Revolution #392, June 22, 2015 (

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #392 June 22, 2015

Statement by Carl Dix

Outrage in Charleston— This IS America!

June 18, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |



Outrageous! A white supremacist motivated by racist venom enters Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, during a Bible study class. He sits down with people there for a while and then starts shooting them, murdering six Black women and three Black men. He calmly reloaded in the course of carrying out these foul murders, telling his victims that he had to do this “because you [meaning Black people] rape our women and are taking over our country"!

Mass murder carried out in a church—a place that is supposed to be a sanctuary in the face of injustice. This brings to mind the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963 which killed four little girls. And the wave of burnings of Black churches in more recent decades.

Mass murder carried out at this church, which has a history of being a place Black people gathered to organize themselves to stand up to the savage oppression this system has enforced on them for centuries. This history goes back to the church's founding in 1816. Among its founders was Denmark Vesey who was hung in 1822, along with 35 other Black people, for planning a slave uprising.

The blood of the nine people murdered in Charleston is on the hands of the rulers of this country. Whether this guy acted alone or not, he was acting within a climate that has been deliberately whipped up. White supremacy has been ingrained in the fabric of America from its very beginning. This country was founded on theft of land from and genocide inflicted on the native inhabitants and the dragging of millions of Africans to these shores in slave chains. And white supremacy remains at the heart of this society right down to today.

What does it tell you about this country that George Zimmerman could murder Trayvon Martin as he walked home carrying Skittles and iced tea and walk away with no punishment. That cops could choke Eric Garner to death, ignoring his cries of “I can't breathe,” and get off scot free. That a South Carolina cop could feel he could get away with shooting Walter Scott in the back as he ran away. That Black communities are built on toxic areas that poison people. That Black couples with good credit were steered to sub-prime loans that led to them disproportionately losing their homes in the 2007 economic meltdown. That 2+ million people are imprisoned in this country, vastly disproportionately Black and Latino. These and more amount to a genocidal program of suppression and deprivation targeting Black people. And they have contributed to a climate in which it is legitimate to view Black people as criminals and justified to murder them. In these and a thousand other ways a message is delivered that Black life doesn't matter.

All this faces us all with an urgent question: Which side are you on? Are you on the side of the savage oppression and brutality this system enforces on Black people? Or do you stand against these kinds of horrors?

The crocodile tears being shed by those who preside over the brutality and murder this system inflicts on people are worse than useless. It will take revolution, nothing less, to uproot white supremacy and end the oppression of Black people and all the other horrors this system inflicts on humanity. If you want to see these horrors stopped, there is a movement you can get with, a movement for revolution that the Revolutionary Communist Party is building. To get information and to join in dealing with the questions and obstacles this revolution faces, go to the website:

Everyone should understand that there is no middle ground in this struggle where people can be neutral while this system grinds away, crushing the bodies and breaking the spirits of those on the bottom of society. If you have an ounce of humanity, you must add your voice to those demanding that horrors like these STOP! Right Now!





Revolution #392 June 22, 2015

Live from Charleston, South Carolina

Updated June 27, 2015, 5 pm | Revolution Newspaper |


Editor’s note: A diverse crew of people including revolutionaries and activists in the Stop Mass Incarceration Network from Atlanta are in Charleston, South Carolina – marching with people, getting out Carl Dix’ Statement “Outrage in Charleston—This IS America” and learning from people. The following are reports from a member of the Revolution Club who is part of this crew.


June 27, 5 p.m.

There is much more to be said than I can fit in to this article, but hopefully I can give you a sense of the importance of what revolutionaries are doing on the ground here in Charleston, along with a snapshot of the city of Charleston itself from the view of some of the people we’ve met over the past week. As we continue to listen to, transcribe and share some of the interviews we’ve done over the past several days, hopefully it will illuminate how people are responding not only to the tragedy itself, but the burning questions around the society we live in and the question of revolution.

Today was a very heavy day. I am sure that many of you reading this watched the funeral service of Senator Pinckney on TV and heard Obama’s eulogy (which I will not get into in this report). The team of revolutionaries that is here in Charleston spent the day on the corner of the park near the arena where the funeral was held. We stood near a group of drummers and a church group passing out bottles of water to the seemingly endless line waiting in the near 100 degree heat to enter the service. Despite the obvious sadness that enveloped the senseless killings that led to the funeral, the mood of the people was upbeat. People were mourning, but also attempting to show strength in the face of such a horror.

The road filled with people trying to enter the service. Another correspondent and I walked up and down the line of people, interviewing them to get their thoughts broadly, as well as their thoughts on what this tragedy exposes about America. The crowd represented a large cross section of people and their responses represented that as well. We talked to several young women, who are students at the University. They were not very aware of the reality that faces Black people in Charleston and the United States, but they were standing outside the church when the shooting happened, and they were very affected by it. We talked with a local filmmaker and local liberal radio host. We met a poet who was close to one of the victims, who was a librarian. We also met back up with Mike, who we met on our first day in downtown Charleston. He got a copy of BAsics. Two Ferguson freedom fighters who work with the Stop Mass Incarceration Network came all the way from Ferguson to attend the funeral and show their support to the people in Charleston.

While I talked with people, our team got over a thousand copies of Carl Dix’s statement, "Outrage in Charleston—This IS America!" into the hands of people attending the service. The crowd, which consisted of mostly older Black men and women, many whom were pastors themselves, eyed the sign we carried with the title of CD’s statement and a quote from the statement:

WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?... there is no middle ground in this struggle...If you have an ounce of humanity, you must add your voice to those demanding hat horrors like these STOP! Right Now!

People were happy to see us there and we often found ourselves struggling to hand flyers to the number of people reaching for them as they passed. Many also received palm cards of the dialogue on Revolution and Religion with Cornel West and Bob Avakian.

We’ve learned a lot about Charleston from the people we’ve met in the past week, much more than I will attempt to get into here. The first quote (for good reason) in BAsics is “There would be no United States as we know it today without slavery. That is a simple and basic truth.” Charleston bolsters that fact at every turn. Literally, the signs of slavery and the oppression of Black people historically and today are at every turn, from the numerous streets named after slave owners and Confederate generals to the statues and memorials of dead racists like John C. Calhoun that peers over the city.

Charleston, museum where former slave market stood

A museum has been created in the building that once existed as a slave market (see picture) serves as a stark reminder of the horrors that took place in that building and throughout the South. Charleston served as the main port for the trans-Atlantic slave trade, an estimated 40 percent of the total 400,000 Africans transported and sold as slaves into North America came through its port. In 1808, after the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade, Charleston still remained a major trading port for domestic slaves. As you walk through downtown Charleston, many of the hotels, legal offices, and shops that exist today were once part of the dozens of slave markets just in the small downtown area. A young artist who we met showed us the slave tags (slaves would often be loaned to perform skilled labor on other plantation and the copper or iron tags worn around their necks were used to identify to whom they belonged) that he found inches under the dirt in his backyard....the reminders are literally everywhere.

In the short time that we have been in Charleston, we’ve put the revolution out to thousands of people, and in the process we have met a number of people that are seriously interested in getting deeper into BA and the movement for revolution that he is leading. Some of the people who we have met bought BAsics or the BA Speaks: Revolution Nothing—Less DVD, or have invited us into their homes to watch clips from RNL and Cornel and BA’s dialogue. They range from a young homeless man who is a deep political thinker and organizer to a middle class white woman with two children who has already started reading the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal). The range also includes a young white artist who considers himself an anarcho-socialist. It includes a Black carpenter in his 30s who just finished a 13-year prison sentence.

Like BA recently said, “There is the potential for something of unprecedented beauty to arise out of unspeakable ugliness...” These people are just a tiny sliver of people who could potentially be brought forward right now to play “a crucial role in putting an end, at long last, to this system.” This is true everywhere, not just in Charleston—the responsibility is on all of us to step up and into this movement for revolution. The potential to see beauty rise out of this darkness is real.

6/24/15 5pm EDT

Greetings again from Charleston, SC. As I write part of our team is heading through back to downtown Charleston to Emanuel AME Church where they will deliver a sign with BA’s "ThreeStrikes" quote to the outside memorial. (Tomorrow the Church will be having a viewing for Senator Clementa Pinckney, the Church’s pastor, who was murdered along with eight members of the Church by white supremacist Dylann Roof.) The team is also delivering the poster to the empty fenced-in field where Walter Scott was murdered. Currently, there is nothing there to remind people of the murder that took place in the grass just a few weeks ago. We thought "ThreeStrikes"would be a fitting reminder and call to action.

Yesterday, we traveled 1.5 hours outside of Charleston to the state’s capital, Columbia. The State House (where Senator Pinckney’s memorial is taking place today) has a fenced-in, padlocked Confederate flag memorial on one side and towering statue of the dead racist Senator Strom Thurmond on the other. South Carolina’s State House has been a place of controversy for years, but this week calls demanding the removal of the Confederate flag flying outside its doors have gained national attention. Civil rights activists have demanded the removal of the flag for years—it was put on top of the Capitol in 1961 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Confederate shelling of Ft. Sumter, which began the Civil War and later moved from atop the Capitol to a prominent flag pole in front of the building. But hardly any ruling class representatives in the state and federal government called for its removal. It took the massacre of nine Black churchgoers at the hands of a white-supremacist vigilante for these hypocrites to make a sound about the racist rag. Even now, with an outpouring of support from citizens, major corporations, and Democratic and Republican politicians, they are only “opening debate” on the removal of the flag, which due to a law passed in 2000, requires a 2/3 majority vote to do ANYTHING to the flag. Astoundingly, the law and the padlocks holding the Confederate flag to the pole prevent it from being flown half-mast like the other flags at the Capitol. Even today, as Senator Pinckney’s dead body lies in state, the white supremacist emblem flies full mast above his casket.

(Engraved on the Confederate flag memorial is a quote from William Henry Trescot, who was a U.S. Assistant Secretary of State before the Civil War, was a colonel in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, and then was a U.S. diplomat after the Civil War: “Let the stranger, who in future times reads this inscription, recognize that these were men whom power could not corrupt, whom death could not terrify, whom defeat could not dishonor, and let their virtues plead for just judgement of the cause in which they perished... Let the South Carolinian of another generation remember that the state taught them how to live and how to die, and that from her broken fortunes she has preserved for her children the priceless treasures of her memories, teaching all who may claim the same birthright that truth, courage and patriotism endure forever.”)

Yesterday, South Carolina lawmakers met to decide whether or not to open debate on taking down the flag, and we joined with protesters outside demanding the flag’s immediate removal. The crowd of several hundred, both Black and white, listened to a number of speeches from politicians, civil rights activists, religious leaders calling for the flags removal. We entered the demonstration with a 3' x 5' sign that read: A Statement by Carl Dix, Outrage in Charleston—This IS America! "WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?...there is no middle ground in this struggle...If you have an ounce of humanity, you must add your voice to those demanding that horrors like these STOP! Right Now!" We also carried signs with BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less!

Columbia, South Carolina June 23, 2015

Activists wearing the "BA Speaks REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!" T-shirts and carrying a banner with Carl Dix' statement "Outrage in Charleston—This IS America!" stepped up to agitate and ridicule two racists who were defending the Confederate flag. Photo: special to

As we entered the crowd, we could hear a few people chanting angrily, “TAKE IT DOWN! TAKE IT DOWN!” We followed the chants to the Confederate memorial, where police surrounded a middle-aged Black woman yelling bitterly at two white men in denim biker vests (the bike club on their vests was Brothers Forever) holding signs defending the Confederate flag. One of these fools kept repeating, “That boy that shot those people was crazy. It had nothing to do with the flag. The flag is being stereotyped. It represents our heritage...there’s nothing racist about it.” He babbled on about his “daddy and granddaddy’s legacy” and a bunch of other dumb shit. Reactions to these pro-Confederacy idiots varied—a few (of course this was focused on by the mainstream media) hugged him and told him they loved him and it was his right to speak freely, but most denounced them passionately.

Two of us stepped behind the racists with our banner. One person held a Stop Mass Incarceration Network sign with a crosshair, representing how Black and Latino people are targeted by the police and the system, and the phrase NO MORE! We also made signs with arrows pointing to the pro-flag racists that said, Racist Flag—Racist Fools! The crowd and media were drawn to our signs and our boldness denouncing the racists. Many people snapped pictures of us and many posed in front of us while others snapped pictures. As the official rally ended and a crowd gathered around us, I started agitating about what the Confederate flag and how the “heritage” it represents is all about by paraphrasing BA who sums it up like this [in "RESISTANCE, REVOLUTION, AND WHAT SHOULD — AND SHOULD NOT — BE SUPPORTED"]:

 A lot of these white people in the South say, “well, that flag doesn’t stand for slavery and oppression, that just stands for Southern heritage.” Well, what is your fucking heritage? Your heritage is inseparable from and is founded on slavery and oppression and the Ku Klux Klan. That is your Southern heritage. There could be no South and no Southern heritage without it.

Banner carried in Columbia, South Carolina June 23, 2015

Banner carried at protest, Columbia, South Carolina June 23, 2015. Photo: special to

I also spoke about how we need to draw the line and ask people “which side are you on?” and how important it is that the people of South Carolina are standing up against the legacy of white supremacy and how resistance can transform people. I spoke to how we are building a movement for revolution and how that is what is needed to uproot white supremacy and get to a world without all the horrors of white supremacy. We told the crowd that we are serious about doing this and there is the strategy and leadership to make a revolution worth making. We guided people to check out Bob Avakian, the website and Revolution newspaper. People clapped and many went directly to one of the paper sellers to get a copy of Revolution.

We met a lot of interesting people in Columbia. We talked to two young women from local universities who had braved the 100-degree heat for four days protesting the flag. One of the women had only one kidney, but refused to let this impede her from fighting to take down the flag. We met a guy with a radio show that wants to interview us on his show; he told us about a Confederate museum inside the Capitol building that celebrates the Confederacy rather than provides an objective history. A radical from the 1960s recalled the time he spent in prison for burning the Confederate flag decades ago.

One thing that we are noticing is that despite a number of different voices speaking out in Charleston and Columbia, the message is being tightly controlled by the powers that be. The official narrative is “unity and forgiveness” and little outside of that narrative is being given voice. (It is also worth noting the unconstitutional 60-day prohibition passed by the Charleston City Council banning protesters from being within 300 feet of a funeral. This comes as the Christian fundamentalist Westboro Baptist Church has floated the possibility of protesting Senator Pinckney’s funeral on Friday. However, Charleston’s police chief has insisted that this ordinance is focusing on “several groups,” not just Westboro.) Of course, the silencing of voices of resistance is not surprising and underscores the importance of revolutionaries being here at this moment.

At this time we are preparing to do showings from the DVDs of BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less and REVOLUTION AND RELIGION—The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion: A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN.

Stay tuned for updates on these exciting developments and voices from the people.



6/21/15 10PM EDT

After the morning services at AME, our crew has been out in the projects near the church talking to people about Carl Dix' statement “This IS America.” And in the evening, we joined up with #unitychaincharleston—a human chain of thousands of people stretching across the Arthur Ravenel Bridge.

We spent a little time in the projects near the AME Church. Things are rough there. People see death a lot, for all kinds of things. A lot of it looks like people fucking each other over, “old school beefs” and we got into it with people about the big picture of oppression, and how the system puts people in a position where they lash out at each other.

Unity Chain Charleston

Thousands form a human chain across the Arthur Ravenel Bridge that separates downtown Charleston (where the AME Church is located) from the almost all-white suburb of Mt. Pleasant. Photo: Twitter

Atlanta Revolution Club in Charleston

Revolution Club on the Arthur Ravenel Bridge at Unity Chain Charleston. Photo: special to

Then, in the evening, we were part of what was called Unity Chain Charleston—a human chain of thousands, holding hands, across the Arthur Ravenel Bridge that separates downtown Charleston (where the AME Church is located) from the almost all-white suburb of Mt. Pleasant.  The mission was to show “solidarity and support for those who senselessly died in the AME Church.” 

Thousands of people turned out and linked hands over the span of the two-and-a-half mile bridge, and at times the human chain was four people thick. This event was blessed by the authorities and not an expression of outrage for the most part but at the same time it was heartening to see a lot of people, including large numbers of white people out. And many were outraged.

I talked to a local activist who had been protesting after Eric Garner was killed and he commented on how different the response was compared to protests against police killing Black people. He thought that “maybe a lot of white people were on the fence about Walter Scott, but now they can’t stand on the sidelines.” I asked him about how the media is giving voice to a lot of forgiveness but not a lot of outrage. He told me that hundreds of thousands of people have signed an online petition to take down the Confederate flag at the state capitol. Not surprisingly, a number of the activists saw electoral politics as the way to address things, even as when you got them talking about how awful things are, the very outrages they were angry about are far beyond what any candidate for office is talking about or could actually change. Like mass incarceration of Black people because they can’t pay fines and child support, or Walter Scott who was murdered by police for running from them. We strongly encouraged them to check out and get involved with Stop Mass Incarceration Network.

We were there with our Revolution Club banner and that was an attraction for some.  A young woman who came up to check us out said she came out because she was “just completely tired about being complacent, seeing all the things around me that make me angry.” That the murders at the church were “a big wakeup call” for her. When I told her I was going to make clear to readers she was white, she objected “that shouldn’t matter!” I agreed, but said it was important for our readers to know there were white people in Charleston stepping out to be part of these protests. Jennifer saw us with our banner on the bridge, and went to on her phone on the spot. By the time we talked to her she had started reading the Constitution for a New Socialist Republic in North America there! She had all kinds of things on her mind about what revolution needs to be like, and what “true communism” should be like. I asked her what attracted her to that. She said “I don’t know how to answer that because if you’re paying attention at all, if you’ve got any kind of empathy at all, you’re gonna see this.”


Sunday Morning 6/21 at the Emanuel AME Church

This morning we were among the overflow crowd outside the Emanuel AME Church during the service. The eyes of the world were here, and we were among hundreds who couldn’t fit into the church.

Emanuel AME Church is a church with a tremendous historical connection to the struggle of Black people against slavery and segregation, including that one of its founders, Denmark Vesey, tried to organize a slave revolt, for which he was hung in 1822. That, by all reports, is in part why a white supremacist targeted the church for a massacre.

Today, the neighborhood is overwhelmingly gentrified and—outside of some remaining projects in the neighborhood—the Black residents have overwhelmingly been driven out. The neighboring churches, in this segregated city, are white. The leadership of many of these churches encouraged their congregations to join with the congregation at Emanuel AME Church this morning. While the crowd inside the church was mainly Black, those outside from neighboring congregations were overwhelmingly white. And this gave us a chance to connect Carl Dix' statement “Outrage in Charleston—This IS America!" with hundreds of overwhelmingly white people who came on the basis of their ministers encouraging them to be here on the basis of healing. 

Not surprisingly, there was a mixed and polarized response to Carl Dix’ statement. There were people who liked it—the whole thing—from what he says about the role of police and more. Other white people were angry with us about being there—insisting that “This is about forgiveness, why are you all spreading hate?” So some of these well-intentioned white people who came felt sympathy for people dying, and were OK with joining with Black people who were forgiving and mourning, but not so OK with joining with outrage.

