Revolution #406, September 28, 2015 (

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Which Side Are You On?

Why There Must Be a Truly MASSIVE Outpouring Against Police Murder on October 24 and Why YOU Are Needed

September 14, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |



By now you’ve seen it more times than you can count. A Black or Latino person, at any time, just walking down the street or driving to work or standing in front of a hotel or even in their home, has their life snuffed out for no reason whatsoever. Video after video of people with their hands up, people running away, people surrendering, people pulled over for a traffic stop, or doing absolutely nothing but minding their own business—verbally abused, body-slammed, tased, gang-stomped and/or outright murdered, often after they have surrendered. Picture after picture of parents, of partners, of children demanding justice, of communities pouring into the streets. Time after time of the victim then being demonized and slandered, of authorities claiming “this wasn’t racial,” of killer cops walking free because they claim “they were scared.” And now one side of the media, the politicians, and powers-that-be viciously attacks those who protest... while the other side says “go slow, be patient, it’s complicated.” No! There’s absolutely nothing complicated here. And there’s no more time for “going slow.” How is any of this legitimate? What kind of society tolerates a system that views and treats an entire group of people, based solely on their skin color or language, as suspects, as criminals, and worse—as people having no rights or even humanity which the police are bound to respect? How long must this go on? Police murder and terror must stop, NOW!


This situation is not static. Either the protests and resistance will be repressed or derailed and the controversy shut down, with the horrors not only staying in place but intensifying... or people will come forth in much greater numbers and determination than before, and seriously change the terms of how all of society looks at this and acts on it. There is a way to do that, to fight this, right now, and to take this fight to a higher level. This October 24 in New York City thousands and thousands will pour into the streets, insisting to the world and the country: THIS MUST STOP! This outpouring aims to change the terms of how people think about this and act on it, and to politically rock those who order and carry out this terror back on their heels. This will draw a sharp line in all of society: WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?? Everybody who agrees with the simple demand that POLICE MURDER AND TERROR MUST STOP should be there on October 24. Let’s make clear to the whole world, in our numbers and determination, that there are many, many people who refuse to tolerate these outrages, who will not be silent and complicit in the face of them. NOBODY with a beating heart and a functioning conscience should stand aside. (A call from Cornel West and Carl Dix... #RiseUpOctober to STOP Police Terror)


There is a place for you in this. Your ideas, your support, your efforts are urgently needed—now—to make this happen. In fact, this can only happen on the scale and scope that is absolutely necessary if many many people throw in on this, now—people who have been fighting this, as well as people who are just now coming to the fight. You are needed. We face a decisive moment, a crossroads, where terms are being set as to what is legitimate, what will be tolerated and what will be opposed. Lives are at stake. Be part of determining the outcome.


Also see: October 24, New York City: POLICE MURDER MUST STOP! The Struggle to Stop Police Murder





Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Reality Check

Updated October 5, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |



What REALLY Changes Things?

Those who insist voting can bring change, but determined resistance and struggle cannot... have it backwards. Yes the powers that be wield their police, army, and media to enforce their rule, but they’re in deep shit around the world and have conflicts within their own ranks—they can be challenged and defeated. A lesson from history: In 1964, a Democrat (Lyndon Johnson) won a landslide victory running for president as a “peace” candidate. He massively escalated the Vietnam War. In 1972, Republican Dick Nixon ran for president threatening to escalate the war further. He was forced to pull out U.S. troops and sign a “peace agreement” that led to the defeat of the U.S. in Vietnam. In neither case did how people voted in the elections determine what happened. The actual factors were a whole set of events in the world along with defeats the U.S. suffered in its wars for empire, and protest and rebellion in the homeland. A critical lesson for today: Real change never comes through working through this system’s elections, but determined struggle can be a game changer.


Why Economic Boycotts Will Not STOP Murder by Police

The real power the masses of people have is the ability to challenge the injustice this system has brought down on Black people and other oppressed people from the very beginning of this country; not withholding our dollars from the economy of the country.

The outpourings of protest have stripped away the cover of legitimacy the rulers work to keep over the savage oppression and the vicious exploitation this capitalist-imperialist system brings down on people. Rather than calling on people to stay home and not shop, which is a very passive form of activity, we need to mobilize even more powerful resistance, bringing forward wave after wave of people taking to the streets and saying NO MORE to police getting away with murder... It is easier to stay home and not shop or to work on getting people to do that than to go right into the teeth of the repression, the mass arrests and the threats the authorities have unleashed against those who have stood up to say this shit must STOP! But it won’t stop the horrors from continuing to be perpetrated against the people.

—Carl Dix, representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party
and co-initiator of #RiseUpOctober


Codifying Racism into the Law

Every time another pig uses “I feared for my life” as a justifiable legal excuse for the straight-up murder of unarmed Black or Latino people, this system is codifying racism into the law. They are saying that it’s legally “justifiable” for an armed enforcer of this system to murder someone based on their racist, white supremacist ideas—ideas that are shaped by this racist, white supremacist system. Such a system is murderous and decrepit, it’s totally fucking illegitimate and needs to be swept away!


Who Are You?

To those who say: “Who are you to be standing up against police murder?” We’re people who think this is outrageous and has to stop—where do you stand?

And to those who say: “You’re invading my safe space by being so sharp.” Bullshit! There is no safe space, for you or for the masses of people getting harassed, beat down, brutalized, and murdered.

Now let’s get down and change all this once and for all!


Crime Among the People and the Police: A Revolutionary View

There should be no “ambiguity” or “confusion” about the role of police in dealing with crime among the people. Let’s look at the actual relations here. People have been maintained forcibly in conditions where, to quote a conservative writer, Edward Luttwak, for masses of youth in the inner city, crime is a “rational choice.” Even with the risk of prison and lives cut short, crime is a “rational choice” under this system. Why? Because of the workings of this system, there are no decent jobs and there is no education for millions of Black and Latino people in the inner cities, there is forced segregation to this day, and there are forced conditions of poverty. There is absolutely no justification for bringing down violence on people who have been forcibly kept in this position in their millions and millions for generations.


A Point to Media Mouthpieces

To Fox, CNN, MSNBC, and the media mouthpieces of this system who defend police violence and murder: At every point in the history of this country, when it comes to Black people, people just like you defended the enslavement and the vicious violence they were subjected to and then came around later and said it was wrong. When the overseers were cracking the whip and the slave chasers were running amok, people like you defended it as necessary to keep the slaves in line... until the next phase of white supremacy, where you came around and said that, after all, slavery was so wrong—while you backed up Jim Crow, KKK, and widespread lynching. Now you’re up there, ready to admit that that was just terrible, while you defend the current form of white supremacy: police murder, brutality, and mass incarceration. Until you admit that and are ready to fully expose the violence this system rests on and perpetrates, shut the fuck up!





Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Interview with Rise Up October Steering Committee Member Nkosi Anderson:

"Hey, enough is enough! We need to put an end to police terror and fight for a better world."

September 26, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Revolution/ interviewed Nkosi Anderson, a member of the #riseUpOctober 24 to Stop Police Terror Steering Committee, on September 25, 2015. He is a graduate student of Union Theological Seminary.

Revolution Interview: A special feature of Revolution to acquaint our readers with the views of significant figures in art, theater, music and literature, science, sports, and politics. The views expressed by those we interview are, of course, their own; and they are not responsible for the views published elsewhere in our paper.


Revolution: You were an early initiator of Rise Up October and have taken a lot of responsibility to build for these three days in October when thousands of people will take a stand in New York City to say NO to police terror. Maybe you could start by talking about how you see the current situation and why you’ve made this commitment.

Nkosi Anderson, August 27

Nkosi Anderson speaking on August 27 at the First Corinthian Baptist Church (FCBC) in Harlem, New York City: What We Must Do to STOP Police Murder and Terror—Get Ready for #RiseUpOctober

Nkosi Anderson: Sure, sure. Well, I think when we try to look at any current social issue or situation we have to first look historically. And so for me W.E.B. Du Bois is a scholar who helps me think through a lot of what we see going on today. [In my talk at the August 27th program to build for Rise Up October] I had made reference to his 1903 classic, The Souls of Black Folk. Now it’s funny with Du Bois, he lived from 1868 to 1963. So we’re looking at 95 years and why I think he’s such an interesting figure is because he developed over all those years. Lots of times you see people, especially as they achieve a sort of notoriety, become more conservative, or almost reactionary. But he became increasingly radical throughout his years. So I say that to say that by the 1930s and later on he had became a full-fledged Marxist in his analysis. He writes his magnum opus Black Reconstruction in 1935; in the early 60s he joins the Communist Party and leaves this country, never to return.

So he is someone who grew increasingly radical. But even in 1903 he is developing this kind of consciousness around the problems of society and the oppression of Black people and the masses in general. There’s a chapter in The Souls of Black Folk called, “Of the Sons of Master and Man,” if I’m not mistaken. And in it he’s talking about the social relations of Blacks and whites after emancipation. And what I found interesting in that chapter is that he says that it became very clear that once Black folks were freed, that the economic system could not accommodate all of a sudden now, all these people who needed to be paid for their labor, as opposed to being enslaved and exploited for their labor. And so the question was, “What do we do with all these freed Negroes?” And immediately, the solution was to use the courts; use the police, to essentially re-enslave these people. And so you were branded a criminal simply by your color, the color of your skin.

Revolution: Like there were vagrancy laws where people were arrested for walking down the street—not literally for being Black, but that was the essence of it, right?

Nkosi Anderson: You go to court and you had no chance of winning any case even if you weren’t guilty. I just found that very instructive that even in 1903, Du Bois in his historical analysis is showing the way the criminal injustice system has always been used as a mechanism of social control. It’s been used to protect the interests of the propertied class. It’s also been used to exploit the masses, poor and working folk, and people of color. I mentioned his 1935 text Black Reconstruction. Well, the first two chapters of that book talk about the Black worker and the white worker, and then the third is the planter. So, in the beginning of that book he’s showing how historically, both Blacks and whites have been exploited by the capitalist class to extract the wealth of their labor from them—but then also to pit them against one another. So instead of saying, “Hey, let’s look what we have united and let’s come together and push back,” they’ve been divided and kept oppressed. And I think we see those same types of dynamics going on today.

I think one of the challenges that we face and maybe I’m jumping ahead of myself, that I’m seeing as I try to organize for Rise Up October, is that there are different perceptions in this country on the role of police and what is actually going on in the street. And so for some folks it’s clear as day—they’re living in cities that are literally being occupied by police forces. But for other folks there is kind of this image that the police are here to protect and serve and sacrifice and do good. And certainly the police actually function that way in certain neighborhoods. The police in say a city like Short Hills, New Jersey—I’m from New Jersey, so a city like Short Hills, New Jersey, which is very affluent—the police are going to serve a certain function in that town which is very different from the function that they’re going to serve 20 minutes away in the city of Newark. So it’s kind of how can we get clarity and an orientation around this issue and I think history can give us some light in that.

Revolution: Maybe you could expand on this by addressing the role of family members who have had loved ones killed by the police. What has been your experience working with these families and hearing their stories?

Nkosi Anderson: I think first and foremost when I think of my experience working with these families, is that I’ve been first and foremost humbled by their deep strength and their deep love. I don’t know what I would do if I lost someone near and dear to me. I’d probably retreat, I’d probably fall into destructive behavior. I don’t know what I would do. And so I’m just amazed whenever I see these families not just lament their own loss but use it as an opportunity to speak out against injustices that are continuing to affect others—saying, “Hey you know what? I’m not going to wallow in my pain but I’m going take a stand in honor of my fallen family member to say that this must stop.” And so for me, I’m just humbled to see that type of courage and love of people for them to do that.

I think also this kind of just crystalizes the importance of the struggle, the importance of trying to work for a new world. People are dying. People are losing loved ones. It can’t continue. It has to stop. And so I think what these family members bring to this effort is that they make it real. It’s not just an intellectual, philosophical debate or political debate. It’s real. Lives are on the line. And I think that for those who may not understand the depths of these horrors that are going on, when they see someone speak about a lost granddaughter, or a lost son, or a lost brother, I think that it creates a level of empathy that just theorizing or detached discourse cannot. People aren’t making this up, this is real. And I think that’s what I think they contribute most to this movement to end this type of police terror.

Revolution: I think you’re pointing to the moral dimension of whether or not one stands aside, retreats into self or becomes a freedom fighter. How do you see that, including the role of your faith in that?

Nkosi Anderson: Well, you know, I think that Chairman Avakian has made this clear and I think this is something that this movement has taken up—there’s a line we have, “Which side are you on?” I think the conditions that we are facing today create a clear moral line. I mean I think when you look at the Civil Rights Movement, what freedom fighters then were able to successfully do was make it crystal clear: “OK, this is the moral issue that we’re facing. Do you believe that a certain group of people should be segregated against, subordinated against, and terrorized based on just who they are? Or do you not? And if you don’t then get with this movement and let’s stop it. And if you do, hey, you know, we’re going to fight back.” And it became clear and folks had to take a stand. And I think that’s why that movement was able to make the gains that it did.

Nkosi Anderson speaks at August 27 event in New York City: What We Must Do to STOP Police Murder and Terror

So when we’re talking about the movement today, it does become a moral question. Do you feel that police should have free rein to kill people—or not? Do you feel that police should have free rein to kill people and not face any form of review or discipline or be accountable in any way whatsoever, or not?

Then of course when we’re talking about police murder we’re also talking about our system of mass incarceration. Do you feel that it’s OK, for this country in particular, to have the highest rates of mass incarceration in the entire world? We are the richest nation in the world, yet we incarcerate more than anyone. Do you feel that it’s OK for us to have a system in this country in which for-profit corporations are able to make money off of the suffering and misery of people? I’m thinking of these prison companies that are making tons of money building prisons to house people, there’s money in that. Or not? And so these are clear moral questions and I think these are questions that everybody has to look within themselves and be honest and say OK, where do I stand?

Now, for me, I come at this as a prophetic, as a revolutionary Christian. That’s kind of my grounding, the tradition that I come out of. So we have people like Martin Luther King Jr. who fall into this tradition. You have people like the great social gospeler, Walter Rauschenbusch or the great Black Christian socialist, George Washington Woodbey. He’s someone who I’m actually writing my dissertation on. He’s one of the leading Black socialists in the early part of the 20th Century. You have people like Cornel West coming out of that tradition. It’s saying that, hey we have a call to confront evils across the board. And so you can’t just be like, oh, I’m only going to look at racism. I’m only going to look at environmental destruction. No, we have to be consistent in our morality. So we have to fight against the oppression of women. We have to fight against transphobia and homophobia. We have to fight against poverty. We have to fight against the xenophobia and the bigotry of people like Donald Trump and these other repugnant people. So we’re called to stand on the side of justice.

But I also come out of the Black Freedom Movement. And honestly at the end of the day, wherever our orientation is, whatever our ideological backgrounds are, at a fundamental level, it’s a human thing. Are you OK with seeing your fellow human beings suffer, or not? Do you believe that the way things are right now is good enough? Or do you think that we need to stand together to push for a radically different world? And so when you start asking those types of questions I think that it opens up the conversation and it opens up ground for solidarity.


Watch the film now! Share it and spread it through social media!

I look at the relationship between Cornel West and Carl Dix—or we can even extend it to the Dialogue at Riverside Church between Cornel West and Bob Avakian, for example. Here you have folks coming from perhaps different orientations—revolutionary communist stream, prophetic revolutionary Christian stream. But they have overlap around some of these central moral questions and so in that sense they are able to build and able to say, “Hey OK, we agree on these issues of morality, let’s stand together and fight for a radically new world.” And so I just think at a bare level, that basic human level of what type of person are you going to be, regardless of your ideological or religious orientation, what type of person are you going to be and what do you want for your fellow human beings and the natural world. These are moral questions and folks have to take a stand given the conditions that we’re in today in our society.

Revolution: So how do you see Rise Up October, the 22nd, the 23rd, and the mass, massive convergence in New York City on the 24th, impacting the situation?

Nkosi Anderson: I think for me there’s always a need to simultaneously put forth a pragmatic kind of fight back, kind of reformist, broadly speaking strategy, on the one hand; and at the same time, always advance an idealistic, forward thinking revolutionary vision. So what do I mean by that? I think that our work has to be about trying to push back against police murder, against broken windows type of policing, against mass incarceration. That’s the thrust of Rise Up October, that’s the thrust of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. We want to pour into the streets of New York City and we want to say, “Enough of this, this must stop now!”

And so for October 22nd, 23rd, and the 24th we’re trying to create as many opportunities as possible for people who see things the same way to come out and let their voices be heard. So on the 22nd, for example, we’re going to have a public reading of the names of those who have been killed by the police in Times Square. We’re going to enlist religious folk, celebrities, family members, a wide range of folks, to come and give kind of a public witness, as we say in the church, of these people who have died—in Times Square to draw attention to this. The next day we’re having non-violent acts of civil disobedience, to go back to that long tradition of non-violent civil disobedience in this country that has brought about change—which we saw in Ferguson, for instance a year ago and in Baltimore. And then we’re also having marches; we’re also having speeches.

So we’re having a variety of different activities and we hope everybody comes out and participates in all this. We hope people will try and plug in and let their voices be heard in a variety of different ways. And again, the goal is to say, “Enough is enough!” We don’t want broken windows, stop and frisk type of policing. We don’t want police killing people and not being held accountable. We don’t want millions of our brothers and our sisters rotting away in prisons. We want to put an end to this NOW. And so that’s the pushback strategy, that’s the practical, kind of immediate, pushback strategy.

But going on beyond that, my hope is that Rise Up October is just another step in the push towards a more revolutionary kind of vision and action, a more kind of grand, more radical remaking of this society. The way things are right now is not good enough. There has to be a better way. And so for us to get there it’s going to take all of us working together to radically remake our world. And so I think that’s what I hope comes about after Rise Up October, that this can just work towards building momentum towards a kind of more transformative stage in our human development.

Revolution: In going out and building for Rise Up October, there is the need to challenge white people, Black people, everyone, to take a stand around stopping police terror. Maybe you could talk some about this.

Nkosi Anderson: Well, a couple of things. I guess first just immediately responding to your issue about the needing to push white people on this issue. I mean, there was a study that came out a few weeks ago, which looked at the attitudes of Black and white people in response to this issue of police terror. And predictably a high percentage of Black people felt that the police were a problem. And sadly predictably those numbers were much lower among whites that they interviewed. So certainly there is this kind of “race gap” that we need to work around. And I think this comes again from education, it comes from pushing on questions of morality, expanding people’s ethical framework, developing empathy, developing ally-ship. But developing solidarity and not just saying, “OK, I’m sorry what’s happening to people of color.” But actually saying, “OK, I see myself in you and so I have to take a stand because I don’t want you to be going through what you’re going through just based on your race.”

So certainly that’s something that we have to keep pushing on. And I’ll also say this, there’s also the question of class. So when you look at the Civil Rights Movement one of the gains was that it opened up economic and professional opportunity for a slice of Black life, so you see an emerging Black middle class. Unfortunately...

Revolution: And even a president....

Nkosi Anderson: Well, exactly, you read my mind where I’m going with this. So you see, whereas historically in the Black community, and this was a large reason why we were able to make it through all that we’ve been through, there’s kind of been this idea of linked fate and solidarity—we work together to lift each other up. But what you saw was kind of a professionalization of a slice of Black life—the doctors, the lawyers, the educators. And a lot of them moved on with their careers and forgot—oh wait a minute there’s a responsibility that I have to the rest of our community. And so why do I bring this up? I think another issue that we’re facing right now as we try to promote Rise Up October is this class divide.

There are a lot of affluent, well-to-do Black folk out there who are detached from what our brothers and sisters, walking out here in Harlem or down in Baltimore or out in Ferguson, are going through. “Well, you shouldn’t have talked back to the cops. Well, what were you doing walking on the street? Well, what were you doing playing in the park?” So there’s a disconnect. So my point is we need to work against this kind of racial gap. But we also need, even within Black America, we need to work against some of the class gaps. And I think you see this embodied in the president.

The history of Black strivings in this country has been holding, in particular, the federal government accountable, speaking truth to power. That’s part and parcel of the prophetic tradition. Speaking truth to power. “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” That’s Frederick Douglass. But ever since 2008 with the Obama presidency, we’ve kind of strayed from that tradition. There’s kind of been this symbolic victory of a Black president in the White House, which is very important, we cannot minimize that. But on many levels it’s remained symbolic.

What’s the point of having a Black face in a high place if we’re not going to get some structural change as a result? And sadly, while the President has been pushed - now, of late he’s speaking a little bit more to racial issues and issues of criminal justice and so forth. I think in many respects he’s thinking about his legacy. But too little, too late. And furthermore and I’ve heard Dr. West make this point, you can’t have moral legitimacy when for the previous six years you’ve done everything to increase criminalization in this country. You can’t call for peace when you’re dropping bombs on other countries. You can’t say these things and have any sort of...

Revolution: I think Dr. West has used the term “war crimes.”

Nkosi Anderson: Exactly, oh, they’re definitely war crimes. How can we expect you to put forth fair immigration reform when more immigrants have been detained and deported under your presidency than any other before? How can we trust you to defend law and order or civil liberties when all your administration has done is crack down on whistle blowers, suppress civil liberties...

Revolution: During the Obama Administration every single time a case of police brutality has been brought before the Supreme Court, the Justice Department has defended the killing; including in cases like where the police illegally knocked down the door of a mentally ill woman and beat her. This is with a Department of Justice that was headed by the former Attorney General who talked about being “pro civil rights.” But the record speaks louder than words.

Nkosi Anderson: Exactly, the record speaks louder than words. When I was growing up that’s how my father taught me to engage politics. He said, “Don’t get caught up in the lofty words and the professional image that these politicians put out there. What type of policy are they putting forth? What are their actions saying?”

But just to wrap the point up, I think now we’re seeing some of the contradictions. Folks cannot deny the contradictions. So the vacation’s over. This is still a very racist country and I think when you see folks rising up in Baltimore and Ferguson and so forth—people are taking to the streets and saying enough is enough, we can’t just leave it in the hands of these false messiahs, these elected officials, these leaders who we think are going to take care of the work. No, we have to be the authors of the world that we want to see. And so I think it’s great seeing people rise up.

I was listening to a videoconference this afternoon with one of my mentors, a great activist for many years against poverty and homelessness, Willie Baptist. He works with the Kairos Center and the Poverty Initiative here in New York City. He cut his teeth during the Watts Rebellion in 1965. He was making a point that when the contradictions of the system are most glaring, meaning when economic exploitation and poverty and things are most intense, extreme—simultaneously you’re going to see folks rising up, but you’re also going to see an increase with police repression. And so with Watts that’s what was happening. You had these economic conditions bubbling up and then boom, you see this kind of very reactionary, racist police crackdown of the people and you also see the people rising up.

So here we are seven years after the 2008 recession and I think some of the contradictions of the capitalist system are clear for more and more people. We know the contradictions are always present, but I think in this moment they are highlighted and folks see them. What have we seen? We’ve seen stop and frisk, broken windows type policies. We’ve seen police murder. These things have always gone on but we’re seeing them exacerbated in this moment. But just like in Watts, we’re also seeing people rise up. And so there are lessons in history, whether it’s the Watts Rebellion, whether it’s going back to Du Bois and looking at Emancipation and Reconstruction. There are lessons in history that we can study to help shed light on our moment.

Revolution: Could you speak to those who are reading this, and weighing how much they should throw in for Rise Up October? What would your advice be?

Nkosi Anderson: What I would say to readers of and Revolution newspaper—one, you’re in the right place, ok. Louis Althusser speaks of the kind of ideological state apparatuses that oppress us. So plainly put, in our world today, it’s tough to find accurate sources of information and news that go beyond just color commentating or serving the interest of these corporate political parties; that kind of cutting edge truth-telling that should be a fundamental element of journalism. It’s pretty much vanished in this world. And so Revolution newspaper is at the forefront and the cutting edge and is invaluable in terms of being a resource that stays true to this calling—to tell the truth, to inform the people and to really lift up the voices of the people. And so I would say that I think the newspaper is both a voice for the people in terms of the types of articles y’all run, the types of education that y’all disseminate. But it’s also a paper of the people and that y’all are also lifting up the voices of the people in the prisons, of the people on the street, the people in the classrooms. So it’s a paper for the people and of the people.

And then I’d also say to your readers that I think also supporting Revolution Books is connected with this mission. Again we are in a world that is growing less and less literate, that is more prone to mass distraction and spectacle and foolishness. And so it’s vital that we have a bookstore in existence that is providing the type of literature that you’re not going to find elsewhere. You know? So, where are we gonna read about Mao? Where are we gonna read about Marx? Where are we gonna read about Cornel West? Where are we gonna read about Avakian? Where are we going to have a place that disseminates this type of vital literature that we need, to light our way as we go forward in fighting this madness that we see in our world today? And so I think your readers should continue to support and be connected to Revolution newspaper,, and Revolution Books.

Revolution: I really appreciate that and your insights on the role of Revolution/ and Revolution Books. But I did want to hear what you have to say to people who are trying to decide whether or not to throw in with Rise Up October. There are all kinds of things that can seem like obstacles to this challenge of stepping up to make and change history. So what would you say to someone who is weighing that challenge?

Nkosi Anderson: Well, I think it’s exciting. So I think of myself. I’m a student. I’m in the faith community. I’m in New York City. I’m someone with an interest in politics and changing the world for the better. And so this moment allows me to kind of be true to all of those facets of who I am. So I say that just to say, when you look at the great struggles for justice and change in this country, you had to have the participation of students, you had to have the participation of the faith community, you had to have the participation of folks who wanted to change the world for the better and then fight for something good. And so if that is you, this is a chance for you to meet the challenge of our moment, just like those who came before us tried to meet the challenge in their moment.

I think that this is an exciting network that we’re mobilizing—people from, again various different spheres and segments of society with different orientations and different perspectives, but who are all saying, “Hey, enough is enough! We need to put an end to police terror and fight for a better world.”

So I hope people can look at this movement as something that’s welcoming, that’s saying, hey, we need all hands on deck and that people feel they can come and play an active and vital part in it—and also to contribute financially. For some of us we may not be able to be in New York or we may not be able to make it that weekend. But perhaps donating or working to help secure transportation for someone who wants to come down from Boston or up from Washington, DC and be a part of that weekend. There are a lot of different things that can be done; that need to be done in order for this event to be successful. So I think we extend that invitation for people to get with this and to join.





Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

New revelations in 2011 murder by police of Darius Pinex:

Criminal Conspiracy by the Chicago PD:
How to get away with murder

September 26, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Darius Pinex

The pigs who murdered Darius Pinex did so without any justification at all. The story they gave to justify his murder was a lie: They claimed they been warned by a dispatcher that Darius’ car matched the description of a car involved in a shooting. In fact, they never got any such dispatch. Only after they murdered him were they fed a dispatch from another part of the city, at another time, that a car similar to the one Darius was driving was involved in a shooting incident. A whole series of police and other officials concocted this lie and consciously covered it up. FOR ALL THE PEOPLE WHO SAY “THAT COULDN’T HAPPEN, TOO MANY PEOPLE WOULD HAVE TO BE PART OF THE COVER-UP”—IT DID AND DOES HAPPEN ALL THE TIME.

How to get away with murder: This is not about the popular TV show by that name. This is about the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and the murder by police of Darius Pinex and the immediate, extensive, and prolonged cover-up of this murder involving multiple agencies. It was a conspiracy to cover it up that only now, almost five years later, is coming into the light of day.

On a dark, freezing night in January 2011 in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, Darius Pinex and his passenger were pulled over in a traffic stop. It’s hard to think about how terrifying it must have been for Darius and his passenger. The police beamed blinding lights into the windshield, the cop’s vehicle blocked Darius’ car and out sprang two cops with masks on and guns drawn, fingers on the trigger. Within minutes, Raoul Mosqueda and Gildardo Sierra had fired a hail of bullets. Sierra alone fired eight shots into the vehicle. Darius died at the scene, a fatal gunshot wound to the head at the age of 27. Mosqueda and Sierra insisted that Darius’ vehicle fit the description of a car wanted in an earlier shooting, as justification for the fact they riddled the car with bullets. On the South Side of Chicago, yet another family devastated by the police killing of their loved one. Parents grieving, little brothers traumatized, a child growing up without her dad. Darius’ mom, Gloria, knew it wasn’t right and set out to fight it.

There was no justice for Darius. The state’s attorney refused to press charges and treated it as a “justifiable homicide.” The Independent Police Review Board did nothing. One immediate consequence of the conspiracy to protect Sierra and cover up Darius’ murder was that within months, Sierra had murdered yet again. In this second murder, a leaked police dash-cam video shows the victim, Flint Farmer, lying face down on the ground as pig Sierra slowly, methodically circles around his body firing shot after shot after shot. The gun Farmer supposedly had that night turned out to be a cell phone. After the Chicago Tribune did a major article exposing this in 2011, the state’s attorney AND the federal authorities launched investigations into what happened. But nothing came of it and no charges have ever been brought.

The CPD did, however, reward Sierra. For committing these two murders and shooting a teenager in that same period, Sierra was transferred over to work in the city’s 311 (non-emergency) call center for a salary of over $70,000/year.

Yes there's a conspiracy, to get the cops off

"Yes there's a conspiracy... to get the cops off" Is a clip from Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About, a film of a talk by Bob Avakian, given in 2003 in the United States. Bob Avakian is the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. Watch the entire film online at

But as bad as all this is, it is not all. What has come to light is a criminal conspiracy to cover up and justify the murder of Darius Pinex. This was a result of a civil suit courageously filed by Gloria Pinex Dittaway, Darius’ mother. Day after day, Gloria had to sit in the courtroom across from the two pigs who murdered her son, while the City of Chicago attorney defending them blamed her Darius for his own death. If it had not been for a small slip-up in the testimony of a dispatcher, the cops’ story would not have come unraveled and the BIG LIE TOLD OVER AND OVER BY THE pigs would not have come out.

The stunning revelation was that the police had straight-up lied about why they treated Darius as a dangerous criminal in the first place. However, even with this the judge would not direct a finding in favor of the Pinex family. Even with this, the jury swallowed the police version of events. Gloria, in anguish after the police walked away unpunished, told the press, “How can you side with somebody who just lied in your face? They’ve been lying to me for four whole years, knowing that tape existed and they never gave it to me. But they let them walk, and my son’s gone for nothing?”

It was so blatant that the Chicago city lawyers had failed to turn over a crucial piece of evidence like the dispatch tape that, in the wake of the trial, the judge ordered an inquiry into possible misconduct on the part of the city attorney who defended Sierra and Mosqueda. The subsequent discovery of a major and criminal cover-up is extensively documented in a front-page Chicago Tribune article published on September 26, 2015.

What has been revealed is nothing short of a criminal conspiracy. Murder and aiding and abetting murder. The lawyers for the Darius Pinex family are pressing for the judge to overturn the jury verdict in favor of the cops and find for the family or to force a new civil suit.

Darius’ mother released the following statement in response to the Chicago Tribune story:

For 4 years I have been deceived. I always knew I was being lied to - just never knew that it was to this extent and how many people played a role in covering it up.

Indict the cops! Fire the lead prosecutor. I want all that. I want justice!

I want everybody who is pissed off about this system to be with me on October 22, 23, and 24 in New York City. Rise Up October Stop Police Terror! Which Side Are You On?


STEPS IN A COVER-UP (as documented by the Chicago Tribune, 09/26/2015):







Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Updated September 28, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


This is a text of a leaflet from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network-Chicago, which is going out to the Beverly Unitarian Church in Chicago—the church that put up a “Black Lives Matter” sign and then took it down after receiving some hostile responses.

For more on the national debate within the Unitarian Universalist Church on Black Lives Matter and police terror, see Unitarians and Black Lives Matter... Debate Spreads—and watch a video from a Unitarian Church in Anapolis that is responding the right way to attacks on their Black Lives Matter banner.


Open Letter to Beverly Unitarian Church—Which Side Are You On?

Either you stand on the side of those who defend police murder of unarmed Black and Latino people OR you stand against this together with others who refuse to accept it.

By taking down your sign, "Black Lives Matter" you took a side. The wrong side! BLACK LIVES DO MATTER.

PUT THE BLACK LIVES MATTER SIGN BACK UP and many people will stand with you. When you cave into the lies, mis-education and racist threats that led you to take your sign down, you do great harm.


To the congregation of the Beverly Unitarian Church,

Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd, Freddie Gray, Walter Scott, Tamir Rice, Laquan McDonald, Tony Robinson, Justus Howell. In 2015 alone, there are hundreds of names. We know their names because people stood up and protested and demanded that this society recognize that Black Lives Matter and police murder must stop.

Your church caved into a campaign underway by right-wing politicians, media and police representatives that is out to demonize the protestors. They got your church to swallow their lies that the movement against police terror is anti-white, anti-police and most outrageously, somehow terrorist. Let’s be real. There is terror, but it is police terror—the terror that comes from state violence that ends a Black or Latino person’s life for no reason other than a cop or racist vigilante saying, “I felt scared.” The victim and their families are demonized. There is no justice time and time again.

We call on you to do the moral and principled thing and put the sign, BLACK LIVES MATTER back up. Get back on the right side of history.

We are building for a major, massive demonstration in the streets of New York City on Oct 24th—everyone who agrees with the simple demand that police murder and terror must stop should be there. Let’s make clear to the whole world, in our numbers and determination, that there are many, many people who refuse to tolerate these outrages, who will not be silent and complicit in the face of them. JOIN US IN BUILDING FOR OCTOBER 24th IN NEW YORK CITY.
For more information: Stop Mass Incarceration Network-Chicago • (312) 933-9586
@StopMassIncChi                      #RISEUPOCTOBER






Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Protesting and Indicting Pope Francis in NYC

"The Catholic Church Enslaves Women!"

September 25, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Procession of Unrepentant Women, NYC, September 24 Procession of Unrepentant Women, NYC, September 24. (Photo: Bud Korotzer)

“The Catholic Church enslaves women!” Strong voices echoed out through the canyons of New York City streets, turning heads and causing jaws to drop. “They are criticizing Pope Francis?” Scandalous!

On September 24, the Procession of Unrepentant Women, organized by Sunsara Taylor and, wore chains to represent the enslavement of women and blood-streaked pants to represent the 47,000 women who die each year for lack of safe, legal abortions. They carried the faces of women who died from illegal abortions and bold signs which read “Abortion on Demand and Without Apology!” and “We Indict Pope Francis.” They distributed 1,000 copies of a People’s Indictment against Pope Francis and the Catholic Church.

