Revolution #580, January 28, 2019 (

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #580 January 28, 2019

Coming Soon: Trumpian "Cave-in" or Intensifying Struggle?

The Shutdown, the Immigrants, the Further Move to Fascism... and the Need for a Whole New World

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Lost in the hype about Trump’s supposed cave-in to Pelosi, lost even in the exposure of how the shutdown messed over government workers and masses of people more broadly, is the basic reality of one group of people: the immigrants themselves, driven from their homelands by the workings of this system and the policies of the U.S. rulers, with thousands now languishing at the U.S.-Mexico border, tens of thousands in detention, and millions living in the shadows and demonized.

This week Revolution will analyze the real stakes of the shutdown and its temporary end... NOT from the standpoint of how best to preserve the system responsible for the tens of millions of refugees worldwide, but the real and terrible stakes for masses of immigrants and humanity as a whole, and how to get to a whole new world.

Stay tuned.


STOP the Demonization, Criminalization and Deportation of Immigrants and the Militarization of the Border!

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Revolution #580 January 28, 2019

Points of Orientation on the Situation in Venezuela

| Revolution Newspaper |



On April 30, reactionary forces, working hand-in-glove with U.S. imperialism, attempted to instigate a military coup against the Venezuelan government of President Nicolás Maduro. Juan Guaidó—a right-wing politician and head of the legislature (the National Assembly) who the U.S. has declared the “legitimate” president—appeared at La Carlota Air Base before dawn, amidst a knot of soldiers and called for a military revolt, as well as for massive street protests against Maduro.

As we post this, the coup attempt appears to have failed—so far, there have been no major defections from the military, nor massive outpourings of anti-government protest. And by nightfall on April 30, one of the key plotters had fled to the Spanish Embassy for refuge. At the moment the forces backing Guaidó are in some disarray.

But it is important to note that this is the third time in four months that these forces have tried to launch a coup, with enthusiastic backing from the U.S. And the U.S. is still determined to destabilize and overthrow Maduro, including by imposing brutal sanctions that are causing massive suffering, and which may have—according to Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs—caused the deaths of 40,000 people.

Moreover, the U.S. has become increasingly belligerent in response to this latest setback. Speaking of U.S. military intervention to overthrow Maduro, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “If that’s what’s required, that’s what the United States will do.” Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton have blamed Russia and Cuba (which have given economic and military aid to Venezuela) for the coup’s failure and Bolton warned “This is our hemisphere. It’s not where the Russians ought to be interfering,” while Trump threatened Cuba with “a full and complete embargo, together with highest-level sanctions.”

In other words, this remains an extremely dangerous and outrageous situation. In this light we are reposting the important “Points of Orientation” that we issued after Guaidó’s first coup attempt last January.

Points of Orientation on the Situation in Venezuela

1) As we go to press, the U.S. is working feverishly to oust the Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro. The vast majority of Republicans AND Democrats are supporting Maduro’s ouster, with Trump threatening military force. For all the talk of “supporting democracy,” this is gangsterism pure and simple. The U.S. under both Obama and Trump has gone after the Maduro government in many ways, and for more than a year has been intentionally exacerbating the suffering of the Venezuelan people through what amounts to economic warfare against the people, while attempting to foment coup attempts among the military. This latest machination—recognizing the head of the National Assembly Juan Guaidó as the “legitimate president” and demanding that Maduro step down—is an aggressive escalation and provocation aimed at heightening U.S. domination of Venezuela and tightening its grip on the region as a whole. As Bob Avakian has said:

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

2) The Maduro regime, like that of Hugo Chávez whom Maduro succeeded, poses as socialist and anti-imperialist. In fact, it is not. Chávez and Maduro attempted to angle for a “better deal” within the overall imperialist economic system, including through supporting and forming blocs with like-minded reformist governments in Latin America. They used some oil wealth to fund social welfare programs and build political support among the poor, while leaving the actual relations with imperialism and many of the backward social relations within Venezuela intact. (See “Three Alternative Worlds” by Bob Avakian.) But the U.S. found even this level of assertion by Venezuela intolerable, and has worked to undermine and ultimately overthrow the regime since its inception.

3) We need a whole new world—beyond the division of the world into a handful of imperialist powers who exploit, dominate, and bludgeon the whole rest of humanity... a world moving to eliminate all forms of oppression and exploitation, and all the relations between people and the ideas that are founded on and reinforce that exploitation and oppression. And as part of fighting for that revolution, we need to oppose the current vicious—and highly risky—threats and actions being carried out by U.S. imperialism against Venezuela.

We will have more coverage on the situation in Venezuela as the week progresses.

As Tens of Thousands Die in Venezuela from U.S. Economic Warfare...
Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez: “See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil”

The U.S. is waging economic war on Venezuela. It is just as deadly as the shooting wars it finances all through the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa, but you don't see the blood and hear the screams.

Read more

Three Alternative Worlds

Check out "Three Alternative Worlds," the Supplement to Chapter 2 of BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian.

CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America
(Draft Proposal)

Authored by Bob Avakian, and adopted by the Central Committee of the RCP

Read and Download (PDF)


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Revolution #580 January 28, 2019

A Basic Point of Orientation:

In Answer to the Question
"Who are you to say what the masses of people need?"

March 23, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


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We are people who represent, on a scientific basis, the fundamental interests of the masses of humanity, the great majority of the 7 billion people on this planet; who understand what the problem and the solution is to the situation that faces the masses of humanity; and who have taken on the responsibility of leading people to fight to bring about, through revolution, the solution that is urgently needed.






Revolution #580 January 28, 2019

Excerpt from AWAY WITH ALL GODS! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World by Bob Avakian

Religion, Fundamentalism, and the Slave Mentality

By Bob Avakian

January 21, 2019 | Revolution Newspaper |



Editors' Note: The following is an excerpt from the book AWAY WITH ALL GODS! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, by Bob Avakian (available from Insight Press). The book was published in 2008.


