Revolution #541, April 30, 2018 (

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #541 April 30, 2018

In this Film, Bob Avakian Analyzes the Deep Roots and Driving Forces of Trump/Pence Fascism and What Must Be Done to Stop It.

Watch It Here, and Spread It.



Be part of bringing the most serious answers to the most urgent questions to tens and hundreds of thousands, and ultimately millions.

This talk from Bob Avakian (BA) provides a scientific understanding of the roots of this fascist regime—in the history of the U.S. and the deeper roots in the system of capitalism-imperialism. He does so with passion, humor, humanity, and a deep sense of history. He cuts into the deepest, most agonizing questions, first in the speech and then in a wide-ranging Questions and Answers.

If more people watched this talk, it could change today’s political equation. But far too few have seen this talk, or even know about it. You are needed to be part of changing this.

Donate towards promotion of this film:

Scroll down for the film trailer, videos of the Q&A session following the speech, and clips from the film

Click to view the full speech.

The film and all video clips are also available for download HERE

For instructions to download this film click HERE




Questions and Answers with Bob Avakian

NEW:  Download, share, and watch each Q&A in a separate clip. To download these clips, click the "v" icon on the bottom right of the clip to get to the Vimeo page, and scroll down to the button for "Download"

Q&A: What do you say to the comedians who ridicule Trump/Pence but also run the risk of contributing to normalizing fascism?

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Q&A: If we drive out the Trump/Pence regime, what will replace it?

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Q&A: How can we sustain the massive movement required to drive this regime from power?

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Q&A: What strategies are there to break through the mainstream news whiteout of Refuse Fascism?

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Q&A: How can we protect immigrants targeted directly by this regime?

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Q&A: What's the role of students in the movement to drive out the Trump/Pence regime?

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Q&A: The Democrats are supposed to be the lesser of two evils, but I don't want to vote for them. I know the system sucks, but what do we do in the interim?

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Q&A: As a revolutionary Christian, I believe that we do need this revolution but how can you have religious people not feel alienated?

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Q&A: What's the relationship between fighting fascism and making revolution?

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Q&A: How can we overcome obstacles in reaching out broadly to drive out the Trump/Pence regime?

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Q&A: Millions hate what's happening with the Trump/Pence regime, but does that matter if they don’t act?

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Q&A: Do you think that we need animal liberation?

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Trailer and Clips From the Film:

Clip: "Free Yourself from the GTF!"

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Clip: "For Black people, isn't Trump just more of the same?"

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Clip: "America: the leader of the free world? When was that ever true?"

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Clip: "What's the matter with liberals?"

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Clip: "Slavery? Genocide? And you think fascism can't happen here?"

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Clip: "What are we facing?"

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Clip: "Order or Justice?"

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Clip: "What Must We Do?"

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Clip: "The direct line from the Confederacy to the fascists of today"

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Clip: "Why is it the Democrats can only try to resolve this on the terms of the system?"

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Clip: "The Christian Fascists
Now In Power"

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Clip: "The 'Unholy Alliance' Between Trump and Fundamentalist Christian Fascists"

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Clip: What Has Given Rise to the Situation in Which We Have a Fascist Regime Ruling the U.S.?

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Clip: Why Can't We Rely On the Democratic Party to Root Out the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime?

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Clip: If We Drive Out Trump, Won't We Just Get Pence? And How Can Mass Action Drive Out Trump, Anyway?

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Clip: On What Basis Can Revolutionaries and People Who Are Not Revolutionaries Unite to Drive Out the Regime?

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Revolution #541 April 30, 2018



This talk from Bob Avakian (BA) provides a scientific understanding of the roots of this fascist regime—in the history of the U.S. and the deeper roots in the system of capitalism-imperialism. He does so with passion, humor, humanity, and a deep sense of history. He cuts into the deepest, most agonizing questions, first in the speech and then in wide-ranging Questions and Answers.

If more people watched this talk, it could change today’s political equation. But far too few have seen this talk, or even know about it. You are needed to be part of changing this.



"If you don't have a poetic spirit—or at least a poetic side—it is very dangerous for you to lead a Marxist movement or be the leader of a socialist state."
– Bob Avakian

Bob Avakian (BA) is the architect of a whole new framework of human emancipation, the new synthesis of communism, which is popularly referred to as the "new communism."





Revolution #541 April 30, 2018

SF State Film Screening and Discussion

April 30, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


From readers:

Professor Daniel Phil Gonzales and the Asian American Studies Department—part of San Francisco State’s famous and hard-fought-for College of Ethnic Studies—hosted, along with Revolution Books Berkeley, a screening and discussion of the film of Bob Avakian’s talk, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible. About 10 students from Professor Gonzales’ class, a few other students, and a couple of elder members of the local community attended.

Some of the students had to leave early, but five stayed for the entire discussion. The discussion was relatively short, but became very contentious in response to a man who claimed to be a “Marxist” but was persistently putting forward a really reactionary critique of Avakian’s analysis. He implied that any defense of Muslims who are under attack right now in the U.S. is somehow supporting “Islamic fascism.” He also argued that we have to focus on “class” rather than always talking about “race.” A couple students who had been quiet initially responded that this country was founded on racism, including in the Constitution itself, and that racism continues today as the major social factor affecting all people of color, regardless of class. Professor Gonzales pointed to the powerful way Avakian spoke to the issue of race throughout the talk, and opened up further discussion about the relationship between class, race, gender, and sexuality—which we also expanded to include imperialism and American chauvinism. In opposition to the class reductionism of this one “Marxist,” someone brought up the example of Jews being persecuted in Germany, not because they were “working class” but because they were “other.”

Professor Gonzales referred to the example Avakian cited of fascism in the Philippines under Duterte, making the point that this fascism tapped into the long history of anti-Muslim oppression in the Philippines very much connected to the Catholic majority. Professor Gonzales said that he has seen Revolutionary Communist Party presence at political actions held by a variety of different groups, but is troubled by the lack of solidarity among these groups on common issues and conditions. Asian Americans for Black Lives Matter standing up against police murder of Black people is one rare example of interracial solidarity. He wanted to talk more about how we can get people to understand that they can and should fight against the oppression of other groups than their own. Gonzales brought up the 2016 teach-in that he participated in with Refuse Fascism. He said that some of the other faculty at the University had asked him why he was participating in it, since they didn’t think fascism was happening in the U.S. He explained that fascism is already operating here to a substantial degree, and is increasing rapidly under the Trump/Pence administration.

We talked about BA’s analysis about white people throughout the history of this country (with the important exception of the 1960s) perpetrating or being complicit in the horrific treatment of people of color, and his point about “white silence is violence.” We encouraged people to watch the Q&A where BA speaks to the problems with “identity politics,” and pointed out his challenge to everyone to “think about humanity, first and above all.” In this light, we talked about BA’s point about liberals, and the need for people to step outside of their intellectual and physical comfort zones, to confront the terrifying truth of what is happening and act to stop it. And we talked about the importance of this film, the case that it makes that this IS fascism, the path of struggle it lays out, and the difference it would make if many more people were engaging it.

Unfortunately the conversation was cut short by another class coming in, but a number of students signed up, and we made plans to come back next week to watch some of the Q&A from the film.





Revolution #541 April 30, 2018

Wrangling with a Social Work Prof About What We’re Facing—and Working Together for a Showing of the BA Film

April 30, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


A team of two met with a social work professor at a local university. We’ve periodically sent him emails over the past months and since Trump was elected. Over numerous years, he’d take time to seriously engage Bob Avakian and the RCP, who he genuinely respects, but also has fundamental disagreements with. He’s specifically raised in the past and recently “a tension I feel regarding being a progressive Catholic and my challenges of understanding Avakian’s desire to work with those in the progressive faith traditions.” But we hadn’t met for quite a while. Two major things we wanted to get into with him: a segment of the BA film THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! Q&A on “Minorities have been in not a very favorable situation in this country to fight against everything that is going against them...” and to discuss the new 2018 Call to Action from Refuse Fascism.

The professor took us out to lunch. He wanted to have some conversation before we turned on the film. So, we spoke some... and then we asked him to read the new Call to Action. He read it. He said there wasn’t anything in it he disagreed with. He more leans toward “normal processes and channels”—the 2018 and 2020 elections—to change the direction of things, and is a big supporter of Move On and Indivisible, so wrestling with the thrust of argument in the new Call to Action provoked rich “comparing and contrasting.”

He made clear and he was arguing “can’t there be both voting for Democrats and protest too?”—but not “a different kind of protest” of the type Refuse Fascism is talking about, thousands and ultimately millions in protest led with the clear-cut objective of driving out fascism in America before it consolidates. There is a “dualism” many democratic progressives have, with the normal processes and essentially the notion that this is a very bad Republican regime that can be changed through voting as the principal aspect, even if they participate in certain protests, or support protesting. He laid out a similar approach at our lunch.

So, there was some struggle over this being fascism (not a “bad Republican regime”), and we also debated there actually is a viable road to oust this regime—nonviolent, sustained, mass protest of tens of thousands, ultimately leading to hundreds of thousands and millions to create conditions where a “crisis of rule” could lead to this regime being removed, but that contended with this illusion of voting out Trumpism in 2018 and 2020 as the principal way to turn the tide and contain or stop the full implementation of the program of the Trump/Pence regime.

There were a couple of intense moments during this initial part of this discussion!

He made clear: “I am a Democrat.” We exposed the Democratic Party leadership and what they are saying and doing in the face of this fascism: Obama... Jimmy Carter... and we told him Democratic Governor Brown welcomed Trump to California saying, “We build bridges not walls” and we agitated around the U.S. National Guard being sent to further militarize the border and about military concentration camps being set up for refugees.

We spoke about the Trump/Pence regime ripping up norms and not going by the rules. We also made clear Refuse Fascism has many who vote in it and needs many more voters, and we explained Refuse Fascism doesn’t say stop voting, what Refuse Fascism is saying is this is fascism, and these fascists are not playing “by the rules” and if you understand that you understand this is a danger to humanity... and Refuse Fascism does have a plan, for a different kind of protest and a vision that has the potential to drive them out.

He said that he supports Move On and Indivisible and they’ve been to campus. He’s invited them to campus (and contributed funds to those groups) and he’s participated in their campus work to promote the “Blue Wave.”

At a certain point he said that the RCP did have this correct (the analysis that Trump is fascist and the implications of that), and either no one else did or very few did... however he put it. It was important he acknowledged that. This is one line of this report, but there is an acknowledgement that’s important. The problem is, however, that we don’t want to be right and lose on this, we have to drive them out, so that got sharpened up—we have to drive these fascists out in the name of humanity and to save humanity and the Earth itself and there is a vision in the new Call to Action and we have a Spring 2018 Plan (which was shared with him) to “get from here to there” to drive this regime out. And we don’t have a lot of time—it can become too late.

He asked about, and we spoke with him about, Refuse Fascism events and actions on campuses, for example versus the antiabortion fascists recently at campuses in So Cal, and the actions challenging U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin at UCLA. He wanted to know what RF had been doing. So, that was in that context. We were ordering food and eating at an outside eatery while the above was going on.

I asked the restaurant to turn down the music for a little bit. We then watched together the Bob Avakian Q&A “Minorities have been in not a very favorable situation in this country to fight against everything that is going against them....” He has the entire film queued up, he told us, but hadn’t watched it yet. So, we watched that part of the Q&A with him saying he’ll watch the full hour ASAP on his own.

After watching the Q&A with BA, he began to talk and we encouraged him to keep going... we said to him there is something very important in what he is saying about the Bob Avakian film and about Bob Avakian. We said we would like to quickly write up what he said, as a draft, and send it to him in 15 minutes after we break up, and then he should finalize it. He developed a notable statement.

After seeing the film, right after his comments, he said we should show the film in the social work department, and he would immediately put in for a room. That got nailed down over the next two days with the university’s classroom scheduling department.

He is going to build for this and get the people there—that is how he is looking at it—it’s his responsibility. He said he’d send out something immediately once he got the spot. We worked the poster through with him. The entire film is going to be shown and there will be time for responses from the audience, but that will be compressed, so we need to do a good job keeping everything tight and on schedule.

One challenge: rather than a broad view of who to invite for the showing and recognizing the need to both cordially invite and to challenge students and other professors (including in person where possible) to attend such an event (brief but sharp, using the poster for guidance)—including in this current context which have serious implications for humanity—such engagement and struggle often doesn’t happen amongst students and professors and is simply left to social media. This is a challenge before the professor and others building for Bob Avakian film showings on campuses nationwide. This professor is seriously considering making a financial contribution to Refuse Fascism.





Revolution #541 April 30, 2018

Three showings in one week done in a way that shows the potential to do many, many more—

Developing a MOVEMENT of Showings of the Film of BA’s Talk, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO!...

April 30, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


From readers:

After doing showings in a Caribbean immigrant community and a showing to an African immigrant organization over the winter, this week there were three showings in churches in different parts of the city. Our approach was centered around discussing and working with the ministers and their congregations, confident that this film speaks with science and passion to the big questions that are deeply troubling to people about the Trump/Pence fascist juggernaut—where did it come from, what does it represent and what can and must we urgently do to stop it?

Proposals to these churches were not aimed mainly at getting a space for us to use to organize a showing in their community—but to engage their congregations and people in their larger networks with this film. One showing was entirely organized by the people in the church, and in the two others there was a combination of engaging the congregations AND some outreach to people broadly from the neighboring communities. Through this, a number of people came to the showings AND important connections were made with two other ministers and others in their communities, opening doors for a number of other showings of various kinds, as well as for mobilizing people to drive out this fascist regime. There were knotty problems to resolve with each, but they were resolved, leading to successful showings, though each had a very different character. Here is a brief summary of each:


The first was at a church surrounded by housing projects in an African-American neighborhood, but close to a crossroads of many different strata of people, a church with a long history of taking up and supporting progressive causes. Twenty people came to see the film. Most of them were Black people over 40 years old, and a few of them were immigrants. Three people came from getting the flyer promoting the showing just before it happened.

We introduced the film by telling people who BA is and letting them know that they were about to hear him address how we got into the situation of having a fascist in the White House, what this had to do with the history of this country and what needs to be and can be done about the danger the Trump/Pence regime poses to humanity.

After watching the film, we read the 2018 Call to Action that Refuse Fascism had just issued, and then opened up the discussion of the film. The first person spoke bitterly about how bad Trump was for poor people and how we needed to get him and Pence out of there. A few others leapt in to make their own points about why Trump was bad for the people. Then someone raised a question that was also on other people’s minds: if we did get Trump and the rest of them out of there, what would replace them? Was there a grouping of people who had the experience to guide society that could take over and direct things in a way that would be good for the people?