For several hours, they rallied and marched through the city. Everywhere, they shouted out the crimes of the Catholic Church and Pope Francis--their condemnation of divorce, birth control, and abortion which has caused untold suffering and misery to women over centuries; the recent canonization of the genocidal maniac Junipero Serra; the rape and abuse of children by priests; their condemnation of LGBT love, and more. Everywhere, controversy abounded.

Folks pulled out their cameras and snapped pictures. A few screamed “sinners” and “bitches” at the procession. A man with a “Repent, Follow Jesus” sign started to preach near them but quickly wandered off, seeming to assess he didn’t look very good next to such a graphic portrayal the suffering caused by the Church. Another man was not at all deterred, circling back repeatedly to curse the procession out as “bitches” and “whores.”

Others, however, were extremely heartened: women and men both yelling out “I agree!” or giving a thumbs up. Some were particularly happy to see that not everyone was buying the hype about Francis supposedly being a “friend of the people.” One young man rode up on his bicycle and, after reading the indictment through, said, “Man, I just bought a pope shirt and now I can’t wear it.” Mothers stopped and explained to their daughters what the blood on the pants of the people in the procession represented, and nodded their approval.

As the procession marched towards St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where Pope Francis was scheduled to appear later in the day, it passed crowds who were beginning to line up to receive the pope. At 49th Street, a block away, the street was fully barricaded and no one could get any closer to St. Patrick’s. New York City police swarmed up on the procession and insisted that protest was only allowed in a special “protest pen” which was set up several blocks away. Taylor and others called this out loudly, pointing to the fact that all around us Catholics were waving flags with messages to welcome the pope and wearing Catholic buttons and shirts, but only those carrying the faces of women who died from illegal abortion and wearing their blood were being denied the right to “welcome the pope.” Stop Patriarchy refused to allow the police to deny their right to assemble and continued to call out, “Women have NOTHING to repent for, abortion is not murder, and women are not the property of the church.”

The NYPD then took a different tack, promising to set up a “special protest area right here.” It soon became clear that this meant encircling the Procession of Unrepentant Women with police barricades, but before they could finish, the Procession took off again. Again, crowds swelled around it, with news media from different parts of the world snapping pictures and doing quick interviews and passersby staring with their mouths agape.

When the Procession arrived at the closest point allowed near the church, they pulled out their indictment and read the entire thing one more time. Then they posted it up to the police barricades, in lieu of being able to nail it to the door of the church. Here it is:

People’s Indictment against Pope Francis & the Catholic Church

Posting People's Indictment Against Pope Francis and the Catholic Church on police fence outside St. Patrick's Cathedral
Posting People's Indictment Against Pope Francis and the Catholic Church on police fence outside St. Patrick's Cathedral. (Photo: Bud Korotzer)

3 Counts—Felonious and Malicious Cruelty Against Women: protests Pope Francis in New York, September 24

* For condemning divorce, causing millions of women to be trapped, over centuries, in violent, abusive, and spirit-crushing marriages and then be shamed and blamed for their misery.
* For condemning birth control, destroying the lives of millions upon millions of women who’ve been forced for centuries to live as little more than breeders, forced to have child after child against their will, dying in child-birth, and cast out in shame if they do not slavishly subordinate and sacrifice their every desire to serving husband and child.
* For condemning women’s right to abortion, contributing to the cruel and brutal deaths of 47,000 women each and every year for the lack of safe, legal abortions and millions of women forced into motherhood against their will. For, as one example of this barbarity, ex-communicating those who assisted a 9 year old rape victim in getting an abortion in Brazil, but not the grown man who raped her.

1 Count—Heinous Repression and Barbarism Against LGBT People:

* For proclaiming that same-sex love is a “sin” and forcing millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people over centuries into self-hatred, shame, vicious brutality and deprival of fulfilling intimate lives.

2 Counts—Aiding & Abetting Genocide:

* For condemning condoms, adding gasoline to the genocidal fires of the HIV/AIDS epidemic as it tore through the entire continent of Africa and other oppressed parts of the world, with millions tortured to death in agony, whole villages de-peopled, millions of children wandering as orphans.
* For canonizing “Saint” Junipero Serra who was responsible for the physical and cultural genocide of Native Americans. Father Serra set up the mission system in California that led to the deaths of over 60,000 Native Americans from 1769 to 1821.

1 Count—Aiding & Abetting International Sex Crime Ring:

* For using one’s religious authority to cover up, obstruct investigation of, and abet over decades the sexual abuse of many thousands of children and others by countless priests and other officials in the Catholic Church around the entire globe.


Pope Francis is no “friend of the people.” He is a new face on the same barbaric cruelty that the Catholic Church has perpetrated against oppressed people over centuries. Recently, he extended the invitation to women who have had abortions to “repent” their “sin” and be welcomed back into the church. No, abortion is not a “sin” because fetuses are NOT babies, women are NOT incubators and abortion is NOT murder.

We refuse to repent. We march and deliver this People’s Indictment on behalf of the millions of women and others whose lives have been destroyed by the Catholic Church. We fight for a future without Dark Ages institutions and oppression.





Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Pope Francis Blesses the "Land of the Free":
Genocide, Slavery, and the Golden Rule

September 28, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Pope Francis opened his speech to the Congress saluting the United States as the “land of the free and the home of the brave.”


by Bob Avakian, Chairman,
Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, Summer 2015

Read more

The land of the free? The United States is a country built on slavery. It is a country that imprisons more people than any country in the world, by far. A country where 11 million people—people who pick the crops that feed people and build the skyscrapers that tower over cities—have no rights at all and are persecuted as “illegals.” A country where the right of a woman to decide for herself whether or not to bear a child is hanging by a thread or non-existent. A country where LGBT youth are stigmatized, condemned as “sinners,” and driven in to suicide in intolerable numbers.

The home of the brave? The United States is a country built on lands in large part seized through genocide carried out by the likes of the canonized priest Junipero Serra. Genocide carried out—despite heroic resistance—by those with guns, germs, and steel against peoples who did not have those weapons. This is a country that today carries out unjust wars around the world in service of empire—usually by dropping bombs from high in the sky, firing missiles from thousands of miles away, or through hired proxies. This is country where any heavily armed police officer can invoke racist “fear” of Black people to murder them in cold blood.

And the pope ended his speech with “God bless America.”

In between, the pope called on Congress to “avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity.” He called for “an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature” (even as he snuck an attack on abortion and birth control into the mix). He reminded Congress that most Americans are children of immigrants. And he called for a “battle to eliminate new global forms of slavery, born of grave injustices which can be overcome only through new policies and new forms of social consensus.” And sent a message that if people accept the framework—the current world order—and work for modest reform, the Church will support you.

But just how far can you go taking on environmental deterioration, vicious attacks on immigrants, poverty, and new forms of slavery when your starting point is accepting the United States as the “land of the free?”

This was a pivotal moral theme in his speech, both through examples and explicitly: Pope Francis admonished, “Let us remember the Rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ This rule points us in a clear direction. Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated.”

Here’s the problem with the Golden Rule: The oppressors cannot and will not apply it, and the oppressed can never end oppression by following it.

The oppressors can never be convinced, or even pressured, cajoled, or shamed into following the Golden Rule because they are playing by a different set of rules—the rules of capitalism. When the owners of a factory move it to a place where they can more viciously exploit people, they are driven by the expand-or-die logic of capitalism. If Apple doesn’t build smart phones in Chinese sweatshops where people throw themselves off the roof in protest and despair over prison-like conditions, Samsung will. These capitalists cannot, by their nature, proceed from treating their workers the way they want to be treated. If they did, they’d go under in a minute in the dog-eat-dog world of capitalist competition.

Or, to take another example, as the terrible impact of global climate change makes parts of the formerly frozen Arctic accessible to global shipping, gas extraction, and military contention among rival powers, the rulers of the U.S., China, Russia, and European nations cannot treat each other in ways they want to be treated. And when they sign treaties and agreements, those agreements are governed by the same rules. The rules in effect are not the Golden Rule but the dog-eat-dog logic of capitalism-imperialism. The rulers of different countries cannot graciously hold the door open for their rivals to go first and hope to be treated the same way. They cannot act this way or they will be knocked down and another empire will climb up the ladder of global domination.

So the Golden Rule never has, never will, and cannot apply to the rulers of this system, who are nothing but soulless embodiments of the logic of capitalism.

And the Golden Rule should not be a standard for the oppressed!

Yes, among the people, we should not be looking to get over on others who are oppressed and exploited. Men should not be dominating women. Whites should not buy into racism but instead should fight white supremacy. People should respect, not persecute those who are just different...

But that’s different than saying the oppressed and freedom loving people of the world should do unto the powers-that-be only what people would want the powers-that-be to do to them. That is a logic, or “rule,” that leaves the global system that continuously generates horrors for the people of the world, and has no serious answers to brutal poverty, unjust wars, environmental destruction, oppression of whole peoples, oppression of women, and a million other unnecessary horrors fundamentally in place, even if here or there the system makes some concessions—concessions that are usually taken back at first opportunity.

Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism puts great emphasis on the need for the oppressed to become nothing less than emancipators of humanity:

The communist revolution is not about revenge, or ‘the last shall be first, and the first shall be last,’ but is about emancipating humanity, ending all exploitation and oppression throughout the world.

Real liberation—revolution—requires a totally different morality than the “Golden Rule” and an entirely different system than capitalism. It requires that the oppressed go up against the oppressors, and do exactly what the oppressors do not want to have done to them: Bring about an end to the whole system of exploitation through total revolution.






Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

From A World to Win News Service:

Aurora Roja, Mexico: March in Oaxaca Demands Justice for Disappeared Students

September 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


September 21, 2015. A World to Win News Service. The following is from Aurora Roja, voice of the Organizacion Comunista Revolucionaria de Mexico ( It has been edited for publication in this news service.

A march of about a thousand people was held in Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca, Mexico September 12 to demand justice for the 43 students who disappeared a year ago and punishment for those responsible for this crime.

Called by the “Stop the War on the People” National Resistance Network, the march began at the entrance to the university campus. Among the diverse groups and individuals involved was Clemente Rodríguez Moreno, father of Cristian Alfonso Rodríguez, one of the Ayotzinapa Teachers College students kidnapped by state forces in the town of Iguala, in the state of Guerrero, September 26, 2014. (Oaxaca is a state on the Pacific coast of southern Mexico, adjacent to Guerrero.)

The majority of the marchers were members of the National Educational Workers Union (SNTE), along with members of the People’s Revolutionary Movement (MPR) and the National Resistance Network, contingents from the International Network of Oaxaca Indigenous People (RIIO), people from the Committee for the Defence of the People’s Rights (CODEP), the Totonundó Canoe Collective, construction workers, shopkeepers, students and residents of various neighbourhoods and slums in the city of Tlaxiaco.

Marchers chanted, “From Iguala to Los Pinos (the presidential residence), jail the murderers,” “Arm in arm, we are all Ayotzinapa” and “They were taken away alive, we want them back alive.” People came out in the side streets to support the march by raising their fists and in other ways.

The protest ended with a rally near the Saturday market in the city centre, where vendors from many indigenous and peasant communities come to sell their wares. The father of a disappeared student denounced the federal government’s long string of lies to the families and the Mexican people in response to the families’ demands that the students be brought back alive. He called for people to join this movement for the lives of the students and the thousands of other people who have disappeared in Mexico, and for justice.

He announced that on September 26, the anniversary of the students’ disappearance, the families and teachers’ college students would gather at four points around Mexico City and march to the central plaza of the capital. This will be preceded by a two-day hunger strike. He called for people to follow the example of Chilpancingo, Tixtla and other places on 15 September and instead of celebrating the country’s independence, demand justice for the disappeared and the resignation of President Enrique Peña Nieto. The families’ demands were also supported by speakers from the teachers’ union and other organizations.

In this rally as well as all along the march route people from the Revolutionary People’s Movement exposed and denounced the role of the army, federal police, state and municipal police in this horrible crime. (The students disappeared while returning to their school from political fund-raising activities in buses they had commandeered. The Ayotzinapa Teachers’ College is attended mainly by young men from peasant families and other poor and often indigenous youth, and has a strong history of radicalism.) Even before the buses were attacked, the students were monitored and followed by a federal government security unit known as C4 that coordinated between the various security forces in real time.

This is one of many facts that the government has tried to hide. A recent report by the Inter-American Human Rights Commission confirmed the conclusions reached by independent scientists and journalists. It presented evidence that the federal prosecutor was lying when he claimed that the disappeared students were burned in a rubbish heap. The people have to be drawn even more broadly and deeply into the struggle alongside the families and Ayotzinapa teachers’ college students to demand justice and the punishment of those responsible, from the president on down, the speaker said.

The Revolutionary People’s Movement declared that the basic problem is the capitalist-imperialist system and that system’s ruling class in Mexico, the big Mexican and foreign capitalists and the landlord class, and the criminal and illegitimate state that protects them. The suffering this system causes is as extreme as it is unnecessary, from India, where 150,000 farmers ruined by global capitalism have committed suicide over the last decade; and Eastern Europe, where every year thousands of women are kidnapped to be turned into slaves to be sold on the global sex market; to Mexico, with more than 150,000 people murdered, more than 30,000 femicides, more than 25,000 people disappeared and hundreds of political prisoners, a country where Central American migrants are extorted, kidnapped and murdered with total impunity, often by the government itself working in collusion with organized crime, among the many other crimes committed or facilitated by the government.

This system doesn’t deserve to go on any longer, the speaker said. It has to be overthrown and dug up from the roots. We need a revolution. The Revolutionary People’s Movement speaker at the rally ended with these words: “We can’t let our children, our grandchildren and even our grandchildren’s grandchildren continue to suffer the horrors of this criminal system, having to fight the same horrors and worse, and even the possible extinction of the human race. Let history say, on the contrary, that here and now, as in other places on this planet, there has begun a new movement for revolution that will not stop until the liberation and emancipation once and for all of all humanity. History remains to be written, and its unfolding depends on what we do, each and every one of us here right now. Dare to struggle for a liberating revolution!”

(The “Stop the War on the People” network has called for a Third National Week of Resistance from October 19-25, 2015.)


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







Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Down for Revolution:
An Interview with Clyde Young

An Interview Reprinted from the Revolutionary Worker (now named Revolution)

October 6, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


In this interview, the RW talks with Clyde Young [formerly known as "Comrade X"], a leading comrade in the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. His life journey—as a Black street youth coming up in the early 1960s, through two prison rebellions, and up to the present—is of definite interest to sisters and brothers who are looking for a way out of this racist and downpressing system. The interview originally appeared in RW issues #569-573, August 26 – September 23, 1990.


Part 1: Coming Up: Fried, Dyed and Laid to the Side

Clyde Young

Typewriting in prison, Michigan City, Indiana, circa late 1960s.

RW: You spent a lot of time in prison when you were coming up and you became a revolutionary in prison—and a revolutionary leader. So we'd like to get down on that whole story. And we know that your experience can shed some light for the brothers and sisters—who are right now up against some heavy fire from the powers-that-be—on why they should become revolutionaries.

There's some lines in the rap by Public Enemy "Don't Believe the Hype" that typify the situation for Black youth today:

"About the gun...
I wasn't licensed to have one
The minute they see me, fear me
I'm the epitome—a public enemy
used, abused without clues
I refused to blow a fuse
they even had it on the news
Don't believe the hype."

How does this song relate to your situation when you were coming up in the 1960s?

Comrade X: A lot of what's captured there speaks to what it is for Black youth and other oppressed youth coming up in this society, not just now, but when I was coming up too. One of the main differences is that now the shit is a lot sharper. Public Enemy has this picture on the front of their album—a Black youth with a target on his chest. And a lot of what characterizes the situation today is that the powers are tightening up their whole state apparatus and in the name of the war on drugs actually conducting a war on the people and the youth. That's the character of it.

Malcolm X used to talk about that there was minimum security and maximum security. He'd be talking and be saying he had been in prison and he'd tell people, "Well don't be surprised, you're in prison too—it's a question of maximum versus minimum security prison." But increasingly from what I can see, the distinctions are getting blurred. I mean, when you have people getting stopped like these youth stopped in Boston and strip-searched out in public and shit—and housing projects being turned almost literally into prisons—some of the distinctions between the maximum and the minimum is beginning to get blurred.

So things are a lot sharper. And even in terms of the reaction of the youth I think, as is somewhat captured in the lyrics of Public Enemy and some of the other rap groups, there is a rough edge or a hard edge that didn't exist quite in the same way when I was coming up. But there's a lot that's similar in terms of going up against the other side. Like that point from Mao about how the oppressed fight back and in fighting back they search out for philosophy and I think that speaks in a lot of ways to what my life was like.

I can remember when I was arrested for the first time was when I was nine years old. It was a situation where I was in a 5 and 10 cent store—I don't think they even have those anymore. I stole something. At this time I can't even remember what it was but it was something really petty. And I was arrested and taken downtown and put in jail. I was in a cell by myself, but I was actually in the jail for men—when I was nine years old. And they held me down there and tried to intimidate me—and succeeded, at that age—until my parents came and got me. This is the kind of thing that happens growing up Black in this country. Had I been white it probably would have been resolved a lot differently, just by either taking me home or telling me not to do it anymore. But in my case, right from the beginning, it was resolved in a very harsh fashion.

From the time before I was a teenager up until I was a grown man way into my 20s, I was repeatedly involved in various contradictions with the state and being put into prison. And if you put together the crimes supposedly that precipitated that, they were all very, very minor. But I'll try to get into some of that as we go along.

The first time that I was really convicted of something was a very minor and petty offense—I stole a pound of hamburger. At the time when I was coming up we were very poor, so I had a scheme that I would work. My mother would send me to the store with a dollar or two, and I would steal what she wanted me to buy, and then I would keep the money to have some spending money. And this one Saturday—I can remember it very vividly—I went in to do that and I got busted. And once again, right away they took me downtown. But this time it wasn't even a question of my parents coming to get me. They put me in a juvenile detention center for a couple of months and then I was put on probation. This was when I was 12 years old.

By the time I reached 13, I had been arrested again for shoplifting and riding in a stolen car, or stealing a car, which was a violation of my probation of the previous incident of stealing the hamburger. So I was sentenced to the reform school (or boys' school) for a period of time. Actually the way they did it at that time was they sent you there indefinitely until you were 18 years old.

At that time I was not really conscious of how to understand all this. There were some ways I knew that this shit wasn't right, some things were wrong, and I had some sense of how Blacks were oppressed. But it wasn't any kind of put-together understanding that I had at that time. So I went off to reform school for nearly a year, and I would say that through all of this I was beginning more and more to get an understanding of some things.

RW: A lot of times the youth are caught up in it but they don't see that it's the whole system coming down on them.

Comrade X: Of course I can see it much more clearly now looking back. At that time when I was growing up, in the South people still had to sit in the back of the bus and were subjected to all kinds of Jim Crow shit. And that was not only true in the South but also in the North. In fact, Malcolm X made the statement at one point that the South began at the border of Canada. In other words, it was the whole country, because in the North some of the same stuff went on, but it was more disguised. Cuz I can remember even where I lived, which was in the North, some of the drug stores and restaurants, Blacks couldn't sit at the counter—the same way it was in the South. But the whole system, the whole penal system and the whole state apparatus, was set up in such a way so that everything was aimed back at the oppressed people. And this is the same kind of thing that you see coming down on the youth today in a lot of ways.

You'd go in to see your probation officer or the social worker, and the interviews a lot of times would consist of, "Were you fed well, did your parents abuse you?" Here was a situation where we were very poor and a lot of times it was a question of not having anything to eat of having fuel or coal. I would have to go out and find wood so we could stay warm, and eat sugar sandwiches and shit like that. In other words, we didn't have shit. This was before there was a lot of openings in the '60s where people began to get into better-paying jobs. And instead of that being looked at as the source of the problem, the authorities, the social workers and such, would ask you, "Well, do you think you're a kleptomaniac?"

And ultimately I came to see it as a bigger problem—that capitalism and imperialism was the source of this and the whole character and nature of the oppression of Black people in this country, having been brought here as slaves, forced into slavery, and then even after slavery being forced into a state of virtual slavery in the South. And all of this had everything to do with the contradictions that I was facing as I was coming up as a kid.

RW: What happened when you went to boys' school?

Comrade X: When I went to boys' school it was a very regimented type of situation. The boys were in cottages which were like small houses. But first they kept you in what they called "quarantine" where they oriented you to the rules and basically began the process of breaking your spirit, which is what it was all about. I can remember being in quarantine. The floors were just spotless, you could almost eat off of them. And largely what we spent our time doing was mopping and waxing the floors and walking around with pieces of cloth under our feet so we wouldn't scratch the floors. We couldn't wear shoes or anything.

It was also very segregated. The Blacks were in certain cottages and the whites were in certain cottages. And the whites, to the extent that this could be the case, had more privileges than the Blacks. When I got out of quarantine I went into this cottage—and everybody was going into what we called the scullery—I guess it's some English word for the kitchen—and I was the last to go in. As I walked past the cottage supervisor, he said something to me and I said, "No," and all hell broke loose. He knocked me down, threw a chair on top of me, and hit me with a chair, pulled out a whip and whipped me, and all of this was because I didn't say, "Yes SIR."

They only let you wear your hair so long, so in order to keep your hair long you had to put on a woman's stocking. You'd take it and put it on your hair so that it would be pressed down and it wouldn't be too long. Otherwise they'd make you get it cut off, because when you first go in there it's just like the army. They cut your hair off, it's very regimental, very humiliating. They make you march in formation and say the Lord's Prayer and pledge allegiance to the flag and all this kind of regimentation and strict control over everything you did. There were certain areas in the cottage where you could talk and where you couldn't talk and if you were caught talking, there were snitches and what not that would write your name down. And if your name came on the list then you would get the strap. For all this talk about child abuse, they would make you lean over a chair and make you pull your pants down and beat you with a razor strap. For talking in the dining room you'd get 10 licks—but if you let go of the chair before the cottage supervisor got to 10 then you had to start all over again, so this could go on for quite a long time. It was just very fascistic in that kind of way. And that was not all that inconsistent with the atmosphere in the country in the '50s and early '60s—that was the way things were carried out. Later on when I got out and got a little older and came back, I rebelled against some of that—including challenging the cottage supervisor himself.

RW: Where were most of the guys from, what kind of background?

Comrade X: Overwhelmingly proletarians. A lot of the people I met in reform school—and these people came from all throughout the state—later, when I was older and went to prison, there was the same people. This was the track you were on and the people you met there were frequently the same people you met when you got to prison later on in life.

RW: Some people treat the whole question of crime in the inner cities and youth gangs like it never existed before, when in reality the oppressed people have always been in a situation where it was allowable to brutalize each other, but crossing that line to fight the system was something different.

Comrade X: That's definitely true. In fact that was a point the Chairman1 made in the interview about the Black Panther Party. Where I grew up it wasn't like there was organized gangs as such, but it was more that there was turfs, which is more or less the same. It was the East side versus the West and the North side versus the South. If you went on the wrong side of town then it was your ass. Of if you went to a party on the wrong side of town and you stepped on somebody's shoe or something, these minor kind of things like this, it very often went over to violence. And in some other places like Chicago, not only did they have gangs, but they were like empires. Thousands of people were in them and in fact you were forced into them. So it is definitely the case that this has existed for a long time.

And also, too, this whole point of it being "allowable" in a certain sense if you are doing it to one another. It is different than if you even step out and start committing violence and violent crimes against whites, to say nothing if you begin to go over to become a revolutionary and start attacking the system. Then there is a whole different ball game.

RW: Getting back to your story. Clearly when you were in the boys' school and they ran this whole discipline trip on you, it did not work. It did not achieve the results that they desired.

Comrade X: No, it did not. I would have to say before I began to take up revolutionary ideas and especially before I began to take up Marxism-Leninism-Maoism2 that they could confuse you. They never really succeeded in breaking me and a lot of the people that I grew up with, but they could confuse you in terms of your understanding. I used to think, "Why am I getting into this shit all the time? I don't want to get busted all the time but here I am. I made a promise to myself that I wasn't going to get into this situation again, but here I am again." In other words, there was a whole thing of making you think it was really you that was the problem rather than that there's a whole system and the whole setup. Like when I was young and used to shoot dice, they used to have different kinds of fake dice they could put in on you. And that's the way this system is: the dice are loaded. They are shooting loaded dice against you.

It wasn't like I really had it all together in terms of why all this shit was happening this way. But like a lot of youth, I not only had dreams but I also thought about why shit was this way and why it was that people over here were poor and people over there were just born rich. Where I lived, on this street and this whole area was all Blacks and extremely poor, but then not far away from where we lived it was like a whole rich section of town. And you'd think about these things. Why was it that way? Why was it that people had to go hungry and go without the basic essentials of what it takes to live? And on the other hand, they were mocked and surrounded by all this wealth. That was a thing I did ponder when I was a kid before I came to understand fully what this was all about.

RW: Who were your heroes?

Comrade X: As I grew older I wanted to be a hustler, I wanted to live by my wits and I wanted to be in the streets. I didn't see much of a future in working like a slave eight hours a day like I'd seen my parents do and other people around me. It just didn't seem to be heading anywhere. It didn't have any attraction to me. What attracted me was this other kind of life, where you are more in the streets and living by your wits and hustling. And that's the sort of thing I got into.

When I was coming up, a lot of the people that I admired were the older "brave elements"—the brothers who stood on the corners and wore their pants high up. They used to have a style where you wore your pants all the way up to your chest. And they wore their Kadies and they had their switchblades. It was just a certain style of going up against things, not in a conscious way, but there was a certain style in opposition. And it was what it meant to be a youth at that time. Those were a lot of the people that I admired and later ended up in prison with—the "Brother Russells."

Brother Russell, who himself is dead now, was one of the people that I admired and looked to as a "role model" as opposed to somebody like King. I was reading recently this tale about Stagger Lee, and he reminded me of Brother Russell. He was one of the "brave elements" that hung out on the corner. Brother Russell got into prison because he was involved in a crap game and somebody made the mistake of slapping him and he ended up in prison for murder. Brother Russell was not the type of person that you'd want to slap, that was like a serious mistake and ended up to be a fatal mistake. So Brother Russell ended up going to prison and ended up in prison when I was there. By that time I had become a revolutionary and I became a different kind of "role model" for him, so it was kind of a switch.

Those were the kinds of people, the people who had their hair fried and dyed and laid to the side, with a part not too wide. Back then, it was like a process. There was a certain edge to that style that was not respectable, that was "in your face." Black people who were respectable or who were in entertainment might wear a process, but to wear your do-rag and to have your do-rag in your pocket and that sort of thing, there was a certain unrespectable edge to it that sent the other side up the wall.

They were the outlaws. They would wear their outrageous clothes and they would stand on the corner and they would croon and those kinds of things. And that's who I admired and who I wanted to model myself after. And later it was me that was out there like that.

RW: In opposition to the treatment you received, you developed a certain contempt for death which is similar to the attitude in the lyrics of the NWA rap "Fuck tha Police":

"...They have the authority to kill a minority.

Fuck that shit, cuz I ain't the one

For a punk motherfucker with a badge and a gun

To be beatin' on and thrown in jail."

Comrade X: I think early on a lot of this contempt for death and a lot of the way the stuff came down was against one another. There was this whole thing about who was bad on the corner and you weren't gonna let anyone get the better of you.

What Is a Pig? by Emory Douglas

From the Black Panther Party newspaper

But there was also contempt for the pigs. When I first began committing robberies and burglaries, I would go into a place and start burglarizing it, and just in terms of the fearlessness I had of the state, I would go in and start cooking myself a meal. Like I figured they had the same thing that I had and I probably had more heart than they did, so if they came I was ready for them. And that was the spirit that I had and in fact a lot of the youth had, and it's not all that different than what exists now.

I was just not long ago rereading some of Malcolm X, and he talks about when he was coming up—this whole thing about "face." It's like a street code and also it's a similar type of code in prison. In other words, the way he puts it in his book is that for a hustler in our sidewalk jungle world, "face" and honor were important, no matter. No hustler could have it known that he had been hyped, meaning outsmarted or made a fool of, and worse a hustler could never afford to have it demonstrated that he could be bluffed, that he could be frightened by a threat and that he lacked nerve. It just basically comes down to machoism—that you can't let people do anything that would offend your manhood or offend your face. And if that happened then you had to go down, or you weren't down.

That was a whole part of existing on the street, is that you had to have that heart, have that nerve, not be able to be backed down by someone else if it came to a confrontation. That's part of the whole psychology of the streets that goes on, and some people from the '60s who are getting down on the youth today forget that. This is not something that even just existed in the '60s, Malcolm is talking more back in the '40s, that same kind of code of the streets and also something that exists in prison.

RW: Looking back on it, you said you see positive and negative things in it. What do you mean by that?

Comrade X: On the negative side, what can I say: that street code or prison code has a lot of individualism mixed up with it—to say nothing of machoism and male chauvinism. I've been there, I know what it is all about. And I've come a long way in breaking with that kind of outlook. That's the Man's way. Our way is: "Brothers rising up with sisters, strong, proud and with equality: that's our way, the way we all get free." The youth today (and here I'm speaking especially of the brothers) have to be struggling over that kind of thing, that kind of macho outlook. The revolutionaries have to have a first-string orientation and all-the-way revolutionary politics in command, uniting with the anger of the people and striving to direct it in the most powerful way at this cesspool that they call "the greatest system on earth." And we got to make that part of preparing to bring this system down. As we've said: "While we're battling them back, politically like that, we got to make this part of getting ready for The Time—and it can come soon—to wage revolutionary war."

On the positive side, when these youth begin to become more conscious and that same fearlessness and anger and contempt for death begins to be directed at the system and the powers-that-be, then you have a whole different ball game. All that is a necessary part of what we have to do in bringing this whole thing down, you need that, you need that spirit. You obviously need a lot more than "heart" but you do need that. So that's how it divides into two. On the one hand the way it plays itself out in the streets and in prison and all of that is a reflection of machoism and gangsterism and that sort of thing. But on the other hand, there is the situation that when that attitude gets transformed through the leadership of a party and when people begin to take up the science of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, it's not like you lose that same fearlessness and that same hatred—it's just tempered, if you want to put it that way.

I can remember having a lot of hatred, but it was not focused and not directed and oftentimes it would be focused in the wrong way and the wrong direction, but it's not like I've lost that hatred and anger. I still have a monumental anger and a monumental hatred for imperialism, as the song says, "deep in my heart I still abhor 'em." And after all these years, I still don't fear them. So the question is how do you lead that, how do you have a first-string orientation?

When I was coming up, there wasn't a party, there wasn't a party that was based on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, that could give some direction. And later as I got into my teens there was the Black Panther Party which played a vanguard role and made a tremendous difference. Today there is a party, our Party, that is preparing to make revolution in this country as a component part of the world revolution. There is a party with the line, leadership and battle-plan to lead things all the way this time around.

A whole generation of youth came forward in the '60s who wouldn't be intimidated and weren't too impressed with the power of the state, and we need to bring that forward again and take it all the way this time.

Part 2: Burning Down the House

RW: The rap "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos" tells the story of a brother who refuses to join the army and ends up in the joint. You almost joined the army once. What happened to change your mind and how do you see it now?

Comrade X: There was a time when I was under the gun. I knew that it was a turning point in my life. I had been repeatedly into jails and I had just recently went through a whole situation with a stolen car where I was being chased through woods and shot at and dogs were after me and all of that. And I knew that there was a very good likelihood that within a short time I would be dead or in prison. That was the terms of things. There wasn't any other terms I was looking at.

A lot of people in my family tried to talk to me. Especially some of my uncles tried to talk to me and tell me to "slow down," that I was living "too fast of a life." They could see that I was up against something and I was headed toward some kind of climax that wasn't going to be real great.

I was not so politically aware at that time. So I was going to get into the marines, become a man, that sort of thing. I was desperate.

It was one of my uncles... I don't think he actually had fought in the Korean War himself, but he had been in the military. He caught me on the street corner, which was at that time where you could catch me. And I was like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, I gotta go man." But he was persistent and he struggled with me. He was coming from an orientation of, "Why would we go and fight and die for these people, it ain't our war." And his whole point was, "When people go over there, it's just a fight to get back, it ain't like you got something to fight for."

So somehow, someway—even though I was moving fast then and not really prone to listen—he got through to me and changed my mind.

RW: This was during the beginning years of the Vietnam War?

Comrade X: Right. It's kind of ironic, because here I was into all this shit with the state and had pretty much grown up in prison institutions, but at the same time I was caught in a trap of their ideology—you become a marine and go overseas and all that and you become a man. And that's the sort of thing that had floated around in my family from others who had gone and fought in Korea and some of the other wars. So I felt that this was my way to get on a different track. But as it turns out, a few months later I was in prison, which in the final analysis was a much better resolution of the contradiction.

RW: Some people would be shocked to hear you say that you thought being in prison was a better resolution than being in the army.

Comrade X: In hindsight, in looking back, yes. When my uncle was struggling with me not to go in the army, he was struggling from a Black nationalist position. But later on when I got into prison and as I evolved in terms of taking up revolutionary theory and practice, I became an INTERNATIONALIST. There was a certain sense in the '60s, a certain aligning of oneself with the enemy of your enemy. So there was a whole thing of identifying with the struggle that was going on in Vietnam from the standpoint of the Vietnamese people and identifying with the struggle that had gone on in China and in Korea. Some of the things that were really exciting and liberating to me when I was in prison was studying about how the U.S. had gotten their ass kicked in Korea and how they were getting their ass kicked in Vietnam. Here was a country with peasants who were able to defeat one of the most powerful countries in the world. That was tremendously inspiring. So I think that going into prison was in a certain sense going into school for me. I had been schooled through my life and my life experiences. But there I was introduced to revolutionary ideas. And that's why I would say looking back on it that it was a better resolution to the contradiction.

RW: This was around the time of the Detroit rebellion when you were sent to prison for 20 years. How did that come down?

Comrade X: I was convicted for armed robbery, and in the course of it there was a shootout with the police. No one was hit, but my trial came up against the backdrop of the Newark rebellion, and more immediately the Detroit rebellion had occurred—and the whole atmosphere was charged. I was aware that these things had happened, but I wasn't aware of the overall impact of them. But even in my own trial it had some impact in terms of the jury. It was basically an all-white jury, and they didn't like my arrogance, they thought I was too uppity. This I learned later, through my lawyer.

