the national spotlight. Abu-Jamal, in his books and commentaries produced in prison, has been a strident critic of inequities in the criminal justice system. The medical mistreatment of Abu-Jamal is rife with callousness and inhumanity.

Abu-Jamal’s supporters are mounting petition drives and protests to push Pennsylvania prison authorities to permit adequate medical treatment for Abu-Jamal.

Here are contacts to call:

Tom Wolf, PA Governor: 717-787-2500 •
508 Main Capitol Building, Harrisburg PA 17120

John Wetzel Secretary of the Deparment of Corrections •
717-728-4109 • 717-728-4178 Fax
1920 Technology Pkwy, Mechanicsburg PA 17050

John Kerestes, Superintendent SCI Mahanoy: 570-773-2158 x8102
570-783-2008 Fax
301 Morea Road, Frackville PA 17932

Susan McNaughton, Public Information Office PA DOC
DOC Press secretary: 717-728-4025 PA DOC•
Public Information Officer, SCI Mahanoy

Jane Hinman 570-773-2158; then dial zero

SCI Mahanoy: 570-773-2158 x8102 • 570-783-2008 Fax
301 Morea Road, Frackville PA 17932


Linn Washington, Jr. is a founder of This Can’t Be Happening and a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, (AK Press). He lives in Philadelphia.





Revolution #385 May 4, 2015

Yes, it is a system—but what is that system?

May 4, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Women visit a region of Amazon rainforest in Ecuador that was destroyed by Texaco/Chevron oil drilling. Photo: AP

Imperialism means huge monopolies and financial institutions controlling the economies and the political systems—and the lives of people—not just in one country but all over the world. Imperialism means parasitic exploiters who oppress hundreds of millions of people and condemn them to untold misery; parasitic financiers who can cause millions to starve just by pressing a computer key and thereby shifting vast amounts of wealth from one place to another. Imperialism means war—war to put down the resistance and rebellion of the oppressed, and war between rival imperialist states—it means the leaders of these states can condemn humanity to unbelievable devastation, perhaps even total annihilation, with the push of a button.

Imperialism is capitalism at the stage where its basic contradictions have been raised to tremendously explosive levels. But imperialism also means that there will be revolution—the oppressed rising up to overthrow their exploiters and tormentors—and that this revolution will be a worldwide struggle to sweep away the global monster, imperialism.

BAsics 1:6


Inmates return from a farm work detail at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana, 2011. Photo: AP

Nike factory in Viet Nam, 2000. Photo: AP

You can think of this in terms of politics and the state: If you didn’t have, not only laws but a state apparatus of repression with the armed forces, the police, the courts, the prisons, the bureaucracies, the administrative function—if you didn’t have that, how would you maintain the basic economic relations of exploitation and the basic social relations that go along with that? How would you maintain the domination of men over women, the domination of certain nationalities or “races” over others, if you did not have a superstructure to enforce that, or if that superstructure—the politics, the ideology and culture that is promoted, the morality promoted among people—were out of alignment with those social and, fundamentally, those economic relations? Once again, you wouldn’t be able to maintain the order, stability and functioning of the system.

This is fundamentally why a system of this kind cannot be reformed. This goes back to the point that’s in the Revolution talk about systems, and how they have certain dynamics and “rules.” You can’t just play any card you want in a card game or slap a domino down any time you want, anywhere you want, because the whole thing will come unraveled. And you can’t have, as any significant phenomenon, cooperative economic relations in a system that operates on the dynamics of commodity production and exchange in which labor power itself, the ability to work, is a commodity.

A lot of reformist social democrats will talk in these terms: “Let’s have real democracy in the superstructure” (they don’t generally use terms like “superstructure,” but that’s the essence of what they mean) “and then,” they’ll say, “on that basis let’s ‘democratize’ the economy.” What would happen if you tried to implement this “democratization” of the economic base? That economic base would still be operating on the basis of, would still be driven by, the anarchy of commodity production and exchange in which, once again, labor power is also a commodity—in fact, the most basic commodity in capitalist relations and capitalist society—and soon your “democratization” of the economy would completely break down, because the dynamics of commodity production and exchange would mean that some would fare better than others, some would beat out others—plus you have the whole international arena where all this would be going on.

BAsics 1:21

Ferguson, Missouri, August 2014

Ferguson, Missouri, August 2014. Photo: AP

The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery and degradation into which the system has cast people and is determined to keep people in. The law and order the police are about, with all of their brutality and murder, is the law and the order that enforces all this oppression and madness.

BAsics 1:24


If you can conceive of a world without America—without everything America stands for and everything it does in the world—then you’ve already taken great strides and begun to get at least a glimpse of a whole new world. If you can envision a world without any imperialism, exploitation, oppression—and the whole philosophy that rationalizes it—a world without division into classes or even different nations, and all the narrow-minded, selfish, outmoded ideas that uphold this; if you can envision all this, then you have the basis for proletarian internationalism. And once you have raised your sights to all this, how could you not feel compelled to take an active part in the world historic struggle to realize it; why would you want to lower your sights to anything less?

BAsics 1:31

What we need is an actual revolution—and if you are serious about an actual revolution, you have to get seriously into BA.






Revolution #385 May 4, 2015

Yes, this society was NOT designed to give Justice
to Black and Latino people. But why is that so
—And what must be done about it?

May 4, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |



There would be no United States as we now know it today without slavery. That is a simple and basic truth.

BAsics 1:1

"Now, of course, slavery was not the only factor that played a significant part in the emergence of the U.S. as a world power, whose economic strength underlies its massive military force. A major historical factor in all this was the theft of land, on a massive scale, from Mexico as well as from native peoples. But, in turn, much of that conquest of land was, for a long period of time up until the Civil War, largely to expand the slave system. “Remember the Alamo,” we are always reminded. Well, many of the “heroes” of the Alamo were slave traders and slave chasers....And expanding the slave system was a major aim of the overall war with Mexico, although that war also led to the westward expansion of the developing capitalist system centered in the northern United States."

BAsics 1:2

Seven Mexican shepherds were hanged by white vigilantes near Corpus Christi, Texas to drive Mexican landowners from the land, November 1873.
Mexicans were also frequently the targets of lynch mobs, from the mid-19th
century until well into the 20th century. Above, seven Mexican shepherds were
hanged by white vigilantes near Corpus Christi, Texas to drive Mexican
landowners from the land, November 1873.


Revolution Club, San Francisco, December 2014

Revolution Club, San Francisco, December 2014.

Let's get down to basics: We need a revolution. Anything else, in the final analysis, is bullshit.

Now, that doesn't mean we don't unite with people in all sorts of struggles short of revolution. We definitely need to do that. But the proffering of any other solution to these monumental and monstrous problems and outrages is ridiculous, frankly. And we need to be taking the offensive and mobilizing increasing numbers of masses to cut through this shit and bring to the fore what really is the solution to this, and to answer the questions and, yes, the accusations that come forth in response to this, while deepening our scientific basis for being able to do this. And the point is: not only do we need to be doing this, but we need to be bringing forward, unleashing and leading, and enabling increasing numbers of the masses to do this. They need to be inspired, not just with a general idea of revolution, but with a deepening understanding, a scientific grounding, as to why and how revolution really is the answer to all of this.

BAsics 3:1

What we need is an actual revolution—and if you are serious about an actual revolution, you have to get seriously into BA.






Revolution #385 May 4, 2015

Yes, we need a revolution—but what KIND of revolution? and HOW will it happen?

May 4, 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


A Statement from the Revolutionary Communist Party ON THE STRATEGY FOR REVOLUTION

"It is right to want state power. It is necessary to want state power. State power is a good thing—state power is a great thing—in the hands of the right people, the right class, in the service of the right things: bringing about an end to exploitation, oppression, and social inequality and bringing into being a world, a communist world, in which human beings can flourish in new and greater ways than ever before."

BAsics 2:10

There is nothing more unrealistic than the idea of reforming this system into something that would come anywhere near being in the interests of the great majority of people and ultimately of humanity as a whole.

BAsics 3:2


If you conceive of revolution as someday the world is somehow going to be radically different and at that point we will do something to radically change, that won't happen—but that's not what we're doing. We have to elevate our sights and lead consistently with the understanding that the world does NOT have to be this way, and we ARE building a movement for revolution.

BAsics 3:6


BOB AVAKIAN    The Vision, the Works, the Leadership for a New Stage of Communist Revolution    GET INTO BA!

If you want to know about, and work toward, a different world—and if you want to stand up and fight back against what's being done to people—this is where you go. You go to this Party, you take up this Party's newspaper, you get into this Party's leader and what he's bringing forward.

BAsics 3:34

What we need is an actual revolution—and if you are serious about an actual revolution, you have to get seriously into BA.






Revolution #385 May 4, 2015

Reporter's Notebook

Marching in Occupied Baltimore to Continue to Demand Justice for Freddie Gray

May 4, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


May 2—Thousands of people rallied at City Hall to demand justice for Freddie Gray, in this city where 3,000 National Guard troops armed with assault weapons and thousands of other police from Baltimore and other cities and states continue with their visible threats of force in the streets. People then marched up Pennsylvania Avenue to the intersection in West Baltimore which was one of the focal points of the people's uprising on Monday, April 27 and where there has been defiance every night since then of the 10 p.m. curfew imposed on the city by the authorities.

Pennsylvania and North, May 2
Pennsylvania and North, West Baltimore youth—including from street organizations—drawn to the Revolution Club banner saying "We REFUSE to Accept Slavery in Any Form" and "Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution." Photos: Special to

The City Hall rally included a broad range of people of different ages, nationalities and backgrounds. Many white people were part of this—students from colleges in Baltimore, Washington, DC, and elsewhere along with teachers, nurses, and other professionals. There were proletarian and middle-class Black people from different parts of the city, and some from the West Baltimore neighborhood where on April 12, Freddie Gray was brutally arrested by pigs—simply for making "eye contact," or in other words, simply for being a young Black man walking in the hood—and then died a week later in the hands of the police. When the march reached the intersection of Pennsylvania and North, more people from the hood joined in. Throughout the rally and march, the huge banner of the poster--with the faces and names of dozens (out of thousands) killed by police around the country and the demand "STOP POLICE MURDER"—drew much attention.

There was a mood of celebratory defiance at the action today—people feeling that the police and city officials had been rocked back on their heels by the struggle of the people, forcing them to bring charges against six cops who were part of murdering Freddie Gray. But there was also a lot of wariness about whether those cops would actually be punished, and a determination that there must be justice for Freddie. A Black woman from Freddie's hood, with her two young kids in tow, said, when asked what she thought it would take for the cops to get convicted: "For Baltimore to go off again. If people don't get what they want, it's gonna go off all over... People will feel they've been bamboozled." There was a big response when one of the first speakers at the rally, Carl Dix from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and the Revolutionary Communist Party, called on the people to take up a chant that they'll need to keep in mind in carrying forward the fight for justice: "Indict, convict, send those killer cops to jail—the whole damn system is guilty as hell!"

Rally at Baltimore City Hall, May 2.
A man with his sons at the CIty Hall rally in Baltimore, May 2.

College students march in Baltimore, May 2.
College students marching in Baltimore, May 2.

As has pointed out, the handing down of the charges against the cops for Freddie Gray's murder "ONLY happened because people not only demonstrated, but ROSE UP POWERFULLY IN REBELLION and the powers-that-be openly feared much worse as protests spread across the country." Those ruling over the people—from Barack Obama to CNN and other major media to the Baltimore mayor—called the youth who rose up "thugs" and claimed that their actions had nothing to do with the murder of Freddie Gray, trying to turn other sections of the people in society against the rebels in order to isolate and attack them. But there are many who aren't going for that, as the broad range of people who came out for the May 2 rally and march indicates.

Two white women college students carried homemade cardboard signs, one saying "BLACK YOUTH ARE NOT THUGS" and the other saying "BLACK LIVES MATTER." A white woman, who works as a nurse, came with her three- and four-year-old kids and a homemade sign saying "Arresting 6 cops doesn't fix BPD." She said, "I want to support the community—a community that's marginalized because of institutionalized racism. I don't want the world to think we're done, with just these arrests." When asked how her friends and co-workers are looking at this, she said, "Some already knew about the situation with what goes on with police because they came from those communities. Others are having their eyes opened. If anything good comes out of Freddie Gray's death, it'll be that people come to understand and become horrified at the situation other people are in." Groups of students—Black, white, and other nationalities—came together because they wanted to stand with the people "in the community" and against the police brutality, racism, and inequalities that are devastating those who have been forced to the bottom of society. A Black woman, who teaches at a high school in Freddie's neighborhood but lives in a middle-class area of the city, said she has had her eyes newly opened in recent days to the realities of poverty that the youth in the area have to live every day.

The State's Attorney for Baltimore, a Black woman, is now being heavily promoted in the media as a gutsy friend of the people who went against expectations to bring down the charges against the six cops, and this view was also being promoted by some at the rally. But this prosecutor almost certainly would have acted like any other prosecutor across the country and passed on charging the cops had not the people risen up so powerfully in a cry for justice. Even many of those at the City Hall rally who praised the prosecutor for indicting the cops had to admit that the uprising had a big effect on that decision.

Revolution Club, Baltimore, May 2.
Revolution Club in Baltimore, May 2.

People are clearly searching for answers to big questions. Why do police keep killing people over and over again—and why are those murdering cops let off time after time? How is this horror actually going to stop? In this situation, the crew from the Revolution Club—mostly from New York City, and also a couple of youth from West Baltimore who've recently hooked up with the Club—took out to and challenged people with the message that the epidemic of police murder across the country, and the other horrors plaguing humanity, is rooted in this system of capitalism-imperialism...that there is a way out of this—an actual revolution...and that there is leadership for this revolution in the Revolutionary Communist Party and Bob Avakian. At Pennsylvania and North, there was a section of youth, including from different street organizations, who were very drawn to the Revolution Club banner saying "We REFUSE to Accept Slavery in Any Form" and "Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution"—and there was intense knots of discussion and debate about what this revolution is, how it could actually come about, and what kind of new society it would bring into being.






Revolution #385 May 4, 2015

To the Revolutionaries and Resisters in Baltimore and Beyond:

What Is It That The Masses Most Fundamentally Must Be Led to Understand and Act On?

April 28, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


A really important and helpful way for revolutionaries and resisters—right in the heart of the struggle, and more broadly—to be looking at things, and a critical question to be asking themselves and others is this: What is it that the masses—including, very importantly those rising up in defiant, courageous, and determined struggle as we speak—most critically and fundamentally need to be led to understand, and act on?

Most critically and fundamentally: The masses who are now defiantly and courageously rising up in struggle, and the masses of people more broadly, need to be led to correctly understand—and act on the correct understanding of—problem and solution, and the fact that, through communist revolution, there is a way out of the horrors and outrages that they are rising up against and that this system forces them to endure every day.

More specifically on that point: The masses in Baltimore and beyond must be led to understand that the source of the horrific brutality and murder committed by police every day against Black and Latino people, the larger program of mass incarceration and police terror that this fits into, the centuries-long oppression of Black people this is part of, and many, many other outrages and forms of needless suffering confronting humanity every day—the source of all this is the capitalist-imperialist system we live under; that this system, and all of the horrors it spawns, including the outrages that people are now rising up against, cannot be tweaked or reformed or fixed with band-aids—this can only be ended as this system is swept away through revolution, nothing less, and replaced with a radically different and far better system and society where these horrors could be ended once and for all; that this revolution really is possible; that the leadership we need to make this revolution exists in Bob Avakian (BA) and the Revolutionary Communist Party he leads; that because of the work that BA has done over decades, there is the vision, strategy, and method we need for this revolution; that this revolution NEEDS THEM, that the masses of people broadly, can and must step forward and get with this revolution and the leadership we have for this revolution in BA and the RCP, as they are learning more about this; and that the most oppressed masses themselves can and must step forward to not only be part of this revolution but be the backbone of it.
Leading people to understand all of that means connecting them with the leadership and work of BA. When we connect people with the leadership and work of BA, we are—in the most powerful and scientific way possible—bringing out to people everything spoken to in the above paragraph.