Cutting up family confederate flag, Charleston

A white woman brought her Confederate flag to the services for the victims of the racist murder at the Emanuel AME Church. The flag had been passed down through generations in her family and had been on the wall of her kitchen. She said she didn’t want it on her wall any more. A group of white children with scissors ceremonially cut it up. Photo: Special to

One of the most interesting and in some ways inspiring things that took place was this: One older white woman from a different church congregation brought her Confederate flag from her house. This flag had been passed down through generations in her family and had been on the wall of her kitchen. She brought it to the church and said she didn’t want it on her wall any more. A group of white children with scissors ceremonially cut it up.

We weren’t the only ones challenging the terms of 'healing'—before the disease is cured. One sister came with her sign “Enough is Enough" on one side and on the other "White Jesus isn't Coming Back.” She, too, was the focus of controversy. I talked to her about why she was making this statement here. She said, “They are continuing to mask the underlying hate.”

She said “Black people make 13% of this country, but we are the highest rate of incarceration and death. We are killing each other—because what do we do with the hate? This Kum Bah Yah ain't working for everyone. That white boy was angry, what do we do? I’m not saying go out here and kill anyone, I don’t condone hate to that measure, but we have to be able to express that anger.”

I asked about her sign. She told me, “The Christian mindset is what I have a problem with. Pray to who you want, but don’t be delusional. The Bible has contradictions—it says an eye for an eye. The Bible was written by man. Whose education are we speaking? Our own language? Or what was taught to us. They are trying to condition us to submit.”

With her too, the responses were polarized. She told me she was focused on “those who are struggling in the economy, who have no hope, this next generation, they are the ones who can make change.” As far as the response she was getting? “Everyone coming to me with anger is 23, 24 and younger. Out here, they are trying to cover the anger. This country has been built on Black backs. I’ve been told they have pushed Black people out of this community. We are angry at this gunman, but he ain’t by himself. It would be stupid to think this is just one man with a gun!”

Coming... more, including voices from the community.


Saturday 6/20—Arriving in Charleston:

The sun is beaming on a crowd of hundreds of people lining the street in front of a towering white church. A small group sings an old spiritual in the one-hundred-degree heat. A group of young and old people marching silently, stop briefly to place flowers in front of an old wooden cross that is already surrounded by hundreds of flowers, wreaths, and balloons. Engraved in the wall above the arching entrance of the church is Emanuel AME Church.

The eyes of the world are on Mother Emanuel where just days ago, Dylann Roof, motivated by the white supremacy engrained in and nurtured by this system, carried out a massacre of nine Black churchgoers during a Bible study. This horror is a wound that rests on top of multiple scars that white supremacy has inflicted just on this church over decades.

Many of the people outside the church are holding a sheet of paper with the headline: “Outrage in Charleston—This IS America!”, a statement by Carl Dix. A team of revolutionaries and others are on the ground here in Charleston, South Carolina distributing Carl’s statement, connecting people with the movement for revolution, and seeking to learn more about how people are understanding this tragedy. Below are some initial impressions of the mood of the people and a brief description of some of the things that have unfolded in the few hours we have spent on the ground here in Charleston. More to come soon!


We arrived in Charleston on Saturday and joined a gathering of around 200 in the park near Mother Emmanuel as they spoke and prepared for a Black Lives Matter march by the church and continuing to the The Confederate Museum. On the same day, in another part of the state, at the state capitol in Columbia, there was a protest of hundreds demanding take down that Confederate flag—the flag of slavery. There’s much more to say about that flag and the whole celebration of the Confederacy that pervades the area.

The crowd was young and old, multinational and surprisingly mostly white. An older white man from the South Carolina Progressive Network spoke on the bullhorn at the gathering detailing the whole history of racist terror in Charleston and told the white people in the park, “It is not enough to be white with good intentions. You have to act on those intentions.” He also mentioned a hashtag that many of the organizers used for the event and one that angered some of the racists in town, #VeseyTaughtUs (Denmark Vesey who was hung in 1822, along with 35 other Black people, for planning a slave uprising).

On the march we met a guy named Mike. After talking to Mike (an Atlanta native who moved to Charleston—he told us a lot about life here in Charleston which I will share later), I asked Mike where people hang out and he told us to come with him. He took us to several blocks to East Charleston, a Black neighborhood on the edge of the tourist filled downtown.

At a grocery store outside East Charleston we met a woman whose cousin was murdered inside the church. She took Carl’s statement and thanked us for coming to support the people in Charleston. At the same store we met a couple. The husband was a longshoreman. There is a whole history in Charleston of struggle by the longshoremen who work on the docks. He bought a copy of BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian, the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, a copy of Revolution, and the Bob Avakian (BA) Timeline.

At 10AM, all of the churches in downtown Charleston rang their bells in solidarity with Mother Emmanuel. Afterwards, we are heading to some neighboring projects to spread revolution and talk with the people (so much more to come).

GOTTA GO! More to come.





Revolution #392 June 22, 2015

"Gun Control" Is Not a Solution to Violent White Supremacy

June 22, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


When a white supremacist murdered nine people in a historic Black church in Charleston, South Carolina, he reportedly told the victims, “You’ve raped our women, and you are taking over the country ... I have to do what I have to do.” According to press reports, he has told authorities he committed the crime to start a “race war.”

In the face of what is undeniably a racist mass murder in a racist society, Barack Obama’s response to the massacre said: “At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency. And it is in our power to do something about it.”

Only after that did Obama acknowledge: “The fact that this took place in a black church obviously also raises questions about a dark part of our history. This is not the first time that black churches have been attacked.”

Two African American men lynched in Marion, Indiana, 1930.
A specific defining factor in the history and culture of the United States is that this country is built on genocide and white supremacist violence carried out not only by the official forces of violent repression (the army and police) but by significant sections of armed white people. Above: Two African American men lynched in Marion, Indiana, 1930. (Photo: Library of Congress)

The horrible murders in Charleston are a product of and component of vicious, violent, societal white supremacy that runs from the Confederate flag above the South Carolina State House to the AmeriKKKan flag on the shirts of police who murder Black people from New York to California and everywhere in between.

Yes, the United States is unique among powerful imperialist countries like those in Western Europe, Japan, Australia, or Canada, in the number of guns in people’s hands and the amount of violence associated with that. The question is why, what that serves, and what’s the solution?

And then how do calls for “gun control” (in quotes because “gun control” advocates are not in any way calling for controlling all guns!) fit into this picture?

Guns in AmeriKKKa

We live in a society of intense exploitation, alienation, and—correspondingly—an ethos of “might makes right.” That he who has the most and biggest guns gets to assert his interests. And a specific defining factor in the history and culture of the United States is that this country is built on genocide and white supremacist violence carried out not only by the official forces of violent repression (the army and police) but by significant sections of armed white people.

From the gold mines of South Dakota to the farms of Oklahoma, as the army drove Native Americans from their land, armed settlers who occupied that land were formally or informally “deputized” to enforce their “right” to that stolen land with guns. Mexicans were also frequently the targets of lynch mobs in the Southwest, from the mid-1800s until well into the 1900s, to drive Mexican landowners from the land.

The iconic American myth of the “rugged individual” supposedly defending “his” farm, his ranch, his claim, his property from so-called “savages,” is set on a stage of genocidal massacres of Native Americans and theft of land from Mexico.

Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy book coverCommunism and Jeffersonian Democracy (RCP Publications, 2008) by Bob Avakian

Bob Avakian takes on the ideals of Jeffersonianism, and convincingly locates even its "loftiest aspirations" in social relations of exploitation and oppression—the social relations out of which those ideals grew, and which they served and continue to serve. In doing so, he draws on a wide range of scholarly research and polemically takes on major contemporary defenders of Jeffersonian democracy. Avakian demonstrates why and how these ideals of democracy co-existed with—and, indeed, arose on the basis of—the enslavement of Black people and the deep embedding of white supremacy into the body politic and ideological psyche of the U.S. But he goes further: not only showing why events turned out that way, but why those ideals themselves could only and can only generate and serve relations of exploitation and the division, and polarization, of people into antagonistic classes. . .into oppressor and oppressed. Moreover, he convincingly points the way to a vision and future that is truly emancipatory—to a vision of freedom far more radical and thoroughgoing than anything imaginable within the constricted horizons of Jeffersonianism. In doing this, Avakian includes a devastating critique of the "free marketplace of ideas," contrasting it to a genuinely unfettered search for the truth—and he shows what kind of economic and political system would be necessary for that to flourish.

Order here

The deep economic, political, and cultural roots of this mentality in the psyche of “white America”—the “yeoman” mentality, in short—are gone into in the pamphlet Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy, by Bob Avakian.

After the Civil War, the oppression of Black people in slavery-like conditions and the enforcement of Jim Crow laws took the form of official state violence, but also the lynch mob, the Texas posse, and the KKK. Movies like Birth of a Nation glorified lynching and Klan terror as “defending traditional Southern culture and way of life”—which was a tradition and culture of slavery.

And the history of the United States is a history of wars of aggression around the world, against rival reactionary powers, and against rebellions and revolutions. The murderers are glorified as “heroes,” and the victims demonized with racist venom (as “Japs,” “Chinks,” “Gooks,” or “Sand Niggers”). George Bush II told his generals in Iraq, “Kick ass! If somebody tries to stop the march to democracy, we will seek them out and kill them!”

This “might makes right” gangster, “kick ass,” bullying “logic” and “morality” trickles down and infects this society very broadly. In the United States, all kinds of people resort to violence with guns for all kinds of reasons—and many of those reasons are very bad, including too many of the most oppressed killing each other over nothing.

But this system and its spokespeople legitimize white supremacist, male chauvinist, anti-immigrant, and racist gun violence, both by their official enforcers (like the police and army) and by vigilantes and “lone wolf” racists and reactionaries.

A number of commentators have pointed to the fact that the massacre in Charleston isn’t being treated as a terrorist attack by the media. If the killer was a Muslim, he would have been branded a terrorist. And can anyone deny that had the murderer in Charleston been Black, he would have been branded a “thug” and Black people as a whole would have been blamed and vilified? In either instance, the incident would have been used to ratchet up racist demonization and repression. And imagine if one of the recent victims of racist violence—either at the hands of police like Eric Garner, or at the hands of a racist like the person who killed Trayvon Martin—had exercised a right to armed self-defense? What do you think the authorities, or the National Rifle Association, would have to say about that?

“Gun Control” Is Not the Solution, But It Would Ratchet Up Repression

Not every gun owner is doing something bad with their gun, or planning to. And individual gun ownership and the ability to train in firearm use is actually an important right of the individual against the state, one which is upheld in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal). At the same time, right now, in capitalist-imperialist America, there is an epidemic of reactionary violence committed with guns. But what would be served by passing new laws restricting gun ownership in light of everything we’ve pointed to about the nature of this system?

First off: the police kill hundreds of people every year in the United States, many of them Black or Latino and unarmed. Is anyone advocating disarming the police? The U.S. military inflicts mass death around the world. The U.S. invasion of Iraq alone was responsible for the deaths of over a million people. Are any “gun control” advocates talking about taking the guns (and drones and nukes and poison gas) out of their hands?

And why is it that the powers-that-be, as a whole, either do not want to or do not dare move to disarm these white supremacist militias, border vigilantes, and other armed fascists? For some in the ruling class, they count on these paramilitary fascists to enforce the status quo and to be a violent force in future societal clashes, and to be ready and able to try to crush a serious attempt at a liberating revolution.

As for others in the ruling class, they don’t dare stir up the hornet’s nest that would be set off if they seriously moved to disarm these forces. People should remember a year ago when a fascist named Cliven Bundy organized all kinds of white people to take up guns to “defend his property” against the federal government and totally got away with it. What do you think would happen if Black or Latino people did anything even remotely similar in the inner cities of this country? One thing for sure—the government would not have “stood down”! (For more on the ominous implications of the Cliven Bundy incident, see “Three Outrages in Four Days in AmeriKKKa.”)

The reality is, “gun control” has historically been used and would be used as a tool for ratcheting up repression directed against the oppressed. We are not here advocating anything, but to pose a hypothetical: How do you think stricter “gun control” laws (or even the ones on the books now) would be used in a future situation where there might be legitimate resistance and self-defense against racist attacks either by police or unofficial racist vigilantes? And how would these laws be used in the event of an attempt at a revolution—under conditions that do not exist today but that could emerge?

And get real: Who do you think would be targeted for any “gun control” clampdown? We’ve already seen how so-called “Stand Your Ground” laws that set an atmosphere where a white racist could kill Trayvon Martin in Florida were applied completely differently when a Black woman defended herself and her children—by firing a warning shot into the ceiling of her own apartment―from a man who was threatening them. (See “The Whole Damn System is Guilty, Free Marissa Alexander!”)

New laws that gave the authorities—the State—more of a monopoly of control of guns would not address or solve the problem of violently enforced white supremacy. And would not be a good thing. But revolution can solve the problem of white supremacy, along with providing the basis to overcome and end all oppression and in so doing put an end to all antagonistic conflicts among people. That would be a good thing!






Revolution #392 June 22, 2015

"What Is Your Fucking Heritage?"

June 22, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader

Charleston memorial with graffiti Black Lives Matter
Protesters spray painted “Black Lives Matter” and "This is the problem #Racism" on a monument to the Confederacy in Charleston. (AP photo)

There is growing outrage, fury, and controversy over the Confederate flag flying high above the South Carolina State Capitol. Prominent voices have demanded it come down now.

I want to share two quotes with readers—one defending that flag, and another one (by Bob Avakian) calling it out for what it is.

Ben Jones, who was a Democratic congressman Georgia and played “Cooter” on the television series, The Dukes of Hazzard has been put out on the news defending that flag.

In an op-ed piece in the New York Times (June 19, 2015), among other arguments, he defends flying the Confederate flag: “To those 70 million of us whose ancestors fought for the South, it is a symbol of family members who fought for what they thought was right in their time, and whose valor became legendary in military history. This is not nostalgia. It is our legacy.”

Bob Avakian, as most readers of this paper know, is the leader of the movement for revolution and the Revolutionary Communist Party. In “RESISTANCE, REVOLUTION, AND WHAT SHOULD—AND SHOULD NOT—BE SUPPORTED,” Bob Avakian brings reality into focus on this bullshit:

A lot of these white people in the South say, “well, that flag doesn’t stand for slavery and oppression, that just stands for Southern heritage.” Well, what is your fucking heritage? Your heritage is inseparable from and is founded on slavery and oppression and the Ku Klux Klan. That is your Southern heritage. There could be no South and no Southern heritage without it.






Revolution #392 June 22, 2015

WHY we need a revolution
WHAT such a revolution would be aiming for and
HOW such a revolution could be made

June 22, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


The following are quotes from the book BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian available in print or as a free E-book





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

BAsics 1:1






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.

"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



"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

"It is important first to make clear what, in basic terms, we mean when we say the goal is revolution, and in particular communist revolution. Revolution is not some kind of change in style, or a change in attitude, nor is it merely a change in certain relations within a society which remains fundamentally the same. Revolution means nothing less than the defeat and dismantling of the existing, oppressive state, serving the capitalist-imperialist system—and in particular its institutions of organized violence and repression, including its armed forces, police, courts, prisons, bureaucracies and administrative power—and the replacement of those reactionary institutions, those concentrations of reactionary coercion and violence, with revolutionary organs of political power, and other revolutionary institutions and governmental structures, whose basis has been laid through the whole process of building the movement for revolution, and then carrying out the seizure of power, when the conditions for that have been brought into being—which in a country like the U.S. would require a qualitative change in the objective situation, resulting in a deep-going crisis in society, and the emergence of a revolutionary people in the millions and millions, who have the leadership of a revolutionary communist vanguard and are conscious of the need for revolutionary change and determined to fight for it.

"As I emphasized earlier in this talk, the seizure of power and radical change in the dominant institutions of society, when the conditions for this have been brought into being, makes possible further radical change throughout society—in the economy and economic relations, the social relations, and the politics, ideology and culture prevailing in society. The final aim of this revolution is communism, which means and requires the abolition of all relations of exploitation and oppression and all destructive antagonistic conflicts among human beings, throughout the world. Understood in this light, the seizure of power, in a particular country, is crucial and decisive, and opens the door to further radical change, and to strengthening and further advancing the revolutionary struggle throughout the world; but, at the same time, as crucial and decisive as that is, it is only the first step—or first great leap—in an overall struggle which must continue toward the final goal of this revolution: a radically new, communist world."

BAsics 3:3


"In the U.S. you have many different nationalities of people, and one of the key factors in making a revolution in this country is going to be developing the struggle, including among white people, to take on and uproot the whole history of oppression of Black people, Puerto Ricans, Chicanos, Native Americans, Asians, and so on. You are never going to make a revolution in this country without that being central and pivotal. But you're also never going to make a revolution without a vanguard that bases itself on a scientific approach to these questions—and to every other decisive question—a vanguard in which everybody contributes and struggles with each other on the basis of striving to grasp that scientific approach, and on that basis battles out what is required to make revolution and to transform society and the world, to put an end to all oppression."

BAsics 3:15


"There will never be a revolutionary movement in this country that doesn't fully unleash and give expression to the sometimes openly expressed, sometimes expressed in partial ways, sometimes expressed in wrong ways, but deeply, deeply felt desire to be rid of these long centuries of oppression [of Black people]. There's never gonna be a revolution in this country, and there never should be, that doesn't make that one key foundation of what it's all about."

BAsics 3:19

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

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—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.

Get the book here






Revolution #392 June 22, 2015

In the Wake of the Charleston Massacre:

Get Organized for an Actual Revolution!

June 22, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


We definitely support the call issued by Carl Dix and others to manifest strongly against the madness of the Charleston massacre, to build resistance to this true horror and to the whole host of other outrages and horrors that it concentrates. This is not the time for “reconciliation” with oppressors and oppression; this is the time for STANDING UP, powerfully. A major response is most definitely called for, and revolutionaries—along with all people who hate oppression and hunger for justice—cannot wait for “others” to do this! This is a time when the question, WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?, must ring out and challenge every single person who lives in this rotten-ass, stone-to-the-bone racist society.

To make these manifestations strong, they must be ORGANIZED. And they must be organized in a way that brings forward and orients, trains, and organizes people into the forces for revolution.

What, concretely, does this mean right now? First of all, we are organizing people. People are the most important thing in revolution, there is no revolution without people being brought forward and organized. Right now, people are full of thinking, even as they are searching for answers. The Charleston Massacre has struck deep inside of people, and we need to go there with them, exploring the whole reality together with them, working with (and struggling for) the scientific method and approach, and in the course of that not only coming up with creative ideas on how to build resistance as powerfully as possible and where and how to reach out, but getting a deeper understanding of reality.