This jumped off a lively discussion. Another person asked, “Hearing Bob Avakian speak was awesome, but what are the actual steps for doing this?” He raised the examples of two sustained forms of resistance—the Dakota pipeline protests and Occupy Wall Street—and said they were met with heavy repression from the state. “How can we survive that and continue to expand?” Partly in response, a woman said, “Being educated about what is really going on is a very important step. This was a very educational video. I learned a lot from this.”

Off of this, questions were raised. How could the force necessary to do something as big as driving the regime from office be brought into being? How could you overcome the apathy and the fear that keeps many people from doing anything? Here the discussion began to take the form of different people who were meeting BA through watching the talk for the first time speaking to questions that others raised, while raising their own questions.

While the discussion was good, it would’ve been greatly enriched by going to the Question and Answer sections of the film on questions BA had spoken to in the film. In fact, it may be a good idea to show some parts of the Question and Answer sections of the film before beginning the discussion.

As we neared the end, a band that had come to see the film did a song they had written called “Overcome,” which was inspired by the old civil rights song “We Shall Overcome” and by the work of Refuse Fascism. We wound things up by stressing the need for people who had just seen the film to get organized to reach out to and organize others to watch the film and to take up the Call to Action from Refuse Fascism. People grabbed up all the copies of the film we had on DVD to show it to others and to watch it again themselves. Everybody took the new call from Refuse Fascism. Five copies of the BA biography and a copy of BAsics also got out to people.

A weak point of the showing was the lack of people from the church’s congregation—which had been an important goal leading us to propose the showing. We look forward to discussion with the minister, who seemed to really engage and enjoy what she saw that night, and to learning more about ways that this film and the movement to drive out this fascist regime can really connect with more people in her congregation.


The second showing was at a Black church in Queens that is very involved in work among poor people in that neighborhood. Almost 20 people came to this showing too. Most of them were older African-American women, and all were either in the congregation or among the church’s circle of contacts. In her introduction before the film was shown, the minister said, “I respect Bob Avakian. He has courage. He is brave. He is speaking for us.”

There was a raucous discussion after the showing, started off by one person who questioned why BA had put so much focus on what happened to Black people. She even denied there was a particular history of Black people being oppressed, saying white people in this country had suffered too, both in the past. She thought the indentured servitude that Irish and Scottish people were subjected to had been slavery and this goes on down to today, citing poor whites in West Virginia. In the face of the controversy this kicked up, the strong support for the film from the minister and others shined through. Several people responded by saying, “The Trump regime wants to turn back time. Bring things backwards. The film shows us that.” The minister quickly built on that saying, “Trump wants to take us back to slavery. That is when Trump thinks America was great.”

A sharp challenge was made to join and work with Refuse Fascism and to spread this film. Everyone there got the new Refuse Fascism Call to Action, palm cards for the film and some got extra copies. Seven copies of the BA official biography got out (including a bundle of five to the minister). In terms of building organization—at this showing, overwhelmingly people wanted to act but didn’t want to give their contact information, saying that they preferred to act as part of a group, their church, which had organized the showing. This was significant. And in fact the minister had us leave a stack of 75 copies of the Refuse Fascism call and 75 of the palm cards for this purpose, and the minister and one other person got copies of the DVD of the talk to use for showing the film to others—and the minister said she will be reaching out to people in several other churches in the area.

At the end, the minister did a video testimonial for the film, calling for other churches to also be organizing showings of the film.


This was at a church with a predominantly Spanish-speaking, and active, congregation—in fact, they had organized a significant contingent to come to a July 15, 2017 march called by Refuse Fascism. There was a sense from the minister and some key people that people in their congregation and the surrounding community urgently needed to engage with what is in this film—but the question was how, given that the film is in English, while most of their parishioners and neighbors speak Spanish. So what emerged was somewhat “experimental”—perhaps others can learn from this experience.

Fifteen people came to the showing, including 12 from the church and three from the community, and all but one mainly spoke Spanish. A representative of the church introduced the showing, praising BA for the work he has done over the years and saying that he is a longtime revolutionary.

Three left after seeing only a little of the film, due to language barrier issues. Six others left after seeing about half of the film—but as they were leaving, they expressed appreciation for the film, saying that with effort/concentration, they were able to understand most of what they heard, while also expressing exhaustion in various ways after seeing 30 minutes of it. It is taxing trying to understand something in a language which you are not conversant in. Six stayed for the whole film, and there was a rich discussion afterwards, almost all in Spanish.

All of those who spoke expressed deep bitterness for the crimes that the U.S. has committed in Latin America and around the world and appreciated BA’s presentation of the long criminal history of this country. Several people pointed out how this has gone on under both Democratic and Republican administrations, and remarked on the point that Obama said about Trump, “We are on the same team,” which resonated strongly with them. So a big question was: what is different about this regime? Answers emerged: The Trump/Pence regime is brazenly whipping up of a fascist social base to demonize and unleash attacks against Muslims, immigrants, and others, while preparing for even worse. Another was how a fascist regime moves to wipe out civil liberties and any space for resistance. People in the room have experienced or know about experiences with regimes that have done that in Latin America, and there was a real fear of coming to the U.S. and now facing the same thing here.

Several people raised that they appreciated what BA said in the film about North Korea, talking about  how the media all talked about how bad the leader of North Korea is while saying nothing about the crimes and danger of the U.S. there, and how that leads people to side with the U.S.

But what to do about the Trump/Pence regime and the danger it poses to humanity? The leader of the discussion sharply presented the new Call to Action from Refuse Fascism and went into the need for sustained, determined action—and examples of what happened in South Korea and Egypt were mentioned—in the way called for in the film and which is at the heart of the Refuse Fascism Call to Action. Copies of the new call were distributed in Spanish, and people took quantities. It was proposed that there be a chapter of Refuse Fascism forged in that immigrant community, but much more will be needed to turn the general agreement with that which was expressed into a reality.

It is great to hear that volunteers have stepped forward to translate the text of BA’s film into Spanish and that this is being published as a special issue of Revolution newspaper in Spanish and for prisoners. Now when we have showings of and discussions on the film, people whose principal language is Spanish will be able to dig into what BA is saying in depth. With this issue, we will enable people to get this out to their friends and colleagues, to their congregations and families and to organize showings and discussions themselves.

And we call on all those reading this to generously contribute to the publication of this special issue. See here for more about this special issue and to donate for it.







Revolution #541 April 30, 2018

New National Memorial Marks Black Victims of White Supremacist Terror and Violence—from Slavery to Jim Crow Lynching to Mass Incarceration Today

April 30, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


The National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the accompanying Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration opened in Montgomery, Alabama, on April 26. Located on what used to be a pen that held captive Black people before they were sold at slave auctions, the memorial and museum are important contributions to helping people in the U.S. face up to the actual history of this country, including slavery and lynchings, and the effects of this white supremacist terror and violence down to today.

At the center of the memorial are more than 800 columns made of weathered steel, hanging from the roof—one for each county where lynchings took place—inscribed with the names of those lynched, or with “anonymous” where the identity of the lynching victim is not known. A New York Times reviewer described how “The columns meet you first at eye level, like the headstones that lynching victims were rarely given. But as you walk, the floor steadily descends; by the end, the columns are all dangling above, leaving you in the position of the callous spectators in old photographs of public lynchings. The magnitude of the killing is harrowing, all the more so when paired with the circumstances of individual lynchings, some described in brief summaries along the walk: Parks Banks, lynched in Mississippi in 1922 for carrying a photograph of a white woman; Caleb Gadly, hanged in Kentucky in 1894 for walking behind the wife of his white employer’; Mary Turner, who after denouncing her husband’s lynching by a rampaging white mob, was hung upside down, burned and then sliced open so that her unborn child fell to the ground.”

All through the South today, there are monuments and statues to the Confederacy and its generals—those who fought for slavery, for the right of whites to own Black people as property. These are monuments celebrating hundreds of years of untold horror brought down on millions of enslaved people. As Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), the nonprofit organization behind the new memorial and museum, points out, if you go to South Africa, you can’t help but hear about the decades of apartheid. If you go to Berlin, there are memorials to mark the places where Jewish families were forcibly taken from to be sent to concentration camps during the Holocaust. “[B]ut in America, we don’t talk about slavery, we don’t talk about lynching, we don’t talk about segregation.” The memorial and museum are intended to change that—to make people say, “Never again.”

As viscerally spoken to by Bob Avakian (BA) in his talk Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, and What It’s All About (in the section on “They’re selling postcards of the hanging”), these lynchings were violent, depraved actions and were often public spectacles advertised ahead of time to draw crowds—literally a family pastime in which all too many white people took part, for more than 100 years. The lynchings were tolerated and often encouraged, if not assisted, by federal, state, and local officials and law enforcement. Most of the time, no one was arrested for these murders, let alone convicted and jailed in the rare cases where the perpetrators were arrested—like the white men who lynched 14-year-old Emmett Till in Mississippi in 1955, who were acquitted by an all-white jury and then publicly boasted about what they had done.

As BA also points out in another section of his Revolution talk (“Emmett Till and Jim Crow: Black people lived under a death sentence”), all Black people—from the very young to the elderly—were made to live in terror. Every Black person living in the rural South, where the majority of Black people lived during this time, was under a death sentence, which might or might not be carried out but always hung over their heads. This had everything to do with the overall outrages to which Black people were subjected. As BA notes, “This experience of lynching and its effect on the masses of Black people can in a real sense be taken as representing and concentrating the experience of Black people as a whole, long after literal slavery with all its horrors had been ended in the 1860s.”

Bryan Stevenson and a small group of lawyers at EJI spent many years researching through archives and libraries to document lynchings across the South. They catalogued nearly 4,400 in total—many acknowledged for the first time. The EJI notes, “The memorial is more than a static monument. In the six-acre park surrounding the memorial is a field of identical monuments, waiting to be claimed and installed in the counties they represent. Over time, the national memorial will serve as a report on which parts of the country have confronted the truth of this terror and which have not.”

Visitors to the memorial are first confronted by a sculpture on slavery by Kwame Akoto-Bamfo. After the columns memorializing the lynching victims, as the EJI site described, “The memorial experience continues through the civil rights era made visible with a sculpture by Dana King dedicated to the women who sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Finally, the memorial journey ends with contemporary issues of police violence and racially biased criminal justice expressed in a final work created by Hank Willis Thomas.”

The EJI describes the Legacy Museum as the “physical manifestation” of decades of research on “the history of racial injustice” in the U.S. “The Legacy Museum employs unique technology to dramatize the enslavement of African Americans, the evolution of racial terror lynchings, legalized racial segregation and racial hierarchy in America. Relying on rarely seen first-person accounts of the domestic slave trade, EJI’s critically acclaimed research materials, videography, exhibits on lynching and recently composed content on segregation, this ... museum will explore the history of racial inequality and its relationship to a range of contemporary issues from mass incarceration to police violence.”

The opening of the memorial and museum in Montgomery is very urgent and relevant in the situation we face today. The horror depicted so vividly there IS the history of this country. This terror and violence served to keep in place a whole system, which could not have existed without first slavery and then near-slavery and outright segregation centered in the South while a great majority of Black people lived there. White supremacy is built into the foundation of the USA—something that this system and those who rule it could not do without. And this has continued down to the present. As BA says, “There would be no United States as we now know it today without slavery. That is a simple and basic truth.” (BAsics 1:1) Segregation, discrimination and racism exist in housing, jobs, schools, healthcare, culture—in every part of society. And this continues to be backed up with brutality and violence—by the uniformed lynch mobs of the “officers of the law” who disproportionately target Black and other people of color for murder and brutality, and through mass incarceration of oppressed people.

More information, photos and videos about the memorial and museum are at the EJI website.





Revolution #541 April 30, 2018

Letter from a Prisoner:

“Speaking about humanity, women have the rights to their bodies. If they choose to have an abortion that’s her choice”

April 30, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


I am personally responding to your request for correspondence on the topic of International Women’s Day.

As it is my observation that today’s society is not in favor of women’s rights or women’s independence. Nor is society in favor of women being anything or becoming anything more than baby makers, sex machines who accomplish nothing more than waiting hand and foot on their husbands to come home and serve them, like slaves who will be beaten and abused.

All too often men in today’s society take grave advantage of women. The husbands, the one who is supposed to love them and care for them and protect them is often the attacker. Women are not punching bags or slaves. They are mothers, wives, students, teachers, lawyers, doctors, politicians. They have rights as well as anybody if not more rights to not be abused, degraded, demeaned, deceived, brutalized.

We must stop the abuse of today’s women now. If not us then who will? How long must our women suffer this pain from our men? How long must we as men continue this cycle of violence? We need to take a real look at what led us to this. Why? Well I speak for myself. I have never laid a hand on a woman and have stood up for many women who have been abused and I’ve explained to them that it’s not part of being loved to be abused and that they can have so much more. Let’s step up today. Fight now and change the cycle. Let us stand in solidarity with our women instead of against them.

Women are the future of tomorrow. Let’s give women the rights to humanity that they deserve. Speaking about humanity, women have the rights to their bodies. If they choose to have an abortion that’s her choice. Oh yeah they have choices too. Imagine that in today’s world. In a society where men dominate everything all chains must be broken. Bob Avakian speaks truth in BAsics 3:22: “You cannot break all the chains, except one. You cannot say you want to be free of exploitation and oppression, except you want to keep the oppression of women by men....”


We greatly appreciate receiving these letters from prisoners and encourage prisoners to keep sending us correspondence. The views expressed by the writers of these letters are, of course, their own; and they are not responsible for the views published elsewhere in our paper.







Revolution #541 April 30, 2018

Letter from a Prisoner:

“Women across the globe are saying, ‘Time’s Up!’”

April 30, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


What we are witnessing today are generations of abuses going ignored. But we can ignore them no longer. “Time’s Up!” Women across the globe are saying, “Time’s Up!” for sexism, chauvinism, machoism and all societies “ism’s” that have kept women in the society and around the world in inferior positions. Our refusal and our unwillingness to listen and take action has created a movement that will no longer be ignored.

We are at a critical moment in history. This moment is exposing what happens in a society and to a society who has a history of denying its citizens equal rights and protections. From music, to arts, to entertainment, to education and sports, women have been systematically denied equal access, rights and employment. Lives and careers have been affected and ruined. But not only that, as a society we are all “affected and ruined” by oppression and abuse. Our advances, our growth, our creativity, and our potential as a nation depends on us elevating women to their true position so that we can realize the best of who we are and what we are. Oppression and abuse are diseases that affect the society and stunt our growth.

We now have a golden opportunity to advance in all aspects of human life and activity. Our potential, growth, and success depends on this moment. Either we advance or digress. If we don’t get right now, we could again hear someone saying again soon, “Me Too.”

Time’s Up!”

You Violated Our Hearts, Souls, And Minds,
You Refused To Hear Our Many Complaints And Cries...
You’ve Ruined Careers, Destroyed Lives With No Remorse,
You’ve Always Refused To Put Us First...