For people reading this who are new to the revolution and new to, if you want to see why this is true, go directly to the source. Take the time to watch the new film of the incredible Dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West in November 2014, REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion. Check out two other key works—BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! and BAsics: From the talks and writings of Bob Avakian and go to the section at on Bob Avakian, to see what BA and his work and leadership, are all about.

The words “most critically and fundamentally” are used deliberately. It is not that what is spoken to above represents the only critical things the masses must be led to understand. The revolutionaries must also lead the masses to continue to fight the power, including leading them through all the twists and turns, major developments, and heavy repression, slanders, and diversions thrown at the struggle by this system and its enforcers, mouthpieces, defenders and apologists. And, in fact, the masses must be led to understand the scope and scale of the outrages that they are rising up against—the fact that there is a national, decades-long, and unrelenting epidemic of police brutality and police murder, and that they are not isolated in being outraged by and fighting against this epidemic of police murder and brutality, as the system and its mouthpieces constantly try to make them think and feel that they are. This is one of many reasons that broadly getting out the posters and banners from with the faces and names of victims of police brutality and murder has been, is, and will continue to be so important, as is continuing to fight to broaden and deepen the struggle against police brutality, murder and mass incarceration, bringing forward and leading people broadly, from many different sections of society, to take up this fight.

So, again, doing all of the above is, has been, and will continue to be extremely important. But it is very important not to lose sight of what is most fundamental and essential for the revolutionary communists to lead the masses to understand and act on, as spoken to here.






Revolution #385 May 4, 2015

Statement of Carl Dix
8 pm April 27, 2015
On the Uprising in Baltimore

Revolution Newspaper |


Carl Dix is a co-initiator of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and a representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party.

Carl Dix

Carl Dix

The uprising in Baltimore tonight has delivered an unmistakable and powerful message that the time is over when people will just take the unending and outrageous murder and brutality carried out by police.  The torture and murder of Freddie Gray for nothing—and the ongoing, infuriating lies and cover-up—is only the latest in a long line of such horrors in not only Baltimore but all over the U.S.  From North Charleston, SC to Ferguson, Missouri from Pasco, Washington to New York City and beyond—THIS MUST STOP!

The authorities and the media grunt about “violence.”  They get outraged about broken windows, but not the broken neck of Freddie Gray.  They get mad about the destruction of property, but not the destruction of Black and Brown children.  Violence?  What about the unending violence carried out against the masses of Black and Latino people all over America by the police?  What about the world-record violence embodied in a society in which a young Black boy has a 1 in 3 chance of spending time in prison before he dies?  The violence in which nearly one million Black men and increasing numbers of women are now languishing in prison?  The violence in which police behave like occupying armies in the ghettos and barrios—and the occupying armies of the U.S. behave like police all over the world?  This is America, and this whole system was built on vicious, unjust, endless violence here and around the world and it continues to carry this out.  These world-class criminals, and apologists for criminals, have absolutely no right to say anything about what the masses of people do when they are fed up, when they can’t take it anymore, and when they must express this.  In the face of murder and terror, is not resistance justified?

They insult those who rebel as thugs, while the real thugs go unpunished, on paid vacation... and those who give orders to those thugs not only get no punishment, but sit at the highest reaches of government.  Here—in the land of the thief and home of the slave—they accuse those who rebel of looting, when the powers-that-be have looted Black people as a people for centuries, along with and as part of looting whole continents.  They promise justice from the Department of INjustice, and from their rigged court system—this is just a ploy to throw mud in people’s eyes.  Bringing in the National Guard means only one thing—more wanton violence against the people.   NO!  NO!  NO!

History and present-day reality show that unless and until people stand up and refuse to go along with it, injustice, outrage and horror will continue.   Everyone should stand with the defiant ones in Baltimore, refuse to condemn them, and to step up the struggle to STOP police murder and mass incarceration.  This is a cry and clarion call to all of society to stand up and say NO MORE!  THIS MUST STOP!


[Please distribute and post widely.]





Revolution #385 May 4, 2015

On the Indictments of the Pigs who Murdered Freddie Gray

May 1, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


On the morning of April 12, Freddie Gray was standing near the Gilmor Homes projects in Baltimore, chatting with a friend. He was breaking no law. He was doing nothing wrong. But police viciously brutalized him and threw him into a police van. Between the police brutalizing him—captured on video—and whatever happened in the police van, the pigs murdered Freddie Gray. On May 1, Baltimore’s chief prosecutor brought a range of charges against six Baltimore police for their role in the arrest and fatal injury of Freddie Gray.

This ONLY happened because people not only demonstrated, but ROSE UP POWERFULLY IN REBELLION and the powers-that-be openly feared much worse as protest spread across the country.  The prosecutor now posing as the great friend of the people, and especially the youth, would have almost certainly “moved along” with no charges at all had not the people risen up and DEMANDED JUSTICE. 

This system has a record of acquitting pigs even in the rare instances that they are charged.  New York pigs fired 41 shots at Amadou Diallo, murdering him as he stood in his doorway when he pulled out his wallet; those pigs went to trial but they all got off scot-free. Sean Bell, on his wedding day, was also gunned down by New York City pigs, undercover cops fired at least 50 rounds of bullets into a car carrying Sean Bell and two of his friends. These killers too went to trial, but they went free.  Oscar Grant, in Oakland, was killed as he lay cuffed face down in front of dozens of witnesses.  In that case the pig got a slap on the wrist.   In none of those cases was justice done.  Justice must be FOUGHT FOR.

There is a whole larger epidemic of police murder... a whole system of mass incarceration of Black and Latino people... a whole genocidal program that the brutal murder of Freddie Gray—and of Walter Scott, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Rekia Boyd before him—is part of.  In the last weeks, this has begun to be dragged into the light of day.  IT IS NOT TIME TO “GO BACK TO NORMAL”, to “let the process work,” or any of that other bullshit.  It is time to step up the fight—and to dig deeper into what it will take to end all this madness.

There is a WAY OUT OF THIS HORROR.  It does NOT have to be this way.  There is the leadership we need for revolution, a strategy to make that revolution happen, a plan for the new society to replace this rotten racist one, and a force dedicated to carrying this revolution out.  There is a whole scientific way to understand and transform the world developed by Bob Avakian that people can, and need to, use to win this liberation.  As you are carrying forward the fight, you need to go to the website you need to check out the works and films of Bob Avakian... you need to get with the Revolution Club, the people wearing the “Revolution-Nothing Less!” tee-shirts.







Revolution #385 May 4, 2015

#A14SHUTDOWN Protests Against Police Murder: Stolen Lives Families Represent!

April 27, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


The following is a list of family members of people killed by the police, who courageously participated in the rallies and marches on April 14 to STOP POLICE MURDER. In city after city, these people played a very powerful role and their participation was particularly inspiring and a source of strength for many others in the fight against the epidemic of police murder. They spoke out, not just for themselves and their loved ones, but in the spirit of fighting so that NO ONE has to face the horror of having a loved one's life stolen by police murder. This was a challenge and a call to others to step up and persevere in this fight. This is something that needs to be further forged and their voice in society must be more powerfully amplified.

The following list is what we know of the participation of Stolen Lives Families on A14 and it is no doubt incomplete. We call on others to write to us and submit more names and photos to add to the list at



Bridget Anderson, girlfriend of Anthony Hill, who had a mental illness and was murdered by police in DeKalb County, Georgia while unarmed and naked on March 9, 2015.

DeLisa Davis, sister of Kevin Davis, who was murdered by police in his home after calling 911 in DeKalb County, Georgia on December 31, 2014.

Cajun Snorton, girlfriend of Nick Thomas and mother of their five-month-old baby girl, London Na'Vae. Nick Thomas was murdered by police in Cobb County, Georgia, March 24, 2015.

Felicia Thomas, mother of 23-year-old Nick Thomas who was murdered by police in Cobb County, Georgia, March 24, 2015.

T.J. Thomas, brother of 23-year-old Nick Thomas, murdered by police in Cobb County, March 24, 2015.

Relative of 22-year-old Yuric Ussery, who was shot in the back by the Atlanta police on April 8, 2015. He was taken to the hospital ICU and survived.



Family and friends of 17-year-old Justus Howell, killed by Zion, IL police (suburb of Chicago) April 4, 2015.

Wanda Taylor, mother of 18-year-old Marcus Landrum, killed by Chicago police August 18, 2008.

Freddie McGee (Godfather), father of 34-year-old Freddie Latice Wilson, killed by Chicago police on November 15, 2007.

Gloria Pinex Ditiway and Trevon Lawrence, mother and brother of 27-year-old Darius Pinex, killed by Chicago police January 7, 2011.

Contingent of family members of 14-year-old Pedro Rios, who was killed by Chicago police July 4, 2014.



Members of the family of 18-year-old Brandon Jones, who was killed by Cleveland police on March 19, 2015.



Janie Torres, sister of 23-year-old Joe Campos Torres, who was murdered by Houston Police in May 1977. Joe Torres, a young Chicano vet, was beaten, handcuffed, and thrown into Buffalo Bayou by 6 Houston pigs. The pigs said, "Let's see if the wetback can swim," as they tossed Joe Torres to his death. A year long struggle for Justice for Joe Torres raged through Houston, especially on the largely Chicano Northside, and a year later, at a Cinco de Mayo celebration after two of the cops were given probation and a one dollar fine for killing Joe Torres, people of the Northside rose up in what became known as the Moody Park Rebellion.



These family members spoke or participated at the rally at the LAPD headquarters and the April 14 events:

Erica, sister of Dante Parker, and Yolanda Hurte, aunt of 36-year-old Dante Parker, who was tased to death by San Bernadino County sheriffs on August 12, 2014. She is also the aunt of 39-year-old Donte Jordon, who was killed by Long Beach police on November 10, 2013.

Victor Ochoa, son of 37-year-old Ignacio Ochoa, who was gunned down in Paramount by the LA County sheriffs on May 14, 2013.

Diego Ramirez, brother of 28-year-old Oscar Ramirez, Jr., who was shot in the back and murdered by Paramount police on October 27, 2014. Oscar Ramirez, Sr., father of Oscar Ramirez, Jr. participated in A14 in San Diego.

Chris Silva, brother of 28-year-old David Silva, who was beaten to death by Bakersfield police on May 8, 2013.

Terri Thaxton, sister of 31-year-old Michael Nida, who was gunned down by LA County sheriffs in Downey, on Oct. 22, 2011.

Numerous members of the Cornejo family, among them Jose and his partner Vivi, Violet and Xiomara, family of 34-year-old Mayra Cornejo, who was murdered by LA County Sheriffs in Compton, CA on New Years Eve, December 31 2014.  Mayra Cornejo's brother, 31-year-old Mauricio Cornejo, was killed by the LAPD on February 3, 2007.

Tritobia Ford, mother of 25 year-old Ezell Ford, shot in the back by LAPD Newton Division, August 11, 2014.

Sr. Oliva, father of Carlos Oliva-Sola, killed by LA County Sheriffs, September 2013.



Hawa Bah, mother of 28-year-old Mohamed Bah, who was shot and killed by the NYPD on September 25, 2012.

Nicholas Heyward, Sr., father of 13-year-old Nicholas Heyward, Jr., killed by the NYPD on September 27, 1994.

Gloria Leiva, mother of 19-year-old Dante Pomar, killed by NYPD cops, July 29, 2004.

Joshua Lopez, nephew of John Collado, who was killed by the NYPD on September 6, 2011.

Juanita Young, mother of 23-year-old Malcolm Ferguson, who was killed by a NYPD cop on March 1, 2000.



Elvira and Refugio Nieto, parents of Alex Nieto, who was killed by the SFPD on March 21, 2014.

Woman friend of 21-year-old Amilcar Perez-Lopez, who was killed by SFPD on February 26, 2015.

Rachel Guido-Red, mother of 15-year-old Derrick Gaines, killed by South San Francisco police on June 5, 2012. She spoke outside city hall steps thanking people for coming.



Cephus "Uncle Bobby" Johnson, uncle of 22-year-old Oscar Grant, who was killed by SF/Bay Area BART police on January 1, 2009.

Vickie Showman, mother of 19-year-old Diana Showman, killed by San Jose police on August 14, 2014.

Laurie Valdez, mother of Antonio Guzman, killed by SJ State University police on February 21, 2014.

Sharon Watkins, mother of 23-year-old Phillip Watkins, who was shot and killed by two officers with the San Jose Police Department on February 11, 2015.


Bridget Anderson (speaking), girlfriend of Anthony Hill, surrounded by Anthony's ’mom, Carolyn Giummo and several of his friends. "Tony" Hill who had mental illness was murdered by police in Dekalb county, Georgia while unarmed and naked on March 9, 2015. Photo: Ayesha Khatun

Cajun Snorton, girlfriend of Nick Thomas and mother of their 5 month old baby girl, London Na'Vae. Nick Thomas was murdered by police in Cobb County, Georgia, March 24, 2015. Photo: Ayesha Khatun

Delisa Davis, sister of Kevin Davis who was murdered by police in his home after calling 911 in Dekalb County, Georgia on December 30, 2014. Photo: Ayesha Khatun

Felicia Thomas, mother of 23-year-old Nick Thomas who was murdered by police in Cobb County, Georgia, March 24, 2015. Photo: Ayesha Khatun

Felicia Thomas, mother of 23-year-old Nick Thomas who was murdered by police in Cobb County, Georgia, March 24, 2015. Photo: Ayesha Khatun

T.J. Thomas, brother of 23 year old Nick Thomas, murdered by police in Cobb County, March 24, 2015. Photo: Ayesha Khatun

Relative of Yuric Ussery who was shot in the back by the police, taken to the ICU in the hospital and survived. Photo: Ayesha Khatun

Relative of 22-year-old Yuric Ussery who was shot in the back by the Atlanta police on April 8, 2015. He was taken to the hospital ICU and survived. Photo: Ayesha Khatun

Relative of Yuric Ussery who was shot in the back by the police was taken to ICU and survived. Photo: Ayesha Khatun

A14 rally in Chicago - Family members (on the microphone and holding the sign) of 27-year-old Darius Pinex who was shot and killed by the Chicago Police on a “routine traffic stop” on January 7, 2011

A14 rally in Chicago - Freddie McGee (on the microphone), father of Freddie Latise Wilson who was killed by the Chicago Police in 2007.

Janie Torres (in gray t-shirt), sister of Joe Campos Torres, who was murdered by Houston Police in May 1977. Joe Torres, a young Chicano vet, was beaten, handcuffed, and thrown into Buffalo Bayou by 6 Houston pigs. The pigs said "let's see if the wetback can swim" as they tossed Joe Torres to his death. A year long struggle for Justice for Joe Torres raged through Houston, especially on the largely Chicano Northside, and a year later, at a Cinco de Mayo celebration after two of the cops were given probation and a one dollar fine for killing Joe Torres, people of the Northside rose up in what became known as the Moody Park Rebellion.

Janie Torres, sister of Joe Campos Torres, who was murdered by Houston Police in May 1977.

Hawa Bah, mother of Mohamed Bah, who was shot and killed by the NYPD on September 25, 2012, hugging playwright, performer, activist Eve Ensler. Photo: Cat April Watters

Nicholas Heyward, Sr., father of Nicholas Heyward, Jr., killed by NYPD in 1994. Photo: Photo: Enbion Micah Aan

Joshua Lopez, nephew of John Collado, who was killed by the NYPD on September 6, 2011.