It came out in the summation of the prosecutor that I had this attitude problem. It wasn't like the Detroit rebellion itself was brought into the trial, but the way it came out, I felt, was this whole reference to being uppity and being belligerent and in the final analysis being rebellious in the way I presented myself in the courtroom. And they gave me 20 years.

RW: So you were sentenced for being part of the oppressed people who had dared to rise up?

Comrade X: Right, at that time I wasn't all that politically conscious but that's the way they viewed me.

RW: How did you get caught? You must remember that day...

Comrade X: All too well. It's funny. Two of my friends and I, we all got busted together. But I had money in my pocket, so I got out on bond and I went to get some money to bail these other guys out of jail. At that time I wore like a gangster lid and a big dark overcoat, and I could have had some work on my tactics, because I went into this depressed white area, dressed up this kind of way, to stick up this place. And it just so happened that some pigs happened to see me going in there, so they circled around and came back and saw the robbery in process. And there was a shootout and they managed to apprehend me at the spot.

RW: What were some of the early incidents you remember when you started to have more of a revolutionary awareness?

Comrade X: Well, when I went to prison, just to give you a sense of this whole attitude of fuck you, my whole orientation when I got 20 years was, "I'll do 10 of those standing on my head and the other 10 getting back on my feet." That was my attitude. "I'm young—fuck you."

I was beginning to put some things together that had been occurring to me throughout my life on what the fuck was going on, and one of the things that began to strike me was how many oppressed people were in these prisons, both Black and white, that if you had money you were able to avoid such things, and that it was overwhelmingly proletarians that were sent in there.

The robbery that I was involved in netted $140. And here I was marching in with 20 years. The deck was stacked, so to speak.

When I went in, there was this one guy I had been in jail with for a period of time, whom I had grown up with, and by the time I got to prison, he was already into Black nationalist politics. So he tried to turn me on to it. But I kind of kept my distance. Then there was an event that had a big impact on me and began to change me.

A year or so after I was in, some of the more politically conscious prisoners—who at that time were into revolutionary nationalism—they had a protest. I can't even remember what the demands were. I was in a dormitory situation and I was able to look out my window and observe all this.

These guys came out and they had some demands that they were going to present to the warden. And the prison authorities immediately came out with shotguns and surrounded them. There was one Black guard but they wouldn't give him a shotgun, they gave him a club. He was like a token lieutenant if I remember correctly. And the prisoners were doing a lot of agitation about that and telling him, "Look at you, they won't even give you a gun," and it was a very sharp experience for me. A lot of times in prison, that's what happens, when you protest, right away they bring out the guns and they use 'em.

So my fear was that they were just going to blow everybody away. Things went back and forth for an hour or two—a very tense situation—where the prisoners clearly weren't going to give up, but at the same time it seemed like they were just going to get massacred. Ultimately it got resolved in a way where nobody was killed and they just put everybody on the buses and transferred them out to the state prison. But it had a very big impact on me as to the courage of people to do that and the anger they had that they were willing to risk getting killed for what they believed in. It created an interest in me for where they were coming from.

So that's when I began to start reading some things. First Malcolm, the Autobiography of Malcolm X and Malcolm X Speaks and so forth. And in a very intense period of about a year I went through a lot of changes. My Nation of Islam stint lasted only a couple of months and it wasn't long after that that I turned to an interest in the Black Panther Party.

RW: What was the turning point where you first started to consider yourself a revolutionary?

Comrade X: Within a couple of years after I was in prison, I would call myself a REVOLUTIONARY. I had become familiar with some of the most advanced revolutionary leaders and thinking in the country at that time. I had studied and become aware of the Black Panther Party, and I would have given anything to be right there with Huey and Bobby and all of them when they were facing down the pigs. It was very difficult to be in prison at that time, you know. So I got into the Panther and through the Panthers I met Mao.

I had also tried, at that early stage of my development, to read things like the Communist Manifesto, but it was just over my head. Mao was something that I could really grab ahold to. I continued to try to struggle with things like the Communist Manifesto and later I got into much more difficult things. But I was really into Mao and I could relate to some of the ways the Panthers were promoting Mao and also to some of what I had learned about the Cultural Revolution in China. It's not that I could get a full understanding of the Cultural Revolution from where I was sitting, but I was really inspired and excited by what I learned of it and heard of it. You know, people throughout the whole world, including people in our international movement, a lot of us were brought forward by that whole Cultural Revolution and Mao in terms of becoming revolutionaries and taking up the science of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.

RW: Were there certain individuals who played a key role in the revolutionary movement in the prison or was there a group? How did that come down?

Comrade X: At the time in prison, people would get together in groups and collectives and study. There was a core of people who had more revolutionary consciousness and we would study together and work out together. What we envisioned in that period was that there was going to be a REVOLUTION. And we were going to be READY. So we were studying and we were training physically and all of that.

Then at one point some Panthers actually came into the prison, and that was quite an experience in terms of beginning to get more of a sense directly of where the Panthers were coming from and what they were all about. I can remember when they came in, one of the things that happened. In the school there was a mimeograph machine and these Panthers were instrumental in the writing of a leaflet, several pages long—it was more like a propaganda tract. It was hot—it had pictures of pigs in it, the kind of stuff that Emory Douglas used to draw. And we ran it off and distributed it. And the pigs had a fit, they had a heart attack.

One of these brothers had been in the military, so one of the revolutionary things we did was drilling. People would be out on the recreation yard and they'd be drilling, marching up and down in formation. And this is something the prison authorities didn't like at all, they didn't tolerate it at all. The irony is that previously, the guards were forcing us to do it—going back and forth between various places in the prison we were forced to march in formation. But when we began doing this on our own for different reasons and different purposes, they weren't too happy about that. So there were orders that we couldn't do that, that we couldn't drill. There was also another thing that we used to do for recreation a lot of times—instead of playing basketball, we would sit out on the recreation yard and study. And that was another thing that was forbidden. So there was all these kinds of repressive measures that were going on. And they ended up putting those Panther brothers and some others in solitary confinement for some of their revolutionary activities.

This was in 1969. By that time I had developed into a revolutionary and a revolutionary leader. And the locking up of these Panthers in solitary basically precipitated a rebellion in the prison.

RW: Tell us about it.

Comrade X: It sort of played itself out over the course of two days. The first day we sat down in the prison yard and submitted some demands to the warden. The warden was going to review them. And if these prisoners weren't released from segregation, we had our plans. After we presented these demands to the administration and they said they were going to take certain steps to release these brothers and deal with the other demands we had presented to them, we basically dispersed. But at the same time we were very skeptical that this stuff was going to get resolved. So that night we began making our backup plans, so to speak. We were trying to figure out how could we really hurt 'em if they didn't release the brothers like they said they were gonna do.

On the second day after we had submitted our demands to the prison authorities, they said they would consider releasing these prisoners who had been put into segregation. This was the central demand that we had. There were some others about conditions and what not, but really the central one was the repression of these prisoners. I wrote about this in an essay a few years later while still in prison: "By the time we were released from our shelters for recreation that day, most of us anticipated a confrontation with the prison guards but few if any anticipated the tragic consequences of that confrontation. Before we assembled on the recreation yard we received word by way of the prison grapevine that the prison officials had not acted in accordance with their promise to release two of the brothers from administrative segregation. Instead they had placed the brothers in the hole." Segregation is a situation where you are confined to a cell 24 hours a day except for showers and what not. And these cells are separated off from the general prison population. The hole is like when you are put in there you don't have any blankets or any bedding, you just sleep on the concrete floor and it's dark. So they had been put in the hole. The other brothers had been sent to the state prison, as had been agreed.

I wrote: "Frustrated and angered by the treachery of the prison officials, approximately thirty of us decided to burn down the prison's furniture factory, as had been planned on the previous day. Although the furniture factory is the source of a considerable amount of the state's income, prisoners who work there are paid a meager salary of approx. 15 cents an hour. Therefore we felt that the destruction of the furniture factory would constitute a powerful blow to the bureaucratic state and the 'correctional' officers who were responsible for the oppressive conditions which then prevailed at the prison."

So that was our orientation.

RW: Do you remember that day, could you describe it?

Comrade X: I remember it very vividly. It was very tense when we came out of our cells that morning, like you didn't know what was going to happen. You knew that something serious was going to happen, but you didn't know what. We were confronted with the prospect that many of us would probably be dead. That was the way it was. And there was tremendous anger. Things had mounted up and locking up these prisoners who we saw as our leaders was like the culmination of a whole number of things.

So when we went out that day, the plan was that some people who were working in the furniture factory, they were going to supply the liquids that were necessary. And some others of us were going to come into the furniture factory and carry out our plan. What happened, though, is that we were repelled. We got shot at from the guard tower and we weren't able get in and to carry out our plan. So we went back to the recreation yard. Several guards came out armed with shotguns with double-ought slugs in them and they surrounded the perimeter of the recreation yard. The prison authorities ordered everybody to leave who wanted to leave and there were about 450 prisoners who left. There were 212 of us left behind. One of the lieutenants ordered a Black guard, like a token sergeant, who was out there, to leave. He was unarmed. He had promised us that we wouldn't get shot. So the lieutenant told him, "Well, walk around the corner and you won't see it." All the guards remaining behind were white.

We were overwhelmingly Black on the drill ground, with two white guys and one Chicano. And there was something that I learned in that particular battle in terms of uniting all who could be united against the enemy. Because we hadn't succeeded in doing that. In other words, it wasn't like the white prisoners couldn't have been won over—at least some of them—to what we were trying to do, but there hadn't been sufficient efforts to reach out to them to do that.

I can remember thinking at that time and I'm sure a lot of other people were thinking, "This is it." There was a good possibility that we could lose our life, but it was like we had entered onto a continuum from which you couldn't really turn back. We had thrown down with the prison authorities and we were determined that we were going to see this through. We weren't going to turn back even at the risk of being shot or killed. So it was like a real heavy situation. It's kind of hard to put it into words, the tension that we felt. But at the same time there was a certain amount of strength we all felt too, that we were standing up to these motherfuckers and we weren't going to let them intimidate us even though they had their guns and what not.

The guards surrounded the drill ground and I can't remember the exact words, but it was something along the lines of "You niggers have five minutes to leave." So we said, "Fuck you, the five minutes is up, we're not going to leave." And, from what I can remember of the sentiment, it was like that point Lenin talks about in his writings about those times when the oppressed have "contempt for death." That's what we had... utter contempt for death.

It was clear that some of us could likely die, but we were determined that we were not going to back down, that we would see through what we had set out to do. It wasn't like we had this Martin Luther King "sit down and turn the other cheek" kind of thing. We were just fucking angry, and at the same time it was like a tactical mis-assessment on our part that because we were not engaged in any violent acts, their hand would be stayed, that they wouldn't actually kill us. But that was like a really violent introduction to what these people will do to you.

After the five minute period was up, they opened fire on us. We were on a volleyball court. It was like a fenced-in recreation yard and the volleyball court was like five or six feet from the fence. The guards were immediately in front of us outside the fence. And they had shut the door to the fence and stuck their shotguns through there. And some of them were pumping and shooting so fast that one of their guns began to malfunction, they were so anxious to shoot.

But one prisoner just wouldn't sit down. He stood with his Black Power fist in the air and he didn't sit down until they shot him down.

So I learned more from that than I learned from many books about the nature of the enemy at that time. Two people were killed and 45 were injured. The brother who wouldn't sit down was not killed, but he was seriously injured.

So when you enter into these things, it's like Mao talks about—everybody has to die sometime, but your life can be as light as a feather or heavier than Mount Tai. That's the way you felt.

And even after that, the events that occurred were an indictment of the system too. A lot of these prisons are set up in these rural areas that are mainly white—and the hospitals in the surrounding area wouldn't take Black people. So the people had to be taken several miles away to a major city to get into the hospital because they just wouldn't take them in the local hospital because they were Black. And people were saying, "This is something they will have to pay for." This was just another crime of imperialism and another reason why they had to be overthrown. But it wasn't like we felt scared or intimidated, even though they had done this dastardly deed, this cowardly deed. We were angry.

RW: People saw it as a battle in a bigger war?

Comrade X: Right, and I can recall the spirit in solitary. They put us in solitary. We had to carry the injured from the recreation yard out into the prison compound. And we laid them on the grass in front of the prison hospital. And the rest of us were taken into solitary and put in 10 or 12 or 15 deep. And these cells are no bigger than 8 x 10 or 10 x 12. So we were crammed in there, but the chants and the slogans and the singing and the spirit was absolutely electric.

RW: The Chairman has said, if you want to be bad, the revolution is the baddest. Reflecting back, you had been faced with death before in your life, how would you compare the difference?

Comrade X: In some of the Chairman's writings he talks about the difference between soldierly courage and revolutionary courage. I have yet to see that in its most profound sense, you know, in terms of taking a leap into revolutionary warfare. But in a more miniature sense, this was an example of seeing that. On the one hand, if you're going up against someone else who is oppressed like you, whether it's for "face" or all those other kinds of things of the street code that I was talking about earlier [See Part 1, "Fried, Dyed and Laid to the Side."], that's one thing that's a certain kind of courage. Or even if you are going up against the state—like I would go into these places and be ripping off something and then cook my breakfast—that was one thing. But it's another thing when you are going up against the enemy, the awesome power of the state. That's a whole different ball game in terms of having the courage to do that.

The whole point about dying that Mao made in the Red Book is this: to die for the people is heavier than a mountain, but to die for the imperialists is lighter than a feather. And there was a whole spirit in that period that captured all of us, about the willingness to put your life on the line for the people and die fighting imperialism. And we not only felt it then, but we have not given up on it. And I think that's a lot of what the youth have to get down on. The courage they have in one context has to be translated in terms of going up against this whole system and bringing down this whole thing. Because one of the things we understood then in a basic sense is that without power, everything was an illusion—that once we could bring these people down then we could perform miracles.

RW: You mean state power, taking on the whole system, not just having a piece of turf?

Comrade X: State power, taking on the whole thing, not just having a block or having a corner or having part of a city, but taking on the imperialists and overthrowing them in revolutionary warfare and establishing socialism and beginning to move on towards communism. That's the whole vision that I began to develop back then. And that was a whole different kind of thing.

Part 3: Changing the Terms

RW: Do you remember the first time that you realized that it was going to take a revolution against the whole system to deal with the problems coming down on Black people and all the other social problems?

Comrade X: When Fred Hampton was killed—this was part of the events that set me on a certain trajectory. It was some months after we had been shot in the prison rebellion I told you about earlier. [See Part 2, "Burning Down the House."] And it was obvious to me, knowing the nature of these people, having lived in the belly of the beast, even within the belly of the belly, it was obvious to me that Fred Hampton was assassinated. Some things came together. There were some things that were there in my thinking and my understanding, but some things came together on a much higher level around that time.

Leading up to the prison massacre in 1969, on one level I looked at myself as a revolutionary. Those events combined with the Fred Hampton murder, those were crucial things that played a certain role in terms of me crossing a line in the sense of feeling that this is what I wanted to do with my life. That was the most profound turning point, if you want to put it that way. There was no turning back.

RW: If someone had told you a few years before that you were going to be a revolutionary leader, what would you have thought?

Comrade X: I wouldn't have believed it. But the fact that there was the Black liberation struggle and a revolutionary movement that existed at that time played a tremendous role in propelling a lot of us forward into becoming what we were. In the years earlier when I was just a street youth doing my thing, I would have never thought of it. But here you were, you were thrust into a whole period where there's a lot of upheaval throughout the world and in this country and even reflected in a microcosm kind of way in prison. And you were propelled forward to take a stand.

When I first went into prison I was just going to do my time and get out and I didn't see any reason to get involved in anything that would interfere with that. In fact, when I was first let out of quarantine, there was a race riot that went down in the cell house that I was in and it was very violent, with bottles and shit being thrown off the range and people being hit with steel pipes. And I had some knowledge of the oppression of Black people and the contradictions that existed on that front, but I didn't see myself taking either side. It was just something I was thrust into.

I didn't understand what people were doing and I didn't see a reason for it. But it really hit me that people not only believed in what they believed in, but they were willing to put their lives on the line for it. That made me sit up and take note—to try to dig into it more to find out why it was they were doing that. I had no sense at that time that it would even be possible to bring the imperialists down. On the level of individual rebellion or going up against the police in an individual way or with a few friends or whatever, I had done that, but in terms of being able to mobilize a mass of people and to field any kind of army to bring them down, I had no sense of that, I had no sense of the possibility of that.

Mao says that the oppressed are oppressed and in fighting back they search out a philosophy. And that's what I did. I couldn't read that well, I hadn't really been that interested in school when I was growing up, especially a lot of the history they taught at that time. When you read the school history, it was the slaves picking cotton and that sort of thing which was just humiliating—you were just glad when the class proceeded past those pages. But when I got in prison—and got affected and influenced by all of what was going on in society and throughout the world—I began to take some steps to try to understand things better.

First it began by FIGHTING against the prison authorities, and through that I began to dig more deeper into what this shit was all about. I went into the situation of Black people in this country, how did that come about. One book I remember was called Black Cargoes about how people were packed into these slave ships and the conditions were so horrendous that a lot of times the slaves would just jump over and kill themselves rather than to put up with it. All those things began to come together for me in terms of understanding more about the oppression of Black people in this country and how and why it had to be ended and it only could be ended with violence. It couldn't be ended through praying or marching, it could only be ended through an armed struggle. That's what I came to understand through my experiences.

RW: So it was like Mao talks about learning warfare through warfare.

Comrade X: Very much so, very much so. It was just being thrust into the struggle with the other side and a lot of that raising questions about what kind of society you would replace it with. And I can remember being just excited and thinking about not only how they can be defeated and how they can be brought down but getting a beginning vision—from what I could understand of things like the Cultural Revolution in China under Mao's leadership—of what the society would be like having done that, having overthrown the system, what kind of society would it be—that we can deal with a lot of these problems in terms of the oppression that the masses of people face, the humiliation and degradation, the rich over the poor, men over women, whites over Blacks and other oppressed nationalities and so forth. And that overthrowing them would be a big step in wiping this shit out not only in this country but throughout the entire world. And that vision was very inspiring to me when I began to take up and study Marxism in a serious way—and it has been deepened and enriched over the years since that time.

RW: That's the strategic Double C—contempt for the enemy and confidence in the masses that the Chairman talks about.

Comrade X: Right, it's based on something, it's based on the party which is armed with the most revolutionary science that exists today. And I learned this through the crucible of struggle against the enemy. I explored a lot of different philosophies but I came to see that this was the most advanced philosophy that exists. This was controversial. Some people said back then, "Well, that's just for the white boy" or "That's the white man's philosophy"—just like some people say it today. And in fact one of my best friends stopped talking to me because he disagreed with my insistence that we had to unite all who could be united against the enemy, including white people. That was very hard because we had been through some heavy struggle together. Later he came around. But for some months he wouldn't talk to me. But I stuck with it because this science is the revolutionary philosophy, the most advanced philosophy for people all over the world because it is a LIBERATING PHILOSOPHY.

RW: At a certain point after the rebellion in '69, the prison authorities moved you to another prison.

Comrade X: Yes. I was moved to a different prison. There was not the same level of revolutionary consciousness as there had been before cuz the place where I was moved had much older prisoners. And it was much more of a stifling atmosphere where you were locked up longer periods of time. And this was a very difficult period. To tell you the truth, on a certain level, in terms of my spirit, I almost died for the first year or so.

Then a lot of younger prisoners began to be sent in from other places and some of the character of the prison began to change and two or three years later the level of struggle changed even there, but for a couple years or so it was a very difficult transition to make.

RW: How did you deal with that? Was this a tactic of the enemy to cool things out?

Comrade X: The tactic was precisely to try to separate the leaders off from the broader prison population, and in large part the way that was dealt with was to try to draw strength and inspiration from what was going on in society as a whole, and there was a tremendous amount going on at the time.

George Jackson

George Jackson

One of the things that had a big impact on me was George Jackson and his writings, and that was all part of trying to get a better understanding of and being positively affected by the Black Panther Party. One of the things that really hit me a lot about George was this thing of becoming a revolutionary under very difficult conditions and overcoming some obstacles and barriers to actually become a revolutionary leader. His heart was fundamentally with the people, and the determination he had in the face of threats and intimidation to not give in and not capitulate on his revolutionary principles—that was something that had a very powerful impact not just on prisoners but on a lot of other people.

The Attica rebellion was something else that had a very powerful impact on me in terms of the courage and the determination and the fearlessness in the face of the enemy. But also too the revolutionary consciousness that was reflected in that rebellion. One of the demands they were putting forward was that they be allowed to go to a non-imperialist country. So that had a profound impact on me and thousands and thousands of others both inside and outside of prison.

So I was beginning to take up the science of revolution—Marxism-Leninism-Maoism—in a more thoroughgoing way. And then at the same time at one point, under the cover of doing Black history class, the small core of revolutionaries began to reach out to broader prisoners. There was some discussion of Black history but at the same time there were efforts through that to raise the consciousness of the prisoners and also to link up with some people who were more interested in revolutionary politics. So that's how we survived and sustained that period and then later there were significant outbreaks that went on in that prison that we were right in the middle of.

RW: What were some of the obstacles that you had to get over to carry out this revolutionary work in the prison? You are under the gun and you have to deal with that, but also there is a strong cult of survival in prison. Sometimes people say that in prison "you must bite or be bitten, or you must eat others or be eaten up by others." How did the revolutionaries deal with this?

Comrade X: I think again, first and foremost, we have to look at the climate that existed throughout the country and throughout the whole world. And including at that time, a sense of unity that existed even on a basic level between Black people—for instance, that's when the terms "brother" and "sister" and all of that began to be brought to the fore. But I must admit that even with that political atmosphere in the world, in prison there was a question of GOING AGAINST THE TIDE. You were going against the tide in terms of everything you were doing. But I think in the context of a whole revolutionary movement in the world and in this country, there was the ability to stand apart from some of the dog-eat-dog, "bite or be bitten" atmosphere that was promoted in prison. And there was often a lot of struggles with people.

There's a whole thing that goes down in there. The younger guys who come in are preyed on by the older guys, and there was a whole thing as we were trying to organize and do what we were doing in the prison that we didn't tolerate that, that people came in and especially as they were taking up revolutionary politics and what not, that we would oppose that mentality and wouldn't tolerate that in terms of the younger guys coming in and being raped and those kinds of "bite or be bitten" kind of outlooks.

RW: You know I have noticed that among some men revolutionaries who have been in prison there seems to be more of an understanding about not treating women like sex objects and property. And I was wondering if this was because men in prison actually go through some of the same abuses that women do—where power relations actually take the form of sexual abuse—and the whole question of being treated like a sex object is so intense. Speaking of going against the tide, this must have been a big topic of struggle.

Comrade X: That's an interesting thought. I think for myself and for a lot of others it was more a question of being forced to confront that if you were going to be down for revolution, then you couldn't at the same time be for oppressing women. There was an analogy that you didn't want to be called 'boy" and you didn't want to be called "nigger" and all of that, and if you didn't want to be subjected...

RW: If you didn't want to be raped...

Comrade X: Yeah, that whole kind of thing, then how could you do that to women. I don't know that the example you're making was consciously filtered through, but I think it was more a combination of things, including the fact that a lot of women were in the streets at that time around women's liberation, to say nothing of the women who were engaging in armed struggle in Vietnam and elsewhere in the world. And that had a certain impact. But like the Chairman talks about in his book, A Horrible End, or an End to the Horror? you have to "prove it all night." I do think on the woman question you do have to "prove it all night." It's not some question where you just "get it right" and don't have to struggle over it anymore, speaking especially of the brothers.

But I would say for myself it was something that I had to come to grips with and really break with some things. Like in growing up and before I became a revolutionary, you could be against being called a "nigger" or "boy" or being called "colored"—and this was a lot of the things that people would throw down around in those days. But prior to becoming a revolutionary, all the kinds of degrading ways that men treat women, it wasn't something I had even thought about. Things have a certain edge now, but when I was coming up it was a real problem too—a problem among the oppressed themselves. Even in some of the common language that the kids would use about "pulling a train" on women—it was just rape, you know. A woman would be interested in one person and have sex with one person and several other guys would be waiting to get in on it too. And when you stop and think about it, it's really anti-women. It wasn't about sex—it's about "this is a power trip." But that was looked at positively among the men. Or you would go out with a woman and she would get a few drinks and she'd get a little high or something and then you would force yourself on her. That was rape but it wasn't looked at that way. It was looked at by men in a positive light. And there were a thousand other ways this shit came down—and still does. So it's very good that there is a lot of controversy coming out these days and this type of behavior is being exposed for what it is.

When I was a kid some of the people we admired were the pimps. In fact, there is a series of books that were written—I was in the bookstore the other day and I see that they are still out there—a series of books that were written by this guy called Iceberg Slim who was a pimp. And the young brothers would read those books and admired his style and where he was coming from. And thinking back on it now you can see how far some of the brothers had to come. I'm speaking now of the period of time before I became a revolutionary and started taking up revolutionary politics. On the streets it was considered hip to be a pimp, or a "player," which was a term for a guy who lived off the money a woman made on the street. To have a Cadillac and to have several women, that was a goal to aspire to. And those very brothers who looked toward the pimps and admired them and in some cases did actually do that themselves, if they had been forced into some form of servitude in that kind of way, they would have been totally outraged about it. But in this case, it was something that was part of being cool, and it was considered part of being cool to dog women in this way and to actually end up being a slave master in this type of way. And that's the screwy relations and contradictions that you actually get under imperialism.

Men can't say that we're against imperialism but at the same time carry out the imperialist mentality in relationship to women. There's no way that you can carry through a thoroughgoing revolution in that kind of way.

RW: Right. But at the same time it is hopeful to the people and to the sisters in particular that through fighting the power and taking up the science of revolution people can change.

Comrade X: And there is a much more powerful basis to do that today. The Party has put this question out pretty sharply including this slogan: Brothers Don't Be Dominators, Rise Up With Sisters, Strong Proud and with Equality, Fight the Power, Bury the System. And I think that whole orientation that is being fought for is a very good basis to make a leap even farther than we went in the '60s, because in the '60s this question was not well understood.

RW: So you see that this is going to be an even hotter question in the 1990s?

Comrade X: This is already a hot question and I think it will be resolved in a much more profound way than in the '60s. There's a war now on women—from the highest offices in the country. And I think that there is the question of taking a stand: are you going to be PART OF THE PROBLEM OR PART OF THE SOLUTION? And I'm not saying that to be pessimistic about it. I think there is a profound basis to resolve this on a much higher level and a much more thoroughgoing way than it has been previously. This is definitely a big aspect of carrying out a thoroughgoing revolution.

RW: So you think it's posed pretty sharply to the young brothers—are they going to hold onto their macho attitudes or unite with the women who are rising up against the powers.

Comrade X: Right, I think this is putting it sharply to 'em, but I think from everything I'm hearing and everything I'm seeing these days, there's a lot of sisters that are determined to make 'em get the point.

RW: Getting back to your revolutionary work in prison, you were talking about how the revolutionary core would begin to change the terms in struggling with people over these things.

Comrade X: Right. In some sense it was kind of like the seeds of dual power—even though they had us locked up. Once we began doing what we were doing and setting a tone in a different kind of way—it's not that we were setting ourselves apart from the rest of the prisoners—but it was that we were conscious and we were revolutionaries and we were trying to recruit other people to be that. And once people began to ally themselves with us, other people wouldn't bother them, in terms of trying to rape them and that sort of thing. So we did try to set a certain tone—not that we were missionaries or some kind of Christians or something—but we tried to set a certain tone in terms of where we were coming from in being revolutionaries and setting a certain standard.

This actually meant putting your life on the line too, sometimes. I can remember an incident where there was this gang in prison that was extorting people and ripping people off and what not, and a lot of the prisoners who weren't so political, they came to us saying look, this shit is going down and we are going to deal with it and what are you all going to do? And we actually went and confronted the gang leaders and said, "Hey, look, this is divisive, and this is a question of getting people all divided up," and actually we were able to change some of those goings-on without resorting to any kind of violence. Through struggling with them we were able to change things in terms of some of the kind of stuff they were doing inside the prison.

RW: Was that by relying on a certain atmosphere and initiative that you had?

Comrade X: Right, and even some of the gangs were forced to have respect for you because it was the kind of thing of "Those brothers there, they are not into a lot of foolishness, but when it comes to going up against the prison authorities, they are for real." There was an expression in prison—"they are for real."

When we first began to be revolutionaries, people would respond to you by saying, "Well, you wasn't doing that shit before you came in here." That was their response to you. But more as they saw you going up against the other side, being fearless and being uncompromising and determined in going up against the other side and not selling out, even some of the more lumpen elements, they were forced to have begrudging respect for you on a certain level.

So you had to learn all kinds of tactics for dealing with different contradictions, including, like you mentioned earlier, that you were working directly under the gun. And we were always having to apply Mao's teachings on who are our friends and who are our enemies and knowing the enemy well.

For example, there was a work stoppage that I played a role in organizing. And we were actually trying to sum up what had been previous experience in going up against the prison authorities and what their tactics were. One of their tactics was to immediately try to grab the leaders and the whole thing would die. So what we did was we organized different layers of people, so as they grabbed these people, some more would be waiting in the background and they would step forward. But despite all that planning, we had made a mistake and somehow I ended up with some leaflets in my cell.

And I will never forget it, these three guards came to my cell. And they were calling me "sir" and "mister" and all of this. And right away I could read that they were afraid of getting into a confrontation with me and having a fight with me because they figured that they would really set off some stuff they didn't want to happen among the other prisoners. So they were very delicate with me and they were calling me "mister" and "sir." So right away I thought of what to do with these leaflets.

I had the leaflets in an envelope. So I started putting on an act and I said, "Oh shit, man, why do you want me." And they said, "Well, the warden told us to come and get you and lock you up." And I said, "What for? I haven't done anything," playing along with them. Then, finally I said, "Well, damn, I've been working on my legal case and I have these papers I have to file. Would it be possible for you to take these three cells down the range and give them to so and so." "Oh, sure, Mister so and so," they said. And they took those leaflets and gave them to someone else and that was the hard evidence they would have had that I was deeply involved in this whole work stoppage.

So that was a funny story—and it goes back to this question of strategic contempt and knowing about their strengths and weaknesses and taking advantage of those. They were relieved that they didn't have to attack me and lead to some kind of rebellion—because I was like a leading figure in the prison and if they had attacked me and beat me up that would have led to some serious consequences they weren't willing to confront. So I was able to read that situation and take tactical advantage of it.

Part 4: In the Spirit of Attica

Attica Prison Rebellion, 1971

Attica Rebellion, 1971. AP photo

RW: How did the revolutionaries unite the brothers in the prison to take on the powers?

Comrade X: A lot of times when we were involved in mass struggle it was a situation where things had gotten to a point where they were going to break and a good majority of people would be in unity with what was going down. And sometimes things which turned out to be very important kicked off in a brainless way. In fact, I can recall another incident that I was involved in where the initiators were some of these gangsters who had come up against the prison system and they were on a protest. And one of the things that they were going to do was something similar to what we had done earlier which was to have a protest in the prison yard within the range of the gun towers and everything. So we went out amongst them and struggle with them and said, hey, this is not the correct tactic, this has been tried before and this is part of our experience and this is not the way to go.

RW: What was the issue they were protesting over?

Comrade X: This was some years after that previous rebellion and by this time I considered myself a communist. There was a series of things that had mounted up in terms of the general living conditions—which always mount up after a period of time—but there were things going down like people dying under mysterious circumstances. For instance, there was this young kid. He was not that much younger than I was at the time, but he was one of these street kids who was bad and he came in and got into some contradiction with another prisoner and got in a fight and later the other prisoner came back and threw some flammable fluids on him and burned him up. And after they had treated him medically, they put him in solitary confinement for over a year and a half, and he gradually began to deteriorate and eventually one morning he was found hanged in his cell. There was a lot of speculation as to whether or not he had been murdered, because, if I remember the facts correctly, his hands had been tied behind his back. But whether he was directly hung by the guards or whether he did it himself, ultimately we saw it as murder.

RW: How did the revolutionaries respond?

Comrade X: At the time I was in segregation, I had been put into segregation for four months for refusing to button up my coat—it was one of those kinds of things.

We had somehow gotten hold of a press or a mimeograph machine. I don't recall all the details of how we acquired it. I think we bought it with cigarettes, which is like the prison currency. But somehow we bought it from one of the prisoners who worked in one of the departments. We had all been reading What Is To Be Done? by Lenin, and we were really fascinated with a lot of what Lenin was talking about in there and really picking up on the whole idea about trying to work under difficult circumstances, and the question of trying to work secretly was what we were zeroing in on. And that gave rise to a lot of brainstorming and thinking on how we could apply some of Lenin's thinking in there.

In prison it was difficult circumstances in terms of applying revolutionary theory, but we did to the extent that we could try to combine theory with practice, and this is one example of it. We acquired this press. So sometime after this guy was murdered, we printed up a leaflet basically indicting the prison authorities for his murder one way or another and we managed to distribute it secretly throughout the whole prison. And the prison authorities blew a head gasket that this level of organization actually existed in there. And before we had did it, we had a lot of discussion back and forth about how to conceal the press and there was a lot of discussion about dismantling it and hiding it on top of the cell block. And the upshot was that they locked the whole prison down. They went around and tested every typewriter to see if it corresponded to the leaflet. They tested as many typewriters as they could—because they couldn't find the one that we used—to see if they corresponded with the leaflet. And they also tore the prison apart trying to find the press. Maybe we even buried it, but the upshot was that they didn't find it. And this was electrifying and inspiring to the other prisoners that this actually could go down and they were not able to find out how it happened. So in terms of developing tactics and trying to apply theory, that was a good example.

So there was a whole series of things like that. And then I think there was an immediate precipitating factor like a fight between some gang members and they got locked up and they were trying to get their comrades released from solitary or something like that. And this is what immediately precipitated the idea of a protest among these gang members. So those of us who were more conscious revolutionaries went out amongst them and struggled against just taking this tactic of having a protest in the yard right in view of the guard tower because we had seen that before. So after we struggled with them, they were dissuaded from that and they apparently went back to their cell house and took it over.