We Bear Your Children, Raise Families, And Help Build Societies,
We Are Your Mothers, Your Daughters, Your Sisters, And Aunties.
From Cradle To Grave We Are Needed But Not Acknowledged,
You Abuse Us To Fulfill Your Own Lust...

As Little Girls We Aren’t Safe, We Are Preyed On And Objectified,
By The Time We Reach Adulthood We Are Afraid For Our Lives...
No More Abuse And Mistreatment, We’ve Finally Had Enough...
This Is A Movement NOT A Moment, Finally...

“Time’s Up!”

“You can only keep any group oppressed and marginalized

For so long...”

How Are We Affected?*

Could The Way We Treat Women Reflect Our Own Self-Worth?
How We See Ourselves, Misdirected Anger And Hurt?
Chauvinist, Narcissistic, Or Just Plain Ignorant?
Bias, Partial, Are We Narrow Minded?

What Talents, Gifts, And Skills Are Undiscovered, Unused?
What Is The World Missing Because Of Our Abuse?
What Has The World Been Denied Because Of Our Ways?
What Have We Stolen From Humanity, What Have We Taken?

What Do We Owe, What Do We Know, What Can We Achieve?
What Can Be Recovered, Re-Discovered, What Can Be Retrieved?
Is It Too Late? Can We Get Back On Track?
Can We Re-Direct It All, Can We Find Our Path?

What Cures, Antidotes, And Breakthroughs Are Ahead?
What Are The Answers, The Remedies, What’s Our Next Step?
So Much We’ve Disregarded, Omitted, And Neglected...,
Because We’ve Devalued And Disrespected Women...,

*How Are We Affected?*


We greatly appreciate receiving these letters from prisoners and encourage prisoners to keep sending us correspondence. The views expressed by the writers of these letters are, of course, their own; and they are not responsible for the views published elsewhere in our paper.







Revolution #541 April 30, 2018

Letter from a Prisoner:

Struggling for a Scientific Understanding of Women's Oppression—and Liberation

March 7, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


The Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund (PRLF) received this letter:


As always, health is foundational for all Humyn happiness. So it is a must i inquire about your health and sincerely hope at the time you receive this (and beyond it) you are of sound Mind, Body, Emotion, and Spirit.

P.E.A.C.E GOD! Last year i decided to study feminism for all of 2018. To come to a more clearer and hopefully attain a scientific understanding of Winmin’s condition and the underlying causes of their condition and their struggle. I understand through the study of Brother B.A. (Bob Avakian) and the book The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State, by Frederick Engels that the enslavement, oppression and exploitation of Winmin come into existence as a result of the rise, development, and evolution of private property and the state. The Family is also a consequence of this. Along with its organizational patriarchal structure.

Patriarchy came into existence, destroyed the Liberation, Equality and Justice of Winmin, enjoyed by Winmin prior to the rise of private property and the State. Personally, i have come to see patriarchy as gender hierarchy—a social relation in which men have power and control over Winmin. Under patriarchy Winmin and men are coerced into conforming to certain and set social roles, and are abused, degraded, ostracized, and even murdered for not conforming to the social roles set forth for them by the dynamics of patriarchy.

I have come to see and understand how patriarchy has enmeshed itself in every aspect of our cultural, social, and personal lives. Its devastating impact on Winmin and its negative impact on men. And how the death of patriarchy and the Liberation of Winmin is fundamental and essential to the Liberation of Humynity.

I am writing y’all because I was going over y’all article On the Controversy over Matt Damon’s Comments About the #MeToo Movement, Are we going for retribution or transformation? And it was saying that "every boy and man is, to one or another degree, shaped, trained and ensnared from an early age into a prevailing culture which routinely fosters, encourages, defends, and normalizes the practice of male supremacy in countless forms, from sexist “jokes” to porn to endless daily forms of minor harassment, to outright physical assaults, and rape, the ultimate exercise of power to humiliate, degrade, diminish, and dehumanize. We are ALL drowning in this putrid culture. Don’t we have to deal with the manifestations of such problems via boys and men? All the boys and men, shaped by the patriarchy since earliest childhood, boys and men that include loved ones—fathers, boyfriends, husbands, sons, best friends. There are works on the website from B.A. in particular that get into this, and [other recent] articles began to speak to this, but much more needs to be done." [emphasis added by author]

Is it possible to get some of the works off the website that deal with the above mention? I want to study and analyze it. And anything else you have on patriarchy, its multi-expressions and manifestations, and the conditions and struggles of Winmin.

Thank Y’all In Advance. I truly appreciate it.

Carry On the Tradition of Resistance! With All LOVE & RESPECT,

Sincerely, Signed XXX

P.S.—I am still waiting on a copy of Of Primeval Steps & Future Leaps: An Essay on the Emergence of Human Beings, the Source of Women’s Oppression, and the Road to Emancipation by Ardea Skybreak or/and THE NEW COMMUNISM.






Revolution #541 April 30, 2018

“America-First” Inhumanity:

Refugee Children Torn from Parents

April 30, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


“She could hear her daughter in the next room, screaming, ‘Mommy, don’t let them take me!’”

Imagine you and your seven-year old daughter, having survived a terrible journey of escape from the violence in your homeland, suddenly are arrested and torn apart after applying for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. Is this not every parent’s nightmare, to have your child snatched away? Without your knowledge or consent, your child is then sent 2,000 miles away to a shelter in Chicago, while you are imprisoned in a detention facility near San Diego. For the next four months you’re prevented from seeing each other, only able to speak by phone every couple of weeks.1

This ugly inhumanity toward the children of immigrants is no anomaly; over 700 children have been taken from parents or other adults by the U.S. Border Patrol since October, 2017—more than 100 of them children under the age of 4!

The harm done to the children is irreparable. The authors of a February 28, 2018 op-ed piece in the New York Times write that studies have shown that family separation “can create toxic stress, which can damage brain development and lead to chronic conditions like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and heart disease.”2 In fact, more than 200 child welfare, juvenile justice and child development organizations signed a letter demanding that the Trump/Pence regime stop this policy. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association have both denounced this horrific practice.

What we’re witnessing is now conscious, calculated policy by this openly white-supremacist, anti-immigrant regime. Ignoring U.S. and international law regarding the treatment of refugees, the Trump/Pence fascists are wantonly damaging the lives of children as ransom, to deliver the message to people in those countries considering the risk of coming to the U.S. border to seek asylum: “You are not wanted here, and we won’t hesitate to torture your children if you come.”

At the same time, the Trump/Pence regime is announcing to everyone that in FASCIST America, immigrants, and other non-whites, are now to be looked down on, and treated as the “other,” as the “problem.” That this is the kind of society you’re living in—accept it, or you’ll be targeted as well.

But when have the rulers of this capitalist-imperialist system ever given a fuck about the lives of children? When they turned down the application by Otto Frank, father of Anne Frank, whose life and death has become a symbol of the horrific crimes committed by the Nazis? Or when the MS Saint Louis, a German ocean liner approaching the U.S. shores in 1939 with over 900 Jewish refugees desperately fleeing Hitler’s Germany, was denied entry and was forced to return to Europe, where hundreds of passengers perished at the hands of the Nazis?

How about the long horrific centuries of slavery, when children were auctioned off as their enslaved parents watched and “sold down the river” to slave owners hundreds and hundreds of miles down the Mississippi, never to be seen again—did they give a fuck about the unknown number of lives of children and parents they destroyed?

Did they give a fuck when they carried out and carried through the cultural genocide of the Native Americans through the institution of the Native American boarding schools? More than 100,000 Native American children were forced by the U.S. and Canadian governments to attend these Christian schools. Children as young as five were taken from their parents and sent to these boarding schools where they were separated from their families for nearly a year, while their Native American identities and cultures were literally driven out of them. They were forced to have Euro-American haircuts, forbidden to speak their own languages, and had their names changed to both “civilize” and “Christianize” them; as well as having to endure sexual, physical and mental abuse. As one military officer put it in promoting these “schools,” rather than outright extermination, it would be wiser to “kill the Indian and save the man.”

You, the rulers of America, care about children? Give us a fucking break. You USE small children all over the world, destroying their lives in your sweatshops to create your wealth; or in sexual slavery to satisfy the wealthy European and American businessmen. And yes, you use them to extort and blackmail the parents of immigrants as we see today. And when you CAN’T use the children of the oppressed people in this country, you consign them to a “hunger games” scenario where a few can make it out by fighting for one of the few cherished spots, while the rest are consigned to lives of either exploitation or incarceration.

Fuck YOU America!

1. This is an actual case of a woman from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who is being represented by the ACLU in a suit against the U.S. government to stop the practice of separating parents applying for asylum from their children.  [back]

2. “The Cruel Ploy of Taking Immigrant Kids from Their Parents”, by Dora Galacatos, Alan Shapiro and Brett Stark, New York Times, February 28, 2018  [back]





Revolution #541 April 30, 2018

Refuse Fascism "Greets" VP Pence at
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

April 30, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

On Saturday, April 28 Refuse Fascism found out that the fascist Vice-President Mike Pence was visiting the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. Very quickly several Refuse Fascism LA Steering Committee members came together, looked up the information and called for a protest at JPL. We reached out as broadly and quickly as we could to different individuals and organizations that we have been building relationships with, and to media.

We quickly put together a press release and exposed the danger of this anti-scientific lunatic and key operative of the fascist Trump/Pence regime, including the role he plays as the leader of a Christian fascist movement aiming to bolt down a theocratic form of government and society in the U.S.—and what that means for the entire world. We got into his attacks against LGBTQ people; his attacks on women’s rights; his program to roll women back to the Dark Ages; his genocidal program for Black and Brown people in the inner cities and his anti-immigrant xenophobia and what the whole Trump/Pence fascist program represents and the danger this poses for humanity and the planet—including that these forces have their hands on the levers of the most powerful military the world has ever seen. On that basis we reached out to people to confront the danger this poses and the need to oppose this and build a movement to drive out the whole Trump/Pence fascist regime through mass, nonviolent, sustained political protest at the soonest possible time. 

People from different organizations came out including Indivisible Suffragettes Sisters, and Pasadena and Altadena Against Police Violence. We were a small crowd, about 20 people, but very loud and very powerful! 

We quickly put together our 9-foot banner that says “Trump/Pence Must Go! NO! In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America!” We chanted and agitated about the importance of people being in the streets opposing this fascist agenda! And, what it means that Pence—this Dark Ages lunatic, this anti-scientific fascist—is the chairman of the National Space Council! As the huge motorcade rolled by with Secret Service, Homeland Security, scores of California Highway Patrol, etc. it was truly a scene out of Nazi Germany, except it was modern and happening right now. 

Numerous media outlets were out there to film and interview us, including ABC, CBS, Fox News, Telemundo, AP and others. 







Revolution #541 April 30, 2018

Thousands of Teachers Stage Walkouts and Rallies
Upsurge of Protest Meets Assault on Public Education

April 30, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


Last week thousands of teachers went on strike and held protest rallies in Arizona and Colorado. In Phoenix, about 50,000 people, many wearing red t-shirts with the slogan “#RedForEd,” marched to the state capitol—78 percent of Arizona’s 57,000 educators voted to walk out, and almost all schools in the state closed. In Colorado about half of the state’s schools closed for the week and 10,000 people marched in Denver. These protests followed teacher walkouts in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oklahoma.

These educators have shown courage and principle in the face of threats and intimidation. Strikes by public employees are illegal in many states, and the West Virginia attorney general warned teachers they could be arrested—their strike continued for almost two more weeks. When teachers who occupied the state capitol in Oklahoma City were threatened with arrest, they began clapping rhythmically and chanting “we’re not leaving.”

Politicians responsible for slashing funds for public education have made hypocritical appeals for teachers to think of the children and youth, and end their walkouts. In fact, the striking teachers have expressed repeatedly that they are fighting not just for higher pay but against a wholesale assault on education that is damaging children. A first-year teacher in West Virginia expressed this with a homemade sign echoing an old country song: “Students—because you’re mine, I walk the line.”

Mounting Crisis Reaches a Breaking Point

Teachers in all the walkouts or strikes have made similar demands and described similar conditions. They are fighting for a decent wage for themselves and others employed by school districts, such as bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and janitors. Teachers in public education are underpaid across the country. West Virginia and Oklahoma are right at the bottom of average teacher’s salaries nationwide, with a first-year teacher making about $31,000 per year. Out of that come hundreds or even thousands of dollars many teachers must spend for items not supplied by their school districts, like light bulbs, trash bags, cleaning supplies for rooms, and many others.

Striking teachers told how they have improvised for years to deal with overcrowded classrooms; students sharing books; dilapidated, crumbling buildings; out-of-date textbooks. A Tempe teacher told a reporter, “I think education is in trouble in Arizona. Yeah, we’d like to make more money but (the schools) are not being funded and they (government officials) are giving away money to charter schools and private schools. We’re down here trying to be heard.”

Fascists Take Attacks on Education to New Level

Public education in this country has always been marked by huge inequalities. Especially in inner cities many schools resemble juvenile detention centers, despite the best intentions of many teachers. “Death at an early age,” as author Jonathan Kozol described the mutilation of children’s minds and spirits in inner city schools, has been the fate of countless children and youth pushed through this meat grinder.

For years, funding for public education has been cut across the board, and across the country, by both Democrats and Republicans. These cuts accelerated significantly during and after the recession beginning in 2007.

In 2013, Chicago under Democratic mayor Rahm Emmanuel shut down 50 “underperforming”—and overwhelmingly Black—schools. In the same year in Texas, the state government long dominated by Christian fascists cut $5.3 billion—or about $500 per student—from the state education budget. The result: schools across the state were forced to increase class size, hire fewer teachers, and eliminate “non-core” programs such as band, art, and computer science. Bilingual programs were cut by as much as 40 percent.

Texas is not an isolated or extreme example. A study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reported that public investment in K-12 schools has “declined dramatically” across the country. Poor districts—most often meaning inner city schools with Black and Brown students, and rural districts—have been hit hardest.

Systematic efforts to undermine and even abolish public education have been a key focus of Christian fascist efforts for years. Schools generally are funded by property taxes, and drastic cuts in property taxes have been pushed aggressively by Christian fascists. Then, after gutting funding for public education, these fascists point to the poor condition of public schools as evidence of the need for further cutbacks and “alternatives,” which they frame as “parental choice.” As funding for schools has diminished, financial support for charter schools, vouchers and home schooling has increased.

This horrible situation has gone to unprecedented ferocity under the Trump/Pence fascist regime. Trump’s budget this year cut $3.6 billion from education funding. In addition, billions were cut from teacher training programs, after-school programs, and literacy programs. One program eliminated altogether served school districts that don’t generate property taxes—in particular, for Native American youth on Indian reservations.