A14 march in San Francisco, family member of 28-year-old Alex Nieto who was killed by San Francisco cops on March 21, 2015.






Revolution #385 May 4, 2015

Police Keep Killing! Taking the Streets of Lakewood for Daniel Covarrubias and All Others Murdered by Police!

April 30, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader in Seattle

Daniel Covarrubias, 37, a member of the Suquamish tribe, was murdered by Lakewood police in Washington state on Tuesday, April 21. He was unarmed. Police say Daniel had been seen "running", and that after he climbed a tall stack of lumber in a lumber yard, he was "reaching into his pockets." Those who knew him say he was in mental distress and in need of urgent help. Instead, police fired up at him multiple times and killed him. No police have been arrested, and they are now on paid leave to work on getting their stories straight. Other people murdered by police in Lakewood and surrounding areas in recent times include Patrick O'Meara, Ron Hillstrom, and Brian McLeod.


Some of us who had been in the Seattle convergence of the nationwide April 14 Shutdown to Stop Police Murdering People knew we had to get down to nearby Lakewood and bring word of this reviving of the spirit of Ferguson. We headed to a rally and vigil organized by the Tacoma Action Collective on Thursday night, April 23, at the Lakewood Police Department. We brought the big "Stop Police Murder" banner with the many faces of lives stolen by police. About 100 people were there; many friends and family, local citizens, and also concerned people and activists from towns nearby. There was also much heart ache and tears.

The windows in the main entrance to the police department were dark. No officials appeared. It looked deserted and shut down. People were placing hand written posters, lighted candles, and flowers against the brick wall, building a memorial right there in the entrance. Also Daniel's picture. "We want to make sure they see his face," they said.

A Native woman delivered a prayer and then people spoke. A woman, crying, said "Daniel was my son! He was murdered! My baby was murdered! How many mothers are going to have to see their children die?" Daniel's sister said "This has got to stop! It is just senseless killing happening all over the country. And my brother he was a good person. He was a peaceful, humble person. They keep bringing up his record – that has nothing to do with this. Police need to be more educated. He was in a lumber yard, not a bank!" Many were openly weeping as people told of the joy Daniel had put in their lives. He had seven children. Family members said they would take a stand against the smear tactics police were using against Daniel, and that people should not trust the Lakewood police.

Different views came out. Some speakers called for a civilian review board over police, others for legislation to make police better trained, and others for more people to get active in the streets. “We want an indictment,” the crowd chanted at one point. A solidarity statement from the adopted mother of Oscar Perez-Giron, murdered by police in Seattle last summer, was read (see "From Oscar Grant to Oscar Perez-Giron—No More Police Murder of Our Youth at the Train Stations!" March 11, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper). A revolutionary spoke. She asked for everyone who knew of the April 14 nationwide shutdown to raise their hands. A few did, but as far as I could tell, no one from Lakewood. She spoke about how these killings of Black and brown people are nationwide, how it's connected to all the other ills of this society, and how this madness must be and can be ended. Another revolutionary talked about the real role of the police as enforcers of exploitation and oppression.

As darkness came the rally turned into a march in the streets, towards Lakewood City Hall, with many carrying pictures of Daniel and signs such as "Stop the killing". There were chants of “ Indict, convict send the killer cops to jail! The whole damn system is guilty as hell!" and "Hands up, don't shoot!" I walked with and interviewed marchers, and also by-standers where I could, telling them I was writing a correspondence to send in to Revolution newspaper and showing them the paper.

A youth from Tacoma said he came because Lakewood friends told him about it. "Fife and Lakewood cops are dicks, worse than Tacoma. It's harassment all the time, using stuff like traffic tickets." He knew about Ferguson, and said "Yeah, this is nationwide." An aunt of Daniel's said it was wrong that "They (police) are trained to shoot and kill". A Native man in the march, about Daniel's age, said "He was my cousin. We grew up together." He talked of the good experiences, misfortunes, and adventures they had had as youth. "We need to come together like this, but it's never going to work trying to use the system. In the end they are going to send these cops back to work. But I am here, I will protest, out of respect for Daniel." I got him a copy of Revolution newspaper and told him what it was putting out on how we can and must get a new system. A younger Native man with him said "I think the system is crooked. They want us to abide by their rules, but they don't follow those same rules. And it's against Black and brown people. They profile people on how they dress, if they wear hoodies. They just assume things. Cops in Lakewood are worse. They came to my house and just accused me of things."

A Black man coming out of a store asked what it was about. When told, he was very surprised and concerned, and said he had not even heard of this killing right here in Lakewood! A young white man wearing a hoody had also not heard of Daniels killing! He said "Yeah, I live here. I just saw people on the street just now and joined up. The feelings and emotions brought me here. This is a way for justice to happen, maybe." Lakewood has various nationalities, immigrants, and also military who work at nearby bases. Transport is centered around the automobile, with lots of wide streets, parking lots and strip malls. It is hard to get around on foot and to find gathering places for community. People in Lakewood are not always able to be well informed, and are kept divided up and under close supervision of the police.

The march went about a mile over major roads, intersections, and shopping mall parking lots. There was a die-in at one big intersection. The marchers then swept into the courtyard of City Hall, which is actually in the middle a large new shopping mall! Like the police station, it was closed and dark, and there were no officials there to meet people. There was more speaking. A white woman said "I was a prison guard at McNeil Island (a federal prison nearby) and it is SO racist there! Even the guards are divided up by race. I was told not to speak to the Black guards!"

Daniel's father was standing out at the edge of the crowd. He had been concerned that blocking the streets could alienate people from this cause. We talked some about this and I told him how "shutting down business as usual" has had a powerful effect in different places around the country. I also asked what he felt was the cause and the solution to all these killings. He said "He's a victim of the meth epidemic. Meth and heroin are killing people. Also, I don't know how they evaluate these police officers when they hire them. Before they were hired, they were just violent punks, some of them. Daniel he was hiding up on top of that lumber pile, hiding from his demons. He had these demons, and in a sense, the police came and they were his demons fulfilled. They reacted too quickly. They had a Rambo attitude. I think this should be investigated by the FBI or someone. Like they did in Ferguson. The local cops have a brotherhood, they can't be trusted." Also, "The mental health system has failed, we are investing in the wrong things. " Then, thinking over the big picture, he shook his head and said "I don't know what the solution is.." You feel the pain when talking to someone who has just lost a child, and you could also tell he has been thinking much about the whys of it.

The march then turned back towards the police department, and I walked with a woman related to Daniel's family. She had not heard of Ferguson, and wanted very much to know what all had happened there. I told her and also was telling her what Revolution newspaper was putting out, and she said "One of Daniel's sons is an artist. A revolutionary artist! I hope." During all this, the Lakewood police had kept out of sight, reluctant to try and employ their usual harassment and intimidation in the face of this resistance. A group of police were seen exiting a fast food restaurant, and were loudly called out as murderers by the marchers. Back at the Lakewood Police Department, many more candles were lit and placed at the memorial. While we were marching, supporters of the police had come in and chalked on the pavement in front of the memorial "Thank you for your service." A woman used bottled water to wash it off, saying "How disrespectful." People stayed there in the glow of candles late into the night.

People have planned ongoing gatherings in Lakewood as the police cover-up progresses. This must be linked up to a new nationwide rising wave of resistance against police murder and terror, growing until we can STOP all this, and the heartache and tears are no more!






Revolution #385 May 4, 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 #385 May 4, 2015

From A World to Win News Service:

The war on refugees in the Mediterranean

May 4, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


27 April 2015. A World to Win News Service. Within less than a week in April, two boats full of migrants from Middle East and Africa were left to sink in the Mediterranean Sea, resulting in the death of at least 1,300 people. This outraged people all over the world and provoked demonstrations in various countries.

When, in October 2013, a boat carrying refugees sank a short distance from the Italian island of Lampedusa and almost 500 people drowned, the world could not believe it. That tragedy caught the leaders of the Western European governments with blood on their hands. But rather than showing remorse or shame for this crime, they took measures to "deter" refugees that have now caused the loss of even more lives. Although shocking, these latest deaths were not unexpected. And more of the same or even worse could happen if the inhumane hostility against migrants is allowed to continue.

The number of refugees drowned in the Mediterranean Sea so far this year is estimated to be between 1,500 and 1,750. (BBC, 23 April 2015) That is more than 50 times as many people who died during the first months of 2014. The death toll has been climbing steadily for several years. The total number was nearly 3,500 in 2014, 600 in 2013 and 500 in 2012.

After the 2013 Lampedusa tragedy, the lack of interest and even deliberate indifference of the European leaders became even more apparent. In many cases, including this one, it was local fishermen and not the authorities who rescued the refugees. After that many people and humanitarian organisations demanded more action and resources from European leaders to help those who risk their lives to escape wars and misery zones. But instead the European leaders increased the chances of drowning by cutting funding to the already insufficient search operations.

Specifically, they decided to cancel the Italian Navy's Mare Nostrum operations in October 2014. This programme is said to have saved the lives of some 170,000 refugees in 2014. Italy announced it would end the programme if the other European countries did not share the cost, a half a billion euros a year. But the EU decision to replace the rescue operations with a police mission was made for political and not financial reasons.

The new Operation Triton is run by the  EU border agency Frontex. According to its director Klaus Rosler, its brief is "ensuring effective border control" and "monitor criminal networks" in North Africa and not to save lives. Under Operation Triton, Europe will provide just seven boats and three aircraft to cover a million square miles of sea. This was a deliberate act to deter the refugees from taking this route to Europe. The patrol boats being deployed instead of navy ships are too small and unequipped to rescue people. In fact, when one of these boats did take on refugees found floating in the water, most of them died of exposure on the voyage back to Italy because they were kept on an open deck and there were no trained rescue personnel on board.

The UK government took the most aggressive stand against refugees, making it clear that it "would not support any future search and rescue operation, including Triton, claiming the assistance simply encourages more people to risk the crossing." (Guardian, 27 October 2014) British Prime Minister David Cameron all but explicitly declared that the EU should let migrants drown to discourage others from taking the sea route. But all the European governments agreed to this plan that everyone knew would condemn thousands of refugees to death. Now there is irrefutable evidence that "cutting the incentives" by ending rescue operations has not reduced the number of migrants risking their lives to cross the sea.

After the two April tragedies, EU leaders shed crocodile tears, pretending that the deaths of 1,300  men, women and children were not the direct and predictable consequences of their policies. They blamed traffickers and smugglers for the results of their own crimes. Germany's Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said, "We cannot and we will not tolerate these criminals sacrificing human lives on a large scale out of sheer greed." (Guardian, 20 April 2015) Of course by "sheer greed" he did not mean the competition-driven profit system that leads to wars and massacres, the demolition of whole regions and the plunder of whole continents.

Philip Hammond, the British Foreign Secretary, spoke as if it were the traffickers who forced people to leave their homes. He stressed, "We must target the traffickers who are responsible for so many people dying at sea and prevent their innocent victims from being tricked or forced into making these perilous journeys." (Independent, 20 April 2015) French President François Hollande reiterated that "the emphasis should be on disrupting people traffickers." (BBC, 23 April)

So the choir of European imperialists and their media is once again synchronized to blame the traffickers for the consequences of imperialist-stoked wars and the functioning of the capitalist system worldwide. Refugees are not taking such a perilous route because of traffickers and their boats. If they believe that risking death by drowning is the best alternative they have, this should be understood as an indictment of what the imperialist system has done to them.

The fact is that the flow of refugees will not stop until there is an end to the factors that drive people to risk death. Increasing numbers of people have to leave their land or their job, their community and country and their family, and take such a dangerous path, whether or not the imperialists allow the "incentive" that they might just possibly not drown. Economic hardship in third world countries is caused by the functioning of the imperialist system, and for many people the globalisation of the last two decades has made their situation even more desperate. The wars that massacre people and make life hell for those who survive are also largely caused by direct or indirect imperialist involvement. It seems there is no end to these wars, especially in the Middle East and Africa. Now it is to be expected that people in Yemen – victims of the Saudi-led led military intervention backed by a U.S. aircraft carrier group and the major Western countries – will join refugees from Syria, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia and so on.  Are the traffickers the ones forcing them to join these gathering waves of humanity?

The right to seek asylum is included in international agreements that almost all governments supposedly have signed. It has been declared a human right. But the European governments are making it extremely hard for people who have already gone through so much suffering because of the wars and misery in their own country. For example, the war in Syria has displaced about four million refugees, now mostly living in temporary camps in neighbouring countries. But the imperialists, whose meddling in Syria for their regional and global interests fanned the war and the rise of Islamist forces, are refusing to grant Syrians asylum. Apart from Germany, which because of its need for immigrants and political reasons pledged to take in 30,000 refugees, the other 27 countries, including France and the UK, are set to accept only around 10,000 altogether – Britain only 143.

The European states have spent billions on border control and put up all kinds of land barriers, such as the fence on the Greek border with Turkey. They have introduced draconian obstacles to legal entry for people from poor countries. Even when refugees succeed in getting to a destination country, they are criminalised and treated as "illegal" human beings. As other routes are closed to them, refugees are forced to the only alternatives. In fact, it is the imperialists who are creating "business opportunities" for the traffickers.

In the face of public outrage in April the European leaders met to deal with the situation (the public outrage, not the deaths). They agreed to restore funding for naval search operations in the Mediterranean to last year's level. The details of how this is to be implemented are not yet clear. But they clearly agreed to "undertake systematic efforts to identify, capture and destroy vessels before they are used by traffickers". This is another pretext to carry out more raids and invasions in North Africa, more military actions and wars of the kind that did so much to create refugees in the first place – now disguised as 'humanitarian" actions. As usual, when their actions and their system cause horrible situations their only response is to use their killing machine to deal with the symptoms. Further, they are seeking to divert people's attention from those really responsible. This is shameful. They cannot be allowed to create more tragedies.

The capitalist/imperialist system is the source of the misery of the people. People who cannot accept the brutalization and murder of their fellow human beings should target this system, and especially reveal the fact that the immigration "issue" is part and parcel of its functioning.


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




Revolution #385 May 4, 2015

From A World to Win News Service:

The Dominican Republic, April 1965: A powerful popular revolt unexpectedly explodes in the Yankee "back yard"

May 4, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


27 April 2015. A World to Win News Service. This April marks two events a half a century ago that need to be remembered. One was the uprising that began apparently out of nowhere on 24 April 1965. Thousands of Dominican people, including some of the poorest, took up arms and, for a time, began to take their country and history into their own hands. It was one of those rare moments whose reverberations ripple for decades. The other was on 28 April 1965. Washington, terrified by the prospect of "losing" the Dominican Republic and all that would mean for global resistance throughout the U.S. empire, sent tens of thousands of U.S. troops to keep the republic in the hands of men Washington felt it could trust.

Those were complicated times in the Dominican Republic. A variety of forces were contending for power. There were the generals, some of the biggest exploiters, and the Catholic Church, who wanted to continue the regime built by General Rafael Trujillo. For three decades this notoriously sadistic tyrant had ruled through a combination of undisguised terror, generalized corruption and full backing by the U.S. but had become increasing isolated. After a dispute with the U.S., he was assassinated in 1961, probably with CIA complicity. There were other ruling class forces who sought their own arrangements with the U.S., nationalists of various sorts, and organizations that considered themselves revolutionary. Of the most prominent, one was very influenced by the Cuban revolution and the other by Mao Tsetung and the Chinese revolution. Because of the decades of open terrorist dictatorship, these previously clandestine groups were the country's only real mass political parties.

The contending forces at the top fell into a stalemate and some called on the capital's ordinary people to come into the streets. The strength, rapidity and determination of the popular response was unexpected by nearly everyone. Thousands of people began to arm themselves with Molotov cocktails and weapons given out by junior army officers or procured in raids against police stations, a particularly hated target because of the police's direct and daily role in brutalizing and robbing people. Events slipped out of the control of those attempting to ride them.