We revolutionaries were mainly housed at another cell house, so as we were walking toward the cell house, we saw this prisoner with the keys. And we weren't real happy to see this particular guy with the keys—he was a loose cannon, so to speak. He was hollering at us, "Well you better hurry and come in," so we didn't have any choice. What were we going to do? We certainly wouldn't have taken a position of, "Hey boss, we're not involved in this"—they were going to deal with us regardless. We had crossed that line and we had put ourselves in a certain position in relationship to the prison authorities, and there's no way we were just going to say, "We organized the last one but we didn't organize this one." So we went into the cell house and what we tried to do was to get involved and give the takeover a certain direction. And we ended up taking over the prison and we had several guards hostage, instead of repeating the events of 1969.

The warden is lying

We also heard over the radio where the warden was telling lies that this rebellion had happened because of the weather and other such ridiculous shit, and basically we just wrote on a sheet, "The warden is lying," and hung it outside the windows where people could see it from the street. Then later we set up a public address system of our own.

Some of the prisoners had record players and speakers and somehow somebody was able to rig up a sound system. The cell block that we were in faced out toward the street. So we were able to rig up a system where we could be heard over the walls out to the street where there were people who had gathered to support us, families and all that. And we were able to agitate about what we were trying to do and what we were trying to accomplish. So there was a level of organization and certain forms of "people's power" that actually went on in that particular cell house that didn't exist in the other places. And we were prepared to die for what we were doing.

This was a situation where again it was not clear that we would live through that. We did have a division of labor where a few of us were outside, not actually involved in it, who were going to play a role in terms of trying to help sum some things up after, if we had gotten killed. And we said our goodbyes. This was in the wake of Attica and the wake of the murder of George Jackson, and it was not altogether clear that we would not be murdered too.

What happened was that, after 36 hours, they backed down and basically conceded to our demands, including there was a demand for amnesty that nobody be convicted or be charged with any crime as the result of the rebellion. I haven't really tried to stop and analyze it all, but I think it probably had a lot to do with the whole climate in the country, including what they had done in Attica and the outrage that brought, and there was probably a combination of factors that forced them to back down.

RW: You mentioned certain forms of "people's power" in this rebellion. What was this "people's power" like and what did you learn off of that about the possibility for really changing the world?

Clyde Young: First of all what provoked that was the Attica experience. I was very much aware of the Attica experience. That was a tremendously inspiring experience overall, but also an excruciating experience in terms of what the imperialists did of just going in and gunning down the prisoners and even gunning down the hostages. Much of that was revealed in a vivid way in this Eye on the Prize series that had been on television recently—and I thought brought the story out very vividly—including the lies that the imperialists told about the prisoners having killed the hostages and then it turned out that the state themselves had actually killed the guards and actually executed some of the leaders of the rebellion after the prison was retaken. So that whole thing was something that had a tremendous impact on me as it did on a lot of other people who were revolutionaries at that time.

When we took over the prison, as I was explaining earlier, it wasn't something that we had planned. It was something that happened spontaneously and those of us who were conscious revolutionaries and communists at that time went into it and played a leading role within it. And one of the things that we did was that we called everybody together in the one cell house that we were in and discussed these demands that the Attica brothers had. It wasn't like we went into and discussed the whole situation in Attica, but we discussed these demands and tried to figure out the ones that were applicable to our situation and reflected what the conditions were in that prison and the demands that we came up with were based on that.

And at the same time, we tried to set up what was called a people's militia. These were the people who were going to take certain responsibility for fighting the guards if they stormed the cell house. And we had certain tactics worked out for how we were going to do that if they tried to storm the cell house. We also had a people's tribunal. Even within this kind of situation where people were united to fight against the prison authorities, there's still contradictions that exist among the people. It wasn't like everybody was at the same level of consciousness and what not. And in fact, in one of the cell houses, not the one that we were in, some backward prisoners took advantage of the situation to rape somebody. And where we were, some other people tried to take advantage to rip somebody off.

So there were some contradictions among the prisoners even though everybody was united on one level in terms of going up against the guards. There were some people who were going to take advantage of this rebellion and of us having authority to steal and rape and whatever, and we had a firm line that none of that kind of stuff was going to go on. And I think we even had to detain a couple people who were insisting on carrying on that type of activity.

So it gave a vision of what it would mean if the people were actually to have the whole society. And it was not completely absent from our view that we would run things different from the way the powers did. And at the same time, even the way we dealt with the hostages that we had, the whole orientation was different. We were not going to take advantage of having the hostages to exact revenge or whatever. We had certain things we were fighting for and we were determined to get them, and if they stormed the cell house then it was out of our hands in terms of what happened to the hostages, but as long as that didn't happen, we were determined that they were not going to get fucked up just out of revenge. We were striving for something bigger. So some of the things we instituted like the people's tribunal and the people's militia and some of those kinds of forms—in a funny kind of way in that situation we had the authority and that's the way we were exercising it. It wasn't completely absent in our thinking, a certain vision of what it would mean to rule the whole society.

RW: When you see that footage that was showed in Eye on the Prize of the Attica rebellion, it is very striking that those revolutionary brothers who were locked up with all the guns of the state aimed at them—they're the ones that should be taking part in running the society and the pigs on the outside with the guns pointed at them are the ones who should be locked up.

Comrade X: That's very true.

RW: And this sense of preparing to take power is a theme that runs through your story too.

Comrade X: There was a sentiment in the prisons at that time. The events at Attica, George Jackson and the Soledad Brothers, and all that represented a very advanced current of what existed throughout the country. There was a whole attitude and a whole sentiment that there was going to be a revolution and people were getting prepared and when the prison doors were opened, people were going to be ready to come out and play a role in being able to bring this whole thing down. That was part of the whole climate and the whole atmosphere, and once again it brings me to the point that Chairman Avakian has stressed about the importance of a revolutionary movement and a politicized atmosphere, what that can do, not as an end in itself but as part of preparing for revolution and preparing to bring this whole thing down. And what that can do in terms of bringing out the best in people. I think a lot of the best in people was brought out in that period. And the point is not to look back on it just to be nostalgic and to talk about how things were when we were young, but to look back on it precisely for the purpose that we have to go forward and we can go for the whole thing this time. That's what we're working for and that's what we are preparing for, and those opportunities could very well come and soon.

Part 5: Ready for the Time

RW: When did you decide to join the RCP?

Comrade X: When I was in prison in the early '70s, there was this group called the SLA. They were a group that was formed by some ex-prisoners and their political line was one of urban guerilla warfare. They kidnapped Patty Hearst and that became a whole national and international incident. So the revolutionaries in prison were checking out what all the radical groups were saying about it. And the thing that struck me about it at that time was that a lot of so-called revolutionaries were just condemning it, talking about how terrible it was that Patty Hearst had been kidnapped and condemning the SLA and that particular act.

Now it wasn't often that I was able to get a lot of revolutionary newspapers when I was in prison because of the censorship, but I did happen to come across a copy of Revolution—which was the newspaper of the Revolutionary Union, the organization that later formed the RCP—and there was a whole piece on the SLA in that issue. By that time I was really disgusted with a lot of what the other people on the left were saying and how they were summing it up and analyzing it. But the way the RU dealt with the whole thing really struck me as different, and I have never forgotten it, the way it was taken up. The RU had some big differences with the strategic approach of the SLA and the tactical approach they were taking also, but far from condemning the SLA out of hand, the RU aimed their fire first and foremost at the imperialists and united with the spirit of wanting to find a way to bring imperialism down as soon as possible. They made a lot of exposure of what the Hearsts were and their whole history that I thought was really rich. And at the same time there was some criticism that this was not the correct strategic approach that needs to be taken to making a revolution in this country.

At that time that kind of urban guerrilla warfare thinking was the currency. In other words, a lot of revolutionary people thought that if you were going to make a revolution in this country, you'd do it like they do it in the Third World. You would do it in an urban setting but adopting the same road of taking liberated territories that were used in the Third World. And this article by the RU was the first time I had ever seen something that was attempting to put forward what would be a correct strategic approach for revolution and the armed struggle in an advanced imperialist country like the U.S.

Clyde Young, July 2009

Launching the campaign to promote the leadership of Bob Avakian, 2009. Photo: Li Onesto, Revolution/

So I didn't know a lot, but what I did know sparked a lot of interest in me about the RU and the politics of Bob Avakian, who was the leader of the RU. And about a year or two after I got out—by this time the RCP had been formed—I actually made contact with the Party and subsequently joined.

RW: You mentioned the strategy for revolution being so important in terms of your looking toward the Party. I think at that time there was a real sense on a mass scale of "we have to figure this strategy out because we are actually going to do this revolutionary war"—that was an important element.

Comrade X: Yes, there was that spirit. And there was a lot of people, I would say thousands and thousands of people, who were seriously taking it up and struggling over these questions of how could the armed struggle be waged in a country like the USA. And that is a positive legacy that we have in terms of going into the '90s and preparing for DOING THE DOG IN BABYLON, as Huey used to say. But there was also that frustration that there wasn't a clear understanding of how would you bring this system down.

There was determination to do it. It was like what Malcolm used to say about the house slave and the field slave: The master's house would be burning down and the house slave would talk about, "Our house is burning down." And if you were gonna run away, the house slave would say, "Where are we going to go?" and the field slave would say, "Well, it doesn't much matter, cuz we got to get out of here." The point is not that we don't need to know where we are going, but in the '60s there was that sense that one way or the other we've got [to] bring this whole thing down. And at the same time a lot of his wasn't really thought through in terms of how would you go about bringing this whole thing down FOR REAL.

RW: Well, we need a whole new generation to make this revolution for real, so it's up to the youth now.

Comrade X: This is something I learned early in my experience—in every revolutionary struggle the youth play a very important role in that. So it's very critical, these questions that we're raising for struggle among the youth. In the May Day manifesto this year there was a very profound point from Mao: "When revolution has its day, people see things another way." And in the Chinese revolution led by Mao, when things went over to armed struggle and when people began waging armed struggle, a lot of youth who were considered previously as not being able to play any role were actually transformed and came forward to play a very important role in that revolutionary struggle.

Taking out BAsics, by Bob Avakian

Taking out BAsics, by Bob Avakian, 2012. Photo: Special to Revolution/

RW: Righteous on that. Let's talk about some of the questions that are vexing the youth, things that make them hesitate towards getting down for PROLETARIAN REVOLUTION. For instance, coming up young and Black in America a lot of youth think there's not much hope for white people. They wonder if any of these people could be on their side. What was it in your own experience that gave you some insights that there would be some allies?

Comrade X: First of all, I went through a period of nationalism and being anti-white as a result of becoming more consciously aware of white supremacy and the whole history of slavery and the whole history of Black people in this country. So at first I did not have much confidence that there was much hope for any kind of unity or even any basis for going up against the system in terms of whites and Blacks together. But here again is where the overall revolutionary movement in the country at that time did have an effect, because it was hard to argue that all whites were hopeless because you did have people in the streets like at the Democratic National Convention. On television it was being shown how people were being beaten into the ground with clubs by the pigs and savagely attacked. I can remember being in prison and seeing that on television and that having a very profound effect on me. There was also the murders of the students at Kent State, and there was a lot of things where a lot of white youth were putting themselves and putting their lives on the line, including in terms of defending the Black Panther offices. So those kinds of things not only helped me to see things in a different way, but it was also material that I would use in struggling with other people to see how there was a basis for unity and to go forward.

RW: The youth themselves putting their politics and their life on the line...

Comrade X: Right, being willing to stand by what they believe in...

RW: It made the oppressed take heart...

Comrade X: Right. There was a back-and-forth kind of thing that went on there. The whole Black liberation struggle had a profound impact on a lot of people, including a lot of white youth. And then in turn the white youth going out in the streets in opposition to the war in Vietnam and against the draft—those things had a very profound impact in helping people to see that there was the potential for alliances.

And also, as I began to study history more, I found there were people who came forward and took a certain stand on the basis of principle and were willing to fight and die for it. I can remember studying about John Brown and Harpers Ferry and being affected by it in a positive way. But overall it was the climate in the country and what was going on in the country. People were putting themselves on the line and going up against the system, including white youth taking on more radical politics like carrying the NLF flag—which was the flag of the Vietnamese liberation fighters—and making firm statements in opposition to national oppression.

A lot of the struggle that went on—and it went on throughout the whole country—was trying to figure out who are your friends and who are your enemies. If we were going to bring these imperialists down, first of all we had to figure out—and this is something Mao talks about—who are your friends and enemies. Mao also talked about UNITING ALL WHO COULD BE UNITED AGAINST THE ENEMY. These are some of the things that we learned from Mao and then in turn tried to apply and tried to figure out, which I think led to breaking with some of these notions that it's just your people and just your nationality.

And as I began to broaden my view I started seeing that it's not just a question of my people, first and foremost, but beginning to look at and hate the oppression of people in China or the oppression of people in India, to hate the oppression of people in other parts of the world as much as I hated the oppression of Black people. I came to understand that the fight against national oppression—where imperialist nations lord it over oppressed nations and imperialist peoples lord it over oppressed peoples—was part of the fight to bring down imperialism and ALL kinds of oppression. And that it was not just a question of different races all around the world trying to get their thing together but coming to understand that throughout the whole world there were PROLETARIANS, there were propertyless people, there were people with nothing to lose but their chains. And when I talk about OUR PEOPLE, that's who I'm talking about. And that became what defined the struggle for me.

RW: Was it controversial among your friends that Bob Avakian, Chairman of the RCP, is not Black?

Comrade X: Yes, that question came up in a big way! But I can remember playing the May Day speech that the Chairman gave back in 1979 for members of my family and many other people. And the thing I can remember is people just being blown away by that, that he was speaking to shit that they had felt all their lives, but he was putting the shit together in a way that they had never heard it put together before. And more recently I have heard of cases where people have been checking out Bullets, the silver book of quotations by the Chairman, and being really blown away by what he was saying and then turning to the front of the book and seeing his picture and seeing that he is white and not being able to put that together with the powerful shit that he was saying in that book. I actually heard a funny story a few years ago, where after reading something by the Chairman or hearing an old tape of one of his speeches, someone who is Black asked if he was "raised by a poor Black family."

So the point is that this question came up and it still comes up, and we have to fight through on that question with revolutionary people coming forward who, because of nationalism, might find that difficult to deal with or whatever. On one level it is not so surprising that questions like this come up even from the oppressed among our people. After all, the oppression of whole nations and peoples is a fundamental pillar of this imperialist system. H. Rap Brown used to say that "violence is as American as apple pie," and borrowing from that statement I would say that "racism and white supremacy is also as Amerikkkan as apple pie."

But let me say this: I have fought with many people over this question over the years but I have never been defensive about who our Chairman is or that he is white. And there is absolutely no reason to be defensive about that. It has certainly been a disadvantage that this brother has not been able to function openly, hasn't been out there in a public way, though his voice and his leadership is definitely on the scene. But the fact that he is not out there in that public way and in fact is in exile just shows how goddamn serious we are—serious about slam-dunking this whole putrid system, serious about winning.

In one of his recent articles, "Some Thoughts, Some Further Thoughts," the Chairman comments in paraphrasing Mao that what most stood out about Lenin wasn't "his political acumen or strategic and tactical sense, nor even his important theoretical developments and contributions in terms of revolutionary science... but instead the fact that HE GAVE HIS HEART TO THE MASSES, to the oppressed." On a personal note, having had the opportunity to work with the Chairman in the past in a number of situations, including going into housing projects with him when he could operate more freely, I can say without exaggeration—and I'm sure other comrades would join me in saying this—that our Chairman too has given his heart to the masses, to the oppressed, not just in this country but the world over. And this comrade is thoroughly intoxicated with the revolution. His leadership has been decisive at key turning points in the revolutionary movement in this country—going back to the '60s—and it is crucial today and looking ahead to the future. As we have said, our ideology is Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, our vanguard is the RCP and our leader is Chairman Avakian.

I realize a lot of the youth today, Black youth in particular, are looking back to things like Malcolm X and the Black Panther Party for direction, and it is not surprising, nor a bad thing, that many of the Black youth who are awakening to political life are attempting to learn from the revolutionary legacy of the '60s. It also seems that there is a broad sentiment that another BPP or Malcolm X is what is needed. Now, revolutionary nationalist leaders exist today, and it seems likely that as the situation sharpens new revolutionary leaders will emerge from the struggle of Black people, and I can only say right on to that. But what OUR people, the oppressed of ALL nationalities really need—what we already got in our Chairman and in our Party—is REVOLUTIONARY COMMUNIST/PROLETARIAN INTERNAITONALIST LEADERSHIP. Mao said, without a party, without a party based on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, the masses of people have nothing at all! Well, that kind of party already exists and the question is that proletarians of all nationalities have to step forward and join it and help build it and help prepare for all-the-way—stone to the bone!—revolution. And ain't nothing soft about that!

RW: Let's talk about some of the changes that people go through when they start becoming revolutionaries; for instance, we have a different attitude toward criticism/self-criticism, and one of our points of discipline is around criticism/self-criticism. It's a different way of looking at criticism and it's also kind of hard when you are a young brother or sister coming up to engage in this criticism/self-criticism.

Comrade X: Oh, yes, this is very difficult. That's definitely true in my own experience. This is one of the things early on in the Red Book that we learned and were able to put in some perspective. Because the code of the streets and even in prison is not just that you don't criticize somebody. A lot of times if you just say the wrong thing to somebody or offend somebody in some kind of way, it can actually go over to physical struggle and sometimes people get killed. This whole thing I was talking about earlier about "face" and "manhood" or even your understanding or knowledge getting called into question could lead to people getting seriously hurt.

So this question of criticism/self-criticism was a very difficult question. But I think the thing that was instrumental in helping to get over some of those barriers and to grasp this a lot better was the Red Book. Mao talks about why criticism and self-criticism is important to the revolutionary struggle and why not having criticism and self-criticism is corrosive to the revolutionary movement. And I can remember at a certain point when we came to grasp that and the importance of that. It's not like it was easy even after understanding it, but at least there was a certain perspective you had of why it was necessary. In other words, there were certain things we learned from Mao about if you have a dirty face somebody has to tell you and you have to wash it. Or if you are sweeping, where the broom doesn't hit, you won't clean the room. So those things—in the very basic and down-to-earth way that Mao put it together—helped us to understand why this was a very powerful weapon in the hands of the people and was something that was entirely different from the way the enemy does things. It's part of FIGHTING OUR WAY, as opposed to fighting their way. You take this up as a powerful weapon in the revolutionary struggle—to strengthen the ranks, not to tear people down. And what we did, as we began to understand and grasp that more, we actually tried to memorize those things and then live by it.

RW: Also there's a difference between how you deal with contradictions of the enemy and how you deal with contradictions among people, but on the street and in the gangster life, those things get very blurred.

Comrade X: That was a very important lesson to learn, because from the standpoint of the gangster mentality, you can't let anybody cross you, you can't let anybody get one up on you. You can't let anybody put you down or something. And that's resolved by violence and that's the way it is. I can remember coming up—and this whole thing about dissing reminds me of what we called signifying—we'd sit around and poke fun at this or that about the other person, and a lot of times those kinds of situations would go over to violence. Because if someone felt they were put down in the wrong way or they were insulted some way, it would actually go over to violence. But again, we learned from Mao the necessity of this criticism/self-criticism to the revolutionary movement, but also the character of it—the character of it should be around political weaknesses and not a question of personal attacks. Some of those basic lessons that we learned from Mao I think are still quite valid today and very useful in terms of the youth in being able to MAKE A LEAP, and I think that is a point to emphasize. Coming forward and taking up this revolutionary politics is a leap.

And maybe some people will look at it and say there is no way I can make that leap. But there's an article that the Chairman wrote some years ago and it has been reprinted in this new book of his writings, Reflections and Sketches, called "Proletarian Internationalism, Or If You Have Ever Been Mistreated You Know What I Am Talking About." And that particular article was a very important one in the Party and I think it's still important. And one of the points he makes in there is that becoming a communist is a leap. And he talks about, in terms of the masses making that leap, that it is a leap from their life experiences and their conditions of life, but it's not a leap from nowhere. And I think that's important. There is a lot in the life experiences of our people and their conditions of life which provide a firm basis to be able to make that leap and to be able to understand in a more profound way a lot of things about this system. But that has to be combined with the science of revolution.

RW: So the oppressed people, even coming from the basic masses, still have to understand how to apply the mass line.

Comrade X: There's two things, because you come from the masses, it's not just "come as you are." There's a leap that has to be made in taking up MLM. Taking MLM to the masses in one sense is like taking it home. But there is a leap that people have to make to actually grasp it and go to a higher level. And that's definitely true in my experience. It is a struggle to understand that the masses are the makers of history and how to learn from the masses and lead the masses.

It's not just enough to have the hatred for the Man. Without that you don't have nothing, but that has got to be taken to a whole other level with the science of revolution, with MLM. It's the Party and the masses which gives us the strength to be able to stand up to whatever the enemy can throw at us—and be able to not only stand up to it, but advance through it and to defeat them.

RW: Sometimes the youth are hesitant to be the first in their set to step out.

Comrade X: I've been stressing this point about a revolutionary movement and politicized atmosphere. I think that as a vanguard we have a tremendous responsibility in helping to bring that into being, and the youth have to be in the forefront of leading the masses into struggle and going up against the other side and the shit they are trying to bring down on people these days—as part of preparing for revolution and looking ahead to and laying the groundwork for bringing into being in the future a revolutionary army of the proletariat. There's a certain responsibility we have, not totally unlike that of the Panthers in the 1960s. In a certain sense we are standing on their shoulders and on the shoulders of the previous movement and what has gone on, but WITH ALL OF OUR STRENGTHS.

And I do think that even a small number of people stepping forward to play that kind of role can play a tremendous part. Looking back to the rebellions we led in prison [See Parts 2 and 4, "Burning Down the House" and "In the Spirit of Attica."]—they had a profound impact throughout the prison and even broader than that. It had a profound impact of a relative minority of people stepping forward and taking a certain stand and playing a certain role in terms of being able to cause others to stand up and take note and for them to check this out in a more serious way. So there is that kind of dialectics—that kind of back-and-forth—that does go on and needs to go on.

So I was thinking about that in terms of some of the hesitations that some youth have in going to another level than where others in their posse might be at. It's not a question of making a leap yourself and writing the others off, but of making a leap and, precisely because there are those connections and links, seeing that as the basis for fighting to win the people over. You have to be down for the revolution and you have to love the people. That's really a critical principle.

The Chairman has talked about that in terms of the experience of the Black Panther Party, how Huey and Bobby stepped out in a certain way and played a role in drawing forward people and actually taking the struggle at that time to a whole other level beyond where Malcolm had been. This is something that's played itself out in different ways in various countries throughout the world and still continues to do that. And the situation going on right now in Peru, where the people's war led by the Communist Party of Peru is gaining victories, is a very good example of what I am talking about.

RW: Actually taking on and fighting the enemy brought the people forward.

Comrade X: Right. The path to power is different in a country like the U.S., and you can't engage in the armed struggle before the conditions are ripe for doing that. But I do think there are some lessons that can be drawn from that in terms of the political struggles where people are taking on the powers. It is precisely the point you're making about engaging the enemy, and that's something that is absolutely crucial right now in terms of what is coming down, the attacks that are being brought down on the youth and on the people.

RW: How did you get out of prison?

Comrade X: That's a funny story in its own right. In looking back, it actually surprises me, not only that I got out of prison but that I am still alive, cuz there was a lot of things that happened in my life and any one of them could have been the end. First of all, just before I got out I was involved in leading that prison takeover where we had three cell houses and three guards as hostages. And one of the demands that we made was for amnesty, and we were able to back the prison authorities down. They didn't charge the cell houses and kill anybody, and they basically were forced to go along with our demands. Again I think that had a lot to do with the whole atmosphere in the country, including what had happened in Attica no doubt figured into why they did what they did.

But just previous to that rebellion, there was this funny coincidence. There was this guy I had met when I first got into prison who was a teacher in the prison. And during the course of time he had actually quit his job and went back to school and had become a lawyer. So he came back to the prison and saw me locked up there and he was astounded that I was still in prison. And he took my case and took it back to court and some time later I got a reversal of my verdict, and to make a long story short I was released. So it was like a fortunate set of circumstances. Also at that time, the prison authorities—as part of their whole tactic of "cut off the head and the body will die"—they wanted to get some of us out of the prison. So they transferred me to a minimum security situation. And it was a very difficult decision in terms of whether to do that or not, because it was very clear what they were trying to do—they were trying to diffuse the level of resistance that existed in the prison. So I talked it over with some of the other comrades, because pretty much the prison officials had told me to basically leave quietly or else—it was like an implicit threat that they were going to kill me. So we decided that the best way was for me to go. Our Chairman talks about how the enemy comes at you with sugar-coated bullets and real bullets, and I think the prison officials thought that if I got out I would forget about all this revolution stuff—that this was just something I did when I was in there and I was just angry and when I got out I would forget it. But they made a mistake.

RW: Yes they did, and good for the proletariat. You spoke earlier about the slogan the Chairman raised, "Fear Nothing, Be Down for the Whole Thing." So in wrapping up this interview, what do you have to say to the youth who are coming up like you about the special significance of this slogan for them.

Comrade X: I think that the possibility to bring this system down is something real, and not only that, the opening to be able to do that could come soon, but we got some work to do to prepare for the time when we can actually go over to an armed struggle to bring these people down—which is precisely what it is going to take.

There is a song that was popular not that long ago, and I don't think the artists were revolutionaries, but it had a beat to it and the song goes something like this, "Are you ready for the time of your life, it's time to stand up and fight." So if you are ready for the time of your life, it's time to stand up and fight, it's time to prepare for revolution, it's time to fight the power and prepare to bury the system. Not only can we end the shit that exists in this country—all these oppressive relations that exist in this country—but we can end this downpressing shit throughout the whole world, together with our people throughout the whole world. And that's the vision that I think is worth living for and the vision that is worth fighting and dying for. That's what I would say to the youth and that's very much captured in the saying "FEAR NOTHING, BE DOWN FOR THE WHOLE THING."

1. Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA [back]

2. "Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (MLM)" is how the science of communism was referred to at the time of this interview. That science has continued to be developed. [back]




Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Rise Up October:

Lessons Learnt For Work Among Students—And Much More

September 28, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

Strategic Commander—Communist Statesman: This is the vantage point from which I’m straining to proceed from. As part of the national student task force for Rise Up October, I’ve learned very deeply that every step of the way, we have to be straining against the limits of what we think is possible while drawing in many different people into the process of making revolution and emancipating humanity and mobilizing and wielding all positive factors. Both for the immediate aim in drawing in tens of thousands of people to flood the streets of New York City on October 24 (and push forward in the fight to get free) and in the longer sense of leaving behind revolutionary organization that’s not just about fighting on one front but fighting for the whole thing. And I think there’s a tension here that if we’re not being thoroughly materialist and scientific, we can lose sight of what we’re fighting for.

The first week

As part of the national student task force, we’ve set a much-needed goal of mobilizing and wielding (at least) 500 campuses. If we’re just looking at what’s in front of us, this seems like an impossible goal (or at best idealist). But if we’re proceeding from reality and the roiling contradiction that’s hitting us every day (video after video... statistic after statistic...) of the utter illegitimacy of this system (and specifically the enforcers of this system), then what’s objectively crying out to come forward is our leadership.

What do I mean?

Through the process of this past week, I’ve had to learn how to lead and organize masses on a whole different footing. I want to share a couple of stories that help to distill what I mean.

A young woman who recently graduated from an Ivy League school was walking around and noticed a Rise Up October palm card on the floor. She pursued her conviction and looked through the website and decided to contact the national SMIN office. We quickly talked on the phone and she described how much she agonizes and hates what the police are doing to Black people (and other nationalities). So when she saw the card on the floor, she saw it as a sign to act. I described that there are a lot of teams throughout NYC that are distributing materials. So she might of missed the crew in her area. By the time we talked, she had taken pictures of the palm card and sent them to her friends (students) and wanted to get print copies. I said “yes, absolutely,” but then I described what I was a part of and the goals required to bring forward tens of thousands of people to NYC on October 24 (with my particular focus on students). Then I posed the reality that there is nothing more important that she could be doing for the next couple of weeks than making this powerful demonstration happen. She was briefly silent and then said, “I think you’re right.” With that we made beginning plans. She had two free hours and connected with another volunteer and postered the entire building she still had access to. She’s continued to connect with the student task force and is headed to Philly this weekend with plans to connect up with all sorts of students and friends.

What We Must Do To STOP Police Terror and Murder (excerpts)

With this experience, I could have easily settled with giving her the materials she asked for or giving her general ideas to pursue. But it actually took posing the very real contradiction that Rise Up October cannot happen without her and asking her to throw all in. And I’ve had similar experiences to this where I’ve put forward very boldly that if you’re serious about STOPPING POLICE TERROR then you need to seriously get with Rise Up October. And have had to lead people organizationally to take the first steps to make that real (including doing things they’re unfamiliar with like going out, talking, and struggling with other students; and wielding their strengths). In addition, I’ve had to think quick on my feet: are there networks that are intersecting, can we tap into the dynamics of cross-campus life, and are we seizing on every opportunity (no matter how small it seems)?

Agitation and Organization

I had learned a lot from an NYU student who is organizing an event on her campus October 1. She has a lot of moral certitude that anything short of organizing to STOP POLICE TERROR stands in the way. So with that, I talked to a professor who is trying to organize an event on his campus. Immediately I got the list of real logistical contradictions for how difficult it is to organize an event on his campus. And the realness that there’s been a chill on anything political or radical in academia. But, instead of settling with “oh, the bureaucracy! It makes things impossible,” I had to return to (the point of) why we’re doing this. Is it true or not that we’re up against a vicious system that is systematically criminalizing, incarcerating, brutalizing, and murdering our people (predominantly Black and Brown)? And I had to agitate (to someone who’s partisan) of why this is true and why we cannot lose sight of that. Then, OK let’s get back to the bureaucracy; yes, we’re going to get a lot of roadblocks but we have to insist that people take a side. And re-set terms: “Are you going to be the institution of education that prevents students to have access to understand why police terror happens and how to act to stop it? And if you are, then what does that say of the kind of world you’re fighting for?” (And on a serious tip, if this happens, we better make it known that a campus is censoring a program.) This professor was not expecting this discussion. By the end of our call he had changed his position and said, “You’re right; I can’t take no for an answer,” and was determined to book a room and set a date by early this week.

The contradictoriness in people’s thinking

I spoke up at a campus program and posed a serious question to the panelist about the need for revolution and challenged them to be part of Rise Up October. A Romanian immigrant student immediately came up to me after I finished my comments and wanted to be part of Rise Up October. She had a lot of enthusiasm and was glad to hear someone put forward the need to ACT to STOP POLICE TERROR. On the spot we made initial plans for how she could begin to organize for Rise Up October and exchanged contact information to follow up. A day later, I gave her a call. She posted the links for Rise Up October on social media and received little to no response. This reinforced everything that this system is constantly drumming at people that there’s really nothing you can do to stop the horrors of this system like POLICE TERROR. And then she went on to rationalize why nobody cares: “white people are so passive”; “they’re not acting because it’s not happening to them.” I could have said, “Yes, that’s true but, you know, there’s the basis to change that,” which would of been OK. But instead, I had to return to how we met: “You’re someone who cares, you’re someone who hates police terror,” and asked, “Are you going to wield that reality and challenge others to do the same?” And I went on to describe the simple things she could do to bring others forward to act (see The call fell silent and then she responded, “I guess I need to try what you’re saying.” We’re developing plans for this upcoming week and are working to forge a grouping of people on her campus.

The hate...

At a recent Revolution Club meeting, we were speaking very earnestly of what we’re up against and struggling through the transformations needed. At a certain point, someone very honestly said they were being attacked by some haters and they hesitated to speak their mind because they didn’t want to reinforce the stereotypes that revolutionaries get accused of, that of “co-opting, taking over, etc.” And we were correctly summing up, fuck that, we can’t be afraid of stepping on people’s toes, we can’t be afraid of disrupting people’s spaces, we can’t be satisfied with the terms people set, and we can’t be afraid of being disliked. Why? Because we represent the seven billion people on this planet. We represent the fighting chance of humanity getting free. We know enough to know that the world does not have to be this way. We know enough to know that anything short of revolution is bullshit. And we know enough to know that there is the leadership (that of this Party and BA) needed to have a strategic chance at winning.

So to return to how we should be stepping

We have to set and re-set terms all along the way and on that basis draw out the strengths and insights of the masses. This takes work but it is what’s required because we have to lead and organize people to bring in a whole new world without this genocidal oppression, through revolution, and as a crucial part of that build up a powerful Rise Up October.







Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

A Call and a Challenge

by Joe Veale and a member of the Los Angeles Revolution Club | September 28, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |

Download PDF flyer of "A Call and a Challenge"


To ALL of our youth—ALL of our old heads—ALL of our youngsters and veterans in Chicago and Los Angeles—and in every other city across this country who are in the “gangster life.”

"This is Bob Avakian,
Chairman of the
Revolutionary Communist Party,
with a New Year's message—


▶ Listen
▶ Read

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What YOU decide to do with your life matters. It’s like what Bob Avakian, BA—the leader of the revolution—the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, says in his New Year's Message, A Call to REVOLUTION:

“...what we do matters a great deal. Our lives should be, and can be, about something with meaning and purpose that is really worth living for and fighting for. Why should we do what they want us to do—killing and crippling each other, trying to beat down or beat out each other, ending up in jail, or paralyzed, or dead at an early age—instead of joining together to go up against the system that has got us in this mess in the first place?” (Read the entire call.)

The problem is this system, this system of white supremacy, this system of police enforcers, this system of discrimination, this system of mass incarceration—this system of genocide—this system of courts, probation, parole, prisons, brutal bone-crushing poverty—this system of war and global empire—this system of male supremacy—this system—at its roots and foundation—of capitalism-imperialism.

The solution to it lies in Revolution Nothing Less.

We need to, and we can, do much better than this. The world does NOT need to be this way. This system is NOT all-powerful. They have been defeated, and there is a STRATEGY to do that right here. There is LEADERSHIP—Bob Avakian has developed a way of understanding all this and changing everything. You need to get into that as you are standing up to them. We can change ourselves as we change the world—Fighting the Power, and Transforming the People, for REVOLUTION.

There is a very, very important place for YOU in this—those who catch the most hell from this system. AND RIGHT NOW THERE IS SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT YOU NEED TO BE A PART OF AND MAKE AS POWERFUL AS POSSIBLE.