At the same time, $1 billion was allocated to create a private school voucher program, and federal support for charter schools is expanding significantly. An NPR report described these measures as “redistributing funds from poorer schools and potentially poorer districts to richer ones.”

Now Betsy DeVos, a long-time Christian fascist opponent of public education who has said her involvement in education is to “advance God’s Kingdom,” is secretary of education in the Trump/Pence regime. Her life has been dedicated to undermining public education in the name of “school choice.” She pioneered Michigan’s charter school initiative, now about 20 years old. Charter schools, which are privately run but publicly funded, often have an overt fundamentalist Christian orientation and infuse Christian theologies into their instruction. Their establishment is a crucial component of the overall consolidation of the fascist regime. One impact of the promotion and growth of this outlook and these schools in the education of millions of youth is to indoctrinate them with blind obedience and slavish acceptance of what they’re instructed, and to undermine their basis to develop a capacity for critical thinking, and a scientific method that pursues objective truth.

The attacks on public education spending Trump launched are intended to be the beginning of a larger assault. Ask yourself—what is the value of a system that degrades the education of its children? What is the value of a system that has contempt for people charged with the education of its youth? What is the value of a system that relentlessly extracts profits from institutions supposedly charged with education of children and youth?

An Unwritten Future

As we go to press, governors in Arizona and Colorado are hinting they may make some concessions to the striking teachers. The Democratic Party is working to channel discontent over attacks on public education into support for them in this year’s elections.

The situation remains in flux, but further attempts to undermine, and possibly eliminate, public education are certain. The impulses driving people to protest can be part of the complex swirl that can contribute to, and possibly spark, further outpourings and struggles. While the teacher walkouts haven’t directly opposed the fascist regime, they can contribute to the general atmosphere of protest rippling through society—March for our Lives, the Women’s March, and others. Different sections of people are being propelled into political life and activity, confronting big issues and forcing others in society more broadly to confront them. This is having a positive social impact. But all this must go further. The ferment developing among tens of thousands of teachers and their allies needs to be part of a mix that contributes to the building of a movement that aims to drive out the Trump/Pence regime.

This is a situation where there is a great need and opportunity for revolutionaries to go in the midst of the ferment and sharply expose the utter worthlessness of this system—a system that not only fucks up the education of children but commits countless other outrages and horrors against the people here and around the world... a system that needs to be swept off the stage of history through actual revolution. To let people know that there is leadership for the movement for that revolution in Bob Avakian and the party he leads, the Revolutionary Communist Party—and a concrete and visionary plan for a radically new and much better society, the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America.





Revolution #541 April 30, 2018

Refugee Caravan Reaches the U.S. Border: “We demand that our rights as refugees, migrants and human beings be respected”

April 30, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


As we write, the caravan of nearly 200 Central American refugees, repeatedly attacked by Trump, has arrived at the U.S. border in Tijuana to apply for asylum. As they marched to the border, they were met by supportive demonstrators on both sides. One group, called March Without Borders, walked 143 miles in eight days from Los Angeles to the border to build support.

The caravan entered Mexico a month earlier with over 1,000 refugees—embarking on a 2,000-mile trek through Mexico toward the U.S. There were about 300 minors ranging from 1 month old to 11 years old, 20 youth who identified as LGBT, and about 400 women. The Mexican government granted asylum to some and gave 20-day permits to be in the country to others—but they deported 400 others, claiming they were violating Mexican immigration laws.

The caravan is organized each year by Pueblos Sin Fronteras—People Without Borders—which has been leading migrants to the U.S. border in search of asylum for the past 15 years with caravans to enable them to travel safely in the face of criminals and the natural elements, as well as Mexican immigration agents. One of the organizers told NBC News that at the start 80% of the asylum seekers were people from Honduras forced to flee because of the unrest following the fraudulent “election” of a U.S.-backed puppet.

These caravans are in part a symbolic statement to draw attention to the unjust asylum processes in both Mexico and the U.S., and to the humanity of those forced to make this passage. Each of these refugees has a story to tell that is both horrifying and courageous—and a lived condemnation of the crimes of this monstrous capitalist-imperialist system.

Reporters from the Washington Post spoke with a 47-year-old woman from El Salvador whose son and daughter got married to their partners that morning at Friendship Park on the border. She said, “I hope that the immigration agents take into account that walking from Chiapas to here, and fleeing from our countries, is punishment enough.” Five years ago her family had been encircled in their home by armed members of the MS-13 gang. When her son refused to be recruited, armed men entered the house in the early morning, forced them all outside and threw them to the ground at gunpoint. They fled to Guatemala and then to Mexico but still couldn't escape the gang threats. She said: “It’s been a nightmare that follows me day and night, and even though I wish it was over, it keeps coming back.”

“What if they don't give us asylum and send us back to our country?” said a 15-year-old girl from Honduras’s capital city, who was fleeing after a gang member raped her high school friend—and then told her that she was next on their list. Another youth fled El Salvador after his life was threatened for refusing to join the local gang. What they are describing are conditions in their countries that have been created through decades of being ravaged by U.S. imperialism and the tyrants, death squads, and their murderous killing machines put in place to represent their interests.

At the end of their journey, the caravan issued a powerful statement:

During the last month, we have endured a long and hard journey across Mexico, fighting for a safe and dignified life. The unity that we have built through this caravan has been the only way to find peace, which we did not have before. Now that our journey is ending, we demand that our rights as refugees, migrants and human beings be respected.

These are the people that Trump—in all of his disgusting xenophobic vitriol—has been lying about to whip up hatred and fear among the “citizens” of this country. Trump is so proud of the directive he issued to the Department of Homeland Security to “STOP the caravan of illegal immigrants trying to cross our WIDE-OPEN BORDER” that he is using it in his fundraising letters. He has sent hundreds of National Guard troops to beef up the militarization of the border.

Now these refugees face the battle for asylum under the Trump/Pence regime. Adults who pass the initial screening in the asylum process could be imprisoned—“detained”—for several months or even years awaiting their asylum hearing. Families could be separated into different detention centers. Everyone, everywhere needs to stand with these brave and determined people who are demanding that their “rights as refugees, migrants and human beings be respected,” and actively resist the U.S. government’s moves to attack and dehumanize them.







Revolution #541 April 30, 2018

Gaza Week 5: Palestinians Storm Concentration Camp Walls

April 30, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


In the last four weeks, Israel has assassinated at least 40 protesters and injured a staggering 5,511 more—many with live fire. The great majority were unarmed. Yet this did not stop at least 12,000 to 14,000 Palestinians from courageously demonstrating for the fifth straight week for their right to return to land stolen from them to create Israel 70 years ago, and to lift the Israeli-Egyptian blockade that has turned the tiny Gaza strip into a fouled, unlivable, open-air prison where nearly two million people—including one million children!—have been robbed of their futures and subjected to barbaric, life-killing conditions for decades—and conditions continue to rapidly deteriorate!

For the first time, thousands, according to Al Jazeera, ran toward, and many stormed the barbed-wire fence that imprisons them in the world’s largest concentration camp. Some broke through and reached the Israeli “border” wall.

Israel again responded with massive live fire, rubber bullets, and a “tremendous barrage of tear gas” as the New York Times put it—deliberately targeting civilians, armed at most with slingshots and tires, for death or severe injury.

Al Jazeera’s correspondent wrote that the situation in Gaza is so desperate that “people have lost their fear,” and even when they “came under a barrage of fire at the border fence, they did not run back.”

At least three people were killed and more than 950 were wounded, including 18 journalists and medical personnel. At least 174 had been hit with live fire.

Amnesty International reported that the wounds show “Israeli soldiers are using high-velocity military weapons designed to cause maximum harm to Palestinian protesters that do not pose imminent threat to them.” The group called Israel’s violence against overwhelmingly unarmed protesters “apparently deliberate attempts to kill and maim,” which were “deeply disturbing, not to mention completely illegal. Some of these cases appear to amount to wilful killing, a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions and a war crime.”

USA No. 1... Backer of Israeli War Crimes

These are war crimes funded, armed, and backed to the hilt by the United States, which gives Israel more aid than any other country—$3.8 billion a year. These are crimes green-lighted by the Trump/Pence fascist regime, which backs the blockade of Gaza and the starving of its children.

Its UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, even tried to turn reality inside out and blame the Palestinians for the atrocities carried out against them: “Anyone who truly cares about children in Gaza should insist that Hamas immediately stop using children as cannon fodder in its conflict with Israel.” One need not be a supporter of Hamas (see below) to know a Nazi-like justification for mass slaughter and genocide when you hear one. Uncle Sam is covered with Palestinian blood!

Adding horror upon horror, Israel’s forces also attacked several medical services areas with anti-personnel gas, according to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, causing a number of demonstrators being treated to experience convulsions, severe vomiting, and suffocation. Making matters even more genocidal, Israel’s blockade has savaged Gaza’s medical infrastructure, meaning, as Al Jazeera reports, “Many medical patients die a slow death as Gaza does not have basic medical resources, and they are unable to leave the Strip for treatment elsewhere because of the blockade.”

U.S. Imperialist Media Spins Genocidal War Crimes into “Fault on Both Sides”’

What does it mean when a power with overwhelming military superiority imprisons some two million human beings on a densely populated sliver of land? It destroys what little they have, then enforces an air, land, and sea embargo preventing them from receiving the basic supplies they need to rebuild and live, and makes the whole prison unlivable. Then it refuses to let them leave, and deliberately murders or wounds thousands when they protest their incarceration. This is nothing other than deliberate genocide.

The Israelis spit out one lying justification for their crimes after another—which get repeated in the U.S. imperialist press, as if somehow “both sides” share blame.

The New York Times reported that Friday’s run to the fence was “no mere protest,” that demonstrators were throwing stones and firebombs at the barbed-wire fence that is “the Israelis’ first line of defense.” The Israeli military commander supervising these war crimes was extensively quoted blaming the violence on the Palestinians: it wasn’t a “peaceful demonstration” but a “hateful mob of thousands of Palestinians” trying to invade and kill Israelis.

“Yes, they go to the border fence; yes, they throw stones; yes, they throw Molotov cocktails,” an Al Jazeera correspondent wrote from the scene, “but you’re dealing with one of the best equipped armies in the world.”

Even calling Israel’s barbed-wire fence and then wall a “border,” much less a “line of defense,” is deliberately misleading. This isn’t a border, as if between two sovereign states, so much as the outer walls of a concentration camp, whose inmates are desperately trying to break out. And what Israel is “defending” is indefensible—the theft of Palestinian land, the ethnic cleansing of a whole people, the carrying out of brutal crimes across the region to preserve Western imperialism’s strangulation and plunder of the Middle East.

A Critical Moment: Condemn Israel’s Crimes, Uphold the Palestinian People’s
Just Struggle for Liberation

This wave of Palestinian protests highlights the deep yearning of the Palestinian people for real emancipation and an end to the horrors that have been inflicted on them over these past seven decades. Yet neither wing of the currently dominant Palestinian leadership—the Islamic fundamentalist Hamas and the oppressive conciliators of Fatah—represents the fundamental interests of the Palestinian people or the path forward.

These interests are NOT represented within the clash between U.S. imperialism, now in fascist form with the Trump/Pence regime, with its enforcer in Israel on one side, and the Islamic fascists represented by Hamas and its backer in Iran on the other. As Bob Avakian has analyzed:

What we see in contention here with Jihad on the one hand and McWorld/McCrusade [increasingly globalized western imperialism] on the other hand, are historically outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity up against historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system. These two reactionary poles reinforce each other, even while opposing each other. If you side with either of these “outmodeds,” you end up strengthening both.

While this is a very important formulation and is crucial to understanding much of the dynamics driving things in the world in this period, at the same time we do have to be clear about which of these “historically outmodeds” has done the greater damage and poses the greater threat to humanity: It is the historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system, and in particular the U.S. imperialists. (BAsics 1:28)

The current wave of Palestinian protests is just and must be supported. And it points to the basis and potential for bringing forward a whole other, emancipating way forward for the Palestinian people, and the crying need for the new communism of Bob Avakian to be spread among Palestinians and across the Middle East, which is crucial to forging that liberating path.

The significance of these protests is also heightened because they are taking place with a fascist regime now in charge in the U.S. and the storm clouds of war looming over the region, which could lead to even more murderous assaults on the Palestinian people. (The U.S. move of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem points in this dangerous direction.)

So especially at this fraught, dangerous moment, it’s imperative for many, many more to speak out against the crimes being carried out by Israel and the U.S., and to visibly demonstrate support for the just struggle of the Palestinian people.






Revolution #541 April 30, 2018

Bastion of Enlightenment... or Enforcer for Imperialism:

The Case of ISRAEL

Part Three

Posted April 30, 2018 | Originally published October 10, 2010 | Revolution Newspaper |


The Case of Israel – Bastion of Enlightenment or Enforcer for Imperialism?”

What is the history of the Israeli State?

What role does Israel play in today’s world?

What is the true history of the Palestinian people, and their dispossession from a land they had lived in for centuries?

What is the relationship between the U.S. and Israel?

In the past few weeks, courageous protests of Palestinian people in Gaza have been viciously suppressed by heavily armed Israeli forces. At least 30 people have been killed, and over 2,500 wounded. The protests continue, and are building towards May 15, the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel through the violent uprooting of three-fourths of the Palestinian population and the theft of their land. Palestinians mark May 15 as the Nakba – the “Catastrophe”.

In the context of these protests, two weeks ago Revolution began a serialization of a special issue from 2010, “The Case of Israel – Bastion of Enlightenment or Enforcer for Imperialism?” (Part One, Part Two) The questions it addresses are more important than ever.


The Outcome of World War 2 and the Establishment of Israel

In the aftermath of World War 2, the U.S. emerged at the top of the imperialist world order, in a position to dictate terms to both defeated rivals (like Germany and Japan), and allies (like Britain and France). Around the world, the U.S. moved to supplant old colonial powers and swallow up or encompass their spheres of influence.

But other important forces also emerged out of World War 2. For a short time, the Soviet Union and China formed a socialist camp that confronted the imperialist world. And another major factor on the post-war political stage was a powerful wave of national liberation struggles throughout especially Asia and Africa against the weakened colonial powers of Europe and Japan.

These two, related challenges to capitalism-imperialism in the wake of World War 2 had much to do with the way the U.S. rehabilitated Japan and West Germany (Germany was divided after World War 2, and the east became a separate country aligned with the Soviet Union).

These developments—and the conflicts within them—all played out in maneuvering and contending of the imperialist powers in the Middle East against national liberation struggles, and against each other. For different and conflicting reasons, and to different degrees, the U.S. and its rivals all saw their interests served by establishing, and gaining influence within, a Zionist state of Israel.