Second, we are organizing people into a powerful machine to make revolution. We have to figure out, together with the people we are organizing, not only how to reach out as widely as possible to “make things happen,” but how to make the strongest possible impact on the resistance that DOES happen. The ways have to be found, as hundreds or thousands are gathering and resisting, to increase the attractive force of the movement for revolution right on the spot. This means very boldly “stepping out” in ways that let people know who we are and what we are all about, and that calls on them and gives them ways very directly to “run with” and be part of representing for (wearing T-shirts, etc.) the revolution. This will set off a whole process of strengthening the backbone of things overall, attracting more people to the revolution as they see it in action, further strengthening the struggle, and so on, in a positive dynamic.

Third, we need to follow up with people on the spot and in real-time, immediately. All this week there should be chances for people to come together to get into the revolution and get into BA in particular, talking about WHY we need a revolution, WHAT such a revolution would be aiming for, and HOW such a revolution could be made. There’s a lot of ways to begin. You could read over some key quotes in BAsics, like 1:1, 1:2, 3:1, 3:3, 3:15, and 3:19, and discuss one or more of them. You could listen together to the talk “Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy,” especially the first parts of it. You could watch, and then discuss together, the opening sections of any of the films of BA. Of course, this doesn’t have to wait for, and definitely shouldn’t be confined to, special sessions either—you meet someone in the street, or directly after a manifestation of resistance, and you sit down for coffee—whatever, this should be an all-the-time thing. And it should be interlinked with figuring out new plans to take the struggle further. But the point is that people NEED this, as a critical link in the whole process of “fighting the power, and transforming the people, for revolution.”

Finally, and just to re-emphasize, all this has to be in “real-time”—the same intense conditions that give rise to the many fronts that must be fought on and the “thousand deeds to be done” also make people’s thinking very fluid right now, and means that people can be won to a whole process of changing the world and changing their thinking, entering where they are and moving, at whatever pace, through a whole process. But they cannot—and need not—be asked to wait while someone “gets back to them.”





Revolution #392 June 22, 2015

In the Wake of the Charleston Massacre:

What We Need Is an Actual Revolution—and If You Are Serious About Revolution, You Need to Seriously Get into BA

June 22, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


WHY do outrages and horrors like the Charleston Massacre—as well as the ongoing drumbeat of murders by the police and all the other horrible oppression of Black people—go on? What makes these racists—in or out of uniform—feel that they have the right and the so-called duty to kill Black people, for no reason at all besides their Blackness? And why do these outrages not only continue, but intensify? Why, after all these years, do people not only cling to openly and outrageously racist symbols of slavery like the Confederate flag—but this is supported by powerful people in the ruling class of this country?

What is the root of the problem? How long must this go on? Can this be solved by reform—by “realizing the ideals of America”—or do we need an actual revolution? And if we do need a revolution, then what kind of revolution is needed to put an end to the problem? What would this revolution do? And how could such a revolution be made?

There is nobody who has done the work on these questions as deeply, all-sidedly, and scientifically as Bob Avakian (BA), as part of his all-round body of work going into all the questions of the revolution. If any of these questions come to your mind—if you care at all about thinking through what REALLY needs to be done—then it’s critical that you get into and engage the work he’s done.

You can begin with BAsics, the revolutionary handbook of quotations from BA. Or you can start with any of the filmed speeches of BA (BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!; REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN; Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About)—all of which get very deeply into this. You can listen to the talk “Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy,” which shows how deeply embedded this oppression is in the economic relations, the political system, and the cultural mindset and psychology of America—and how neither this oppression, nor any other form of oppression, can be ended within the confines of American democracy. You can read this work as well in pamphlet form. You can listen to the radio interview Cornel West did with Bob Avakian. There is the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, which lays out in detail how the revolution can and will solve this. There is also the Party’s statement on the whole history of the oppression of Black people and the struggle against that oppression, rooted in the framework developed by BA. Of great immediate relevance, BA has also done a tremendous amount of work on how the current polarization in the U.S.—where the fascists and racists have initiative, where people with better inclinations are passive and confused—could be reversed into one favorable for actually making revolution to do away with ALL oppression (see, for instance, “The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution,” and “Unresolved Contradictions, Driving Forces for Revolution”). There is all the work that has been done on revolutionary strategy, also in this framework—this includes the Party’s statement “On the Strategy for Revolution,” and the work “On the Possibility of Revolution,” which lays out the basic strategic conception and approach for actually winning an all-out struggle for power, at a time when there is a revolutionary crisis and a revolutionary people numbering in the millions and millions.

These works form an important part of BA’s whole body of work—his new synthesis of communism which covers, among other things, the scientific method for understanding and changing the world; internationalism; the strategic approach to revolution; and building the new society.

This theory lights the way out of the darkness. Find out about it; get into it; take it up.






Revolution #392 June 22, 2015

Cornel West & Carl Dix Call for a Major National Manifestation Against Police Terror

#RiseUpOctober 24 to STOP Police Terror
Which Side are You On?

Come to New York City!

Updated September 18, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Call for Rise Up October pdf download


Michael Brown...Freddie Gray... Rekia Boyd... Andy Lopez...Tamir Rice

One after another—and so many others, precious Black and Brown lives—victims of police murder. We think of their faces, and furiously ache for justice. Over 1,000 people a year killed by police—yet since 2005, less than 60 indictments, less than 25 convictions! 1

Millions languish in prison, generation after generation, Black and Latino brothers and sisters. The spearpoint of a whole matrix of oppression.

People have struggled, resisted, risen up. This must go on and go further—all summer, in many different ways, intensifying.

At the same time, these repeated outrages cry out for a major, national manifestation this fall that states very clearly:


This demonstration will be resistance-based, uncompromising in spirit and, at the same time, pluralistic and diverse, involving hundreds of thousands of people, reaching into every corner of this society and powerfully impacting the whole world.

History has shown that no significant change has been won without mass determined resistance.

We refuse to be derailed by promises of reform that are merely that: promises.

We refuse to be intimidated by government repression or by threats from forces of open and unrepentant racism and fascism. We will respond to the urgency of the political situation by mobilizing hundreds of thousands of people to take to the streets to say these horrors must stop.

We aim to amplify the many forms of resistance against police murder and mass incarceration. More important, we aim to change the whole social landscape, to the point where a growing section of people all over take ever-increasing initiative and make it unmistakably clear that they refuse to live in a society that sanctions this outrage, and where those who do NOT feel this way are put on the defensive.

Join us—on October 24 in the streets of New York City.


Initiated by Carl Dix, Revolutionary Communist Party & Dr. Cornel West, author and educator

Initiating Endorsers include family members of those whose lives were taken by police:

Click here to see initial endorsers.





Revolution #392 June 22, 2015

Videos and Pictures from Revolutionary Summer Solstice, June 20-21

Updated June 29, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


On the weekend of June 20-21, people in cities across the country kicked off the summer by taking revolution and Bob Avakian, BA, to the people in an atmosphere of charged political ferment, and questioning. (See the call for Revolutionary Summer Solstice here.) Here are two videos—one of Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party, and the other of Andy Zee of Revolution Books in NYC—and scenes from the weekend in some of the cities.



The following is an excerpt from remarks by the MC at the June 21 Revolutionary Summer! Picnic and Talent Show in New York City, as part of the Revolutionary Summer Solstice weekend.


It seems like it’s a time that’s very important right now in the world. And how we’re thinking and what we’re doing is very important. It really matters because we can keep going in one direction—which as we’ve seen, and we keep seeing, for the masses of people is really horrible, and just an absolute horror. I mean, you can see this, just this poster [pointing to the Stolen Lives poster with the faces and names of dozens of people murdered by police], which has been out in a lot of marches and stuff. And all these faces, these human beings, their lives taken away from them... Domestic violence. People’s lives being stolen by cops. And lives crushed and dreams crushed by capitalism. And people are thinking about this... Thinking about how do we end this. I see a lot of it on social media. I’m sure most of us do. And yesterday, a friend of mine posted a poster, I guess from the ’60s, with a fist. It was a red poster with a black fist. And there was an address and a phone number at the bottom of the poster, for contacting Fred Hampton.* And she wrote: “Where are our leaders?” Well, we have that leadership. We have a leader that not only has immense compassion for human beings. Uncompromising compassion. Who actually has dedicated his life to studying what Carl Dix was talking about—what’s happening in the world, what are the root causes of this, and how do we get to solving these problems. That leader is Bob Avakian. And we really need more and more people to delve into this work, spread it—so we can stop fighting the good fight, remaining in this system, and actually get out of it to something better.

* Fred Hampton was the leader of the Black Panther Party in Illinois, who was assassinated in 1969 by Chicago police in a FBI COINTELPRO operation. [back]


Los Angeles - Revolutionary Summer Solstice - June 20-21

Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles - Revolutionary Summer Solstice - June 20-21

Los Angeles, California

Oakland - Revolutionary Summer Solstice - June 20-21

Oakland, California

Harlem - Revolutionary Summer Solstice - June 20-21

Harlem, New York City, New York

Seattle - Revolution Summer Solstice - June 20-21

Seattle, Washington






Revolution #392 June 22, 2015

From The Michael Slate Show

Interview with Diana Whitten, Director of the Film Vessel

June 22, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


The documentary film Vessel takes you onboard as the Women on Waves project takes to the seas to bring women the knowledge and tools to help them exercise the “most basic right” to control when and if they have children. The project was founded by a Dutch doctor who was appalled by the situation women faced in countries where abortion is illegal. She applied her experience on a Greenpeace ship to organize a crew of (mainly) women to outfit an onboard clinic to provide medical abortions to women on the high seas. A medical abortion is a safe non-surgical abortion in which drugs (Mifepristone and Misoprosto) are used to abort a fetus. The film itself explains the science and availability of the pills that are needed to safely medically abort. The following is an interview with Diana Whitten, director/producer of Vessel, on The Michael Slate Show on June 12.


Michael Slate: I have the privilege of talking to Diana Whitten, producer and director of the film Vessel. Diana, welcome to the show.

Diana Whitten: Thank you for having me.

Michael Slate: Tell us a little more about Dr. Gomperts, what she does and how she got into it.

Diana Whitten: Sure. So, she lives in the Netherlands, and she is an abortion provider by trade, and an artist. And in the year 2000, she came up with this idea that she could make use of this very interesting geopolitical construct called the “off-shore,” which traditionally, in most countries, is 12 miles off-shore. Once you hit that space in a ship, you answer to the laws of the country where that ship is registered. In the Netherlands, abortion is legal, so in off-shore waters, she can legally provide abortions on the ship, which she turns into a project that she called Women on Waves. So the project began as this ship that would sail to countries where abortion is illegal, where she could provide the abortion pills to poor women who needed help and couldn’t get help in countries where abortion was illegal. So, that’s what she designed.

Michael Slate: It was interesting, because when she started Women on Waves, she talked about seeing the ship as a symbol. Can you talk about that a little?

Diana Whitten: Sure, yeah. I mean, it is a symbol. To begin with, like she said in the trailer we just heard, “a symbol of freedom.” And she goes on in that quote to say that traditionally it’s been a male domain and here it is women occupying that symbol in a creative and refreshing and challenging way. And then as her project progressed over the years, the ship, everywhere it went, it encountered various antagonists that prevented it from accomplishing its goals; everything from religious protesters to governments. The government of Portugal, in 2004, sent two warships to stop the ship from coming into the Portuguese harbor. At that point in time, she decided to go on television, essentially, and instruct women, on this live television show, how to find a pill called Misoprostol, which was available over the counter, and how to take it themselves to induce abortion, in a protocol that has since been sanctioned by the World Health Organization. So in that sense, the ship became much more of a spectacle in itself in order to draw attention to the medical information that they could give by a hotline and website that people would know about because of the ship arriving in the harbor and being reported on and such. So, it’s a symbol in that sense, as well.

Michael Slate: You know, it’s interesting. Did you say it was Portugal where she actually turned the tables on what they thought was a full-scale assault on her and going to shut her up? Was it Portugal?

Diana Whitten: Yes

Michael Slate: That was so incredible because Portugal—I mean, the Portuguese assaulted them with battleships.

Diana Whitten: They were warships. And, you know, it accomplished the opposite of their goals, because whereas prior to that moment there had been some cracks [in media coverage] about the ship, as soon as there were warships stopping it from coming in, there were hundreds of international articles about it. So, it was a ballsy move on everyone’s part and it definitely was the first time that any organization had given information about self-inducing abortion directly to women. Normally, and globally, that’s something that always happens by a doctor and by a medical hierarchy. So, it was really the first time that someone said this is this information and it’s there for you to use, but you’re not going to be given the gold standard of medical care.

Michael Slate: Let’s step back a little bit further because when she first started this, she refers to the fact that she was in Greenpeace and that she was volunteering as a doctor in Greenpeace and she was basically moved, from what she saw around the world, to start concentrating on this question of abortion and being able to find a way to give women safe abortions.

Diana Whitten: That’s right. She described the experience of having grown up in the Netherlands which, similar to the United States, has had, up until recent years, Roe v. Wade protecting our access to abortion. The Netherlands is similar—in fact, more liberal with its laws. So, when she joined Greenpeace and started touring as a medic on board the Greenpeace ship, the Rainbow Warrior, a notorious ship in itself, she encountered for the first time what the realities for women were like who were living in countries where there was no legal access to abortion. It made such an impression on her that she knew she couldn’t proceed in the medical world without doing something about it.

Michael Slate: It was very moving because you did a really interesting thing with the film, because throughout the film you put up, you throw up some of the comments, some quotes from some of the letters and telegrams and things that she gets from some of the women around the world. And they were incredibly powerful. When you’re watching this and you’re getting this and you’re seeing this woman who’s daring to stand up and, you know, it’s so incredible because she’s full of energy and looks like somebody in Greenpeace, OK? And yet she’s standing up and just taking on the lion. It’s really incredibly inspiring.

Diana Whitten: Yeah, she’s a special person. She’s one of those charismatic leader types that comes around every so often and knows exactly what things to do. She was fun to film for that reason; a tornado of energy, for sure. Kept me on my toes filming her for seven years.

Michael Slate: Wait a minute; did you say, “filming her for seven years”?

Diana Whitten: Off and on. It was seven years to make the film, so two of those years we were editing and only doing pick-ups. It really was a long process. It was my first film so I really had to learn on the job, kind of, you know, how to do all the various elements of film production. But yeah, it was a learning process.

Michael Slate: It was your first film?

Diana Whitten: That’s correct.

Michael Slate: OK, Diana. You learned really well! That’s a hell of a film.

Diana Whitten: I had a lot of good help.

Michael Slate: One of the things I read about Dr. Gomperts was that basically she also had this enthusiasm, she had this drive, she had this vision, but she also tried to reach out and unite as many people as broadly as possible as she could for financing, for designing, for building it. That was a really important approach as the whole campaign developed, wasn’t it?

Diana Whitten: Yeah. I mean, I can speak to my own experience with that, which was that I met her, like we were just saying, before I had made a film. She saw something in me that I didn’t even know yet. Honestly, I mean, to entrust someone with their story the way she entrusted me with her story was a huge leap of faith. And I think that in that sense, in my experience, she does live her creed, which is to trust women. That could be extended to trust people. I think we see that in our best leaders when they really know how to delegate, basically, and know how to make their projects stronger by incorporating people that can bring new things. So that was my experience. Yep.

Michael Slate: The other thing that is really important, and I was just talking with those two young women earlier about the need to take on patriarchy and all of its forms and every way it shows up. And one of the things you showed very importantly and very sharply, was the rabid patriarchal misogyny that confronted this ship and confronted Dr. Gomperts everywhere she went. It was incredibly important that people see this actually in its vicious reality. I thought it was great that you were able to film that and present it in the way that you did.

Diana Whitten: Some of the places where I was present where we landed were extremely volatile situations, not in the sense that I felt my personal safety was at risk, but I do feel like maybe there's a certain amount of naïveté that goes into the protection of the camera. Like, I’m going to film you; maybe you won't hurt me. But I think Rebecca also thrives. There's a certain adrenaline that kicks in when you're faced with the anti-abortion forces. However, I will also add that the film, it was a “foreign story.” I thought it was about these other countries that had this sort of patriarchal violent approach to women's culture. And the surprise eight years later, it's become a local story. This is as much about our country as it is about anywhere else in the world. And quite frankly, our country is one of the most violent, if not the most violent country when it comes to how we view and treat our abortion providers and our clinics. Other countries don't bomb them and kill doctors. So it really put things into perspective when you start thinking about Texas.

Michael Slate: Very good point. And you think about the whole way that this comes down. That is the point about the patriarchy in this country and the need for people here to stand up and do something about this. It's a moral imperative facing men and women, the need to stand up and do something about this, to do the right thing about this.

Diana Whitten: I think especially with the reproductive rights movement. It's been on the defensive for so long, for good reason. But what was so refreshing for me about Women on Waves and Rebecca's work is that it's on the offensive. And it's just fueled by this refusal to self-censor or apologize for the “A” word or anything. It's very straightforward and direct, to the extent of having some fun with their work. You know, God forbid, helping women have access to safe health care should be fun. But the other thing that she offers, what I take away from their story, is to really think outside the box, and how you can do that, and be as creative as you can. Because what's more absurd than giving abortions on a ship? It's a completely ridiculous idea. And she made it work. So if that's a viable answer, then there are more absurd viable answers that you can have a lot of fun thinking of.

Michael Slate: And it's especially fun to be jamming that stake in the eye of the monster. Let's talk about one other thing here, too. You also document the transition—and I don’t know if you can call it a transition, because I read that they're continuing Women on Waves, but they also have Women on Web. Let's talk about what that is and where that came from.

Diana Whitten: So when the warships stopped them coming into Portugal, she went on television and gave information about Misoprostol, which in countries where abortion is illegal, Misoprostol is an anti-gastric ulcer medication that you can take over the counter to induce abortion. That's gone on to be codified by the World Health Organization and other international medical organizations as not the gold standard of abortion care, but a viable option if there's no other option.

Now, in our clinics, like Planned Parenthood and what not, if you have a medical abortion, they give you two pills. The second one is Misoprostol, and the first pill, which is the abortion pill, used together is well into 99 percent effectiveness, super safe.

So with that as background, when she went on the television show to give this information out, they started getting hundreds of emails, writing to them saying, well the ship's not coming to my country, can you help me get these pills? How do I get these pills? Can you send me these pills? And over the course of the next couple of years, a sister organization called Women on Web was developed, at which women from all over the world, anywhere where abortion is illegal, can write to Women on Web and request a medical abortion by mail. So they will either send the information or the actual pills. To date, the statistics that are in the film is over 100,000 emails were answered by Women on Web in 2012 alone. And it's just growing and growing.

They're not yet answering requests from women in the United States, because technically we still have Roe v. Wade, but now with over half the country living in a situation that's considered hostile to abortion, by a recent Guttmacher Institute study, it's not like we don't have the same need here as women do in countries where they don't have Roe v. Wade.

Michael Slate: One thing I was impressed with was when Rebecca Gomperts was asked about helping women in the U.S., she said something it's important for people to take seriously. She said, look, you have these laws that allow abortion to be legal, supposedly. And even though they're getting cut back, you still have this basic ground that you can work on. But she also said that people here have to stand up and do this themselves as well. I thought that was a really important point around what she's done. Everywhere she's gone, she's left behind a crew of people who become organizers and warriors themselves in relation to all this.

