Revolution #453, August 22, 2016 (

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #453 August 22, 2016

People being rescued from flooded homes along the Tangipahoa River near Amite, La., August 13.
Starting on Thursday, August 11, a relentless downpour produced a major flood crisis throughout southern Louisiana. Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes. At least 13 people are dead. Above: an aerial photo shows people being rescued from flooded homes along the Tangipahoa River near Amite, Louisiana, August 13. (Photo: Ted Jackson/ The Times-Picayune via AP)

Resident wades through flood water at Tiger Manor Apartments by Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Aug. 13.

There has been a stunning lack of assistance from the government during and in the aftermath of the flood. Government services essentially collapsed for days. Above: A resident wades through floodwater at Tiger Manor Apartments by Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, August 13. (Photo: Brianna Paciorka/The Advocate via AP)

Volunteers pull a boat with a woman and young child as they evacuate from their homes, Aug. 13, 2016, in Baton Rouge

A woman told Revolution: “Everywhere that I went there were large groups of young Black men, some of them in boats for the first time in their lives—they never even been in a boat but they were in them to try to save people out of their homes.” Above: Volunteers pull a boat with a woman and young child as people evacuate their homes, Baton Rouge, August 13. (Photo: John Oubre/The Advocate via AP)

People evacuating a flooded neighborhood in Baton Rouge, Aug. 13

A woman told Revolution: “In Baton Rouge? Nah, haven’t seen them [the authorities] do anything to help people. But the people in that community were amazing. They didn’t have much, but they were focused on helping us....They talk about looting, but I didn’t see any of that. I didn’t hear any about it either. But I did see a lot of people helping each other out.” Above: People evacuating a flooded neighborhood in Baton Rouge, August 13. (Photo: John Oubre/The Advocate via AP)

Men pile up debris outside a flooded auto parts store in Albany, La., Aug 17, 2016.

Tens of thousands of homes have been irreparably damaged. In Livingston Parish (county), east of Baton Rouge, 75 percent of the homes are a total loss. Rotting, stinking furniture and belongings have been hauled out to the streets. Above: Men pile up debris outside a flooded auto parts store in Albany, Louisiana, August 17. (AP photo)

The Louisiana Flood: A Natural Disaster, A Disastrous System

August 22, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a Revolution correspondent reporting from Baton Rouge, Louisiana:

On August 11, a wave of torrential rain hit the area in and around Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Day after day of relentless downpours produced a major flood crisis throughout southern Louisiana. Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes, over a large area stretching from Lafayette east to Baton Rouge and beyond. At least 13 people are dead. Tens of thousands of homes have been irreparably damaged. One official said that in Livingston Parish (county), east of Baton Rouge, 75 percent of the homes are a "total loss." Many schools, churches, and community centers are shut down; it is uncertain when or if they will reopen. As CNN reported about the rains that soaked Louisiana, "This disaster is the worst to hit the United States since Superstorm Sandy."

Unearthed coffins drifted down the main streets of towns. Snakes and even fish entered people's living rooms. People who took a wrong turn while seeking safety found themselves suddenly engulfed with water that made their cars inoperable, and sometimes were swept away by the deluge. People were stranded without necessary medication for diabetes, cancer, and other life-threatening conditions. Bodies were found washed up on riverbanks, or by roadsides. Shit and waste from sewers backed up and filled people's kitchens and bedrooms.

Everywhere, people told stories of water that engulfed their homes quickly, not a gradually seeping intrusion. One man told the Associated Press that water had reached waist level outside his mobile home Thursday night, and that he had seen an alligator swim by. One woman told us, "I have friends of mine that said they were walking in the water, trying to get out, to escape the water up to their chest and sometimes up to their chins. I am talking men, 6'1"; 6'3", OK? Water was just still and then the current got so strong that they could hardly stand up, like instantly something happened and the water was just coming in from nowhere, coming, coming, coming from nowhere."

Abandoned by the System

There has been a stunning lack of assistance from the government during and in the aftermath of the flood. Government services essentially collapsed for days. The vast majority of people rescued from flooded homes were rescued by volunteers. Conditions in shelters were, and are, appalling. The most vulnerable are not cared for but sleeping on cots left to their own devices to survive. People who were evacuated left life-saving medicine behind, without any access to replacement.

An area that is already one of the poorest in the U.S. has sustained at least $20 billion of residential property damage. Filth and the waterlogged wreckage of people's lives line the streets across the areas of Louisiana known as Acadiana and the Florida Parishes.

Countless people don't know if they have jobs they once held. A woman we spoke to said she had joined a cleanup crew for meager pay because her employer told her that her job was gone "until further notice." Many others have lost the ability to get to jobs that may still be there—thousands of cars have been destroyed in an area with virtually no mass transit.

A toxic sludge covered much of a region renowned for its emerald beauty and abundant wildlife. Now, the air in the region is blanketed with a nauseating stench, and no one really knows about the water.  One woman told Revolution: “ The city stinks.... it literally smells like sewage; you know, like raw sewage ... foul odors everywhere you breathe.”

In desperate straits, people are being told to enter into the bureaucracy of applying for federal assistance or to try to collect on flood insurance—something only a tiny percentage of homeowners can afford. Meanwhile, the governor appeals for charity and donations.

Baton Rouge's "Mason-Dixon Line"

The impact of the flood was determined in part by where the rain came down the hardest. But the impact was also determined by the nature of this system, including the reality that white supremacy is tightly woven into everything about how this system works, and how people live and how people think.

The actual impact of flooding hit hardest in overwhelmingly white areas outside the city of Baton Rouge. These are sprawling communities of small, one-story homes of people who work for some of the lowest wages in the U.S. For many of them, the equity they have in their homes provides what little financial security they have. For the vast majority who couldn't afford flood insurance, the long-term impact of the flood will be devastating. Mainstream news coverage of the impact of flooding in overwhelmingly white areas emphasized and spread unfounded rumors of looting. CNN coverage featured property owners on armed "looter patrols" with the unstated but clear implication that the danger came from Black people from nearby Baton Rouge.

Baton Rouge itself is about half Black, and rigidly segregated. During the Civil War, the “Mason-Dixon line” separated the slave states that formed the Confederacy from the North. Many people in Baton Rouge refer to Florida Boulevard, a major east—west street, as the “Mason-Dixon line” of Baton Rouge. To the south of Florida Boulevard, the population is largely white; north of it, almost all Black people.

The most pervasive property damage took place east of Baton Rouge. But the most severe impact on people’s lives was in the north side of the city. A man in North Baton Rouge said there were no rescue teams sent into his heavily flooded area until "three, maybe four days later." When authorities arrived, it was to enforce curfews and prevent "looting"—not to save lives. In a country where for large sections of society, there are almost unlimited ways to shop and buy stuff, the most basic essentials of survival were not accessible to thousands. Based on what people told us, there was very little of what the system calls "looting," and overwhelmingly it was people getting desperately needed food and medicine that was not available any other way.

North Baton Rouge is where police murdered Alton Sterling on July 15 in front of the Triple S store. The store and the immediate area around it were not flooded, but many nearby streets were under water. One woman in that community told Revolution, "They tell people to go to the shelter, when there are literally no cars in the street. People had to get out of their cars because the water rose so rapidly. They have no transportation. They have no vehicle. They have nothing.

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

Read the entire Constitution For The New Socialist Republic In North America (Draft Proposal) from the RCP at

"And it was like we were almost trapped here. Roads were closed. We had nowhere to go. My sister and cousins and nieces and nephews and Facebook friends were calling me and like 'where are we going? where can we go? how can we get out? You know, if the water starts rising again, how can we leave?' I had no answers. I don't know."

A man in North Baton Rouge took us into his home. He had returned from work to find two feet of water in his house. He said he wasn't able to save anything except some cooking utensils. The water line in the house showed the flood had risen to about 5 ½ feet. His home, like every other one on the street he lived, was already mildewed, despite his efforts at cleaning it up. He and his family went to the home of some relatives—and that night were flooded out again. He had spent two days cleaning up, and told us that not only is all they had ruined, "everything still smells bad, inside and out."

The Real Heroes

While the system abandoned people, people struggled heroically to save each other, to help each other out.

A woman told us, "Everywhere that I went there were large groups of young Black men, some of them in boats for the first time in their lives—they never even been in a boat but they were in them to try to save people out of their homes."

Another young woman stranded on a freeway for 30 hours told us that "I do give much respect to the community out there, because they did come out, and provide water and food to the people stuck on the highway. They made sure the kids had what they needed. They went to they houses and cooked food for us....

"In Baton Rouge? Nah, haven't seen them [the authorities] do anything to help people. But the people in that community were amazing. They didn't have much, but they were focused on helping us. But the police? Nah. They talk about looting, but I didn't see any of that. I didn't hear any about it either. But I did see a lot of people helping each other out."

Unnecessary Suffering

Southern Louisiana is a verdant, lush, semi-tropical landscape. It is ribboned by numerous rivers and bayous; dotted with lakes, ponds, and swamps. Some have overflowed before, causing damage and even loss of life. This is a region where fierce rainstorms are not unusual. And on a global scale, scientists are identifying patterns of more frequent and more extreme weather events, linked to climate change.

Katherine Hayhoe, a climate research scientist at Texas Tech University, said, "Louisiana is always at risk of floods, naturally, but climate change is exacerbating that risk, weighting the dice against us. How long will it be until we finally recognize that the dice are loaded?"

It is obvious that society needs to take a serious and planned approach to anticipate and respond to the danger of flooding in this region, including how to ensure the most basic necessities of life. But that doesn't fit into the "logic" of capitalism. Capitalism is based on and enforces private ownership over the social means of producing wealth and the resources of society. Its logic is NOT human need, but just the opposite: competitive drive for profit that is as relentless and ferocious as the storm that hit Baton Rouge.

People should ask themselves—why is society organized in such a way that any human's ability and right to live are determined ultimately by how this can contribute to the profits of capitalists? People should ask themselves, is this the world they want to continue living in? And they should dig deeper—is this the only kind of world that is possible?

The answer is—no, it isn't. Natural disasters will continue to confront humanity, including in a future socialist society. But when something like this flood happens—the need to maximize profit and put that as first and foremost does NOT need to set the terms for how society responds.

To bring about that kind of fundamental change requires an ACTUAL revolution. In a New Year's message delivered at the beginning of 2014, but at least as timely today, Bob Avakian said:

Revolution is not an impossible dream. It is not "unrealistic." Changing all of society, changing the whole world, is not a crazy or dangerous idea. What is crazy, and dangerous, is going along with the way things are, and where things are heading, under this system. Revolution—a radical change in how society works, how we relate as human beings, what our values are, how we understand the world and act to affect it—this is what we, what people all over the world, desperately need. And it is a lot more realistic than trying to "fix" this system.
(From "This is Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, with a New Year’s message—A Call To REVOLUTION")

Because of Bob Avakian and the work he has done over several decades, there really is a viable vision and strategy for a radically new, and much better, society and world, and there is the crucial leadership that is needed to carry forward the struggle toward that goal. And based on that, there is a Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal). This is a blueprint for a new and totally different state power. It is as serious as it is liberating.






Revolution #453 August 22, 2016

The Science...Actual Revolution title image

Download PDF of entire work

Editors' note: The following is an excerpt from the new work by Bob Avakian, The New Communism. In addition to excerpts already posted on, we will be running further excerpts from time to time on both and in Revolution newspaper. These excerpts should serve as encouragement and inspiration for people to get into the work as a whole, which is available as a book from Insight Press. A prepublication copy is available on line at

This excerpt comes from the section titled "II. Socialism and the Advance to Communism: A Radically Different Way the World Could Be, A Road to Real Emancipation."

Excerpt from the section:
Beyond the Narrow Horizon of Bourgeois Right

This brings me to another very important point: beyond the narrow horizon of bourgeois right—there’s another one of those phrases. “Why is he always talking about getting beyond the narrow horizon of bourgeois right? What does that have to do with what we’re doing now?” Well, if we don’t have a clear understanding of what it is we’re aiming for, then we’re bound to get pulled down into the terms of whatever we’re doing at a given time. And the contradiction is that we do have to do what we’re doing at a given time—we do have to fight the power, we do have to unite with people to resist oppression. We can’t stand to the side like a bunch of religious dogmatists and say: “Well, you know, that struggle’s not gonna do you any good, we need a revolution, so when you come to your senses, come talk to me and I will give you a lecture.” No! We have to mobilize people to struggle against these outrages. This can’t be allowed to just go down. What they’re doing to people in the world, what they’re doing to people right around us—this can’t be allowed to go down—people have to fight this, they have to push back, they have to put the ruling class back on its heels. Even in order to make a revolution, this is crucial, as well as for people not to be crushed and demoralized in immediate terms. What Marx said is true: People cannot rise up for greater things if they’re crushed into broken wretches.

And that’s a lot of what we see happening to the masses of people—many times they feel like broken wretches. They actually internalize the idea that something’s wrong with them, because this is constantly pumped at them. I was talking with somebody recently and they were making the point: Even the thing about god, for oppressed people, if you’re constantly going through a society where you feel degraded—and not just externally degraded, but you’ve internalized this degradation—you feel that you’re less than human because you are constantly made to feel this way, there must be something wrong with you or there must be something wrong with the people around you, because look what they’re always doing; every time it looks like something good is gonna happen, people start fucking over each other. “There must be something wrong with us.” This is a lot of what people have internalized. It’s another crime of the system, that it’s made people internalize this. And this comrade made the point: “Look, even the belief in god, if you feel like a broken wretch—not just beaten down, but you feel like something’s wrong with you—then maybe you can still have some worth because this god loves you anyway, despite what you are.” There are a lot of powerful pulls like this on masses of people. And when we struggle with people, it’s not because we’re contemptuous and look down on them; and it’s certainly not because we want to take away their sense of worth; it’s because we want to enable them to understand that this doesn’t have to be. But if we’re gonna get out from underneath this, we have to have a scientific approach to reality as it actually is, and as it’s full of contradiction and moving and changing.