A key point was the famous battle at the Duarte Bridge. Trujillo regime's elite troops, trained by the U.S. to keep everyone in terror, even the rest of the army, left their fortress on the east side of the Ozama River and tried to penetrate into the heart of the capital. They were opposed by a few hundred organized soldiers and thousands of civilians from the surrounding slums and the middle classes. Reports from terrified American authorities labelled them a "mob", "looters" and "rioters", but they were organized into combat units called "commandos" with clear military aims.

In fighting extending five blocks along the main road running into and through the city, they beat back the regime's troops. The regime's aircraft took a heavy toll but could not turn the tide. The attacking army units, whose morale was not up to a real battle, fell into disarray.  Even the regime's tanks had to retreat toward the airport that was the main connection with the U.S., guarded by a small force of American soldiers. The rebels were on the verge of a counter-attack and the armed forces on the verge of collapse. What the CIA feared most was that the rebellion would spread to the countryside, link up with the desperately poor peasants and sugar cane workers who made up the majority of the country's population, and go from an urban revolt to a full-scale revolutionary war.

It was then that the U.S. ships waiting offshore landed another 23,000 men, with a similar number in reserve. Although these troops quickly retook the Duarte Bridge, the armed rebels held the central business district and middle class area for several weeks. The U.S. and regime forces cut the capital in two to isolate the rebel areas from the rest of the city and the city from the countryside. Then American troops accompanied the newly rallied Dominican army as it moved through the Barrios Altos slums on the other side of the city, committing atrocities. The resistance went on another eight days. 

There were furious protests throughout Latin America. At a time when Washington was trying to pose as a force for reform in a continent seething with discontent, the U.S. had shown its true face.

U.S. neocolonialism in the Dominican Republic

By 1930, Trujillo had quickly risen to command the Dominican Army the U.S. created after ending its direct rule over the country. As American consul Henry Dearborne later wrote, "He had his torture chambers, he had his political assassinations. But he kept law and order, cleaned the place up, made it sanitary, built public works, and he didn't bother the United States. So that didn't bother us." By "didn't bother the United States," the ambassador meant that Trujillo did not interfere with U.S. business interests or challenge its political supremacy.

To give a few infamous examples of how Trujillo ruled: Considering himself the country's supreme male, the patriarch of all patriarchs, he obligated every Dominican household to put up a plaque saying, "Here Trujillo is the jefe (boss)." He considered any woman of any social class fair game to be kidnapped and brought to him to be raped. His most infamous prison had seawater pits where he literally had political opponents and dissenters fed to sharks.

During World War 2, when the U.S. was fighting its German and Japanese rival imperialists in the name of "democracy", President Franklin Roosevelt's Secretary of State said of Trujillo, "He may be a son-of-a-bitch, but he's our-son-of-a-bitch." Not long after after Trujillo's death decades later, the U.S. decided that his regime should be perpetuated under the Trujillo stooge Joaquin Balaguer. The "military and police machine built by Trujillo," a senior U.S. intelligence officer noted, "is still intact."

In order to give that regime stability and legitimacy, elections were organized, but the unexpected winner, the social democrat Juan Bosch, was not to Washington's liking. Although some of Bosch's economic and social reforms were not in themselves antagonistic to long-term American interests, whatever his game was, he was not considered a reliable protector of U.S. domination.

The stakes were international: that domination was being challenged not only in what the U.S. arrogantly called its "back yard", as if proximity gave it the right to intervene, but throughout the world, including Vietnam where U.S. troops were already fighting. Revolts against colonialism and necolonialism were intertwined with the rise of the U.S.'s chief rival for world hegemony, the formerly socialist Soviet Union, now itself a capitalist and imperialist superpower. U.S. presidents and political pundits shamelessly declared their concern that the Dominican Republic could become "another Cuba", a country that slipped out of the U.S.'s grip and into the Soviet orbit. Cuba had its admirers even among the Dominican elite and armed forces, to some extent exactly because the fall of the U.S. underboss in Cuba had not been followed by a process of revolutionary transformation of economic and social relationships and thinking.

U.S. President John F. Kennedy made the following analysis of the situation after Trujillo's death: "There are only three possibilities...  a decent democratic regime, a continuation of the Trujillo regime, or a Castro regime. We ought to aim for the first, but we really can't renounce the second until we are sure that we can avoid the third." This is the basic approach of the U.S. ruling class and all imperialist ruling classes in a nutshell: A "decent" regime endowed with the legitimacy of elections and democratic trappings is preferable, but countries must be kept under their control no matter what. The U.S.'s grip over the Caribbean, Central and South America through Trujillo-like regimes when deemed necessary should say a lot about the real nature of the monopoly capitalists ruling the U.S. and the limits of the "democracy" their empire offers.

The U.S. ambassador, sent to be the ultimate authority in the Dominican Republic from behind the scenes, complained that Bosch had refused to take his advice and run the country "with methods once used by the police in Chicago... illegal detention and often worse... I favoured such methods". Bosch, he complained, was not assassinating "Castro/Communists" and had no political prisoners.

Kennedy's successor Lyndon Johnson had attended Bosch's inauguration as president of the only really elected government the Dominican Republic had ever known in many decades, if ever, but within months he ordered that Bosch be toppled. American intervention  eventually brought Balaguer back to power and kept him there for another 12 years.

Of course, the U.S. insisted on "democracy", in other words, elections, and sure enough Balaguer's rule was consecrated through an election. The head of the CIA later admitted that president Johnson had ordered his agency to "arrange"  Balaguer's victory at the polls, but that victory was a foregone conclusion anyway. Bosch himself did not want a frontal confrontation with the U.S. on any playing field. He later said of the Trujillo regime and its continuation under Balaguer, "The Dominican government isn't pro-American. It's American property." But he and his political heirs sought their own alliance with the U.S., and to some degree, eventually, they were to achieve it.

Yet the U.S. kept Balaguer on the stage until his work was done. That work was to attempt to erase the traces and spirit of the popular rebellion by hunting down and murdering, jailing or driving into exile a whole generation of revolutionaries. The game of electoral democracy could not be played until the playing field was mercilessly mowed. Under this prolonged attack and after, many of that generation's rebels tried to get clarity on their goals and how to achieve them. Two crucial and interconnected issues were the nature of the revolution the country needed, and the relationship between this revolution and ruling class splits. There was a tendency to seek to organize a replay of April 1965 with a different outcome. At the same time, some of the dissident elements in the upper classes that had made the regime's isolation in 1965 possible were being brought back into the fold.

Today's Dominican Republic is not like in the Trujillo days. It has a bigger middle class, and many of the former peasants, especially their daughters, work for U.S. and other companies in the free trade zones,  assembling parts made in other countries into consumer goods, or sewing clothing, all for export, mainly to the U.S. The country's economy depends on these manufactured exports, mineral exports and the export of Dominicans themselves, the ten percent of the population who brought their labour power and political ferment to the U.S. Now the country's most important "industry" is tourism, almost another kind of export. It hinders balanced economic development and promotes servitude and all sorts of unequal and oppressive social relations and outlooks throughout society, as does the drug trade, which, as in other Latin American countries, is one of the real main motors of economic development.

Economic development at what price – paid in the past, present and future? In discussing what to do after Trujillo's death, a U.S. adviser wrote that the country had to be "reoccupied and  reconstituted." Today's Dominican Republic, a product of the 1965 U.S. invasion despite changes since then, is still firmly in the grip of the U.S., and its people will never be able to begin to emancipate themselves until that grip is shattered.


For a detailed exposure of U.S. policies and actions in the Dominican Republic in those years, based largely on official U.S. documents and autobiographies by the leading U.S. criminals, see the Web site of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, ironically named after the  U.S. president who ordered the first occupation of the Dominican Republic in 1916:

For a useful annotated bibliography of relevant materials, see www.oxfordbibliographies. Quotes in this article were taken from these two sources.

The novels The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Junot Diaz, Penguin, 2007) and In the Time of the Butterflies (Julia Alvarez, Plume, 1995) each have their own light to shed on the Trujillo period and its aftermath.



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





Revolution #385 May 4, 2015

Report on promoting Bob Avakian's new synthesis of communism at the Tunis World Social Forum

May 4, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


A large and enthusiastic team gathered in Tunis March 24-28 on the politically charged terrain of the World Social Forum, to argue from many angles the burning relevance of communist revolution—specifically the new synthesis of communism brought forward by Bob Avakian.

The World Social Forum, whose slogan is “Another World is Possible,” sees itself as based on “international solidarity, equality and social justice.” The WSF’s more than 1,000 workshops and forums addressed and discussed solutions for many grave social problems plaguing the world and drawing people into opposition and resistance. They included the oppression and degradation of women worldwide; the reasons why immigrants risk their lives to cross the Mediterranean; the environmental crisis with a focus on climate change, land, agriculture and water issues; human rights and equality before the law; developments in Rojova (west Kurdistan in northern Syria); and the outcome of the Arab Spring and the situation of Arab youth in particular, in terms of why many are drawn to become jihadi fighters in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

WSF organizers reported that more than 48,000 people registered to participate this year. Most were progressive-minded individuals and groups from North Africa and around the world. Tunisians were by far the most numerous. They had serious questions about what they considered the hijacking of their “revolution” by political parties whose goal was to get into or come to terms with the existing power structure rather than change the system. Many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) also took part. Some are sponsored by the same corporations who create the very conditions that the workshops exposed and opposed. The main leadership of the WSF promotes various approaches to challenge some of the glaring inequalities and social injustices in the world, but stop short of going for ending the system responsible. This results in a limited framework regarding the possibilities of solving the complex and pervasive problems the WSF brings to light and debates. Thus there is need and grounds for serious and ongoing discussion, which many participants came to the WSF to find.

Our team of two dozen included people from Europe, Asia, the Middle East and North America, with a large number of supporters of the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist—CPI[MLM]), and a strong contingent of women. The goal was to participate in these wide-ranging debates and unite with the outrage those attending the WSF share over these crimes, while at the same time wrangle over how to overcome these major problems and challenge the assumption that fundamental change can be achieved through the existing system. We wanted to engage with why this can only be done through communist revolution, which requires applying the best theoretical understanding, the new synthesis.

People who yearn for revolutionary solutions need the vigorous scientific method and approach that characterizes the new synthesis, with its unflinching search to understand actual patterns and dynamics of material reality and discern the contradictory nature of reality that provides the basis to act and bring about the revolutionary transformations that all humanity needs urgently.

Leaflets were prepared in French, Arabic and English, on the intolerable dead-end alternatives of imperialism and Islamic fundamentalism, women’s oppression, the anti-austerity debate (Greece) and capitalism’s destruction of the planet. The leaflet “From Ferguson to Palestine, We Can’t Breathe!” brought out the common threads, the common oppressive system, as well as the particular complexities of resistance emerging in the world today, all pointing to the need for revolution. They were very well received.

World events affect Tunisia

After being held in Tunis in 2013, the WSF returned there for the second time, implicitly promoting Tunisia as an oasis of stability in a region torn apart by chaos. The dynamic of the “two outmodeds” was the major theme in the main leaflet by the Revolutionary Communist Manifesto Group (RCMG) entitled Caught Between the Deadly, Dead-end Alternatives of Imperialism & Religious Fundamentalism: Only Revolution Can Get Us Out of this Situation, and The Many Faces of Terrorism by the CPI-MLM. This dynamic was in many ways visible throughout the forum. Less than a week before the WSF began, the criminal attack at the Bardo museum, killing 18 tourists, by Islamic fundamentalist jihadists sympathetic to ISIS/Daesh (the Arabic acronym for ISIS), exposed illusions of calm and highlighted the real intensifying dynamics of the situation in the region and the world.

This further complicated and added confusion to the contested political terrain in Tunisia. In many discussions held informally and throughout the workshops, the urgency of struggling over a correct and scientific understanding of the reactionary dynamic between imperialism and Islamic fundamentalism became pivotal and controversial.

The Islamic fundamentalists’ operations in the Middle East and North Africa reached all the way to the Tunisian capital and provided an opportunity for the newly-elected government of Beji Caid Essebsi, a former minister under the deposed President Ben Ali, to present its pro-Western allegiance as the choice of the people and a reflection of national unity.

The general mood among the masses broadly speaking was certainly less optimistic than two years ago about advancing the revolutionary struggle. Ordinary people in the streets, taxi drivers, shop keepers and other people we chatted with in cafes and restaurants who tended to welcome foreigners, felt that the Bardo attack was just an isolated incident, minimizing fundamentalism as a real and growing threat in Tunis.

Lowering of sights, dashing of hopes for revolution and no small amount of demoralization had set in after the high tide of rebellion and the overthrow of the Ben Ali regime. The effects of the situation in Syria, Libya and Egypt added to an unfavorable polarization. Some sections of the people want to hold on to what exists today without ceding further ground to the Islamic fundamentalists. They are hunkering down in hope that the democratic process will keep the Islamists out of power and think they can ignore the intensification of contradictions and gathering storms like those occurring in Syria and Libya (with whom Tunisia has a long border—being ripped apart by reactionary war). Others from the small business class tend to complain about disorder, security problems and economic hardships in the wake of Ben Ali’s overthrow. For the youth of the countryside and lower classes in the cities nothing has changed since 26-year-old Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in December 2010, igniting the Tunisian revolt. Since then thousands of youth from Tunisia have gone to Syria and elsewhere to join Islamic jihadists.

While the high tide of radical sentiments has ebbed, a considerable number of people, especially youth and women, but also a small important section of older activists are determined to find a way out of this situation. They long to understand what happened to the “revolution” and refuse to come to terms with the existing order.

The new members in our group were pleasantly surprised to see some Tunisian youth and others eagerly help us with various aspects of printing, logistics and translation. They had met us in 2013 and introduced us to their friends as comrades from the RCMG. When we learned of their disillusionment with previous political affiliations and the situation in Tunisia and that they were studying Marxist political theory, our discussions with them invariably veered into how the new synthesis is a more scientifically grounded theory of revolution and communism. We argued that study of revolutionary theory should proceed from Bob Avakian’s theoretical contributions, analytical method and deep summation of the first wave of revolutions. This was just the beginning of an eventful week.

Despite heavy downpours and occasional strong winds, our literature table became a hub of political discussion and debate, as it had been two years ago. There was an extensive outlay of revolutionary communist literature in English, French and Arabic projecting revolutionary optimism and a liberating vision of socialism. In addition to leaflets and pamphlets focusing on Islamic fundamentalism and the woman question from the CPI(MLM), and RCMG leaflets, there were DVDs of Bob Avakian’s speeches and books by him (BAsics, Away With All Gods), the Constitution of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, the Constitution For The New Socialist Republic In North America (Draft Proposal), Demarcations journal articles and Revolution newspaper supplements devoted to themes on the environment, “Set the Record Straight on Communism” and the struggle of African-Americans in the U.S. Large banners hung high behind the table. One from the RCMG read (in French), “Humanity Needs Revolution, Long Live the New Synthesis of Bob Avakian.” Next to it was, “There Is a War Against Women... Revolution Is the Only Solution, Forward to a New Wave of Communist Revolution,” signed by the CPI-(MLM). Palm cards with the website were given out along with the leaflets. Hundreds of copies in Arabic of Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage, A Manifesto from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA and the Demarcations article “Egypt, Tunisia and the Arab Revolts: How They Came to an Impasse and How to Get Out of It” went out. Our table was definitely one of the preferred sites for “‘selfies” with the banners as a backdrop.

Invitations to address workshops

Some comrades were busy providing material and answering questions at the table while others were engaged in controversial group debates that continued throughout each day. Remembering our table and our banners from two years ago, people from Tunisia and other countries were happy to see us again and enthusiastically pursued the ideological and political struggle, including some from the southern part of the country, 500 hundred kilometers away. They invited us to speak out at workshops where they considered our line needed to engage the topic being addressed.