Diana Whitten: For sure. One of the original criticisms of her project was, you're bringing abortion to these countries, which is laughable, because abortion is as old as sex. So it was really more about her bringing energy to groups that are already working on the ground to make abortion more safe. You're exactly right. I sort of see it as like this ship's wake of energized activism and radicalized activists that can take lessons similar to the one I've taken from her, which is come up with something great. It was what I was attempting with the film itself, which is a piece of—I might call it art—designed to both mobilize audiences that see it but also serve as a Trojan horse for the same medical information that she's trying to spread around the world.

Michael Slate: I couldn't agree with you more. And it's a beautiful piece of art, and don't ever denigrate it. It has the ability to influence the way people think and to change things. I want people to realize something. There are over 22 million women living in restrictive countries who are forced to receive illegal and unsafe abortions. And out of those 22 million people, at least 47,000 die each year. This is an incredible crime that's being perpetrated against half of humanity. The dehumanization and the degradation of women that's concentrated in this is really intolerable and people do have to stand up against this.

Your film premiered in Texas, which I thought was great.

Diana Whitten: It was good for us because you could see the State House, the one where Wendy Davis gave her filibuster, from the theater where it premiered. So in terms of symbolism, it was a perfect place to be. It was our premiere and we came home with an audience award and a special jury citation. So it was a great way to start the trajectory of the film. It was also a lot of fun because we worked with a lot of activist groups on the ground to help us launch it, to get people into the audiences. It was a great partner-building opportunity for the film, too.

Michael Slate: It seems to be a struggle to get this film out into major theaters all across the country. It's something people have to not tolerate.

Diana Whitten: We had a theatrical release in New York City, and we had a limited theatrical run in San Francisco. And we are on iTunes and other video-on-demand platforms, and we're also on Netflix streaming in 30 countries, including ours. So it's had a good digital start, and we did have a bit of a theatrical run. But we're also in the midst of a screening campaign, which has been wonderful. And that's more based on our network of partners and activists, and anyone who would like to host a screening of the film can do so by writing to us at our website, which is And we'll walk you through and help you host a screening for any audience large or small.

Michael Slate: You made a comment once, that laws never prevent abortion. And it's linked up with this question of Trust Women. Laws never prevent abortion. Can you talk about that and then link it up to this whole question of Trust Women and why it's so important that that's on the cutting edge of things?

Diana Whitten: Yeah, laws don't prevent abortion. They never have. The only thing that laws prevent is safe abortion. So they're going to happen anyway. You see that specifically in the world. The number of abortions happening in countries where it's legal versus where it's illegal are the same. So you know that it's higher and it's not being reported. So it's really about keeping it safe. And I think in terms of connecting that idea of Trust Women, it's about the network, the information that's always passed between women in any capacity, whether it's whispered in a flea market or shared on blogs. It's just about increasing the knowledge about the possibilities to counter these people that want to stop it from being safe because of power issues or whatever. It's about working better at networking, and empowerment because of that.





Revolution #392 June 22, 2015

From The Michael Slate Show

A Summer of Taking Patriarchy by Storm

June 22, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Stop Patriarchy has called for a summer—leading into the fall—of actions: Summer 2015—Take Patriarchy by Storm! Women are not bitches, hos, punching bags, sex objects, or breeders, women are FULL HUMAN BEINGS. STOP the Patriarchal Degradation, Dehumanization, and Subjugation of All Women Everywhere, and All Oppression Based on Gender or Sexual Orientation! As they say, “Join with Stop Patriarchy this summer to take this message everywhere—deep into the communities of the oppressed, out to concerts and festivals, and right up in the face of the biggest woman-haters.” This kicks off on the weekend of June 27-28 with chapters going out to Gay Pride events across the country. Then on July 1, there is a call for nationwide demonstrations against the new anti-abortion laws and restrictions scheduled to go into effect in Kansas and Tennessee. In early August (date TBA), Stop Patriarchy is calling on people from across the country to join them in Jackson, Mississippi, the site of the only remaining abortion clinic in the entire state. Stop Patriarchy will also bring the message of all-the-way women’s liberation to the hot mix in Baltimore (dates to be announced). And looking toward the fall, on college and high school campuses across the country there will be a National Student Day of Action to END THE ENSLAVEMENT AND DEGRADATION OF WOMEN IN EVERY FORM!

On June 12, Michael Slate interviewed Alex Petersburg and Riley Ruiz, two members of End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women, about Stop Patriarchy’s summer campaign.


Michael Slate: In Texas, there were a bunch of court rulings that went back and forth last year, and the last one put a stay on a bunch of decisions that were made, and allowed the abortion clinics in Texas to remain open. And right now, the court ruled again and upheld the assault on abortion rights. Almost all of the abortion clinics in Texas will be closed, which is horrifying and homicidal. Joining us to talk about this are Alex Petersburg and Riley Ruiz, two members of End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women.

Alex, tell us what happened in Texas.

Alex Petersburg: What happened in Texas this week was the fortification of a lot of attacks in 2013 in Texas, a combination of laws, actually, under the banner of HB2, really a vicious package of laws that are designed to restrict access and make it impossible for women to get this really basic right, this really important service that allows them to decide nothing less than the direction of their lives.

The most contested piece of it has been the ambulatory surgical center law, which has now been picked up in a lot of different states. This is a law that requires only abortion clinics to outfit themselves like mini-emergency rooms. These can be $3 million renovations that most abortion clinics can’t afford. And it’s not just that they can’t afford them, but this is a very simple and safe procedure, abortion. And this is a standard that’s being required of abortion clinics beyond any other kind of outpatient facility.

Michael Slate: Riley, what’s the actual concrete effect that this is going to have on abortion clinics and on women in Texas?

Riley Ruiz: Basically this is going to force all but likely eight clinics in the entire state to close. So that means that between 900,000 and a million women are going to be more than 150 miles from the nearest clinic. Particularly in El Paso and the whole western part of Texas, it’s just going to be completely empty as far as abortion clinics. As far as a round trip for a woman from El Paso, it’s going to be over 1,000 miles to the nearest clinic. That is going to be an impossibility for so many women, and especially poor women where you have to drive all that way, you have to stay for a certain amount of time. It’s going to be impossible. This is going to have devastating effects on nearly a million women in that state.

Abortion Rights Freedom Riders at Austin TX Courthouse

Abortion Rights Freedom Riders at Austin, Texas courthouse, August 2014.

Alex Petersburg: Last year, Stop Patriarchy and others called on people around the country to head out to Texas where this last piece of HB2 was being challenged by heroic local providers. It is within the last week that it’s been settled by the 5th Circuit Court that there will be these vast expanses of space between clinics. But over the summer, we were there bringing out the message that women need abortion on demand and without apology—nothing less than that, or they won’t be able to determine the direction of their lives. We were supporting the clinics, we were calling on people to really pour into the streets in independent political resistance, not to rely on the official electoral process that has really proven disastrous in recent decades, not to take leadership from those in the Democratic Party—those in power who are more and more shying away from even using the word “abortion,” who are more and more ceding the moral high ground to the anti-abortion movement. But to actually get out into the streets, tell the truth about abortion: Fetuses are not babies, women are not incubators, and abortion isn’t murder. Because it’s nothing less than really changing the terms, going out and demanding abortion on demand and without apology. that has the potential to change this whole anti-abortion machine, which ultimately has been all about controlling women.

Michael Slate: Riley, we talked to you last year when you were on the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride, and it was very heavy, what was going on at the time. And you think about this, where people are saying, now it goes to the Supreme Court and they’re hoping the Supreme Court issues a stay against this ruling and then they vote against the ruling. But the likelihood of that happening is very small, especially if people are just standing around hoping for that.

Riley Ruiz: We call this an abortion rights emergency. It’s happening across the country. This year alone, 330 new laws have been introduced, 50 of which have already been passed. The restrictions are getting worse and worse. They’re attempting to ban abortions earlier on in the pregnancy. You have this situation in Kansas where they are going to put a ban—the law has already passed—they’re putting a ban on the most common and safe procedure for performing an abortion after the first trimester of pregnancy. This is going to set a precedent. And it’s just so unacceptable that this is happening, and like you’re saying, there’s not, in society as a whole, a fierce battle being waged against this.

This whole war on women is about slamming women back, about controlling women, about putting women back into the days where they were seen and treated in society as nothing more than mere breeders. And that is what we see is on us right now, really raising a fierce battle throughout society to do exactly what Alex is saying—changing the terms, bringing people out into the streets in mass, independent political resistance. Because that is actually what is needed right now, and especially as you’re saying, it cannot just be within the courts and just sort of waiting for them to do maybe the right thing. It’s going to be up to people to be out in the streets putting their bodies on the line like we’ve done for the past two summers with the Abortion Rights Freedom Rides. It needs to grow exponentially, especially right now. They are getting away with this, and they’re just slamming women back more and more and doing these things like a ban on the best practice in terms of second trimester abortions. There is no need for this. It has nothing to do with health or safety for women. It has everything to do with controlling women. For anyone who wants to see a future worth living for half of humanity, it’s time to stand up and step out.

Michael Slate: There’s a serious moral imperative there. It’s one of those moments in life where history pivots on what people do or don’t do. That’s important for people to understand. There’s a brand new campaign coming up, called Take Patriarchy by Storm. Let’s talk about that. You can start off, Alex.

Alex Petersburg: It’s just a tragic fact that everywhere you go, and everywhere you look, here and around the world, women are degraded and disrespected. Women are treated like objects and tools—tools for making babies, tools for getting off. There’s no place in the world where it’s safe to be a woman. We’re fighting against this whole push against the right to abortion, the right for women to decide the direction of their futures, because this is an unprecedented attack. But looking at the big picture, we at Stop Patriarchy, we’re a group for anybody and everybody who looks out at the world and is deeply disturbed, maybe in the way that you talk to your friends about it. Maybe in the way that you keep it to yourself because it’s so normalized and you don’t necessarily know who to talk to, but look out at the world and see that there’s a war on women. There’s a huge push for revenge against any semblance of rights that women have won in recent decades.

So Taking Patriarchy by Storm is going to be a summer of doing exactly that: going out in public, just confronting every way in which women are degraded, women are objectified. You mentioned the full name of this initiative, End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women. So it’s important that people see, when it comes to this whole push against abortion, this is a push backwards towards female enslavement. This is a movement that’s being led by fascists and fanatics, being led by fundamentalists and terrorists. And if we can see that for what it is, we can start to understand the need to actually step out and tell the truth—the truth that can resonate with a lot of people and bring people into this fight. But there’s another front of the attack on women in this country and around the world around sexual objectification, sex trafficking, and all the ways in which pornography has become increasingly mainstreamed at the same time as it’s increasingly disgusting and degrading and about humiliation and portraying women as powerless and submissive. These are all aspects of our culture that are way too accepted right now. In a sense, there’s a sort of vacuum of mass resistance that we’re calling on everyone around this country and the world to step into at this moment. Because it is a fact that anybody who knows a woman, or who knows women and their lives, as more than a supporting character in life or a decoration, has an obligation at this point to see this incredibly violent, incredibly degrading backwards push that has the backing of the government, that has the backing of the patriarchal system, to call it out, to bring others in and to fight to end this whole war on women.

Michael Slate: Riley, let’s talk about this campaign a little more, because as I understand it, it’s calling for the unleashing of people and people coming together in all these different cities and towns all over the country to stand up against this. There’s some very specific actions that have been called. July 1, for example.


San Francisco, January 2015

Read the call for protest here.

Riley Ruiz: First of all, we’re waging mass independent political resistance all over the country. We want to model something where there are actions popping up everywhere all over the country. We have chapters in some of the major cities in the country, but it needs to be a situation where what we are doing out in those major cities is unleashing people all throughout the country. July 1 is going to be a nodal point in the summer where we’re calling on people to pour into the streets. July 1 is going to be a day where in Tennessee a law that has already been passed—once again the ambulatory surgical center requirement—is going to force half of the clinics in Tennessee to shut down. And it’s, again, devastating effects for the women there. And July 1 is a day for people to come out and say we are not just going to let this stand and allow these restrictions to be put into place this way without a fierce battle against it. And, like, we’re speaking to changing the terms of this. Because look, when these restrictions, they just keep being passed, so you have a situation where most people right now just don’t understand the huge stakes of this and are being very confused by this because all these laws are being passed under the guise of health and safety for women when it’s not at all about that. It is all about slamming women back and controlling women’s lives.

So it is just absolutely necessary for people to put themselves out there, to tell the truth about this, to put their bodies on the line because that is just what is demanded of us right now. So July 1 is going to be a day for people all over the country to take to the streets and demand abortion on demand and without apology, and we are not going to allow women to be slammed back in this way, treated as nothing more than breeders.

Michael Slate: Let’s talk about some of the other initiatives that are going on in relation to this whole campaign. I understand there’s one that’s really interesting to me, which is the call to bring the fight against patriarchy into the hot mix in Baltimore.

Alex Petersburg: I was just going to say, a lot of people across society have taken inspiration in recent months, for good reason, around the fight to stop police murder. A lot of this is happening under the banner of Black Lives Matter. For so long, people either learned to accept or were forced to accept Black people being treated as less than human by the police in this country. And the recent surge of resistance is exactly what’s needed on that front. It’s exactly what’s needed on the front of women’s liberation as well—massive, independent political resistance. In a time where people are really lifting their heads, challenging whether or not they really have to accept these atrocities that are really crimes against humanity inflicted on people under this system. It’s a very important time. Heading into Baltimore, and also just heading into neighborhoods across the country where people are asking the right kinds of questions. Do we have to live in a world where on the one hand, 2.2 million people are locked up, the largest prison population in the entire world, in this country? Is this something that we have to accept? Or could we actually dream of liberation? Could we dream of the kind of resistance and ultimately, from my perspective, the kind of revolution that could put an end to a system that just perpetuates crime after crime against humanity? Is there something else that we could be fighting for?

And in this moment where people are refusing the accept the kind of brutality against Black and Latino people, it’s important, as people are calling all of this into question, what it is that we have to put up with, that people have to take into account, that women are half of humanity. This is one of the most normalized forms of oppression that people just think is human nature, that men treat women like animals or like tools, or that there’s always going to be rape as an epidemic in society. These things are just not true. These things are the result of systemic, egregious crimes against the people in this country, and the people around the world.

Going into Baltimore, going into neighborhoods where people are lifting their heads and asking those questions, we see it as both an opportunity and also as an obligation for people who care about the future of women, in a moment like this, to bring out the reality that women are half of humanity. Women are full human beings. Women are not any of the things that you hear in mainstream music. Women are not objects as they are seen splayed across the billboards and in the mainstream. But that we could fight for a completely different kind of society where all people are treated like human beings.





Revolution #392 June 22, 2015

Appreciating Ornette Coleman:
Jazz Visionary, Cultural Rebel

June 22, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman, 2007. (Photo: AP)

The world has lost a towering artistic innovator of the 20th century. Ornette Coleman, the alto saxophonist and composer, was 85 when he died of a heart attack on June 11 in New York City.

Ornette Coleman will be remembered as one of the Great Jazz Masters. But he was much more than this. He rewrote the language of jazz. He changed how people think about, compose, and play music; how people listen to and experience music. He was a great and pathbreaking innovator who had a profound effect not only in the world of jazz, but more broadly in art and culture.

Ornette Coleman was an artist of the times who was also ahead of the times. And he was a catalyst for radical experimentation in the arts. Coming onto the scene in the late 1950s and early 1960s, his music was, as an old Chinese saying puts it, a “wind in the tower that heralds an approaching storm.” His music was at one and the same time denounced and embraced. It was controversial and polarizing. It was a cultural manifesto, reflecting the unraveling of 1950s conformism and the rising struggle of Black people against oppression. And it connected with and inspired different strands of unorthodoxy, upheaval, and rebellion in society. Ornette declared the import and place in history of his music and a new defiant attitude in the titles of his early albums: The Shape of Jazz to Come, Change of the Century, and This Is Our Music.

The Shock of the New

Ornette Coleman was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and took up the saxophone when he was 14 years old. He played in local groups and traveling bands in the South, mainly swing, blues, and some bebop. Then in the early 1950s, he moved to Los Angeles and eventually brought together a group of great musicians who helped him define his music—trumpeters Don Cherry and Bobby Bradford, drummers Ed Blackwell and Billy Higgins, and bassist Charlie Haden.

Ornette Coleman Quartet 1960 - Don Cherry (cornet), Ornette Coleman (alto sax), Charlie Haden (bass), Billy Higgins (drums) playing “Ramblin’”

In 1959, things really took off when the Ornette Coleman Quartet (Cherry, Haden, Higgins, Coleman) went to New York City for what became a two-and-a-half-month-gig at the Five Spot Café. The quartet’s stint at the Five Spot was a turning point in the history of jazz—considered by many to be the beginning of what came to be known as Free Jazz.

This was a jazz liberated from traditional structures and conventions—being created at a time when the call and struggle for freedom was taking hold in U.S. society.

The music was immediately controversial. Some in the audience were captivated, others repelled. One New York Times critic wrote that he found Coleman’s playing “shrill, meandering, and pointlessly repetitious.” Some got up, leaving unfinished drinks behind, while others were mesmerized. It became hip not only for other musicians but also many journalists and artists to come hear the group play.

One man came every night, getting up near the stage, leaning in close to the musicians. At one point, Charlie Haden, the band’s bass player, looked over at Ornette and said, “Who is this motherfucker? What is he doing? Tell him to back off.” And Coleman said, “Man, don’t you know who that is? That’s Leonard Bernstein!” (the famous classical conductor and composer). Indeed this music demanded the attention of anyone who considered themselves on the cutting edge of art—and night after night musicians, writers, artists, and others packed the club to hear, like it or not, music no one had ever heard before.

At this time other jazz musicians like John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Thelonious Monk were also breaking new ground in jazz, and Ornette brought into this mix shocking sounds and musical concepts that challenged conventional swing and bebop jazz of previous decades. His music became a flashpoint for intense arguments about the very validity of avant-garde jazz. Well-known jazz musicians attacked Ornette’s music, saying it wasn’t even jazz. But others were provoked and inspired, and Ornette’s music had a profound impact on other musicians. In 1961 John Coltrane said that the 12 minutes he had spent on stage with Coleman amounted to “the most intense moment of my life.” (New York Times, obituary, June 12, 2015)

Album cover, "The Shape of Jazz to Come"

Ornette Coleman’s music was the product of all kinds of musical and cultural influences. But his ground zero was blues and jazz, which has been indelibly stamped with the oppression of Black people in this country. And Ornette’s journey as a maverick artist and as a Black man in racist AmericaKKKa was also part of what shaped his music. He told stories of being beaten up—sometimes he didn’t know if it was because he was a Black man or the way he played, or both. There is the time early on, when a white man came up to him after a performance in Texas and said, “Say, boy, you can really play saxophone. I imagine where you come from they call you mister, don’t they... but you’re still a nigger to me.” (Ornette Coleman, The Harmolodic Life) He was threatened by racist sheriffs in Mississippi and then, after arriving in Los Angeles in the early 1950s, he noted, “All Negroes that cops haven’t seen before are stopped and searched.”