So this is why these things are so important to get into—because we actually have to be a vanguard for the masses of people. A vanguard doesn’t mean you go out and boss the masses of people around; that’s not the point at all. It means that you understand the way out of this, and you struggle like hell with people to enable them to see it, so they can fight more consciously and bring forward more and more people to do that. That’s the responsibility you take on. That’s the responsibility we’ve taken on, because it’s needed—because, on their own, the masses of people are going to be dragged down, dragged down physically and dragged down mentally—and, to use that term, without giving it any kind of religious meaning, dragged down “spiritually”—dragged down by the workings of this system and the way even the masses of people internalize a lot of what this system pumps at them, and a lot of what it forces them to do.

That’s the thing about commodity relations. Earlier, I referred to Lenin’s point about commodity relations: that capitalism—which is the highest form of, and the generalization of, commodity relations—forces everyone to calculate with the stinginess of a miser. Now, think about that once more. This is what we experience all the time. People will say: “What am I gonna get out of this, is this gonna make any money for me?” And it’s not just that people are greedy—of course, there are a lot of greedy people in this society, it’s constantly encouraged—but for a lot of people, this is a matter of necessity. “How am I gonna feed my kids? Am I gonna pay this bill so my electricity doesn’t get cut off, or am I gonna buy this food? And what food can I buy with this little money that I got? And, yeah, I watched that program where they told me how to eat healthy, but can I afford to buy those foods that they say are healthy?” All these kinds of questions. People are forced to calculate that way, that’s what this commodity system of capitalism does.

And, to go back to that other important thing Lenin said—that capitalism puts in the hands of individuals what is produced by all of society (in fact, all of the world, and Lenin understood that, too): capitalism puts in the hands of individuals what’s produced by a system—a system of exploitation—that encompasses all of the world. That’s what I was getting at earlier, in talking about exchanges of labor. You don’t make all the things that you use. It’s a whole social process, a socialized process, production that’s a highly internationalized process now. You can go home and look in your closet or whatever— look at your clothes and, if you find any made in America, let me know. And this is true for a lot of things that are consumed. This is an internationalized process. But it ends up putting in the hands of individuals things that are produced by all of society, produced now all over the world. Of course, it’s not that we don’t want individuals to have personal items, that’s not the point. The point is that there’s a socialized process here, and there are capitalists who accumulate capital out of all this socialized production, who then keep it going by using that as the basis to exploit more and more. This is the system we’re living under, and people are not going to spontaneously understand this, because they’re completely caught up in it. Materially and in terms of their thinking, they’re completely caught up in it. As miserable as it is for so many people, as horrific as it is for so many people, they are not going to come to see the essence of this, and the way out of this, on their own.

This is why we talk about getting beyond the narrow horizon of bourgeois right. In the first part of Making Revolution and Emancipating Humanity, I started off talking about this: After watching the 2003 film, Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About, this high school student says he really liked it—“I agree with everything in there, and I really liked the vision of the future society”—but, he went on, “if I invent something, I want to get more for it.” And there we go, we’re off to the races, because, in order for that to be true, you have to have the whole set of relations that you say you don’t like. But people are not going to come to understand that this is all bound up with the system of exploitation, and all those things that are talked about in the “4 Alls,” unless somebody who has been able to get this understanding brings it to them and struggles with them about it. And this question of whether we’re thinking about bourgeois right, or thinking beyond it, is not just a question for the far stages of socialism; it has everything to do with people’s orientation now. If your orientation is “I wanna get more,” then we’re not gonna get anywhere beyond this system. It’s not that everybody’s going to give up every aspect of that before we make a revolution—if we think that, we’ll never have a revolution. There are going to be a lot of people who fight for this revolution who are still going to be caught up in various bourgeois ways of thinking, including the idea that they want to get more. But there has to be a force at the core, a growing force—thousands and ultimately millions—who are moving beyond that way of approaching the world, moving beyond calculations made with the stinginess of a miser, calculations of bourgeois right. Because bourgeois right, as I pointed out in Making and Emancipating Part 1, is a way of thinking—or it is a set of relations as well as ideas—that correspond ultimately to commodity production and commodity relations. And we have to get beyond commodities, in the relations between people and in people’s thinking.




Publisher's Note

Introduction and Orientation

Foolish Victims of Deceit, and Self-Deceit

Part I. Method and Approach, Communism as a Science

Materialism vs. Idealism
Dialectical Materialism
Through Which Mode of Production
The Basic Contradictions and Dynamics of Capitalism
The New Synthesis of Communism
The Basis for Revolution
Epistemology and Morality, Objective Truth and Relativist Nonsense
Self and a “Consumerist” Approach to Ideas
What Is Your Life Going to Be About?—Raising People’s Sights

Part II. Socialism and the Advance to Communism:
            A Radically Different Way the World Could Be, A Road to Real Emancipation

The “4 Alls”
Beyond the Narrow Horizon of Bourgeois Right
Socialism as an Economic System and a Political System—And a Transition to Communism
Abundance, Revolution, and the Advance to Communism—A Dialectical Materialist Understanding
The Importance of the “Parachute Point”—Even Now, and Even More With An Actual Revolution
The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America
   Solid Core with a Lot of Elasticity on the Basis of the Solid Core
Emancipators of Humanity

Part III. The Strategic Approach to An Actual Revolution

One Overall Strategic Approach
Hastening While Awaiting
Forces For Revolution
Separation of the Communist Movement from the Labor Movement, Driving Forces for Revolution
National Liberation and Proletarian Revolution
The Strategic Importance of the Struggle for the Emancipation of Women
The United Front under the Leadership of the Proletariat
Youth, Students and the Intelligentsia
Struggling Against Petit Bourgeois Modes of Thinking, While Maintaining the Correct Strategic Orientation
The “Two Maximizings”
The “5 Stops”
The Two Mainstays
Returning to "On the Possibility of Revolution"
Internationalism—Revolutionary Defeatism
Internationalism and an International Dimension
Internationalism—Bringing Forward Another Way
Popularizing the Strategy
Fundamental Orientation

Part IV. The Leadership We Need

The Decisive Role of Leadership
A Leading Core of Intellectuals—and the Contradictions Bound Up with This
Another Kind of “Pyramid”
The Cultural Revolution Within the RCP
The Need for Communists to Be Communists
A Fundamentally Antagonistic Relation—and the Crucial Implications of That
Strengthening the Party—Qualitatively as well as Quantitatively
Forms of Revolutionary Organization, and the “Ohio”
Statesmen, and Strategic Commanders
Methods of Leadership, the Science and the “Art” of Leadership
Working Back from “On the Possibility”—
   Another Application of “Solid Core with a Lot of Elasticity on the Basis of the Solid Core”

Appendix 1:
The New Synthesis of Communism:
Fundamental Orientation, Method and Approach,
and Core Elements—An Outline
by Bob Avakian

Appendix 2:
Framework and Guidelines for Study and Discussion


Selected List of Works Cited

About the Author





Revolution #453 August 22, 2016

Wisconsin Governor Calls Out National Guard—Milwaukee Youth Refuse to Back Down

August 15, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

See also:

Statement from Carl Dix: Milwaukee Explodes in Righteous Rebellion as Police Kill Again!

August 15: Carl Dix Responds to Milwaukee Police Chief Flynn over Police Murder

On Saturday, August 13, 2016, Sylville Smith, 23 years old, was gunned down by police in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the neighborhood around Sherman Park. Residents told Revolution what happened when the neighborhood erupted in righteous anger: Sylville was shot around 2 pm in broad daylight and people began to amass spontaneously in protest at the site. A woman who heard the shots and went over there said, “The police was hostile—told us to disperse—so that’s when we went to the BP [gas] station.” It turns out that there was a long history of antagonism with this particular gas station, culminating last month with an employee there firing his gun in the air to terrorize people and there were protests over this. “Things escalated from there,” the woman said, and before long the police had come in with their “riot crew.” She said that the initial crowd of people protesting the murder included “family and friends of Sylville, young, and old from the neighborhood, and everywhere.”

A youth organizer from the area talked about the attitudes of the youth: “They have a distrust of the system. They’ve been demonized and targeted. They are fearless, angry, ostracized, and nobody wants to deal with them. They feel ‘it’s us against everybody,’” and he made clear that “everybody” included adult Black people. He compared the incident to the murder of Freddie Gray, in that he had talked to family and found out that they had a lawsuit against the police, and that Sylville had been stopped and chased for no apparent reason.

Milwaukee erupted like Ferguson and Baltimore. A part of the city went up in flames as the masses made it clear that they were fed up and not taking it anymore. In response, the governor called out the National Guard and went all-out to get community and church leaders to suppress the youth.

As Carl Dix said in his statement, “Milwaukee Explodes in Righteous Rebellion as Police Kill Again!”:

"This rebellion is right on time. Despite police wearing body cameras, despite Department of Justice reports that expose the racism and abuse in police departments across the country, despite commission meetings and talk of reforms, police continue to kill people again and again. And the whole system continues to exonerate the killer cops when their murderous deeds get dragged into the light of day. People in Milwaukee have refused to accept this state-sponsored murder in silence, and they are right to do so. And everyone who stands for justice must have their backs."

Revolutionaries from Chicago arrived on Sunday, the day after the rebellion, in time to join a protest at the police precinct a few blocks down the street from the burned out BP gas station and now ground zero for continuing protests. The Stolen Lives banner came out, along with the Message from the Central Committee of the RCP, “Time To Get Organized for an Actual Revolution” (now reflected on the banner itself.) Also distributed were Carl Dix’s statement and copies of Revolution newspaper, and many Stolen Lives posters.

Milwaukee, Sunday August 14. Photo: Special to

In preparation for the arrival of the Revolution Club, in the evening, a crew saturated with these materials, posted large versions of the Message and the poster “America Was Never Great—We Need to Overthrow, Not Vote For, This System” in key locations. The small Stolen Lives posters were so popular you couldn’t keep them in your hands as people gave donations for them. All the Revolution newspapers and Carl’s statement got out.
A vigil for Sylville was held starting at 7 pm at the site of the murder. Here the consistent message from ministers, “responsible leaders” and even a few family members was that OK, you’ve made your statement, “we already showed them what we can do,” but now is the time to get peaceful, go to the town hall meeting next Tuesday, get right with God, start behaving responsibly in general and get our own house in order, and demand answers through proper channels. The crowd around these speakers grew smaller and smaller as the youth in particular heard this blaming and shaming and dissing of their standing up in righteous rebellion the night before.

By this time the Revolution Club arrived, with their BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less! t-shirts, and a big Stolen Lives banner with the words “Stop Murder and Terror by the Police” and “We Need to get organized for an ACTUAL Revolution.” As a quiet march to Sherman Park was being led by the Nation of Islam (NOI), the Revolution Club began chanting, “Indict, Convict, Send the Killer Cops to Jail, the whole damn system is guilty as hell!” Other marchers also began chants. The march grew and by the time it reached a fountain area in the park it had grown to over 200 people. Here, the NOI put out a message that “God is present. The God of Justice brings forth justice—even if the Department of Justice doesn’t,” and they urged people to leave the park and go home. 

As this too began to disperse... the youth looking disconsolate... the Revolution Club stepped up. A club member started to agitate: “I salute the youth! I salute what you did! You shook they ass up! The country heard you, the world heard you!” This marked the beginning of a different evening! The faces of many youth began to brighten, and they gravitated to the agitation. “I’m not trying to sugar coat a damn thing. We need to get rid of this system from the bottom up. Not one brick here and one brick there. You need to get with BA, Bob Avakian. He’s got a scientific approach—not this lollygagging BS!”

The “responsible officials” felt the need to squelch this revolutionary breath of fresh air from going further. Instead, the Revolution Club once again began marching and agitating followed by many youth.

At the corner the crowd took over a lane of traffic on this four-lane road. The Revolution Club held a speak out. The speaker from the Revolution Club continued to speak from the heart: “Justice is blind as hell—I’ve never seen any. (Police) shoot a 7-year-old baby in the head!” “This is a murderous state—Vietnam, Iraq—the U.S. is a killer!” Quoting Philando Castile’s mother, the speaker from the Club said, “‘He lived by the law and the law killed him’... What type of system does all this—and then allows the cops to go free? Get with the Revolutionary Communist Party, I’m with the Revolution Club...”

This drew forth and opened the door to masses to really speak their minds. A woman grabbed the mic—“We’re not taking this anymore! Fuck You! Slavery is over Motherfuckers!” A young man followed, expressing the exact opposite of what the speakers at the vigil and the NOI were trying to impose: “We done prayin’ We done beggin’!” and then went on to expose the hypocrisy of the system blaming the people for violence while condoning the gas station employee firing his gun in front of children. The police, meanwhile, were lurking nearby but not directly intervening. The authorities did, however, send about six fire trucks with lights and sirens blaring up to the vigil and then down the road a block, sending a message to the people.

Photo: Special to

The Revolution Club then helped organize people to march back to the police precinct. Angry people faced off against the police who were guarding the precinct. Many other youth hung back on the corners and side streets nearby. But they could hear the agitation from the Revolution Club, and this drew them forward, across the street into the protest. The protest then spilled out into a nearby three-way intersection. Several young women began to yell at the top of their lungs, “Yeahhh!” The triangle in the middle of the intersection was taken over by at least 75 people, with many more all over, cars driving by in a steady stream, 99 percent of them taking the Message from the RCP, many people taking up the Message to distribute in bundles, walking down the middle of the street handing them out to cars, people holding up the Message, plastering it up against the windows of their cars. A fancied-up car with huge rims came up and blocked the street in front of the intersection. Supportive Black motorcyclists began to show up in numbers. A couple of times the crowd left the intersection and started to march, but then went back to the intersection yelling, “Shut it down!” The Revolution Club, the Stolen Lives banner, and their agitation were in the mix of all this, with a growing periphery of revolutionaries and masses getting out the message. Well over a thousand Messages were gotten out through the day, many in bundles.

Read Message | Download PDF 11x17"

Listen to audio of the Message, recorded by members of the Revolution Club

Still the size and intensity of the march and protest grew as we took off down the street back to the BP station a few blocks away. People started turning up their radios, hanging out of windows and through their moon roofs dancing and calling out. One revolutionary who was handing out the Message to people in their cars heard someone call out, “White boy! Hey White boy—don’t be so shy, don’t be scared—give me those!” and off he went with a large bundle of fliers. It had the real feel of a festival of the oppressed.