THOUSANDS—TENS OF THOUSANDS of people—Black, Latino, white, all races/nationalities, all sexes, all genders and orientations, all religions, all without religion—rich and poor—along with at least 100 families from all across the country whose loved ones’ lives have been stolen by murdering police—they are gonna come together at #RiseUpOctober 24th in NYC—the nerve center of this monstrous global empire—and take to the streets—going up against the powers that be—and defiantly declare:


Compelling all of society to choose:


Are YOU for this horrific police murder and terror or are YOU against it? There ain’t no middle ground. This will reach and touch millions of people in this country and many more around the world. Shining a BIG bright light for all of society and the whole world to see what these brutalizing and murdering pig police do to especially Black and Brown people—shine a light on the fact that tens and hundreds of thousands are marching in NYC to call out THIS STOP this terror.

Think about this. Think about what it will mean, how much more powerful, beautiful, and transforming this will be if all these people are joined by the bold and defiant ones like those of YOU who came together—tied their rags—went into the streets to fight the power—after the police murdered Mike Brown in Ferguson.

Think about how that inspired so many people of all races/nationalities. Think about how it gave a lot of people the backbone they needed to get their asses out into the streets—making millions ask for the first time, “Is this the kind of society I want to live in?”

A similar thing happened in Baltimore—sparking off a bigger process across the country—after the police murdered Freddie Gray.

To the youth and the old heads in Chicago, and LA—and in every city all across the country who are right now out for revenge, payback, who are beefing—to get “respect”—to get some kind of “justice” for the homies, for the hood—this misunderstands—and it contributes to misdirecting your righteous anger at—what the REAL problem and solution is.

As long as we attempt to find some “respect,” to find a place, within the framework of the system—we are being PLAYED big time. Because it just keeps the same shit going, and going. They get us two times. Going and coming. They do all this dirty shit to you and then they get you to do it to each other.

NO! #RiseUpOctober—Which Side Are You On?—Stop Police Terror AND Murder! Get on the bus! Catch a plane! Get the word out far and wide! Send family members from the city where you live to represent for this!

You come to NYC—the nerve center of the worldwide horror show—the brutal murdering global empire—represent for those who have been stolen from us by murdering police enforcers of this system.

Open up a giant pathway for accelerating the revolution to overturn—dismantle—and finally sweep away this fucking system.

Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for REVOLUTION.

Joe Veale is a former member of the original Black Panther Party and a present member of the Revolutionary Communist Party.





Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Which Side Are You On?
Turn Out Thousands to NYC to STOP POLICE TERROR on October 24!

What you can do NOW:

September 28, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


  1. Tell everyone you know about Rise Up October, the massive march in New York City on October 24. ORGANIZE THEM TO BE THERE. Find out where the buses are leaving from in your area at If there aren’t any buses organized from your area yet, organize them.

  2. Distribute promotional materials. Download palm cards, posters & the Rise Up October Call Give them out in laundromats, libraries, classrooms, coffee shops, salons and barbershops, theaters. In the neighborhoods hardest hit by police terror, distribute flyers and palm cards everywhere.
  3. Donate to #RiseUpOctober campaign to raise $100,000. Spread the campaign in every way that you can through: social media, phone calls, and conversations. Talk to people about why they should donate to bring the families of people killed by police to NYC, and to publicize the protest. Donations are tax-deductible.

  4. Spread #RiseUpOctober #WhichSideAreYouOn widely on social media. Down load materials here. Hashtag #RiseUpOctober.

  5. Organize your faith community, high school, college campus, sorority, fraternity, union to get on the bus and get to NYC Saturday October 24. USE THIS NEW LETTER TO ORGANIZATIONS
  6. Organize a group of friends and get out to movie lines and other cultural events and hand out palm cards.

  7. Endorse the Call as an individual, organization, union, school club or religious group.

  8. Go to a local Rise Up October meeting. If there isn’t one, plan one. Organize showings of the video for the Rise Up October August 27 event in NYC. Share this 11 min video.

  9. Contact everyone you know in NYC to open up homes and other spaces for housing volunteers and family members coming into NYC for Rise Up October 22-24.

Get in touch. Keep in touch. Let us know what you are doing to make this happen.
Call 646.709.1961

Send reports, suggestions, updates and questions to

LaToya Howell, mother of Justus Howell who was murdered by the police in Zion, IL on April 4, 2015, put it well when she said, “It’s not enough to click ‘like’ on Facebook.”




Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Students: Which Side Are You On?

September 28, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


If students hear the stories of the lives stolen by the police, and the need to make #RiseUpOctober a powerful manifestation and organize events on their campuses where these families could speak, and call on others to be part of this, the possibility will open up for thousands of students to lend support to these families—and they will feel challenged and inspired to join in #RiseUpOctober.

Family members of some of the people whose lives were stolen by police.

Family members of some of the people whose lives were stolen by police. (Photo:

What to do:

(1) Organize your campus to come to NYC!

Think caravans, buses, trains, flights, etc. Contact or call (646) 418-4758 to post on

(2) Bring the #RiseUpOctober Tour to your college campus.

Watch this 11-minute clip reel from the August 27 program “What We Must Do To STOP Police Terror & Murder” as a model of the impact this tour can have on others.

(3) Teach-In—"In the 60's and 70's students didn't care what their teachers said. A lot of students are miseducated. We should be talking about Race, Feminism, Police Brutality..."
(from a H.S. student who organized a Teach-In leading into #ShutDownA14).

Call for students to gather somewhere on campus and have a teach-in on STOPPING POLICE TERROR. This can have a very positive synergy leading into October 22-24th in NYC.

(4) Organize your student groups for Rise Up October.

Email every single organization on your campus (as most can be found online) or call and leave a message about #RiseUpOctober and why they should organize themselves and their networks for Rise Up October.

Note: A lot of campus organizations have national connections!

(5) Make classroom announcements.

Print out copies of the Stolen Lives Poster:

...and make an announcement in your classes. Let people know why you're taking up #RiseUpOctober and call on people to join you to be in NYC on October 22-24th.

(6) Print & distribute copies of #RiseUpOctober materials

Post them on bulletin boards, leave them at coffee shops, or get some friends together and pass them out on a busy area on campus. Whenever you can, give away stacks to others, and challenge them to do the same!

(7) Join the Student Task Force

We're having weekly conference calls on Monday 6:30PM ET. Email or call/text (646) 418-4758 for call-in details.





Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

A Message from a Donor to the Rise Up October Campaign

September 27, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


The following message is from a donor who has put up $5,000 as a matching fund for the campaign for Rise Up October to Stop Police Terror/Which Side Are You On? and the effort to bring families from the around the country to New York for October 24.

“I decided to give this $5,000 to encourage others to donate to the Rise Up October effort.

“Is this a sacrifice? Yes. This money would be very useful for other things. But when I think of the sacrifices of others, like the parents of children killed by the police, then I think this sacrifice is not so much. These families are not given a choice in the matter. And we are not given a choice whether to live in a place where some people are treated like runaway slaves. Our choice only comes when we refuse to accept this injustice and take action.

“If the actions in New York this October 22 to 24 can encourage more people to take an active stand against murder by police, which I think it can, then it is well worth this sacrifice, and a great deal more.

“For those who think that things are tolerable the way they are, I can only say, your standards are way, way too low. Listen to the families. Shake yourself awake. Help make Rise Up October a significant event. Go to New York October 24 and contribute to the effort for a more just world.”








Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Statement from Gloria Pinex, the mother of Darius Pinex—murdered by Chicago Police in January 2011

September 26, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |



Darius Pinex

Darius Pinex, murdered by Chicago police January 2011

“For 4 years I have been deceived. I always knew I was being lied to—just never knew that it was to this extent and how many people played a role in covering it up.

“Indict the cops! Fire the lead prosecutor. I want all that. I want justice!

“I want everybody who is pissed off about this system to be with me on October 22, 23, and 24 in New York City. Rise Up October! Stop Police Terror! Which Side Are You On?"


Read the ChicagoTribune expose on this case, “Police account of fatal shooting unravels amid cover-up allegations” posted on September 26, 2015.






Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Urgent News Flash

Two People in Chicago Arrested on Felony Charges Building for Rise Up October

September 27, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Chicago: Saturday September 26th a crew, many in BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS t-shirts, was out in the South Shore neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, organizing people to become organizers for Rise Up October and to get on the bus and get others on the bus to the massive march to stop police terror in New York City on October 24th.

We were also getting out whistles. The crew included some members of the Chicago Revolution Club, some new people running with club and others from the neighborhood. This is the same neighborhood where earlier in the summer there were a series of angry protests against the police murder of NuNu and JJ (also see video from JJ's funeral).  Gang conflicts have been and remain very sharp in this area.  We hung the large stolen lives banner and set up a table with organizing materials at a major intersection.  We repeatedly played the 11 minute video from the NYC program over the loud speaker along with doing speaking over a loud speaker.  We were calling  on the youth to stop killing each other and start fighting the system. There was a constant crowd at the table.   We were distributing Revolution newspaper and urging people to get with the revolution throughout.

When the police began to harass a young man for allegedly selling loose cigarettes nearby, much of our crew called this out – blowing  whistles, chanting and videoing what was happening on cell phones.  Many more people from the neighborhood joined in as more police cars arrived. One man who had been active in the protests around NuNu was loudly denouncing the police “the police just gun us down.” Others were telling the police to get out of here, we don’t need you, leave this young man alone.  In the midst of this wild scene, people were signing people up to become organizers for Rise Up October.  At one point there were 11 police cars on the scene including officers with billy clubs at the ready.   But seeing the anger of the crowd, which had grown considerably, the police backed off and let the young man they accused of selling loose cigarettes go. The crowd was jubilant to see him set free.  Most of the police cars left the scene.

As we returned to our table, new people came up to learn more about RUO saying they wanted to get involved. The young man came up to thank us and learn more. Others in the crowd that had gathered drifted away.

Five to ten minutes later the police returned to retaliate. Police jumped out of their cars and started attacking the crew that was out there.  They grabbed  two people.  They slammed both to the ground.  The young man had to be taken to the hospital due to possible head injury.  The young woman was also treated very roughly.  At the hospital where she was taken for an asthma attack, the police tried to claim that she was suicidal.  Other protesters rallied the hospital staff who knew about Sandra Bland to prevent the police from creating a scenario where they could lock her in a psychiatric ward or worse hurt her and claim she did it to herself. 

In the neighborhood, people from the neighborhood who saw the attack on people out building for O24 in New York City to protest police terror were outraged about the arrests.  People came up to give their names as witness and others were propelled to get more involved in building for RUO.  One guy getting off the bus was stunned to learn that all the police (about a dozen cars) were there for protesters. He said he thought someone had been killed or something. One man from the neighborhood, wearing his RNL shirt, told us as he left loaded with materials to get out, that he definitely wants to be on the bus and thought he could raise and save enough money to buy the ticket. He lives by selling loose squares (loose cigarettes).

The two people arrested were charged with felony battery on a police officer and are scheduled to appear in bond court Sunday, September 27th at 1:30pm at 26th and California.  People are being mobilized to come to the court and demand the charges be dropped and that they be freed. 






Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Breaking Out for Rise Up October at Kent State University

September 26, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Kent State University in Ohio has a long history of struggle... struggle against racism, imperialist wars, and more. So a couple of Revolution Club members and a Revolutionary Communist Party supporter went out there during the first week of school. Thousands of students poured down the main walkway for hours—it seemed the flow never slowed. We got out 1,200-1,500 Rise Up October palm cards, some of the new BA quote palm cards, and a few Revolution newspapers on the first day there. We got names right away of people interested in Rise Up October and dozens of endorsements.

After going there twice, we summed up that we had been getting the word out but not linking that with people buying tickets to get on the bus and making Rise Up October a “Which side are you on?” issue throughout the campus. So on our next visit, our agitation still had lots of exposure of police murder and the genocide going on against Black and Brown people, but within it we sharply agitated “Which side are you on?” linking that to getting on the bus and being at the march of thousands and thousands in New York City. We got out on the walkway right in the middle of the crowds, challenged students when they nonchalantly, and in a detached, unconcerned way walked on, calling on them and others to take a stand to stop the police terror. We agitated that if they don’t take the stand against white supremacy and police terror, then they side with the police and the system that carries out this terror. Many of the students still didn’t want to hear it and walked smugly on. However, the agitation, the big Stolen Lives poster, and the Rise Up October poster made some people who were walking by turn around wanting to know what we were calling on people to do.

At this school it is usually the case that people don’t have cash, only cards, etc. and many say they have no money. One Black student saw the big poster of Rise Up October and came over, saying she wanted a ticket. She went to a bank machine and bought a ticket. Then she took cards and posters to take to classes. She is in a poetry group, and said she will take it out to them. She went off to get others, some of her friends, to get on the bus and to become organizers for Rise Up October like she had become on the spot. A white student put money down on a ticket and said if she can’t go she will contribute it for others to go .A professor bought a ticket for someone who can’t afford one. Several other students want to be in NYC on October 24. A student who wants to go grabbed palm cards and began getting them out right on the walkway. The agitation created a scene, which made some students feel uncomfortable, while it unleashed many others to commit to go to October 24 and organize others on the spot to go.

In a beginning way, “Stop Police Terror! Which Side Are You On?” became a sharp line on campus, a call to organize for Rise Up October and get others on the bus. We felt we broke with Rise Up October being an interesting idea, to making it a call for an urgent and necessary action to change the terms of how all of society looks at this and acts on it, for thousands and thousands to pour into the streets, insisting that this murder must stop. A Revolution Club member said, “When we called out loud and clear, ‘What side are you on?’ people turned around and got connected. It really spoke to people, like the one woman who was taken by the agitation, got a ticket, and began to get others to go.”







Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Stop Mass Incarceration Network Marches in the Harlem African American Heritage Day Parade

September 26, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From people working with Stop Mass Incarceration Network:

African American Heritage Day Parade in Harlem, September 20 #RiseUpOctober was a powerful presence in the African American Day Parade, Harlem, September 20. Photo: Special to

The Stop Mass Incarceration Network marched in the September 20 African American Heritage Day Parade in Harlem, New York City, to spread the challenge of Stop Police Terror! Which Side Are You On? #RiseUpOctober and bring many more people into this battle. We made a huge impact with the almost 20 feet long by 10 feet high Stolen Lives float. It was a show stopper. People were cheering and clapping with big smiles on their faces and taking pictures of the Stolen Lives float and our contingent along with the Black Lives Matter NYC Coalition that marched with us. As we chanted, “If you refuse to live like this, let me see you raise your fist!” people along the march shot their fists in the air. People loved and joined in chanting, “Indict, convict, send those killer cops to jail! The whole damn system is guilty as hell!” We sang the “Hell You Talmbout” song as we marched. People grabbed the #RiseUpOctober palm cards and Stolen Lives posters—15,000 palm cards were distributed along with hundreds of posters.

The following is an example of the back and forth between our person on the bullhorn and the crowd along the parade:

We got to get organized, y’all. October 24, national protest against police terror! Hundreds of families who lost loved ones to murder by the police will be in New York to be here with y’all. October 24 if you want to unite with them, let me hear you say hell yeah! [crowd: hell yeah!] If you want to unite like that to stop all these stolen lives, let me hear you say hell yeah! [crowd: hell yeah!] Why do we need to make a poster like this? Why? Because the police are killing people all over the country. It’s got to stop. They killin’ more people than got lynched back in the day, and it’s got to stop. Ain’t that right? If you feel that way, let me hear you say hell yeah! [crowd: hell yeah!]

The African American Heritage Day Parade on its website says it the largest African American parade in the country. We were invited to participate in it. This and our impact are all the more significant because the parade is full of all kinds of law enforcement contingents, including various permutations of the NYPD, New York State Police and the Rikers Island corrections officers. The Rikers Island corrections officer contingent had the outrageous audacity to have a bus they use to transport people to Rikers Island in the parade! And there we were calling out the police murder of Black and Latino people and mass incarceration with people cheering and clapping. When we arrived in front of the official reviewing stand, the person on our bullhorn chanted, “If you refuse to live like this, let me see you raise your fist!” and many in the reviewing stand raised their fist. The parade chairman, bright red sash and all, was pumping his fist in the air and came over to shake the hand of the person on the bullhorn. A woman on the huge sound system at the reviewing system boomed out, “Indict, convict, send those killer cops to jail! The whole damn system is guilty as hell!”

Almost 20 of us were joined by about the same number of people from the Black Lives Matter NYC Coalition. We were both scheduled to march in the parade separately and on the spot decided to combine our contingents. The two contingents were led by the latter’s “Black Lives Matter” banner, which spread almost across much of the width of the street. The combined contingents included family members of people murdered by the police, including Nicholas Heyward, Jr., Akai Gurley, Eric Garner, and Shaaliver Douse. Others in the combined contingents included members of the Revolution Club NYC, the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, the People’s Power Assembly, and Cop Watch Patrol Unit.






Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Rise Up October Speaking Tour Hits Los Angeles

September 25, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


On Wednesday, September 23. 150 people gathered to hear Carl Dix, families of victims of police murder, religious figures and others at Holman Church in South Central Los Angeles. $2,700 was raised towards sending 100+ families to New York City for October 24. People were deeply moved by the stories of families who lost their loved ones at the hands of the murdering police, and they were challenged that they have to act on that—through contributing money and getting organized to get to NYC.

More from this event, including video footage, will be available soon.

(from left) A young relative and older brother of Johnny Ray Anderson, shot to death by LA County Sheriffs July 5, 2015; Yohanna and Elia Flores, daughters of Ernesto Flores, shot to death by San Bernardino County Sheriffs April 16, 2015, with Carl Dix; Rev. Oliver Buie, Holman United Methodist Church. © 2015 FTW


The emcees for the event—Rev. Frank Wulf and "Duck"—reciting the Call for #RiseUpOctober to STOP Police Terror/Which Side Are You On? with the audience. © 2015 FTW

Stolen Lives Poster

Audience members raise posters with pictures of people murdered by police. © 2015 FTW


UCLA students explaining why they are going to NYC for Rise Up October. © 2015 FTW

Family member of of Carlos Oliva Sola, killed by LA County sheriffs, September 10, 2013. © 2015 FTW

Ernesto Flores

Yohanna and Elia Flores, daughters of Ernesto Flores, shot to death by San Bernardino County Sheriffs April 16, 2015. © 2015 FTW

Michael Slate

Michael Slate, Revolution writer and radio host. © 2015 FTW

Rev. Oliver Buie from Holman United Methodist church and Carl Dix. © 2015 FTW

Kevin Wicks

Mother of Kevin Wicks tells the audience how her son was shot to death by the Inglewood Police, July 21, 2008. © 2015 FTW

Older brother of Johnny Ray Anderson, killed July 5, 2015, describing his murder by the LA Sheriffs. © 2015 FTW

Carl Dix

Carl Dix. © 2015 FTW





Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Statement from Ed Asner on #RiseUpOctober/Which Side Are You On?

September 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


When people become inspired en masse, which is not too often, they can leave their stupidity behind and truly move mountains and advance the glory of mankind. October 24th can well be one of those rare occasions when this occurs.





Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Organizing at NYU:

How We Should Be Stepping

September 24, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader

A volunteer for Rise Up October/Which Side Are You On?/Stop Police Terror and I were going out for dinner near NYU and we stumbled upon a panel titled "THE BLACK LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT, RACIAL INEQUALITY, AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE UNITED STATES." We looked at each other and quickly realized we could not pass this up. We called the Rise Up October national office and had someone bring us materials.

The panel had already started but we were determined to intervene and organize people for Rise Up October. We listened closely. When the floor opened up for Q&A we raised our hands (high in the air). Eventually, I was picked to ask a question. I posed two questions and said something along the lines of: "I am firmly convinced that we cannot achieve any human rights under this system of exploitation and oppression—capitalism-imperialism. This is why we don't have the right to eat, the right to housing... And this is why we need a Revolution Nothing Less...." I then went on to briefly expose the role of white supremacy in shaping the rights that get enforced with brute force under this system.

The second part of my question put forward a challenge to the panel and the audience to get with Rise Up October. I said something along the lines of: "No change has ever come about without mass resistance and everybody who is sick and tired of this genocide has to act to stop it—this is why you have to get with and organize for Rise Up October/Which Side Are You On?/Stop Police Terror."

As I spoke a lot of heads were nodding—especially when I spoke about revolution.

One of the panelists spoke to my question and said: "I agree with your second point that no social change has ever come about without mass resistance. But, I don't agree with your first point about revolution." He then went on to explain that the rights that have been fought for (for the people) need to be implemented. 

Both before and immediately after the panel ended a lot of people came up to thank me for my comments. They said they agreed with what I had to say.

We talked with circles of people: challenged them to get organized and began to make plans for how to do so. We were invited to a “disorientation” event for law students and to an informal dinner (this weekend).

After the crowd thinned out, I went up to the panelist who spoke to my question. I posed Bob Avakian’s question of "Through which mode of production will any social problem be addressed?" and said if this system is fundamentally rooted on exploitation and oppression; and if rights are used to maintain and reinforce that system...why would we want any part of that?

The panelist went on to say that he's not for working within the system. But he's speaking to law students and they have to work to reinforce the laws that have been won for the people. I heard what he said. And then returned to Rise Up October/Which Side Are You On?/Stop Police Terror and said if you agree that no social change has ever come about without mass resistance then you need to get with Rise Up October and you need to organize your networks to be part of this powerful manifestation. He agreed and gave me his business card to follow up.

We learned a lot through this brief experience. And struggled with each other and others to get organized for Rise Up October. There's more to sum up, including sharpening up our agitation. But we thought it'd be important to share and as a contribution to how we should be stepping. 






Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Mexican Immigrant Donates $1,000 to Help Send Families to October 24 NYC

September 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Following are edited excerpts of a conversation with a Mexican immigrant who donated almost $1,000 to send three family members of victims of police murder to the October 24 Rise Up October national demonstration in New York City—as part of the call for people to donate to help bring families of 100 victims of police murder to the O24 protest. He has a manual labor job and earns $1 more than minimum wage. In the discussion he talks about the inspiration he gets from community self-defense forces who have kicked out the drug cartels from the region of his home town in Mexico and are guarding the towns day and night.

“I have no country, I’m of the world. When I see that the police are beating a Black person or anyone, I feel hate. I feel repudiation of the whites, of the racists, of the police. Because of my color, I don’t want that to happen to my children, I want that to stop before it happens to my children.

“It’s the same brutality we are living in Mexico and here, the same. Here, they see our color and kill us. There, they see that we have a dollar and they kill us. It’s the same lack of security because of the government we have.

“I just went to Mexico, and I was really impressed by what I saw and what they told me. When the people rose up and chased out the narcos and the corrupt authorities, the army came in and tried to take away their weapons. The women took to the streets waving their pots and shouting at the soldiers, ‘Motherfuckers, what do you think, that when they (the narcos) come, all we’re going to do is kiss them? That’s why we need arms, to fight against them.’ What really struck me, I don’t know how they got organized, but all the people exploded all of a sudden and were able to take back their territories. They were living in terror but they awoke from that nightmare and said, ‘If we die, we’ll be free, but if we live, we’ll be free,’ and they made up their minds and they did it. It’s not a done deal because they are still guarding their territory like dogs. But it is an example: If we want to, we can. There are no barriers that can stop us.”





Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Everyone, Everywhere, Get Out the Word and Build for Rise Up October

September 24, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |



Dear Revolution Reports,

I'm hearing from some of the people we are reaching out to for Rise Up October who say they are supportive and friendly, saying thanks for letting them know about Oct 24, but they can't get to NYC, and asking what they can do in their area. And I have some thoughts on how we need to respond.

Rise Up October has to change history. It has to be an extremely powerful demonstration in New York City that will impact millions countrywide. So everyone, everywhere, needs to start from that and then figure out how to take the most powerful stand possible with the people who have been victims of this brutality and murder by the police and declare "no more"—POLICE MURDER MUST STOP NOW—wherever they are.

What should we tell people to do who are not in NYC?  Get the word out that this is happening, raise money, make it a mass movement in your area to find ways to get people there—to NYC to make this powerful statement. Everyone, everywhere should be getting out the word FAR and WIDE and mobilizing buses and car caravans, raising money for flights, helping make it possible for 100 families of people murdered by police to be there, and finding every possible way to be in NYC and help others be there. Nothing less.

Carl Dix' speech on August 27 put it like this:

"We will change history. We will inspire thousands and yes millions, who are tired of being treated like criminals and tired of seeing cops patrolling their communities like occupying armies, to see that they don't have to take this, to see that it's not their fault. And they will stand up and act to stop this. We will rally to their side thousands of people from other sections of society who refuse to stand aside while horrors are inflicted on people because of the color of their skin. We will open the eyes of those who don't suffer these horrors, challenging them to quit swallowing the lying justifications the authorities give for continuing to give a green light to killer cops, challenging them to get off the sidelines—Which Side Are You On? Are you on the side of acting to STOP these horrors? Or are you on the side of continuing to let them go down? There's no middle ground, no neutrality, on this. You gotta choose a side. And I don't mean just giving us your sympathy. I mean actively joining in the resistance and mobilizing others to resist too. You gotta join with this effort to make October 24 as powerful as possible. You gotta listen when somebody here tonight tells you what you can do and who you can hook up with to be part of RiseUpOctober, or, and let me be real—if you and people like you don't throw in on this—it ain't gonna happen.

"And it HAS to happen."





Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

From a Reader:

Urgency of Rise Up October and Lessons from the Genocide of Jews

September 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


I've been struggling with students and others over why, as it said in a recent article in Revolution newspaper:

There is a huge need to make a leap nationwide in this next period, not fighting city by city, always on the defensive after the pigs gun someone down, but drawing a line in society that challenges everyone, Which Side Are You On?

Some lessons of history are relevant. As a baby boomer of Jewish background, I grew up in the "shadow" of the Holocaust that murdered 6 million Jews and millions of others. Though my family wasn't directly affected, the genocide of the Jews haunted and infuriated me: why had the Jews allowed themselves to go to the gas chambers, why didn't they rise up? Why didn't people in Germany and other countries rise up on their behalf? Later I learned there had been some resistance, but too little, too late!

Many people know the poem by Martin Niemoller, a German pastor who opposed the Nazis:

First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.

But fewer people know how he summed up the responsibility of people of conscience, in a speech given after the war when he was released from a concentration camp he had been in for seven years for opposing the Nazis:

We preferred to keep silent. We are certainly not without guilt or fault and I ask myself again and again, what would have happened, if in the year 1933 or 1934, 14,000 Protestant pastors and all Protestant communities in Germany had defended the truth until their deaths? If we had said back then, "It is not right when Hermann Göring simply puts 100,000 communists in concentration camps in order to let them die." I can imagine that perhaps 30,000 to 40,000 Protestant Christians would have had their heads cut off, but I can also imagine we would have rescued 30 to 40 million people, because that is what it [cost us.]

What does this have to do with why it is so important for Rise Up October/Which Side Are You On? to succeed in bringing tens of thousands, massive numbers of people to NYC on October 24, to demand with conviction and determination: "Police Murders of Black People Must Stop! No More!" We need the level of resistance there should have been in Germany in the early years of the Nazi genocide, that could have stopped it! Not only those most directly affected but all kinds of people of conscience rising up to stop today's police murders, mass incarceration and other genocidal crimes against Black people.

Because, as Carl Dix said in his speech at the August 27 program in Harlem, New York City to build for Rise Up October:

When you’re up against a genocide—and that IS what we’re dealing with—you don’t ask the people presiding over it to make some changes to smooth out the rough edges of that genocide or to slow down its intensity. You act to stop it.

Carl Dix, in his August 27 speech, had more to say about this:

And when you're up against a genocide, you don't listen when they say: "you've made your point—now you can stop disrupting the business as usual of our system." We haven't "made our point" until all of society is in an uproar saying that THIS MUST STOP. We haven't made our point until everyone has felt compelled to choose sides on this because they understand that there is no middle ground, and people feel challenged to be in the street saying THIS MUST STOP. We haven't made our point until, like Rev McCorry says, these so-called champions of human rights stand revealed before the whole wide world for the frauds that they are, and the whole world sees that THIS MUST STOP.

Organize your church, neighborhood, school, arrange busses, raise funds, buy tickets—and if you're not in New York City, "get on the bus" to be in New York City on October 24! History and present day realities demand this! Which Side Are You On!





Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Texas Authorities Refuse to Issue Birth Certificates to Immigrants' Children

September 28, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


5 Stops

Imagine living this nightmare: your child’s identity is stolen. You lose your job because you can’t put her in day care when she’s a toddler. You can’t enroll her in school, she would likely be turned over to Child Protective Services. You may be deported, and separated from her by a border bristling with razor wire and patrolled by drones and armed men. If she develops a fever, or falls in a playground and hits her head, you can’t take her to a doctor or hospital for fear that you will be required to prove that she is your daughter, but you’re unable to do so.

Who can you turn to? One thing you know for certain: You can’t turn to the government authorities, federal, state, or local. Because it is the government that stole your child’s identity.

As many as several thousand undocumented women in Texas have been denied a copy of their child’s birth certificate since 2013. Texas authorities accomplished this by demanding that in order to get a copy of their child’s birth certificate, immigrants have to produce IDs that are only available to legal residents. Many parents in the Rio Grande Valley are now unable to prove that their children are U.S. citizens, or even prove that their children are actually theirs!

Juana, who only gave her first name, told reporters that she had been able to obtain birth certificates for her two older children who are now in elementary school. But she has not been able to get a certificate for her youngest daughter, who is being denied admission to day care. “My baby daughter is about to turn two years old, and I’ve taken all the IDs that I have, and they keep telling me no, that they refuse to give me the birth certificate for her.”

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

The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees citizenship to all people born in this country. It was approved shortly after the U.S. Civil War ended and was intended to guarantee formal rights of citizenship to formerly enslaved Black people. Ever since, for 150 years, the rulers of this country have bragged about how the USA is a “melting pot” of different immigrants.

But now powerful forces want to deny citizenship even to children of immigrants born in the U.S. Recently, Donald Trump made the outrageous threat that, if president, he would deny citizenship to children born in the U.S. to Mexican citizens without U.S. papers, despite the Fourteenth Amendment. The actions of the Texas officials effectively accomplish, if in a beginning way, that thoroughly vicious and hateful goal. Texas is not directly challenging the Fourteenth Amendment. But the underhanded measures developed and promoted from its top Republican leadership in reality deny citizenship, a supposed constitutional right, to children of immigrants.

Extreme exploitation of millions of immigrant workers, including many of the 11 million “undocumented,” has played a big part in how this society functions, and is a source of tremendous profit for the capitalist ruling class. But, in a time of global instability and fraying of the traditional social cohesion in the U.S., the ruling class fears immigrants in their millions, and their potential contribution to the instability and volatility of the political situation.

Powerful sections of the ruling class of this system see the presence of immigrants—in particular immigrants from Mexico and Central America—as undermining the kind of society they want to cohere. They are fighting for a society glued together by a culture of “traditional American values”: white supremacy, male supremacy, English Only, and “America #1.” Donald Trump and others have been whipping up hatred and vilification of immigrants, and advancing programs for even more ferocious repression than the mass deportations, detention centers, militarized border, and life “in the shadows” that immigrants already face.

Obama has carried out cruel attacks on immigrants. He has deported more people than any other president, even as others in the ruling class think some immigrants should be given some temporary reprieve from the threat of deportation, as long as they prove they are loyal, hardworking, and law-abiding.

These attacks are happening right here, right now. A fascist social base of people who see the world as they know it coming to an end and are told “the immigrants” are to blame is being inflamed to a white-hot hatred of immigrants. They aim to build a “fortress AmeriKKKA” ruled and dominated by English-speaking, white patriarchal males. And on the other side of the ruling class: repression, massive deportation, super-exploitation, and a narrow path to legalization for some.

Is that the kind of society you want to live in? Or would you rather be in a world in which there are no walls and borders? It’s going to take a for-real revolution to get to that world, a world that will be far better for all of humanity, a world in which no one will be persecuted for their origin, their language, their culture. Beating back and STOPPING all attacks on immigrants underway today is an important part of preparing the ground to make such a world possible.





Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Exciting Book Launch of Science and Revolution

September 28, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


September 23, 2015—from Revolution Books Berkeley staff

Is there objective reality or does each person have their own reality? (Is there a worldwide system of exploitation and oppression, or not?) What is science? (Is the scientific method the way to get at the truth or is it a “social construct” that is based on perception?) Is leadership a problem or is scientific leadership and specifically the leadership of Bob Avakian a very great thing?

These were just some of the questions that came up at our September 18 launch and discussion of the exciting and very important new book, Science and Revolution: On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian, An Interview with Ardea Skybreak.

A diverse crowd of some 20 people came to this first program we’ve held at our new space. The audience, from ages 19 to 90, included revolutionaries, students, and friends of the bookstore. Two who came had been involved in the student movement in Chile, and there were several students, including one who had grown up in China. (Leading up to the event, we’d seen people stopping to take pictures of the sandwich boards we’d placed around the UC Berkeley campus and downtown Berkeley featuring the book’s title in giant letters.)

The college students exuberantly engaged on and argued out how to express and apply science to society and politics. When our brief discussion would veer into the morass and vagaries of post-modern anti-science and relativism, people seemed genuinely appreciative to have the revolutionary leading the discussion remind us that “The title of the book is Science and Revolution.” And revolution aims to take on the objective reality of the horrors brought down on humanity by this system through the science of communism.

We read the two passages from the book featured at “An Explorer, a Critical Thinker, a Follower of BA: Understanding the World, And Changing It For the Better, In the Interests of Humanity”; and “Some Thank Yous That Need To Be Said Aloud.” Then we opened it up for discussion.

Comments flew and different ideas contended. Other questions raised included: Do people need to be scientific to make revolution? Is actual revolution necessary to defeat and dismantle the state apparatus and the capitalist system or is there another way to end oppression?

One young person who bought Science and Revolution made the point that it is not enough to “know” the truth, you have to act on that truth to change society. He said he had some disagreements with what was said about BA and leadership, but felt that BA and his new synthesis of communism needed to be much more widely known, not just in the U.S. but among people around the world who wanted change.

In this spirit, a staff member held up the cover of Revolution newspaper that showed refugees from Syria behind barbed wire and read the headline: “Imperialism Is a Nightmare for Humanity: There IS a Way Out—REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!” He invited the whole audience to meet him at the store and join him in taking Revolution newspaper to the campus the following day.