Experimental Sounds in Radical Times

Coleman challenged tradition and convention and, as with so many great innovators more generally, he was constantly creating new controversy, drawing detractors as well as followers. His music, like avant-garde paintings at the time, was called abstract—seen by some as a liberating breath of fresh air, and by others as a fake and a sham. For a good part of his life Ornette had to fight to just get recognition as a serious and legitimate artist.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Ornette Coleman released more than 30 albums and he was part of, was influenced by, and impacted the avant-garde scene of radical innovations in music, art, film, and other cultural expressions. This was a time of political upheaval and struggle with big changes in people’s thinking, with young people especially questioning tradition and open to new ways of doing and thinking about everything.

In 1972, Ornette Coleman released an album of a big concert piece he had written titled “Skies of America” that he performed with the London Symphony Orchestra. I had just graduated from Berkeley High and had been swept up in the exciting tumult of the times—People’s Park, the antiwar movement, the Black Panthers. But I had also been into music as well—playing in the Berkeley High band, orchestra, and even the pit band for a performance of West Side Story. I had mainly listened to what at the time we called “soul music” and only later got into jazz because a roommate of mine was really into it.

Sometime after this, I don’t remember exactly when, I was in a record store and came across the album Skies of America. I had no idea who Ornette Coleman was, but the very idea of a symphony orchestra playing with a saxophone caught my attention. And then there was the album cover. It had the red, white, and blue stars and stripes of the American flag; above this, clouds and what looked to me like a swarm of vulture-ish birds picking at the flag. I didn’t know what the artists meant to convey but some birds were white, some blue, and the red ones looked bloody. The list of musical pieces was also intriguing, like: “Native Americans,” “Birthdays and Funerals,” “The Artist in America,” “Foreigner in a Free Land,” “The Men Who Live in the White House,” and “The Military.”

Ornette Coleman, “Skies of America,” 1972

I bought the album, took it home, put it on my turntable. I had played and listened to symphony music for years, since elementary school. But as we used to say back then, this “blew my mind.” Symphony music I had never heard before. First the full orchestra playing loud, clashing, dissonant notes, then after a while Ornette comes in with his alto saxophone—I think he’s playing a plastic one here—and it’s completely insane! It does sound like a toy saxophone, it does sound way out of tune, the rhythms are crazy. It fits right in, or I should say, clashes right in with, the whole orchestra which had been playing in a seemingly chaotic and off-pitch way. Ornette is wailing, bleating, honking. And the more he plays the more the dissonance of the full orchestra just seems to actually complement him. It is magnificent! This was right with the times—when people were not only rebelling against the status quo but also exploring and creating liberating, new things in different spheres of life.

Free Jazz and the Sound of Ornette

Ornette Coleman was a pioneer and leader of Free Jazz—as a conceptualist, as a composer, and as an instrumentalist. And he organized many different ensembles and collaborations.

He challenged and shook up principles underlying Western music, rooted in the classical music of Bach in the 1700s, and he developed a guiding principle for his music he called “harmolodics.” This was about redefining the traditional relationships in music/jazz between harmony, tempo (or rhythm), and melody. None was to be subordinate to the others. And all players were free to improvise whenever they wanted. In the liner notes for his 1960 album Change of the Century, Ornette Coleman says: “Perhaps the most important new element in our music is our conception of free group improvisation.... When our group plays before we start out to play, we do not have any idea what the end result will be. Each player is free to contribute what he feels in the music at any given moment. We do not begin with a preconceived notion as to what kind of effect we will achieve.”

This opened up new possibilities for musicians to push beyond the previously existing boundaries in jazz, became a cutting edge in the Free Jazz movement and influenced and inspired other musicians, artists, and listeners of jazz and other genres of music as well. Ornette wrote: “Music is all made out of the same notes; it shouldn’t have a caste system dividing it up.” (Gene Santoro, Stir It Up: Musical Mixes from Roots to Jazz)

Coleman would describe people playing together harmoniously, even if they were playing in different keys. While never losing the basic melody, he’d explore and replicate it in different ways, making it more complex. And he threw out the whole idea of playing fixed beats within bars of music. So sometimes his band would be playing a triple tempo, a very slow funeral-like tempo, and no tempo—all at the same time!

One might think this would be hard to listen to. But in fact, a lot of Ornette’s music was down-right swinging and toe-tapping catchy!

Some of Ornette’s detractors would accuse him of not even playing music—saying it was just abstract, formless chaos that made them want to run away. But in fact his never-done-before creations were not just free-for-alls. There was a certain framework with tension between dissonance and harmony, chaos and order, rhythm and non-rhythm, with simple melodies becoming complex. The collective improvisation, so central to his music, was part of the 1960s spirit of “free expression.” But each band member was also not just playing in isolation. They would improvise, listening to each other, responding with great empathy, finding ways to connect with all the different pieces of sound.

Ornette Coleman playing "Lonely Woman" at Jazz a Vienne 2008

And in all this there was the immediately recognizable sound of Ornette’s horn. He bent notes in a way that defied the exactness of a tuning fork. But it wasn’t just the playing out of pitch, rejection of chords, and multiple tempos. It was also the fiercely human expressions that came out of Ornette’s saxophone that surveyed a breadth of human emotions. Raw wailing, squeaks and honks that frequented the stratosphere. Beautiful tones of exhilaration and joy. Moaning and crying notes of despair. It was his very humanity transposed into sounds. Just listen to the haunting and beautiful “Lonely Woman,” Ornette’s most famous composition.

Coleman was trying to express and connect with human feelings through his music. He once said, “Some words make people kill each other, some words make people racists, some words make people fall in love. I’d like to have a sound that makes the individual appreciate who he is and appreciate others, regardless of their color, race, or religion. That’s what I’ve tried to pursue.” (1996 quote cited in Stir It Up: Musical Mixes from Roots to Jazz, Gene Santoro, 1997)

Always Exploring—“He Set a Lot of People Free”

Vernon Reid, the guitarist from Living Color, said that after he heard the news of Ornette Coleman’s death, what came to mind was a line from Frederick Douglass: “Freedom is a road seldom traveled by the multitude.” Reid said, “Ornette took the hit for being independent, for having his own ideas. Even in a genre like jazz, which prides itself on freedom, there are rules of engagement—Ornette shook up that orthodoxy. And a lot of people did not get it.... Ornette was connected to so many people and things—painters, writers, poets, the cultural flotsam and jetsam of the century, all of these giants who were connected to this iconic personage. He set a lot of people free.” (Rolling Stone, June 12, 2015)

Ornette Coleman was endlessly exploring, inventing, collaborating, learning from others, and introducing new elements to his music. In 1962, he studied the music of the Hopi Indians. In the early 1970s, he went to the Rif Mountains in Morocco to record music with the musicians of Joujouka. There were his symphonic compositions and performances in the 1970s. Prime Time, his first electric band, was a “double quartet” featuring his alto sax backed by two guitarists, two electric bassists, and two drummers, and incorporated elements of rock and influences of post-punk.

Throughout his life Ornette collaborated with many other musicians and other artists from all over the world—doing film, painting, performance art, spoken word, and dance. He said, “I really do believe though that I’ve found a way to share what I do, to inspire people to go further than what I know, to places I don’t know yet. There’s nothing in my heart that I want to hide or think if I share someone else is gonna do it better.” (Guardian, June 29, 2007)

Ornette Coleman’s last performance was at one and the same time a celebration of his life and work and a testament to just how profoundly he had inspired and influenced many different musicians in different genres. The concert, attended by 4,000 in Brooklyn on June 12, 2014, was a tribute to Ornette organized by his son Denardo, who began performing with Ornette on drums at the age of 10.

The core band for the night included regulars from Coleman’s various ensembles since the 1970s, but there were many others who came to play in honor of Ornette as well. Just to name some: there was Flea, the bassist from the RedHot Chili Peppers; jazz musicians David Murray, Ravi Coltrane, and Branford Marsalis; tap dancer Savion Glover; rock artist Patti Smith; experimental composer/performer Laurie Anderson; Bruce Hornsby; Nels Cline of Wilco; and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth. Two of the musicians from Morocco who recorded with Ornette in 1973 also performed.

Ornette Coleman's last performance, Brooklyn, June 12, 2014, with his son Denardo Coleman's band and guests David Murray, Henry Threadgill, and Savion Glover.

I was there. The evening, like Ornette, was uncommonly extraordinary. A warm summer night threatened rain, but nothing could put a damper on the tremendous outpouring of emotion that night—the powerful performances paying homage to Ornette and the audience savoring every note, wishing the evening would never end. You really felt the love and appreciation of the thousands in the audience and those on the stage for a man who had given us all so many hours of music that nurtured our body and soul with such joy, surprise, challenge and, yes, wonderful dissonance! It was exhilarating but heartbreaking to see Ornette sitting on the stage that night. We all knew he could not live forever. But we were very sure his music would go on.






Revolution #392 June 22, 2015

Check It Out! Guards at the Taj

June 22, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

If you’re in New York City, or this play comes to your area, don’t miss Guards at the Taj. This new play, written by Rajiv Joseph (Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo), is directed by Amy Morton, and stars Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed.

Guards at the Taj

Humayun and Babur are guards at the Taj Mahal, the famous domed mausoleum in Agra, India, which was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to bury one of his wives. As the play opens, the guards stand before us, on duty but bantering; it is 1648, the day before the building’s unveiling. We learn that the building’s architect had the temerity to ask the emperor to include the 20,000 workers in the first group allowed in to see the completed mausoleum. The very suggestion so enrages the emperor that he orders an unspeakable atrocity. What unfolds is a story of horror and humor, complicity and resistance. The arguments of the two guards, trapped inside a savagely oppressive society run by a feudal ruling class, are painfully (and often hilariously) contemporary. The meat-grinder situation these two childhood friends are forced into drives them to contemplate and even physically fight over the nature of the universe, the meaning and worth of beauty, the possibility of a world where people can be free, and literally how to get there. The stakes are high as both men are put to the test: what is true, what is possible, and what to do once you know what you know... there are fearsome consequences. The whole evening is entirely unexpected, from premise to finale. The acting, direction, lighting, sets—all stunning. You leave the theater your stomach in knots, your mind bouncing between centuries past and what confronts us right here, right now today.

Guards at the Taj is playing through July 12 at the Atlantic Theater Company, on 336 West 20th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues in Manhattan, New York City.







Revolution #392 June 22, 2015

From a Reader:

An Open Letter to Carlos Santana and Cindy Blackman Santana

June 22, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


It was shocking and disappointing that at a time when tens of thousands of people from all walks of life have stood up and taken a very clear stand that murder of Black and Latino youth by the police must stop, you put yourself in the national and international spotlight at the NBA Finals Game 2, performing the Star Spangled Banner with an honor guard from the Oakland Police Dept. This is the same OPD that murdered a Black man who was passed out in a car near Lake Merritt in Oakland just this past weekend—and the only version you’re allowed to hear of what happened is from the very police who brutally killed the man.

Stolen Lives
Poster PDF (for print)        JPG (full size, for web)

The murder of Black and Latino youth by police in this country has reached epidemic proportions, and people are not having this anymore. Something very precious happened recently in this country. For a few short weeks Black lives actually did matter in this country—because tens of thousands of people were no longer accepting the status quo where a Black person can be shot down in cold blood by police and it’s routinely ruled “justifiable homicide” (take a good look at the poster accompanying this letter), and where a million+ Black and Latinos are cruelly incarcerated in brutal prisons—the numbers are unprecedented in the world.

And people used to know what the national anthem and the American flag meant to hundreds of millions of people around the world. From the millions killed in Vietnam fighting for national liberation to the mass slaughter, dislocation and misery the people of the Middle East are subjected to by the bombs, troops and drones of USA, the country where we live. To the frightening way women are treated, denied the ability to choose when or if to have children, degraded and harmed by pornography—this too is as American as apple pie, as we used to say. And we could go on and on: the frightening emergency of climate change and its effect on the environment and the whole planet, fueled by the drive to amass capital and political power over the world—this is mainly emanating from here, as well. And dare we forget that this country was founded on the basis of hundreds of years of genocide and slavery?

The thing is: you have sway, people look to you, good people respect you. As far as murder by police, the system and the police right now are on a counter-offensive, a campaign to demonize and reverse the whole movement to stop police murder. The six cops that were indicted in Baltimore for murdering Freddie Gray were charged with crimes because of what those thousands of people did and demanded all around the county, not because the system wants justice. It’s very dangerous for this system when people demand an end to police murder, which is so ingrained and woven into the whole existence and fabric of this society. And they are doing all they can to throw people off track by confusing and deluding people. That’s why it is so important for people of conscience to not give an inch in their desire that this must stop, and for a better and just world.

We need values and standards—values and standards to be struggled for with people we know and throughout society. Values and standards that correspond to a radically different way the world could be. Values which reflect a new morality, one in which people care for and cherish each other, a humanity that is filled with compassion, like your music. Within all this there is plenty of room for differences and diversity. But it is not correct to bolster and promote the police, the very same police who are murdering our youth, killing as many as two a day in this country. And it is not good and not correct to try to pretend, and make people think, that there is anything positive about the national anthem and what this system does to the agony it inflicts upon, literally billions of people around the globe.

A very important example of a morality and a conscience that is so much needed today is the film REVOLUTION AND RELIGION : The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion, A Dialogue between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN,” which was held at the Riverside Church in NYC last fall before 1,900+ people. You can see this Dialogue in its entirety at

A fan.






Revolution #392 June 22, 2015

Bend Every Effort to Make the RCP Publications Fund Drive a Success!

June 22, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


The fund drive for RCP Publications will end on June 30. Meeting the pressing financial needs of RCP Publications and is now more important than ever. This society is being shaken to its roots. People are being compelled to confront big questions about the nature of America and search out solutions—and this website is where people can get key works from Bob Avakian (BA) and access his films and audio talks, and day-to-day makes all these works, and more, accessible to thousands.

Every month tens of thousands of people the world over come to—and this is the site where hundreds of thousands need to come to get “a scientific analysis of major events in society and the world—why they are happening, how different events and developments relate to each other, how all this relates to the system we live under, where people's interests lie in relation to all this, how revolution is in fact the solution to all this and what the goals of that revolution are, how different viewpoints and programs relate, positively or negatively, to the revolution that is needed, and how people can move, and are moving, to build toward that revolution.” newspaper is the means for people to connect with each other and build the political network that is so urgently needed. RCP Publications—and especially—is the means to connect the people who are working in every corner of society with each other, magnifying and amplifying the efforts of people in different corners of society to act together to fight the power and to join together in a powerful movement for revolution. As the statement we publish on the current issue page each week says: is the guide, the pivot, the crucial tool in drawing forward, orienting, training, and organizing thousands, and influencing millions—fighting the power, and transforming the people, for revolution—hastening and preparing for the time when we can go for the whole thing, with a real chance to win.

Over the past weeks, we have published numerous inspiring letters from people from different corners of society who have been moved to support RCP Publications with donations and committing to sustain RCP Publications and or to increase their sustainer. But, we have only just begun to meet the pressing financial needs that RCP Publications and face to rise to the great challenges before us. We are republishing one of these letters on this page. Read this letter, think about what it says, and step up. A real gap exists between the basis and potential for people from all over society to donate and sustain as reflected in the letters we have received and published, and the number of donors and sustainers who have contributed. Now in these last days of this drive, we are calling on all those who have stepped up to make the extra effort to make this drive a success.

Right now, reach out to and call on others you know or meet to:

  1. Make a substantial donation by clicking on the donate button at, send a check or money order to RCP Publications, or donate through your local Revolution distributor.
  2. Commit to sustaining RCP Publications. Sustainers are critical to the ongoing efforts of this publisher and to meet their overhead and to promote this site throughout society and the world.
  3. Share the letters from donors and sustainers we have published with others and write us with your experiences (we don’t need unnecessary detail, but we do need to learn from your experiences, insights, problems, questions, and suggestions).

Stolen Lives Day





Revolution #392 June 22, 2015

Why People Are Stepping Up to Sustain RCP Publications and Why You Should Too!

Updated August 10, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |



As people send their donations and pledge as sustainers, they are sending notes to challenge others to do the same. Here are some of the comments:


The comment below was accompanied by a $100 donation:
Thank you for all you do. We are not in a position to become a sustaining member at this time, but at least we can contribute something to this all important effort to remove the chains of slavery.

from Wisconsin readers


We can’t be behind, we gotta be the vanguard. If we don’t have the resources, in terms of the newspaper and the website, it will deviate the direction of the movement for revolution. Because we gotta win the argument with the masses, so that they see that this is the group, the RCP and BA, that they should follow. When you got a solid purpose—and our, the Party’s theory and understanding of revolution, you have to get it out there, because there are a lot of reformers that sound like revolution but they have their doubts are not really for revolution.

Reader in San Francisco Bay Area


I hope this donation goes at least in part to support the work of Carl Dix and Sunsara Taylor. Mr. Dix is doing outstanding work concerning mass incarceration and Ms Taylor is doing excellent work with her StopPatriarchy organization and writing for the paper. Both deserve as wide a venue as possible to promote their ideas and efforts and I hope Revolution news provides every opportunity for this to happen.

From a reader who is sustaining for $10/month


As a high school student, I decided to make a donation because I came to the realization that we need more bookstores like Revolution Books. If it was not for the couple months I volunteered and attended events, I would not have thought change and revolution was possible. And thanks to the organization, I am beginning to make sense of things at my own pace, and bringing others with me throughout the process.

—Black woman from Harlem who just graduated from high school, about to start college, who’s going to donate $5 a month to and $5 a month to NYC Revolution Books


"To strengthen RCP Publications I recently became a sustainer. I am contributing $50 a month. I think RCP Publications is important because it does something nobody else is doing at the present. It is giving humanity a scientific way out of the horrible situation that we are stuck in. When I first started reading Revolution and BA over a decade ago I was afraid of what was being said. The idea of getting rid of this society was something I never thought about in a real non idealistic way. The paper and Bob Avakian brought this to life. When I read the paper the first time years ago I became frightened by its radical vision and I stopped reading the paper after a few issues. However, within a year I had renewed my subscription and have not missed a paper for many years. I read and re-read all the works of BA. The idea of a communist revolution is real to me and is needed for all. That is part of the reason that I am and others should consider sustaining RCP Publications."

—From a high school teacher in the Midwest


"People need this newspaper because they are kept so ignorant and believe in the system and the Democratic Party, but also they need the leadership of Bob Avakian, because it isn't just needing to rebel, we need a whole different world and that is possible. We don't want a situation like in Egypt, where people rebelled and even drove out a dictator, but what did they get—another dictator!"

–From a supporter on a fixed income who donated and will sustain at $5 a month


“I donated $20 and will sustain at $5/month because there are people on the front lines catching hell. People like in Ferguson, Baltimore, and Chicago. We have to reinforce them and support them, either giving what I can or spreading the word and the newspaper.”