As the group of marchers and cars again approached ground zero, the mood changed again. Dead serious. Women in particular yelling out their open car door, or right up the face of the police waiting in their riot gear at the station, “Fuck the Police!” “Fuck you!”

The police brought out all their shit—several armored vehicles, dozens of squads from several jurisdictions, robo cop gear and automatic weapons, busses, paddy wagons, assault wagons, etc., etc. They announced an “unlawful assembly,” ordered dispersal on pain of arrest, and then used a phalanx of riot-clad and shielded cops to push the protesters a block south of the main intersection. As has been widely reported, the masses, the youth in particular, bravely stood their ground and did not let the police intimidate them. At least 14 people were arrested.

In retaliation, that chief OINKER of the sheriff’s, David Clarke, announced on Monday, August 15 that Sherman Park, where the youth gather, will be closed to the public at 6 pm.

The city and the Milwaukee police announced a curfew for teenagers of 10 pm. The mayor and the police chief went on the news and whined that the whole problem was caused by outside agitators from the Revolutionary Communist Party (where have we heard that before!). News flash to pigs—only the defiant youth in the community were on the ground on Saturday! Revolutionaries plead guilty to supporting the defiant ones who rise up against murdering police and centuries of oppression rained down on Black people.





Revolution #453 August 22, 2016

Statement from Carl Dix:

Milwaukee Explodes in Righteous Rebellion as Police Kill Again!

August 14, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


Saturday night people in Milwaukee poured into the streets in rebellion after police gunned down another Black man. The authorities wasted no time in demonizing the person gunned down, 23-year-old Sylville Smith—saying that he was armed and had a lengthy criminal record—trying to justify the murderous actions of their cops. But still people took to the streets, in the face of cops flooding the neighborhood armed to the teeth and even shooting at people to try to force them to disperse. People have righteously defended themselves in the face of this savage pig violence.

This rebellion is right on time. Despite police wearing body cameras, despite Department of Justice reports that expose the racism and abuse in police departments across the country, despite commission meetings and talk of reforms, police continue to kill people again and again. And the whole system continues to exonerate the killer cops when their murderous deeds get dragged into the light of day. People in Milwaukee have refused to accept this state-sponsored murder in silence, and they are right to do so. And everyone who stands for justice must have their backs.

This spirit must be built on and spread. In order to end the horror of police getting away with murder, it has to become part of an actual revolution; one that overthrows this system, defeating and dismantling its institutions of violent suppression, and brings into being a totally different and far better system. We need to live in a world where those responsible for public security would sooner lose their own lives than kill or injure an innocent person. It'll take a revolution to bring that kind of world into being.

The Revolutionary Communist Party is organizing right now for that actual revolution. The Party is preparing the ground—influencing people and society as a whole toward revolution and toward fighting the outrages of society... the Party is preparing the people—raising people's sights to the different world that is possible and the leadership we have in Bob Avakian and the Party he leads to realize that world... and preparing the vanguard—getting ready for the time when millions can be led to go for revolution, all-out, with a real chance to win.

If you hate seeing police murder Black people and others again and again, if you want to see a world where this horror is no more, get with the RCP and the ACTUAL revolution it is organizing! Go to and join with the Revolution Club. Get organized for an actual revolution!





Revolution #453 August 22, 2016

August 15:

Carl Dix Responds to Milwaukee Police Chief Flynn over Police Murder

August 15, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


Milwaukee Police Chief Flynn has blamed people associated with the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) for violence against police Sunday night. No, pig chief Flynn—people in Milwaukee rose in rebellion after a cop killed Sylville Smith because they were enraged at the harassment, brutality and even murder inflicted on Black people there. And they are right to stand up and say NO MORE to this state sponsored violence.

We in the RCP stand with the people who are fighting the power today to STOP the terror police inflict on Black people, and we work to transform the people for revolution, which is what's needed to end this and all the other horrors this system enforces on people in this country and around the world.

Pig Chief Flynn also tells us that the cop who killed Sylville Smith acted “within lawful bounds.” This system has also told us that the cop who murdered Dontre Hamilton acted within “lawful bounds”; that the cop who murdered Tamir Rice in Cleveland acted within “lawful bounds”; that the cops who murdered Freddie Gray in Baltimore acted within “lawful bounds”; and I could go on and on listing murdering cops who have been exonerated by this system.

A system that gives its stamp of approval to wanton police terror is absolutely illegitimate. It's been around too long and needs to be gotten rid of through revolution. In a revolutionary society, as Bob Avakian, the leader of the RCP, has said, “...[W]e would sooner have one of our own people’s police killed than go wantonly murder one of the masses.”

We in the RCP are organizing right now for an actual revolution to get rid of this system and bring into being the kind of society where the kind of state sponsored brutality being inflicted today would be no more.

See also:
August 14, 2016 Statement from Carl Dix: “Milwaukee Explodes in Righteous Rebellion as Police Kill Again!






Revolution #453 August 22, 2016

A Response to Noam Chomsky and John Halle:

We Don't Need "Lesser Evil Voting" OR "Third Party Voting"
We Need to Overthrow this Whole System at the Soonest Possible Time!

August 22, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


Bob Avakian and Cornel West on: Is there value to voting? Can voting stop fascism?

From a reader:

Bob Avakian (BA) has written that, “In a world marked by profound class divisions and social inequality, to talk about ‘democracy’—without talking about the class nature of that democracy and which class it serves—is meaningless, and worse.”

Today, Noam Chomsky and John Halle are providing a powerful example of the “worse” BA spoke of. In “An Eight Point Brief For LEV (Lesser Evil Voting)“ published on June 15, Chomsky and Halle argue that the extreme dangers of Donald Trump obligate “the left” to go out and vote for Hillary Clinton.

The problem is not merely that Chomsky and Halle advocate support for someone (Hillary Clinton) who is neck-deep in the genocide of Black people and crimes against humanity stretching from Iraq to Libya and beyond. The deeper problem is they remain locked within—and are objectively fighting to keep others locked within—the dictates of a system that requires and thrives on genocidal oppression of Black people and crimes against humanity from one corner of the globe to the other.

Let’s examine how this is so.

First, Chomsky and Halle build their entire argument for “lesser evil voting” in opposition to the strategy of supporting third party candidates. But these are NOT our only choices.

In fact, these “choices” are just different expressions of the same fundamental error of accepting and remaining imprisoned within the capitalist dictatorship—and the choices offered to us by that dictatorship—with all the horrors this system inflicts on people worldwide. This includes the U.S.’s imperialist wars, genocidal mass incarceration, vicious brutality against women, destruction of the environment, and demonization of immigrants. You see, these crimes are not mere “policy problems.” They are deep fault lines of this society rooted in, and today inextricably woven into, the system of capitalism-imperialism as it has emerged in America. These crimes cannot be ended under this system.

As such, what is needed is neither “lesser evil voting” nor “third party voting” under this system—which, in effect, amounts to voting for the system.

What is needed is an actual revolution that overthrows this system and replaces it with a radically different system, the New Socialist Republic in North America. Only in this way can we put an end to the horrors this system generates, and will continue to generate, no matter who wins their elections.

Second, in making their argument for “lesser evil voting,” Chomsky and Halle insist that the dangers of Trump outweigh the dangers posed by Clinton.

But, the problem is far bigger than Trump. Trump and the extreme fascist rhetoric and program he is spewing grows out of this country’s deep white supremacy and jingoistic bigotry as well as the particular needs of a system of global exploitation and oppression as it confronts extreme challenges. This is why all the ruling class media and major politicians have consistently treated Trump as a “legitimate” candidate. Think, for example, of the hours and hours of “reasoned debate” that have been granted to his genocidal fantasies and barbaric misogyny.

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

Read the entire Constitution For The New Socialist Republic In North America (Draft Proposal) from the RCP at

What must be confronted is this: Any system that treats a Nazi like Trump as “legitimate” is itself completely IL-legitimate. Such a system needs to be overthrown, not voted for.

A key part of preparing for revolution is waging mass independent political resistance. This, in fact, is the ONLY way to beat back this system’s crimes and is an essential part of getting ready to bring this system down. The more that fierce political resistance is built—to this country’s wars for empire, its rampant misogyny, its demonization of immigrants, its genocide against Black people, and its destruction of the environment, and the more this resistance is linked to making an actual revolution, the better the situation will be no matter who becomes president.

In contrast, the more that people do as Chomsky and Halle advocate and find their place within the criminal choices being dictated by the criminal system that rules over us, the worse things will be. As Bob Avakian has pointed out in a recent audio, “Continually accepting the framework and ‘choices’ dictated—yes, DICTATED—by this system and its ruling forces and institutions, repeatedly rallying to or acquiescing in the lesser evil, only leads to greater and greater evil.” (transcription mine)

This has been true repeatedly, including under Obama. Far too many people rallied to Obama when he first ran for president, in large part because he did not seem as war-mongering or vicious as President Bush. What was the result? Obama has outdone Bush in terms of drone strikes, deportations, legalizing spying, assassinating U.S. citizens,1 torturing and imprisoning whistle-blowers, and much, much more. Meanwhile, people who had protested these things when Bush did them remained silent when Obama did them.

Or what about Hillary Clinton herself? As secretary of state, she was a major part not only of the crimes carried out under Obama, she was also a knowing and active part of Bill Clinton’s massive escalation of criminalization and incarceration of Black people, the demolition of welfare programs that millions of impoverished women and children depended on, the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border, and the vicious sanctions that murdered half a million Iraqi children, and more. In her current campaign audition to be commander in chief, she’s pledging not only to continue Obama’s war crimes, but to escalate them in the Middle East.

Rallying behind Hillary Clinton, even if you do it in the name of “opposing the worse evil,” is giving your endorsement to all this. It makes you complicit in these crimes. And it strengthens the system that is the cause of these crimes.


Third, and most fundamentally, what underlies all of this is that Chomsky and Halle fall precisely into the error Bob Avakian warns against. They fail to recognize the class nature of U.S. democracy and which class it serves.

In the very first sentence of their brief, they write: “Among the elements of the weak form of democracy enshrined in the constitution, presidential elections continue to pose a dilemma for the left in that any form of participation or non participation appears to impose a significant cost on our capacity to develop a serious opposition to the corporate agenda served by establishment politicians.” (emphasis mine)

But, the problem is not that the “form of democracy enshrined in the constitution” of the U.S. is “weak.” Nor is it that some “corporate agenda” has corrupted “establishment politicians.” The problem is that “the form of democracy enshrined in the constitution” is one that—like the U.S. Constitution itself—reflects and serves the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie (the capitalist class). The capitalist class owns and controls the major means of production—the land, natural resources, energy, factories, transportation and communications systems, etc.—and they amass enormous wealth by viciously exploiting people here and around the world. And they enforce this exploitation through the capitalist state—through invasions, occupations, torture, coups d’état, drone strikes, extra-judicial assassinations, wanton murder by police, and more. Never has their state power—its armies and its police, its courts and its prisons—been used for any purpose other than to enforce the interests of the capitalist class, nor could it be.

Bob Avakian, "The 'voting trap' under capitalism"

From: Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About. A film of a talk by Bob Avakian, 2003

All this is what sets the terms for what this system does—NOT their elections.

In fact, one of the most powerful examples of how this is true can be found in the very experience Chomsky and Halle cite—but completely misinterpret.

Chomsky and Halle indict what they call an “ultra-left faction of the peace movement” for having “minimized the comparative dangers of the Nixon presidency during the 1968 elections. The result was six years of senseless death and destruction in Southeast Asia and also a predictable fracture of the left setting it up for its ultimate collapse during the backlash decades to follow.”

This is simply not true. It is deeply wrong to blame the antiwar movement—most especially those among it who had the good sense to break out of this system’s elections and put themselves on the line to wage meaningful resistance—for the murder carried out by the U.S. government!

The REAL lesson of the elections surrounding the Vietnam War is precisely the opposite of the conclusions drawn by Chomsky and Halle. To see how, let’s briefly examine the two elections that book-ended the U.S.’s major involvement in its war against Vietnam.

In the 1964 election, Lyndon Johnson promised to scale back U.S. involvement in Vietnam, while Goldwater advocated that U.S. field commanders in Vietnam should be authorized to launch nuclear weapons without presidential confirmation. Yet Johnson was elected and proceeded to escalate the war dramatically.

Then, in 1972, the war-mongering President Nixon was re-elected in a landslide over the antiwar Democrat George McGovern. Yet, just a few months later, Nixon began withdrawing U.S. troops and abandoning the war.

In neither of these cases did the elections play any role whatsoever in determining what the U.S. rulers did in Vietnam. Their choices were determined by the dictates and the needs of their system. For years, the rulers in both major ruling parties felt their interests lay in expanding their domination of Southeast Asia through genocidal military terror and death. As they suffered greater and greater military and political defeats at the hands of Vietnamese liberation fighters—and as increasing numbers of people revolted against them in their own “homeland”—the rulers came to feel their interests lay in withdrawing from that war. Again, NEVER did voting have a damn thing to do with it!

Finally, let us return to the sentence from Bob Avakian that I began with, and include with it the two sentences that follow it:

“In a world marked by profound class divisions and social inequality, to talk about ‘democracy’—without talking about the class nature of that democracy and which class it serves—is meaningless, and worse. So long as society is divided into classes, there can be no ‘democracy for all’: one class or another will rule, and it will uphold and promote that kind of democracy which serves its interests and goals. The question is: which class will rule and whether its rule, and its system of democracy, will serve the continuation, or the eventual abolition, of class divisions and the corresponding relations of exploitation, oppression and inequality.”

Bob Avakian gets it right and it is long past time that others dig into what he is saying and learn from it for real. Great harm is done by failing—or refusing—to recognize the class nature of the democracy that rules over us and which class it serves. As long as the bourgeoisie maintains its monopoly on political power and military might, it will enforce and enshrine a form of democracy that facilitates its ongoing dictatorship over—and exploitation and plunder of—people here and around the world. There is no way to change that by entering into their elections—not through “lesser evil voting” or through “third party voting.”

But this can be changed through an actual revolution. Get into this here.