At the same time, there is in religion, but more especially in literalist religious fundamentalism, the promotion of a mentality that sees people themselves as inherently sinful, that accepts the notion that the reason people who are suffering are in the situation they’re in, is because they have come into disfavor with God, because they (or others close to them) have committed acts which have brought down the wrath of God on them; and if anything good happens to them, it is because, despite all this, God in his infinite greatness and mercy has shown compassion for them. Let’s call this what it is—it is a slave mentality, with which people are being indoctrinated. All this “thank you Jesus!” is a slave mentality. It goes right along with “God works in mysterious ways,” with all the horrors that involves.

Now, I know some people are highly offended when you say things like this. But, to paraphrase Malcolm X, I didn’t come here to tell you what you want to hear, I came here to tell you the truth, whether you like it or not. Once again, it is a form of contempt for the masses of people to think that they can’t be challenged with the truth and can’t come to embrace the truth and wield it to ­emancipate themselves and to emancipate all humanity. When you say that people are being indoctrinated with, and are even taking up, a slavish mentality, you are not saying it is their fault, or that this is something they can’t change. You are calling on them and challenging them to get rid of this, to cast it off—to rise to what they are actually capable of—and you are bringing to them an understanding of why they are really in the situation they are in today and what is the way out of this. But you can’t do that without challenging this mentality. And you can’t do it while being apologetic about challenging this mentality.

Now some people say, with regard to Black people in particular, “religion is an essential part of the Black experience.” To this I say: What about slavery? Or segregation and Jim Crow? Sharecropping and the KKK? Or continuing discrimination today, along with massive imprisonment and brutality and murder at the hands of the police? Isn’t all that “an essential part of the Black experience” too? The question is, if something is an essential or integral part of experience, what role has it played, and what effect does it have? Is it good or bad? Positive or negative? Where did this religion, where did the worship of Jesus in particular, come from?

I’ve talked about the contradictory character and effect of this historically. But in today’s world—and where we stand in relation to the possibility of the emancipation of humanity from thousands of years of oppressive relations and tradition’s chains—religion, and all the more so in its literalist fundamentalist form, is a direct obstacle, a shackle, a chain holding back the masses of people from being able to emancipate themselves and to leap beyond the situation where they feel drawn towards some kind of religion as consolation for oppression­ and suffering.

So, while it is right and necessary to build unity with many people who hold religious viewpoints, it is also crucial to be very clear on what can actually enable people to engage, to understand, and to transform reality in order to finally bring an end to all the truly horrific conditions to which masses of people are subjected—and, together with that, bring an end to the need to seek consolation for the suffering that accompanies these conditions.

To win real and complete emancipation means taking up a scientific, not a religious, approach to understanding and changing reality—changing it through revolution. And especially fundamentalist religion that insists on taking the Bible, or any other scripture, literally and as the absolute and inerrant truth—and which refuses to believe anything that contradicts a literal reading of the Bible or other religious scriptures—that kind of religious viewpoint and conviction is extremely harmful. It can only keep those caught up in it completely in the dark about what is really going on in the world and afraid of trying to change the world in the only way it can really be changed—through resistance and ultimately the revolutionary overthrow of this system that is oppressing millions and literally billions of people here and throughout the world. Fundamentalist religious fanaticism can only help to reinforce the oppression and enslavement of masses of people.

In this spirit and this light, it is crucial to grasp and to put forward, boldly and straight-up: Oppressed people who are unable or unwilling to confront reality as it actually is, are condemned to remain enslaved and oppressed.








Revolution #580 January 28, 2019

September 19, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


From the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

To Do This, We Need To Know:

Why we need an actual revolution.
What we need to do now.
How we could defeat them.

Why We Need An Actual Revolution

An actual revolution does not mean trying to make some changes within this system—it means overthrowing this system and bringing into being a radically different and far better system.This system of capitalism-imperialism cannot be reformed. There is no way, under this system, to put an end to the brutality and murder by police, the wars and destruction of people and the environment, the exploitation, oppression and degradation of millions and billions of people, including the half of humanity that is female, here and throughout the world—all of which is rooted in profound contradictions built into the basic functioning, relations, and structures of this system. Only an actual revolution can bring about the fundamental change that is needed.

What We Need To Do Now

To make this revolution, we need to be serious, and scientific. We need to take into account the actual strengths of this system, but more than that its strategic weaknesses, based in its deep and defining contradictions. We need to build this revolution among those who most desperately need a radical change, but among others as well who refuse to live in a world where this system spews forth endless horrors, and this is continually “justified” and even glorified as “greatness.”

We need to be on a mission 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, authored 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.

Those who catch the worst hell under this system, and those who are sickened by the endless outrages perpetrated by this system, need to join up with this revolution. Thousands need to get organized into the ranks of the revolution now, while millions are being influenced in favor of this revolution. We have seen the potential for this in the protests that have taken place against police brutality and murder, and other ways in which large numbers of people have gone up against the established authorities and the political “rules of the game.” But this needs to be transformed, through struggle, into revolutionary understanding, determination, and organization. The organized forces and the leadership of this revolution must become the “authority” that growing numbers of people look to and follow—not the lying politicians and media of this oppressive system—not those who front for the oppressors and preach about “reconciliation” with this system—not those who turn people against each other when they need to be uniting for this revolution. While many people will do positive things in opposing the crimes of this system, we need to approach everything—evaluate every political program and every organized force in society, every kind of culture, values and ways of treating people—according to how it relates to the revolution we need, to end all oppression. We should unite with people whenever we can, and struggle with them whenever we need to, to advance the revolution.

While awaiting the necessary conditions to go all-out for revolution, we need to hasten this and actively carry out the “3 Prepares”: Prepare the Ground, Prepare the People, and Prepare the Vanguard—Get Ready for the Time When Millions Can Be Led to Go for Revolution, All-Out, With a Real Chance to Win. We need to Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution—protest and resist the injustices and atrocities of this system, and win people to defy and repudiate this putrid system and its ways of thinking, and to take up the outlook and values, and the strategy and program of the revolution, build up the forces for this revolution, and defeat the attempts of the ruling powers to crush the revolution and its leadership. With every “jolt” in society—every crisis, every new outrage, where many people question and resist what they normally accept—we need to seize on this to advance the revolution and expand its organized forces. We need to oppose and disrupt the moves of the ruling powers to isolate, “encircle,” brutalize, mass incarcerate and murderously repress the people who have the hardest life under this system and who most need this revolution. We need to “encircle” them—by bringing forth wave upon wave of people rising up in determined opposition to this system.