In 1947, United Nations Resolution 181 allotted the Zionists 56 percent of Palestine, even though population figures—setting aside the legitimacy of British sponsored Zionist settlement—were 650,000 Jews living among 1,350,000 Palestinians.6 The UN partition was unjust, and was sponsored by all the powers contending for control of the Middle East.7

The Nakba: The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

During the period from World War 1 up until the establishment of Israel, the British colonial authorities had essentially facilitated initial waves of Zionist ethnic cleansing waged against the inhabitants of Palestine. This erupted in an orgy of terrorist violence in the years after World War 2. By December 1947, the Zionists began mass expulsions of Palestinians. This wave of terror, know as The Nakba (from the Arabic word meaning catastrophe), continued into the early months of 1949.

During the Nakba almost a million Palestinians were brutally forced from their land, villages and homes, fleeing with only the possessions they could carry. Many were raped, tortured and killed.8 To ensure that there would be nothing for the Palestinians to return to, their villages and even many olive and orange trees were thoroughly destroyed. When the Nakba ended, there had been 31 documented massacres—and probably others.

Activists have worked to unearth the physical remains of these villages. Historians have studied the diaries and notebooks of Zionist leaders. The stories of the inhabitants of these villages have been collected in oral histories. Through this process, lists of destroyed Palestinian villages have been compiled that range from 400 to 500—constituting over half of all Palestinian villages. These villages served as centers of political and economic life for the largely rural Palestinian population and their destruction was accompanied by the dispossession of Palestinian farmlands.9

Former Arabic village and road names were given Hebrew names. Ancient mosques and Christian churches were destroyed. Theme parks, pine forests (trees not native to the region) and Israeli settlements sit atop many of the old Palestinian villages. Visitors from the U.S., including idealistic youth who spent summers working on Israeli so-called "socialist" kibbutzes (cooperative farms) were told that nearby demolished buildings were "ancient ruins." All this was to wipe out any physical evidence that the land belonged to Palestinians and give finality to the Nakba.

The Nakba—terrorist ethnic cleansing—was foundational and essential in the establishment of the state of Israel. It created the conditions, and set the stage, for other initiatives like the purchase of Palestinian land, and diplomatic initiatives.

The systematic destruction of Palestinian villages was, all along, the agenda of key Zionist leaders. The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine makes a carefully argued case that the dispossession of the Palestinian people meets the legal definition of ethnic cleansing, and that it was the conscious plan of key Zionist leaders. The book draws on primary sources from the Israeli military archives, including the diary of David Ben-Gurion who played a key political and military role in the founding of Israel.10

One important strategic project guided by Ben-Gurion was the "village project" of mapping all of Palestine. Through the use of aerial photography and other means, details of every Palestinian village were recorded: its access routes, quality of land, water springs, main sources of income, sociopolitical composition, religious affiliations, names of its mukhtars (traditional village heads), relationship with other villages, the age of individual men and an index of "hostility" toward the Zionist project measured by involvement in a major 1938 revolt against the British policy of allowing increased immigration of Jews into Palestine (including those who may have killed Jews).

Blatant Israeli Terrorism

Along with the systematic destruction of Palestinian rural society, the Zionists used terrorist ethnic cleansing to clear the major cities of Palestinians. After the 1948 UN resolution dividing Israel and Palestine, the Zionists publicly proclaimed to uphold the resolution. But inside the country they began to implement their own plans. The morning after the UN resolution, the Hagana (the main military group that would become the Israeli army) and the Irgun (an early split from the Hagana, led by future prime minister Menachem Begin, which also later became part of the army) unleashed a campaign of terror on the 75,000 Palestinian residents of Haifa.11

Jewish settlers who had come in the 1920s and lived in the hills around the city took part in these attacks alongside Zionist military units. Frequent shelling and sniping was rained down on the Palestinian population of Haifa. Oil mixed with fuel was poured down the roads and ignited. Barrels full of explosives were rolled down into the Palestinian areas. When panic-stricken Palestinians came  to put out the fires they were sprayed with machine-gun fire. Jews who passed as Palestinians brought cars stuffed with explosives to be repaired at Palestinian garages and the cars were then detonated. In a refinery plant in Haifa, Jews and Arabs worked shoulder to shoulder and had a long history of solidarity in their fight for better labor conditions against their British employers. The Irgun, which specialized in bomb throwing into Arab crowds, did so at this refinery. Palestinian workers reacted by killing 39 Jewish workers, one of the worst and also one of the last retaliatory skirmishes in that period.12

By March 1948, Ben-Gurion commented to the Jewish Agency Executive, "I believe the majority of the Palestinian masses accept the partition as a fait accompli and do not believe it is possible to overcome or reject it... The decisive majority of them do not want to fight us."

The armies of several Arab countries intervened in 1948 on behalf of the Palestinians. They were no match for well-equipped Zionist military units, with wide-ranging connections to modern weapons and munitions, modern military training, and a tightly organized army. Arab irregulars (small, non-centralized military units) ambushed Israeli convoys but refrained from attacking the settlements. Much of the organized Palestinian military capacity, as well as civilian governmental leadership, had been decimated by the British in the course of ruthlessly suppressing Palestinian independence struggles after World War 1.

Ben-Gurion Orders "Occupation, Destruction and Expulsion"

Ben-Gurion used the Arab world's intervention to frame the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians as one of a tiny Jewish homeland besieged by hostile Arabs. Until March 1948, the Zionist leadership still portrayed their activities as retaliation to hostile Arab actions. Then, two months before the British were to leave, they openly declared that they would take over the land and expel the indigenous population by force. Ruthless expulsion went into high gear and the word retaliation was no longer used to describe what the Israeli military forces were doing. According to Ben-Gurion, there was no longer any need to distinguish between the "innocent" and the "guilty." Pre-emptive strikes and collateral damage became acceptable and necessary. According to an associate, Ben-Gurion ordered that "Every attack has to end with occupation, destruction and expulsion."13

On a hill to the west of Jerusalem lay the town of Deir Yassin. The massacre there reflected the systematic nature of Plan D14 as applied to hundreds of villages throughout Palestine. On April 9, 1948, Jewish soldiers burst into the village and sprayed the houses with machine-gun fire, killing many. Pappé writes, "The remaining villagers were then gathered in one place and murdered in cold blood, their bodies abused while a number of women were raped and then killed. Fahim Zaydan, who was twelve years old at the time, recalled how he saw his family murdered in front of his eyes: 'They took us out one after the other; shot an old man and when one of his daughters cried, she was shot too. Then they called my brother Muhammad, and shot him in front of us, and when my mother yelled, bending over him—carrying my little sister Hudra in her hands, still breast-feeding her—they shot her too.'"

On the blood and bones of such massacres, the state of Israel was built. And such terror is not "ancient" or even just "modern history." It frames the daily life of every Palestinian, today.

Here a terrible irony must be noted: Many in the military core of Zionists who carried out the Nakba —the terrorist ethnic cleansing of Palestine—were battle-hardened veterans of guerilla warfare against the Nazis in Europe in World War 2. This enlistment of people who had in great numbers fought against some of the most barbaric crimes of capitalism-imperialism, into an army of perpetrators of terrible crimes against other oppressed people—in service of the same criminal system responsible for the Holocaust—is emblematic of the birth of Israel as an outrageous crime of world imperialism.


6. "Special Report: What Will Israel Do as the Arab Demographic Tide Rises in Palestine?" by Andrew I. Killgore (Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, July/August 1998). [back]

7. While the Soviet Union mainly supported national liberation struggles during the time it was socialist, it also made a series of very serious errors in subordinating the revolutionary struggles and just causes of people in other countries to what they perceived to be the state interests of the Soviet Union, often to disastrous effect—as in this case. [back]

8. The role of rape of women by Zionist forces in the ferocious ethnic cleansing of Palestine is documented in The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Ilan Pappé. Pappé (Oneworld Publications, 2006) draws on and cites reports from the UN and the Red Cross, along with first hand Israeli military sources, and Palestinian accounts; see especially pages 208-211. [back]

9. Khalidi, Walid (ed.): All that Remains. The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948. Washington, D.C: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1992, App. IV, pp. xix, 585–586; and Sitta, Salman Abu: The Palestinian Nakba 1948. London: The Palestinian Return Centre, 2000. [back]

10. Much of the characterization of, and citations from, Pappé's book in this section of this article is taken from "The Nakba: Ethnic cleansing and the birth of Israel," distributed by A World to Win News Service, December 10, 2006. That article summarizes and analyzes Pappé's important work, and includes insights on limitations of Pappé's perspective and political analysis. Pappé himself has been forced to leave Israel. [back]

11. The Hagana (also spelled Haganah) was the main, and "mainstream" Zionist military force. The Irgun, ostensibly a "split off" of the Hagana, sometimes carried out particularly gruesome and odious operations that the Irgun required some distance from. The Stern Gang in turn was a split-off from the Irgun, and operated with even more freedom from international scrutiny. These Zionist armed forces and others worked in concert, if not in perfect synchronization, and all were later integrated into the Israeli army with the establishment of the state of Israel. Many of the key founding fathers of the state of Israel came from the Irgun and Stern Gang and openly invoked / invoke their association with particularly egregious atrocities against the Palestinians as defining their credibility to be major players in Israeli politics. [back]

12. Pappé, page 58. [back]

13. Pappé, page 64. [back]

14. Plan D was the terminology the Zionist leaders of the Nakba used to reference their master plan. [back]





Revolution #541 April 30, 2018

American Crime

Case #42: COINTELPRO—The FBI Targets the Black Freedom Struggle, 1956-1971

April 30, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


Bob Avakian has written 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 focuses 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.



From 1956-1971, the FBI operated a covert, illegal program that targeted the system’s political opponents in the U.S. The program, COINTELPRO (for COunter INTELligence PROgram), was used to infiltrate, harass, disrupt, smear, and murder or destroy individuals and organizations. COINTELPRO targeted the Black civil rights and liberation movements, communists, socialists, nationalist independence movements, the New Left (student radicals, the antiwar movement), and gay rights and environmental activists.

The FBI was one arm of the U.S. government’s repressive apparatus used to crush opposition during the 1960s and early 1970s. COINTELPRO was the main way the agency went after dissidents and organized opposition. It had been developed by J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI, from several programs that contained secret databases of people Hoover believed were enemies of the U.S. By 1970 these databases contained 26,000 names1 that Ward Churchill said was anyone “who fight(s) for peace and social justice in the United States.”2

This secret program was only discovered in the early 1970s after some activists broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, and released the documents they had obtained.3

COINTELPRO was used against thousands who were exercising their democratic and First Amendment rights—anyone Hoover felt was fighting to bring social and political change: artists, writers, musicians, actors, attorneys, teachers, students, doctors, academics, religious leaders, progressive and political bookstores, political activists and their organizations.

But it was Black people and their movement for equal rights and liberation that Hoover was most aggressively out to crush.

An FBI memo dated March 4, 1968 established the ways COINTELPRO aimed to stop the Black civil rights and liberation struggles:

  1. Prevent the COALITION of militant black nationalist groups ... [that] might be the first step toward a real ... [Black revolutionary army] in America, the beginning of a true Black revolution.
  2. Prevent the RISE OF A “MESSIAH” who could unify, and electrify, the militant Black Nationalist movement.
  3. Prevent VIOLENCE on the part of Black Nationalist groups... a goal of the Counterintelligence Program to pinpoint potential troublemakers and neutralize them before they exercise their potential for violence.
  4. Prevent militant Black Nationalist groups and leaders from gaining RESPECTABILITY, by discrediting them to three separate segments of the community (Black community, white community/liberals, and Black radicals who follow these groups).
  5. A final goal should be to prevent the long-range GROWTH of militant black organizations, especially among youth. Specific tactics to prevent these groups from converting young people must be developed.4

COINTELPRO put Black people under surveillance everywhere—their stores, churches, classrooms, libraries, bars and restaurants, and settlement houses. Black students were particularly targeted for surveillance, and informers were sent into every college to watch all activists. At Swarthmore College, every Black student was under surveillance.5

Smearing and Threatening MLK

Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) became an FBI target of COINTELPRO starting in 1957. In 1960, the FBI infiltrated King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).

By 1964, the FBI feared that King had become a Black “Messiah” and was not only leading the civil rights struggle, but was “pursuing a more fundamental structural agenda for social change.” The “problem of the removal of King (MLK) from the national scene” was put forward in an FBI memo written on December 1, 1964, where the FBI was looking to work with the most conservative civil rights groups to discredit King. When it was revealed that King was going to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, the FBI took tapes of wiretaps and hotel bugs they had from King’s conversations and cut them up and put them together in a way that would make it appear that he “had engaged in a series of ‘orgiastic’ trysts with prostitutes.” The FBI sent an anonymous letter to King saying the tapes would be released soon, and hinted suicide was his only way out. The end of the letter stated:

King, there is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is. You have 34 days in which to do ... You are done. There is but one way out for you. You better take it before your filthy, abnormal fraudulent self is bared to the nation.

For more than a year after King was assassinated in 1968, the FBI continued their COINTELPRO program to discredit him.6

Fomenting Feuds and Going After Malcolm X

A major tactic of COINTELPRO was to provoke disputes between groups. This was first put forward in a 1966 memo to create a dispute between the Communist Party, USA, and La Cosa Nostra that “would cause disruption of both groups by having each expend their energies, time, and money attacking each other.”7 The attempt to create this dispute did not pan out as planned by Hoover, but it was a COINTELPRO tactic that would be viciously used with more success against the Black liberation movement.

The FBI claimed the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X was a result of the COINTELPRO program to create a feud between Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam (NOI). Despite the fact that it remains a question as to whether the bullets that killed Malcolm X came from the NOI or an undercover NYPD cop, a COINTELPRO memo, dated January 22, 1969 states: “Over the years considerable thought has been given, and action taken with Bureau approval, relating to methods through which the NOI could be discredited in the eyes of the general black populace or through which factionalism among the leadership could be created.... Factional disputes have been developed—the most notable being MALCOLM X LITTLE.”8

Targeting the Black Panther Party

In September 1968, Hoover identified the Black Panther Party (BPP), which had grown nationally as the organization that could unite the Black liberation movement. A COINTELPRO memo targeted the BPP: “It is essential that we not only accelerate our investigation of this organization and increase our informants in the organization but we take action under the counterintelligence program to disrupt the group.” The memo called for creating factionalism between people inside and outside the BPP and to paint a picture that some BPP members were cooperating with the cops.

By early 1969, the BPP had grown in all the major cities of the U.S. Their newspaper had a circulation of 250,000. They had built unity with the Peace and Freedom Party and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. So, COINTELPRO set out to destroy the BPP.