—a supporter


“If you want to know about the world, and get connected; if you want to stand up and fight back against what is being done to people, go to this Party, take up this Party’s newspaper. If you want revolution, we have a strategy for revolution. This newspaper is a key component of this strategy. The newspaper is the voice of the RCP and provides the foundation and guideline for the whole process for revolution, especially through publishing the works of Bob Avakian through articles. This paper exposes and expresses why things are the way they are, it does not have to be this way. The newspaper is the guideline so thousands of people can stay connected and learn. I am donating $10/month and also collected $20 from a friend and am letting others know about the website, especially to watch the Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian.”

―an Iranian supporter of the RCP who lives in the U.S.


“I will support the courage of RCP as a donator and sustainer. Why? Because of the commitment of BA and what I’ve come to know is the only way out of capitalism in all its forms. I’ll donate $5 to $10 a month to sustain RCP Publications.”

—a devoted reader on a fixed income


“There is so much injustice and suffering going on in this capitalist-imperialist country and around the world, and I believe RCP Publications and Bob Avakian’s leadership need to be widely promoted in order to prepare the people to fight and bring about a much better society and world through revolution. I am giving $20 to the RCP Publications fund drive. I encourage whoever is yearning for a better world to do away with all this suffering, to contribute in any way, whatever you can. And if you can, SUSTAIN the work—consistently apply the method of analyzing and changing the world, and consistently give money to the revolution. It is hard work, but it must be done and we can do it if we apply the revolutionary method and not take it for granted. We sometimes get complacent, but we can and need to change, and we can all contribute so much more to emancipate humanity!”

—an Iranian supporter of the revolution who lives in the U.S.


“This is a time when a revolutionary crisis can make a big leap. In Ferguson and Baltimore, people are fed up and are open to see what revolutionary forces are saying. The system has this big contradiction: They can’t give up on the oppression of Black people that makes people resist; yet they can’t allow them to rise up without repressing them; but they can’t keep repressing them without them rising up. It is a big contradiction for them.”


“With the work of the revolutionaries and the newspaper, the system is more and more exposed. The activities of the Party need to increase to bring the truth to people. On the TV they only show the looting and not what causes it. They try to portray brave and courageous people as ‘thugs.’ We need to expose the whole system is the problem, no matter who is president―the police are instruments of repression, and these crises can lead to something else—a revolutionary situation.”


Why I am Supporting RCP Publications Fund Drive—And Pledge to Do More

“I am a regular sustainer to newspaper, but I see the need to increase my donation to support the call to put RCP Publications on higher ground so that more people can learn about it. I want to support it, so they can carry out the work of helping to build even further the movement for revolution and introduce Bob Avakian, leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA to even more people, not just here in the U.S., but to millions and millions of people around the world. That revolution and communism is not ONLY desirable, but eminently possible!

“What have I learned from newspaper? I am learning and struggling to view things on a scientific basis and go on the basis of reality and not what seems to be ‘practical’ or the easy way out.

“One of the things that newspaper has been very good at is pointing out various proposals that different people have made in response to the current epidemic of police murder and brutality. For example, there are people who suggest that waiting for the IN-justice Department to do an investigation is helpful.

“Nothing could be further from the truth—for months Mike Brown’s family and many other people waited for the IN-Justice Department’s report on Ferguson—and when it came out, it was a slap in their faces and pouring salt on their wounds! The report did expose some of the vicious methods used to exploit people—like jailing them if they did not have the money to pay fines from traffic tickets piling up, but otherwise, Eric Holder and others in the ruling class just gave the murdering cops a pass and a free ride, and said that they couldn’t find any basis to indict Darren Wilson for Mike Brown’s murder. This was a dead end that the system wants people to get into—to stop struggling and rely on this criminal system which is incapable of doing anything halfway decent for any human being on this planet.

“There wouldn’t have been ANY IN-Justice Department report on Ferguson if it wasn’t for the fact that the people of Ferguson stood up, rebelled, defied the system and decided that the murder of Mike Brown and everything else is intolerable.

“You DO NOT have to agree with all or even some of what newspaper is about in order to engage with it. What IS required is that you have the questions and curiosity as to what is going on in the world and what to do about it.

“I am going to double what I currently am donating, even though that would be a financial sacrifice due to my current situation. I am also challenging other people to step up and donate to newspaper and donate what they can.

“Without money, RCP Publications would be unable to do the important work that it needs to do. If you don’t have money—have bake sales or flea markets to raise money for this precious newspaper, and commit to being a regular sustainer. If you have funds, dig deep and give a large one time donation and become a sustainer on a regular basis.”


June 4, 2015

“Why I Sustain?

“I’ve been a sustainer for a number of years. I sustain because the RCP and the newspaper Revolution/ is the only thing going in the world today. When I was young I had high hopes for Mao’s China but that revolution got turned back by a capitalist line. I had high hopes with the revolutions in Peru and Nepal until a capitalist, status quo line turned those revolutions around, too.

“Other than the RCP and what’s left of the RIM [Revolutionary Internationalist Movement] all the other lines in the world represent capitalism, feudalism, slavery or barbarism. No, things aren’t going to get better by ‘falling apart.’ This kind of anarchism is no solution. The world needs to see that right here, in ‘the belly of the beast,’ in Babylon itself there are those who can see beyond the horror and have a plan and strategy to achieve a much better world for us human beings.

“So, to all those whom I’ve heard say, ‘tell me when you’re having the revolution and I’ll be there,’ well the time is now. Give some money and be a part of it. It’s the least you can do. Get some literature and spread the word, that’s something you can do also.”


I became a monthly sustainer for RCP Publications because I want to see copies of BAsics in Hebrew, Arabic, Farsi, Korean, and any other language you can think of.  I want to see the works of Bob Avakian and the new synthesis of communism reach all corners of the earth and all sections of society so the oppressed everywhere know there is a way out of the horrors this system subjects people to and that way out is Revolution.  I also want to help people connect up with the Revcom website and revolution newspaper so they know that there is a party with the strategy and leadership that makes an actual revolution in this country possible.

—From a student/unemployed member of the Revolution Club
and a new sustainer for RCP Pubs


I am subscribing as a monthly sustainer for $10.00 per month. I wished I could do more, but is what the current pocket can bear. I have selected 5 organizations to assist in their efforts for a very different world, and as a Socialist, Communism of course is a long term goal...

Thank you for all your work.



"I just want to say what inspired me most was the way the RCP threw itself into the mix in Ferguson, NY City and Baltimore, seriously determined to raise the level of understanding and resistance—and provide leadership. I said to myself these people are serious about making revolution and not just paying lip service to it. I was seeing RCP banners and t-shirts on news sources other than revcom."

—From a reader who made a substantial donation
and doubled his sustainer commitment


Reading the Constitution for The New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal)

"I donate because an Actual Revolution is the only sane and logical way forward for humanity and the planet! And even though I may be separated from the high energy areas of the country, I get a rush thinking about the youth, with the Revolution Newspaper in their hands for the first time, kinda like a modern day singing telegram for the oppressed!"

—From a reader on a fixed income in a very small town


“I want to support the courage of others trying to change the world—hopefully for a better future for others to come.  People are risking the most valuable thing they have, which is their life, for a good cause, and that is admirable.”

—A woman who grew up in a country dominated by U.S. imperialism and
who is pledging $25/month to sustain RCP Publications.


"I am donating a $100 towards the fund raising, in addition to my monthly sustainer for Revolution newspaper. I am donating this amount because I feel at this critical juncture people need to connect with the leader of revolution, Bob Avakian, to really put an end to police brutality and murder of unarmed black and brown youth, and all the other horrors of this System; and build a far better world. For this purpose a lot of funds are required to upgrade Revolution newspaper, distribute revolutionary literature, videos, books and other works of BA, so that people can learn about his vision and strategy for revolution and become part of the movement for revolution for emancipation of humanity." 

A reader in Texas


“I urge everyone to help raise funds and donate to help put RCP Publications on a higher ground:
Because black, brown and poor are being murdered by the police in the 'Land of the free.'
Because the capitalist imperialists are committing crimes against the planet and humanity.
Because women are denied their basic rights in different forms, being raped and sold to sex slavery.

Because millions are homeless, refugees and crying out for change, as they are caught between two outmoded reactionary forces of capitalist imperialists and backward Islamists fundamentalists who seem to many as the only alternative! 

Because the science, theory and the leadership is there to end all of this and prepare the masses for an actual revolution, but there is a huge gap that can be fulfilled by putting the idea and leadership out there.”

A reader in Texas




At the present time, RCP Publications cannot accept any contributions or gifts from readers who reside outside the borders of the United States.





Revolution #392 June 22, 2015

Interview with Youth in Baltimore

"Joining the Revolution Club is not just for me. I'm ready to make change"

June 22, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Baltimore is a major city which is marked not only by extreme poverty and degradation for hundreds of thousands of Black people, but as a central part of that oppression, their brutal treatment and murder at the hands of the police. Anger and outrage simmers just below the boiling point all the time and has now risen to the surface with the rebellion in the wake of the police murder of Freddie Gray. As people have lifted their heads and stood up, a core has been drawn to the revolution and to fighting for a different world, free of all oppression. Recently, in the wake of the uprising and rebellion protesting the murder of Freddie Gray, reporters from Revolution had the unique opportunity to interview Black people of different ages who are living and working in West Baltimore. There are people all over this country and all over the world who looked to Baltimore and followed the struggle there. The following interview involved youths from the newest generation awakening to the struggle and stepping into the revolution. It is important for all our readers to take note and learn from their perceptions of the world and what is motivating them to step out.

Revolution began by asking about what the life of this newest generation is like in Baltimore. Pretty quickly they began to talk about what is happening to young people all over this world and their thoughts, feelings, and questions about that...

Young woman: School is OK, but I think you can learn more from outside experiences and influences. Celebrities, whatever, they influence you. That’s part of your education. And then the books that you read from various people, I don’t know if they had a degree or not, but you still learn from them. So, school is not the only institution where you can learn something.

Baltimore, in front of a vacant homeAP photo

It’s hard to survive in this city. I’m still trying to survive myself! I guess compared to when I was younger we still are poor—but it’s a little better. Compared to what other people make like the lawyers and politicians. They probably make more money than the people that’s actually working, like the teachers. Then they [teachers] go to their families and they don’t have nothing to give them. What does that say about the state of the community and the world?

And I don’t understand why we having wars. Because, I know we have our grievances with other countries, but they fighting for the same rights and beliefs we have here. It’s just paraphrased different. We still human at the end of the day. They eat, breathe, and sleep just like we do here. And then having a bunch of people sacrifice their life with no other pathway. And they probably got brainwashed into it, thinking that, “Oh this is cool.” Thinking this is helping your country.

It doesn’t matter statistically, but many people—a 50 percent chance of them coming back alive? It’s not really an accurate number. The lucky ones, they still messed up in the head, then they wonder why people shoot up movie theaters and all that.

Revolution: What is school actually like?

Young woman: School is confusing, actually. They limit the education to what they know. They don’t teach us what we want to know. Some of the classes we have, we don’t need. We don’t want to consider those careers. School-wise, when you think about it, a bunch of stuff be going through people’s minds. Half the time that’s why students are failing, they’re not worried about schooling, just survival. Most of the students at my grade level have jobs—like fast food. I don’t have a job, I need one. Hopefully I get one.

And my dad was telling me about how Africans, us—our own color—used to sell each other to the white people, the Europeans. You know what’s kind of ironic? We have a holiday after Columbus, and he killed all those people. So I’m like why are we celebrating for a man who did such harsh things?

Why do we learn about all these people who do all these horrible things to a group of people? Like Hitler and all of them, why do we learn about them? But why don’t we learn about good people? We ain’t learned nothing about Malcolm X. I mean, Martin Luther King did some things. But like... Harriet Tubman. It’s like the same people over and over again who made the same impact. Why can’t we learn about all the people who made a difference? I know it’s broad. I know it’s many people out there who made a difference.

Youngster: We don’t even learn about Martin Luther King.

Young woman: That’s why we—my generation of African-Americans—lack the talents we have now. Because we so brainwashed into the technology, weave, and all that. And wanting to be ‘hood and all that—to represent what street we from. It’s not our fault. They brainwash us to think this way. Not everybody that’s African-American is bad. Not everybody that is Caucasian is bad. Not everybody that is European is bad. Not everybody who is Asian is bad. The world is just messed up.

Youngster: At my school, the teachers cuss. They tell us “F” us, “F” your mother. They like “F” you go home. They’s like, “You don’t want to be here—go home.” So this boy actually went home, they called the pigs. Pigs dragged him. Cuffed his legs. Everyone be cussing. Police be cussing. My teacher say “F” you. “Get the ‘h’ out of his face.” Everything. It happens at my school definitely.

This kind of verbal assault was confirmed by another youth who sat in on the interview. She said this is what happens at her school too.

We went on to talk about how the police do Black people in Baltimore, the murder of Freddie Gray and how these youths felt when they heard of his murder—and when the people started protesting.

Youngster: My school wanna talk about Freddie.

Young woman: They shoot you if you run.

When I was younger, me and my sister—and we were young—would go to the school in our old neighborhood. So when we walked by from the store, a cop car pulled over, there was a Black guy who came out. He was like “What are you doing” and all that. Cuz he was like frisking my sister. You know, the woman is supposed to frisk her, not the man. He said he mistake her for someone else that they was after or something. Just imagine how traumatizing she still is. You can’t say “sorry” if you did it anyways.

I think it was around the same time, so me, my sister, basically my family, my dad, his friends was on his porch, he was having a beer and all that. So the police pulled over cuz I guess he was being loud. Then again, it’s our property, so we can do anything we like. So they came over and said you not allowed to sit on your porch. So my dad got mad. He was like, this is our property so why aren’t we allowed to do whatever we please? It was a white guy and a Black guy, saying you’re not supposed to be there. We just went in the house. That’s my experience with the police, so far.

Maybe other people keep to themselves because they probably traumatized to not talk about it. Or, like, nobody else know my pain, my struggle, yada yada yada. But it’s real crazy. The world is crazy!

Revolution: So what was the response when people started coming out into the streets after Freddie was killed?

Young woman: They were expressing their opinion against the higher power, or hierarchy or whatever the case may be. Because we still oppressed at some certain level—cuz obviously upper class, middle class, in between, all together. Probably homeless people, you never know, they probably were protesting with us. Or other people who felt the same way. People were uniting with each other. Probably who don’t like each other. Don’t even like know each other.

Revolution: Do you think that what people did in the face of all that repression, thanks, basically, in Ferguson and around the country, had some impact on people?

Young woman: Half and half in my opinion. Because everybody got a different mindset on things. Like, “Why I gonna be out there protesting for somebody I don’t even know?” Other people be like, “We Black. This is our generation, so why not stand up and help other people that could be just like him!” Cuz it happens every day. I’m pretty sure it’s happening right now, god forbid. But it’s just how it is.

I hope for a change. Cuz this is not the only time of protest, the first time protests, the altercations with police, happened. It’s been around for centuries. You said genocide—like basically police kill off everybody.

Equality. I hope for that, I know it’s a process. But it’s about more than equality. Cuz racism is probably not gonna stop in America, or the world for that matter. It’s just so mainstream. What’s kind of ironic, when we did the riots, they said little about the protest that we did that was actually peaceful. I don’t watch the news because they lie too much about stuff. They’re not accurate. They’re biased.

I used to be negative. But I changed my ways. Cuz I wanna help people. Joining the Revolution Club is not just for me. I wanted this to happen, so I’m glad I met [the people in the Revolution Club]. Cuz I’m ready to make change.

That’s maybe one of the causes of all this. Cuz it don’t make sense for people who live in the same area and want to fight for this cause to burn down their own city.

I’m not saying it was right. I used to fight to get rid of bullies. Usually when you have actions louder than words, it draws people in. Because it went worldwide—other people in other states and countries also protested for Freddie Gray.

Baltimore, May 2
Revolution Club, Baltimore, May 2. Photo: Special to

There are different views among the people and there is debate and discussion over how the uprising began and how to look at it. This came up in every interview we did over this period.1 And different forces, including the powers-that-be, preachers, and the school administrators have been out there “summing it up” for people. Only days before, when State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby charged the cops, she made the point that she would give the people justice and they have to give her peace. So, we went on to talk about the uprising in Baltimore, how it began and their thoughts about it.

Revolution: Why do you think they pay attention when the people rise up? And they don’t seem to pay attention when they don’t rise?

Young woman: Because they expect us as a race, as a whole, to lash out like that. They want us to riot in the city. They obviously want us to know that we never gonna achieve nothing as a race, as a whole, or middle class people. They expect us to lash out in all these kinds of ways cuz they know we’re not gonna be more than we are to them. That’s my belief.

Revolution: This is important—how are people looking at what people did in the streets, when people did rise up? Like you’re saying, that brought a lot of attention to what was going on.

Youngster: They want rights!

Young woman: I agree.

Revolution: You said you thought people should have handled the situation differently, they should not have looted or burned down stores. But I have a question—why do you think people rose up in the way they did? And do you think anything was accomplished?

Young woman: I guess they were tired of being peaceful. They are people who protest every day. They were drawing the attention of other people. Like Stephanie Rawlings-Blake [the Mayor] and Marilyn Mosby [the State’s Attorney]. So I guess it’s a sense of hope. I guess when the charges came out [when Mosby charged the cops] people was thinking we finally get some justice. They don’t realize that’s a process. That takes time. But I don’t really think that’s good enough. Maybe they did that to calm us down and draw our attention away from the situation, but that don’t mean nothing, we still need to fight.

Revolution: Without that fight, it seems—you can go back to Trayvon [Martin], and then you can come forward to Ferguson in the fall, when people fought and people all over the country refused to go along with that, and then Baltimore. People rose up, and now they brought these charges. We had a small piece in our paper on this basically addressing “But What About the Violence??” And it said when slaves revolted on a plantation, and burned the plantation down, who would say it was wrong to do that? Ultimately we need a revolution and that is actually violent. But people rising up in an organized way is a certain message. And it breaks out of the bounds that the powers, what Mosby said: I’ll give you justice but you give me peace. Saying stop breaking out of the boundaries of what I say is acceptable. April 14 was a nationwide day of protest, people around the country shut down schools, highways, bridges. In New York, protesters shut down the Brooklyn Bridge. It was about going on the offensive. Not just responding to another murder. People said this is important enough that we’re gonna shut things down. We’re gonna make a statement that police murder is not tolerable.

Young woman: We’ve been doing peaceful protest for so long. Obviously Martin Luther King was peaceful, what happened to him? He got murdered. So people lashed out. It is time to make a stand. But we need more than protest, I still believe in that. We need this revolution thing. If other people feel the same way, we can accomplish more. I think younger people should be involved with the revolution.

Revolution: When you guys met the Revolution Club what attracted you?

Young woman: I was walking. Police had the street blocked off, in riot gear. Then I saw the Revolution Club. They was talking about revolution and all that. And I was like yeah! Cuz I always wanted to help people since I was little, little. I was like, finally, a chance to be involved in something that is bigger than my education and all that. So hopefully one day I’ll impact the world. And stop all these instances of police brutality and for women. They’re going after women’s rights and taking them state by state. My teacher was telling me, they can’t serve gay people in restaurants and all that. I mean, I love God and all but I don’t care about what he says about gay people. He forgives everybody.