All this is aiming for something very definite—a revolutionary situation: Where the system and its ruling powers are in a serious crisis, and the violence they use to enforce this system is seen by large parts of society for what it is—murderous and illegitimate. Where the conflicts among the ruling forces become really deep and sharp—and masses of people respond to this not by falling in behind one side or the other of the oppressive rulers, but by taking advantage of this situation to build up the forces for revolution. Where millions and millions of people refuse to be ruled in the old way—and are willing and determined to put everything on the line to bring down this system and bring into being a new society and government that will be based on the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. That is the time to go all-out to win. That is what we need to be actively working for and preparing for now.

How We Could Defeat Them

“On the Possibility of Revolution” is a very important statement from the Party, which is posted on It sets forth the foundation—the strategic conception and doctrine—for how to fight with a real chance of winning, once a revolutionary people in the millions, and the necessary conditions for revolution, have been brought into being. Now is not yet the time to wage this kind of fight—to try to do so now would only lead to a devastating defeat—but ongoing work is being done to further develop this strategic conception and doctrine with the future in mind, and the following are some of the main things the revolutionary forces would need to do when the conditions to go all-out to make revolution had been brought into being.

  • When the revolutionary situation is clearly emerging, rapidly transform backbone forces of the revolution into organized fighting forces in key strategic areas, carry out the necessary training, obtain the necessary equipment and provide for the basic logistical needs of this revolutionary fighting force to start the all-out fight, while preventing the enemy from crushing the revolutionary forces at this crucial juncture. Back up these core fighting forces with millions more organized into powerful “reserves” for the revolution.
  • Initiate actions throughout the country, accompanied by a bold declaration to the world, which make clear that there is an organized force determined to defeat the forces of the old order and bring into being a new, revolutionary system. Upon completion of these initial actions, quickly regroup forces for “follow-on” actions and maintain the momentum of the revolution.
  • Counter the enemy’s superior destructive force by seeking to fight only on favorable terms, and actively avoiding decisive encounters, which would determine the outcome of the whole thing, until the “balance of forces” has shifted overwhelmingly in favor of the revolution. Utilize equipment captured from the enemy in ways that fit the fighting strategy of the revolution. Build up political and logistical bases of support, in key strategic areas, but do not attempt to openly control and govern territory, until the necessary “favorable balance of forces” has been achieved.
  • Maintain the initiative—or, if it is temporarily lost, regain it—through surprise and maneuver. Fight in ways the enemy does not anticipate. Carry out actions to keep the enemy off balance, disrupting the concentration and utilization of his forces and contributing to their disintegration. Always conduct operations and act in ways that are in line with the emancipating outlook and goals of the revolution, and turn the barbaric actions of the enemy against him—to win greater forces for the revolution, including those who come over from the ranks of the enemy.
  • Combine strategic direction and coordination for the fight as a whole, with decentralized actions and initiative by local units and leaders. Relying on mass support, the intelligence this provides for the revolution and the denial of intelligence to the enemy, counter the enemy’s efforts to find, fix and annihilate revolutionary leadership and key fighting units. Rapidly replace forces and leaders that are lost—continually train and deploy new forces and leaders.
  • Correctly handle the relation between this all-out fight and the situation—including the character and level of revolutionary struggle—in countries to the south (and the north).
  • When the “balance of forces” has shifted in favor of the revolution, conduct operations aimed at achieving final victory, while continuing to “calibrate” these operations so that decisive encounters are still avoided until the forces of the old order have been brought to the brink of total defeat—and then fully, finally, rout and dismantle the remaining enemy forces.

All this depends on winning millions to revolution in the period that leads up to the ripening of a revolutionary situation. The chance to defeat them, when the time comes—the chance to be rid of this system and to bring something far better into being—has everything to do with what we do now. Everyone who hungers for a radically different world, free of exploitation and oppression and all the needless suffering caused by this system, needs to work now with a fired determination to make this happen, so we will have a real chance to win.


Now is the time to spread these messages to all of society

"HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution" is a companion to the Message from the Central Committee of the RCP, USA posted on on May 16, 2016.  Get "HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution,” together with “Time to Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution,” out everywhere.  Now is the time to spread the word to all of society.

Download "HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution" HERE (36”x24” PDF): ENGLISH  | ESPAÑOL.  Download “Time to Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution” HERE (17"x 22" PDF): ENGLISH | ESPAÑOL.  Our suggestion is that they be printed on white bond paper and posted together in the appropriate ways all over the place. Here’s a rough picture of what this could look like.

“HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution” now in booklet form!

Printing Instructions:
The PDF of a booklet that includes “HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution,Time To Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution” and the “Points of Attention for the Revolution”is now available. This booklet is 16 pages long. The size of the laid-out pages is 5 1/2" x 8 1/2". It can also be printed 6" x 9". There are two layouts here. 1) One is a single PDF with 16 consecutive, individual pages. 2) The second is a printer's spread; that is, the first spread is page 16 and page 1, the second is page 2 and page 15, etc., so that when it prints and is folded, the pages will be in order. Printers can tell you which layout they need. Readers should make plans for printing this 5 1/2" x 8.5" booklet, raising money, and getting it out in the tens of thousands everywhere as soon as possible.

Download 5.5x8.5 PDF, single pages
Download 5.5x8.5 PDF, printer spread

Download 5.5x8.5 PDF, single pages
Download 5.5x8.5 PDF, printer spread






Revolution #580 January 28, 2019

You Can’t Change the World If You Don’t Know the BAsics

| Revolution Newspaper |



Every week, Revolution features one quote from BAsics, by Bob Avakian, the handbook for revolution. We encourage Revolution Clubs and other readers, everywhere, to take the time to discuss the quote—the whole quote—and to write us at with accounts of these discussions, or thoughts provoked in yourself by reading the quote.


Basics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian

BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian

"You can't change the world if you don't know the BAsics."

BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian is a book of quotations and short essays that speaks powerfully to questions of revolution and human emancipation.