The questions provoked and discussions kicked off underscore the importance of this new book and of getting it into all corners of society as part of getting BA’s leadership and work everywhere.


Shipping now. Order Science and Revolution: On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism, and the Leadership of Bob Avakian, an Interview with Ardea Skybreak.
Insight Press, $11.95





Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Drop the Charges on Those Arrested in Los Angeles for #ShutdownA14

September 28, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Blocking train in Los Angeles, April 14 Blocking train in Los Angeles, April 14.

On October 28, 10 people will appear in Los Angeles Criminal Court in preparation for trial, facing charges thrown at them after they were arrested during the April 14, 2015 action in Los Angeles, part of the national #ShutdownA14 demonstrations to Stop Murder by Police. The people arrested are Stop Mass Incarceration Network members, Revolution Club members, communists, and #ShutdownA14 activists. The trials of the 10 are scheduled to begin within 10 days their court appearance.

On April 14, thousands made no business as usual a reality in 30 cities across the country, the largest rallies and marches taking place in New York, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area. The #ShutdownA14 protests came at a crucial crossroads in the struggle against police brutality and murder, where efforts by the authorities to put an end to the movement of resistance to police terror nationwide were sharply opposed on that day. In New York City, protesters shut down the Brooklyn Bridge. In San Francisco, City Hall was brought to a halt.

Why are we still fighting for justice in 2015?

"Why are we still fighting for justice in 2015?" is a clip from the film REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN. The film is of the November 2014 historic Dialogue on a question of great importance in today's world between the Revolutionary Christian Cornel West and the Revolutionary Communist Bob Avakian. Watch the entire film here.

In Los Angeles, nearly 1,000 protesters surged into the streets downtown, demanding an end to police terror and murder. The actions that day began with a rally at LAPD headquarters. A contingent of homeless people marched from Skid Row to the rally, where they were met by hundreds of high school students who had walked out of several schools and marched to LAPD headquarters. After the rally, demonstrators went into the streets and marched all over downtown, stopping traffic and drawing controversy and support. Determined to keep shutting it down on A14 to STOP police murder, dozens sat down in a very busy intersection stopping the Blue Line Metro train, backing up street and freeway traffic for over an hour. (See Revolution, April 20, 2015, “Sights and Sounds of April 14.”) Arrests were made and charges later filed against 13 protesters. Now, 10 of them are scheduled to face multiple charges with up to three years prison time.

While these heroic protesters to stop police brutality are facing jail time, the cops in Los Angeles who murdered Ezell Ford, Brother Africa, Manuel Jaminez Xum, Omar Obrego, Oscar Ramirez, Terry Laffitte, Brandon Glenn, and Johnny Ray Anderson were never charged and were not punished in any way, giving a green light to continue murdering people.

This injustice goes on every day all over this country. Black and Brown people are killed at the hands of the police, and the killer cops walk free. Yet the people who protest police terror are the ones who are attacked, arrested, and hit with criminal charges. This is outrageous!

The authorities are trying to send a message: Don’t you dare lead others to resist police terror—and especially don’t even think about making an actual revolution. They have mounted a counter-offensive to silence this rebellion against their illegitimate use of force and murders. This counter-offensive includes the killing of over 850 people in this country so far this year by the vicious enforcers of this system; outrageously claiming that the cops are the ones under siege; and prosecuting hundreds across the country who have opposed their brutality and murders.

The people need to send a very different message: We will NOT be intimidated; we will NOT be silenced by these attacks and threats from the powers that be.

As the Call to “Rise Up October to Stop Police Terror” in New York City October 22 to 24—signed by hundreds, including family members of scores of people murdered by police—puts it:

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.

Then on October 28, when the 10 go to court in Los Angeles, we MUST stand with these righteous fighters against police brutality and murder, and rally others to stand with them, filling the courtroom—to demand that all the charges be dropped.

Pack the courtroom on Wednesday, October 28.

Rally 8 am at the court: 210 W. Temple Street, downtown Los Angeles.

Drop the charges against all those who were arrested on #ShutdownA14!

Jail for killer cops, not the freedom fighters!






Revolution #406 September 28, 2015


Stopping police violence: Dreams made into a reality

September 28, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


The following was submitted by the author to many publications, including Revolution:


Did Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, Amilcar Perez-Lopez and other victims’ mothers know that the next time they would see their sons, their helpless body, they would be laid on the floor with yellow tape around a “crime scene” that could’ve been prevented if police violence never got as worse as it is now? That’s the exact thing that they all had to see or hear about, some still are not able to wrap their head around the fact that racism still has play in the society we live in today. Police violence is a form of racism, and these actual cases and many other cases are just examples of this.

Police violence is known as a problem that needs to be stopped because it’s only getting worse each cases we come across, it’s a problem, including racism, that only us as a society could fix. You hear some of these statistics, “There are 8.19% more blacks incarcerated compared to whites” or “Whites take up 46.81% of the world’s population compared to any other race.” Statistics like these set forth an image in African-American youths that no matter what they do in their lives, they’re not going to be successful. An article titled, “Yes Black Culture is to blame for the riots in Baltimore” wrote “If they had a good father in their lives, he wouldn’t have even let them be on the streets in the first place cause it’s his house and he’d have the final say over where his son is at any given time.” So when did someone’s background and home life come into play on whether or not the individual would be successful? We’ve fought back against these words through peaceful protesting and getting our voice heard about police violence in neighborhoods.

Some prime examples of people letting their voices be heard and have spoke out against police violence, will do anything in their need to stop it, are Carl Dix and Cornel West. Both these activist believe that the only way to stop this problem of police violence is through peaceful protest. I believe that their tactics of going against the tragedies that’s going on is the best way to solve the problem. One thing is clear: it is only through resistance and struggle that a new, more justified Baltimore will be born. The more we fight back against this problem of police violence the more stronger our communities will become. We need the mindset that things could change so that the problem could become more of a reality than a dream.

So where do we go from here? Do we let fear of what the police could do to us stop us from trying to save the rest of the community that we do have? Or do we let the actions of the police officers become motivation to fight back against them and live in a society where the color of your skin tone does not determine your place in the world.


Tyler Tizeno is a African-American female, living in Bayview-Hunters Point , a 12th grade student in San Francisco.





Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Interview with a Student Organizer

"The Night for Justice" and Preparing for Rise Up October

September 28, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


This interview is with a student who is organizing for Rise Up October, including an event called “The Night for Justice” at New York University (NYU) on October 1. (See Stop Mass Incarceration Network events calendar for more on the program.)

Can you tell us about what’s moved and compelled you to organize “The Night for Justice” at NYU on October 1 as part of organizing for Rise Up October?

My goal is to promote student activism. I think there is a rich population of young leaders on campuses like NYU and Columbia that haven’t been mobilized, many of whom are passionate about social justice but are unaware of how they can be involved as it pertains to eradicating excessive force and police brutality. So the goal of this event is to engage students and help them prepare for Rise Up October and activism beyond.

Can you talk about the moral determination you step with to bring alive the reality of this genocide? What drives you? And tell us a little more about who you are as an individual and what you’re thinking.

At a very basic level I am passionate about human rights. And promoting the inherent value of all people. And I think there has been a culture in this country, a culture globally, that has said Black lives do not matter. And that they have an inherent value that’s less than the rest of the population. So I plan to dedicate my life’s work to making sure that we ameliorate outcomes for Black people. And in alignment with that belief, I wanted to plan a program specifically around the mass incarceration and brutality of Black people because we’re being eliminated. It’s a purposeful genocide and I want as many people to know about this injustice as possible.

We’re nearing October 24. What do you want that day to look like? There’s been a call for a meet-up here at Washington Square Park and the vision is for thousands and thousands of people, and that’s what we’re actively working to bring about. What do you envision that day to look like?

When I think about what I’m hoping to inspire or be a part of motivating, I think about all of the students that mobilized during the time of sit-ins and the freedom rides. They were alive. They were inspired to provoke immediate change. They were relentless and courageous. So I’m hoping to inspire that level of fervor on this campus and others. I think that to not engage young people on important social issues will be a missed opportunity. I’m hoping that these issues will have some longevity, and I think the way to do that is to teach young people how to lead. And to grab them at a time where their curiosities are peaked. And so for all of those interested in this particular cause and movement and those who don’t know that they should care... I want them to have an opportunity to be aware of what I deem to be the most important social and criminal justice issue of our time.

What would you say to anybody reading this (to youths, students, and beyond that) of why they need to be in NYC on October 22-24 for Rise Up October?

I believe silence, like inaction, is consent. Anyone who is not participating in the sparing of lives, the urging of new practices, they are complicit in the deaths that we see reported. They are complicit in a system that makes vulnerable people more vulnerable and promotes oppression. So my hope is to tap into the human consciousness of all races and build allies that will stand with me in solidarity and making sure that our lives do matter. And that there’s not any more women, children, or men taken off this planet without there being an overwhelming cry for justice.

You’re very new at organizing, and you’re determined to make this happen. What would you say to students who are just hearing about Rise Up October and want to organize something on their campus? What’s been some of the lessons you’ve learned as a way of encouragement for others to do the same?

The most valuable lesson has been to be comfortable through the process of pushing back against longstanding boundaries. Issues of social justice and issues of race make people uncomfortable and you have to, as a new organizer, be willing to make some people uncomfortable. Be willing to be disliked. Know that you’re doing so for a purpose and to allow that end goal to continue to motivate you that there might be people who are placing intentional roadblocks in the way in your advancement. Just to be firm and rooted in your cause and not to waver.





Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Unitarians and Black Lives Matter... Debate Spreads

September 28, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

I wanted to let you know that there continues to be controversy in the wake of the Beverly Unitarian Church taking down their “Black Lives Matter” sign and the call/challenge to them to put it back up.

People taking a stand on principle and insisting on what is right, even if at first a relatively small minority, is really important to changing the way people think and act in society very broadly. Even in the face of serious threats, as there were to the Beverly church, this is one of the lessons of history. (See “Martin Niemöller’s Bitter Lesson For the Movement Today.”) I remember when the war in Vietnam was going on and everyone had to take a side. Family dinners, school classrooms, religious circles, parties, weddings—you name it—everywhere you went people argued over what was right and why, which side they were on, and for those opposed to the war, what they were going to do to stop it. So the controversy that is going on may not always be obvious but it is there and Rise Up October needs to spread far and wide the challenge of “which side are you on” and be a massive vehicle for those who want to stop police terror, including among Unitarians.

Earlier this year, the national Unitarian Universalist Association actually had adopted a resolution in support of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Their gathering was held after the murders of Charleston church members by a white supremacist. The national Unitarian Universalist general assembly also encouraged local UU branches throughout the country to support the Black Lives Matter movement and put up banners and signs showing this. And other churches did put up signs—and still have them up. Apparently at some other UU churches around the country the Black Lives Matter signs have been torn down or vandalized. The Beverly Unitarians took down their own Black Lives Matter sign after they were threatened by racists, including some who identified themselves as police.

The Beverly UU church has its own Facebook page and members of their own congregation and others wrote arguing that Beverly should put the Black Lives Matter sign back up. For instance, someone from New York wrote, “So I’m sitting at a meeting right now about the upcoming #RiseUpOctober event and we at the NYC UU churches that are in attendance are taking heat for the actions of your church in removing that sign. People are watching what our churches do. Who knew? By putting up a Black Lives Matter sign up and then taking it down, you are sending people that are watching a message that you don’t think that they do. I did respond ‘at least they had a sign to take down,’ but you all need to know that you are not doing our denomination any favors as far as our credibility in terms of support for this movement. When you’re on the side of right, people are going to come after you. Resolve is important.”

The Chicago Stop Mass Incarceration Network sent out their flyer as an Open Letter to the Beverly Unitarian Church—Which Side Are You On? to many local Unitarian ministers and congregants. Some of them do not have the resolve the NY Unitarian was calling for... they continue to argue that the Beverly church had to take the sign down given the threats rather than together mobilize and stand up for what is right and on that basis stand up to the threat. Others are supporting Rise Up October as well as speaking out against the Beverly Unitarian church taking down the sign. One such congregant, in an exchange about what to do, proposed taking all manner of signs that support the Black Lives Matter movement and putting them on the front lawn of the church. He wrote, “Here is the BLACK LIVES MATTER sign that stays in my head thus far: IF YOU THINK BLACK LIVES DON’T MATTER, THERE IS SOMETHING THE MATTER WITH YOU.” He closed with “Let’s put some traction under some action.” I would add that coming to New York on October 24 for a massive march is the most powerful way to stand up to stop police terror.






Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Genocidal Police Program Targets "Future Criminals"

September 28, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


You’re a young Black or Latino man trying to keep your life together after doing time in prison. Your parole officer makes you go to a “call-in” meeting where you sit in a room with 30 other guys like yourself and a bunch of cops. There’s a slideshow with mug shots of people. Then all of a sudden your picture pops up, linking you to a criminal group that has been implicated in a homicide you know nothing about. The cops tell everyone:

We’re watching you! No, you didn’t break any laws. But we checked out who your friends are. We read your Facebook posts. You’ve got an arrest record and you don’t have a job. We ran all that through our computer and it tells us that you ARE going to commit a serious crime in the future—if we don’t stop you first. So we’re telling you right now, we are going to be on you, dogging your every move. And now that you’ve been warned—if we catch you at anything, no matter how petty, you are going to prison for years or decades.

You are now on a police list of “future-criminals”!

Police departments are doing this with the backing of the federal government in dozens of cities in the U.S., including New York, Philadelphia, LA, Chicago, Nashville, and Miami—cities where police function like an occupying army in Black and Latino neighborhoods; where racial profiling by cops means if you are young, Black or Latino, you can be stopped, harassed, arrested, brutalized, even killed for anything—or nothing at all.

Under these programs using “predictive policing,” cops run a set of computer calculations to brand people “future-criminals,” not because of actual criminal activity, but because of “factors” they say are common among “criminals.” (“Police Program Aims to Pinpoint Those Most Likely to Commit Crimes,” New York Times, September 24, 2015)

So what factors are used to say someone “is going to commit crime”? Who your friends are. What you do on Facebook. Your arrest record. If you have problems with drugs or alcohol. If you’re unemployed. If you have friends or family in prison or who have been killed.

Chicago police have developed a “heat list” of 400 people they consider to be more likely to be involved in violent crime. One of the factors considered in compiling this list is whether or not the person had been a victim of an assault or a shooting.

One man in this program in another city was given a 15-year prison sentence for being caught with a bullet in his pocket. Another man got 25 years for having recreational designer drugs known as bath salts, and posting a photograph of himself with a gun on Facebook.

Think about this: How many people in poor, oppressed communities—if you did this computer calculation on them—would come up with the “profile” of a “future criminal”?

This takes racial profiling by police to a whole new, dangerous level. Cops aren’t doing this in white communities, running calculations on, for instance, college students who are unemployed, do crazy stuff on Facebook, use drugs and get drunk a lot. No, this “predictive policing” is part of a genocidal program being carried out by this system against Black and Latino people. Mass incarceration with over 2.2 million behind bars is a major part of this: Black people are 13 percent of the population but 40 percent of those in prison. Latinos are 16 percent of the population but 19 percent of those incarcerated. (Center for American Progress, May 2015) Now, this effort to “predict future criminals,” in order to put them back in prison—is nothing short of officially criminalizing Black and Latino people for the conditions of white supremacy and oppression they’re forced to live in.

Thousands of people are being targeted by this genocidal “predictive policing,” establishing a dangerous precedent that could easily be applied to millions or tens of millions in the future.

Today, when a crime is committed in Black and Brown communities, the cops see a young guy on the street and automatically say, “He’s young, male and Black (or Latino)... He ‘fits the description.’”

Today, Black and Latino people can be stopped, harassed, arrested—driving or walking down the street.

Cops have already carried out raids in places like Harlem and the Bronx in New York City, sweeping up Black people who are then accused of crimes or conspiring to commit crimes that have not yet been committed—based on Facebook posts and phone calls.

Now a police program of concocting “future crimes” and lists of “future criminals” is being used to further and intensify this genocidal program.


1. An important note about being arrested: The vast majority of arrests in the U.S. are not for serious crimes, or even for things that should be considered crimes at all. According to the FBI, there were 13.6 million arrests in the U.S. in 2014, of which fewer than 600,000 were for violent crimes, and about 1.7 million were more serious but nonviolent property crimes. As to the remaining 11.3 million arrests, nearly half are the 5.2 million drug and alcohol related arrests—which for the most part are actually medical, not criminal, issues. Then there are about a million arrests for vagrancy, disorderly conduct, curfew violation, suspicion, etc. Much of the rest are simple assaults (generally meaning no weapon and no significant injury) and other minor infractions like gambling, prostitution, and vandalism. [back]





Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

U.S. Military Enables Child Rape in Afghanistan

by Larry Everest | September 28, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


A new exposé in the New York Times reveals that Afghan military officers trained, armed, and put in command positions by the U.S. have been systematically raping and abusing young Afghan boys—and that the U.S. military’s policy is to turn a blind eye to these crimes and punish any U.S. soldiers who speak out against it. 

The stories are sickening: Afghan commanders with young boys literally chained to their beds as sex slaves; children screaming at night; whole entourages of “tea boys”—basically indentured servants and “sex toys”—accompanying high-ranking Afghan officers; groups of military and police who gather to watch heavily made-up young boys dance and titillate them, later to be assaulted. (The assaults aren’t confined to boys. One U.S.-supported Afghan commander raped a 15-year-old girl—he was given one day in jail, while the victim was forced to marry him; a 12-year old girl was murdered by her military commander father for supposedly kissing a boy.)

The Times reports, “Rampant sexual abuse of children has long been a problem in Afghanistan, particularly among armed commanders who dominate much of the rural landscape and can bully the population. The practice is called bacha bazi, literally ‘boy play,’ and American soldiers and Marines have been instructed not to intervene.” The U.S. military’s excuse has been it’s wrong to impose U.S. values on Afghanistan’s culture and that these Afghan military units have been needed to fight their enemy, the Taliban.

This exposure has shocked and sickened many people—“one of the most shameful things I have ever heard of,” one reader wrote the Times.

What’s the Problem Here?

Is this simply an isolated instance of military misconduct or “poor decision making” that is “at odds with American values and with international laws Washington has taken the lead in promoting,” as the New York Times editorialized?

Are you kidding me? This is a military that has bombed wedding parties! A military that has murdered hundreds if not thousands of Afghan civilians in drone strikes. A military that has turned over “suspects” to the Afghan military for torture. 

And this is a military where sexual assault and rape—of women and men—is at sky-high levels. Former Defense Secretary (and C.I.A. Director) Leon Panetta had to acknowledge that an average of 365 sexual assaults take place every week in the U.S. military. This figure is very likely a gross underestimation: as the organization Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) reported, while all “sexual assaults are under reported, this problem is exacerbated [made worse] in military settings.”

No wonder the U.S. military brass didn’t have a problem with more rapes and abuses, and more mangled bodies and lives.

What U.S. Imperialism Strengthens and Reinforces in Afghanistan

Is the real problem here, as some say, that the U.S. is trying to do too much good in the world—“remake countries” whose culture is hopelessly backward and beyond repair?

Bringing Forward Another Way

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

Download PDF

No, the problem is imperialism, and outmoded social forces in countries like Afghanistan—and how these two oppressive forces reinforce each other. The U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001 for imperialist interests, including defeating their immediate enemies—al Qaeda and the Taliban—and turning Afghanistan into a stable state that would help further U.S. objectives in Central Asia. That meant quickly establishing control of Afghanistan and putting pro-U.S. forces into power, and that meant empowering local reactionary forces—warlords, militia heads, and local chieftains—willing to collaborate with the U.S. The influence and control of this sordid gang rests squarely on Afghanistan’s reactionary traditional feudal, tribal and patriarchal social relations and ideology—which create suffering hated by many ordinary Afghans.

This sordid child rape scandal is yet another exposure of the hypocrisy of U.S. claiming to be fighting backward social relations in general and Islamic fundamentalism in particular. For the imperialists, this is just a matter of “taste”—that is, they’re happy to ally with whichever murderers, rapists, or fundamentalists are most useful to them at a given moment. What’s happened in Afghanistan isn’t an exception: this is what the U.S. brings to the world—imperialism and political structures that support imperialism.

So when you think about the screams of these helpless children being raped in the middle of the night—remember this is what U.S. imperialism has strengthened and reinforced, at the cost of thousands of lives and millions of refugees in some 14 years of war and occupation in Afghanistan.






Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

From A World to Win News Service:

CPI (MLM) on the Recent Wave of Migration to Europe:
"The totality of this world system, in any form, deserves to be overthrown"

September 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


September 21, 2015. A World to Win News Service. The following statement by the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) is dated August 29, 2015.

The migration of millions of human beings from Africa and the Middle East to Europe has taken unprecedented dimensions. This is the biggest wave of immigration since the end of World War II. On foot, riding on trains, jammed into meat trucks, sailing by the hundreds on boats not meant for more than a dozen people, hidden in the luggage section of the aeroplanes...

This has resulted in hundreds of deaths so far. Last night hundreds of African youth were swallowed by the waves. One of the survivors said, “This path is a road to death. In a graveyard called the Mediterranean.” Two days ago, in eastern Austria, a truck was abandoned with decomposing bodies of 71 people. They had died several days back... and there is no end to this wave of death.

The recurring publication of news about the heart-wrenching death of asylum seekers has forced the European imperialists to demagogically talk about a “human tragedy.” But their first step in response to this tragedy was to intensify the policing of the borders and especially the strengthening of the armies of Bulgaria, Hungary, Macedonia, etc., to prevent the movement of the immigrants. European police have taken some Middle Eastern immigrants and without even inquiring about their country of origin, deported them to refugee camps in Libya!

Migrants and refugees arrive at the railway station, southwest of Budapest, Hungary, near the Austrian border,  September 19.
Migrants and refugees arrive at railway station southwest of Budapest, Hungary, near the Austrian border, September 19. (Photo: Gyorgy Varga/MTI via AP)

Despite these measures, this wave of immigration is so great that it has broken through borders and spilt into the imperialist bastions. A major reason behind these recent migrations is the military intervention by the U.S. and French imperialists and their other allies and rivals in the Middle East and Africa, interventions that accentuate the poverty and instability caused by their political and economic domination. All these immigrants are the victims of situations caused by the bombing of Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Mali... Imperialists, reactionary Islamic forces such as Daesh and Boko Haram, corrupt and reactionary states in the Middle East and Africa (from Iran, Turkey and Syria to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Libya)—all are responsible for this situation. All these forces and states, in any shape and form deserve to be overthrown.

This wave of immigration is a reflection of the deep class divide and blatant national and racial discrimination in the capitalist-imperialist world where 89 percent of the world’s people live in poverty and only 11 percent of people enjoy relative prosperity, and this only in particular countries. The average annual income of an African is 400 Euros, whereas Europeans earn between 10,000 to 80,000 Euros per year. For some time now, because of chauvinist and anti-immigration laws and regulations in the EU, the number of deaths among immigrants is rising. In the last month alone, the migrants included 7,300 children with no guardians. Whatever happened to their parents is no concern of rulers of these imperialist countries.

A young Eritrean man who lives in a tent in a Parisian park says, “We escaped from corruption, poverty, suppression and Islamic groups and managed to arrive here. If it were not for the help of some individuals, we would starve to death. At night, we sleep in the rain; during the day we suffer from the sun. And there is no perspective of a way out of this situation.”

There is no doubt that some people in Europe have sympathy towards these immigrants. Some step forward to provide help. But there are also right-wing and fascist Europeans who set fire to camps and attack asylum seekers. And under the protection of the system of imperialist democracy, they organize anti-immigrant and anti-foreigner demonstrations and call for new anti-immigrant laws.

The situation we are facing is the result of the workings of a class system. Today the movement of international capital in search of more and faster profit is moving unhindered and with such cruelty that a great many of the people of the world have absolutely nothing to lose. What this horrible class system has brought about for the majority of the people in the world is unjust wars and cruel occupations, deadly poverty and inhuman inequality, the generalized subjugation and discrimination of women, the lack of future prospects as well as the collapse of morality and identity for the youth, and an accelerating environmental crisis that is threatening the Earth with destruction.

This world must be changed—this system must be overthrown. Under this system, the forces of production, the sources of material wealth, are tightly intertwined but privately owned. On the one hand there are the great majority of disposed, oppressed and exploited, including immigrants and refugees, and on the other a small minority who own the means of production and control economic, political and cultural wealth and means and privileges. The contradiction between private ownership and socialized production contains the potential for the people to move beyond exploitation, scarcity and social distinctions. This system can be overthrown. This world can be changed.

In order for the waves of the Mediterranean Sea and perilous paths to not become slaughter houses of war-ridden, hungry and oppressed masses, in order for the migrants who have survived the road not to be welcomed by bullets, barbed wires, prisons and imperialist camps, in order for thousands upon thousands of immigrant women to not become victims of international sex slavery networks, in order for the homes, jobs, existence and future of the people to not be burned in the fire of imperialist, national and religious wars, the capitalist system must be destroyed, in its totality, with all its exploitative relations of production and unequal social relations, with all its old and reactionary institutions and thinking. In order to clear the face of the Earth of all this darkness and garbage there is no other way but a violent social revolution. It is only on the debris of this world that a new one can be built with the participation of billions of toiling and oppressed women and men. A new world where people are not forced to defy the anger of seas and the fire of deserts in order to satisfy their mental and material needs.


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







Revolution #406 September 28, 2015


Straight Talk on the Pope and Climate Change

by Raymond Lotta | July 13, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church, has issued a major encyclical (document) on climate change. He decries pollution, loss of biodiversity, endangerment to water systems. He says that the “earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.” He acknowledges that climate change is real and he references some scientific findings. He calls for human society to “replace consumption with sacrifice, greed with generosity, wastefulness with a spirit of sharing.”

Many within the environmental movement, including some of its most prominent leading figures, have jumped on the encyclical as a “game-changer.” People are making the argument that one of the world’s most powerful religious-moral voices is now sounding the climate alarm, that he is opening Church discourse to the science of global warming, and that the pope is uniquely capable of inspiring and moving public policy in the right direction. And this document, the argument goes, may be part of our best hope to stop the destruction of the planet before it is too late: to appeal to and pressure the world’s leaders to take decisive action. So we should welcome the pope’s encyclical on climate change. To which our reply is...


1. Why has the pope issued this document?

Let’s step back. The climate crisis has accelerated dangerously over the last 25 years. Greenhouse emissions from burning fossil fuels have gone up 60 percent. Ice melt in the Arctic and Antarctic is leading to rising sea levels. Global warming is cutting into the world’s food supplies. And by tomorrow, nearly 1,000 more children, overwhelmingly in poor countries, will have died as a consequence of the many-sided effects of global warming.1

At the People's Climate March, September 21, 2014. Photo special to

Around the world, there has been a growing groundswell of resistance and struggle to save the planet. Environmental activists have been arrested, threatened, and harassed. Among ever broader and more diverse sections of people, there is a mounting sense of catastrophe if the course of things is not changed dramatically and drastically. There is widespread dissatisfaction with the actions and programs of governments, countries, and those sitting in the world’s seats of power. The powers that be want to channel the deep wellspring of concern about the fate of the planet into dead-ends.

It is in the oppressed and impoverished nations of the “Global South” where the Catholic Church has its greatest number of adherents. And it is in these same regions where droughts, floods, and famine have taken their greatest toll—and will exact an even more horrendous human and ecological cost, as climate change intensifies. At the same time, the imperialist world economy has created a planet of vast zones of misery and grotesque levels of inequality.

This is the larger context in which the pope has issued his 182-page document on climate change (“Laudato Si”). The pope sees storms coming, literally and figuratively: “So our concern cannot be limited merely to the threat of extreme weather events, but must also extend to the catastrophic consequences of social unrest. (Emphasis added.) This is of a piece with the viewpoint of the Obama administration and the Defense Department that global climate change must be raised to the level of a global security concern.

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 ruling powers are worried about the effects of global warming and economic inequality on the functioning of their system and on social stability. And they are responding to this crisis from within the framework of shoring up, defending, and intensifying that very global system that is destroying the environment.

To really address and act on the environmental crisis requires not the safeguarding of this system, not the restoring of people’s declining faith in it, but the most radical restructuring of society and economy. What the pope is doing stands in the way of that.

2. Does the pope confront and oppose the actual cause of global warming and the larger environmental crisis that threatens life on this planet? Or is his starting point defending that?

The pope makes some carefully crafted criticisms of the devastation that capitalism has wreaked on ecosystems. But he pins the root cause for the environmental crisis on a “dominant technocratic paradigm” that is driven by “power.” By “technocratic paradigm” he means reliance on science and technology to solve problems of society and to gain possession and mastery over nature.

In his encyclical, the pope does not indict the economic-social-political system of capitalism and how this system has used and uses technology to exploit and dominate human beings, and ravage the planet. Rather, the encyclical is an indictment of “human activity” in the abstract, of man’s sinful ways, and of the excesses and inequities of the existing capitalist economic order.

The pope’s stand is a calculated expression of concern, a calculated criticism of some of the effects of capitalism. You see, the Church, its core teachings, and its enslaving ideological role in exploitative society, has not changed over two millennia. But the social and natural worlds have! And so the Church has to put on a somewhat different face and put across a somewhat different message to maintain its legitimacy and to preserve its suffocating hold over vast swaths of oppressed humanity.

And ultimately the pope’s encyclical is about convincing people that capitalism—with its governments, huge monopolies, and financial institutions—is not the problem.

But it is the system of capitalism—based on exploitation and driven by profitability and competition—that compels corporations and banks to expand or die. It is this system that turns nature into a limitless input to be poured into production for profit.

It is capitalism, and the strategic need to outflank and beat out competitors and rivals, that drives capitals and capitalist-imperialist states to search out and grab up every bit of fossil fuel. In the last six months alone, Obama, the “environmental president,” has authorized new drilling for oil in the Arctic and off the mid-Atlantic coast.

Defending all that, by disorienting people and seeking to morally and politically defuse the danger of “social unrest” (an essential element of saving the planet!), is the objective and actual role of the pope’s encyclical.

3. Does the pope offer real opposition or a real solution to looming environmental disaster?

No, he does neither. He wants international dialogue. He criticizes recent international negotiations for not going far enough. He issues bland and empty exhortations for some kind of international system “of governance” to protect ecosystems.

To the masses he offers this message: “Only by cultivating sound virtues will people be able to make a selfless ecological commitment.... We must not think that these efforts are not going to change the world. They benefit society, often unbeknownst to us, for they call forth a goodness which, albeit unseen, inevitably tends to spread.” This amounts to a call for resignation to the existing capitalist structures of power and control.

The pope acknowledges suffering but tells people to find sustenance in the traditions of the Church and in the traditional institutions of society, like the patriarchal family, which have been foundational to the oppressive fabric and functioning of society. And duly take note: in a document on climate change, the pope makes sure to denounce birth control and abortion. He calls for spiritual renewal and “asceticism” (renunciation of worldly goods). Which is what the Church has always told the poor who cannot eat: be happy with your meager lot.

The pope extols civil society organizations for raising awareness of the climate crisis. But nowhere, god forbid, does he respond to the urgent need of the moment and call on people to rise up, to break out of the confines of the system, and act to save the planet.

4. Some progressive forces say, yes, the document may have its limitations. But the very fact that the pope is speaking up, especially as the global climate crisis is getting more dire—this can only be a good thing, something to embrace and utilize.

No, it is not. There is a bigger agenda involved... the better to eat you. True, the pope is saying things about science and the environmental crisis that the Church has not said before. He is saying that governments have not done enough and that much more must be done.

But the pope is not acting to save the planet; he is acting to save the system that is destroying it.

He is seeking to delude people into thinking that the ruling capitalist governments can be appealed to and pressured to do the right thing. He is advocating that more decisive measures to limit global warming within the framework of the current system, combined with Christian spirituality, is the path forward. He is trying to convince people to “keep their faith” in the system—at a time when people’s confidence in the system is being shaken... at a time when what is urgently needed is for people to break free of the ideological shackles of the system.

Now all kinds of people, including religiously motivated people, care deeply about the planet. This is a good thing. But people do have a responsibility to look unflinchingly at reality. And any such look forces one to confront that to really deal with this situation in any kind of real way will require a huge, huge fight.

Let’s speak frankly: it is not going to do to drive a hybrid car... or to “socially invest” in solar (which is now, obscenely, touted as profitable)... or to lighten your own eco-footprint. And it is magical and disastrous thinking to imagine that we can convince the people who rule society, and whose system has caused this environmental emergency, that ecological sustainability is somehow “in their best interests.”

Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, speaks powerfully to the moral and epistemological challenge before people:

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

The pope’s encyclical and similar such pronouncements from those on high or with great influence in the environmental movement that recognize some of the scope of the problem, but then stop short of the need for waging massive and determined struggle, are not just worthless but do great harm.

It will require a FIGHT, and a fight that must INTENSIFY to whole new levels, to get on a trajectory of truly acting to STOP the destruction of the planet.

5. Capitalism Is Destroying the Planet... Only Revolution Can Save the Planet

The only possible means of wrenching a different future for humanity, species, and the whole planet is communist revolution. Only the complete overturning and elimination of capitalism makes it possible to create a society and world in which we could actually live as caretakers rather than as plunderers of nature. Only a socialist sustainable economy and liberatory society, with very different priorities and values, make it possible to mobilize the knowledge and creative potential of people and devote the necessary resources to truly confront and tackle the climate crisis—on the scale and with the urgency required.

This won’t be easy. But it is our only chance of achieving a truly sustainable society—and restoring what can be restored of Earth’s ecosystems and adapting in ways that serve humanity.

What that society would look like, and how a new and radically different state power would function, is spelled out in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) from the RCP, USA.

And we are not just waiting. We are actively working and organizing for this today. We are building a movement for an actual revolution.


1. Climate Vulnerability Monitor: A Guide to the Cold Calculus of a Hot Planet, 2nd Edition (Madrid: DARA Internacional, 2012) [back]





Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

From Carl Dix: This is what you can do now to contribute to #RiseUpOctober

September 27, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |



Join the crowd funding #RiseUpOctober. $100,000 is an important part of what's needed to provide travel for 100+ families coming to NYC, and for publicity

Darius Pinex

Darius Pinex, killed by Chicago police during an unjustified traffic stop, 2011.