We met this dude Monday; he was talking about investment. We was telling him about the revolution, but he was disregarding our opinion. And he was saying you got to invest in the community, he’s investing in the community. Some dude we ran into on the street. He was saying this y’all is communist propaganda. He said revolution is no good. He said we need to put money into the community.

But not everybody can invest. And if you investing in the community, then why are there all these abandoned houses? It made me so frustrated. I was so mad. He was more interested in money than human life. You saw what he was wearing, all fresh, so he’s not worrying about the revolution. He’s not worried about the vacant houses. So his opinion was irrelevant.

Youngster: We was arguing at City Hall, this guy was a fool. He was saying, we just trying to make money selling stuff. We told the man off. He need to go to our website. Here’s what BAsics says about the vacant houses in Baltimore. BAsics says we gonna put people to work building beautiful houses:

Let’s talk about work and housing together. Look at all these neighborhoods which under the rule of the capitalist system have been allowed and even encouraged to rot. Look at the youth and others just hanging out on the street corner with nothing to do or no way to do anything that doesn’t get them into one kind of trouble or another. Imagine changing all that because now we have the power over society—we go to these youth and we say, “Here, we’re going to give you training. We’re going to give you education. We’re going to bring you materials. We’re going to enable you to go to work to build some beautiful housing and playgrounds and neighborhoods here for yourself and those who live here.” Imagine if we said to them, you can not just work, you can be part of planning all this, you can be part of figuring out what should be done for the benefit of the people to make this society better and to contribute to making a whole different and radically better world. Imagine if for these youth, they could have a way, not just to make a living, building housing, hospitals, community centers and parks and other things people need, but at the same time, they could have the opportunity and the dignity of working together with people throughout society to build a whole better world. There’s absolutely no reason why these things aren’t possible except that we live under this system which makes them impossible.
BAsics 2:6

Revolution: What is different about the Revolution Club than, say, people who say we need investment?

Young woman: My beliefs, and a mentality and mindset of already wanting to change the world for the better. And then to find out other people got these same interests. I don’t care about money. I looked up the symbols on the dollar bill, what it actually symbolizes. That’s not what we should be for: money. I wasn’t born up with money, period. The Revolution Club had a different view. We all got different viewpoints but this is better. We all born naked.

Revolution: What have you done with the Revolution Club?

Young woman: We need to announce that we have the website. The information is right there.

Youngster: I been helping pass out the papers, helping y’all find a place to sleep, when we got out with the papers, I say you got to make a donation. Some people give donations. I show people BAsics. I’m on Chapter 2.

Young woman: We can’t save all people but some people that actually want to do something can rise up, and do what we doing, and make their own movements. Not follow what the system does to us. I think that would be a good thing. That’s why I want to join revolution. So I can wake up the people. Saying we want change, we got to bring that. Even though it don’t get public, we still got to bring it in some way or form. So people can wake up and see what’s going on. Even though some people choose to ignore it as a group. Cuz we’re not here for money. I don’t have money, you don’t have money, he don’t have money.

Youngster: It’s about the system. I’m gonna cheat and look in the book. [reads]

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

Revolution: That is a different system than what we have now. You’ve talked about what the Revolution Club has done, but what ideas do you have about what the Revolution Club should be doing?

Young woman: Going out and doing stuff. More than just protesting. What the people in the club did to help us join, we could be doing that with other people, bring to them the understanding of what the revolution is about.

1.“Interviews in West Baltimore: Living Amid Poverty and Police Violence...and Fighting for a Whole Different World
West Baltimore: ‘I Take a Lot of Pleasure Being Part of This... Even Though It’s in the Beginning Stages’
Interviews with Johns Hopkins Students: Stepping Out from an Elite Campus, and Standing with the Rebels of Baltimore
Interview in West Baltimore: ‘We need a revolution. We do.’” [back]






Revolution #392 June 22, 2015

Long Beach, California

Demanding Justice for Hector Morejon, Feras Morad, and Other Victims of Police Murder

June 22, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From readers:

Long Beach march, June 13
Long Beach, June 13. (Photos from Facebook)

“Justice for Hector!” “Justice for Feras!” Family and friends of Feras Morad and Hector Morejon, joined by family members and friends of others killed by police, drew a heartbreaking picture of the epidemic of police murder of unarmed people at a rally of about 200 people in front of the Long Beach police station on June 13.

Hector Morejon, unarmed, was shot and killed by Long Beach police without warning while he was standing in a vacant building. It was the middle of the afternoon, April 23 of this year. Hearing the shot, his mom came out from the family’s nearby apartment—she saw her son lying in an ambulance fighting for his life. “Mommy, mommy please come, please come,” he cried to her. But, according to Hector’s brother, Ruben, “The officers refused to let my mom in the ambulance with my brother! When he was fighting for his life! He was only 19 years old! Full of life! 19 years old!” At the hospital, detectives made the family wait for nine hours without giving them any information. They weren’t allowed to see Hector until he was dead. “Why? For what?” Ruben said.

Feras Morad, 20, was killed by police a month after Hector. Feras was a nationally ranked debate competitor enrolled at a local junior college. When Feras sustained an injury after ingesting hallucinogenic mushrooms, his friends called 911. Instead of helping Feras, the police shot and killed him. (See letter from a reader for more on Feras.)

Hector Morejon’s and Feras Morad’s families were joined by family and friends of Tyler Woods, Dante Jordan, Michael Nida, Ezell Ford, Manuel Diaz, Martin Hernandez, Bobby Henning, and Ignacio Ochoa. Tyler Woods’ aunt told how she and Tyler were stopped driving home from the 7-11. Tyler, 19, was the passenger. The cops made him get out of the car and frisked him. He was unarmed. Tyler had a warrant and did not want to go to jail. He ran. He was shot 19 times.

Pamela Fields, mother of Donte Jordan, told how police not only killed her son but nine months later also killed her nephew in Victorville, California, by Tasering him 17 times. This is very hurtful, she said. Her family is torn apart but, “I’m so glad everybody came out to support us and I love the fact that this time we came back stronger.”

Genevieve Huizar, mother of Manuel Angel Diaz, said people are being killed by police across America every single day. When Manuel was killed, people in Anaheim rose up. “At that time I called for peace,” she said. “I regret it. I regret calling for peace because maybe if there would have been more of an uprising there wouldn’t have to be Baltimore. There wouldn’t have to be New York. There wouldn’t have to be Atlanta, Georgia. There wouldn’t have to be Long Beach!”

Ezell Ford’s mother, Tritobia, came to stand in solidarity with the other families. “As I listened to all the stories,” she said, “I hear the same. That our loved ones were rushed, bum rushed, off guard, sneak attacks. Rushed! They didn’t have a chance to say anything or react or do anything. And it’s not fair. It’s not right for the police to play judge, jury, and executioner...”

Long Beach, die-in

After the rally, more than 100 people marched to a busy intersection in downtown Long Beach, chalked the names of people killed by the police in the intersection, did a die-in, and faced off with the Long Beach police.

All the families vowed to continue fighting. “They [the people who were killed] can’t fight for themselves anymore,” Feras Morad’s cousin said. “We got to fight for them. And fight for them to get justice.” Ruben  Morejon pointed out that 41 people have been killed by Long Beach police since 2000—no officers have been indicted. He said that this day’s protest “is just the beginning.”






Revolution #392 June 22, 2015

From a reader:

On Driver's License Suspensions, Traffic Stops, and Inequality in America

June 22, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


The May 25 issue of Revolution newspaper/ has the important article “Driver’s License Suspensions—Another Pathway to Mass Incarceration“ which notes that across the country, and especially in states with large prison populations, the suspension of driver’s licenses is a means of punishment for those unable to pay fines resulting from any number of different infractions. As the Revolution article explains it, “Having your driver’s license suspended can pose a serious, often impossible burden on anyone, especially on those without the option of public transportation. And for people who are already straining to keep their lives together, it can be devastating—and lead not only to losing a job, but to being sent to, or back to jail.”

Here’s another area where the courageous uprising of the people of Ferguson in response to the murder of Michael Brown has had an important impact. It forced a light into the ugly recess of racial injustice where police, courts, and local governments systematically harass, brutalize, and bleed the Black community with arrests, warrants, and fines.

Writing in the Huffington Post, civil rights attorney Oren Nimni wrote of Ferguson: “Residents are routinely charged with minor administrative infractions. Most of the arrest warrants stem from traffic violations, but nearly every conceivable human behavior is criminalized. An offense can be found anywhere, including citations for ‘Manner of Walking in Roadway,’ ‘High Grass and Weeds,’ and 14 kinds of parking violations.” Nimni observes, “This complete penetration of policing into everyday life establishes a world of unceasing terror and violence.”

The Revolution article makes clear that this “world of unceasing terror and violence” extends well beyond Ferguson and its surroundings.

Indeed, a recent report by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights entitled “Not Just a Ferguson Problem—How Traffic Courts Drive Inequality in California” notes: “While the nation ridiculed similar practices brought to light by a Justice Department report on Ferguson, Missouri, California’s system of traffic courts and fine collection are similar, and in some ways even worse. In addition to driving-related citations, infractions such as littering, sleeping outdoors, and failure to pay a transit fare can result in excessive fines that, if unpaid, result in criminal warrants or suspended driver’s licenses and create a vicious cycle of poverty.”

The report goes on to say, “In recent years ... the cost of traffic tickets and associated fees has steadily increased. A ticket with a $100 base fine actually costs nearly $500 after statutory fees and assessments, and $815 if the individual misses the initial deadline to appear in court or pay the ticket...” And even where fines for infractions are evenly enforced—and usually they are not—it is the poor, and most often people of color, who, unable to pay, find themselves facing escalating fines and the suspension of their driver’s license with devastating effects.

Take the case of Maria, cited in the Lawyers’ Committee report. She was terminated from a construction job because her driver’s license was suspended for unpaid tickets and she couldn’t drive to job sites. Unable to work, and with two kids to support, she has no way of paying the debt, nor could she appeal to the court because she cannot get a court date until her fine is paid in full.

The scale of license suspensions in California is truly staggering—4.2 million people, one of every six drivers—have lost licenses due to suspension, a great many because they are unable to pay fines imposed on them. The total of these unpaid fines is an astounding $10 billion! In most cases, people faced with such fines are not even allowed to challenge their validity or seek relief in court since in most California counties access to a court hearing is denied until the fine is paid in full.

In the post-recession era, many municipalities have increased fines and penalties to make up for budget shortfalls. And they are doing so by preying on the sections of the population most devastated by the crisis. Black people as a community lost half their meager household wealth between 2004 and 2009 due to the loss of homes and jobs.

And it’s not only in poor municipalities where Black people are preyed on. In San Francisco, certainly one of the wealthiest cities in the U.S. and the world, 70 percent of people seeking legal assistance for driver’s license suspensions are African-Americans even though they make up just six percent of the population.

Traffic Stops and Racial Profiling

Or consider another dimension to the use of traffic stops and the like that have devastating and even deadly consequences. In 2014, three sociologists at the University of Kansas surveyed more than 2,300 drivers in and around Kansas City. They found that while stops over traffic safety violations showed little racial disparity, when it came to stops over minor violations, like expired license plate stickers, Black drivers were pulled over twice as often.

What gives here? In police parlance there are traffic safety stops and there are “investigatory stops.” In these, drivers are stopped for exceedingly minor violations—driving too slowly, malfunctioning lights, failure to signal, broken tail lights—very often just a pretext for investigations of the driver and the vehicle. Sanctioned by courts and institutionalized in most police departments, these investigatory stops are aimed at “suspicious” drivers and allegedly meant to stop crime, not traffic offenses.

The difference between the two kinds of stops is dramatic. Investigatory stops involve searches, impromptu interrogations, and occasionally handcuffs and weapons. And, one might add, death, as in the case of Walter Scott, who was shot dead in North Charleston, South Carolina, in early April, following a traffic stop for a supposedly broken brake light.

As the Revolution article concluded, “There are in reality two systems of justice in this country, rooted from the beginning in the system of slavery and the legal structure to enforce it. And it has continued through Jim Crow segregation, up to today. The consequences of these ‘inconveniences’—having your driver’s licenses revoked, overwhelming fees piled on, and a warrant issued, all leading to time in jail, loss of a job, and even greater difficulty finding another one—is one way that intolerable conditions of life are enforced for millions of Black people in the inner cities, and now for a massive number of Latinos as well. The connection between the ‘crime’ of the regular workings of the criminal justice system and the mass incarceration and wanton murder by police is as clear as it is unjust, and unacceptable.” And one might add, this is another pathway in what Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party and Stop Mass Incarceration Network has called a slow genocide taking place in this country against Black and Latino people.







Revolution #392 June 22, 2015

The Protests and the Stakes
Significant Opposition Builds to Arctic Drilling and Shell Oil Rig

June 22, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


The fight to stop Arctic drilling has been escalating in the Pacific Northwest. In Seattle on June 15, dozens of kayaks and other boats opposed and attempted to block Shell Oil’s Polar Pioneer drilling rig from leaving Seattle’s port for Alaska.

Big stakes are tied up in stopping the drilling. The fate of Arctic ecosystems and of indigenous people who live in connection with these ecosystems is on the line, threatened by oil spills and even more melting of Arctic ice. And the future, too, of the whole planet is imminently at risk. A major scientific study this year in Nature magazine demonstrated that exploitation of fossil fuels in the Arctic would mean climate disaster.

Shell is right now sending two drilling rigs to Alaska’s Chukchi Sea to begin exploratory drilling in an area called the Burger Prospect. And this is just the beginning. Shell’s executive Vice President Ann Pickard told the Seattle Times in May, “If Burger works, then it opens up the whole area.” In the face of a coming planetary climate catastrophe caused chiefly by burning oil, coal and gas, Shell says it hopes to increase U.S. oil supplies by 1 million barrels a day from its drilling in the Arctic.

Shell started to move the Polar Pioneer sometime around 4 am on June 15, trying to avoid large numbers of blockaders. But a line of a dozen kayakers had formed up. Other “kayaktivists” were there in support while still others began to hit the water mobilized by a rapid response text from sHellNO. The Coast Guard arrested kayakers who courageously refused to move or got too close to the rig. As the rig was towed out by tug boats, kayaks and some other small boats moved in open water in front of and near the towering 38,000-ton drilling rig to try to slow it down. Coast Guard and Seattle police boats paved the way, protecting the rig, videotaping and occasionally arresting protesters who faced potentially heavy charges of blocking marine traffic. In all, 24 people were detained by authorities. They were then released with fines for violating the rig’s “safety zone.”

Protests and other actions against Arctic drilling and Shell’s fleet have been going on all up and down the northern coast and others are planned in Alaska. Greenpeace and indigenous activists even put themselves in the path of the Polar Pioneer as it went up the British Columbia coast, including by swimming in front of it.

Actions have been aiming to delay Shell, based on the understanding  that the company has a short window to get to Alaska and start drilling before ice starts reforming in the fall.

Twice, activists in Bellingham, Washington, attached themselves to the anchor chain of Shell’s American Trader barge. In Seattle, people twice blocked main gates of Terminal 5 where the Polar Pioneer was being loaded. Five activists with the “Raging Grannies” were arrested in one of the protests. Over 5,000 people gathered on June 13 in Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada), in a “Toast the Coast” rally protesting tar sands oil development and Arctic drilling. Jane Fonda and Rachel MacAdams came to participate. Fonda said of climate change and Arctic drilling, “This is the one fight we must win, because without a livable world, nothing else matters. This is the fight of our lives.”

Protests against the drilling were also held in 30 cities in Germany, according to Greenpeace of Germany.

Special Issue of Revolution on the Environmental Emergency

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

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

Read online....

Also available in brochure format (downloadable PDF)

The System’s Response and What Is Needed

So what is the response of this system to the battle shaping up over drilling and its immense ramifications? Think about it! This system is melting the Arctic by its destructive burning of fossil fuels. And despite the planetary calamity this means, its response is to seize on this as an opportunity to get more oil now accessible because of this destruction!

Obama has pushed for and greenlighted the drilling from early on. His administration continues to grant the permits required for Shell to go ahead, including most recently permits which will allow Shell’s drilling to disrupt populations of marine mammals that live and migrate through the Chukchi Sea with ship traffic and seismic blasting. Cindy Shogan, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League, said, “Shell is permitted to harass as many as 25,217 ringed seals, 1,662 beluga whales and 1,038 bowhead whales among other mammals... Shell’s Arctic drilling plans are risky and reckless and today’s permit reveals another layer of outrage.”

On Twitter, someone asked Obama why he’s allowing drilling in the Arctic if he is concerned about climate change. Obama tweeted back that he had rejected Shell’s original proposal, showing he was serious, “but since we can’t prevent oil exploration completely in region we’re setting [the] highest possible standards.”

This is just obfuscation mixed with straight-up lies. Obama has been serious—serious about backing drilling in the Arctic in order to strengthen U.S. competitiveness and strategic power versus other world powers. (See “Why Is the U.S. Opening the Arctic to Drilling?”) His reference to “highest possible standards” refers to his phony claim that new rules and regulations can ensure offshore oil drilling can be done safely, a lie made clear by his own Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s prediction of a 75 percent chance of an oil spill from Arctic drilling. Further, his reference to “highest possible standards” has nothing to do with the question about climate change. There are no standards being applied or possible through which drilling and burning oil from the Arctic will help keep climate change in check. Instead, it will simply contribute further to climate change, perhaps devastatingly so.

And then there is the response from the system’s repressive apparatus. When people stand up to protect the Arctic in kayaks, the Coast Guard and the police are set loose to harass and arrest protesters, for violating a safety zone of a drilling rig that is violating the safety of our entire planet! This is just outrageous and criminal!

The struggle is sharpening. It is very important that these significant protest actions have been mounted and it’s vital they go forward. More people have been activated and brought into resistance, including some really putting themselves on the line. These struggles have made drilling in the Arctic a question internationally. Very importantly, they have provided more raw material for exposure of the illegitimacy of this system.

At the same time, there is a need for much more and deeper wrangling among those active in this resistance, as well as millions more who care about the planet, about what is the source of the problem and what it will take to confront this and ultimately deal with the emergency we face. It is still not uncommon to see many of those in this struggle say “it’s not too late for Obama to change his mind and stop the drilling,” without really confronting why Obama and this whole system are actually compelled to engage in such deadly and destructive behavior.

And there is also a need for much more struggle over what kind of resistance needs to be built to not just oppose but to really stop Arctic drilling and other key ways the environment is being destroyed in front of our eyes. To do this requires digging into, and comparing and contrasting different views of what is the problem and the solution, and to figure out the ways we can move to mobilize millions in active, determined resistance.





Revolution #392 June 22, 2015

Who Benefits from the Wall-to-Wall Coverage of Rachel Dolezal?

June 17, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Rachel Dolezal was, until recently, the head of the Spokane Washington chapter of the NAACP. About a week ago, a white couple announced they were her biological parents. Rachel Dolezal had, until that point, identified and been known as a Black person. Mainstream media made this a huge national story, devoting hours to controversy over Rachel Dolezal identifying herself as Black.