For example, at one workshop the main speaker was putting forward a familiarly tired reformist recipe that the initial revolution in Tunisia failed so people needed to go into the social movements and trade unions. There was no mention of the dynamic behind the threat of Islamic fundamentalism, the need to defeat U.S. imperialism or the need to go for world revolution. The invited revolutionary comrade who intervened paraphrased a well-known quote from Malcolm X, saying “I came here to say things you might not want to, but need to hear.” He continued that communists should not bury themselves in the existing social and political movements. Resistance against the regime must be part of building for revolution, and draw strength and confidence from the material basis of internationalism.

At the literature table, a number of Iranian women comrades were engaging actively in heated discussions around the role of religion and Islamic fundamentalism. They were an effective force calling for all-the-way revolution and the crucial and integral role of the emancipation of women in this struggle. Young activists from Tunisia paid close attention to their experience and the bloody history of repression by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Debate and discussion and intense line struggle in the international movement and the impasse of the Arab Spring provided additional reasons this year to check out Avakian’s new synthesis. Some questions were new, freshly stemming from contending evaluations that were circulating about the new synthesis spread by some of those calling themselves Maoists in Tunisia.

In the pouring rain, WSF organizers led the opening march to the front gates of the Bardo museum as a symbolic protest against Islamic fundamentalism but failed to really distinguish themselves from the political message of the government’s call for national unity. The government’s show of specialized security forces at this march represented a certain paradox that was in the air—whether these forces of repression were deployed actually to protect or to intimidate the protesters.

Many issues but only one solution—revolution

Our group planned several workshops as part of the official WSF program. One of these focused on the theme “Kobane and the broader situation in the Middle East.” The Kurdish town of Kobane concentrates the contradictions of the whole region wreaking havoc in the Middle East. On the one hand, the workings of the capitalist imperialist system undermine and break apart current borders and social structures. On the other hand, among the forces of opposition and resistance (with the exception of Islamic fundamentalist reactionary forces), there is a prevalent acceptance of the existing oppressive system and the idea that nothing can be achieved without or beyond democracy, promoted by the guardians of the system.

In a lively discussion, deadly illusions and cynical realpolitik were brought to light and the idea that it is impossible to fight off Islamic fundamentalism without relying on the help of the U.S. and its allies was criticized, along with the claim that there is no need to fight U.S. imperialism because fighting ISIS, considered a puppet of the U.S., amounts to fighting the U.S. itself. A widespread view falsely considers ISIS to be a deliberate conspiracy created as a direct tool of U.S. policy. A back and forth discussion took place with some progressive radical minded individuals from Europe over what is called by some a non-state “radical grass roots democracy” experiment in Kobane, and how these self-deceptions are dependent on the existing order and reactionary states.

A fatal flaw and tragic consequence of this logic is that if you rely on the U.S. to fight Islamic fundamentalism you will only get more Islamic fundamentalism, and moreover, you will be used and betrayed by the U.S. one more time.

This discussion on Kobane revealed an acute particular manifestation of the current ideological polarization in the region and beyond, the capture and enlisting of political forces by one or the other of the two equally reactionary poles, U.S. imperialism with its accompaniment of bourgeois democracy, or the Islamic fundamentalists. Without a communist approach, the revolutionary potential among the masses is squandered, while the erstwhile rebellious insurgent forces seek accommodation with the existing oppressive system.

Our team pursued debate around these questions in other workshops. In one entitled “Solidarity with the Syrian people”, we pointed out that opposition to imperialism and reactionary regimes was being left to the reactionary Islamists.

Another workshop, entitled “From Ferguson to Palestine: We Can’t Breathe,broadened out the discussion from another angle. This slogan, popularized in Palestine at the time of the Ferguson rebellion, expressed a felt bond between those demanding justice in Ferguson, Missouri and elsewhere in the U.S., and the victims and opponents of the U.S. and other Western powers in Asia, Latin America, Africa and especially, occupied Palestine. Our speaker put forth that the same system of capitalist exploitation oppresses Black people in America and Palestinians. It’s one system, with one solution. Capitalism in the U.S. (and Europe) arose with slavery, and without understanding that, we can’t understand mass incarceration and other forms of brutality inflicted on Black people today. This same system has pillaged and plundered the Middle East and North Africa, now being ripped apart by a reactionary polarization between imperialists, the main enemy, and Islamic fundamentalism. Everywhere there is a crying need for a liberating alternative that targets both and strives to end the divisions and inequalities that exist.

An international human rights lawyer on the panel expressed both broad agreement with the presentation and reservations. She felt that the new synthesis’ analysis of the two outmodeds may alienate some people who adhere to the religion of Islam if they falsely perceive we are making the dividing line to be between religion and secularism. This view tends to downplay the deep influence that religion has on many people, often holding them back from transforming themselves and fully participating in the revolutionary struggle, people who will be and need to be the bedrock of this struggle. The fight against injustice and oppression can and must include large numbers of believers while struggling to transform their limited and even sometimes obscurantist views and thinking. Only with a more scientific view of the world will people be able to fully fight for the emancipation of humanity, including building a new socialist society. Another speaker from the panel argued in favor of Franz Fanon’s anti-colonialist analysis and how genuine democracy can still be relevant today if it were actually rendered to mean genuine independence from imperialist domination for the oppressed nations.

The discussion became sharp around whether the communist revolution is the solution to capitalism and imperialism worldwide. An Occupy activist from Britain asked whether we were proposing “to kill millions like Mao and Stalin”. These prejudices about the first wave of communist revolution, heavily influenced by the propaganda of the guardians and ideologues of the system, were sharply rebuked by a woman from Iran. After denouncing the horrendous crimes and brutal enslavement brought upon humanity by the system, she wholeheartedly called for getting rid of this system through communist revolution. Her comments received a hearty round of applause from the majority of the audience.

Considerable summation has been made by Bob Avakian of the first wave of proletarian revolution relating to this point. In opposition to the seemingly endless distortions and slanders spewed forth against socialism and communism, the conclusion must be clear that the historical experience of socialism in the Soviet Union (and more so in China) was positive, even with significant secondary shortcomings and errors, including in how these societies handled opposition and dissent, that must be unsparingly criticized. Only through this approach and method can a better, more liberatory vision for a future socialism come about.

With the orientation of “a Marxist-feminist theorization as a dialectical understanding of exploitation and oppression which constitute a regime of social relations often conceptualized as capitalist patriarchy,” some Iranian comrades held joint panels and workshops on the woman question with other organizations and trends.

One of these workshops discussed the experiences of Muslim women under Ben Ali’s state repression of Islam and women’s experiences in Iran during different periods, particularly under the vicious suppression of women inside and outside the dungeons of the Islamic Republic. The brutality faced by Kurdish women in the dungeons of the Turkish state was discussed, bringing out the sinister reach of patriarchy through the state and its prison system. This was documented in different ways through film and dance. Women wrangled over the pervasiveness of violence in state institutions and questioned how to mobilize and reconstruct the experience of women as a form of resistance. One Iranian comrade asked how all this resistance would be tied in with the struggle for revolution.

The RCMG leaflet on the environmental crisis, “Capitalism is destroying the environment and can never cure the problem: What is it going to take?” raised critical points about the human exploitation and destruction of lives and livelihoods connected to the massive wreckage of the environment underway in many forms today. It showed why capitalism and its political representatives cannot and will not offer any real or lasting solution to the threat to the world’s ecosystems, climate destabilization and the resulting impact on life on earth. The leaflet gave a sense of the possibilities of conceiving the protection of the physical environment within the perspective of a revolutionary society and power, repairing the damage to the earth and consciously mobilizing human activity and scientific understanding.

Our team debated with many people harboring ideas that developing local alternative energy sources was the only practical way to oppose corporate control, and why the system itself is the problem. At the same time we were also clear that we had in no way exhausted the opportunities to raise the stakes at the WSF over the struggle around the environment, which tended to be much too confined to agendas that avoid holding the capitalist social order responsible for much of the crisis and mobilizing people on that basis. Further discussion pointed to the importance of intervening in activities around the upcoming United Nations summit on climate change (COP21) to be held in Paris in December 2015 with participation of 196 countries.

The sovereign debt crisis in Europe, especially concerning Greece, where the so-called radical left Syriza government came to power in January 2015, drew many leftists enthusiastic about the example of Syriza as a possible solution to the debt crisis and model for other European countries. In the workshop entitled Syriza, Podemos... restructuration or annulation of the illegitimate debt?, there was struggle between reformist illusions, centering on Syriza’s anti-austerity platform and the need for disengaging with imperialism. The RCMG leaflet argued that the situation in Greece was one of “concentration of the global contradiction between the severe imbalances built up between the financial system—and its expectations of future profits—and the accumulation of capital, that is, the structures and actual production of profit based on exploitation of wage-labor. Questions that require serious answers are posed by this situation. How can capitalism in Greece unzip itself from the global, competition-driven profit system—which is not Syriza’s intention anyway? How could radical change in Greece—or anywhere else, for that matter—take place except as part of a country by country but ultimately worldwide revolution whose ultimate aim is the abolition of all exploitation and all the oppressive relations of class society?”

An Iranian comrade intervened from the floor provoking a debate and drawing applause when she pointed out that the illusions the workshop speakers were so desperate to preserve, are built upon the bones, the broken backs and the stolen wealth of the rest of humanity. She asked why should activists spend so much time discussing how to repair this now malfunctioning machine? Why should they spend such energy wrangling over how to divide the loot of imperial pillage? Why would they contribute to helping this system of murderous injustice to recover and regain its smooth, efficient functioning, to the despair of all humanity?

Step forward to take up revolutionary responsibilities

For the interested people we met, our team held extended evening discussions about the new synthesis. Presentations focused on identifying the problem and the solution—why the masses’ yearning for liberation will not be realized without the most advanced scientific understanding of communist revolution. We aimed to help these revolutionary youth from various political trends in Algeria and Tunisia to have a real sense of how the new synthesis provides the required method and approach to understand and have a strategic grasp of the revolutionary process, to prepare and carry out revolution. We tried to impress on people why the new synthesis is crucial in today’s world to conceptualize and carry out revolutionary work. The question was posed whether one ultimately makes peace with the existing order as happened in Tunisia in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, something those attending were acutely aware of, or whether one steps forward to develop vanguards of the future and prepare the next stage of communist revolution.

Other features of the new synthesis also presented included internationalism, revolutionary strategy, the underlying revolutionary opportunities in the region and how crucial it is for potential revolutionary forces to wield the new synthesis. This was followed by discussion of particular issues of the political process unfolding in Tunisia, and how to view the role of elections and bourgeois democratic procedures.

At the end of the week, the WSF organized a closing march in solidarity with Palestine that ended where Yasser Arafat lived while in exile in Tunisia. Several thousand people marched, many fewer than two years ago. The low attendance was due partly to the confusion around the issue of national unity against Islamic fundamentalism. The government sponsored a march to the Bardo museum the following day, with heads of state of a few African countries and president François Hollande of France, which continues to preside over neo-colonial relations with Tunisia.

For the closing WSF march another banner was made to sharply delineate our position of not yielding any ground whatsoever to either of these two outmoded reactionary forces with the slogan: “Caught between the deadly, dead-end alternatives of imperialism and religious fundamentalism, Only revolution can liberate us.” Again people wanted their photos taken with our banner in the background. Many Arabic-language copies of the Manifesto from the RCP,USA were sold and the few remaining leaflets got into the hands of some youth on the march.

Within all the complexities of the WSF situation, promoting, explaining and fighting for people to engage with the new synthesis was particularly crucial, even in an immediate sense of being able to bring out to people that the only way out is revolution guided by this approach to communism, the world’s most advanced revolutionary thinking. Our contingent had a lot of rich experience and was enthusiastic about the work done. They felt that their experience brought out the truth of the statement by Bob Avakian, “It is very important not to underestimate the significance and potential positive force of this new synthesis.” We all were learning, and are now continuing to seriously engage with at a new level, how to do this work better, how to reach out boldly and broadly, and how to make people’s introduction to the new synthesis a real enabling leap to consciously step forward and take up revolutionary responsibility.




Revolution #385 May 4, 2015

May First in Houston: "Thank You for Introducing Me to BA"

May 4, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Houston, May 1.
Houston, May 1. Photo: Special to

From readers:

On May First, we took out a sound truck through a neighborhood and a university campus in Houston. High school students came by to stop and look at the Stolen Lives banner on the truck. Some of them said that they couldn’t look at the faces because it hurts too much and they think that there is nothing we can do about it. Other students took copies of Revolution newspaper because they wanted to learn about how things can change through revolution.

A guy driving by pulled over and said, “You’re the ones with BA, thank you for introducing me to BA.” He said that he had seen a poster on a pole and went to, and that he has been watching video clips and now he is so happy that he found a way to get involved. Other people stopped to get Revolution, Dialogue palm cards and flyers of Carl Dix’s statement to get out to others.

At a housing project, a couple of women came out and asked, are we going to march? One of them started chanting, “Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution.” People talked about how they have been following what’s going on in Baltimore. One woman, speaking of the indictments, said she knows that nothing ever changes if people don’t stand up and fight for justice. Others said they are very aware that just because they’re indicted doesn’t mean they’ll go to jail. “They always try to keep us quiet and to wait for the system to work, but it doesn’t.”

At the university, a woman said she has been following all the murders by police and been thinking that things have been set up this way from the beginning. She said she thinks the police need more training. But she was excited to learn about the Dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West and Ardea Skybreak’s description of the event.

Later that evening, we took Revolution to a rally in support of the people of Baltimore. About 80 people – activists, people from the neighborhood, and students came out. A couple of young women held up the enlarged Stolen Lives banner as people spoke. Many other people – maybe a third of them – held up this and other posters from The Stolen Lives banner became a focal point and reference point for people who spoke. Many of the speakers referred to the faces on the banner, including Janet Baker, who said her son Jordan's picture is on the banner, and challenged people to stop murder by police.

Many of the people by then knew about the charges filed against the pigs in Baltimore. The overall response was that they know the indictments were brought only because the people stood up. But the question of how to advance was hotly debated. As people got up to the mic, a public debate erupted – a revolutionary read the statement, “On the Indictments of the Pigs who Murdered Freddie Gray.” Other people got up to talk about voting or organizing for reforms like body cams, while others expressed their rage at the systematic brutality of the system. Some people argued for community self-defense and fuck the police. One young woman said that today, you can’t be neutral, you have to take a side.

A Black man who brought his kids so that they can see what protests are about said that all the indictments in Baltimore show is that now is the time to take this fight further, and until it stops, we cannot back down. Several people made the point that they don’t expect the government to reform itself and at the same time, they didn’t see how just anger would change things. One woman said that we need to have something to go for, to actually change things. Many people got copies of Revolution, and a good number of them took Dialogue palm cards to get out and said they are going to watch the Dialogue online.

An older Black man explained what he has been thinking: When it’s just one person, or two people, he figured that maybe they did something wrong, but not like this, with hundreds of people being killed by the police, it’s systematic. He said “I believe that we all need to come together as a whole and fight this system. It’s a system, that’s all it is. The system is corrupt. I’m one that wants a better world, for my grandkids’ sake. They’re our future, and right now, it’s a very grim future.”

A weekend full of activity and potential for advancing the movement for revolution lies ahead. On Saturday, May 2, another protest in support of the people of Baltimore and demanding Justice for Freddie Gray is happening, and a bus with at least one revolutionary aboard headed out early this morning to Dilley, Texas, to protest the immigrant detention center there. On Sunday, an internationalist May Day dinner is being held here in Houston.