On January 9, 1969, John Huggins and Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter, BPP leaders in Los Angeles, were gunned down by members of the US Organization (United Slaves) during a meeting at UCLA to discuss forming a Black Studies Department. Their assassinations were a result of COINTELPRO actions against the BPP. In a memo, dated November 25, 1968, Hoover laid out the plan:

In order to fully capitalize upon the BPP and US differences as well as to exploit all avenues of creating further dissension in the ranks of the BPP, recipient offices are instructed to submit imaginative and hard-hitting counterintelligence measures aimed at crippling the BPP.9

The Los Angeles FBI office sent a memo to Hoover stating that they are:

currently preparing an anonymous letter ... which will be sent to the Los Angeles BPP supposedly from a member of the ‘US’ organization in which it will be stated that the youth group of “US” organization is aware of the BPP “contract” to kill RON KARENGA, the leader of “US”, and they, “US” members in retaliation, have made plans to ambush leaders of the BPP in Los Angeles... It is hoped that this counterintelligence measure will result in an “US” and BPP vendetta.10

After Huggins and Carter were assassinated, the FBI offices in Los Angeles and San Diego produced and distributed in the Black community inflammatory cartoons “attributed to both US and the BPP appearing to viciously ridicule each other.” One of them shows Karenga with a list of things to do, with Huggins’ and Carter’s names checked off, and BPP leader Bobby Seale’s name as the next one on the list.11

During 1969, Fred Hampton, chairman of the Illinois BPP in Chicago, was working to build unity between the BPP and several other organizations—the Blackstone Rangers, the Mau Mau, the Young Lords, the Young Patriots, and SDS.12 The Chicago COINTELPRO section sent an anonymous letter to Jeff Fort, leader of the Rangers, telling him that Hampton had put out a hit on him. The letter had a significant impact in preventing Hampton from consolidating this city-wide coalition of political organizations, but it failed to do what had happened in Los Angeles to Carter and Huggins.13

American Crime

Case #74: The FBI-Chicago Police Assassination of Fred Hampton

See all the articles in this series.

The Chicago COINTELPRO section then sent an infiltrator/provocateur, William O’Neal, into the BPP. O’Neal became Hampton’s bodyguard and gave a detailed floor plan of Hampton’s apartment to the FBI and Chicago police. O’Neal then worked out a plan with the CPD for an “arms raid.” The raid was executed on December 4, 1969, when the armed forces of the state shot their way into Hampton’s apartment with shotguns and a .45-caliber machine gun. Hampton was assassinated in his bed and another Panther, Mark Clark, was also murdered. (See American Crime Case #74, “The FBI-Chicago Police Assassination of Fred Hampton,Revolution newspaper, October 31, 2016.)

A week later, on December 11, Chicago COINTELPRO section head Robert Piper took a major share of the credit for this success in a memo to the FBI headquarters stating that the raid could not have occurred without the intelligence information “not available from any other source,” provided by their informer, O’Neal.14

The FBI has admitted that it ran 295 COINTELPRO operations against Black individuals and Black organizations. Of these, 233 were aimed at the Black Panther Party from 1967-1971. The total number of fatalities resulting from these brutal, illegal operations is unknown, as is the number of years spent in prison by innocent people who were railroaded there by the FBI.15


Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI: Hoover’s main targets were Black people and their organizations. Legal scholar Randall Kennedy said Hoover “viewed protest against white domination as tending toward treason.”16

On June 15, 1969, Hoover declared, “The Black Panther Party, without question, represents the greatest threat to internal security of the country”; he pledged that 1969 would be the last year of the party’s existence.

In a memo dated September 16, 1970, Hoover said the “purpose of counter-intelligence action is to disrupt [the Black Panther Party] and it is immaterial whether facts exist to substantiate the charge. If facts are present it aids in the success of the proposal but the Bureau feels ... that disruption can be accomplished without facts to back it up.”

The FBI: FBI agents were required to have informants who spied on Black people and infiltrated Black organizations. In Washington, DC, each agent was required to have six Black informants. COINTELPRO in the Black community was so widespread that Betty Medsger suggested that in the Black neighborhoods of Philadelphia “at that time, anybody a Black person encountered might have been an FBI informer.”17

The U.S. Government: Hoover got permission from Attorney General Robert Kennedy to install “limited” wiretaps on MLK’s phones. And other presidents engaged in covert, often illegal spying (whether directly part of COINTELPRO or not). Dwight Eisenhower authorized spying on Eleanor Roosevelt and Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas. John Kennedy spied on congressional staffers. Lyndon Johnson ran frequent “name checks” on Barry Goldwater’s staff. Richard Nixon spied on everybody, including members of the Supreme Court and TV journalist Marvin Kalb.18


COINTELPRO was a secretive, covert operation that no one outside the FBI was to know about. Therefore, no public rationale was required; in fact it would alert potential targets and damage this whole system’s legitimacy and credibility. When the COINTELPRO documents were released, they exposed the lie the U.S. proclaims that it is “a bastion of democracy,” where people have the right to speak, organize, dissent, and protest.


COINTELPRO’s purpose was summarized in a memo from J. Edgar Hoover to the FBI spelling out how it was to be used against Black people and organizations:

The purpose of this new counterintelligence endeavor is to expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize the activities of black nationalist hate-type organizations and groupings, their leadership, spokesmen, membership, and supporters, and to counter their propensity for violence and civil disorder. The activities of all such groups of intelligence interest to the Bureau must be followed on a continuous basis so we will be in a position to promptly take advantage of all opportunities for counterintelligence and inspire action in instances where circumstances warrant. The pernicious background of such groups, their duplicity, and devious maneuvers must be exposed to public scrutiny where such publicity will have a neutralizing effect. Efforts of the various groups to consolidate their forces or to recruit new or youthful adherents must be frustrated. No opportunity should be missed to exploit through counterintelligence techniques the organizational and personal conflicts of the leaderships of the groups and where possible an effort should be made to capitalize upon existing conflicts between competing black nationalist organizations. When an opportunity is apparent to disrupt or neutralize black nationalist, hate-type organizations through the cooperation of established local news media contacts or through such contact with sources available to the Seat of Government [Hoover’s office], in every instance careful attention must be given to the proposal to insure the targeted group is disrupted, ridiculed, or discredited through the publicity and not merely publicized....

You are also cautioned that the nature of this new endeavor is such that under no circumstances should the existence of the program be made known outside the bureau and appropriate within-office security should be afforded to sensitive operations and techniques considered under the program.19

A letter to Revolution/, “A Reflection on Piggery—Then and Now,” points to the necessity the rulers of this system faced, especially in the 1960s and early ’70s, which drove them to implement COINTELPRO, whose lessons remain relevant today:

Black people in the U.S. were relentlessly defying the system in many different forms, taking mass political action and outright rebelling—and this won the sympathy and support from literally hundreds of millions of people all over the world. This put the U.S. ruling class on the political defensive and challenged their pose as the “great defenders of people’s rights.” If they had to openly crush this movement, they certainly would; and the hundreds of times that they directly used police, federal agencies, the National Guard and even the Army to go after people proves this. But they much preferred to conceal their role. Why? Because they were really worried about losing their democratic cover in the eyes of the world, as well as losing legitimacy within the U.S. To put it differently: one reason they need to use underhanded programs like COINTELPRO is precisely to keep people blinded to the fact that this democracy that they preach about is essentially a dictatorship of the capitalist-imperialist class.

COINTELPRO did serious damage to the Black liberation movement from 1956-1971, but it did not stop the struggle for Black liberation, as called for by Hoover. The Black Panther Party, the Black liberation movement, and others brought forward many positive, revolutionary things that are important to learn from. Bob Avakian (BA) came forward during this period and worked closely with the BPP. Over the decades since, he has continued to wrestle with and advance the understanding of what he describes as “The pivotal role of the Black national question, the pivotal relation between national liberation and proletarian revolution, in the U.S.,” as a key part of the new communism he has brought forward.


Selected Bibliography


Churchill, Ward and Vander Wall, Jim, The COINTELPRO Papers, South End Press, 1990

Friedman, John S., ed., The Secret Histories: An Anthology, Picador, 2005

Jefferies-Jones, Rhodri, We Know All About You: The Story of Surveillance in Britain and America, Oxford University Press, 2017


Churchill, Ward and Vander Wall, Jim, “COINTELPRO, FBI Counterintelligence, Covert Operations, Black Bag Jobs, Church Committee,” The Freedom Archives

Wolf, Paul, “COINTELPRO: The Untold American Stories,” Civil Liberties Defense Center

National Lawyers Guild, “Counterintelligence: A Documentary Look at America’s Secret Police,” Vol 1. The FBI’s Counterintelligence Operations Against: Black, Puerto Rican, Native American, and Chicano/Mexicano Movements,” 1980,

How FBI COINTELPRO Targeted Radical Groups: Important Lessons on Political Piggery,” Revolution newspaper, August 20, 2014

The FBI’s Covert Program To Destroy the Black Panther Party,”

Denton, Jack, “The FBI’s Long, Alarming History of Investigating Black Musicians,” Pacific Standard magazine, November 22, 2107

Davis, Joshua Clark, “The FBI’s War on Black-Owned Bookstores,” The Atlantic, February 19, 2018



1. We Know All About You: The Story of Surveillance in Britain and America, Rhodri Jefferies-Jones, Oxford University Press, 2017, p. 130.  [back]

2. The COINTELPRO Papers, Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall, South End Press, Boston, 1990, p. xiv.  [back]

3. On the night of March 8, 1971, when the nation was paying attention to the first heavyweight championship fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, eight antiwar protesters burglarized an FBI office in Media, Pa., just outside Philadelphia, taking thousands of documents. The stolen material included the secret case histories of thousands of Americans. Much of it was malicious gossip about things like “sexual deviance and race-mixing,” two of J. Edgar Hoover’s favorite subjects. Betty Medsger of the Washington Post received some of the files, and she was the first to break the story. She noticed a routing slip with the word “COINTELPRO” on it, but did not know what it meant. NBC reporter Carl Stern sought to find out what this word meant, and he obtained more documents under the Freedom of Information Act that revealed the full scope of COINTELPRO.  [back]

4. “The FBI Sets Goals for COINTELPRO,” by the American Social History Project—Center for Media and Learning  [back]

5. “When J. Edgar Hoover Lost and Freedom Won,” interview with Betty Medsger by Mark Karlin, Truthout, January 29, 2014.  [back]

6. Churchill and Vander Wall, pp. 96-101.  [back]

7. Churchill and Vander Wall, pp. 42-43.  [back]

8. Churchill and Vander Wall, p. 102.  [back]

9. Churchill and Vander Wall, p. 130.  [back]

10. Churchill and Vander Wall, p. 132.  [back]

11. Churchill and Vander Wall, p. 131.  [back]

12. The Blackstone Rangers or the Black P. Stone Rangers was a Black street organization. The Young Lords was a Puerto Rican organization. The Young Patriots was a white street organization. SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) was a radical student organization.  [back]

13. Churchill and Vander Wall, pp. 135-139.  [back]

14. Churchill and Vander Wall, pp. 139-141.  [back]

15. Churchill and Vander Wall, p. 164.  [back]

16. “J. Edgar Hoover: Racism and Power”, by Frank Schneiger, February 12, 2017.  [back]

17. “Just Being Black Was Enough to Get Yourself Spied on by J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI”, by Betty Medsger, The Nation, January 22, 2014.  [back]

18. “Domestic Spying, Blackmail, And Murder: Inside The FBI’s COINTELPRO”, by Richard Stockton, April 18, 2017.  [back]

19. “COINTELPRO Revisited – Spying & Disruption”, [back]






Revolution #541 April 30, 2018

How This Racist System Is Stealing the Lives of Black Mothers and Children... and What Can Be Done

April 30, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

On April 11, the New York Times Magazine published “Why America’s Black Mothers and Babies Are in a Life-or-Death Crisis,” by Linda Villarosa. The article is an essential read. It focuses attention on the shocking disparities between the mortality rates of Black and white women and infants in the U.S. The article’s subtitle is: “The answer to the disparity in death rates has everything to do with the lived experience of being a black woman in America.”

Black Lives and the Cumulative Effects of Racism

Villarosa writes, “Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants—11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies.” This amounts to more than 4,000 Black infants dying every year!

This racial disparity is wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery, when most Black women were considered property (although the overall rate has fallen significantly). This shows the lie of the U.S. as a “post-racial” society. The cold truth is that racism and national oppression are deeply integrated into the system and in many ways are getting WORSE.

The disparity between Black and white maternal mortality is even wider than that for infants. According to the most recent report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System, Black women died at a rate 3.4 times that of white women from pregnancy-related causes between 2011 and 2013. According to a recent article by National Public Radio and ProPublica, in some places this disparity is even wider and continues to grow. In New York City, the article reports, Black mothers are 12 times more likely to die than white mothers. This disparity is increasing, up from seven times during the period from 2001 to 2005. (“Nothing Protects Black Women from Dying in Pregnancy and Childbirth,” by Nina Martin, ProPublica, and Renee Montagne, NPR News, December 7, 2017)

The maternal mortality rate for all U.S. women has increased almost two and a half times since 1987, while the rate is declining in other industrialized countries. Black women in the U.S. bear a double burden: national oppression and racism compounded by the vicious oppression of women generally.

Until recently, high maternal mortality was widely believed to affect, almost exclusively, poor or less-educated women. But recent studies have shown that disparities in maternal death persist for Black women across lines of education background and economic status. A study conducted by four researchers at the CDC found that infants born to college-educated Black parents were twice as likely to die as infants born to similarly educated white parents.

The reasons for the Black-white divide in both infant and maternal mortality likely involve many factors. “But,” Villarosa writes, “recently there has been growing acceptance of what has largely been, for the medical establishment, a shocking idea: For Black women in America, an inescapable atmosphere of societal and systemic racism can create a kind of toxic physiological stress, resulting in conditions—including hypertension and pre-eclampsia [a pregnancy-related disorder characterized by high blood pressure and other symptoms that increase the risk to the mother and fetus]—that lead directly to higher rates of infant and maternal death. And that societal racism is further expressed in a pervasive, longstanding racial bias in health care—including the dismissal of legitimate concerns and symptoms—that can help explain poor birth outcomes even in the case of Black women with the most advantages.”

It is not primarily a lack of education or even unequal resources that are responsible for the deaths of more than 4,000 Black infants every year. Instead, according to the studies and experts cited in the article, it is the cumulative result of the stress and trauma of living in a racist society. Having to fear arrest because you show up early for a work-related appointment at Starbucks... worrying about whether your son or daughter will come home alive... being denied housing and employment... being treated as less than human in everyday interactions... and in a thousand other abuses.

Villarosa writes that, at Essence magazine, where she was health editor from the late 1980s to the mid-’90s, they covered the issue of infant mortality by promoting an “each-one-teach-one” mentality: “encourage teenagers in your orbit to just say no to sex and educate all the ‘sisters’ in your life (read: your less-educated and less-privileged friends and family) about the importance of prenatal care and healthful habits during pregnancy.” Her current article is a refutation of this approach. “Each-one-teach-one” and “educating” those who are abused by a heartless system and not taking into account (and taking on) the economic and social causes behind these disparities amounts to blaming the victim and can only makes things worse.