4 Weeks til #RiseUpOctober

I write to urge you to be an initiating donor to the $100,000 crowd-funding campaign for #RiseUpOctober, National March in NYC October 24, and actions October 22 & 23. If you give today, your donation will be doubled, thanks to a generous donor in the Bay Area.

Each day, the need for #RiseUpOctober becomes more acute.

Yesterday's front page story in the Chicago Tribune is about how it is now exposed that the police LIED about their supposed "motivation" for pulling over, approaching with guns drawn, and then killing Darius Pinex in 2011. They claimed they were responding to a radio alert about a vehicle like his – but police recordings only just revealed show that no such radio alert was heard by the killer cops.

Chicago Tribune Story: Police account of fatal shooting unravels amid cover-up allegations

Gloria Pinex, mother of Darius, had these powerful words to say Saturday:

"For 4 years I have been deceived. I always knew I was being lied to—just never knew that it was to this extent and how many people played a role in covering it up.

"Indict the cops! Fire the lead prosecutor. I want all that. I want justice!

"I want everybody who is pissed off about this system to be with me on October 22, 23, and 24 in New York City. Rise Up October! Stop Police Terror! Which Side Are You On?"

Will you heed this mother's call? Momentum is building towards #RiseUpOctober, but we are nowhere near realizing the full potential of these days. Lives are at stake. Here is what you can do:

Donate generously today, then spread the campaign to friends

Join and spread the #RiseUpOctober Facebook event

Volunteer your time and talents

With urgency and determination,

Carl Dix






Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Elias Castillo at Berkeley Revolution Books speaks on:

The Monstrous Guy the Pope Made a Saint

September 28, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


The following is from readers in the San Francisco Bay Area:

A Cross of Thorns, book cover

As Pope Francis announced the canonization of Junipero Serra, Revolution Books in Berkeley hosted Elias Castillo, author of A Cross of Thorns: The Enslavement of California’s Indians by the Spanish Missions—a searing and well-researched indictment of the history of the Spanish and Catholic presence in what is now California during the period 1769 to 1821.

Castillo’s remarks and his book paint a horrific portrait of the genocidal monster the pope has now elevated to what the church considers a “saint”:

“Serra already had it in his mind that his goal was to baptize as many Indians as possible for the glory of god and if they died, well that was a cause for rejoicing. They went to heaven.”

Castillo quoted Serra who spoke of a deadly plague among the Indians as a happy harvest: “In the midst of all our little troubles, the spiritual side of the missions is developing most happily. In [Mission] San Antonio there are simultaneously two harvests, at one time, one for wheat, and of a plague among the children, who are dying.”


“In the initial phases of the missions, they were running out of corn. So the friars decided—they had cows—they fed them cow’s milk. They [the Indians] were lactose intolerant. The friar refused to let them go outside and hunt for their food. Dysentery and a lot of diseases developed in the missions. There were a lot of deaths. The friars said, we need some more workers, some slaves. So they would go out into the surrounding villages and harangue them [the Indians], tell them that if they didn’t join them then they would come back and burn the villages.”


“The friars decided that by god, we are going to keep these Indians pure. And by god they did. They took all the women, girls over 10 years old, unmarried girls, and every night they would lock them up. At every mission that had a room that they called the convento, which is Spanish for convent. But it wasn’t a convent, it was a room, with some pallets lining the walls and the Indian women had to sleep there with maybe a bucket or two for the restroom, and that was it!”


Junipero Serra, genocidal lmaniac

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In his book, Castillo quotes an observer who was part of a French scientific expedition who described the way Serra and the missions treated women: “They are never whipped in public but in an enclosed and somewhat distant place so that their cries may not excite a too lively compassion, which might cause the men to revolt.” (A Cross of Thorns, p. 107)


“The statistical records of the missions show that 62,000 Indians died in the missions. The friars were meticulous in record keeping because every year they had to make a report of how many Indians died, how many Indians were born, how many Indians were punished, and any other thing they could. So the figure may be in the hundreds of thousands because of the contamination of mission Indians carrying diseases and contaminating others.”

“There were approximately 300,000 Indians [when Serra arrived] in California, in the coastal area. By the 19th century, of 300,000 there were only 15,000 left. Most of them had died in the missions, and in the post-mission era when the Mexicans and the gold rush era came in and committed genocide.”


Castillo pointed out that even in his own times (during the Enlightenment, when the rising capitalist class was promoting science to a certain extent):

“Serra was ... a monstrous guy. He was a mad man. He was stuck in the 12th or 10th century, during the Enlightenment where the new philosophies regarding human rights and the new forms of government were arising and where the divine rights of kings - where god placed the king and therefore he was under god and was all powerful - were being eroded.”


As says:

Junipero Serra, not a saint, not even a sinner—a genocidal maniac for Christianity and Empire.







Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Beverly Unitarian Universalist—
Put Your "Black Lives Matter" Sign Back Up!

September 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |

The sign the activist is standing in front of used to have "Black Lives Matter" but in a move to appease reactionary sentiment against this slogan, the Beverly Unitarian Universalist church took it down. The lies and threats received by the church are part of a larger campaign by right-wing politicians, media and police representatives that claims that the movement against police terror is anti-white, anti-police and most outrageously, somehow terrorist.

From readers:

Last Sunday, a small group of us went to Beverly Unitarian Universalist (BUU) church and out to the community.   Unlike big stretches of South Side Chicago, Beverly is a fairly mixed, and relatively well off community of Black and white residents.   There are many police and city officials who live in this and the neighboring community.  BUU had “black lives matter” up on its electronic signboard and then took it down when a storm of controversy erupted over it.   

There are important lessons here.  What happened at BUU shows how in fact there are objectively two sides in this struggle.   And that if you do not stand up for what is right against the defenders of police murder and virulent racists attacks, you will actually strengthen and even accelerate the dominance of the very thing you abhor.

1.  “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”  This is from a poem by Yeats.  We learned how true this is by going out to BUU.  Besides the lies, mis-education and pressure within the immediate area to take down the sign; the church, the minister and even their pre-school received a barrage of both physical threats and virulently racist emails.  According to inside sources, some of the hate mail was from self-identified police. 

What does it say that defenders of the police spew this garbage, especially in the wake of Charleston?   These people making these threats are not going away, they are pushing very aggressively for a genocidal program carried out against Black people.  The response to the sign should really underscore the importance of the message and the struggle that has arisen against police terror in the first place.  It should drive home that it is imperative that people who do not want these fascist forces to prevail in society need to get off the sidelines and stand up for what is right. 

2.   The minister and many of the congregants are genuinely agonized by the situation they find themselves in.  But they took down the sign and have not put it back up which is what we called on them to do.  Instead, they keep trying to find some ground from which they can “carry forward” against racism.  The problem is that they already conceded that there is something legitimate to the attacks on their Black lives matter sign.  You cannot “carry forward” from standing over on the wrong side.   For example, what if the freedom riders or the students who sat in at the lunch-counters said they were worried about upsetting the feelings of enforcers of Jim Crow?   

On the other hand, if the BUU stood firm (and they still can do so by putting their sign back up), they could have rallied many people to stand up with them on the right side of this divide.  The congregation is divided over the sign and whether it should have been taken down.  We took out the big “Stolen Lives” banner, passed out the flyer of an open letter to BUU and challenged people to put on stickers that said Black Lives Matter.  Shamefully, only one Black man out of about 40 total congregants there, 35 of whom were white, put it on and wore it throughout.  This situation undoubtedly reinforced his view “that the dinosaurs will come back before racism ends.”  We talked about what Rise Up October has to do with changing everything that weighs down on Black people. 

Afterwards, we went out into the community, in a very decorated van, reading the flyer and the call for Rise Up October over a sound system.   Many people honked in support.  Others told us they knew about the sign being taken down and thought it was wrong.  At least 4 people said they would build for Oct 24 going to NYC in Beverly, getting materials and signing up.  There was one person who has been there a long time who conveyed that we wouldn’t believe what really goes on around there, given the concentration of police who live there, and what gets enforced in that community.  He also steered us away from areas where there were concentrations of police-occupied houses.





Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Victory for Grant Newburger
Felony Charges Dropped to Traffic Citation for Protest

September 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Contact: We All Stand Together Defense Committee
Phone: Defense Committee 312-722-2534
Available for Interviews/photo op


In a stunning rebuke to the vindictive political persecution of Grant Newburger, all three felony counts of aggravated battery on a police officer against him were dropped today and he was merely cited with a single citation of interfering with traffic, which is the same ordinance violation that many other protesters were charged with last fall. The penalty Grant got was a $10 fine, he is no longer facing the 7 years in prison. 

The November protest where Grant was arrested was part of what became a massive national wave of protests against police murder.  Grant was knocked to the ground by police while he was walking in an intersection on a green light, carrying a banner declaring, “Justice for Mike Brown.” Two others arrested at that protest had their charges dropped last fall.  But Grant was singled out, and charged with the very serious and very outrageous crime of battery to an officer, which Grant never did. Instead he was the one battered by police.

See also:
Chicago Prosecutors Pile On More Felony Charges Against Grant Newburger

Drop the Charges Against Grant Newburger and Everyone Arrested!
They want to punish a Revolutionary and make you afraid to stand up!

Grant is well known in Chicago’s South and West Side Black communities for opposing police brutality, his participation in the Revolution Club and bringing revolutionary politics to the people for over 20 years. The charges against Grant didn’t stem from anything he did at the protest but because of his role in opposing police terror and the system at its root.

Grant says: “What is concentrated in my case, and the case of Iggy Rucker and Alfredo Reyes  who are still charged with felonies for protest against police murder, and other cases around the country is whether the movement protesting police terror will be suppressed and its leaders locked down or if it will fight that suppression and criminalization as part of the larger battle to stop police terror. People must stand up in much greater numbers and determination and seriously change the terms of how all of society looks at this and acts on it.

"I am organizing for Rise Up October 24 in NYC to Stop Police Terror.  Many thousands need to converge in NYC to deliver a powerful message, with national and international impact. Police Murder Must Stop NOW!”

Grant added: "I would also thank my attorneys, Tom Durkin and Robin Waters for their tireless and outstanding efforts on my behalf."


Stop Mass Incarceration Network - Chicago • (312) 933-9586

The Stop Mass Incarceration Network is a project of the Alliance for Global Justice, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For more info, see






Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Building for #RiseUpOctober in Chicago's South Shore:

Large Crowd Blows the Whistle on Police Brutality

Cops retaliate with 2 felony arrests of activists

Updated October 5, 2015 | Originally published September 28, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From readers:

Chicago: Saturday, September 26 a “Rise Up October” crew was out in the South Shore neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. This is the same neighborhood where earlier in the summer there were a series of angry protests against the police murder of Alfontish “NuNu” Cockerham and Jeffery “JJ” Kemp. Gang conflicts have been and remain very sharp in this area.

The crew included some members of the Chicago Revolution Club, some new people running with the Club and others from the neighborhood. Many were wearing “BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! ” T-shirts. They hung up a large “stolen lives” banner showing pictures of people murdered by police, and set up a table with organizing materials for #RiseUpOctober at a major intersection. They played a loop from a powerful short video about Rise Up October over a loudspeaker and interspersed it with speaking out to those in the area. They were calling on the youth to stop killing each other and start fighting the system, organizing people to become organizers for Rise Up October and to get on the bus and get others on the bus to the massive march to stop police terror in New York City on October 24.

There was a constant crowd at the table talking about how to stop police brutality and the need and possibility of revolution. People were getting Rise Up October literature to distribute, other literature to dig into and get out—including Revolution newspaper—and whistles to “blow the whistle on police brutality.”

When the police began to harass a young man for allegedly selling loose cigarettes nearby, the crew gathered to challenge this—blowing whistles, chanting and videoing what was happening on cell phones. Many more people from the neighborhood joined in. One man who had been active in the protests around NuNu was loudly denouncing the police: “The police just gun us down.” Others were telling the police to “get out of here, we don’t need you, leave this young man alone.” In the midst of this wild scene, people were signing people up to become organizers for Rise Up October.

More police cars pulled up. Eventually there were 11 police cars on the scene and officers with billy clubs at the ready. But seeing the anger of the crowd, which had grown considerably to over 50 people, the police backed off and let the young man they had accused of selling loose cigarettes go. The crowd was jubilant to see him set free. 

The Rise Up October crew regrouped at their table. Most of the police cars left the scene. A young man came up to thank us and learn more about what he could do. New people came up to learn more about Rise Up October, saying they wanted to get involved. Others in the crowd that had gathered drifted away.

Five to ten minutes later the police returned to retaliate. Many of the police cars that had left only minutes earlier rushed back into the intersection, blocking traffic. Police jumped out of their cars and started pushing and grabbing at people in the crew. A young woman was chased, grabbed and slammed to the ground. A young man filming was attacked and also slammed to the ground. He was later taken to the hospital due to possible head injury. The young woman was taken to the hospital for an asthma attack. At the hospital the police tried to claim that she was suicidal. Others from the crew who had followed police to the hospital rallied the hospital staff, who knew about what happened to Sandra Bland, to prevent the police from creating a scenario where they could lock the young woman in a psychiatric ward or hurt her worse and claim she did it to herself.

In the neighborhood, people who saw the attack on the crew were outraged about the arrests. People came up to give their names as witness and others were propelled to get more involved in building for Rise Up October. One guy getting off the bus at the corner was stunned to learn that all the police (about a dozen cars) were there for protesters. He said he thought someone had been killed or something. Another man from the neighborhood, wearing his “BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!” shirt, gathered a load of materials to get out. He seriously discussed what it would take to be on the bus and worked out how he could raise and save enough money to buy the ticket. He lives by selling loose squares (loose cigarettes).

After being held overnight, both people arrested were charged with felony battery on a police officer and were released on “personal recognizance,” meaning no money had to be put up for bail. There was a preliminary hearing on October 2, and the court set an arraignment date for October 16.

For more information, call 312-933-9586






Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Protest AGAINST Beat the Badge 5k Run in Dekalb County, Georgia

September 28, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Protesting the Beat the Badge 5K run

Atlanta, September 26. Photos: Special to

Protesting the Beat the Badge 5K run

On Saturday, September 26, the Dekalb County Police Department (a large county in Metro-Atlanta) held a 5k event called Beat the Badge. The first line in the ad for the event jokes, “Have fun legally running from the police!” What?!? What a sick fucking joke! This is the same police department that within the past year gunned down Anthony Hill, a 27 year old veteran who was unarmed, naked, and suffering from bipolar disorder. This is the same police department that busted down the door of Kevin Davis, shot and killed his three-legged dog and then turned the gun on HIM... all of this because Kevin called 911 to respond to an altercation that had taken place against his girlfriend by a roommate. Within the past few months, Dekalb police have killed unarmed Troy Robinson, Tasering him while atop an eight-foot wall, causing him to fall and break his neck. Just weeks ago, when responding to a “burglary,” Dekalb police broke into the wrong home, shot the homeowner, his dog, and another cop... the only bullets fired were those of the police!

Have fun legally running from the police!

The disgusting irony gets even nastier. The donations from the event go toward raising funds for $100,000 life insurance policies for cops! And the grand finale to the event: the unveiling of the new K-9 Cop Dog memorial!

A small group of demonstrators with #RiseUpOctober and the Atlanta Revolution Club pulled together a last-minute protest to call out this outrageous celebration of murderous cops. The protesters stood in the pouring rain at the entrance of the police headquarters holding the large Stolen Lives banner with the faces of people killed by police from around the country (including several by Dekalb police), along with large posters with the faces of Anthony Hill, Troy Robinson, and Kevin Davis. They chanted as the runners passed: Anthony Hill. SAY HIS NAME! Kevin Davis SAY HIS NAME! Troy Robinson. SAY HIS NAME! SAY THEIR NAMES!

All of this takes place within the larger counter-offensive that has been spoken to in Revolution newspaper. The system and its media are fighting to flip the script and paint the police as victims, while slandering and blaming the movement against police terror for increased attacks on police and an up-tick in crime rates. Actions like the protest in Dekalb are extremely important in challenging people: WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? Are you down with the cops killing the people without consequence or are you for STOPPING it? We must raise this question powerfully to people in the next several weeks. The momentum leading to #RiseUpOctober, particularly October 24 in NYC, needs to expand quickly. This must happen. Literally, lives depend on it. 






Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Press Conference Exposes Cover-up – Demands Justice for Darius Pinex

Updated September 28, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Gloria Pinex, mother of Darius Pinex

Above: Gloria Pinex speaks at the press conference

Gloria Pinex called a press conference to speak publically about the conspiracy to cover up the murder of her son Darius Pinex that hit the Internet Saturday and was front page in the Sunday Chicago Tribune.

She said:

"My son Darius was murdered for no reason. Right from the beginning it was a cover up. I was out in the cold January night trying to find out what happened to my son. The police wouldn't talk to me. They told their story to a reporter, but they would not talk to me his mother.

"For over 4 years I have been seeking the truth about what happened to my son and to get justice. I never gave up. They lied to me this whole time. I didn't realize how far the lies went. They talked on their personal cell phones at the scene to be off monitored police communications. They said my son had backed the car at them. They described how he did it. They didn't even know my son's shift was on the floor.

"I want justice for my son. I want Gildardo Sierra and Raoul Mosqueda locked up – indicted, convicted and jailed for the murder of my son. I want everyone who was involved in this cover-up (and there were a lot of people). I want them fired.

"I want justice for all the families. Over 800 killed by police this year.

"I want everyone to join me in NYC on October 22, 23 and 24 to Rise Up October! Stop the Police Terror! Which Side are you on? "

* * *

Major media from ABC, CBS, Univision and the Chicago Tribune covered the press conference. It was attended by a number of community activists, stolen lives family members, members of the Chicago Revolution Club. The mother, grandmother and brother of Darius Pinex family spoke. Standing with them and speaking were two other stolen lives family members, the mother of Dakota Bright and the father of Freddie Latrice Wilson. All have endorsed Rise Up October. Gator Bradley spoke representing the family of Flint Farmer – Flint was murdered by Gildardo Sierra 6 months after Darius was murdered by that same cop -- a direct consequence of this cover-up. Community activists at the press conference included Brother Raymond of Brothers Standing Together; Tio Hardiman; Hal Baskin; and William Ayers of Movement Reimagining Change. Iggy Flo spoke from the Revolution Club.

For the story of the murder of Darius Pinex and the police coverup see "New revelations in 2011 murder by police of Darius Pinex: Criminal Conspiracy by the Chicago PD: How to get away with murder"




Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Then Would You Call It Genocide?

Updated September 30, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Imagine if it came to light that in Russia today, Jewish people were systematically and pervasively discriminated against in housing, jobs, education and health care; and that connected to that, their life expectancy was dramatically lower than that of Russian majority people—as low as three decades in some regions!  Let’s even say that the maternal mortality rate for some Jewish women was 12 times as high as that for Russian women in Moscow. 

Imagine further that Russia had by far both the largest prison population and the highest per capita rate of imprisonment in the whole world—so high in fact that 25 percent of all the prisoners in the whole world were in Russia. Imagine that nearly one half of those prisoners were Jewish, while Jews themselves only made up 1/8 of the population.  Imagine that the media and culture purveyed crude stereotypes of Jewish people as violent criminals and degraded fools. 

Finally, imagine that it was documented in countless videos that Russian police patrolled Jewish neighborhoods and routinely stopped and frisked Jews who did nothing wrong, routinely beat them and arrested them on phony charges and sent them to prison, and even routinely murdered Jewish people—and then were not prosecuted because they claimed that they were scared of Jews because they were “demons.” 

Wouldn’t humane people rightly condemn this as a slow genocide?  The U.S. itself would no doubt rush to the United Nations to attack its rival for such gross violations of human rights and would warn that this slow genocide could easily become a fast one.

Well, you don’t have to imagine it. This is going on right here, right now, in America, to Black people.  The conditions and specific facts cited above apply to Black people in the US, not Jews in Russia.  So why do people in America deny that this—genocide—is what is going on right here, carried forward by their own government, supported by way too many of its own people, silently tolerated by way too many others... when it is right in front of their faces??

The time is long since past when this denial can be allowed to continue. The stakes are way too high. People need to clearly take sides AGAINST this genocide, and especially the illegitimate police terror and murder that enforce it, and demand that “THIS MUST STOP!”

The time to do that is NOW, this October. The place to do that is New York City, October 22-24 – where the whole world will be watching, and all of society will be compelled to answer the question: 








Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

From a Rise Up October Volunteer: "I'm not shy or afraid to challenge people and even argue with them if they are taking the wrong side"

September 29, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


A member of the Revolution Club on the West Coast wrote this statement about why she is volunteering to go to New York City to be part of building for Rise Up October:

I want to volunteer to go to New York early to help get Rise Up October everywhere. I’m part of the Revolution Club. I have been doing work in the city I’m in to organize people to get them to New York on October 24. I think people need to be challenged around “which side are you on?” and what people are going to do to act to put a stop to these murders. Because there is a genocide in front of us and the difference Rise Up October will make in society when you have thousands and thousands of people in the streets demanding this stop. People need to hear that challenge.

I’m not shy or afraid to challenge people and even argue with them if they are taking the wrong side. I have talked to family members, to artists and prominent people. I’m not shy to go to these kinds of people and make the argument of why they need to act. I’m not shy to agitate in front of a lot of people and call on them to get with this. I can contribute all that and more. I’m ready to go all out with Rise Up October. And throw in, in whatever ways I can, to make October what it needs to be.






Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Some experience in building for October 24 among the basic people

September 29, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Stolen Lives poster
Poster PDF (for print) color | black & white       JPG (full size, for web)

Never underestimate the effect one very committed and energetic person can make in getting the word out about October 24 and raising funds to get to NYC for that day! Recently we had a serious sit down about October 24- Rise Up October with the mother of a young man who died suspiciously while being chased by the police. We talked about why a massive demonstration in NYC can make the difference between stopping police murder and brutality or letting the police and all their backers push the people down further. We went through the 3 points in the editorial on “Why There Must Be a Truly MASSIVE Outpouring Against Police Murder on October 24 and Why YOU Are Needed.” We talked about why families of police victims need to be in NYC that day to stand together and say THIS MUST STOP.

After talking with us, the mother got on the phone and got three friends and another family member to come out with her the next day to sell hot dogs to raise funds for her and her other son to go to NYC. The owner of a local bodega agreed to let them use his parking lot. A Stolen Lives banner was hung on the fence. Immediately,the crew began shouting into the bullhorn, chanting to ‘join us’, passing out cards and seeking donations. Traffic slowed down, people got out and if they didn’t buy a hot dog, they made some kind of donation. What they said hit a strong nerve, as passersby also told of loved ones whose lives were stolen by police, victims we never heard of. But most importantly, there was the feeling that this epidemic of police murder of Black and Brown youth had to stop NOW. They raised $100 that day and planned to come out the following day.

The following day, the mother had to work and her friends did not go out. When we put this before the mother, she decided that she needs to be the organizer every day. She had listened in on a conference call that included family members from around the country, heard how this is truly a national movement calling on people to be in NYC on O24. We shared with her the interview with Alice Howell about the importance of fighting not just for her grandson but for all victims of police murder, going to her grave to end it! The mother here was even more determined to be in NYC and to raise funds for her family and others. She planned another BBQ for the weekend.

On the weekend, her friends again did not show up (but one of them did get a REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! T-shirt from the mother who proudly wears her shirt whenever going out to tell people about Rise UP October), but her son’s friends, Black men in their 20s, did. They wanted to show their respect for the mother, their friend and wanted to support her going to NYC in October. They found different ways to help even if they were not loudly agitating. An artist walked by the lively scene outside the project where the mother lives. Right away, the mother said, “We need beautiful banners for NYC. Can you make them?” and got him organized on the spot to make the banners. $150 was raised, including a donation from a middle class man who worked with the young man who had been killed on his music. He had come to see the memorial for the young man, learned about O24 for the first time and wants to learn more.

Later, some of us sat down with the mother to read BAsics with her and talk about how O24 is part of getting prepared for revolution to finally put an end to police murder.

Now, over a number of weeks this family has raised funds for two airplane tickets and they are not stopping. Another BBQ is planned for Tuesday afternoon to raise funds so others can go. People like this mother, who are clear and sure about the need for October 24, can make a big difference in a neighborhood and beyond.






Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

September 26 bake sale to send Ferguson fighters to NYC for #RiseUpOctober

September 29, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Bake sale in Ferguson to raise funds to send fighters to New York City for #RiseUpOctober

An activist in the movement against police murder which jumped off last year after Mike Brown was murdered by a Ferguson cop organized a bake sale to raise funds for a bus from Ferguson-St. Louis to NYC for #RiseUpOctober. $300 was raised, and many new people were challenged to start deciding “what side are you on?” by donating on the spot. Bake sale volunteers now are calling for the $300 proceeds to be matched 10 times in order to pay for close to half the cost of one charter bus to NYC to make this goal real and realizable.

It was a sunny day and a beautiful scene. The bake sale was held in Tower Grove Park right across the street from MoKaBe's Coffeehouse where people were viciously teargassed by police last fall. A very large Stolen Lives banner faced the street. Throughout the day, scores of people dropped by the table to get homemade cookies, turtles, and red velvet cake and hot coffee donated by MoKaBe's. Several motorists donated right out of their car windows to volunteers who were leafleting and collecting money in the street.

A bake sale organizer said, “I think that October 24, being that we have a lot of people come out to NYC, we can definitely amplify the energy that was initially here in Ferguson and get back going all over again.”

A few motorists driving by shouted out, “Why aren’t you doing something about Black on Black crime?” One volunteer called them out. “That’s your way of saying you support the police without saying you support the police.” She went on to speak about the role of the police and the attacks by the police on the movement to stop police brutality.

Another volunteer at the table said, “I think it is a movement that was really strong and has been dying down for whatever reasons... October 24 will be a day to bring everyone awareness again. And hopefully bring more and more people together.”

Some people met at the bake sale are going back to their neighborhood or school to build for Rise Up October. Along with calling for people to donate matching funds, more bake sales and other fundraisers are being planned by drawing in the people met at the first bake sale.





Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Debra Sweet, #RiseUpOctober Steering Committee

Debra Sweet

Interview with Rise Up October Steering Committee Member Debra Sweet:

Let's Make History!

September 29, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Revolution checked in with Debra Sweet, who is working out of the national office of #RiseUpOctober and has her finger on the pulse of the emerging movement for massive protest on October 24 in New York City and for actions on October 22 and 23. She is on the #RiseUpOctober Steering Committee along with Nkosi Anderson, Nellie Hester Bailey, Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, Carl Dix, Alice Howell, James Lane, Rev. Jerome McCorry, and Travis Morales.


Revolution: Give us a sense of how things are developing for this historic event.

Debra Sweet: We are challenging people to become organizers for Rise Up October right now. Carl Dix recently shared this: “An NYU student working on #RiseUpOctober recently said: ‘I believe silence, like inaction, is consent. Anyone who is not participating in the sparing of lives, the urging of new practices, they are complicit in the deaths that we see reported.’ She is right. Let’s heed her words and together make history!”

Revolution: Give us a feel for what’s happening at the National Office.

Debra Sweet: People are getting in touch with us to get into this. I recently spoke with a Black student organization at Princeton, and they are forming a contingent and will be there. Also, we just heard from an NAACP at Hofstra University asking can they bring a bus.

Some important new developments are: We raised our first $10,000 of our goal of $100,000 in the first weekend of our crowd-funding project.

Revolution: Stop right there for a sec and give our readers the URL where people can go to donate.

Debra Sweet: It is, but there’s a quick, easy one to remember:

Revolution: OK, we’ll pause for a moment to give people a chance to donate... And we’ll come back to this. OK, go on...

Debra Sweet: Also, Carl Dix will be the "Keynote Elect" at a major Night for Justice at NYU on October 1, promoting #RiseUpOctober. That event is at the Kimmel Center for University Life, 60 Washington Square South, 7 to 10 p.m.

And, as your readers know, Steering Committee member Nkosi Anderson is featured in a powerful interview in Revolution newspaper/ speaking about how his faith tradition and moral convictions have led him to throw in with this historic effort (see “Interview with Rise Up October Steering Committee Member Nkosi Anderson: ‘Hey, enough is enough! We need to put an end to police terror and fight for a better world.’”).

Revolution: What’s happening in the faith community?

Debra Sweet: Here’s an interesting story: Some people have been involved in the discussion within the Unitarian Universalist Church nationally over the controversy surrounding the Beverly Unitarian Church in Chicago, Illinois that took down their “Black Lives Matter” sign when racists objected and threatened them (see “Open Letter to Beverly Unitarian Church—Which Side Are You On?”). Some of these people have argued you have to stick up for principle whether or not it’s easy. So this has been part of the mix and this controversy has been reverberating. Some of them had been talking about needing to take more of a stand, and one of them picked up a palm card for Rise Up October on the subway and had been invited to a planning meeting. I think maybe they saw that as an “omen”—something telling them they had to go to a planning meeting for Rise Up October, and they came. They are taking important responsibility to house people, particularly family members of people killed by police, who are coming to NYC for the march.

Another church had a meeting to plan how to participate in the march—they decided they want to house some families and that they need palm cards for services on Sunday to get out so parishioners can get them out at work and in neighborhoods where they live.

New people are signing on from the religious community in NYC including, recently, the Rev. Dr. James A. Kowalski from Cathedral of St. John the Divine. We are working with people from the Micah Institute connected to Union Theological Seminary, and reaching out to the religious community, challenging them to organize people to provide housing.

Revolution: That sounds really important. Also, I know from the beginning families of people killed by police have been a driving force in this. How is that developing?

Debra Sweet: Families have been a driving force so far. Many are still in acute grief. There are people involved in this who lost family members in 2015. But many are saying they are doing this to stop it from happening again to anyone. There is an 11-minute video at that features really moving, powerful testimony from many of them.

We have a Bring 100 Families of Victims of Police Murder to #RiseUpOctober task force that includes some families themselves—but also people who want to make it possible to bring families here. Some of these families are out in the communities raising funds to get to New York City. In Atlanta, the family of Alexia Christian, killed on April 30 of this year, is going out in the community and raising funds to be in New York. The police murder of Alexia Christian has attracted international press coverage. Other families have their bus tickets now and are doing fundraising for the trip, including hot dog sales and bake sales. But this cannot be all on them, and raising the funds to bring 100 families of people killed by police to NYC requires major funds.

The task force working on this recently had a conference call with some 40 people including people from Northern and Southern California; Seattle and Tacoma, Washington; Utah; Houston, Texas; Chicago, Waukegan and Zion, Illinois; Atlanta; Cleveland; and from a number of cities in North and South Carolina, including Charlotte and Greensboro. 

This is all part of posing to all of society: WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?? Everybody who agrees with the simple demand that POLICE MURDER AND TERROR MUST STOP should be there on October 24. During the conference call, a number of family members spoke movingly about the situation overall in the U.S.; about what happened to their loved ones who were murdered by police; about the cover-ups and the perjury; about the attacks on the character of those whose lives have been stolen. 

Families wrestled with "what is it going to take for people to open their eyes and see" what is happening, and how the work being done to raise funds with groups and people for Rise Up October and the 100 Families can begin to impact this now—building up to October 24. Families discussed the need for us "to be clear on our focus—Rise Up October in NYC October 22-24: Which Side Are You On?" Thousands and thousands and thousands need to be in NYC for this national mobilization.

Alice Howell, the grandmother of Justus Howell who was murdered by Zion, Illinois police, is on the National Steering Committee, and she and I welcomed the family members on behalf of the Steering Committee. I emphasized that we've got four weeks to put families "on center stage" to have all of society confront the reality of thousands killed by law enforcement in the U.S. And I made the overarching point: significant outreach needs to be done to people, organizations, the progressive religious community, professional organizations, unions etc. to "open their wallets, to open their hearts, and their pocket books" to make 100 Families for Rise Up October possible.

Alice Howell said, "There is no price tag on stolen lives—multitudes need to stand with families..." And Alice discussed a range of fundraising activities she has been involved with her daughter, Latoya, including major programs featuring Carl Dix (initiator of Rise Up October with Dr. Cornel West, and Rev. Jerome McCorry, faith initiative leader with Rise Up October) and one-on-one meetings with former Congresspeople. Latoya told us about the work to secure buses to go to NYC from Illinois; reaching out to organizations, and the need to surmount obstacles; and how she was reaching out to families in a number of cities in the Midwest. 

I emphasized that while $100,000 crowd funding goal is critical, more is needed given all that will be required. But that $100,000 crowd funding campaign is crucial

There were a number of family members on the phone call from the Carolinas, and there are collective efforts being taken up right now to raise $10,000-$15,000 for at least 50 people (as a starting conception, could be more...), including numerous families who have lost loved ones to murder by police, to be in NYC October 24. People in on the call from Northern California, including family members, shared their experience raising funds for Rise Up October 100 Families Project: They had BBQs—one raised $400 selling hot dogs. The people who did it said, "It was a simple thing—and it wasn't just hot dogs—people donated a lot more than just for the hot dogs" so families could be in NYC.

Revolution: Everyone who hears these family members speak, at least anyone with a heart and a conscience, feels very challenged and inspired to act.

Debra Sweet: Yes! And also, these family members are levers to get the word out in society. Yesterday, for example, Gloria Pinex called a press conference to speak publicly about the conspiracy to cover up the murder of her son, Darius Pinex, in Chicago, that was front page in the Sunday Chicago Tribune. Along with demanding justice for her son, she called on people to join her in NYC on October 22, 23 and 24 for Rise Up October—Stop Police Terror! And challenged people: Which Side Are You On?

Georgia Ferrell is the mother of Jonathan Ferrell. On September 14, 2013, in Charlotte, North Carolina, Jonathan Ferrell—a 24-year-old Black man—was injured in a one-vehicle accident. When he knocked on doors seeking help in an upscale white community, police were called. When they came onto the scene, they shot Jonathan 10 times, killing him! Georgia Ferrell has endorsed the CALL for Rise Up October, and she issued this statement today:

“We have to keep this struggle alive. I'm working hard here fighting for justice. We have to put those officers behind bars. This is an attack on our children! We have to keep praying, and we have to keep fighting to stop them. If we stop... if we rest for a moment... it starts all over again. We have to be in the forefront. My parents marched for equal rights, to be treated right. Why in 2015 is this happening? I want to let the nation know what's going on. We need a new future. People in authority don't stand up and speak for the people. No one in authority has stood up and said innocent people are being killed. Jonathan was seeking help! The President says nothing. When Freddie Gray is killed by police and young people stand up, the President says the kids are ‘thugs.’ I'm a Christian and a parent. If Jonathan was doing anything wrong I'd say so. He needs help and the police fire their guns. This must be stopped. I'm flying to NYC for Rise Up October. I've put the word out for funds. And I am using my own money. I am very excited about Rise Up October. We need to do this!”