Order the book or download the book in ePub format HERE


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Revolution #580 January 28, 2019


Our mission: Millions in the streets demanding In the Name of Humanity, Trump/Pence Must Go

| Revolution Newspaper |


Our singular demand:

In the Name of Humanity, The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

How does that happen?

Every fascist move by the Trump/Pence regime should be met by more struggle and involve more and more people and diverse political forces opposed to the moves of this regime. And this struggle needs to be aiming at and preparing for nothing less than driving out the whole regime through the non-violent massive struggle of people staying in the streets day after day, creating the kind of political crisis that could drive out the whole fascist regime.

[1] The most defining thing about the recent elections is that the fascist program of the Trump/Pence regime became more consolidated and its fascist social base was more fully unleashed. Pipe bombs sent to leading Democrats and CNN. A hideous antisemitic massacre. Racist murders of African-Americans. Vicious anti-immigrant lies of an “invading caravan” to be met by US Troops who Trump said should shoot if the refugees throw rocks. Trump whipping up his rallies – Nuremberg style. On top of two years of the regime eviscerating what are supposed to be civil and legal rights, banning Muslims, locking in a majority fascist Supreme Court, stoking violent white supremacy and xenophobia, hateful misogyny, and ripping up international alliances and ramping up the threats of war. The Trump/Pence regime and the forces within it have said they view this presidency as the “last chance” to secure their vision for this country. This will continue and grow worse – with Trump now firing Sessions, attacking reporters, doubling down on his racist nationalism – unless and until it is stopped by the masses of people acting in fierce and sustained opposition outside the confines of politics as usual.

[2] The Democrats winning a majority in the House did not change this. The Democratic opposition throughout the elections and Nancy Pelosi’s post-election speech, refused to confront Trump’s fascism, but instead normalized, accommodated, and then promised to collaborate with the regime that is bringing an American fascism. About the Democrats, it could be said: First they came for the Muslims, and I protested once and then let it happen… Then they came for the immigrants, and I voted for healthcare and stayed mum.” They are determined to maintain order – even if that is the order of fascism – rather than risk the instability that it would take to confront and drive out the fascist regime and the nightmare they are hammering into place.

[3] The people who hate and fear this whole fascist nightmare and direction must now ACT with great determination in the streets – while organizing to move tens of thousands and soon millions to join them in the streets – with sustained determination until we drive this fascist regime from power in the name of humanity.  This is why we are organizing a movement – aiming to bring hundreds of thousands and millions into the streets – to say: In the Name of Humanity, The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

Refuse Fascism and others in San Ysidro, California, November 25, 2018, in support of immigrants as the U.S. shuts down the border crossing. issued a call for nationwide protests on the heels of the midterm elections, November 7 and 10. Protests were held in New York City, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Orange County (California), Philadelphia, San Bernardino (California), San Francisco, and Seattle. Here are initial photos we have received and gathered from some of those cities. will have more coverage in the days to come.

New York City, November 10, 2018

Chicago, November 7, 2018

Philadelphia, November 10, 2018

San Francisco, November 10, 2018

Santa Ana, California, November 7, 2018

Houston, November 7, 2018

Los Angeles, November 10, 2018

Los Angeles, November 10, 2018

Seattle, November 7, 2018


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Revolution #580 January 28, 2019

Reposted from

Report the Truth MSNBC–The Trump/Pence Regime is Fascist

| Revolution Newspaper |


White House lawyers have begun prepping legal justification for declaring a national emergency over the wall.

While nobody is sure what Trump declaring a national would mean or the implications, this highlights the great urgency and importance of acting together Saturday at MSNBC Headquarters, sounding the alarm on the reality that the Trump/Pence regime is fascist and it’s up to the people to act.

MSNBC is leading people to accommodate and conciliate with fascism. Although on the surface, it might seem like they are doing a lot of exposure on the Trump/Pence regime. They are not sounding the alarm on how the Trump/Pence regime is fascist. And every night they are brainwashing people to think that the “end of the presidency is near” while Trump hammers into place a fascist agenda into place.

For example, Thursday on Morning Joe, commentators talked about Trump declaring a national emergency but they said he was doing this because the wall is a “vanity project’ and NOT part of a fascist program of ethnic cleansing of immigrants.

Cosmetic plastic surgery is vanity project. Locking out, criminalizing, killing children at the border is ethnic cleansing.

People need to know the difference.

After having a commentator on speaking about the likeliness of Trump declaring this national emergency, commentators followed with... “Yeah, but his ratings on his speech didn’t do very well, so is his base getting worn out.”


January 12, 1PM at MSNBC Headquarters entrance, Refuse Fascism presented the facts that show that MSNBC is feeding its audience a steady diet of Russia, Russia, Russia and Mueller, Mueller, Mueller and how they are NOT sounding the alarm that the Trump/Pence Regime is hammering into place a fascist America.

Watch and share the video. The end of the Trump/Pence Regime is NOT near. It’s up to the people to be in the streets to drive this regime from power.

In a survey done in July, in one week; Rachel Maddow spent 123 minutes on Trump and Russia; 37 minutes on voting Democrat, Trump’s incompetence, cronyism, lack of patriotism, 12 minutes on abuse of immigrants and 0 minutes on white supremacy, the global environmental crisis, patriarchy, abuses of women, and LGBTQ people, US wars and intervention, Trump and fascism. As of July 3, 2018, they had aired nearly 500 segments on Stormy Daniels and 0 on the War on Yemen.

The effect of the illusions spread by MSNBC is to pacify and paralyze people at the very time that millions should be led to understand the danger of the Trump/Pence regime and to act accordingly. is building a movement of tens of thousands of people who will take to the streets streets in a sustained protest that doesn’t stop until our demand is met: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go. As part of this effort, we are waging a societal wide challenge for people to break with illusions and lullabies that have catastrophic consequences for humanity. is a movement of people coming from diverse perspectives, united in the recognition that the Trump/Pence Regime poses a catastrophic danger to humanity and the planet, and that it is our responsibility to drive them from power through non-violent protests that grow every day until our demand is met.

Go to to learn more and find out how to participate.

Watch and share Facebook video
Refuse Fascism Live from MSNBC HQ: Report the Truth MSNBC—Trump/Pence Are Fascist


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Revolution #580 January 28, 2019

American Crime

Case #28: U.S. Foments Bloody Civil War in Angola,

| 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 will focus on one of the 100 worst crimes committed by the U.S. rulers—out of countless bloody crimes they have carried out against people around the world, from the founding of the U.S. to the present day.