1. See “The U.S. Assassination in Yemen: Unconstitutional... and Ominous,”, October 9, 2011.




Revolution #453 August 22, 2016

The Deadly Logic of the Lesser Evil

August 1, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


Criminal choices of a criminal system

We had to vote for Obama and the Democrats, we were told, to put a stop to the great harm that was being done by George W. Bush and the Republicans. But did voting for Obama, and having Obama as president, prevent the fascism that has increasingly characterized the Republican Party from reaching a dangerously new level with the Trump candidacy? Obviously not. But why not? Because Obama and the Democrats, as well as Trump and the Republicans, are products and representatives of the same system of capitalism-imperialism, and that system has its fundamental dynamics and ways it has to function, which mean that anyone who rises to the top of that system must continually commit crimes against humanity.

Funneling good sentiments and intentions into voting for Democrats, time after time—accepting and “validating” the logic and assumptions of this system, rather than opposing the whole system and its endless crimes, presided over by both Democrats and Republicans—has made people complicit with these crimes and has contributed to the situation we are in, where an overt, undisguised fascist candidacy, embodied in Trump, is contending seriously to assume the leadership of this system, and it is now being insisted that only voting for Clinton, who is guilty of many despicable and monstrous crimes against humanity herself, can stop Trump and what he represents. As for the argument, “Well, yes, Clinton is not what we really want, she is actually quite bad, but she is ‘the lesser evil,’ and there are realistically only two choices—either Clinton or Trump—so if you don’t go for Clinton you are helping elect Trump,” this actually amounts to nothing more than the argument that, “As long as you accept the logic and ‘choices’ dictated by this system, you have to accept the logic and ‘choices’ dictated by this system.” Doesn’t the fact that this system has produced someone like Trump as a “legitimate” candidate, heading one of the two major political parties of this system—doesn’t this powerfully demonstrate the utter illegitimacy of the whole system? And the fact that Clinton and the Democrats will only oppose Trump with arguments that amount to insisting that they are better representatives of this same system, and can do a better job of perpetrating its crimes—doesn’t this powerfully demonstrate the urgent need to break with the logic and assumptions of this system and rise up against it and those who represent it, including Clinton as well as Trump?






Revolution #453 August 22, 2016

Defiance and Protest Since the Police Murder of Paul O'Neal

August 15, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


From the Revolution Club, Chicago:

The Revolutionary Communist Party IS ORGANIZING NOW TO OVERTHROW THIS SYSTEM AT THE SOONEST POSSIBLE TIME. Preparing to lead an actual revolution to bring about a radically new and better society: the New Socialist Republic in North America.

From Time To Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution—Message from the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

Since the murder of Paul O’Neal by Chicago police on July 27 (“Chicago Police Videos of Paul O’Neal Released: Black Teenager Was Unarmed—‘It was cold-blooded murder’”), there have been repeated outbreaks of protest, including among the youth in the neighborhood where he lived. The Revolution Club has been in the midst of this. This correspondence is to let readers know what has been happening and how the Revolution Club has been working to connect this with Message from the Central Committee of the RCP, USA, “Time To Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution” and carry out the "three prepares"—prepare the ground, prepare the people and prepare the vanguard—get ready for the time when millions can be led to go for revolution, all-out, with a real chance to win.

Friday Night, July 29:

The day after the murder, youths from the South Shore neighborhood organized a vigil for their friend Paul O’Neal. Close to 100 friends and some relatives gathered on this quiet street of single-family homes. A memorial was erected and candles were laid on the sidewalk.

A couple of us from the Revolution Club went by the spot around midnight. About a dozen of his friends were still there. We expressed our condolences and then got into what became a pretty intense discussion. South Shore has a history of some intense gang conflicts. The Revolution Club had been involved in protests of two police murders of young men in South Shore in 2015. Some of Paul’s friends remembered us from this. They told us that they had been part of blowing whistles with us when the police tried to disrupt the funeral for “JJ.” JJ, Jeffrey Kemp, was a friend of theirs, but the other young man, Alfontish “NuNu” Cockerham, killed only a few blocks from where we sat, belonged to an opposing set (known here as “the Ops”). One young woman was vehement that she would never want Paul’s picture on a banner with one of “the Ops.” Others joined in with her.

We got into this pretty hot and heavy, bringing out the Message (and walking through some of its points as we talked). In particular, we pointed to—“The Problem,” including “This system locks down generations of Black and Brown youth, brutalizing and incarcerating them and even blowing them away—or else setting them up to fight and kill each other, when they should be fighting the REAL enemy.” We went round and round with some of these youths about what is the problem and who is the enemy.

Are the youths on the next block the enemy, even if they have been responsible for the death of one of your friends? Or are they, too, trapped by this nightmare of a system into this hellish “war” of seemingly endless retaliation? Who benefits from this? We argued that the system does. It has no future for the youth and those in power are terrified of these youth becoming conscious revolutionaries. Those in power remember the 1960s and how they came close to losing power and never want to see that happen again. Some of Paul’s friends were listening intently as we struggled with them to “pull the lens back” and look at the larger picture.

Are the police just another “gang” and is the solution to exact revenge? Or are they instead enforcers of this system of capitalism-imperialism? We read BAsics 1:24. We argued that they needed to get with the Revolution Club and that we were serious when we said, “The Revolutionary Communist Party IS ORGANIZING NOW TO OVERTHROW THIS SYSTEM AT THE SOONEST POSSIBLE TIME. Preparing to lead an actual revolution to bring about a radically new and better society: the New Socialist Republic in North America.” We need youths like them to step forward, take up this Message and learn the science of communism and the new synthesis Bob Avakian has brought forward. We left them with copies of the Message and plans to get into all this more, and some signed up to get with the Revolution Club.

Saturday, July 30—the Next Night:

The Revolution Club called on people to gather at the site of the memorial at 8:30 pm. Dozens of Paul’s friends showed up, including the youths we’d met the night before. Blowing whistles the whole time and carrying the Stolen Lives banner, the protest took to the streets. Police SUVs and Tahoes with blue lights flashing were at the front and back, but the police did not get out of their vehicles or attempt to stop the protest, which wound through the streets for over an hour. One of Paul’s friends called out repeatedly over the sound system, this is about “Justice for Paul and Justice for All.” What he said represented a beginning step, calling on the youth from different sets to stand up together. The significance of this was not lost on participants or on the police who know well, and often in fact fuel, the gang conflicts in this area. Cars honked in support and some older people said they were happy to see these youths “into something positive.”

Chicago, August 5, 2016 Chicago, August 5

Chicago, August 5. People across the city and country went from shock to outrage when the videos were released. By evening, many young people in South Shore moved to open defiance. All photos: Special to

Blocking a communter train, Chicago, August 5.

Youths from the neighborhood converged on a major intersection that includes a Metra commuter train stop. Approaching the intersection, a train stopped several hundred yards away as the track was blocked by protesters, then backed off in the direction it came from.

Chicago, August 5 Blocking a pig car, Chicago, August 5

Rage rippled through the people on the street and there was a very fluid scene as at times people linked arms to block the street, and other times the intersection was blocked just by the fact of so many people gathering in the middle of the street, chanting in smaller knots of folks.

During the next week, Club members went to where these youths hang out, got further into the Message with them and got them bundles to distribute. We showed clips of the leader of the revolution, Bob Avakian, up on, including “Bob Avakian Through the Years.” In this, BA talks about how the guards set up prisoners to fight each other in the Corcoran SHU and calls on people to “pull the lens back” and see how they are being played. This is an important concept we dug into with these youths. All through the week the Message and Stolen Lives poster were posted throughout the neighborhood.

Friday Night, August 5:

The horrific videos of Chicago cops gone wild and executing 18-year old Paul O’Neal (“Chicago Police Videos of Paul O’Neal Killing Released: Black Teenager Was Unarmed—‘It was cold-blooded murder’”) were released at 11 am Friday by the city’s cop “review” agency, IPRA. People across the city and country went from shock to outrage. By evening, many young people in South Shore moved to open defiance.

They gathered again at the memorial for him. At first there were 20 or so. One young man argued that people needed to take the streets. People had seen the videos—they were angry and wanted to confront the cops who had shot Paul down, then high-fived each other. There were handmade posters saying “Fuck Da Police” and “Justice for Paul.” Someone from the Revolution Club was there with a large Stolen Lives banner and posters from saying “America was NEVER great—we need to overthrow this system!” Youths took up the banner and posters and began to march in the street. A stack of Messages was already at the memorial and people took those with them, too.

The march grew twice its original size as it continued in the street. Cops drove up in SUVs with flashing blue lights. But they did not try to stop the youths, who draped the Stolen Lives banner over the window of police cars so that they had to confront what they had done. They would surround the police cars putting the picture of Paul on the windows. One youth threw a Message in the face of a police car. They ran alongside buses putting pictures of Paul on the buses. They sat on the bike racks in the front of the buses. They were getting out the Message to cars and buses. One woman stood up in her car and cheered the youths. The young man who had pushed to take the streets got on a bullhorn: “You all saw that video, you saw that video.” And he was challenging people in cars and on the sidewalk that they had to get involved. He agitated about the cop on the video who said, “I’m going to get 30 days of desk duty.”

Finally, the youths from the neighborhood converged on a major intersection in South Shore that includes a Metra commuter train track and stop. They were soon joined by activists against police murders who had held a press conference and die-in at Chicago police headquarters earlier in the evening.

At any given moment, at least 100 people were in the streets and organized themselves to shut down traffic in all directions for several hours. A Metra train approaching the intersection stopped several hundred yards away as the track was blocked by protesters. After over half an hour, the train did not attempt to continue down the track and backed away in the direction it came from. This is a first in Chicago!

Rage rippled through the people on the street and there was a very fluid scene as at times people linked arms to block the street, and other times the intersection was blocked just by the fact of so many people gathering in the middle of the street, chanting in smaller knots of folks.

Police cars were blocking the streets behind the protesters, but though flashing blue lights lit up the night, there had obviously been a political decision by higher authorities to not attack the protesters this time. Any time cops ventured out of their cruisers to approach the crowd, they were surrounded by people going right in their face denouncing their cold-blooded murder of Paul O’Neal. Several times a high-ranking police officer appeared on the street to wave the cops back into their SUVs. Some of the same cops that were in the video were there. One of these swine had the audacity to tell the youth that after the murder, “I slept good.”

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. Watch the entire film here.
Learn more about BA here.

A young man from Paul’s neighborhood told Revolution, during the midst of the shutdown, “We’re out here trying to live our lives and they trying to stop us from doin’ what we doin.’ I knew Paul, me and Paul been close and I knew Paul like a brother. Now I can’t call him on the phone and see where he at. It feels sad not to have Paul here. The police killing us for no reason. Like, we can’t go outside, go to the store and stuff, stopping us, searching our pockets, and we get shot, for no kind of reason. So we doin’ it right, right now, getting people to support us more, to stop police from killing us. I want to grow up. Instead of gang killings, we got police killing us one by one. I feel this ain’t right, so we doin’ this right, right now.”

When asked what he thought it would take to stop all this police murder all across the country, he said, “I think we need to come together as one unit, Black, white, I don’t care what color, and support each other. Stop killing us. Come together as one unit and fight.”

Paul’s cousin, a petite young woman, was relentlessly calling out the cops and agitating to the people over a bullhorn: “Paul was only 18! Everybody knew him and liked him! He was shot down for no reason! Everybody needs to unite to fight this! We have to stop killing each other and fight the police—Fuck the police!”

Fighting for unity among the people against the system was a real factor and continuing struggle in this protest. An activist who works with the Revolution Club in South Shore told Revolution that it actually took a lot of work to bring people together for this protest. He said many youths in the neighborhood were scared of the potential for conflict between the young people who are associated with competing sets of youths in South Shore. “We had to fight for this,” he said.

Go to the BA Speaks:

Go to the BAsics page.

As one club member reported: “As people came up to a street that divides gang turf, some people from the other set came out and there was kind of like this tension. I was struggling with the youth on the bullhorn, we have to chant, ‘Justice for all.’ There was kind of a process that went on. I got on the bullhorn and said, ‘The Ops are the Police and the System. Not other people. Justice for Paul, Justice for JJ AND Justice for NuNu, Justice for All.”

There were people on the sidewalk and there was some taunting between the sets. The closer we got to the dividing line, the more the police presence went away. I was agitating to the youths, pointing out that “they are all over you until you get up here... They want you to be at each other.” And some youths were saying, “Listen to her.” After some hesitation, the crowd crossed the gang divide and marched on a way and then turned back around. It did not develop into a confrontation. Club members felt that within this were some important seeds, embryonic, beginnings, of what needs to and must change. We saw the potential for this, something BA points to when addressing the question of the youth in REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! These youth need to get out of the gang life and get into the revolution.

This potential will not become reality without a fight. The struggle with the youth to break with the oppressor’s way of thinking and acting and fight the real enemy will be sharply contended, over and over... including as we go up against the ways in which the pigs try to foster conflicts as they did on this day. Transforming the thinking of the people is a key part of forging a critical mass of people who bring forward a different way and as they fight the power, show people what the road forward out of this is and fight for them to join the revolution.

The Revolution Club was present the whole time with the Stolen Lives banner. A Club member agitated over a loudspeaker about how this whole system that murdered Paul in Chicago, Alton Sterling in Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Minnesota needs to be taken down, and a new one serving the people put in its place. He told the people that “there is a leadership to do this with Bob Avakian and the Revolutionary Communist Party he leads.” He also picked up on the outrage from Paul’s cousin, telling people that “You go to school together, you go to the same stores as each other, you take the same bus as each other—but you fight each other over bullshit. Don’t tell me you can’t come together to fight this system!” And he led people in the chant “Indict, convict, send those killer cops to jail! The whole damn system is guilty as hell!” A small posse of young people from the neighborhood followed the agitating team as they walked through the intersection to address different knots of people, nodding their heads in approval. Copies of “Time To Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution” were also distributed.



Chicago, August 7,2016

Chicago, August 7, 2016Chicago, August 7, 2016Chicago, August 7, 2016

Chicago, August 7Chicago, August 7August 7—A crowd of hundreds, mainly young and including many high school and college students, took the downtown streets and shut down the area for over four hours. Photos: Special to

Sunday, August 8:

There was a protest downtown of hundreds called by high school students who are part of Black Lives Matter. Before it began, the Revolution Club boldly marched through parts of downtown chanting and doing the “mighty, mighty revcoms” chant. When we got to the rally site we caused a stir, many cameras captured our entrance.