Revolution: That’s very inspiring and should be a challenge to everyone reading this. So let’s share that URL to donate again, and also can you give people a phone number to call and be part of all this right now?

Debra Sweet: That quick, easy-to-remember URL to donate is And people can call 646-709-1961 right now to get involved. Also, there are materials and information at three important sites:;; and

Revolution: Talk about how the fundraising is going. You mentioned that you raised $10,000 in the first weekend of the crowd-funding campaign.

Debra Sweet: First let me emphasize how important this is. A significant amount will go to bring families of people killed by police—“Stolen Lives families”—to NYC. And for transportation—buses to take people to NYC. Some will also go for publicity for Rise Up October. This needs to be seen by millions of people. We need to buy newspaper ads, print posters, and get the word out to millions. We are aiming to buy ads. This very public crowd-funded campaign is, number one, telling people this is serious and for real, and a way to get people involved.

The first weekend, the $10K we raised included a $5K challenge donation from someone in the faith community in the Bay Area.

Here’s an experience to share: At one meeting that was called to involve people and reach out in NYC, someone went around with a laptop and collected online donations—as much as $100 and $150. We don’t just want pocket change. People don’t have that on them in cash so if we’re serious we have to have them get out their cards and go to and donate.

Fundraising is not a sideline, it is a way people can take a stand to stop police terror NOW and to make the national outpouring Oct 22-24 in NYC powerful. And it is important to donate through the crowd-funding site. There are “perks” there—like signed copies of books by Cornel West. But you can also get recognition for something like sponsoring a bus or a family. One couple donated $500 to sponsor the travel of one Stolen Lives family member.

Also, while it is critical we get large donations, small donations are important as well because the number of donors makes an impact on people with significant financial resources. So no matter how much you can donate, do that now. We need 1,000 donors—yes we need the money but we need that number of donors. We won’t do this unless we talk to a lot of people.

Revolution: So when people get to one of those websites you mentioned,,, or, they need to get palm cards and the Call for Rise Up October—with an impressive list of signatures. But they also need to get people to the crowd-funding site.

Debra Sweet: Right! You can text that URL—and get people to donate now. Text people the URL: They can donate, they can watch the 11-minute video of highlights of the very powerful program in NYC on August 27.

Revolution: Your take-home message is?

Debra Sweet: We’re challenging people to become organizers right now, to stop police terror, come onto the streets of NYC and change history. Begin right on the spot with a substantial online donation—and then share the link on social media and call your friends and tell them you donated, and challenge them to donate. This all comes down to: Which Side You Are You On?






Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Statement from Syreeta Myers, mother of VonDerrit Myers Jr., executed by police on October 8, 2014 in St. Louis

September 29, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Unfortunately I was forced into this club no parent wants to be a part of. My one and only child, VonDerrit Myers Jr. was executed by an off duty cop October 8, 2014. The media attacked my son’s character and demonized him.

Here is what you don’t know about VonDerrit. He was loved. He was a student. He loved basketball and the latest fashion. He was intelligent and an intellectual. He had big dreams.

When VonDerrit was killed he was not committing a crime. He just left out of a store after buying a sandwich. Jason Flannery did not have the right to pursue anyone that was not engaged in a felony act. There was no forensic evidence or one eye witness that put a gun in VonDerrit’s hand. All the bullet wounds to VonDerrit’s body were from the rear, and one fatal shot to his head.

This has left my family confused, hurt, lost, empty, and destroyed. That’s why we need people to join us at Rise Up October in New York, Oct. 22, 23, 24.

Justice for all the families that have been impacted by police brutality.

Syreeta Myers






Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Mother of Jonathan Ferrell, Killed by Police in Charlotte, NC:

"Why in 2015 is this happening?! Rise Up October. I want to let the nation know what's going on"

September 29, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Georgia Ferrell is the mother of Jonathan Ferrell. On September 14, 2013, in Charlotte, North Carolina, Jonathan—a 24-year-old Black man—was injured in a one-vehicle accident. When he knocked on doors seeking help in an upscale, white community, police were called. When they came onto the scene they shot Jonathan 10 times, killing him! And the trial of the cop who killed him—where Jonathan was made out to be the criminal—resulted in a hung jury.

Georgia Ferrell has endorsed the Call for Rise Up October, and she issued this statement today:

“We have to keep this struggle alive. I’m working hard here fighting for justice. We have to put those officers behind bars. This is an attack on our children! We have to keep praying and we have to keep fighting to stop them. If we stop... if we rest for a moment... it starts all over again. We have to be in the forefront. My parents marched for equal rights, to be treated right. Why in 2015 is this happening?! Rise Up October. I want to let the nation know what’s going on. We need a new future. People in authority don’t stand up and speak for the people. No one in authority has stood up and said innocent people are being killed. Jonathan was seeking help! The President says nothing. When Freddie Gray is killed by police and young people stand up the President says the kids are thugs. I’m a Christian and a parent. If Jonathan was doing anything wrong I’d say so. He needs help and the police fire their guns. This must be stopped. I’m flying to NYC for Rise Up October. I’ve put the word out for funds. And I am using my own money. I am very excited about Rise Up October. We need to do this!”






Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Delaware Cops Shoot and Kill Paralyzed Black Man in Wheelchair

September 30, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Angry residents at the site where Delaware police murdered Jeremy McDole, a Black man paralyzed from the waist down, while he sat in his wheelchair
Angry residents at the site where Delaware police murdered Jeremy McDole, a Black man paralyzed from the waist down, while he sat in his wheelchair

This was murder. He shot my son like he was roadkill.

Phyllis McDole

Another horrific video of the police shooting and killing a Black man in cold blood.

According to Wilmington, Delaware police, someone called 911 on September 23 to report that Jeremy McDole shot himself. Jeremy McDole is a 28-year-old man in a wheelchair. He is paralyzed from the waist down. He lives in a nursing home.

And he is Black. How did the system respond to what—if their story is to be believed—might have been a suicidal, paralyzed Black man in a wheelchair? Were counselors sent to the scene to provide assistance to this human being?

The response is on video, filmed by someone in the neighborhood. It starts with a cop coming on the scene where McDole is sitting in his wheelchair. It ends, one minute and 23 seconds later, with Jeremy McDole lying on the ground DEAD. Watch the video here:

The first cop approaches, already aiming a shoulder-fired weapon. Within about 4 seconds, he fires, starts yelling for McDole to put his hands up, then pumps the gun, ready to shoot again. Three more cops arrive with pistols drawn. You see Jeremy shifting his weight in his wheelchair. You hear the guy taking the video saying, “He’s bleeding, he’s bleeding.” No gun or anything else is visible in McDole’s hands. The cops are all yelling at him to put his hands up. About 35 seconds after the other cops arrive, you hear a hail of bullets. You see Jeremy McDole fall out of his wheelchair to the ground.

Phyllis McDole, Jeremy’s mother said, “He wasn’t bothering anybody. He didn’t have a weapon or anything. He stood up and pulled his pants up and sat back down and put his hands on his lap and they opened fire on him....They shot my son so much he fell out of the wheelchair.... He wasn’t armed. He didn’t have a gun. He died by himself. He died alone.”

Phyllis McDole interrupted a news conference by the chief of police the day after her son was killed. When Chief Bobby L. Cummings ran out the cops’ story that Jeremy had removed a weapon from his waistband, Phyllis stood up to dispute this account saying, “This is unjust—he was in a wheelchair. There’s video showing that he didn’t pull a weapon, he had his hands on his lap.” (See video of Phyllis McDole speaking before the press.)

There is anger and outrage. The New York Times reported tense encounters between residents and police, including one where objects were thrown at police responding to a different incident. Jeremy’s uncle, Eugene Smith, who was among those gathered at the scene of the shooting, said, “It was an execution.”





Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

September 30, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


What Must We Do to STOP Police Terror?

A Community Forum Monday, October 5, 6:30 pm

Loving Arms Outreach Ministry 2711 Sheridan Rd. Zion, IL

Hear from families whose loved ones have been killed by police and...

Carl Dix, co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network
Rev. Jerome McCorry, Faith Co-ordinator of #Rise Up October

Introductions by Jed Stone, Attorney & Law Professor
With welcoming statement by Bishop Michael Hargett, Loving Arms Outreach Ministry

#RiseUpOctober – Which Side Are You On?
A massive mobilization in NYC Saturday October 24
Get on the Bus! 312-933-9586

On October 5, 2015, Lake County, Illinois will welcome Carl Dix and Rev. Jerome McCorry for an evening of discussion and discourse on the topic of police violence within our community. Lake County has nationally been looked at as the epicenter of wrongful convictions and false confessions. With the tragic murder of Justus Howell, a 17-year-old boy shot in the back by a Zion, Illinois police officer, our community has drawn national attention as a center of police violence against the people. I am honored to introduce Carl Dix and Rev. McCorry to my community. I urge you to come to the Loving Arms Outreach Ministry in Zion at 6:30 p.m. Monday, October 5, 2015, and join me in this important event.

–Jed Stone  





Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

An Open Letter to Voices of Conscience
When it comes to police terror, WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

September 30, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Download a PDF of this letter.

Dear Celebrities who still remain silent;
Progressive people who care but have not acted;
People of means who may not face police terror personally but who could provide the means for those who bear the brunt of this everyday a platform where their courageous voices could move the hearts and minds of the broader public:

You live in a country that has, since its birth, considered Black lives as less than human. The ideology of white supremacy that this country was founded on, that justified slavery and propelled forward the development of capitalism has continued down through the centuries—through discriminatory laws and terror unleashed upon a people—to this very day. From Jim Crow and lynching to mass incarceration and police who murder with impunity—this has throughout the history of this country been justified under the pretense of CRIME and keeping “ the good people safe”—recycled and re-purposed for different decades.

You who would condemn Jim Crow yesterday...
Where are you now and what would YOU do today?

Whole generations of Black and Latino people have been criminalized and consigned to utterly inhuman conditions of mass incarceration. The largest prison population in the world exists in our midst—hiding in plain sight with the consent of a population that for decades has tolerated a travesty of historic proportions.

A system of punishment of the poor—where there is NOT equality and justice for all but laws that comprise a modern day system of debtor peonage and government discrimination—paying forward the misery to each new generation in a downward spiral with genocidal consequences.

Stolen Lives poster
Poster PDF (for print) color | black & white       JPG (full size, for web)

A thousand people a year—850 this year so far killed by police. Video after video of people pulled over in minor traffic violations, videos of people surrendering, videos of people running away, videos of people mentally ill instead of getting medical attention being summarily executed. Instance after instance of people doing nothing other than being Black or Latino but who are profiled, stopped and so often shot down because they “look like a suspect.”

Police who consider whole groups of people—because of the color of their skin or the language they speak—as having no rights that the police are bound to respect.

You know this—this has been brought to your attention because people have risen up to say, “Enough! We will not have this.” This was brought to your attention because many thousands of young people disrupted business as usual over that last year.

At a moment when that resistance is being shushed, when demonstrators are being prosecuted and police who murder are protected, when “Go slow, let the system work,” is being counseled by people more interested in preserving the status quo than changing it—and when liberals are too easily assuaged by promises of minor policy changes like body cameras (yes this can make a difference but now that we are seeing video after video without prosecution—the question is: What NOW Are You Going to Do?): Rise Up October is saying that protest must not be derailed. The controversy must not be suppressed, and the resistance that has made THE difference must be re-mobilized to go to another level.

If it is not, not only will nothing in the end have actually changed, but the pace of the brutality and barbarity will have intensified. With the political and moral atmosphere being fouled by wall-to-wall election coverage of arenas filled with morons cheering for undisguised bigotry and reported on by ALL the major media as “legitimate,” nothing less than many, many thousands of us taking to the streets with renewed determination will change this ugly dynamic and set different moral and political terms. To say most clearly: THIS MUST STOP.

There is a way to do this. By participating and supporting financially the outpouring on October 22 through 24. These days open with 100 families traveling from all over the country, joined with prominent voices where we will Say Their Names in Times Square on October 22. On October 23, there will be nonviolent civil disobedience. A massive march on October 24 will aim at changing the terms of how people think and act, politically rocking the country so that everyone has to decide: “On the matter of POLICE MURDER AND TERROR MUST STOP, Which Side Am I On? Will my silence be complicity or will I stand with the people who refuse to tolerate these outrages?” Those who carry out, back up and enforce this terror have to be rocked back on their heels. THIS MUST STOP.

The controversy must not be shut down and the suffering that continues must not be allowed to be swept under the rug. Millions have to demand THIS MUST STOP.

As Lorien Carter, aunt of Tony Robinson killed by Madison police this past year, put it:

“The ‘Truths’ they are providing to you are not truths at all. The reason #RiseUpOctober is so important is because I neglected the facts and my nephew paid... If this makes you uncomfortable, I’m glad. It should. The blood of all these people stain your hands, the same way it does mine.”


1. Contribute $1,000 dollars to sponsor family members who have lost loved ones to police murder to come to NYC. DONATE HERE.

2. Make a substantial donation for advertising and getting the word out. DONATE HERE.

3. Be part of Reading the Names on October 22. Contact

4. Endorse the call initiated by Carl Dix and Cornel West and commit to getting five other endorsements of prominent people, churches and organizations to. Read the call below and SEND ENDORSEMENT TO

5. Publicly commit to being in New York City on October 24. Contact

6. Call the Rise Up October National Office at 646-709-1961 to find out what more you can do.


Initiated by Carl Dix and Cornel West

Advisory Board includes: Carl Dix, Eve Ensler, Arturo O’Farrill, Jamal Joseph, Rev. Stephen Phelps and Cornel West.

Call for a Major National Manifestation Against Police Terror

#RiseUpOctober to STOP Police Terror
Which Side Are You On?
Come to New York City!

Washington Square Park, New York City, 11:00 am

March at 1:00 pm
Closing Rally at Columbus Circle at 4:00 pm

Actions on October 22 & 23

Eric Garner... 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 1000 people a year killed by police—yet since 2005, less than 60 indictments, less than 25 convictions! *

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—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.

*Thousands Dead, Few Prosecuted - Washington Post, 4/12/15; Police Killings Rise Slightly, Though Increased Focus May Suggest Otherwise - New York Times, 4/30/15 [back]





Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

"There is a genocide of Blacks and Latinos and we are fighting to put a stop to that! What the fuck are you doing?"

September 30, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From readers:

Two revolutionaries went to a photographers’ meet at a neighborhood park. A gathering of approximately 50 people, mostly young, all nationalities gathered to take pictures of scenes. We took a big “Stolen Lives” banner and we put it in front of people with the challenge of “which side are you on?” and what people are going to do to make October 24 what it needs to be.

Stolen Lives poster
Poster PDF (for print) color | black & white       JPG (full size, for web)

A couple photographers came up and took pictures of the banner, but it took a lot of struggling and a lot of arguments with people because a lot of the responses from these photographers were “well that’s not my problem,” or “I don’t care.” And we would respond with, “You are OK with 850+ people killed by the police, and you don’t care that there is a genocide in front of us? Fine—then you are standing with the police and allowing for this to continue?” Some people were justifying these deaths by saying that maybe some of these people did something wrong, that’s why they were killed and we took all that shit on, sharply challenging that messed up thinking by talking about Aiyana Stanley-Jones and how do you explain her death? How do you justify a seven-year-old baby girl shot dead? Was it her fault?! Tell Mertilla Jones (her grandmother) why you are not going to act to stop this? And we would quote some of the family members so people can get a sense how real and serious this is and how the families are speaking up and calling for October 24.

At one point, a revolutionary was having a conversation with a guy about why he needs to take up Rise Up October. And she overheard two other people having a conversation, and the woman was telling the guy, “They are so LOUD. They are so ANGRY. Their huge poster is so irrelevant to this, they are just bringing it here and getting in our way of taking pictures. And arguing with people!” And the revolutionary stepped into that conversation and said, “Excuse me. Are you talking about us?” And she responded, “Yes, I’m glad you confronted me because I am talking about you. And your friend. You guys are bringing this that is so irrelevant to our meeting, and fighting with people and being loud!” The revolutionary said, What the fuck are you talking about?! We are angry! because there’s been 850+ people killed by police just this year. Why aren’t YOU angry?! So what if we are loud, why shouldn’t we be? I’m sorry we are in your fucking way! BUT THERE IS A GENOCIDE OF BLACKS AND LATINOS AND WE ARE FIGHTING TO PUT A STOP TO THAT! WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING? Besides talk shit?!” Right away a person next to her took a card with the information.

But we did meet some good people. We organized a young woman. She took materials right away and had a lot of ideas of where she wants to take this. To student organizations that she works with, professors, her school. She said she didn’t know it was on that scale, the murders by police, after hearing the numbers of people killed just this year. She felt Rise Up October is a good thing because people are not silent and aren’t allowing for this to continue. She was very excited about being a part of this and later got in touch with us to tell us she will be in New York City on October 24. She had re-arranged her schedule to be in NYC on the 24th. Another woman said she couldn’t personally be in NYC because she has kids and it’s very hard to get down there, but she did want to sponsor a family member to be in New York to tell their story in front of everyone. Because we always hear in the news the story by the police but not the side of the family member and what kind of people they were. Nothing like these pigs make them seem, like thugs and criminals. So she said she would go online and donate to send a family to New York.

Editors’ note—a question: Does a Black or Latino person have the right to go to a park and take photos, or rap, or listen to music without the threat of being killed by the police on the pretext that their camera looked like a deadly weapon or that their presence caused some racist policeman to “fear for his life.” If you don’t think so, how do you sleep? If you can NOT put up with a society like that—do the right thing and throw in, all out, for #RiseUpOctober. You’ll find everything you need to get involved at, or





Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

From a Reader

Los Angeles Police Murder Again...This Has Got to Stop NOW!

September 30, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


On Sunday morning, September 26, two Los Angeles cops shot and killed 37-year-old Norma Angelica Guzman. As they pulled up on Guzman, who they say had a knife, they jumped out of their car and both of them unloaded on her. At this point it is unclear if she even had a knife. A person who knew her and was interviewed by a local TV station said that “she usually carries a bread knife that is not dangerous.”

She was well-known in the neighborhood as she spent a lot of time in the area. People are telling us that she was harmless. A Spanish-speaking man told the story of how she’d come to him the other day asking for money and he shooed her away with a broom, then felt bad about it and gave her a dollar and she walked away happy. “She was harmless,” he repeated over and over again. “If I could shoo her away with a broom and a dollar, why did the police have to shoot her four times and kill her?”

I feel like Gill Scott-Heron, who said, “I said I wasn’t going to write no more poems like this” in his poem/song “Jose Campos Torres,” for the man who was brutally murdered by the Houston cops in 1977. (see “37 years after José Campos Torres murdered by Houston police: Still Fighting to Stop Police Terror,” Revolution, May 19, 2014). I feel like saying, “I’m not going to write any more articles like this,” but I’m compelled to because of the terror, brutality, and murders by the pigs in this country. When is this shit going to be put to a stop?

After the murder of Guzman, the Los Angeles Revolution Club took the Stolen Lives banner, with the faces of people murdered by police, out to the neighborhood and called out the murder. They challenged people to be part of #RiseUpOctober as a way to put a stop to this. A crew of shorties took up the Stolen Lives posters and got them out to everybody. People on the block where Angie was killed are outraged at how senseless and unprovoked her murder was. Angie is the 31st person shot and the 17th person killed by LAPD this year.

The brutal pigs who shot her were wearing body cams, but two days after this murder, the LAPD has not released or even said one word about what was on those videos. Don’t tell me that body cams will prevent this from happening! Don’t tell me that community policing will stop this! Don’t tell me that better training will stop this! Don’t tell me that there is not a slow genocide that could become a fast genocide of Black and Latino people in this country. Don’t tell me that there is even one ounce of legitimacy to these murders. I don’t want to hear that. (see “Carl Dix on ‘Reasonable Demands’ When It Comes to Stopping Police Murder,” Revolution, September 7, 2015)

I know only one thing will stop this. Ultimately it will take a revolution, but what is required today is that people in the country taking to the streets en masse saying “No More. No More police terror, brutality, and murders!” You have a vehicle for this and it is #RiseUpOctober where thousands and thousands must take to the streets of NYC on October 24. I don’t want to write any more letters like this.






Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

From a reader:

On the Media Smear Campaign Against Shaun King

October 1, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


In August, a vicious smear campaign was launched in the media against Shaun King, a journalist at Daily Kos and a prominent voice against police murder and terror. The smear campaign was begun by the fascist website, which published a despicable article in an attempt to discredit King. The article made accusations that King lied about a parent being Black in order to qualify for an Oprah Winfrey-sponsored scholarship to Morehouse College. The article also accused King of greatly exaggerating attacks he suffered in high school in a beating at the hands of racist students. In fact, King was out of school for 20 months and suffered multiple surgeries as a result of this beating. Stories on and other right-wing websites published pictures purporting to show King’s birth certificate and pictures of him and his family when he was young, as “proof” that King is “100% white,” and therefore supposedly a “fraud.” Right after this article appeared, King and his family were hit with constant death threats and racist harassment and had to take various measures to protect their security.

Shaun King himself has forcefully addressed these bullshit lies and their motivation in detail (see “Race, love, hate, and me: A distinctly American Story” at Daily Kos.

The initial story in the right-wing gutter press was eagerly picked up by the mainstream media. The New York Daily News echoed with its story headlined, “Rachel Dolezal 2.0? Shaun King, activist for the Black Lives Matter movement, has race questioned.” The New York Times and CNN both picked it up and repeated these lies, arguments, and assumptions while raising a few and posing a few questions and doubts. By treating it as a legitimate story, the Times and CNN gave credence to and spread the poison far and wide. CNN indulged in National Enquirer-style media coverage like the ludicrous and vicious spectacle of CNN’s resident Uncle Tom, Don Lemon, texting Shaun King and asking him loaded “gotcha” questions about his and his family’s history based on lies from snarling racists and then putting all this on the air. On the Internet, Shaun King and the media attacks on him became top trends on Twitter for a while.

In early September, it came to light that the original source for the hit piece on Shaun King at was arrested. The FBI arrested the 20-year-old fascist Internet troll, Joshua Goldberg. Goldberg was charged by the FBI—itself up to its neck in Internet dirty work—for alleged online posts in which Goldberg posed as a Muslim fundamentalist under the moniker “Australi Witness” and allegedly went too far in trying to instigate others (apparently including an FBI informant) to carry out indiscriminate violent attacks on this year’s Kansas City commemoration of the 9/11 attacks.

It turns out that Goldberg played a major role in initiating the attack on Shaun King at Goldberg fed the author of the story “information” and “suggestions” for the story. The Breitbart author is now trying to downplay the role Goldberg played in the story and brush off his contacts with Goldberg as trivial, but his major role is well documented.

Goldberg is a longtime fascist who devotes most of his efforts to attacking those he sees as “social justice warriors.” He has used and shifted between numerous online personas (including impersonating people he was attacking) to smear, attack, and set up those he perceived as “leftists,” feminists, and Muslims. He is a regular on the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer(the online forum of the neo-Nazi Stormfront organization). He has used Twitter voraciously under many names and has had numerous Wikipedia accounts he has used to write and edit articles, often to serve his handiwork elsewhere on the Internet.

While the mainstream media reported on the arrest of Goldberg, only a few reported on his other activity on the Internet and, curiously, no major media reported on the fact that he was involved in sparking the smear campaign against Shaun King that they themselves picked up and spread. CNN and the New York Times did not do a major examination of how they had been wrong to give any credence to the story in the first place. Not a peep from them on this.

Prominent individual journalists spoke out in defense of King, as did many activists who appreciate his work exposing police murders and suspicious deaths in custody. There are people outspoken about police brutality who got played and drawn into repeating “did you hear about Shaun King?” as if there was a scandal here. This is a huge lesson both about the importance of basing oneself on the truth and also how “identity politics” (the idea that, for instance, only Black people can understand and speak out against the oppression of Black people) can hand-tie a movement to really uproot this oppression. The right-wing media and fascist trolls like Goldberg were trading on this to get over with their bullshit.

While Shaun King is in fact bi-racial and has suffered greatly in his life for being Black and speaking up, it does not matter one iota what “percentage” is anyone Black when it comes to his or her right and responsibility to speak out and fight against the oppression of Black people. There is, in fact, no “scandal” here at all, only a bogus attack aimed at discrediting and shifting the focus away from ending police murder and white supremacy. And people who should have known better got drawn into repeating the lies. What was being done by the media in their coverage of Shaun King's story sets very wrong terms. It aims to confuse and sidetrack people by playing on wrong and very harmful thinking that divides people by ethnicity and nationality when it comes to who has a right and duty to speak and act against their own oppression or that of others, and hinders people from uniting to fight all oppression. It does this in order to silence the voices that need to be speaking out louder than ever.






Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Statement from Meko Williams, mother of LaReko Williams, murdered by Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina police, July 2011

September 30, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


 My son, LaReko Williams was Tasered to Death - an expert witness in the civil trial, Dr. Shahad, said that he never in his life seen a heart that look like that. The electricity fried his heart. Dr. Shahad stated it look as if someone through an atomic bomb in his chest. At Rise Up October I want a picture of my son with his face on banners. The law is designed so that police officers are allowed immunity. Also, they scare the jurors in civil trials, because all jurors are registered voters, and the police have their personal information that pertains to their address and contact information.

Rise Up October is a unity, it’s making a difference. Many people don’t know when the police steal a life, it’s life changing for the whole family. My [other] son’s birthday is 4 days after LaReko was murder. We had a candlelight vigil on his birthday. His reaction to Reko’s vigil was “what a fucking birthday.” They were very close brothers. I support Rise Up October because we are standing up for something right! In the eyes of society the media always justifies homicide by focusing on a charge but not on convictions. The truth of the matter is a deceased persons record isn't relevant if it don't have no bearing to the situation, period. They don’t release police officers service records or internal affairs records or complaint records or disciplinary action records because they don’t want you to know the truth. They try to justify when it’s unjustified! If there is no accountability it will always be liability. Police officers are trained to disrespect us as a way, they say, to defuse a situation! When it makes the situation worse!

Rise Up October everybody should stand up. Families have to tell their stories over and over again, reliving the moments with emotions raging, a sensitive situation, because we will be reliving the moment with a deep rooted pain no one could imagine unless they are in our shoes. My last memory of LaReko was when he walked out the door thinking he would be returning and said “I LOVE YALL SEE YOU TOMORROW”!!!

Rise Up October ~ come together with other mothers and fathers that know your pain and your day to day struggle in life, trying to adjust. Rise Up October is my biggest thing!





Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Action Plan from Students at Truman College, Missouri, for Rise Up October

October 1, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

A meeting was hosted by a campus SDS chapter at Truman College in northern Missouri. Fifteen students showed up. After quick introductions, there was a short presentation by a revcom and Rise Up October organizer from another city about the emergency of police murder, the crossroads the struggle to stop police terror faces today, and how Rise Up October can be a turning point to make a leap in the struggle to stop police murder by challenging society about “what side are you on?” and bringing many people off the sidelines and into the streets for #RiseUpOctober. Students discussed the situation and what the stakes are in making a leap in our resistance, or not. At first students talked about getting a dozen or two to NYC. But soon something different came into focus—a vision of #RiseUpOctober becoming a big thing on the whole campus with many students being mobilized for the showdown in NYC October 24. With that orientation, students jumped right into getting organized! They brainstormed ideas, made plans, and delegated responsibility, and came up with this action plan.

I. Creating a list of students, showing their degrees of interest through high, medium, or low. This is on a Google Doc, which can be seen and edited by anyone.

II. Exploring various modes of transportation. We are looking into options such as a university bus, a commercial bus, trains from out of Quincy, IL, and if there is still a possibility of traveling with your group, we would like to explore this option as well. If we end up getting out own commercial bus, we intend on having the bus leave out of STL at the same time as your group so that we may caravan and increase communication between each other during the travels.

III. Next we are pursuing recruitment for the event. We have fashioned a contact e-mail for Truman students specifically to contact to the Stop Mass Incarceration leaflets you provided us with. We are in the process of reaching out to various leaders on our campus such as the university President, and Professors in the efforts to find sponsors for individual students to attend the event.

IV. In addition to these plans, we are creating a lead in week on our campus the week of the event in NYC. Our plans are as follows...   

a. Tuesday—Open Forum Discussion on Event, Mass Incarceration, and Police Brutality.

b. Wednesday—850 Man Vigil recognizes and mourning the lives lost to police brutality in the last year. We will be lighting 850 candles at a memorial building on our campus, lit next to our university’s eternal flame. Here we will be raising awareness and accepting donations for the efforts of the trip.

c. Thursday—Classroom Walk Out and on campus Die-In Demonstration.

V. Leave for the trip!!!

We are working on contacting various chapters of SDS through the national conference calls and we are also having members participate in the Rise Up October national calls to help keep momentum and spread ideas. If you have any further questions, comments, or concerns with what we are doing, please let us know. We wish to gain a strong support within our community to bring to Rise Up October and to get involved in this and political activism in general. We cannot wait to see this all come together and be marching by your sides at the protest on NYC.





Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Five Miami jail officers fired for bribing incarcerated teens to brutally assault each other

October 1, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


This piece by Shaun King originally appeared at on October 1, 2015.

Screenshot of TV report on Elord Revolte

Four days after being arrested this past August, teenager Elord Revolte left the Miami lockup on a stretcher, beaten to a bloody pulp by as many as 20 other incarcerated teens. He died with too many injuries to name here. Now, we've just learned that five officers (including supervisors) inside of the jail have been fired for falsifying reports and bribing kids with drinks and snacks to brutally beat one another.

Sometimes it was for payback. Other times it appears the officers did it just as a cruel, cheap form of entertainment. Whatever the case, officers are literally using $1 honey buns to entice kids to beat and kill one another. In a deeply disturbing special report from Carol Marbin Miller of the Miami Herald, many human rights violations are detailed.

The Miami Herald first learned of the alleged connection between honey buns and beatings the day after Elord died, when his short-term foster mother described the practice in detail to a reporter, who then asked the public defenders in Miami-Dade and Broward counties if they were aware of it.

The next day, an assistant public defender told Osborne, his boss, that detainees at the Miami lockup — most of whom are represented by their office — had disclosed being offered honey buns by guards looking for someone to hurt another detainee.

“When I asked [the lawyer], ‘Why honey buns?’ he stated these kids are incarcerated, so they don’t get anything like that in here. In here, a honey bun is like a million dollars,” Osborne told the Herald.

The system was so horrific that when any of the kids even thought of speaking out, guards let them know that it might just have lethal consequences and repercussions for them as well.

“I will put a honey bun on your head if you don’t do what I say,” one detainee quoted a guard to his lawyer.

“Sometimes it’s Skittles,” Osborne said. “It’s not always honey buns. Sometimes it’s Snickers. If they really want a child hurt, and they really want to ensure a kid will do it, the big treat is any kind of fast food, like a cheeseburger.”

Now, kids, parents, public defenders, and community leaders from all across the region are confirming the practice of guards using honey buns and other snacks to enforce violent vendettas inside of the jails.


This type of cruel treatment, forcing hungry people to fight and even kill one another over food, has often been seen in prisoner of war and concentration camps. This appears to be exactly what is happening in Miami and throughout Florida.

Clients of the Broward Public Defender’s Office have told their lawyers that officers will order a pizza or Chinese food and offer leftovers to kids “who are willing to do their bidding.”

Part of the problem, Weekes said, is that the teenagers in DJJ custody seldom are given enough food to gain the caloric intake their bodies require. “These are teens, and all they want to do is eat and eat and eat and eat, because they’re growing,” Weekes said, adding that he had encouraged state juvenile justice authorities to allow detainees to get “seconds” in the chow line.






Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

Massacre in Yemen: Blessed by the U.S. Godfathers

October 1, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


The Godfather ends with gangster Michael Corleone attending the baptism of his nephew at the same time his underlings unleash a bloodbath upon his enemies. This week, Barack Obama gave his tacit blessing to a real-life slaughter that totally eclipsed the violence and hypocrisy of that fictional movie scene.

On Tuesday, September 29, Obama chaired a United Nations meeting on “combating terrorism.” On September 28, key U.S. ally Saudi Arabia led a bombing attack that rained death on a wedding party in Yemen. By Tuesday afternoon, while Obama’s “anti-terrorism” conference was in full swing, a UN official reported that the gruesome toll of dead from the wedding bombing had reached 135.

The Saudi-led coalition has repeatedly and ruthlessly murdered thousands of Yemeni civilians by bombing. (See “Mass Murder of Civilians in Yemen ‘Made in USA‘“). The U.S. has fully backed the Saudi-led onslaught and has sent over $90 billion in military equipment to the Islamic fundamentalist Saudi government in the last five years.

Saudi officials at first said the bombing of this wedding party was “a mistake”; within a few hours they were denying responsibility. But two things are certain. One is that the blood of thousands of dead Yemeni civilians is on the hands of Obama and other U.S. officials, who sponsor, advise, and supply the Saudi military and who provide diplomatic and political support to the thoroughly reactionary Saudi government. The horrific, ongoing massacres and devastation that have turned Yemen into a living hell are truly “made in the USA.” The other is that Michael Corleone and his family couldn’t hold a candle to the worldwide terror presided over by Barack Obama and other U.S. rulers, and to the crimes of the U.S. empire.

STOP wars of empire, armies of occupation, and crimes against humanity!






Revolution #406 September 28, 2015

DePaul University Students Say: Get on the Bus to NYC!

October 2, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


DePaul University students say "Get on the bus for October 24 in NYC"


On September 30, students at DePaul University in Chicago hosted a program on Rise Up October. They heard from two women whose sons were murdered by police: LaToya Howell, whose son Justus was killed by Zion, Illinois police; and Gloria Pinex, whose son Darius was killed by Chicago police. The students were moved to act. So they (along with others) took this picture together to challenge students everywhere to do what they are doing: show everyone that you are going to New York for October 24 AND then challenge people to contribute the money to help you—and many others—get there. Tickets from Chicago are available online at Rise Up October-Chicago Buses