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.



For 27 years, from 1975 to 2002, the U.S. fueled a reactionary and immensely bloody civil war in Angola, a country in Southern Africa. The war led to the deaths of some half a million Angolans and millions were driven from their homes.

In 1975, after years of struggle by the Angolan people, Portugal—which had dominated that area of Africa for centuries—was forced to grant independence to Angola and its other African colonies. The U.S. had supported Portugal in its efforts to crush the opposition and sustain its colonial rule of Angola, including by providing the colonizers with napalm.

At the same time, the U.S. kept its options open by supplying aid to one of the three groups in the fight for Angolan independence, the FNLA (National Front for the Liberation of Angola). The U.S. backing was not about genuine support for an anti-colonial struggle for independence; it was aimed as a counterweight to the MPLA (People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola), which received political and military backing from the Soviet Union. At the time, the Soviet Union was an imperialist power contending globally with the U.S. There was a third Angolan independence group—UNITA (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola), headed by Jonas Savimbi, a corrupt, vicious warlord who was developing ties with South Africa’s apartheid rulers.

With the imminent end of Portuguese rule in 1975, the MPLA emerged as the largest and best organized of the anti-colonial groups and was set to take power. Scrambling to maintain its own foothold in Angola and counter the Soviets, the U.S. discouraged the FNLA and UNITA from coming to terms with the MPLA. And the U.S. sent funds, arms, and CIA operatives to solidify the FNLA and UNITA as pro-U.S., anti-MPLA forces.

The U.S. became deeply involved in the Angolan civil war, while the White House and the CIA publicly denied they had any hand in the conflict. The CIA recruited U.S. and British mercenaries to operate in Angola against the MPLA. They waged disinformation campaigns on behalf of the groups they supported. They encouraged apartheid South Africa and the brutal regime of Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire to back the FNLA and UNITA.1 U.S. personnel flew between Zaire and Angola to carry out reconnaissance and supply missions to help the anti-MPLA forces.

In 1976, the U.S. Congress passed the Arms Export Control Act (the Clark Amendment), which prohibited the U.S. government from giving direct or indirect aid to groups engaged in military or paramilitary operations in Angola. The CIA ignored the Clark Amendment and used covert ways to channel arms and aid to the anti-MPLA forces.2

The Angolan war took a major leap after the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan as U.S. president. Reagan stepped up support for UNITA and Savimbi. A lot of this U.S. aid was through the South African apartheid regime, which had intervened directly in Angola against the MPLA government. According to William Blum, “In 1984 a confidential memorandum smuggled out of Zaire revealed that the United States and South Africa had met in November 1983 to discuss destabilization of the Angolan government. Plans were drawn up to supply more military aid to UNITA (the FNLA was now defunct) and discussions were held on ways to implement a wide range of tactics: unify the anti-government movements, stir up popular feeling against the government, sabotage factories and transportation systems, seize strategic points, disrupt joint Angola-Soviet projects, undermine  relations between the government and the Soviet Union and Cuba, bring pressure to bear on Cuba to withdraw its troops, sow divisions in the ranks of the MPLA leadership, infiltrate agents into the Angolan army, and apply pressure to stem the flow of foreign investments into Angola.”3

The U.S. also arranged for its allies, especially Israel, to back the South African apartheid regime by training its military, providing weapons technology, and training its “intelligence” agencies in torture. An important aspect of this was to help South Africa wage war in Angola. In 1982, the U.S. urged the International Monetary Fund to grant South Africa $1.1 billion in credit, an amount that happened to be equal to the increase in South African military expenditure from 1980 to 1982.

In 1985, Congress repealed the Clark Amendment, and this quickly led to a jump in open U.S. intervention in Angola. In 1986, Reagan invited UNITA’s Savimbi to the White House, where Reagan’s top official for Africa praised him as “one of the most talented and charismatic of leaders in modern African history.” After a meeting with Savimbi, Reagan said that he could envision a UNITA “victory that electrifies the world” and called him a “freedom fighter.” The Reagan administration promised Savimbi U.S. backing for an escalation in the war against the MPLA. In January 1987, the U.S. announced that it was providing the anti-MPLA forces in Angola with Stinger missiles and other anti-aircraft weaponry.

In 1988, South Africa sent a heavily armed invasion force to southern Angola to help UNITA launch an offensive with the goal of seizing the capital city, Luanda. In the strategic area of Cuito Cuanavale, the South African military clashed with Cuban forces who were armed with advanced weapons and planes supplied by the Soviet Union.

The South African/UNITA forces suffered defeat in this largest battle in Africa since World War 2, but the U.S. continued to back UNITA after this setback, and the Angolan conflict continued for another 14 bloody years.

Savimbi’s UNITA lost much of its credibility as a “liberation” force because of its open alliance with apartheid South Africa and Zaire’s Mobutu regime. But UNITA controlled the diamond-producing regions of Angola, and a huge diamond smuggling network (worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year) gave Savimbi the financial support for continuing the war. The “blood diamonds” produced in the Angolan mines by workers who toiled in terrible, even deadly, conditions were marketed by South African companies.

The U.S. rulers only dialed back their support for their forces in the Angolan civil war in 1993, several years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The MPLA stopped claiming to be “Marxist-Leninist,” a self-identification that it had adopted when they were backed by the Soviet Union, which itself was “communist” in name but capitalist-imperialist in reality. The MPLA adopted social democracy and called for multiparty elections, aligning itself with the U.S. and other imperialist countries. In the 1992 election, Savimbi and UNITA was outvoted by José dos Santos of the MPLA. Savimbi refused to recognize the legitimacy of the election and reignited the civil war with horrendous consequences in death and destruction, which continued until Savimbi’s death in 2002.4

By that time, about 500,000 Angolans had been killed and millions internally displaced. The widespread use of land mines resulted in one of the highest amputee rates in the world. The aftermath of the civil war left Angola with much of its public institutions, economic enterprises, religious institutions, infrastructure, and medical and other basic life support systems in ruins.