The crowd was mainly young and included many high school and college students. It was diverse, with a large representation of white youths. The club felt that the participation of these white youths was of strategic importance. We have been listening to BA’s talk on the importance of being able to “break out of the encirclement” when the actual revolution comes and how our work today must be rooted in that understanding. There was a small group of friends of Paul’s from South Shore at the march also.

The march took the streets and shut down downtown streets for over four hours. At different intersections there were die-ins and sit-ins. The size of the march would ebb and flow as tourists and shoppers joined the march for a block or two. Chants of “No Justice, No Peace” and “Black Lives Matter” rang out as did calling out the names of men and women killed by the police. At times the whole march took up the Revolution Club’s chant, “Indict, convict, send the killer cops to jail, the whole damn system it guilty as hell!” Smaller numbers joined with us as we chanted, “How do we get out of this mess? Revolution, Nothing Less!” Hundreds of copies of the Message “Time To Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution” went out to marchers and people along the sides. Many protesters carried Stolen Lives posters, and “America Was Never Great, We Need to Overthrow This System” picket signs which revcoms had distributed. We got contact information for almost 50 people, some who were very interested in learning more about the Club.

A young white man who was interviewed on the news said he had sat on the sidelines too long and he had joined the march as it passed by because he wanted to be part of the solution. As the march passed Trump tower, the whole crowd chanted, “America was Never Great.”

On choices...and radical changes
Clic k to enlarge

Wednesday, August 10:

Youths from South Shore called for a midday protest on Lakeshore Drive, a busy thoroughfare. Joined by some Revolution Club members and anti-police brutality activists they gathered, about 20 people total. When there was a break in the traffic, they boldly jumped onto the drive and blocked it at a busy intersection for 30 minutes. They got a mostly favorable response from the drivers forced to wait. When the police finally forced them off, one young man who refused to go was handcuffed but then let go by the police. The crowd then moved to another busy intersection and blocked traffic there for 15 minutes.

Club members are planning recruitment meetings with some of these youths and making plans to show key chapters of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

Join the Revolution ClubGet with the Revolution Club HERE






Revolution #453 August 22, 2016

A Letter to the Revolution Clubs from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

August 10, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |



Read Message

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Listen to audio of the Message (English), recorded by members of the Revolution Club

Listen to audio of the Message in Spanish

Three months ago the clubs took a bold step into the future—digging into and then getting out the Message from our Central Committee, “Time To Get Organized for an Actual Revolution.” This message lets people know very clearly what the revolution aims to do; how to understand the problem and the solution; who is BA, what he has done and why we follow him; what to do now to prepare for that revolution; and what to live and die for.

The Revolution Clubs stepped in a new way with this Message, and people took notice of what they were saying and how they were saying it. The clubs took the Message mostly to the people who catch hell every day, but also to the commemorations of the Orlando massacre, to Pride events, to other events and to people who were agonizing about how things are and what the future holds. The clubs sponsored very successful July 4 “Imagine a World Without America” picnics, where people broke bread together and got into what the revolution is all about.

As the eyes of the world were on the fascist Republican National Convention in July, Revolution Club volunteers from around the country came to Cleveland to project revolution and fight for a completely different future. Photo: Special to

Through it all, the clubs much more became places where people went back and forth in deep and scientific ways over the biggest questions of the revolution: could we really win, and why do we need revolution and not reform, what is BA’s scientific approach to communism and how do you learn to apply it, along with how do we carry out the strategy through all kinds of different challenges.

July 20—in the face of the bared fangs of fascism at the Republican National Convention, and surrounded by cops and fascist lunatics, Joey Johnson, backed up by the Revolution Club, burned the U.S. flag. Photo: Special to

The club was doing that and, on that basis, it was in the streets, joining and mobilizing and leading people to fight the power. When the pigs who murdered Freddie Gray were found not guilty in Baltimore, the Revolution Club was there, raising revolution and fighting back. When masses rose up in Baton Rouge and then Minnesota over the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile—and then rose up in cities all over—the club was there, raising revolution and fighting back. Fighting the Power, and Transforming the People, FOR Revolution. When the enemy tried to put people on the defensive over incidents where police were killed, the club was there: showing people how to pull the lens back and scientifically look at the larger reality, doing so as they led people back onto the offensive. When the Republi-fascists nominated Trump and all too many people stayed away from that hate-fest when they needed to be in Cleveland protesting, the Revolution Club was there—and not just there, but going right up in the face of these fascists and burning the American rag. News of this shot around the world—in newspapers, on the Internet and on TV, inspiring and giving heart to people all over the country and all over the world.

More than that—the club was bringing people the solution in the middle of all this, revolution. The club was wearing both the BA image and the BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! T-shirts, and showing the clips of his talks on the streets. The club was getting into Revolution—Nothing Less! with people who wanted to learn what this was all about... and wrangling over it ourselves. Taking people to Through all this the club brought out more deeply the source of the problems humanity faces in the capitalist-imperialist system... the possibility of solving that problem and getting to a whole new world through an actual revolution... and the leadership, in BA and the Party he leads, that we have to realize that possibility.

The Revolution Club got the Message from the Party out broadly in Cleveland and Philadelphia during the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Photo: Special to

Through all this, hundreds of thousands and maybe millions heard about the club for the first time, some people began to check it out, and some people took copies or posters of the “Message” and began to get it out, and others made sure they stayed up on the walls. Through all this, some new people began to join the club, and some people came deeper into it. This matters—a lot.

These are very important first steps. You worked and fought very hard to do this, you changed things, and you need to know that. But there is a world to win, a revolution to urgently prepare for. Things this fall are going to get very intense, with a possibility of things breaking open in ways not seen before. But unless there is revolutionary leadership to wrench opportunity out of madness, that won’t go anywhere good. So what must be done, now, to go forward?

First, the Message—“Time To Get Organized for an Actual Revolution”—has to go out much further, much broader and much deeper. We have to take this out to the high schools and campuses, stirring things up, challenging people, going to events, and really sitting down and going deeply with people. We have to go back into the ’hoods where we’ve been and go to the ones where we haven’t. In all of these places, we have to forge new ways to involve the people themselves in taking up this message and getting it out, bringing home to them that this revolution is of them and for them—to become emancipators not only of themselves but of all humanity—and the more that they become part of this, the more forcefully its message will hit home to people. They have a role in all this. We need to talk in the club about what we’ve learned on how to unleash this role, and what more we could do or try in order to do better.

As we do this, we need to take up the fight to Drop the Charges against Joey Johnson and RNC 16. Burning the American flag was righteous and necessary to counter the Make American Great Again fascist mantra coming from the RNC. The authorities must not be allowed to get away with circumventing, distorting, punishing, and criminalizing this defining act of protest.

The revolution actually advances through battling back against counter-revolutionary attacks like these charges. You take the case and the stakes of it to the people, you draw the lines, and through this people come to support the revolution. This has to happen today, and these kinds of things will be crucial when the all-out struggle for power comes on the agenda. So the call demanding that the charges be dropped needs to go out and be taken up by all kinds of people... money must be raised... and more and more people must be won to close ranks with those comrades facing charges, and to make this whole outrageous attack politically boomerang against the enemy. We need to strategize over how to do this—who to reach, and how to reach them, and how to involve them. Those comrades who caught cases need to be backed up and helped in fighting through in the legal arena itself.

Now is also an important time to really get way deeper into what revolution and communism are all about. There should be time for focused study and discussion of Bob Avakian’s The New Communism, and the Six Resolutions of the Party from January 1 of this year. Revolution Clubs in different cities should strive to find a few days before the fall to really immerse in these works, if possible. We need to be using BAsics among ourselves all the time, and we need to be taking this out to the people we meet, bringing out relevant quotes when we’re talking to them and selling them the book so that they can dig into things in a very “basic” way. And we should be thinking about, and talking about, ways to make The New Communism in particular hit really big when it comes out in the fall.

This will be a time when the clubs will have to be even more at the forefront of the sharp struggles that jump off, or can be jumped off, around the genocidal program of police terror and mass incarceration; against the demonization and repression of immigrants; the oppression and degradation of women; the capitalist plunder of the environment; and the wars of empire that these imperialists are constantly waging, openly and through other forces who do their dirty work. What have we learned in these struggles—about how to wage them? Why should we do this? How do they fit into what is said in BAsics about strategy?

Then there are the elections. We are proposing to the clubs that there be a tour in late September and early October that goes right up against this deadly trap with the slogan “We Need to Overthrow, Not Vote For, This System.” There are millions of people being drawn into political life by these elections, but on all the wrong terms. It is up to us to change all that, and we can—and this can be, and must be, part of preparing for an actual revolution. We’ll be coming out with a more worked-out proposal soon. But even still—there is plenty right now to sum up about what was learned through the conventions, what are people saying all around us, how do we help people see through this? How do we make these tours a real deal, especially in the communities and the campuses?

And, no doubt, there’ll be more! Which is just how we need it, and how we want it... to really go for revolution, and nothing less.

Through all this, we’re going to need to create a culture where people are living in the way that is put forward in our “Points of Attention.” We need to create a welcoming place where people can get deeper into what the revolution and communism are all about and work through their questions. And all the time, among ourselves, we need to create a culture where we’re asking: how is this getting us closer to revolution? What more do we need to understand, and to do, to push things further? How do we hasten the development of things so that, at the earliest possible time, millions can be led to go all-out for revolution, with a real chance at winning?

We’d like you to talk about this, and wrangle with it, and let us know what you think. Let’s get a process going now where we analyze what we’re up against, make big plans to transform all that, and organize people around all that!





Revolution #453 August 22, 2016

Prisoner Writes on Science and Revolution: "I too have developed a habit of constantly pointing out contradictions in everything"

August 15, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


A New Theoretical Framework for a New Stage of Communist Revolution What is New in the New Synthesis? An Explorer, a Critical Thinker, a Follower of BA; Understanding the World, And Changing It For the Better, In the Interests of Humanity Some Thank Yous That Need To Be Said Aloud Order the book here Download the full interview in PDF format here

I know it’s been a long while since I’ve written in and shared what I’ve been learning from the material that has been sent to me. Everything has in fact been well received and I apologize for not writing sooner. Real men don’t make excuses, so I’m not gonna offer any... With all of that being said I have a request that I’m hoping you all can forefill. Will someone please tell Ardea Skybreak that I love her and give her a great big bear hug for me. About 3 or 4 days ago I got a copy of Science and Revolution in the mail, and since then, every time I read a few pages I get charged up. This is not my first time experiencing such excitement after reading material sent to me from P.R.L.F. [Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund], this piece Science and Revolution has basically recharged the excitement from past experiences.

It has been almost 4 yrs. since a friend of mine introduced me to the writings of Bob Avakian and his development of Revolutionary Communism. A few weeks back I received a letter in response to a letter that I had written to a different friend (not the same friend who introduced me to B.A.) and his exact words were, “The reason why I dig you is because I love the way you take everything and make it about everything.” I believe I was writing to him about Business Law or Business Management and about how the scientific approach used in those particular disciplines can be applied to all facets of life on the strength that it’s science. It’s not that I personally make “everything about everything,” it’s just that the methods used are applicable to all of reality.

Announcing: The Launch of a Pathbreaking New Book from Bob Avakian

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Here's how. The publisher has a special offer: Buy one paperback for yourself from Insight Press, and buy a second book at 50% off for a prisoner and it will be sent directly to a prisoner. Total price for this offer is $25.50, plus $5.00 for shipping.

Contact Insight Press

So, just like Ardea Skybreak said of herself during the interview, I too have developed a habit of constantly pointing out contradictions in everything that I see. I am fucking contradiction crazy in here. Ha Ha Ha...

A while back I received a letter from P.R.L.F. asking about my daughter and what she’s been up to since you all last heard from her. Enclosed I am sending a news clipping of her marching in the streets in [a] protest [she organized] against police brutality. This all took place in July... She will be 18 yrs. old next month and she’ll be attending college in the fall. I will definitely be sharing this book Science and Revolution with her. As I develop my understanding of Dialectical Materialism it is of the utmost importance that she grows with me as well. I will write to you again later. Sorry for the delay.



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Revolution #453 August 22, 2016

American Crime

Case #85: December 1984, Bhopal, India:
Union Carbide's Poison Gas Massacre

August 22, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


Bob Avakian recently wrote that one of three things that has "to happen in order for there to be real and lasting change for the better: People have to fully confront the actual history of this country and its role in the world up to today, and the terrible consequences of this." (See "3 Things that have to happen in order for there to be real and lasting change for the better.")

In that light, and in that spirit, "American Crime" is a regular feature of Each installment will focus on one of the 100 worst crimes committed by the U.S. rulers—out of countless bloody crimes they have carried out against people around the world, from the founding of the U.S. to the present day.

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.



Some of the thousands who were killed by the poison gas from the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India on December 3, 1984.
Some of the thousands who were killed by poison gas from the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India on December 3, 1984. (AP photo)

THE CRIME: Shortly after midnight, early Monday morning on December 3, 1984, an explosion took place at the Bhopal, India, plant of the Union Carbide Corporation, a U.S.-based multinational. A tank containing methyl isocyanate (MIC), used to manufacture pesticides, exploded, blowing 40 tons of deadly chemicals into the air. Within moments, a poison cloud enveloped much of this city of 900,000.

In the densely-packed shanty settlements around the plant, thousands were awakened by the suffocating, burning effects of the gas, or by the howls of dying animals. The toxic cloud stayed close to the ground, so thick people were nearly blinded as they rushed to escape. Some vomited uncontrollably, violently seized, and fell dead. Gas spread over 40 square kilometers (15.4 square miles). Over 200,000 people were immediately impacted; half the city was driven from their homes.

The plant’s management did not immediately sound the alarm or alert local authorities. They later assured reporters that MIC was an “irritant,” not a deadly poison. To this day Union Carbide has refused to say what exploded from its plant. It was an extremely deadly brew of poisonous and carcinogenic chemicals.