Revolution #385 May 4, 2015

The many faces of terrorism

May 4, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Editors’ Note:
The following leaflet by the Communist Party of Iran (MLM) was distributed as part of overall efforts to promote a revolutionary communist perspective and fight for Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism during the recent World Social Forum held in Tunisia.


The terrorist attacks attributed to the “Islamic State” at the National Bardo Museum in Tunisia that resulted in killing many foreign tourists on Wednesday March 18 has disturbed the people of Tunisia (and the world over). This once again has put the spotlight on “terrorism” in the minds of the people of the world. The imperialist media and particularly the French media (France has dominated Tunisia for many years and is today’s guardian of the ruling class there) have unleashed a political and ideological campaign primarily to drive the angry and confused Tunisian masses under their own wing. These imperialists are trying to take ultimate advantage of a situation that has been created by the action of reactionary and criminal Islamist forces: to manipulate the people of the world to accept the ultimate lie that either people have to choose between the reactionary, outmoded and ignorant sword of Islamist rule or seek refuge under the flag of capital, military and security forces of imperialism. At the same time, these imperialist forces are trying to establish another point, which is to portray the current Tunisian state as a great “Alternative” in the revolting and unstable sea of Arabic-speaking countries of North Africa and the Middle East. And whomever does not align with them is being labeled as a justifier or pro-terrorism.

In this situation, a significant portion of the opposition forces (whether liberal or radical), grassroots organizations or trade unions, progressive and secular intellectuals and artists who, at the blossoming of “the Arab Spring” had reconciled with the concept of “Revolution” and were saying it without any fear or hesitation now are being pulled towards the official institutions of “formal democracy” and the established order with its security. Thus, the real nature of the exploitative and oppressive forces governing the destiny of the people is hidden (and forgotten) under the dust created by the recent crimes of reactionary Islamist forces.

Do not fool yourself! See the realities of the world as they really are! Crimes and assassinations, inequality and injustice, dislocations and instability, crisis and divisions and anti-Communist, anti-revolution brainwashing, while they spread and strengthen ignorance and superstitions through their media are all rooted in and caused by the fundamental contradictions of the capitalist-imperialist world. The real contention and confrontation between the Islamist Jihadists and Western (imperialist) powers and non-religious regimes of the region is based on the sharpening of these contradictions and deepening economic, political and ideological crisis.

We must look at reality the way it is.

The collusion and contradictions between the imperialist and reactionary powers on the world scale find their reflection in the objectives and actions of the different branches of Islamist fundamentalists. You can trace the money, weapons, media and plans of reactionary anti-people states such as the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Gulf kingdoms and the Western and Eastern imperialist citadels in the movements of these fundamentalists.

Names such as the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Daesh (ISIS), Boko Haram, Al Shabab, or other unknown criminal Iraqi Shiite or new Nazi groups or armed criminal Christian groups or other fundamentalist forces are the nuts and bolts of the machinery of world capital and profit. The illusions and thinking of their soldiers or what social grouping they are part of is not the key. They are assisting the international bourgeoisie in this crisis ridden situation. Their existence and their activities are the justification for the vicious political, social suppression, and the savage attack of capital on the livelihood of the proletarians and other masses of different countries....

Terrorism has many faces.... Terrorism is not just shockingly killing tourists in the halls of a museum. It is not just killing the editorial staff of a magazine.... Constructing Guantánamo or torturing in Abu-Ghraib is also terrorizing and horrifying people of the world. The bombing of villages in Afghanistan and Pakistan by US drones is also bullying and terrorizing. The Israeli siege of Gaza and starving the Palestinian people is Terror. The austerity measures imposed on masses of people of different countries that have resulted in unemployment, homelessness, hunger and more is terrorism. Production and reproduction of the pornography “industry” and the maddening encouragement of male domination of women is terrorizing women, body and soul....

The obstacle and the problem facing humanity is the whole system of capitalist-imperialist (and reactionary) forces. What drains the potential of the masses of people and their initiative, desire and their creativity to bring about a totally new and different world without exploitative relations, a world without class, gender, national and religious oppression amongst people of all countries (of the world), a world without unemployment and poverty, ignorance and superstition... is again the whole system of capitalist and imperialist forces that these outmodeds represent and serve. The living expression of these outmodeds (rotten or decayed) in today’s world are the two camps of the imperialists and religious fundamentalists. The political, ideological and military conflicts and rivalries between these two camps, as well as their collaboration and reconciliation, are totally against the interests of the oppressed masses of people, workers and proletarians of the world. No illusion, nor gravitation, nor surrendering to this or the other camp! The only way to emancipate humanity is the Communist revolution!

Communist Party of Iran (MLM)

March 20 2015





Revolution #385 May 4, 2015

Earthquake in Nepal: A Country Already Shaken by Impoverishment

by Li Onesto | May 4, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


It has now been over a week since a powerful earthquake hit Nepal on April 25. At 11:56 am the ground violently shook and shifted, and within minutes in the capital of Kathmandu, a densely populated city of 1.2 million people, buildings were reduced to rubble. In the rural areas, where most of the people live, whole villages were flattened. An estimated eight million people were affected by the quake in 39 of Nepal’s 75 districts.

Fighting to save survivors of the Nepal Earthquake 4/29/15 Photo: UN
Fighting to save survivors of the Nepal Earthquake, April 29. Photo: UN

As of May 3 news sources in Nepal were reporting the death toll at over 7,000 people and the number of injured at over 14,000—numbers that will continue to climb as rescue teams reach more villages in remote areas. (

Roads in much of Nepal’s countryside are bad to begin with, some only accessible by foot. Now even some of these are blocked by landslides, making it impossible to get to some villages. Relief supplies can only be gotten to many areas by airlift.

Beginning news reports beamed around the world were mainly from Kathmandu—showing desperate rescue efforts in buildings that had become tombs for many bodies, with very few survivors trapped underneath the rubble. Tens of thousands were sleeping in the streets, terrified of staying in remaining buildings because of continuing aftershocks. Then in the week after the earthquake, reports from areas outside Kathmandu made clear the horrifying dimensions of the destruction in the country as a whole.

More than 80 percent of Nepal’s over 29 million people live in the countryside and, according to the United Nations, as many as 600,000 houses have been destroyed in 13 districts. Some 4.2 million people are now in urgent need of water, sanitation, and hygiene support, and 3.5 million people need food assistance.

The Red Cross reported that in Sindhupalchok, northeast of Kathmandu, 1,400 people have died and that about 40,000 homes, about 90 percent of the houses, were destroyed. The hospital had collapsed and 3,000 people were still unaccounted for. (

Vim Tamang, a resident of Manglung near the epicenter, said, “Our village has been almost wiped out. Most of our houses are either buried by landslide or damaged by shaking.” Tamang said that half the village’s population was missing or dead and that “all the villagers have gathered in the open area. We don’t know what to do.” (Guardian, April 25, 2015) In Saurpani, only five hours by car from Kathmandu, there were reports that almost all of the 1,300 houses had collapsed, that people had no food or water, and that survivors had to sleep in the open with bodies still scattered about. (New York Times, April 27, 2015)

The epicenter of the earthquake was about 50 miles west of Kathmandu, in the Gorkha district. Rebecca McAteer, a doctor from the U.S. who went to this district, said that 90 percent of the houses were “just flattened,” and that in addition to losing their houses people also lost their livestock and food. ( Pokhara, one of Nepal’s major cities with a population of about 250,000 people, about 50 miles farther west of the epicenter, was also hard hit. In a nearby area, in a village of about 2,000 people, it was reported that almost every one of the 1,100 homes was decimated. (, April 27, 2015)

The situation for the survivors of the quake has become increasingly dangerous. There is lack of safe drinking water and the threat of disease and epidemic, including cholera.

In many districts, the people had just recently harvested winter grains, which got buried by the earthquake. Now the farmers will have to wait until December to harvest the rainy season’s crops, but meanwhile there will be no food for people to eat. Seed stock was destroyed for the mid-May sowing season, so farmers may not even be able to plant another crop; and if they miss this month’s planting season they won’t be able to harvest rice, Nepal’s staple food, until late 2016. There is a real threat of famine and starvation in this already very poor and malnourished country.

Volatile Social Situation

Survivors of the Nepal earthquake clash with riot police in Nepal's capitol city, Kathmandu.
Survivors of the Nepal earthquake clash with riot police in Nepal's capitol city, Kathmandu. 

People are desperate and they are also mad, saying the government has been slow to respond. On Wednesday, April 26, there were people clashing with riot police in Kathmandu. There were reports that about 200 people blocked traffic in Kathmandu to protest the slow pace of aid delivery. ( There was also a confrontation between the police and hundreds of people who were waiting in lines, trying to get buses leaving Kathmandu. ( After the government announced that it would provide free buses to the rural areas, thousands of people began gathering from before dawn outside the main bus station. Some wanted to check on the fate of family and loved ones in the countryside; others wanted to get out of Kathmandu, fearful of more aftershocks in the city. But when the buses failed to show up, people got mad and there were some clashes with the police. The media also reported that in Kathmandu, the Prime Minister, Sushil Koirala, was confronted by survivors desperate for relief deliveries when he visited a hospital. (, April 29, 2015)

There have also been reports of acts of protests in other areas. In the district of Dolakha, there was a report that people smashed windows and broke into government offices to demand relief supplies. ( In the village of Sangachowk, angry villagers blocked the main road with tires and stopped trucks of rice and other aid headed for other areas. The villagers also reportedly blocked a convoy of army trucks loaded with relief supplies, leading to a tense standoff with armed soldiers. (, April 30, 2015)

The Disaster of Domination and Impoverishment

Nepal is ranked 11th in terms of countries at risk of vulnerability to earthquakes. And out of 21 cities around the world that are in similar earthquake/hazardous zones, Kathmandu is rated the worst in terms of the impact an earthquake would have on the people who live there.

Speaking to the relationship between these two things, seismologist James Jackson, head of the Earth Sciences Department at the University of Cambridge in England, made a very important point: While the trigger of the disaster is natural—an earthquake—“the consequences are very much man-made.”

Internationalism—The Whole World Comes First!

From BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian, a book that draws from more than 30 years of work by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA.BAsics addresses a wide range of questions on revolution and human emancipation and is a handbook for a new wave of revolutionaries.

Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, and has long been oppressed—subordinate to, dependent on, and dominated by India and imperialist countries like the U.S. The vast majority of people in Nepal are peasants in the countryside, desperately poor, malnourished, and exploited by corrupt officials, landlords, and moneylenders. Nepal has a caste system—a rigidly structured social order in which different social groupings are ranked, and lower castes and oppressed ethnic groups face systematic discrimination. In the world imperialist system, Nepal also functions in part as a source of cheap migrant labor, especially in India and countries in the Middle East.

In the rural areas, where most people live, there is little or no access to health care, education, safe drinking water, sanitation, or other basic services. Women are intensely suppressed and treated as inferior in every facet of society. The difficulties of survival force many men to go work in construction in Qatar and Dubai in the Persian Gulf. Women often become victims of sexual slavery in India.

In the overcrowded cities there is a lack of modern infrastructure—water and sewage systems, electrical power, transportation, and communication. Over the past decade, migration of people from the rural areas to the cities has exerted pressure on the cities’ already underdeveloped infrastructure and services. The urban poor face homelessness, lack of clean drinking water, and poor sanitation. In Nepal, there are about four million squatters living in cities and towns—50,000 in Kathmandu living in settlements in unhygienic and unsanitary areas. (

Nepal, with such underdevelopment, is poorly equipped to deal with such an earthquake emergency. Even in “normal” times, there is unreliable electricity, with routine blackouts. The over 6,000 buildings that go up every few years in Kathmandu are poorly built and many times don’t adhere to regulations. The government spends little on addressing the tremendous conditions of poverty, let alone providing funds to prepare for earthquakes and other natural disasters. Nepal is economically dominated by India and nearly all the country’s gas and diesel supplies are brought in from India. With roads blocked due to the earthquake, this means that supplies will quickly run dry.

Only one week before the earthquake hit Nepal on April 25, experts met there to prepare for what they saw as a “nightmare waiting to happen.” They feared the worst, not just because of the fact that Nepal lies on a seismic fault, but also because of the human conditions that make such an event so much worse.

Seismologist David Wald points out that the same-size earthquake can have very different effects in different places because of building construction and population. For example, in California, the same level of severe shaking would cause 10 to 30 people to die per million. But in Nepal this would be 1,000 or maybe more, and up to 10,000 in parts of Pakistan, India, Iran, and China. (

There was little that could be done to stop the earthquake that hit Nepal. But the fact that there is such tremendous death, destruction, and suffering as a result of this natural disaster IS something due to human/societal factors—namely the system of capitalism-imperialism that subjects countries like Nepal to such impoverishment.







Revolution #385 May 4, 2015

Conference Organizers Refuse to Buckle to Demands for Censorship:
Cornel West to Speak at UCLA

May 2, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


On May 3, Cornel West will be giving a keynote address at a conference at UCLA, Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: A Conference in Honor of Abraham Joshua Heschel. Heschel was an important Jewish theologian and civil rights and antiwar activist who was close with Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. West has written and spoken about Heschel’s contributions for decades. In response to the invitation to Dr. West, a range of reactionary forces are calling for Dr. West’s keynote speech to be cancelled and for him to be disinvited from the conference because he has spoken out unapologetically against the genocidal crimes of Israel towards Palestine. They distorted his comments and conflated just and accurate criticism of Israel with being anti-Semitic (being biased against Jewish people). This is completely false and is aimed at making righteous and vocal criticisms of Israel a no-go on campuses and throughout society. This also dovetails with the recent hit piece and character assassination aimed at Dr. West in The New Republic magazine.

In this context, it is very important that conference organizers refused to back down from having Dr. West speak. Todd Presner, the Director of the Center for Jewish Studies, a co-sponsor of the event explained publicly why Dr. West was invited and why that invitation will not be rescinded. Also, in response, a number of others came out in vocal support. Following are statements from the artist, Shepard Fairey and Dr. Scott Bartchy (Co-founder & Director Emeritus, Center for the Study of Religion at UCLA). The UCLA Professor Robin D.G. Kelley also tweeted in support of “Todd Presner’s principled stance.”

Cornel West has been one of the most principled and outspoken public voices of conscience and has been consistently vocal against empire, the murder and brutality facing Black and Brown youth, the attacks on immigrants, LGBT people, and all the crimes of this system no matter who is commander in chief. When he comes under this kind of attack, slander, and character assassination, it is crucial that we have his back.


Cornel West facing attacks on free speech:

“Cornel West has been facing attacks recently, including an attempt to block him from speaking at UCLA, because of his criticism of Israel’s policies in Palestine. I stand with Cornel West. I support his right to call out human rights violations and injustice by the Israeli military in Palestine, just as I support anyone’s right to call out injustice on the part of militant groups or the U.S. government. Injustice is injustice, no matter how it is packaged and I admire Cornel West’s courage to pursue justice regardless of the backlash he will endure. I have spent time with Dr. West and even in more candid moments he is outspoken in his quest to shield the powerless from the transgressions of the powerful. His compassion is not biased based on religion, culture or race, which may be the reason those who are usually shielded from criticism take offense at his commentary. We live in a society that claims to protect and value free speech and rigorous discourse. Let’s encourage, not punish, the voices who have the courage to stand up for an idea that may be unwelcome by some... progress has always been catalyzed by such voices.”

―Shepard [Fairey]


“I write in strong support of the decisions made at various administrative levels, especially that of Prof. Todd Presner, Director of the Center of Jewish Students, to continue to include Prof. Cornel West on the program to honor Abraham Heschel this weekend, despite the calls to do otherwise. While the feelings of those who oppose Prof. West’s speaking at UCLA can be understood, their intellectual arguments do not meet the criteria established by the meaning of 'free speech' as defined by the First Amendment to the Constitution as well as by traditional understandings of 'academic freedom.'