Refugees returning to Angola in 2003 found a country where, according to the United Nations, “80 percent of people have no access to basic medical care. More than two-thirds have no running water. A whole generation of children has never opened a schoolbook. Life expectancy is less than 40 years. Three in ten children will die before reaching their fifth birthday.”5


U.S. President Gerald Ford and his Secretary of State Henry Kissinger: Ford was president and Kissinger the secretary of state in 1975 when the U.S. intervened in Angola to oppose forces allied with the Soviet Union. Author William Blum noted that Kissinger “was wholly obsessed with countering Soviet moves anywhere on the planet—significant or trivial, real or imagined, fait accompli or anticipated.” This was because the U.S., which had come out as the top imperialist power at the end of World War 2, was now facing a global challenge from the Soviet Union, which had become an imperialist power since socialism was defeated there in the mid-1950s.

CIA: In the mid-1970s, in anticipation of Angola’s independence from Portugal, the CIA assigned John Stockwell (a case officer during the U.S. war in Vietnam and then in Africa) to build up pro-U.S. FNLA and UNITA organizations. Stockwell later quit the CIA in disgust and wrote about his work with the CIA in Angola. In In Search of Enemies: A CIA Story, he wrote, “During September and October, [1975] the CIA with remarkable support from diverse U.S. government and military offices around the world, mounted the controversial, economy size war with single minded ruthlessness.”

U.S. President Ronald Reagan: Reagan ushered in a more aggressive, militarist strategy in U.S. imperialism’s global contention and conflict with the Soviet Union, the so-called “Reagan Doctrine.” In Angola, this fueled the continuing civil war and led directly to untold suffering for the Angolan people.

Heritage Foundation: This right-wing “think tank” lobbied on behalf of Reagan’s policies in Angola. During his visit to the U.S., Jonas Savimbi of UNITA praised the Heritage Foundation for its critical role in advocating the repeal of the Clark Amendment: “When we come to the Heritage Foundation, it is like coming back home. We know that our success here in Washington in repealing the Clark Amendment and obtaining American assistance for our cause is very much associated with your efforts.”

South Africa’s Apartheid Regime: From the mid-1970s until the early 1990s, the apartheid regime repeatedly intervened in Angola, including by sending troops and armored columns intent on destroying the MPLA government in the interest of crushing African liberation forces and coming to the aid of U.S. imperialism while advancing its own regional ambitions.

Israel: Israel acted as a proxy arms supplier to pro-U.S. forces in the early years of the Angolan civil war. This was especially helpful for the CIA and U.S. administrations after the passage of the Clark Amendment in skirting the formal restrictions on aid to the Angolan forces.


Whether acting covertly in the immediate period after the withdrawal of the Portuguese from Angola in 1975 or more openly under Reagan after 1980, the U.S. claimed it represented “freedom” and “democracy” in conflict with Soviet “communism” and portrayed all forces that opposed them as dupes of the “evil Soviet empire.” In 1975, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Patrick Moynihan, declared that if the U.S. did not step in, “the Communists would take over Angola and will thereby considerably control the oil shipping lanes from the Persian Gulf to Europe. They will be next to Brazil. They will have a large chunk of Africa, and the world will be different in the aftermath if they succeed.”


Anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggles swept the world in the 1960s and 1970s, dealing blows to the U.S. and other western imperialist powers. Meanwhile, after the defeat of socialism and restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union in the mid-1950s, the Soviets had emerged as an imperialist power and the head of its own bloc, challenging U.S. military, economic, and geostrategic domination in different parts of the world.

Angola became one of the battlegrounds in this global imperialist contention. U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who was instrumental in the CIA intervention in the Angolan civil war, wrote, “Angola represents the first time that the Soviets have moved militarily at long distance to impose a regime of their choice.” The U.S. imperialists already had a long history of “imposing a regime of their choice”—through coups and other means—around the world in pursuit of their interests, but they were now facing an enemy imperialist power that was moving to establish its own foothold in Southern Africa. The U.S. rulers saw that as a dangerous challenge, and they set out to beat back their rivals—at an immense cost in human lives in the oppressed nation of Angola.


Aaronovich, David. “The Terrible Legacy of the Reagan Years,” Guardian, June 7, 2004.

Blum, William. Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Intervention Since World War II. Zed Books, 2014.

Stockwell, John. In Search of Enemies, A CIA Story. Norton, 1978.

The Angolan Civil War (1975-2002).

American Crime Case #73: The CIA-Directed Murder of Patrice Lumumba,” November 7, 2016.



1. In 1960, Mobutu had collaborated with the CIA in the coup against Patrice Lumumba, the nationalist leader of Congo (and the subsequent assassination of Lumumba). For his role in the coup and assassination and in bringing a swift end to any notions of real independence for the Congo (which was renamed Zaire under Mobutu's rule), the U.S. backed Mobutu’s rise to power and 32-year-long rule. With U.S. support, he ruled the country with an iron fist, crushing opposition while amassing a huge personal fortune. All the while, the U.S. had free rein to plunder the country’s rich resources. For more, see “American Crime Case #73: The CIA-Directed Murder of Patrice Lumumba.” [back]

2. The Soviet Union countered U.S. intervention with escalations of its own. When South Africa openly intervened in Angola in 1976, the Soviet Union made use of the widespread hatred of the apartheid regime to bolster its position in Angola. The Soviets underwrote the deployment of tens of thousands of Cuban soldiers armed with the latest Soviet military weapons to support the MPLA. [back]

3. Killing Hope, Blum. [back]

4. It is beyond the scope of this article to get into what happened after the end of the civil war, including the fact that the clique ruling Angola today, which is marked by vast inequalities, came directly out of the MPLA. We encourage readers to read the section “The Decisive Role of Leadership” (pages 283-295) in Part IV of Bob Avakian’s THE NEW COMMUNISM, in which he discusses how and why those like the MPLA went from leading just struggles to becoming new oppressive ruling forces. [back]

5. “Angolans Come Home to ‘Negative Peace,’” New York Times, July 30, 2003. [back]



U.S. President Reagan in a White House meeting with Jonas Savimbi of UNITA, which received American backing in the Angolan civil war, including through the apartheid regime in South Africa. (Photo: Public Domain)

The widespread use of land mines throughout the war resulted in one of the highest amputee rates in the world. (Photo: AP)

The aftermath of the war left Angola with much of its infrastructure and other basic life support systems in ruins. Here, a school destroyed in the war. (Photo: AP)

In the aftermath of more than 25 years of civil war, three in ten children did not survive to their fifth birthday. Above, malnourished Angolan children. (Photo: AP)


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Revolution #580 January 28, 2019

American Crime

Case #29: Contra War of Terror in Nicaragua 1979-1989

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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 will focus on one of the 100 worst crimes committed by the U.S. rulers—out of countless bloody crimes they have carried out against people around the world, from the founding of the U.S. to the present day.