Children blinded by the poison gas leak at the Bhopal, India Union Carbide plant in 1984 are carried to a hospital.
Children blinded by the poison gas leak at the Bhopal, India Union Carbide plant are carried to a hospital. It was the deadliest industrial disaster in history, with hundreds of thousands of people in the surrounding area still suffering serious health disorders. The water and environment in Bhopal are still contaminated. (AP photo)

Between 3,500 and 8,000 people died within days. By 2010, the death toll reached between 16,000 and 25,000. Within a year, some 50,000 to 60,000 were severely debilitated. Today, the total number injured or affected is estimated at 600,000. In 2014 Mother Jones reported, “120,000 to 150,000 survivors still struggle with serious medical conditions including nerve damage, growth problems, gynecological disorders, respiratory issues, birth defects, and elevated rates of cancer and tuberculosis.”

The effects of the December 3 explosion and the massive amounts of toxic materials remaining on the Union Carbide site are still contaminating Bhopal’s water supplies and environment.

Bhopal was the deadliest industrial disaster in history, and it’s still crippling and killing.

THE ALIBI: Union Carbide Chairman Warren Anderson denied any responsibility for the gassing: “The corporation did nothing that either caused or contributed to the accident.” The corporation claimed the gas eruption resulted from either deliberate sabotage or violation of procedures by its subsidiary, Union Carbide of India Limited and its Bhopal personnel. (Union Carbide never produced any evidence of sabotage.) Anderson insisted safety was a global priority: “Our safety standards in the U.S. are identical to those in India or Brazil or someplace else...Same equipment, same design, same everything.”

According to Union Carbide, the Bhopal catastrophe didn’t reveal flaws in their manufacturing processes, design, engineering or safety measures. The problem, they said, was India’s “cultural background or basic educational level simply cannot support the ongoing operation of sophisticated technologies.”

Union Carbide and the U.S. media argued that it and other Western corporations were a force for good in India, modernizing its agriculture and increasing food production: “Without the technologies and the capital that multinationals help to introduce,” Anderson said, “developing countries would have little hope of eradicating poverty and hunger.”

THE ACTUAL MOTIVE: The deadly Bhopal explosion resulted from a series of decisions made by Union Carbide U.S., which owned, designed, and controlled its Bhopal operation.

Union Carbide knew MIC was highly toxic and reactive, but chose to store it in 15,000 gallon tanks rather than smaller and safer, but costlier ones. So when water entered an MIC tank on December 3, it triggered a violent chemical reaction and massive explosion. Carbide lied when it claimed Bhopal’s safety systems were identical to its U.S. plant in West Virginia, and that the problem was Indians couldn’t handle “sophisticated technologies.” Bhopal didn’t have adequate detection instruments. Safety and containment systems were under-designed, and able to handle only small leaks. Many had been shut down to cut costs, even though company reports in 1982 and 1984 warned of danger at Bhopal including water triggering a “runaway reaction in the MIC unit storage tanks.”

Union Carbide’s decisions at Bhopal were guided by maximizing profits and its advantage against global competitors, with deliberate disregard for safety. It created a horror waiting to happen, with hundreds of thousands unknowingly in grave danger.

The much proclaimed benefits to India’s agriculture and living standards from investment by the West and Union Carbide didn’t happen for the vast majority. Agricultural output was raised, with some farmers prospering, but millions of small ones were ruined. India’s agriculture became more oriented to the world market, not producing its own food, and more dependent on Western imperialist technology.


Union Carbide Corporation and Chairman Warren Anderson. Anderson was arrested and charged with homicide when he traveled to India after the disaster. He was quickly released on bail due to U.S. pressure. He left India and never returned.

Union Carbide never accepted responsibility for Bhopal and refused to face trial in India. In 1989, Carbide negotiated a $470 million settlement with the Indian government. This included roughly $2,000 for those initially killed, and $300 to $500 for the injured—covering only a few years of medical expenses, even though many suffered lifelong damage.

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

Read the entire Constitution For The New Socialist Republic In North America (Draft Proposal) from the RCP at

Union Carbide had exploited India’s poverty, paying Bhopal workers $3.75 a day. Then, after killing and injuring hundreds of thousands, it cited India’s extreme poverty as justification for settling for a pittance compared to what it would have paid out for a similar disaster in the U.S.

The 1989 settlement didn’t address environmental damage. “Union Carbide simply walked away,” Amnesty International reports, “leaving the ticking time bomb that was the polluted factory site behind them, poisoning drinking water for many miles around.”

U.S. government, World Bank, Ford Foundation and other Western institutions. All pushed for greater Western investment and radical changes in Indian agriculture—the so-called "Green Revolution"—which fostered pesticide production in India, including at Bhopal. This was done to serve the economic, political and strategic interests of the U.S. empire. After Carbide’s gas massacre at Bhopal, the U.S. government and legal system refused to allow the victims to sue in U.S. courts, refused to hold Carbide responsible for human or environmental damages, and refused to extradite Warren Anderson to face trial in India.

Indian Government. It collaborated with the West in pushing the “Green Revolution,” and never ensured safety, including at foreign-controlled operations. After the Bhopal massacre, its priority was maintaining relations with foreign investors, not justice for Carbide’s victims. It agreed to Union Carbide’s paltry settlement, did not press U.S. courts to hear the case, and did not start extradition proceedings against Warren Anderson. Only eight Union Carbide of India managers were ever convicted, on charges of “death by negligence.” They were sentenced to two years in jail and fined $2,125. They’re appealing.

To this day, people in Bhopal, with support from around the world, continue to fight for justice, health care, relief, and environmental repair.


25 Years After Bhopal Disaster, Survivors Still Seeking Justice,” Democracy Now!, December 3, 2009

Bhopal trial: Eight convicted over India gas disaster,” BBC, June 7, 2010

Larry Everest, Behind the Poison Cloud: Union Carbide’s Bhopal Massacre (Chicago: Banner Press, 1985)

Larry Everest, “Union Carbide’s Bhopal Settlement Is a Disaster in Itself,” Los Angeles Times, February 23, 1989

Living in the Shadow of the Bhopal Chemical Disaster,” Mother Jones, June 2, 2014

Salil Shetty, Secretary General, Amnesty International, “Thirty years on from Bhopal disaster: Still fighting for justice,” December 2, 2014

The Bhopal disaster and its aftermath: a review,” U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine, May 10, 2005

The Bhopal Disaster, Yesterday and Today: A System of Mass Destruction,” A World to Win News Service, February 14, 2005

Union Carbide’s Disaster,” The Bhopal Medical Appeal





Revolution #453 August 22, 2016

American Crime

Case #84: Medical Racism and Homicide—the Tuskegee Syphilis "Study"

August 22, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


Bob Avakian recently wrote that one of three things that has "to happen in order for there to be real and lasting change for the better: People have to fully confront the actual history of this country and its role in the world up to today, and the terrible consequences of this." (See "3 Things that have to happen in order for there to be real and lasting change for the better.")

In that light, and in that spirit, "American Crime" is a regular feature of Each installment will focus on one of the 100 worst crimes committed by the U.S. rulers—out of countless bloody crimes they have carried out against people around the world, from the founding of the U.S. to the present day.

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.



African American tested and treated during the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male.
Between 1932 and 1972, the U.S. Public Health Service and the Centers for Disease Control carried out experiments on 600 Black men in the rural South. The supposed "study," according to a commentator, "used human beings as laboratory animals in a long and inefficient study of how long it takes syphilis to kill someone." Above, blood being drawn in the early 1950s.

The Crime: Between 1932 and 1972, the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) and the Centers for Disease Control studied the progression of untreated syphilis in a group of rural African-American men in Alabama under the guise of giving them free health care. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the men were told they were being treated for having “bad blood.”

A total of 600 African-American sharecroppers from Macon County, Alabama, were enrolled in the study. Of them, 399 had contracted syphilis before the study began, while the remaining 201 did not have the disease. These impoverished and often illiterate subjects were recruited with misleading promises of “special free treatment,” which were actually spinal taps done without anesthesia to study the neurological effects of syphilis, and they were enrolled without their informed consent (the men were never told the name of the study). The men were given medical care, meals, and free burial insurance for participating in the study. Poverty and racism were so profound that these benefits were unheard of among Black sharecroppers and a big enticement for agreeing to join the study.

None of the men infected were even told they had the disease and none were treated with penicillin even after the antibiotic became the standard treatment of syphilis in 1947—25 years before the Tuskegee study ended. Twenty-eight of the men died directly of syphilis, 100 died of related complications, 40 of their wives were infected, and 19 of their children were born with congenital syphilis.

The Criminals: The U.S. Public Health Service began the experiment under the Hoover administration in conjunction with Tuskegee University in Alabama, and it extended all the way to the Nixon regime.

The Alibi: The study was to record the natural history of syphilis among Black people. The study was called the "Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male," and when it began there was no safe and effective treatment for syphilis.

The Actual Motive: The intent of this racist study was to discover how syphilis affected Black people as opposed to whites. It was thought that whites experienced more neurological complications from syphilis compared with Black people, who were thought to be more susceptible to cardiovascular damage, and that the study would show this. “The PHS expected to validate its belief in a specific racial dimorphism of syphilis: whereas the disease was thought to do its worst damage to the neurological systems and brains of whites, it was thought to wreak its worst havoc on the cardiovascular systems of Blacks, sparing their relatively primitive and ‘underdeveloped’ brains,” Harriet A. Washington wrote in her 2007 book, Medical Apartheid—The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present.

Although the U.S. Public Health Service touted the study as one of great scientific merit, it has produced zero benefits to society or medical science. It took almost 40 years before someone involved in the study took a hard and honest look at the end results, reporting that “nothing learned will prevent, find, or cure a single case of infectious syphilis or bring us closer to our basic mission of controlling venereal disease in the United States.” When the experiment was brought to the attention of the media in 1972, news anchor Harry Reasoner described it as an experiment that “used human beings as laboratory animals in a long and inefficient study of how long it takes syphilis to kill someone.”


About the USPHS Syphilis Study,” Tuskegee University

Tuskegee syphilis experiment,” Wikipedia

Medical Apartheid—The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present, by Harriet A. Washington, Chapter 7: “A Notoriously Syphilis-Soaked Race” – What Really Happened At Tuskegee?”





Revolution #453 August 22, 2016

U.S.A.: Force for Good in the World? Or Neck-Deep in Blood?

August 15, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


Do you know what your government is doing right now in the countries stretching from North Africa through the Middle East to Central Asia? Pull out a map and pick a spot:

The video above shows the bloodshed and horror in the immediate aftermath of U.S.-backed Saudi bombing of a school  in northern Yemen on August 13, 2016.

Yemen. Take Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the world. Just this week, Saudi Arabia resumed its savage bombing campaign against the Houthi population—destroying a potato chip factory in the capital Saana and killing 14 people. Human rights organizations report that over the last 18 months, the Saudis have deliberately bombed factories, schools, markets, homes, even hospitals, and are responsible for the majority of the 7,000 men, women, and children killed in the war they launched 18 months ago.

On August 13, Saudi bombs hit the home of a school principal in Northern Yemen killing his wife and four of their children. Then, as is standard Saudi operating procedure, a second airstrike killed more of the principal’s relatives, while rescuers were trying to free them. At the same time, the Saudis bombed a school, killing ten children and injuring 28 more. When rescuers brought survivors to a Doctors Without Borders sponsored hospital, they were asked to leave because the Saudis systematically target hospitals for bombing.

People inspect the rubble of houses destroyed by a U.S.-backed Saudi Arabian airstrike in Sana'a, Yemen. Sept. 8, 2015. Photo: AP

How has Obama reacted? By selling Saudi Arabia another $1.15 billion in arms on top of the $20 billion provided since the war began. By working to prevent Saudi war crimes from even being investigated at the United Nations. And by quietly deploying in May “a very small number” of troops to Yemen.

This reactionary war has shattered Yemen and left 12 million people—half the population—on the brink of starvation and another nine million in urgent need of humanitarian aid.

Libya. The U.S.-NATO bombing in 2011, carried out by Obama and Hillary Clinton in the name of saving lives, made life a nightmare for millions of Libyans. Muammar Gaddafi, Libya's ruler, was overthrown and Libya has been turned into an anarchic battlefield between gangster militias and a haven for jihadists, including ISIS. Thousands have been killed, 400,000 internally displaced, and perhaps 600,000 to a million have fled to neighboring Tunisia. No one knows how many have been among the thousands who’ve drowned in the last several years fleeing across the Mediterranean. Now, the U.S. has started bombing again and may have secretly deployed troops.


Syria. Five years into the Syrian civil war, the U.S. continues to insist that it’s an innocent bystander. They claim that the slaughter of 470,000 and the terror that’s caused 11 million to flee their homes is entirely the fault of the reactionary Assad regime, the Russians, and forces like ISIS. Yet on August 7, the New York Times reported that the C.I.A. has been supplying anti-Assad “resistance” forces with TOW anti-tank weapons – knowing some will end up in the hands of the reactionary jihadist Nusra Front, linked to Al Qaeda. This has been part of a U.S. policy of cynically letting its enemies—Assad, Russia, Iran, and the jihadists—bleed each other while working to prevent any from winning decisively. This has included directly or indirectly backing ISIS and other jihadists via allies like Turkey and Saudi Arabia, which the U.S. backs and often operates through. 

Now it’s escalating: In the last two years, the U.S. has launched more than 10,000 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, mainly against ISIS, but killing a minimum of 1,568 civilians, according to Airwars. More than 100 were massacred in two bombings in Syria alone in recent weeks. And the U.S. is adding to its 4,000-some troops in Iraq and sending ground forces into Syria.

Egypt and Bahrain. Obama has claimed the U.S. supports Arab uprisings against tyranny. In fact, it provides billions in arms to these tyrannies, who’ve unleashed their U.S.-trained militaries against mass uprisings. In Egypt, there were mass killings of protesters after the 2013 military coup—900 on August 14 alone—17,000 more were wounded and 41,000 detained, charged, or sentenced over the next year alone.

And this small sample doesn’t even touch the U.S. drone wars being carried out across the region, the U.S. trail of carnage and betrayal in Afghanistan, or its vicious support of the illegal settler state of Israel and its wars against, and occupation of, the Palestinians!