Racism Inside the Health System

In addition to the cumulative effects of racism, the disparities in fetal/maternal mortality are the result of racism within the health system. In her article, Villarosa reports on a study underway by the Averting Maternal Death and Disability Program at Columbia University’s School of Public Health. Interviews conducted by the researchers revealed a range of grievances—from having to wait one to two months before an initial prenatal appointment to being ignored, scolded, and demeaned, even feeling bullied or pushed into having C-sections [caesarean section].

One Black woman wrote to the New York Times about her experience: “I am a mother of two sons,” she writes. “Both times it was a struggle to get doctors to even pay attention to my symptoms. When I first noticed that my blood pressure was elevated, I was told, ‘You people usually have higher blood pressure,’ but for the presence of my father who called an OB-GYN friend in California, I would be dead. The second ... I still was not listened to until my family threatened litigation. I am an African-American woman with degrees from Princeton and Yale.... You would have thought I was a mute from Mars. It was the most frustrating experience of my life.”

This racism inside the health system in the U.S. goes way beyond mother-infant mortality. Black people are discriminated against from the moment they enter the healthcare system. These disparities cut across lines of wealth and education. For example:

To illuminate the reason behind these differences, Villarosa cites a 2016 study by researchers at the University of Virginia which examined why Black patients receive inadequate treatment for pain not only compared with white patients but also relative to World Health Organization guidelines. The study found that white medical students and residents often thought, falsely, that Black people have less-sensitive nerve endings than whites, that Black people’s blood coagulates more quickly, and that black skin is thicker than white. These are lies that date back to slavery when they were used to justify the torture of Black people.

These inequalities play out in years or decades stolen from the lives of our brothers and sisters. In Oakland, California, a city with a diverse, multinational composition, life expectancy varies by as much as 24 years between neighborhoods. The census tract with the highest life expectancy, 91 years, is in the Oakland Hills, affluent and primarily white. The tract with the lowest life expectancy, 67 years, is in West Oakland, which is poor and mainly Black. The life expectancy in West Oakland is similar to the life expectancy of countries such as Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and North Korea. (“Neighborhood-Level Determinants of Life Expectancy in Oakland, CA,” Center on Human Needs, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, 2012)

This Is Unacceptable!

There is no reason that thousands of Black infants and mothers in the U.S. have to die unnecessarily every year. It is UNACCEPTABLE. Why does it continue? Because the oppression that Black people face in this country is literally toxic. Add to this the deeply ingrained racism in medicine. Ending these disparities cannot be achieved by working through the white supremacist, capitalist system where racism is built-in and reinforced in a thousand ways by the economic and social relations. These lost lives cry out for revolution.







Revolution #541 April 30, 2018

From the Revolution Club on May 1, 2018

May 1, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


To the angry and impatient youth... to those living in the shadows... to those who are in fear every day of being torn from your loved ones... to all those who are sickened by these endless outrages... to anyone and everyone who is determined to stand up and fight:

It’s time to get organized for an ACTUAL revolution. And this revolution needs you.

A whole different world is possible—a world without borders, a world where no human being is considered “illegal,” a world without the division into a handful of bloodthirsty imperialist powers and the vast majority of humanity locked into the oppressed nations.

The only thing standing in the way is this system of capitalism-imperialism. This system is driven by the anarchic mad-dash competition between these brutal powers for more profitable exploitation of the people and the planet. It forces people to flee their homes from poverty-stricken conditions and imperialist destruction. Then it callously demonizes and persecutes them, tearing families apart for trying to escape the misery this system itself causes.

This system cannot be reformed. And it promises far worse: the consolidation of a fascist America, with that monstrous ghoul Donald Trump threatening nuclear war on the world and even worse environmental devastation of floods, droughts, mass starvation... all still within a system that cannot do anything to stop this preventable suffering and death.

This system needs to be overthrown through an ACTUAL revolution to bring into being a radically different, and far better, world. This revolution is not just necessary, it is possible. And there is a force that is getting organized and working to make this revolution at the earliest possible time. A force you need to link up with and a force you need to join.

Right now, we need to spread the word that there is a way to prepare and organize now for an actual revolution to overthrow this system, in the pamphlet from the Revolutionary Communist Party: HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution. Get into this and get with it, join in organizing people to be on the front lines of a movement for a real revolution to totally change this world of horrors.

At the same time we recognize that a key battle today is the struggle to stop the Trump/Pence regime from fully consolidating fascism in this country. We need to support and join with Refuse Fascism to rouse ultimately millions of people from many different points of view to take to the streets to drive this regime from power.

To end the misery this system brings down on people here and around the globe we need to be on a mission now to spread the word, to let people know that we have the leadership, the science, the strategy and program, and the basis for organizing people for an actual, emancipating revolution. We have Bob Avakian (BA), the leader of this revolution and the architect of a new framework for revolution, the new synthesis of communism. We have the Party led by BA, the Revolutionary Communist Party, with this new synthesis as its scientific basis to build for revolution. We have the Revolution Clubs, where people can take part in and powerfully represent for the revolution in an organized way, as they learn more about the revolution and advance toward joining the Party. We have the website of the Party,, and its newspaper Revolution, which sharply expose the crimes of this system, scientifically analyze why it cannot be reformed, and give guidance and direction for people to work in a unified way for revolution. We have the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, written by BA and adopted by the Party’s Central Committee, which provides a sweeping and concrete vision and “blueprint” for a radically new and emancipating society. People in the inner cities and in the prisons, students, scholars, artists, lawyers and other professionals, youth in the suburbs and rural areas—people in all parts of society—need to know about this and seriously take it up.

There is a world to win!

Go to every day and join the Revolution Club.








Revolution #541 April 30, 2018

Bob Avakian on Internationalism and Revolution

May 1, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


“Internationalism—The Whole World Comes First.”

BAsics 5:8

“The interests, objectives, and grand designs of the imperialists are not our interests—they are not the interests of the great majority of people in the U.S. nor of the overwhelming majority of people in the world as a whole. And the difficulties the imperialists have gotten themselves into in pursuit of these interests must be seen, and responded to, not from the point of view of the imperialists and their interests, but from the point of view of the great majority of humanity and the basic and urgent need of humanity for a different and better world, for another way.”

BAsics 3:8

Child labor in Bangladesh
Bangladeshi child laborers work at a balloon workshop in Kamrangir Char, 2009. Industries from designer clothing to recycling, and everything in between, contracted by the U.S. and other imperialists to countries like Bangladesh, India, and several countries in Africa, involve vicious exploitation and child labor.


Fallujah, Iraq, 2004

Fallujah, Iraq, 2004.


“The essence of what exists in the U.S. is not democracy but capitalism-imperialism and political structures to enforce that capitalism-imperialism. What the U.S. spreads around the world is not democracy, but imperialism and political structures to enforce that imperialism.”

BAsics 1:3

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

BAsics 1:31

Migrants in Idomeni clashed with police, April 7
Migrants in Idomeni clashed with police when they tried to tear down a section of border fence between Greece and Macedonia and escape to Europe, April 7, 2016. (AP photo/Amel Emric)

“Now let’s imagine, let’s step out of this world that they keep us chained in. And let’s imagine what this future can and will be like.

“When we finally get to the final goal of communism, there won’t be the relations of exploitation and oppression that are so commonplace and that mark all of society today and that we are told over and over again are just the natural order of things and the way things have to be. As Karl Marx pointed out, the communist revolution leads to what we Maoists call the ‘4 Alls’—that is, the abolition of all class differences among people. The abolition or the end to all the production or economic relations underlying these class differences and divisions among people. The ending of all the social relations that go along with these economic or production relations. Oppressive relations between men and women, between different nationalities, between people of different parts of the world, all that will be put an end to and moved beyond. And finally, the revolutionizing of all the ideas that go along with this whole way, this whole capitalist system, these whole social relations. In place of this, what will be the guiding principles in society consciously and voluntarily taken up by people...not forced on them, but consciously and voluntarily taken up as the basis for having abolished exploitation, oppression and inequality? In its place will be collective and cooperative principles aiming for the common good and at the same time, within that, individuals and individuality flourishing in a way that has never been possible before.”

BAsics 2:3




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








Revolution #541 April 30, 2018

"Enriched What Is To Be Done-ism"

Hastening while awaiting—not bowing down to necessity

From Making Revolution and Emancipating Humanity, Part 2

May 2, 2018 | First posted November 25, 2007 | Revolution Newspaper |


Editors' Note: The following is the first six paragraphs of part 2 of excerpts from a talk by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, in 2007. This has been edited for publication and footnotes have been added.


Next I want to talk about “Enriched What Is To Be Done-ism” and its role in building a revolutionary and communist movement. I want to begin by reviewing some important points relating to the whole orientation and strategic approach of “hastening while awaiting” the development of a revolutionary situation in a country like the U.S.

I spoke earlier about the outlook and approach of revisionist “determinist realism”[16] which, among other things, involves a passive approach to objective reality (or necessity), which sees the objective factor as purely objective—and purely “external,” if you will—and doesn’t grasp the living dialectical relation between the objective and subjective factors and the ability of the latter (the subjective factor—the conscious actions of people) to react back on and to transform the former (the objective factor—the objective conditions). In other words, this “determinist realism” doesn’t grasp the essential orientation, and possibility, of transforming necessity into freedom. It doesn’t really, or fully, grasp the contradictoriness of all of reality, including the necessity that one is confronted with at any given time. So, one of the essential features of “determinist realism” is that it dismisses as “voluntarism” any dialectical grasp of the relation between the subjective and objective factors, and sees things in very linear, undifferentiated ways, as essentially uniform and without contradiction, rather than in a living and dynamic and moving and changing way.

Of course, it is necessary not to fall into voluntarism. There are many different ways in which such voluntarism can be expressed, leading to various kinds of (usually “ultra-left”) errors and deviations, if you will—including in the form of giving in to infantilist or adventurist impulses—all of which is also extremely harmful. But—particularly in a protracted or prolonged situation in which the objective conditions for revolution (that is, for the all-out struggle to seize power) have not yet emerged—by far the much greater danger, and one that is reinforced by this objective situation, is this kind of determinist realism which doesn’t grasp correctly the dialectical relation between the objective and subjective factors, and sees them in static, undialectical, and unchanging terms.

It is true that we cannot, by our mere will, or even merely by our actions themselves, transform the objective conditions in a qualitative sense—into a revolutionary situation. This cannot be done merely by our operating on, or reacting back on, the objective conditions through our conscious initiative. On the other hand, once again a phrase from Lenin has important application here. With regard to the labor aristocracy—the sections of the working class in imperialist countries which are, to no small extent, bribed from the spoils of imperialist exploitation and plunder throughout the world, and particularly in the colonies—Lenin made the point that nobody can say with certainty where these more “bourgeoisified” sections of the working class are going to line up in the event of the revolution—which parts of them are going to be with the revolution when the ultimate showdown comes, and which are going to go with the counter-revolution—nobody can say exactly how that is going to fall out, Lenin insisted. And applying this same principle, we can say that nobody can say exactly what the conscious initiative of the revolutionaries might be capable of producing, in reacting upon the objective situation at any given time—in part because nobody can predict all the other things that all the different forces in the world will be doing. Nobody’s understanding can encompass all that at a given time. We can identify trends and patterns, but there is the role of accident as well as the role of causality. And there is the fact that, although changes in what’s objective for us won’t come entirely, or perhaps not even mainly, through our “working on” the objective conditions (in some direct, one-to-one sense), nevertheless our “working on” them can bring about certain changes within a given framework of objective conditions and—in conjunction with and as part of a “mix,” together with many other elements, including other forces acting on the objective situation from their own viewpoints—this can, under certain circumstances, be part of the coming together of factors which does result in a qualitative change. And, again, it is important to emphasize that nobody can know exactly how all that will work out.

Revolution is not made by “formulas,” or by acting in accordance with stereotypical notions and preconceptions—it is a much more living, rich, and complex process than that. But it is an essential characteristic of revisionism (phony communism which has replaced a revolutionary orientation with a gradualist, and ultimately reformist one) to decide and declare that until some deus ex machina—some god-like EXTERNAL FACTOR—intervenes, there can be no essential change in the objective conditions and the most we can do, at any point, is to accept the given framework and work within it, rather than (as we have very correctly formulated it) constantly straining against the limits of the objective framework and seeking to transform the objective conditions to the maximum degree possible at any given time, always being tense to the possibility of different things coming together which bring about (or make possible the bringing about of) an actual qualitative rupture and leap in the objective situation.

So that is a point of basic orientation in terms of applying materialism, and dialectics, in hastening while awaiting the emergence of a revolutionary situation. It’s not just that, in some abstract moral sense, it’s better to hasten than just await—though, of course, it is—but this has to do with a dynamic understanding of the motion and development of material reality and the interpenetration of different contradictions, and the truth that, as Lenin emphasized, all boundaries in nature and society, while real, are conditional and relative, not absolute. (Mao also emphasized this same basic principle in pointing out that, since the range of things is vast and things are interconnected, what’s universal in one context is particular in another.) The application of this principle to what is being discussed here underlines that it is only relatively, and not absolutely, that the objective conditions are “objective” for us—they are, but not in absolute terms. And, along with this, what is external to a given situation can become internal, as a result of the motion—and changes that are brought about through the motion—of contradictions. So, if you are looking at things only in a linear way, then you only see the possibilities that are straight ahead—you have a kind of blinders on. On the other hand, if you have a correct, dialectical materialist approach, you recognize that many things can happen that are unanticipated, and you have to be constantly tense to that possibility while consistently working to transform necessity into freedom. So, again, that is a basic point of orientation.


[16] The subject of “determinist realism” is spoken to in part 1: “Beyond the Narrow Horizon of Bourgeois Right”—available at—and, in the serialization of part 1, is found in “Marxism as a Science—In Opposition to Mechanical Materialism, Idealism and Religiosity,” in Revolution #109, Nov. 18, 2007. [back]





Revolution #541 April 30, 2018

Open Letter to Kanye West, Now Playing the Part Of Pitiful Bootlicking Fool for the Oppressors and DANGEROUS Collaborator with Fascism—and a Warning to Everyone on Where the Logic Leads

May 3, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


In the face of the storm that broke out from your remark that slavery was “a choice” for the enslaved, you say in your own defense that you’re being “attacked for presenting new ideas.” No, your ideas are not fucking “new”—you’re just recycling the same shit that the white supremacist capitalist oppressors who run this place have spewed out from the days of slavery through the decades of Jim Crow segregation and lynching down to the current era of mass incarceration and rampant murder by police, to justify the brutality and horrors against Black people. It’s the oldest idea in America: that Black people and Native Americans are inferior and “deserve” the horrific genocide and oppression that this white supremacist capitalist system has relentlessly doled out to them.