"Prof. West is a highly respected scholar and courageously outspoken advocate of social justice in the USA and throughout the world. He has certainly earned the invitation he received to speak in an event to honor Abraham Heschel, one of West’s own intellectual and spiritual leaders."

―S. Scott Bartchy, PhD [Harvard]
Emeritus Professor of Christian Origins & History of Religion
Department of History, UCLA
Co-founder & Director Emeritus, Center for the Study of Religion at UCLA
Former VP of the UCLA Chapter of the AAUP





Revolution #385 May 4, 2015

Cold, Calculated Murder in the Mediterranean

April 27, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


On the night of April 18, a ship packed with desperate migrants sank in the deep cold waters of the Mediterranean Sea off the shore of Libya. While the total number of people on board will never be known, estimates range from 750 to 950 people. Only 28 survived.

Press accounts focused on the horrific conditions on the boat itself. Survivors reported that hundreds of people were locked in the hold of the ship. European leaders—including the rulers of Italy, who have cut back on what were already minimalist rescue missions—issued the shallowest of statements of regret while blaming the smugglers who run the boats and proposing increasingly militarized moves against migrants.

Bob Avakian, "Why do people come here from all over the world?"

Lost in the hypocrisy and finger-pointing was the essential reality that the hundreds of deaths were a direct and immediate result of Italy and other European powers cutting back on the rescue operations they maintain in the Mediterranean Sea in order to send a deadly message to those driven to desperate, dangerous attempts to cross the sea to their shores: Don’t expect to be rescued.

Beyond that, what is obscured in how this is all being portrayed in ruling class media is that the hundreds of thousands of desperate refugees attempting to get into Europe from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East by land or by sea are driven on their perilous journeys by the workings of a system that has brought grotesque inequality and endless unjust wars to the world.

A Cold Calculation: Drown the Refugees

Last year, more than 3,000 migrants died in attempts to cross the Mediterranean Sea, which separates North Africa from southern Europe. But instead of taking steps to save lives, Italy radically cut back on its “Mare Nostrum” (“Our Sea”) mission that provided an already abysmal level of search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean.

Everyone knew this would lead to more deaths. Tineke Strik, rapporteur for the human rights body of the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe, quoted Frontex, the EU border force: “‘I would expect many more sea deaths the moment that Mare Nostrum is withdrawn.’” Michael Diedring, the secretary-general of the European Council for Refugees, said the result of the shutdown of Mare Nostrum would be “multiples of the 3,000 that have already perished.” (Guardian, October 31, 2014)

Nor did the other powers of the European Union step in to rescue refugees drowning in the Mediterranean. The cold calculations of the British government were spelled out by a Foreign Office minister who said: “We do not support planned search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean,” because that might serve as “an unintended ‘pull factor.’” (Guardian, October 27, 2014)

A columnist in the British newspaper The Telegraph wrote with angry irony: “Every year, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children seeking sanctuary from the chaos and carnage of places like Syria and Libya wash up in their ramshackle craft on the Mediterranean coastline. The countries that constitute their destination—Italy, Greece, Spain—have found themselves on the front line of a mini-humanitarian crisis. But our politicians have now found the answer. And it’s a bold one. We’re going to take those refugees, and we’re going to drown them.” (October 28, 2014)

And so far, more than 1,700 migrants perished in the Mediterranean since the start of this year—more than 30 times higher than during the same period of 2014, according to the International Organization for Migration.

Persecuted in Europe

The journey to Europe for refugees is treacherous. But even for those who make it to Europe alive, the situation is another dimension of the human rights catastrophe. Even a beginning exposure of that hell is beyond the scope of this article, but in Greece, tens of thousands of refugees are treated as scapegoats for economic crisis and massive unemployment, and are subjected to unconstrained violence by police and closely connected fascist movements.

Refugees picked up in the Mediterranean often end up in dehumanizing and brutal concentration camps. In December 2013, an exposé that revealed naked African asylum seekers being hosed down with disinfectant in freezing conditions on the Italian island of Lampedusa was characterized by the local mayor as being reminiscent of a Nazi concentration camp. (See “Italy’s ‘appalling’ treatment of migrants revealed in Lampedusa footage,” The Telegraph,December 18, 2013.)

Driven by a System of Inequality and Brutality

Regardless of the factors driving the wave of refugees to Europe, the response of the European powers would be inhuman and obscene. But adding another layer of outrage is the fact that overwhelmingly those driven to Europe are direct victims of imperialist policies and wars.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte insisted with fascist arrogance that Europe should not take the brunt of blame for deaths in the Mediterranean: “We also ask that Africa, the source of the problem, also collectively takes up its responsibility,” Rutte said. “Last time I checked Libya was in Africa, not Europe.”

But that distinction has never been honored by the European powers when they invaded and plundered Africa and literally enslaved millions and millions of people.

To take just one example: From the end of the 19th century through the turn of the 20th century, King Leopold II of Belgium ran the Congo as his private property, amassing an enormous fortune by turning most adult males into slaves to collect wild rubber and ivory from the jungle. Leopold’s army forced hundreds of thousands of slaves to work in killing conditions where many died from exhaustion. Slave uprisings were put down with extreme bloodthirstiness. The Belgians worked thousands to death in gold mines. It has been estimated that about 10 million people out of a population of 20 million lost their lives under King Leopold’s barbarous rule.

And European and U.S. plunder of the world is not just history, it is present day reality and a very immediate, direct impetus for people to flee their homelands.

Libya, the transit point for many refugees, has been reduced to a country torn to shreds by regional warlords and reactionary forces backed by various regional and global oppressors since being “liberated” by massive bombing by a coalition of the U.S. and European powers—a coalition that included the U.S., France, Britain, Belgium, Norway, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, and Italy.

Apparently the fact that Libya is “in Africa not Europe” didn’t stop Western powers from bombing residences, mosques, medical facilities, TV stations, and other civilian infrastructure (war crimes) in a move to install a more compliant pro-Western-imperialist regime. The move backfired on the West in many ways, but it produced a nightmare of sectarian bloodshed and societal breakdown for the Libyan people.

The biggest source of refugees entering Europe is Syria, where a reactionary, multi-part civil war is driven by clashing oppressive global and regional powers, most decisively by the U.S. and its Western European allies. 3.8 million (out of a total prewar population of 22 million) in that ransacked and decimated country have been driven to seek refuge in hellish camps in the desert in places like Jordan and Lebanon. Those who can make it to Libya are among those dying at sea or surviving the dangerous journey to reach Europe.

Another significant source of refugees is Yemen, where for nearly a month now, the U.S.’s close ally Saudi Arabia has been pummeling the country with an air assault. According to the World Health Organization, “Health facilities are struggling to function as they face increasing shortages of life-saving medicines and vital health supplies, frequent disruptions in power supply and lack of fuel for generators. Lack of fuel has also disrupted functionality of ambulances and the delivery of health supplies across the country. Power cuts and fuel shortages also threaten to disrupt the vaccine cold [storage] chain, leaving millions of children below the age of five unvaccinated. This increases the risk of communicable diseases such as measles, which is prevalent in Yemen, as well as polio, which has been eliminated but is now at risk of reappearing.” And a lack of safe water has resulted in increased risk of diarrhea and other diseases.

Another product of the Saudi assault has been the strengthening of Al Qaeda forces which, where they are in control, have made life unlivable for women. All of these factors are driving people to desperate attempts to reach Europe.

Go through the list of countries from which the migrants are fleeing and look up the history and current activities of the Western powers:

A Moral Question for Humanity

In the face of the humanitarian crisis, the European powers have issued only the most shallow claims of caring, along with blaming “smugglers” who—while profiting off moving their human cargo—are tiny cogs in a machinery of global oppression. And with outrage growing over the deaths of 900 migrants, EU leaders proposed a limited increase in rescue patrols. Doctors Without Borders responded: “This proposal falls short of offering adequate search and rescue means and pursue[s] the same policies that have contributed to the current situation. Focusing on keeping people out by cutting their only existing routes is only going to push people fleeing for their lives to find other routes, potentially even more dangerous. We see no real safe and legal alternatives to boat migration coming out of this meeting. Without these alternatives, declaring war on smugglers is declaring war on the very same people the Member states say their priority is to save.”

In short, the European governments are moving to violently enforce the Mediterranean as a deadly protective moat. According to European Council President Donald Tusk, the focus of EU naval actions will be “to capture and destroy the smugglers’ vessels before they can be used.” (AFP, April 4, 2015)

And European governments are moving to make life even more forbidding for those refugees who reach the shores of Italy, Greece, Spain, or other countries bordering the Third World. As noted, every European country has sections of its ruling class fostering fascist movements physically targeting immigrants. Combined with official government persecution, police brutality, and repression, Europe is sending a message to the victims of its exploitation, oppression, and wars: Get back to where you came from! And many of the countries through which immigrants pass are rounding them up and putting them in concentration camps.

There is a profound moral question posed here: Whether to be acquiescent in the violent enforcement of the gaping divisions in this brutally unequal world or whether to expose, denounce, oppose, and protest that, from the standpoint of getting to a world without any oppression, a world where humanity is not divided into relatively privileged enclaves surrounded by a world of misery and desperation.


Who Are the Refugees?

  • According to the UN, more than 207,000 people made the risky sea crossing last year, almost three times as many as the previous high of 70,000 during the Libyan civil war in 2011.
  • Of these, over 3,000 died, out of a total of 4,272 reported deaths worldwide on migrant vessels this year.
  • The numbers of those driven from their homes to seek refuge in Europe include 60,051 Syrians and 34,561 Eritreans.
  • Most set off from Libya bound for Italy and Malta, looking for work or, increasingly, asylum.
  • In December 2014, 24 Ethiopians drowned when their boat capsized in bad weather off the Yemeni port of Al-Makha, according to the International Organization for Migration. Thousands of people fleeing troubled countries in the Horn of Africa try to reach Yemen every year in the hope of making their way on to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.
  • About 540 people also died in 2014 crossing the Bay of Bengal, out of a total of 54,000 making the journey, while another 71 deaths out of 4,775 crossings were reported in the Caribbean, the UN said.
  • "It took one Somali woman seven months and 4,000 miles to trek to Libya. From there, she hoped to cross the Mediterranean Sea so her baby could be born in Europe. She didn't get there. She was arrested as she was sailing north and is now one of 350 migrants being held in a facility just outside Tripoli. Other pregnant women fleeing repression have come to Libya—many fleeing fighting that refuses to stop. They, like male migrants, are willing to risk their lives on crowded boats to make the final part of the trip. The Somali woman's baby, Sabrine, was born a week after she was detained."
  • "About 8% of the recorded migrants between January and April 19 of this year are children. Of those, 70% are not accompanied by adults—some of them as young as 9 years old. Such numbers represent only people rescued at sea or caught once they reach land."
(Quotes and statistics from CNN: "Pregnant women among African migrants trying to cross sea to Europe")




Revolution #385 May 4, 2015

From Prison Radio

Victory: Silencing Act SB 508 Struck Down!

May 4, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Revolution/ received this announcement from Prison Radio:


April 30, 2015

Dear friend,

We won! As of yesterday, we defeated Pennsylvania's "Gag Mumia Law", SB 508. It's hard to rejoice in this victory when Mumia is under medical neglect, riot police are terrorizing Baltimore, and the state violence that killed Freddie Gray and is putting Mumia's life on the line is not unique but ingrained in the U.S.' racist system of policing, surveillance and imprisonment. But we want to take this moment with you to recognize this enormous win, which shut down the Fraternal Order of Police in their tracks and will keep Mumia and all prisoners able to speak to the public.  Email us at and we will send you the order. We must be vigilant the FOP has vowed to go back to the legislature and try to silence Mumia again.






Revolution #385 May 4, 2015

A Notice to Our Readers

May 1, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


The developments today in Baltimore – the charges filed against the murdering pigs – in no way change the fact that the struggle must continue and revolutionaries need to work within (and on) this situation to build the movement for revolution we ARE building. Indeed, influencing the direction of the struggle to stop murder by police and building this nationwide movement is more urgent and necessary than ever.  Tomorrow’s demonstrations in Baltimore and other cities MUST go on and increasingly have a tone of refusing to go along with this shit and refusing to settle for justice as determined by what the powers-that-be say is justice.

THE REVOLUTION NEEDS TO AIM FOR NOTHING LESS THAN EXERTING A MAJOR INFLUENCE IN LEADING THE PEOPLE WHO ARE OUT IN THE STREETS (AND BEYOND). As the letter we posted this week says:   Most critically and fundamentally: The masses who are now defiantly and courageously rising up in struggle, and the masses of people more broadly, need to be led to correctly understand – and act on the correct understanding of – problem and solution, and the fact that, through communist revolution, there is a way out of the horrors and outrages that they are rising up against and that this system forces them to endure every day.

The letter goes on to develop this thinking and urges all its readers to closely read this letter.  And specifically to dig into the work of Bob Avakian (BA); as the letter says: “...the leadership we need to make this revolution exists in Bob Avakian (BA) and the Revolutionary Communist Party he leads; that because of the work that BA has done over decades, there is the vision, strategy, and method we need for this revolution; that this revolution NEEDS THEM, that the masses of people broadly, can and must step forward and get with this revolution and the leadership we have for this revolution in BA and the RCP, as they are learning more about this; and that the most oppressed masses themselves can and must step forward to not only be part of this revolution but be the backbone of it.”

This letter also advances a number of critical ways and means that this revolution can be made known to people who are stepping out.  

Importantly, the work of revolutionaries means cohering and wielding, right away, an organized force of people, from Baltimore itself as well as from cities on the East Coast to represent in a visible and compelling way, for the revolution that is needed, while providing direction for the ongoing struggle. Even a relatively small number of people to begin with, who (for example) all wear Revolution--Nothing Less! T-shirts and act together in a cohesive and bold way, can have impact well beyond their numbers--and can draw to them new forces, to which they can provide leadership in basic terms. will be publishing more on the maneuvers and machinations of the ruling class in this country, as well as various forces who are, or who represent themselves as being, "friends of the people," challenging in compelling and effective ways their actions which serve to confuse, disorient, misdirect, derail and ultimately suppress the mass upsurge.  It will be important to boldly speak to, respond to and politically combat all the lies and rationalizations put out by the powers-that-be and the mainstream media. For the revolutionaries, this means leading growing numbers of people to break through this and broaden and deepen the struggle and their determination to keep building and strengthening it.

A very powerful and positive element within all this is the mass distribution of the Stolen Lives posters.  A new version of this poster is being posted at and, in addition to distributing the posters which have already been printed, the ways should be found to VERY QUICKLY print up thousands of these posters and put them in the hands of the people, especially in Baltimore and in cities across the country. Everyone has seen the marches where people are carrying this poster...and the pictures tweeted out all over.  And this needs to continue. Let’s get this poster way out there, and popularize!

Revolutionaries need to act to maximize the influence of the Revolutionary Communist Party, its program and the direction it provides--both in terms of the immediate upsurge and in terms of how this relates to the larger, overall problem and solution--to the movement that is rapidly growing, in various parts of the country, in support of and as an extension of what is taking place in Baltimore.  This means quickly mobilizing forces around the country to further develop and strengthen this phenomenon, while consistently following very closely how this is developing, with an eye to determining what might be crucial next steps--or leaps, looking to even more societal actions involving people all over the country which would represent a real leap in both the outpouring and mobilization of people from all strata.  This would impact the struggle around the murder of Freddie Gray and police brutality in Baltimore, as the latest in the continuing outrages of police brutality and murder and everything bound up with this. But it could and should go far beyond this. It will be important to send in reports to which scientifically sum up what people are thinking and feeling and proposals for how to take this movement even higher in the months ahead. The point is that there is great potential now to hasten the development of a revolutionary situation and a revolutionary people. There is great potential to bring to people broadly an understanding of what is at the root of the relentless police murder and other outrages here and around the world, the capitalist-imperialist system, and the revolutionary solution and as we do that, to accumulate forces for revolution. People throughout society are being awakened and stepping out, and the movement for revolution needs to set to work, now, to join with others and play a significant role in further spreading this struggle, developing it as a nationwide mass movement to stop murder by police and to increasingly build a current within this movement which is aimed to put an end to this – and the countless other horrific outrages this system gives rise to -- with revolution.  