Why are the U.S. rulers waging wars without end, as they claim to love peace? In a nutshell, to preserve the world as it is, a world as Raymond Lotta puts it,

of enormous inequalities: the rich countries have 20 percent of the world’s people but 80 percent of its gross domestic product (or income), while the 20 percent living in the poorest countries have 3 percent of world income. This is a world that is stalked by disease, malnutrition, and life-destroying poverty: some 2.6 billion people, about 40 percent of the world’s population, live on less than $2 a day, and 850 million suffer from hunger and malnutrition. This is a world in which thousands of lives can be mangled by a single computer keystroke taken in electronic trading rooms, as globe-straddling investors shift capital from one profit-opportunity to another. ("A Jagged, Unjust, and Obsolete World," Revolution, September 10, 2006)

These vast and unconscionable inequalities are created and driven forward by the workings of global capitalism. This is a system in which every capitalist or bloc of capital is driven to maximize its profits in cutthroat competition with other capitals—or else face ruin. This compulsion finds concentrated expression in the rivalries—and wars—between states for control of markets, resources, trade routes, and whole countries and regions, and preventing rivals from doing likewise. Why is the U.S. still waging wars for oil in the Middle East when it’s more and more “energy independent”? Because if they don’t control the world’s “energy storehouse,” someone else will. And they can’t tolerate that!


And doing all that takes vast armies, vast arsenals, vast spy networks, and a ghoulish willingness to rain death and destruction whenever, wherever it’s deemed necessary to maintain the empire. This is why the U.S. spends more than $600 billion a year on its military—nearly as much as the rest of the world combined. Why it has some 800 military bases around the world. And why right now, U.S. “special forces”—who are “special” only in the sense they’ve been trained to be versatile, heartless killers who ask no questions—are operating in 135 of the world’s 196 countries.

What is the real situation here? As Bob Avakian (BA) has put it:

It is not uncommon to hear these days, from government officials and others, that only 1 percent of the population is in the U.S. military but that this 1 percent is fighting for the freedom of the other 99 percent. The truth, however, is this: That 1 percent, in the military, is in reality fighting for the other 1 percent: the big capitalist-imperialists who run this country—who control the economy, the political system, the military, the media, and the other key institutions—and who dominate large parts of the world, wreaking havoc and causing great suffering for literally billions of people. It is the “freedom” of these capitalist-imperialists—their freedom to exploit, oppress, and plunder—that this 1 percent in the military is actually killing and sometimes dying for. (BAsics 1:5)


People living in the U.S. have a special moral responsibility to oppose these criminal wars. If you don’t, then how are you different from what used to be known as the “good Germans”—those in Nazi Germany who claimed not to know about the extermination of the Jewish people?

But such resistance, while urgently needed, does not settle one’s moral obligation. Pursue your convictions and dig into why the outrages that move you keep happening, and what it’s really going to take to end them. Dig into the answers brought forward by Bob Avakian on the character of the problem and the solution to that problem: revolution. Get into the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America that he wrote, which shows how humanity could actually establish a system moving to eliminate the domination of entire nations and regions of the world, and capitalism-imperialism itself.





Revolution #453 August 22, 2016

August 22, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


21 August 2016
for immediate release
Contact: 646 450 4701

Monday August 22 Cleveland hearing

Flag Burner Gregory "Joey" Johnson Demands Prosecution Drop Charges

Johnson states Cleveland authorities are collaborating with right-wing media in unlawful arrest and assault of him and 16 other protesters for constitutionally protected flag-burning outside Republican National Convention

Joey Johnson with the support of the Revolution Club burned the American flag outside the Republican National Convention to protest the toxic chauvinism and reactionary ideas of all stripes surrounding Trump's nomination. Photo: Special to

What: Press Conference following hearing
When: Monday August 22 Hearing 8:30 am
Where: 15th Floor Room C, Justice Center, 1200 Ontario, Cleveland

Gregory “Joey” Johnson said today that “Cleveland police and prosecutors are collaborating with so-called ‘reporters’ from the right-wing conspiratorialist and Trump supporting website Infowars to prosecute him and others on assault charges.”

Johnson states police unlawfully arrested and unlawfully assaulted him and 15 others for what the U.S. Supreme Court had already determined is constitutionally protected speech, the burning of the American flag in protest. In fact, it was Johnson’s arrest for burning the flag at the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas, Texas that culminated in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1989 decided in Johnson’s favor.

Johnson stated, “The police in Cleveland could not charge me with flag-burning so they charged me with a bogus charge of assault on these Infowars reactionaries.”

In a video posted July 20, 2016 on a website run by Alex Jones, which has been in the possession of prosecutors for two weeks, the “reporters” describe assaulting Johnson on July 20 in a violent effort to stop him from burning the flag: “We ripped the guy’s [Gregory Johnson] shirt off and just punched him and kicked him man...we just did everything we could.”

Johnson stated, “Understand this, the alleged victims of the assault I am charged with have stated publicly that they consciously set out to prevent me from burning the flag—a legally protected form of speech—and that their very presence in the area was to accomplish that, which is an illegal act on their part. They bragged that they committed assault and battery on me, including tearing my shirt.”

The RNC16 (overwhelmingly Revolution Club members arrested at the flag burning) are facing serious charges and possible jail time, with many of them having to travel to Cleveland from around the U.S. for brief court appearances. Johnson and his supporters are demanding that the charges against him and the RNC 16 be dismissed immediately.

Johnson stated he is going to file a civil suit against the City of Cleveland and the Cleveland Police Department and take them to court.

Johnson, who is a supporter of the Revolutionary Communist Party, led by Bob Avakian, said “We burned the flag to protest the ugly America Number 1 chauvinism that was emanating out of the convention. The arrests and prosecution of the RNC16 are attempts to suppress political dissent, at the same time people across the country are defiantly stepping out, from Baton Rouge to Milwaukee, in protest when the police kill people under color of authority.” Johnson stated, “America has NEVER been great. What is so great about unending police terror, and mass incarceration and wars for empire? We need to overthrow the system, not vote for it.”, the website of the Revolutionary Communist Party, has posted a “Fact Sheet” on the charges.





Revolution #453 August 22, 2016

A Gripping Evening at Revolution Books: Yaa Gyasi Reading and in Conversation with Andy Zee

August 22, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


Yaa Gyasi at Revolution Books August 19, 2016

After Yaa Gyasi's reading from her book Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi and Andy Zee held a conversation with the audience.

It was a very special night at Revolution Books on August 19.  Yaa Gyasi read from her powerful and acclaimed novel Homegoing, followed by a conversation with Revolution Books spokesperson Andy Zee and then with the audience. 

90 people came out. They were friends of Revolution Books, people from the publishing world, African immigrants, members of 4 different book clubs, and others. People got word of the program having gotten flyers at places like the Brooklyn Museum’s First Saturday program, at a city park Jazzmobile concert, and through social media. It was a packed house, and the audience spilled out into chairs set up on the sidewalk under a canopy to hear the conversation piped outside. Hand fans were passed out to people inside—it was hot!

The program took place in the last few days of the critical fundraising for Revolution Books NYC to stay open and to grow as the political, intellectual, and cultural center for the movement for an actual revolution. In mid-July, RB launched a $25,000 crowd-funding campaign to restock the shelves with cutting edge books and to make essential improvements like installing air-conditioning, a stage and signage.

Andy Zee welcomed people to the program and to Revolution Books.  RB is where people find the books and engagement about why the world is the way it is, the underlying history of this society, and indeed the world, and the brutal truth of present-day reality...and the way out of this madness.  And at the heart of this is the new communism, the new synthesis, developed by Bob Avakian—central to which is a qualitative breakthrough in a more scientific way to understand reality and to radically change it through revolution to emancipate humanity the world over.  As Andy would later point out, Revolution Books is not just a place to find political theory, history, and connection to a movement to fight for this new world, but also RB is a place to find novels, poetry, plays and art because all of this imagination and experience goes into deepening our understanding of reality, and of the world we want to create. He said that Homegoing is not just a wonderful novel, but an important one.  


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Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi

Yaa read from a beautiful and wrenching chapter that focused on the slave Ness, that included Ness hearing from her mother about her experience as a small child on the “big boat” of the middle passage from Africa to the Americas, and then goes to Ness’s life of unremitting brutality on the plantation.  Yaa’s voice dug deep in the room and out onto Malcolm X Blvd—riveting to hear, with many in the audience moved to tears. 

Then the conversation in the room, deep and deeply felt, was on.... How do you, as a writer, confront what happened to the people we came down from, and how do we all confront it and not be filled with despair and hopelessness? How do you really feel the horror of the lash and worse the denial of your humanity, and not compartmentalize? How do you get through the day knowing your family went through this?

Yaa spoke about her background; about the writer’s craft; about returning to Africa and researching this history, including aspects that are not often explored, like the practice of slavery in Africa; about her influences.

“Story” and Real History

People thanked Yaa for opening a door to the history that most often isn’t talked about so intimately, that has been known in family after family but not spoken about in its stark reality. Woven through the evening was the exploration of why story-telling that is not literally true matters, in getting to deeper truths. This was something Yaa got into especially in response to a question from someone who discussed how difficult it was for her family to discuss the unbearable reality of sharecropping. As this woman spoke, she broke into sobs, explaining that her grandfather had in fact been a sharecropper, with all the terror of that near-slavery in the Jim Crow south. 

Andy followed Yaa and returned to why a scientific method and approach—revolutionary political theory to know and change the world—is essential, and is at the heart of Revolution Books.  The new synthesis developed by BA comprehends the import of art, of imagination.  You need the “distorting” of “story”--exactly to capture vital layers of lived experience and inner life that deepen our understanding. The historical novel can imagine experience that cannot be known today, but in so doing, it should illuminate the larger truth of the history it tells. 

And, you also need the factually accurate history and scientific theory, the analysis of the roots of slavery, this “peculiar institution” that is at the foundation of American wealth, to understand the system that underlies this, and where we are today—and what to do about it, drawing from and recommending to the audience Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy, by Bob Avakian. Andy then got into why resistance and rebellion and courage, while essential, are not in and of themselves enough—giving the example of the experience of the African liberation movements of the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s. These movements were not guided by a thoroughly scientific understanding of the nature of imperialism and the all-the-way communist revolution needed to put an end to exploitation, oppression, and domination by imperialism. And these movements that came to power did not break the chains of the old system, with many of its features replicated in new ways. Today these are oppressive class-divided societies where many have lost hope. This is a bitter lesson to learn from.

Andy invited the audience to become part of the process that goes on at Revolution Books: read Homegoing and the other incredible novels on the shelves; read the powerful scholarship on slavery of recent years; and read Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy and find the scientific approach to understanding the world and how it got this way—and how it could be radically different—with the real revolution and the new communism BA has developed and is leading.

People felt the pain brought down through Ness’s descendants in Homegoing who end up in modern-day America...and the ways this is still lived with horrific consequence from Milwaukee, to Ferguson, to Baltimore, and more. Yaa Gyasi: slavery is an “open wound that has festered for hundreds of years, and it’s visceral and palpable.”

This was an evening that revealed in its own special way what the new communism opens up.






Revolution #453 August 22, 2016

Unarmed Deaf Man Murdered by North Carolina Trooper

August 22, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


Daniel Kevin Harris, murdered by a state trooper in Charlotte, North Carolina on August 18, 2016. Photo: Facebook

On Thursday, August 18, 29-year-old Daniel Kevin Harris was murdered by a state trooper in Charlotte, North Carolina. Not only was Harris unarmed, like so many other victims of the murdering pigs. And not only was he gunned down in cold blood merely for an alleged traffic violation. Daniel Kevin Harris was also hearing and speech impaired. The police claim that they tried to pull him over for speeding but he continued without pulling over. Whether that’s true or not, how is that any kind of justification for wantonly executing someone under the color of law?!

According to local TV news reports, people living in the area where this happened--which is near where Harris lived--said that he was shot almost immediately after he got out of the vehicle. They said that it seemed like Harris was trying to communicate with the cop with sign language. One neighbor said, “You're pulling someone over who is deaf, they are handicapped. To me, what happened is totally unacceptable."

Daniel Harris’s siblings are also hearing impaired, and neighbors said that they would often see them communicating with each other in sign language. According to news reports, the police have identified him as white.

Harris is one of 753 killed by police around the country so far this year as of August 22. His killing takes place in the context of an epidemic of police murder, targeted especially at Black and Latino people but hitting people of all nationalities and races--where very, very few pigs are even charged, much less convicted, of any serious crime even as they kill again and again. It was in this climate that the pig in North Carolina lethally shot this unarmed deaf man, for absolutely no reason. This reign of murder and terror by the police must be brought to an end!







Revolution #453 August 22, 2016

The Birth of a Nation Can Contribute to Liberation—Re-Prosecuting Nate Parker Does Not

by Sunsara Taylor

August 25, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


On the eve of the major release of a new film, The Birth of a Nation, which chronicles the heroic slave rebellion of Nat Turner, a huge controversy has broken out over 17-year-old allegations of sexual assault directed against the film's writer, director and star, Nate Parker. Despite the fact that Nate Parker was tried and found not guilty, growing numbers of commentators, including many prominent Black and feminist voices, are publicly insisting that they will not go see this film because of these allegations. This controversy threatens to imperil this film's reach and impact, even before it is released. This is very bad.

This film needs to be seen. Everyone in America—and many beyond—must confront both the horrors and integral role of slavery to this country. They also need to learn the heroism and story of Nat Turner, a man who led one of the most powerful and righteous uprisings against slavery in this country's history. It is extremely rare that a film like this gets made. Even rarer that it gets picked up and promoted as a major Hollywood release. Everyone who cares about liberation, and everyone who wants a culture and atmosphere where radical ideas and art can flourish, should fiercely oppose what is being done to bury this film in controversy and destroy Nate Parker and his co-writer, Jean Celestin. I have not yet seen this film, but any film dealing with such a topic must be seen, and must be judged on its content—not the artist.

This does not mean that we should dismiss or downplay the horror of rape. As I have written much about, rape is a horrific crime. It not only shatters the lives of the women who are its victims, the constant threat of rape is a weapon through which all women are terrorized. It is a key tool enforcing the all-around oppression and patriarchal domination of all women in every part of the world. All of this is something that everyone should fight against, urgently and with great passion.

But re-prosecuting and convicting Nate Parker in the “court of public opinion” 17 years after he was tried and found not guilty of rape is very wrong. It will not help to liberate women—or anyone else. In fact, it works against doing so.


Break All the Chains!