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.



The U.S. has had its claws dug deeply into the small Central American country of Nicaragua for over 150 years. It landed its Marines there 12 different times between 1853 and 1933. The U.S. directly occupied Nicaragua for more than 20 years—from 1912 to 1933. America and other imperialist powers plundered the country, using its rich soil to create an export-oriented economy, focused on coffee, to serve the world’s wealthier countries. After Nicaraguan rebels, led by Augusto César Sandino, finally drove U.S. forces from their country in 1934, the U.S. had him assassinated and installed a military dictatorship under Gen. Anastasio Somoza García, whose family, in league with the U.S., brutally ruled Nicaragua for the next 43 years.1

In 1979, after the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) overthrew Anastasio Somoza (the son of Gen. Somoza García) and his regime, the U.S. launched a savage, decade-long counter-revolutionary war against the people of Nicaragua. It built up a reactionary proxy army to wage war to weaken, destabilize, and attempt to overthrow the new Sandinista-led regime, which had established ties with the Soviet Union, the U.S.’s main imperialist rival at the time.

The effort began under President Jimmy Carter in 1979 and was sharply escalated after Ronald Reagan took office in 1981. In November of that year, Reagan signed a secret National Security Directive authorizing the CIA to create a 500-man mercenary army for this job.2

Their official name was the Nicaraguan Democratic Force, but they were known as the “Contras,” short for “contra-revolución”—against revolution. The Contras were largely made up of former officers and soldiers from Somoza’s National Guard, many of whom had been trained by the U.S. Marines and other military institutions. (As of 1979, over 4,300 Nicaraguans had attended the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia, a facility known for training assassins and torturers. U.S. military advisors, stationed in Nicaragua during the Somoza years, also trained another 4,000 Guardia members.)3 By1983, the Contras forces had grown to 16,000 to 20,000.

The CIA literally wrote the “how to” manual for the Contras, called the Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare.4 Among the things it advised: hiring “professional criminals,” “neutralizing” judges, executing civilians, inciting mob violence, attacking “soft targets” like schools, health clinics and cooperatives, and blowing up refineries and pipelines. During the 1980s, the Contras were carrying out atrocities, as well as sabotage and other attacks from inside Nicaragua and from U.S.-supported bases in Honduras and Costa Rica.5

By 1984, numerous reports of the Contras’ barbaric crimes were being reported by human rights groups: raping, torturing, killing, burning, blinding, dismembering, and/or beheading unarmed civilians, including children. The Nicaraguan government reported that from 1981-1984, the Contras had assassinated 910 state officials and 8,000 civilians.6

A 16-year-old was among a group of civilians caught in an early morning Contra raid that killed 21 people between five and 60 years old while wounding eight people. He recalled “When they were finished, they set the truck on fire. From where I was lying, I could hear the groans and the screams of those who were being burned alive.”7

A Contra leader bragged that the CIA gave them large knives—“[E]verybody wanted a knife like that, to kill people, to cut their throats.” A survivor of a Contras’ raid in Jinotega province recounted: “Rosa had her breasts cut off. Then they cut into her chest and took out her heart. The men had their arms broken, their testicles cut off, and their eyes poked out. They were killed by slitting their throats and pulling the tongue out through the slits.”8

Meanwhile, witnesses to such outrages reported seeing backpacks, tents, and boots stamped with “USA.”

The U.S. imperialists cut off aid and worked to squeeze the life out of the Nicaraguan people and Nicaragua, including by strangling its economy. Contra raids damaged crops, prevented harvesting, destroyed tobacco drying barns, grain silos, irrigation projects, and farm houses, as well as machinery, roads, bridges, and trucks. They also decimated Nicaragua’s fishing industry. In 1982, the U.S. multinational Standard Fruit suspended its banana plantation operations, halting shipments of one of Nicaragua’s main export crops.9 The U.S. also pressured the International Monetary Fund, Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, and the European Common Market to withhold loans.10

In 1986, it was exposed that U.S. officials ignored three separate Congressional resolutions barring funding or aiding the Contras, and had secretly sold arms to Iran and used the proceeds to buy arms for the Contras. This became known as the Iran-Contra Affair.11 The CIA under Reagan also secretly used drug trafficking money to finance their arms purchases—flying planes into U.S. mainland bases loaded with cocaine, and flying back to Central American bases loaded with arms for the Contras. The flood of cocaine helped create the “crack epidemic” that hit U.S. inner cities in the early 1980s, which was in turn one of the factors that drove the expansion of mass incarceration.12

At the end of 1989, the White House announced that it would impose an embargo on Nicaragua unless the pro-U.S. candidate, Violeta Chamorro, won the elections. She did, thanks in part to $11 million from the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy and Contra violence during the election.13

Ten years of U.S.-sponsored war killed as many as 50,000 people and left Nicaragua as one of the poorest countries in this hemisphere.14


President Jimmy Carter authorized the CIA to supply funds and other forms of support to anti-Sandinista forces before and after the fall of Somoza.

President Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) initiated and authorized the eight-year-long Contra war and was its chief public champion, fondly referring to the Contras as “freedom fighters,” and “our brothers.”

The CIA under Director William Casey took full charge of funding and providing the expertise to lead, organize, train, orchestrate, equip, and maintain the Contras, including through the secret arms and drug dealing of the Iran-Contra Affair.