In light of the Rachel Dolezal “revelations,” is posing four questions for our readers to ponder and discuss with others. All who read this should think about these questions in light of what these “revelations” have to do with focusing people’s attention away from the crimes committed every day in this society against Black and Latino people, from the murder and terror by police and the daily struggle people face just to work and survive. Over the last months people across this country, from all corners of society, have stood up to oppose murder by police and unity between different people has been built. And now, all we hear about is Rachel Dolezal. So why is this the big story people are being asked to focus on?

Think about these questions:

1. What has been the impact of the media changing the subject of the national conversation from police brutalizing and murdering Black people and others across the country, to the supposed scandal around Rachel Dolezal? What is the impact of changing the subject? The subject is the oppression by this system—and rampant murder of—people at the hands of this system and its enforcers.

2. Whatever Rachel Dolezal did or didn’t do is not the issue and not the story. And what’s the big crime? That somebody who identifies themselves as Black wants to take up the struggle for equality and freedom for Black people—what’s wrong with that? What’s with the “policing of boundaries” between Black and white people and making sure that people who are white identify themselves as white and “own their whiteness”? And why should anyone want to do that? Black people in this country face the most brutal oppression every day, and they face murder by police at any time—what’s wrong with standing with the oppressed?

3. To those who would say Rachel has no right to speak to the oppression of Black people, here’s a question: What’s so great about Black people “owning” their oppression and excluding all others from standing against this oppression? Doesn’t everyone have the right and responsibility to oppose white supremacy?

4. And again, who benefits from this wall-to-wall coverage of Rachel Dolezal? And whose interests does this serve?





Revolution #392 June 22, 2015

Another Element in the Supposed Scandal:

Rachel Dolezal in Baltimore

June 22, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader in Baltimore

The article at revcom—“Who Benefits from the Wall-to-Wall Coverage of Rachel Dolezal?”—poses the basic question: Who benefits from this wall-to-wall coverage of Rachel Dolezal? And whose interests does this serve, at a time when the eyes of the world have been focused on police brutality and murder of Black and Latino people, and now on the racist massacre in Charleston?

That’s the big picture. In that light, though, I want to talk about the story of Rachel Dolezal coming to Baltimore to speak out against the police murder of Freddie Gray and the battle against police murder.

As readers might know, Rachel Dolezal, the head of the Spokane, Washington, chapter of the NAACP, got forced out of her position when a white couple announced they were her biological parents. On May 19, right before this so-called “scandal” hit, Rachel Dolezal flew out from Seattle to Baltimore to be part of a protest rally and march to the headquarters of the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police called by members of Freddie Gray’s family, and taken up by people in the area around where Freddie had lived, and a number of middle class people of different nationalities joined them.

The article in Revolution said that a woman representing the NAACP in Tacoma, Washington, fresh from the fight around the police murder of Antonio Zambrano-Montes in Pasco, spoke to the national importance of the battle against murder by police now. I want to note here that this woman was Rachel Dolezal. For their own reactionary reasons, the Baltimore FOP posted a video of her speech on YouTube, but the speech was what the article said it was. I suggest readers watch it on YouTube and think about how this factors into the supposed scandal about the “race” of Rachel Dolezal’s biological parents.






Revolution #392 June 22, 2015

Nearly 60 Million Refugees Uprooted and Displaced Around the World

June 22, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Syrian refugees waiting to cross the border into Turkey, June 15, 2014.
Syrian refugees waiting to cross the border into Turkey, June 15, 2015. (AP photo)

Try to imagine the unimaginable (at least for most people living in the U.S. or other imperialist countries). You’re already living in an impoverished, highly repressive society. Then suddenly, with little warning or no warning at all, you’re forced to find your loved ones and grab what you can stuff into a few plastic bags or a suitcase and flee for your lives—from bombs, invading troops, or marauding gangs. Sometimes on foot, sometimes by car. You may have little idea where you’re going—but now you’re even more vulnerable to dying of hunger or thirst, or being preyed upon, raped, robbed, or murdered, including by those supposedly taking you to safety.

Well, horrors like this aren’t “unimaginable” in today’s imperialist-dominated world. They’re an everyday reality for tens of millions. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reports that in 2014 alone nearly 14 million people were displaced from their homes by violence or persecution. That’s over 38,000 every single day on average! Making this all the more gut-wrenching: half are children.

And that’s not all. The 2014 deluge of displacement brought the total current number of people who have fled their homes to “seek protection elsewhere” to 59.5 million people—the highest number ever recorded. The New York Times reports this exodus has “littered deserts and seas with the bodies of those who died trying to reach safety.” (“60 Million People Fleeing Chaotic Lands, U.N. Says,” New York Times, June 18, 2015) It should be noted that the United Nations and the NYT article actually undercount the number of people around the world forced from their homes. Their figures do not include the tens of millions who have fled their homes because of poverty or other reasons, including the millions of people from Mexico and Central America forced to immigrate to the U.S. because of they cannot survive in their countries dominated by U.S. imperialism.

Millions of those displaced remain displaced—stuck in limbo—for years, even decades. They can’t go home, and they can’t find new permanent homes. The UN reported that in 2014 the lowest number of displaced people in three decades were able to return home—fewer than 127,000.

This devastating flood of humanity is not inexplicable or accidental. It’s due to the political, economic, and military workings of the global system of capitalism-imperialism, a system dominated and shaped by a handful or countries headed by the U.S. Just look at where the victims are concentrated.

Syria ranked number one: 11.6 million Syrians had been displaced by the end of 2014, of which 7.6 million are within the country and another 3.9 million have been driven from Syria. In Afghanistan, 3.7 million were displaced. An estimated five million people have been displaced in Iraq. Some 15 million people from Sub-Saharan Africa have been displaced—4.5 million just in 2014. What do all of these places have in common? They are countries oppressed by imperialism and countries or regions that have been the direct target of U.S. and European military assaults and interventions—the ongoing U.S. “war on terror” in particular.

Yet what makes this situation even more horrific is the fact that refugees are not mainly finding shelter in the richer countries that bear the most responsibility for these horrors—they are being driven into other oppressed and impoverished countries. Turkey, Iran and Pakistan have more displaced people within their borders than any other countries. And one quarter of all refugees has been forced into some of the world’s poorest countries, including Ethiopia and Kenya. These two countries take in more refugees than France and the UK.

The UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees said: “For an age of unprecedented mass displacement, we need an unprecedented humanitarian response and a renewed global commitment to tolerance and protection for people fleeing conflict and persecution.” But global capitalism—which has caused these horrors—is incapable of an “unprecedented humanitarian response.” And events are proving this once again. Instead of seeking to aid the peoples of the oppressed countries and end imperialist military interventions, the European powers are squabbling over how to divide up the 40,000 asylum seekers, a small number in relation to the number of refugees overall, within the European Union—meanwhile, they’re discussing a military blockade to prevent refugees from fleeing North Africa and landing on European shores. Australia is doing likewise. And the United States allows permanent residence status to only 70,000 refugees a year—a drop in the bucket.

This is a global catastrophe, yet another indictment of the global system of capitalism-imperialism and evidence of how this system is utterly bankrupt and unreformable. This intolerable outrage should compel anyone with a shred of humanity to dig into understanding the real source of the problem—and the actual solution to end these horrors. A good place to start is Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage—A Manifesto from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, and the works of Bob Avakian, Chairman of the RCP, who has brought forward a new synthesis of communism that opens up the possibility of a radically new and better world through revolution.






Revolution #392 June 22, 2015




Revolution #392 June 22, 2015

From Revolution Club, Los Angeles

Dear Professors:
Contribute to Revolution Club Summer L.A.

June 22, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Below is a fundraising letter by two graduate students who are participating in the Revolution Club Summer L.A.


Dear Professors,

We are writing to let you know of a very exciting initiative for students who want to change the world, and to encourage you to contribute to Revolution Club Summer L.A.

We live in a world of so much preventable human suffering, oppression and ignorance. A vicious patriarchal culture that commodifies and feeds on the sexualized degradation of women; and new laws threatening a woman's right to abortion all across the country. Many of us have taken part in and gained inspiration from a year of struggle against mass incarceration and police murder. And it promises to be a long hot summer of more righteous resistance. We invite you to donate to Revolution Club Summer L.A.

Revolution Club Summer L.A. is about youth and students from diverse backgrounds and nationalities that will dedicate themselves to "Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution" all summer long. They will live together, learn from one another, study and debate the new synthesis of communism as developed by Bob Avakian, write articles for, engage in focused outreach in the South Central LA neighborhood where countless Black youth, including Ezell Ford, are killed by the LAPD, and attend concerts and cultural events throughout Southern California to spread the message that this oppressive status quo can and must be changed. They will be fighting for a fundamental alternative to our current unsustainable way of life.

The Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), USA, has an established history of working with youth, students, and people from all walks of life who want to learn about and join a movement for revolution. The RCP has forged a strategy for making revolution and emancipating all of humanity, which thousands across the country are beginning to spread and implement. In many communities and campuses, the work of the Revolution Clubs has injected an important level of urgency and integrity in the battles against injustice.  We're down with this and we want to see more.

These young people are choosing to make their lives count for human emancipation, while rising above the muck of "me-first" individualism. They are doing something very different than what the dominant culture celebrates, even very different than many other political organizations. The Revolution Club Summer L.A. will play a catalytic role in providing an outlet for youth who deeply want to change the world, and it will motivate (and challenge) scores of people these next couple months.

Can there be an actual revolution here in the heart of U.S. imperialism? If so, through which strategy? How could a whole new socialist society be organized, and what kind of socialism and communism do we need anyway? What will it take to achieve a world without rape? Why is capitalism destroying the planet and what can be done about it right here and now? Whether or not you agree with, or have even engaged the revolutionary communist approach to these questions, this initiative is the only place we know of where organized groups of youth will be coming together to wrangle with these world-historic questions and model a whole new liberating morality. This will be a summer filled with struggle, seriousness, fun, excitement, and joy! What else can be more meaningful for the people of the world and for the planet?

Over $5,000 is needed for gas, food, and materials. Also, in kind contributions of food, gift cards, coffee cards, whistles, and more are needed. All donations can be sent or brought to Revolution Books L.A. or via the "Revolution Club Summer" PayPal button at

Two Graduate students excited to participate in this year's Revolution Club Summer!





Revolution #392 June 22, 2015

Report from Georgetown, Seattle:

Taking Patriarchy by Storm

June 19, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader

On Saturday, June 13, in Seattle we went out to an art and music street carnival in Georgetown, an area described as “bohemian blue collar chic,” and known to be a hot spot for artists and other "think outside the box" creative types. We brought out the posters that say “Women are NOT bitches, hos, punching bags, sex objects, or breeders. Women are FULL HUMAN BEINGS!” and several rolls of stickers with different slogans, and we got a very positive response from many of the people there. We talked to people about July 1st, and we really focused on getting out the stickers, getting pictures of people with the signs to tweet out, and raising money...cause “...we need funds to take patriarchy by storm—ALL SUMMER LONG!” We raised over $200 in about 3 and a half hours, and I think it's a very good idea to go out to festivals or events where people make a point to carry cash with them!

One story that I think captured something positive about abortion rights was from a retired man that had worked at a local medical center. When his brother, a conservative Republican, heard that Obama had won the election, he complained that there would be so many abortions with Obama in charge. We pointed out that this is actually NOT true...the legal assaults on abortion rights have continued and in the last four years have even become much more intensified, and Obama has done NOTHING substantial to challenge or fundamentally change this situation and trajectory and what it means for women. But this man explained to his brother, “Well, you know that there are ‘spontaneous abortions,’ right? They’re called miscarriages, and they happen all the time. Women that didn't even know that they were pregnant, they think they have a heavy period, but it was a miscarriage. So actually, the God that you believe so strongly in, he is actually responsible for WAY MORE abortions than Obama is!”

Through the day, word got out about the summer of taking patriarchy by storm—and toward the end of the day some people were coming up to us to get stickers cause they had seen others wearing them—they were excited to see the message and really agreed with this radical idea that "Women are Full Human Beings!!"





Revolution #392 June 22, 2015

From a Reader:

Food for Thought on Obama's Interview

June 24, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


On the Monday news, an interview that Obama had done with a comedian Marc Maron was released. What hit the headlines was Obama’s comments that “race relations” had improved but racism still exists, and “It’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say nigger in public.” 

What was less featured, but I thought much more revealing and thought-provoking, was what he said about the big contradictions that U.S. imperialism (and him as commander-in-chief) faces in relation to the sharpening struggle over the oppression of Black people.

This is from a June 23 article by Michael Memoli from the Chicago Tribune Washington Bureau on the Maron/Obama interview:

Obama said the “Hope” and “Change” posters so prevalent in his 2008 historic campaign to be the nation’s first black president captured Americans’ aspirations about where the country should be, but the challenge for him was always going to be how to “operationalize those abstract concepts into something really concrete.”

“As soon as you start talking about specifics, then the world’s complicated,” Obama said. “You’ve got these big legacy systems that you have to wrestle with, and you have to balance what you want and where you’re going with what is and what has been.”

In the end Obama agreed with Maron’s contention that in some respects the presidency is no more than a middle-management position. 

“Sometimes your job is just to make stuff work,” Obama said. “Sometimes the task of government is to make incremental improvements or try to steer the ocean liner 2 degrees north or south so that 10 years from now, suddenly we’re in a very different place than we were. At the moment, people may feel like we need a 50-degree turn, we don’t need a 2-degree turn. And you say, well if I turn 50 degrees the whole ship turns (over).” [emphasis added]

This is an admission on Obama’s part of the impact of the nationwide struggle against police murder and the oppression of Black people and what that has exposed about the brutal nature of this system. And it’s an admission that if the government tried to really put a stop to the oppression of Black people it could turn the whole ship over. BA has pointed out many times that white supremacy is built into the foundation of this system, since the first day of slavery, and permeates the fabric of society. That fabric is being torn. We don’t need to be fine-tuning the course of the ship that spawns this genocidal program against Black people, we need to END it. We need to work on intensifying that contradiction all the more and repolarizing millions of people toward revolution. Yes, the whole ship (this capitalist/imperialist system) needs to be turned over and sunk through revolution.





Revolution #392 June 22, 2015

A Historic Victory for Same-Sex Marriage, and a Need to Get Beyond ALL Oppression and Prejudice

June 26, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled by a 5-4 margin that same-sex marriage is legal throughout the United States. The right to marry is a basic right. Denial of that right has, for hundreds of years in this country, essentially deprived LGBT people of their humanity. This has been an historic, horrible injustice and outrage. This ruling is long overdue, and something to celebrate!

At the same time, there are many battles to come, and still a historic challenge to really, fully, deeply uproot enforced ignorance, cruel prejudice, legal discrimination, and vicious attacks on people who do not fit into patriarchy-defined gender roles.

Stonewall, June 28, 1969
Stonewall protesters on the night of June 28, 1969

Act Up:
Act Up: “Read My Lips” was a campaign tactic that played on George H. W. Bush’s famous line from the 1988 Republican National Convention, "Read my lips, no new taxes" that forced the public to confront same sex unions. (Photo:

From the time gay people fought back against being arrested, beaten and persecuted by police at the Stonewall Inn nightclub in New York City, in 1969; through the courageous battles waged by ACT UP in the arenas of science, morality, medicine and law in the 1980s against the promotion of ignorance, hatred, superstition and persecution of people with HIV and AIDS; through defiant and defiantly joyous Pride events; and in the battle for legal equality—the courageous struggle for LGBT people to be treated as human beings has had to go up in the face of official and unofficial persecution, shaming, brutality and horrible cruelty.

And the determined struggle for equality, and to have the humanity of LGBT people acknowledged, in many realms, in many forms, has intersected with, and interacted with other struggles against injustice and oppression, as well as changes in the world and people’s attitudes.

All those factors contributed to today’s court ruling.

At the same time, this ruling has already been met with Dark Ages attacks, and overt contempt and defiance by legal and religious authorities. The Texas attorney general instructed officials not to follow the ruling—at least for now—and justified that with overtly theocratic logic: “no court, no law, no rule, and no words will change the simple truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.”

The Catholic News Agency favorably quoted Justice Antonin Scalia saying the decision was a “threat to American democracy,” “hubris” and a “judicial Putsch" [a Putsch is like an illegitimate coup d’etat that overthrows a government]. These are ominous developments, which we will be speaking to more here in coming days.

Gay Pride March New York, June 28, 2015
A father kisses his son as his husband holds the child during the Gay Pride March, New York, June 28, 2015. (AP photo)

Beyond attacks on this ruling, it is still the case in 2015 that only a handful of states even have anti-discrimination laws protecting the rights of gay, transgender, or gender non-conforming people. It is still perfectly legal in vast regions of this nation of so-called “equal rights” to fire a person from their job, kick a person out of a store, evict someone from their home or apartment, or deny a person the right to be legal guardians of their own children, just because they do not conform to the rigid gender roles dictated to them by this patriarchal system.

And it is still the case that huge sections of the religious establishment preach the most hateful and vicious contempt for LGBT people.

In short, this is still a society where millions and millions of people live in fear, are subjected to persecution, are driven to suicide, and even killed for being of a different sexual orientation than the patriarchal norm.

Persecution, oppression, and prejudice of all kinds are not “just the way it is.” Prejudice is not “human nature” or decreed by any supposed (invented) supernatural being. All this is a product of and has served thousands of years—the long dark night in human history—of societies divided into masters and slaves.

That long dark night must, and can, end everywhere in the world.

That is the mission of the revolution we need, and that we can make. That is the goal of the society brought to life in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. We are building a movement now for that revolution—to bring into being a completely different kind of system that will mobilize and unleash people to transform the world and themselves, to sweep away all forms and manifestations of oppression of every kind.





Revolution #392 June 22, 2015

#RiseUpOctober Launch Meeting
Stopping Police Terror:
Which Side Are You On?

Updated June 27, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Come Hear Cornel West & Carl Dix
Speaking to Plan a Huge National March
in NYC in October 2015


Stopping Police Terror:
Which Side Are You On?

June 30, 2015 Tuesday 7 PM
The Unitarian Church of All Souls
1157 Lexington Avenue (at 80th), New York, NY

Ferguson, New York, Baltimore, Charleston...

In the last year, America has been split open over whether police and racist vigilantes getting away with murdering Black and Latino people must be STOPPED; or whether it's okay for racist killers, in and out of uniform, to shoot down or beat and choke to death Black people on a more than daily basis in the streets, or in their homes, or in their churches.

Many, many people have taken to the streets to STOP these horrors, but way too many people are still on the sidelines, and the killings still go on. The question that must be sharply posed to millions and millions of people, here and around the world, is this: Which side are you on? And what are you going to do stop the killings?

The National March to STOP Police Terror on October 22-24 aims to make everyone in America choose sides for real and change the whole way people fall out around police and out of uniform white supremacists getting away with murder as part of STOPPING these horrors. Cornel West and Carl Dix challenge you to join this historic effort!


Stop Mass Incarceration Network—New York
New York Metro: 929-249-7996 * National: 646-709-1961 *