Break ALL the Chains!
Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution

Sampler Edition | Full Work

It is the case both that throughout history women have been silenced if they dare speak out about having been raped AND that throughout the history of the U.S., the accusation of rape against Black men in particular has been used as a license to kill. So is there no way to sort this out? There is, but only in the context of the search for the truth and the struggle to break ALL traditions chains.

As stated in a very important piece laying out important questions of principle and method in the wake of accusations against Bill Cosby,

“[I]t is very important to fight to, first of all, create the kind of atmosphere in society overall and in different institutions and parts of society, that make it much more difficult for rape and sexual assault to be carried out, and that encourage and support women in resisting this and in coming forward to raise this and seek justice when it does happen, while at the same time insisting on a consistent approach of proceeding in relation to accusations of rape and sexual assault, and accusations of crimes and wrongdoing in general, through a process that relies on a scientific method and approach and where the kind of 'trial by media' and 'media tyranny' that is so commonplace these days, and the very poisonous atmosphere this creates and reinforces, will be firmly rejected and denounced.”

Make no mistake: what is being done against Nate Parker and The Birth of a Nation is nothing more than a Trial-by-Media and Trial-by-Social-Media. It’s a trial by the culture of “gotcha,” by what amounts to hearsay—with absolutely no criteria of truth. It’s a trial by what the “mob” is led to think which, by the way, in a class-divided, patriarchal, white-supremacist society will inevitably end up targeting and scapegoating the most oppressed. Do people really need to be reminded of “I heard the Black boy whistled at the white women” or “that loose woman was asking for it,” to see where this will lead—and has led time and again.

Even when not directed against the oppressed, this approach is wrong anyway. It works against the scientific search for the truth, which is essential to the process of real liberation and which is an essential part of any truly just and vibrant society.

It’s NOT a Conspiracy Theory to Ask: Why Now?

Even if Nate Parker had been found guilty of rape 17 years ago—which he was not—it would be necessary to ask: Why is this being resurrected now, so many years after the fact on the eve of this film's release?

The accusation—and acquittal—has been known for years and there are no new developments. The only thing new is that a major publication decided to whip up a storm cloud of controversy around it on the eve of the release of this new film—including by digging up and revealing that the woman involved committed suicide four years ago. In fact, some members of the woman's family have made the important point that they “are dubious of the underlying motivations that bring this to present light after 17 years, and we will not take part in stoking its coals.”

At every step along the way, people in powerful institutions made decisions to manufacture this controversy where none had existed. Someone had to decide to run a major piece in Variety suggesting (i.e., prodding) that this “controversy” might engulf the film. They had to decide to follow this up with details of a tragic suicide they had no interest in reporting on for four years. Others had to decide to put this “new controversy” on the home page—for three days—of the New York Times and then many other publications. People had to pick through trial transcripts and take things out of context. And on it has gone.

It is NOT a conspiracy theory to think, when something is suddenly made into such a big deal, that powerful forces were either behind it or got behind it. Rather, recognizing all this is part of applying a scientific method in a society in which some social groups have more power than others and are able to use that power, when it suits their purposes, to bring down certain individuals or works of art or scholarship.

WHO and WHAT Is Served by This “Controversy”?

This manufactured “controversy” is already working to turn people away from seeing this film. To impact how the film company and others will decide to promote it—already, the American Film Institute has postponed a major screening. To stop discussion of slavery, but also to stop support of those who rose against this and whether they should be supported—which in the case of Nat Turner is not without controversy, much as the people who rose up recently in urban rebellions in Milwaukee, Baltimore, and elsewhere against police murder are not without controversy. To prevent this from connecting with the tinderbox of anger seething in the ghettoes and prisons.

Frontally attacking this film for its actual content would almost certainly catapult it into even greater prominence. So much better for the oppressors to have a “left” cover—a seemingly “radical” reason—for this film to be buried.

While it seems this was set in motion by very powerful, perhaps ruling-class, forces, others have been taken in and taken it up. Whatever their intents, these people are allowing their legitimate outrage at the widespread culture of rape and patriarchy to be a cover for attacking a film which does not promote rape, but—in fact—makes a powerful contribution to the fight against oppression.

A “Not Guilty” Verdict Matters

Nate Parker was put on trial and found not guilty. This matters!

It should not even be necessary to point out that it matters that Nate Parker was found not guilty. Unfortunately, it is.

Too many people are making the very sloppy—and extremely harmful—argument that, because most rapes go unreported and even fewer result in conviction, it follows that Nate Parker must have gotten away with rape. This is wrong. Statistics that men often get away with rape are NOT the same as evidence that a particular man got away with rape.

Others have argued that a woman's accusations should be believed “because there is nothing at all to be gained by going public with a rape accusation.” This is wrong. There are more than a few instances where accusations of rape have been completely fabricated. There have also been many instances where convictions in rape cases have resulted from powerful ruling class interests that have nothing to do with evidence of criminal behavior. And there are times when even sincerely held memories and perceptions of a person turn out not to be true.

In order to sort out the guilt or innocence of a particular person in a particular case, the facts and evidence of that case must be thoroughly examined, sifted through and a verdict rendered. This was done. Nate Parker sat on trial, and when all the evidence was sifted through he was found not guilty of any criminal act. This matters.

An Essential Distinction: Nate Parker Is NOT a Part of the State—Cops Who Get Acquitted for Murder ARE

Some have argued that it is “alarming that Black men have been so quick to suddenly cite the court system” when it is this same court system that lets killer cops walk free.

This argument is also wrong. In thinking this through and writing the following, I have drawn deeply on and paraphrased the article I previously referred to on the Bill Cosby controversy.

Police who murder Black people are part of the apparatus of capitalist state power. The “prosecutor” is also part of the apparatus of this state power. And there has been, over a whole long period of time, a very clear pattern where murders by police are almost always declared “justifiable.” In light of this, there is a sound scientific basis for believing that the regular procedures of the legal system are very unlikely to result in a just outcome. It is correct to believe that any investigation and legal procedures involved will very likely be fundamentally tainted in a way to result in no indictment or, in the very rare cases of indictment, no conviction.

But that is very different from a situation involving an individual—even an individual with considerable wealth and influence—who is not part of the apparatus of state power.

The Truth Must Be Scientifically Established

There are, of course, cases where a thorough review and analysis of the evidence and a trial make it legitimate to conclude that an incorrect verdict was reached. I do not claim to have sifted through all of this in order to draw a scientific conclusion as to the veracity of this verdict. But I have sifted through enough of it to know that those declaring that Nate Parker is “definitely guilty” and that the verdict was wrong are not doing so on anything close to a sound, scientific basis.*

Truth cannot be determined based on who will be served by it, by how it makes you feel or your personal experience, and certainly not by how many people are saying it.  Truth must be drawn from evidence. This is important not just for sorting this particular high stakes controversy. This has to do with fundamental questions of what kind of world we want to live in and how we fight to get there.

We need a world without the grotesque division into exploiters and exploited, without the rampant violence against women and degrading patriarchy, without the ongoing bloody terror against and oppression of Black people, and without all the many other crimes of the system of capitalism-imperialism that rules over us. We need a world without this dog-eat-dog system, a world where people have gotten beyond thinking and calculating every social exchange in terms of competing interests of individuals and groups, but instead proceed from the larger interests of all humanity. To get to this world will require an actual revolution—and this requires a scientific approach.

Bob Avakian, the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party, has written that:

For humanity to advance beyond a state in which “might makes right”—and where things ultimately come down to raw power relations—will require, as a fundamental element in this advance, an approach to understanding things (an epistemology) which recognizes that reality and truth are objective and do not vary in accordance with, nor depend on, different “narratives” and how much “authority” an idea (or “narrative”) may have behind it, or how much power and force can be wielded on behalf of any particular idea or “narrative,” at any given point. (BAsics 4:10)

Trials—and Tyranny—by Media and Twitter Run Counter to Liberation

Again, what we have seen is a media and Twitterverse witch-hunt. Everything Nate Parker has said for nearly two decades—including illegally recorded phone calls—has been pored over. Unable to find anything clearly incriminating, writers have instead insisted that statements expressing patriarchal views (towards gay men or towards women) are “proof” of his guilt. Witness testimony has been taken out of context. Allegations—which are just that, allegations (they never were litigated)—by the woman that she was harassed and stalked are being treated as undisputed fact. Almost entirely ignored in this media frenzy has been the evidence of police law-breaking and intimidation, and prosecution's collusion with this, in the pursuit of locking Parker and Celestin up.**

To quote again from the piece about accusations leveled against Cosby:

“What we see in the way these media operate in situations such as this—a process that hardly involves even a pretense, let alone any real substance, of due process, which in fact such mass media are not designed or constituted to create—is a one-sided 'trial by media' and a 'media tyranny' where, once a person has been targeted, there is no real basis or possibility for them to defend themselves in any meaningful way—where denials are treated as evasions and yet more occasion for going after the person—and all this works, in very harmful ways, to create and reinforce the kind of culture and atmosphere that no decent human being should want.”

People Can Change, the System Cannot

Some have implied that if it's necessary for us all to continue to confront the history of slavery, it is hypocritical for Nate Parker to refuse to “relive that period of my life every time I go under the microscope."

This is wrong.

Bob Avakian, "The Oppression of Black People & the Revolutionary Struggle to End All Oppression"
Read more

America is a nation. It is founded on genocide of Native Americans, the enslavement of millions of Africans and their descendants, the theft of half of Mexico. It did this through military devastation, lynch mobs, and terror. It has stretched its tentacles of exploitation and militarized murder to every corner of this planet. This is global, it’s systemic and it’s ongoing. America cannot be redeemed, it is the problem. Its true nature must be confronted, and it must be overthrown.

Nate Parker is an individual. He was 19 years old at the time of this incident. While, by all accounts, he behaved in ways that were dehumanizing and degrading to the young woman involved, he did not create the culture of rape and sexual predation which, undoubtedly, shaped his behavior. So, while it is important that Parker—like every other man who has oppressed and degraded women—confront the harm of this behavior, he must also be allowed to grow and to contribute to the world.

Think of the millions of people who have ended up in U.S. prisons not only because of injustice in the criminal system but also because of the way the dominant institutions and culture conditions people to prey upon each other. People who do wrong need to confront this and change. Most of all they need break out of this system's ways of thinking, transform themselves, and become part of putting an end to the system that is the source of the problem. This needs to not only be allowed, but encouraged.

In contrast, revenge—insisting that people can never rise above their lowest point—works against this. It can only contribute to further locking the horrors of this world into place.

Nate Parker Should NOT Be “Put Under a Microscope”

What should be said about Nate Parker? He has maintained his innocence of the charges (which he has legitimate right to do), he has been vindicated in court, and at the same time he seems to have confronted elements of his behavior and values that were reactionary and wrong. He has also indicated that he wants to continue to learn and transform more. He should be allowed to do that and, in fact, he should NOT be put “under a microscope,” to use his words.

People Must Stop Being Played and The Birth of a Nation Must Be Seen

All those who have been caught up in or confused by these attacks should stop allowing themselves to be played by larger forces inimical to the people’s interests. And those who have gone further than that, being whipped up by and getting into revenge, you need to think long and hard about who that serves and what values that reflects and how ugly that really is—and what kind of society you want to live in.

In conclusion, this film must be seen and then debated and judged on its merits. The efforts to prevent this from happening must be defeated. And people need to learn how to see through these destructive attacks.

See also:
My Piece on Nate Parker Was About What's True and What's Liberating
NOT "Whose Narrative" Will Get "Privileged"

by Sunsara Taylor


* I read all the closing arguments, read the main witness testimony people are claiming “seals the guilt” [it doesn’t], read Parker’s and Celestin’s statements read into the trial record, read the testimony of the accuser, read the lawsuit—filed a couple years later—by the Women’s Law Project against Penn State, read all available excerpts of the illegally recorded phone calls made of Nate Parker back then, and read everything I could find about why the conviction of Celestin was thrown out [reportedly because his attorney failed to object to the admission of hearsay evidence and to the admission of evidence obtained through an illegal phone recording] as well as why a retrial did not go forward. As this article was being posted I became aware of this Statement by four former Penn State Alumni who supported Parker then and support him now, which is worth reading, even as I have not been able to verify all that they say. [back]

** According to testimony in the trial transcript, police assisted the accuser in illegally recording a phone call of Nate Parker, a felony which carries a seven-year prison sentence; the same District Attorney who wrote the criminal charges against Parker and Celestin assured the officers who broke the law that they would not be prosecuted; and the judge allowed this illegally procured “evidence” to be admitted to the trial. Detective Chris Weaver, the main officer who investigated the case, admitted in court to threatening a key witness, and other accusations were made against him in court that he intimidated at least one other witness and the defendants (all of whom were Black). [back]






Revolution #453 August 22, 2016

Letter from a reader:

Cheers to Colin Kaepernick—For Not Standing for National Anthem

August 27, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


At the preseason NFL (National Football League) game on Friday night, August 26, Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers refused to stand for the national anthem in their game against the Green Bay Packers. Kaepernick, who quarterbacked the 49ers in the 2013 Super Bowl, has been outspoken about police murders. About not standing for the national anthem, he said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder. This is not something that I am going to run by anybody. I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed.... If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”

Kaepernick also did not stand for the national anthem in the previous two pre-season games but it was not noticed because he was in street clothes. This was the first game that he did it while suited up for the game.

After the police murder of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Kaepernick put out an Instagram post: “This is what lynchings look like in 2016! Another murder in the streets because the color of a man’s skin, at the hands of the people who they say will protect us. When will they be held accountable? or did he fear for his life as he executed this man?”

On his Twitter page, Kaepernick has been posting retweets in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and about police murders, racism, and white supremacy in the U.S.

The San Francisco 49ers sent out an official statement about what Kaepernick did, stating their view of what the purpose of the pre-game flag ceremony is about and saying that Kaepernick has “the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration.” The 49ers should stick to this statement about recognizing Kaepernick’s right to not stand for the U.S. anthem—and be held accountable if they don’t.

This is a big deal—an active NFL player has taken a courageous stand against the oppression of Black people. Kaepernick is already meeting a firestorm of anger and hatred for what he did. He should not sit alone. All people with any sense of humanity need to sit with him.