The eyes of the world are on Baltimore and the people in cities across the country who are stepping up to fight murder and brutality by the police.  This is a moment when millions are asking big questions about why these cold blooded murders continue to happen and what can and must be done to stop this. This is a moment when the revolution and the movement for revolution needs to rise to the challenge and boldly put forward what is the problem and what is the solution, and accumulate forces for revolution. These are the kinds of situations, the moments, that revolutionaries should not only hope for but be actively preparing for and learning how to respond to and advance through, drawing forward, orienting and organizing NEW forces into the revolution.





Revolution #385 May 4, 2015

May 2 Protest Outside ICE "Family Detention Center" in Dilley, Texas

May 6, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Editors’ Note: The Obama administration has instituted a series of highly repressive anti-immigrant measures throughout the country, and especially along the U.S.-Mexico border. A new prison for immigrant women and children in Dilley, Texasthe largest of its typeis a cornerstone of these vicious attacks. On May 2, a protest was held outside the gates of the Dilley prison. This letter reports on the protest and a bus ride that took people from Houston to Dilley.


On Saturday, May 2, 300 people from all over Texas and as far away as Iowa marched in Dilley, Texas, against the immigrant detention center there, and against the brutal incarceration of innocent women and children fleeing poverty and war in Mexico and Central America. We caught a ride on a bus chartered by the ACLU and spent the trip digging into questions of revolution, the new synthesis of communism, the conditions of intensifying civil unrest in Mexico, and learning what young people are grappling with as they fight to SHUT DOWN these prisons. The march took over the highway at one point. At the rally, there were moments full of emotion as people considered the bland exterior of buildings surrounded by razor wire and heard the call of former prisoners, including children as young as four years old, to “let them go!”

Younger folks and immigrants were especially attracted to the Revolution newspaper as they were introduced to the Revolutionary Communist Party and the leadership of this movement for revolution. Thirty copies got out, and one person made a $20 donation to the revolution. “I want to talk to anyone who thinks that communism could produce a viable society,” said one young woman. And various others considered this program up against everything from anarchism to lobbying the legislature and trying to work through the labyrinth of the legal process.

At several points people wanted to know more about what would be different in this new society and were intrigued by the idea that one of people’s main responsibilities would be to break down the divisions between those who worked with their heads and those who worked with their hands. What would that mean on the job and in the community? One big question was: WHY this government was jailing innocent women and children?

A freshman who had just established a new student organization said, “If they would only recognize what they have actually done to people all this time,” talking about the history of this country. She and her friends were challenged to think deeper about what it would mean for a country like this to admit that “there would be no United States as it exists today without slavery,”1 or the history of genocide and the robbery of the lands of Mexico.

Almost a third of the marchers were older members of Methodist congregations and other churches, some of which had contributed greatly to cover the expenses for this action. These folks were particularly interested in the Dialogue on Revolution and Religion, and one of them invited us to join them in a showing of the new film and further dialogue on what humanity needs.

1. “There would be no United States as we now know it today without slavery. That is a simple and basic truth.”—Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:1 [back]






Revolution #385 May 4, 2015

From a reader:

Los Angeles Police Kill Another Unarmed, Homeless Black Man—"That's It For This System"

May 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Brendon Glenn
Brendon Glenn

The slow genocide of Black and Latino men in this country continued on Tuesday night, May 5th near Venice Beach, California when the LAPD shot and killed 29 year-old Brendon Glenn. Glenn, who goes by the street name of “Dizzle”, got into some sort of altercation with the cops on the street when he was shot. According to an article in the LA Times, it has not been determined how many shots were fired or how many cops fired their guns. This killing comes just two months after the murder of another unarmed, homeless Black man, Brother Africa, by the LAPD.

The LA Times reported that “By midmorning Wednesday, a small, angry crowd gathered near the yellow tape blocking” the area where Glenn was killed. People shouted at the cops, who were on the other side of the yellow tape. One person yelled out, “The police are mercenaries!” A young woman, who was friends with Dizzle, described him as a “man who was affectionate toward others.” He always called her “Sister,” and she said he “always said goodbye with a high five and by saying, ‘Loving you.’” She wrote a message on a towel and held it up facing the cops. The message stated, “No justice, no peace. We love & miss you Dizzle!.”

KTLA news reported that a local resident who knew Glenn said “Whatever reason that they had to shoot him, I don’t think it was justified because he wasn’t a confrontational human being by any means. He was definitely like a peacemaker.”

It was also reported by KTLA that Glenn, who had recently moved to the area from New York, regularly attended Teen Project’s the P.A.D., a Venice support center for homeless youth.

Venice Beach, like the “skid row” area where Brother Africa was murdered, are areas that are being gentrified and the cops in both areas regularly make sweeps on the homeless, confiscate their property, and intimidate them in a way that makes it very difficult for them to live in those areas.

These killings of unarmed homeless Black men by the LAPD are just plain murder. If the pigs can’t get the homeless off the streets one way then they’ll do another way by having them taken off in a body bag.

How many times do we have to quote Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, when he tells us that “The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery, degradation into which the system has cast people and is determined to keep people in. The law and order the police are about, with all their brutality and murder, is the law and the order that enforces this oppression and madness.”? (BAsics 1:24) How many times do we have to say that the cops use of force against the people is illegitimate? (see “Murder By Police Should Not Be Tolerated!”, a statement by Carl Dix, Revolution #368) How many more police murders before the thousands who were in the streets protesting the murder of Freddie Gray become millions in the street? How much more of this shit are we going to take before the millions of us act on while saying to the pigs and those who they really serve, “That’s it for this system: Three strikes and you’re out!”? (see “Three Strikes” by Bob Avakian.)





Revolution #385 May 4, 2015

An Electric Brew of Jubilation, Power, and Fury in the Streets of Baltimore:
Murder By Police Must STOP!

by Sunsara Taylor | May 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Baltimore, City Hall Park, May 2
Celebrating in the 'hood, and searching for the way forward, Baltimore, May 2. AP photo

People poured into City Hall Park in downtown Baltimore just one day after the indictment of six cops for the cold-blooded murder of Freddie Gray. The protesters were young and old, mostly Black with a large number of white people and a smaller, but rich, diversity of others mixed in. About half beamed with pride at having been out in the streets many times since Freddie Gray was murdered. The other half, including a larger number of students who came in groups of friends (no organized groupings that I could detect), had ventured out for the first time, feeling a responsibility to show their support and learn more.

The mood was celebratory yet angry, full of determination to keep fighting yet not entirely clear on what that should mean. Many of the speakers expressed exactly this confusion, at first heralding Marilyn Mosby, the State's Attorney, for indicting the cops, then recognizing that the only reason she did this was the righteous and powerful rebellion of the people. Quiet as it's kept, Mosby's platform when running for State's Attorney was to decry the fact that people were not being locked up for long enough and to repeatedly trumpet her deep support for the increased presence of police in West Baltimore. The only thing that “changed her tune” was the powerful, and spreading, demand for justice. Others condemned the “violence” of the rebellion only to add that without this fierce uprising nothing would have changed.

Carl Dix, of the Revolutionary Communist Party and the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, brought tremendous clarity when he addressed the crowd, drawing people in right off the bat with the chant, “Indict! Convict! Send the killer cops to jail! The whole damn system is guilty as hell!” He helped people understand just how significant their uprising had been in winning the conviction, while calling on everyone not to be lulled by a mere indictment. He recounted that the long experience with the police, even when the massive struggle of the people has forced an indictment, has almost always been that they are acquitted when they murder, and the need to escalate the struggle to see that that doesn't happen.

Carl Dix speaks in Baltimore, May 2, 2015.

Dix also spoke of the world we need to bring into being through an actual revolution that puts an end to the grinding genocide crushing the lives of millions of Blacks and Latinos. When he began to give flesh this to vision, how it encompasses not only an end to white supremacy but also an end to the degradation and enslavement of women, the crowd erupted in wild enthusiasm. Others had given shout-outs to Black women—at their best giving credit to those who have been in the streets and demanding the inclusion of those who have been killed by police, at their worst heralding Marilyn Mosby as if she was some champion of the oppressed. But, what Dix did deeper was to call out the way that all women are oppressed and degraded as women under this system of capitalism-imperialism; and the response he got was deeper too—something which is extremely significant for the prospects of revolution. He culminated by calling on people to get organized for an actual revolution and to get connected with the Stop Mass Incarceration Network.

When he finished, many throughout the crowd were eager to sign up with the revolution. Something to think about: more almost certainly could have been done by the revolutionaries in the crowd to recruit on the spot off Dix's powerful speech.

After several hours of speeches, a march finally stepped off. Thousands poured into the streets. The Revolution Club let out the chant that many sports teams do, “Everywhere we go... people want to know... who we are... so we tell them: We are the Rev Coms! The mighty, mighty Rev Coms!” A growing crowd joined in marching and singing along with us. Many threw their fists up in the air, others danced to the rhythm. People were attracted to this projection of a powerful and organized force for revolution.

When we finally hit the hard streets of West Baltimore, the heart of the rebellion, hundreds lined the blocks. The devastation that has plagued this city for decades was palpable: buildings abandoned, no grocery stores, older folks drinking on the curb, “R.I.P” spattered across walls... the destructiveness of capitalism was evidenced everywhere. But the creative and revolutionary potential born of this destruction, the explosive rage of hundreds of years of Black people being enslaved and oppressed, was also on display. The mood was an electric brew of jubilation, power, and fury.

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Folks grabbed up the Stolen Lives poster, running down from the top floor of housing projects to get copies. Parents cheered as children held this poster in the air. Young adults waved these posters out car windows, or through sunroofs, as they drove slowly and honked horns. At the end, someone set up a huge sound-system and hundreds gathered to dance, to cheer, and to chop it up over things big and small.

The streets were filled with a mix of folks who probably have never been so intermingled in their lives. Students and middle class folks who have never been this deep in the ghetto interspersed with folks who have spent more time inside paddy wagons than college classrooms. This mingling was real, but also cautious; folks tended to stay close to those who were more familiar, while taking heart in and welcoming the larger mix.

Those of us who are down with the Revolutionary Communist Party, along with a growing cluster who had been drawn to us throughout the day, grouped up at the edge of the end-rally and began to chant once again. Slowly we marched down a residential street where hundreds of Black folks from the neighborhood were lining the sidewalks.

We agitated about how beautiful the uprising had been, how essential it had been in winning the first taste of justice, in inspiring and compelling people throughout society to see the humanity of those this system casts off and to stand with them, and of the need to go much further, putting the killer cops in jail and making an actual revolution. “We need a revolution!” we chanted, over and over. At first, those on the sidelines simply watched. Before long, a chorus joined in the cry for revolution. Young folks began stepping forward to snap pictures with the banner of the Revolution Club, which read, “We Refuse to Accept Slavery in ANY Form! Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution!” More of them streamed forward, including young women with their babies as well as young men, many of whom repping the colors of rival street organizations.

These are the youth derided as “thugs” by the media, and by Obama. They are young people whom this system has completely abandoned, who have been demonized and criminalized since before they were born. They have been cast in conditions where the only way they feel they can get any respect is by fighting deadly beefs with other kids just as fucked over as themselves. They've been to funerals for friends, some killed by police, others lost in these horrific and degrading conflicts. And yet, even with blood spilled between them, here they were nestled up to each other taking a stand for liberation. A glimpse of the even greater potential the revolution holds could be seen, and it was precious.

As this scene broke out into smaller knots of people mixing it up, a young man whose face was covered with bandanas began pointing out to me a row of buildings that were all boarded up. “That one there,” he said, pointing to the last one in a row, “was burned down on Monday night. All the rest were already boarded up.” Don't let anyone tell you the destruction of this community began with the people's righteous rebellion. In reality, what this rebellion brought was the first tastes of justice, of broader love and support, and of hope to visit these streets in generations!

A little ways away, Travis Morales of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network drew a crowd agitating in front of the huge Stolen Lives banner. A group of teenagers hanging near the back explained that, despite the indictment, they are not hopeful about change. “They indicted the guy who killed Trayvon,” one tells me. He was just 12 when Trayvon was killed. It's possible that he remembers this himself, but more likely it is the vibrant debate that has flooded these streets in recent days that brought him this cautionary lesson. Already he and his friends have stories of being chased and/or brutalized by police. I agree that an indictment is not yet enough, but also insist that a great deal has been accomplished. Those who run this system fear the kind of power and anger that has erupted in this neighborhood, as well as the broader support this has been winning among broader society. Smiles of pride appear on their faces and their posture shifts just enough to convey they are letting down their guards and getting more serious.

Revolution Club, Bay Area, April 14

Running with the Rev Club, April 14. Bay Area, CA. Photo: ©Lonny Meyer

Get with the
Revolution Club

“What does it mean to get involved with the revolution?” one asks. I break down the strategy of “fighting the power, and transforming the people, for revolution” and how today we are organizing the thousands who will lead millions when the time comes for the all-out struggle for the seizure of power. He gets excited, but checks with his friends, “Should I sign up?” “Nah,” says the one who had brought up Trayvon as he turns away. They all turn. “What is it,” I say boldly, borrowing a line from Bob Avakian's epic talk, REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! “Do you like the way these cops do you out here? Do you like being disrespected and treated worse than a dog? Do you like the way this same system does that to people just like you all over the world? Cuz, if you like all that, then keep walking, this revolution is not for you.” They slow down. “But if you hate this shit, if you hate what they did to Freddie Gray, if you hate that he could have been any one of you, if you hate that this goes on day after day after day after day not just in Baltimore but all over this country, and all over this world, then you have a responsibility. I'm not selling something, I am telling you about real revolution, life and death, and you have a big role to play—not just fighting for your own liberation but for the emancipation of all of humanity.” The kid who had been enthusiastic is the only one still facing me, but he is hesitating. Then, the one who turned away first darts around and says, “Okay, I'll sign up.” The others did as well. We took some more time on the spot to get further into the revolution.

It seemed that everyone in the neighborhood had a story of police, many specifically detailing the horrors of the Baltimore police's notorious “rough rides” (where they cuff or hog-tie you unbuckled into the back of a police van, then intentionally drive so that you are brutally slammed against the walls without being able to protect yourself). The worst, I was told, is in summer when they do all that plus leave you locked in the stuffy van without air conditioning or water for hours. “It makes you look forward to being locked up,” one middle-aged Black man told me. “Then, you finally get there and you are filthy and hurting and they give you something green between two pieces of bread. I just fold it up like a pillow and go to sleep on concrete.” It's routine.

A young man who was very close to Freddie Gray is interrupted frequently as he speaks to me by hugs and condolences as well as folks joining in with the bitterness he speaks. “Next time they run up on us, we need to do more than just film them,” he insists as others erupt enthusiastically. “I am not saying we beat them down or beat them to death like they do us,” he clarified, “but we can't just keep sitting back and all we do is film them as they kill us. They have to be stopped.”

Indeed, they must be stopped!


Further reading:

It’s Right to Rebel! Get Organized for an Actual Revolution! Baltimore Uprising: Our Fight Has Just Begun

The Oppression of Black People, The Crimes of This System and the Revolution We Need (October 5, 2008)

"Yes there's a conspiracy... to get the cops off," a clip from Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About, a film of a talk by Bob Avakian, given in 2003 in the United States.