It’s a total outrage but not really a surprise that you’re defending slavery and even blaming the slaves themselves—for the 400 years of being kidnapped from their homes, millions perishing in the hellish voyage across the Atlantic… of being considered white men’s property and being whipped and even killed for not working fast enough… of being repeatedly raped by the slave masters… of being torn apart from loved ones sold off “down the river”…. You even erase the history of courageous revolts, from the ships carrying those kidnapped from Africa down to Nat Turner and beyond—a history which you well know, and then complain that too much of this history is now being unearthed and looked at. It’s not a surprise, because once you go with defending America, and especially once you go with defending the fascists who now run it, you’re gonna end up defending slavery. And by the way: the problem is NOT that a little bit of this country’s putrid past (and present) is now finally beginning to be dragged into the light—the problem is that this society STILL has not confronted this.

You stand as a warning, Kanye West, to anyone who wants to conciliate with Trump—you’re gonna go there eventually, if you’re not there already. Because the Trump/Pence fascist regime is just an extreme concentration of the system of capitalism-imperialism that exists in the USA—a country whose power and wealth, concentrated in the hands of the rulers, wouldn’t be shit if it weren’t for slavery; a country whose society just can’t let go of that shit, right down to the continuing bone- and soul-crushing oppression that keeps the masses of Black people in chains. That’s why Trump—who aims to make this criminal system even more horrific—has such high praise for you.

And don’t you dare bring up Harriet Tubman to justify your stinking words. Tubman heroically risked her life and led others to risk their lives to free hundreds of enslaved people, she supported armed struggle against it, and yes on that basis she struggled with those slaves who would NOT rise up and instead tried to make a place within the slave system. You, Kanye, in contrast, play the part of the pitiful, groveling fool licking the boots of the oppressors by blaming the oppressed.

Of course, at the same time, let’s not forget those whose words may be more honeyed than yours but who run the same essential message and who do NOT come in for criticism—like Obama himself, who denounced the brave youth who rebelled in Baltimore as “thugs,” who lectured students that if they would stop sagging they would “make it in America” and it was their own fault if they didn’t, who implied that the massacre of Black people in Charleston, South Carolina by a white supremacist was “god’s will,” who would point to what he called America’s “flawed past” (300 years of slavery a fucking flaw!) only to say that things are getting better and better, who dropped bombs on and sent troops against people all over the world to defend this rotten empire, and who said after Trump was elected that we were all “on the same team” and should “root for his success.” Or, for that matter, that posturing misleader and wanna-be oppressor Farrakhan, who himself pathetically begs Trump for a meeting. So, on top of it, Kanye, you’re not even such a non-conformist—just someone putting the same basic logic out there in a way to attract more attention and sow more confusion and misdirection.





Revolution #541 April 30, 2018

"What Marx Brought to Light"


"Marx and Darwin"

by Bob Avakian

May 5, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |



On the 200th anniversary of Marx's birth we are posting this excerpt from "The Material Basis and the Method for Making Revolution," a talk given by Bob Avakian in 2014. This excerpt speaks to the turning point and significance of Marx's contributions—bringing into being a scientific, materialist understanding of capitalism and of the potential for revolution to emancipate humanity.


What Marx Brought to Light

This goes back to another fundamental point from Marx. I mean, when you say it, it seems so obvious, and yet Marx had to spend years and years digging through all kinds of political economy, and learning from what Darwin was bringing forward in the realm of biology, the theory of evolution—and studying political developments and history and philosophy—to sift through all the outward appearances to get to this inner core of the contradiction, as it’s been identified by him and by Marxism in general, between the forces of production and the relations of production. That this is the fundamental driving contradiction, which in turn gives rise to, and is dialectically interrelated with another contradiction between the mode of production—the economic base—and the superstructure, which arises on the basis of and works to reinforce that economic base.

Now, what do these terms mean? They mean that—if you boil it down to its essence—in order for anything to happen in society, the material requirements of life have to be produced and reproduced, and so do new generations of people. We live in a highly—as I’ve pointed out before, for example in Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, but Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon (and I’ll just say “Birds and Crocodiles” from now on so I don’t have to repeat that title)—but, you know, I have pointed out that in a highly parasitic country like this one, you have such a broad swath of people who are not involved directly in the production and reproduction of the material requirements of life—and, in fact, this parasitism of U.S. imperialism, with this heightened globalization, has been to transfer more and more of actual productivity (as they say, “outsource” it) to other countries, particularly Third World countries, but generally other countries around the world. And the actual people engaged in production of the material requirements of life has been shrinking relative to the total population. So, in a society like this, it’s very easy if you’re not part of that small part of the population—a small segment of the population that’s actually engaged in directly producing the material requirements of life—it’s very easy just to think those things somehow appear, or exist. As it’s been put by a number of others besides myself, if you’re at the end of the food chain, the high end of the food chain, and everybody else is doing all the things that lead up to that, it’s very easy not to see all that. Or I like to use this metaphor: You’re in a building that’s rotting underneath, the foundation is rotting, and as you go down—you’re at the top of the building, and as you go down the floors, it’s more and more rotting away, but you’re at the penthouse at the top, and you actually think this is the way the world is, the way it is in the penthouse. And, all of a sudden (as is sometimes done in those old communist drawings or whatever) there’s an eruption from down below and that’s one of the ways you get reminded, “Oh, there’s something else here besides this penthouse I’m residing in.”

Now, I’m not saying everybody in the U.S. lives in a penthouse—this is a metaphor, you know; and metaphors, like analogies, have their limitations. But when you’re living in a highly parasitic society like this, it’s easy not to see—not to perceive, and certainly not to understand in any kind of a sense, or a scientific way—what is the foundation of this society that’s functioning, that you are pursuing your dreams within, and where does even the wealth come from that’s in circulation that enables different people to pursue different things. All this is hidden from you. It’s all the more hidden when you’re in a highly parasitic society like this. But at the base of all this is the production and reproduction of the material requirements of life and of new generations on that basis, because new generations can’t be reproduced on any other basis either—they can be brought into the world, but if people are too sickly, they can’t even bring children into the world. Or, if they do, the infant mortality rate, as we see in much of the Third World, is very high. But you have to have basic material requirements of life in order even to reproduce new generations.

And this is the point that Marx brought out, he focused on this. Now, think of all the ways in which you run into people every day, and how they think about—to the degree they ever do think about—what it is that makes the world go round, what it is that actually makes society function, and all the completely erroneous ideas that people have about this, or just the lack of any thinking about it even, or some combination of a little bit of thinking and a lot of ignorance and misunderstanding about what is it that enables you to get up in the morning and function. Is it your individual determination—or is there something that’s going on that enables that to happen, that’s much bigger than you, and is a whole social phenomenon, involves a whole society and ultimately a whole world of billions—billions and billions of people, right? (We are just getting ready to have the new version of Cosmos, so we have to say billions and billions of people in honor of Carl Sagan and the original Cosmos. But, anyway, billions and billions of people, to get to the point here.) And they are all engaged in these activities which are all being—and here’s Marx’s second point, the point that’s even more crucial, and yet at the same time more hidden: in order for this to happen, people have to enter into certain relations of production, which more or less, without being mechanical about it, correspond to whatever the productive forces are at hand; and, along with this, the fact that the productive forces are continually being developed. People are thinking beings, and in any society they think about new ways to do things, new ways to organize things, and because of the driving force of anarchy—as pointed out in the recent article by Raymond Lotta—capitalism is, in fact, a very dynamic system, which is driven to continually transform the productive forces, and even some of the relations of production within the overall framework of capitalist production relations.

So, these things are not static and unchanging, but continuously changing, and very dynamic, but always at the cost of great suffering for masses of people in the world, for the great mass of humanity, and ultimately to the detriment of humanity as a whole. And we can see this in the environment, we can see this in the conditions of masses of people, we can see it in the condition of women, we can see it in the oppression of whole nations, we can see it in the wars—and on and on, all the things that are all too familiar to anyone who’s paying attention.

Marx and Darwin

This basic understanding—these are the dynamics that Marx brought to light. And I’m always struck—I listen to a lot of these people in different fields, you know, who are basically pursuing the bourgeois outlook, even if they’re from the petite bourgeoisie, and even some of them are progressive. I listen when they have these discussions, or I read articles or books, where they’re grappling with all these questions, including questions about society: What’s wrong with society? Are there ways society could be changed? Does there have to be so much suffering in the world? And so on. Even the people who are trying to take up these questions from a somewhat better position, it’s just really striking how they’re just completely off base. And here Marx brought this to light, and they talk about everything and they engage everything but the basic Marxist understanding.

It’s not just that Marxism is a “better narrative.” It would be like a bunch of biologists got together and tried to debate about what’s happening in the natural world, but they ignored, or dismissed, Darwin. Biology after Darwin is completely, radically different than biology before Darwin, even though people have continued to develop what Darwin brought forward, it’s continually being developed, as is every field of knowledge where people are approaching it scientifically. But, by analogy, the understanding of society—and, yes, of philosophy, and politics, but the understanding of the fundamental question of why society functions the way it does, how it can change, how it does change, how it can undergo radical transformation, what is the fundamental basis for all that—that understanding was synthesized by Marx. And, yes, we’ve gone on, and people—you know, Lenin, Mao, Stalin in some ways, Engels definitely—have contributed to this, and I’ve continued to work on this and bring forward more understanding of it. But Marx made the initial and fundamental breakthrough, and the science of society and the interaction of human beings through society with the rest of nature, and everything that gives rise to, including all the thinking it gives rise to in human beings, that science is as different before Marx as biology before Darwin is compared to after Darwin. And you just listen to people talk, and they talk about everything but. They either ignore or dismiss, or distort and dismiss, this fundamental understanding.

And if you’re going to set out to transform the world in a radical direction, to get humanity to a whole different place where all the things that are the daily horrors, and assumed to be just the natural order of things, in fact are transformed and surpassed, then you’re going to have to base yourself on a scientific approach to this, rooted in an understanding of the actual contradictions and dynamics that are setting the stage continually, and re-setting it, and the changes that are constantly occurring, and what changes this makes possible—not inevitable but possible. And there is the fact that different class forces with more or less conscious understanding are going to be continually operating on that same stage and working on those same contradictions from their own perspective. It’s not something that’s like a laboratory—well, even in laboratories you’re dealing with live animals, for example—there are a lot of other things going on, it’s not like you’re dealing with passive entities, you know, just a bunch of unchanging things, that you move around to make revolution. You’re dealing with dynamics that are constantly changing and on which every other force in society—or at least its conscious representatives—are working to try to change in the direction favorable to how they think the world should be.

Now, to be clear, this doesn’t mean that it’s all a matter of one narrative versus another narrative, or one interest versus another interest in some sort of non-materialist sense. There is only one resolution of all these contradictions that’s in the fundamental interests of the masses of oppressed humanity and ultimately of humanity as a whole. But that doesn’t mean that other class forces...all the representatives of every class think—this is Marx’s point also in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, that all the representatives of every class think that what they’re striving for on behalf of the class they represent is in the general interest of society and humanity. All of them think that. I mean, yes, there are some cynical, narrow opportunists and corrupt officials, and so on. But the more—however you want to put it—the more farseeing or broad-minded representatives of different classes, if you want to use that term—the ones who are more sincerely striving for these interests—actually think that they are in the general interests of society and humanity. They think this is the best way society could possibly be.

But there’s only one actual program and outlook for which that is actually true in this era of human history, and in terms of how the contradictions are posing themselves and where they need to go in order to emancipate the oppressed—the wretched of the earth, the oppressed of the world—and ultimately humanity as a whole, and move beyond the point where the contradictions characteristic of capitalism and how it organizes human beings to interact with the rest of nature, and the dynamics bound up with that, are surpassed, and we move to a whole different era, both in terms of the material relations and in terms of the thinking of the people. This is what Marx and Engels were emphasizing when they said that the communist revolution involves the most radical rupture with traditional property relations, no wonder then that it involves the most radical rupture with traditional ideas. This has a material basis. It’s not just that these are better ideas, or a more just way that society could be organized in the abstract, or as a set of ideas. Yes, it is more just. But that has a material foundation.

And if we don’t root ourselves continually—you know, there’s the constant pull of spontaneity to be influenced by the outlook of other classes and their representatives and to start seeing the world through that prism, through those lenses. So it’s a constant struggle to go back to, and to grapple collectively, not just as individuals—yes, as individuals, but above all collectively among the ranks of the party, and what must be the growing ranks of the party, the growing ranks of the movement for revolution, the broader masses of people—to be continually struggling to go back to and deepen our grasp and our living application of the scientific understanding, which, again, was first broken through on and brought forward by Marx in a qualitative way (with Engels also, but Marx more than anyone else).

Again, to use that analogy and drive it home, this makes the understanding of the science of society and its interaction with the rest of nature as fundamentally different from how that was approached before Marx, as things are in the realm of biology—as things are fundamentally different after Darwin than before Darwin, even though people have continued to work on what Darwin brought forward, and there were many things that Darwin did not understand, or partially understood, or even understood incorrectly, while his fundamental understanding was qualitatively correct and a tremendous breakthrough. The same is true in the realm of what we’re doing. There were things that Marx didn’t understand. Engels, Lenin, certainly Stalin, even Mao—I say even Mao because he’s more recent, you know—but there are things that we’ve learned that they didn’t understand, or didn’t understand correctly. That’s the nature of being scientific. And yet there is that initial, fundamental qualitative breakthrough with Marx. And this basic understanding—yes, as it’s being continually grappled with and further developed, and it is all of our responsibility to continue to grapple with it and contribute to developing it—but this understanding in that sense is what we have to continually go back to, be regrounding ourselves in, grounding more deeply, and applying and carrying out the correct dialectical relation between grounding ourselves in it and applying it, learning from the experience of applying it as well as much broader experience in the world, in different realms. Deepening our understanding of it, back again with that deeper understanding, and on and on, in a forward moving dialectic, dealing with all the complexity without losing the core, without losing the fundamentals, without losing our grip on the fundamentals, even as we continue to subject the fundamentals to questioning. Because this is a science. This is a matter of being consistently, systematically, thoroughly and comprehensively scientific.

And that’s actually what Marxism, what communism, is. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t make mistakes—it doesn’t mean people who are trying to do this don’t get influenced by the limitations of their own understanding or the outlook of other classes, or their own prejudices and biases as individuals, or whatever. That’s true in any realm of science. But the scientific method is what enables you to learn from that as well, and to sum that up and to deepen and get your understanding to be more correct, in an ongoing process. So this is very important. We have to be scientific, and we have to specifically apply what is, in fact, the most comprehensive, systematic and consistent scientific method and approach, the approach of dialectical materialism and communism—communism which is grounded in dialectical materialism, just to be clear.