Reagan’s team: Secretaries of State Alexander Haig and George Schultz, who called the Sandinista government “a cancer in our backyard”; aide Oliver North and his bosses National Security Advisors Robert MacFarlane and John Poindexter; Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger; United Nations Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick; Director of Communications Pat Buchanan; Attorney General Ed Meese III; and Assistant Secretary of State for Central America Elliot Abrams (recently named Trump’s special envoy to Venezuela.)

The Contras/FDN founder Enrique Bermúdez, Adolfo Calero, Edén Pastora, Commandante Franklin plus scores of other (field) commanders; also the rank and file, and all those, in Nicaragua, the U.S., and other countries, who aided and abetted this mercenary army.


The Reagan administration claimed the Sandinistas were supplying arms to anti-U.S. insurgents in El Salvador and threatening Honduras, other Central American countries, the Panama Canal, and sea lanes in the Caribbean basin and the Gulf of Mexico. Reagan called Nicaragua under the Sandinistas a “totalitarian dungeon” which was more oppressive than apartheid South Africa.15


Even though the Sandinistas were not out to break Nicaragua from the grip of imperialism or end all forms of oppression, the Sandinista revolution still represented a challenge to U.S. imperialist hegemony in Latin America, and in relation to its global battle with the Soviet Union, by then an imperialist power contending with the U.S. globally.

Historically and up to today, the U.S. has considered Mexico and Central and South America their “backyard” to be plundered, exploited, dominated and—whenever needed for their strategic interests—invaded. Nicaragua was no exception.

In 1984, the CIA’s assistant director Robert Gates spelled this out in an internal memo to its director William Casey:

The fact is that the Western Hemisphere is the sphere of influence of the United States. If we have decided totally to abandon the Monroe Doctrine ... then we ought to save political capital in Washington, acknowledge our helplessness and stop wasting everybody’s time.16

By the end of the 1970s, the U.S. rulers considered their escalating global rivalry with the Soviet Union as the main overall challenge they faced. One way this rivalry was sharpening up was in relation to the nationalist uprisings and revolutions taking place around the world and in Central America, which the Soviet Union was actively supporting, or maneuvering within for advantage. After its defeat in Vietnam, the U.S. did not feel it had the freedom to carry out direct invasions or occupations, so it relied on proxy armies such as the Contras in the struggle against regimes it considered pro-Soviet, and it branded the reactionary butchers it supported as “rebels” or “freedom fighters.” (During the Reagan years, the U.S. also supported reactionary wars against El Salvador and Guatemala that slaughtered 75,000 people in each of these Central American countries.)

Now the U.S. saw the Sandinistas as a threat because they had overthrown Somoza's old pro-U.S. order, and they had ties with Cuba and the Soviet Union, so they mounted an aggressive comeback challenge.

Reagan set out to mobilize every reactionary force in the U.S. and in the world for U.S. supremacy, and their “backyard” was one decisive battleground. Preventing “another Cuba” (where the Soviets had gained a foothold), stopping the expansion of Soviet spheres of influence elsewhere in the world, became the “Reagan Doctrine” of the U.S. ruling class. Mercenary armies like the Contras put an indigenous face on the imperial killing machine as Nicaragua became a key battlefront in their high-stakes imperialist rivalry with the Soviet Union.


“THE REAGAN ADMINISTRATION is right to take Nicaragua as a serious menace—to civil peace and democracy in Nicaragua and to the stability and security of the region....What about the contras? They have become an instrument to topple the Sandinistas or—a nearly equivalent goal—to deny them a monopoly of power. But they are an imperfect instrument.... But, as the administration says, would not these difficulties dissolve if the United States ended its hesitancy on the contras and provided them the resources and American policy constancy they need to prevail?”(“Is There a Chance in Nicaragua?Washington Post, March 14, 198617)


1. William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II (Common Courage Press, 2004), pp. 456-461, Appendix II; Timeline: Nicaragua; HISTORICAL BACKGROUND-The Economy in Tim Merrill, ed. Nicaragua: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1993.  [back]

2. “Reagan gives CIA authority to establish the Contras,”  [back]

3. Richard Grossman, “Nicaragua: A Tortured Nation,” Historians Against War.  [back]

4. “CIA releases full contras manual on “psychological operations in guerrilla warfare,” Muckrock, December 18, 2017.  [back]

5. David Model, Lying for the Empire: How to Commit War Crimes with a Straight Face (Common Courage Press 2005), pg. 179.  [back]

6. Blum, pg. 293. See also, Thomas A. Walker, Editor, Revolution and Counterrevolution in Nicaragua (Westview Press 1991), p. 375; Holly Sklar, Washington’s War on Nicaragua (South End Press 1988), p. 179.  [back]

7. “Nicaragua Rebels Accused of Abuses,” New York Times, March 7,1985.  [back]

8. Blum, p. 293.  [back]

9. Blum, p.292.  [back]

10. Blum, pp. 291-292.  [back]

11. The “Iran-Contra Affair” reflected a sharp struggle among the U.S. rulers over how best to deal with the contradictions they faced in Central America in relation to their escalating rivalry with the Soviet Union. Hearings were held and a number of participants were indicted, but in the end all were pardoned by President George H.W. Bush and none of the criminals were imprisoned. “THE PARDONS; Bush Pardons 6 in Iran Affair, Aborting a Weinberger Trial; Prosecutor Assails ‘Cover‑Up,’” New York Times, December 25, 1992.  [back]

12. “American Crime Case #66: The ‘War on Drugs’ 1970 to Today,” March 6, 2017.  [back]

13. Blum, p. 304.  [back]

14. “Legacy of Civil Wars: In Central America, Reagan Remains A Polarizing Figure”, Washington Post, June 10, 2004.  [back]

15. Blum, pp. 295, 296, 300.  [back]

16. Gates argued that the CIA-run Contra war was “an essentially half-hearted policy.” He recommended that the Reagan administration initiate a “comprehensive campaign openly aimed at bringing down the regime,” including “the use of air strikes” against Nicaraguan military targets. “The Iran-Contra Affair 20 Years On,” The National Security Archive, November 24, 2006.  [back]

17. “Is There a Chance in Nicaragua?Washington Post, March 14, 1986.  [back]



Nicaraguan woman buries her child murdered by the Contras. Contras, mercenaries trained by the CIA at the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia, were responsible for the slaughter of more than 8,000 Nicaraguans civilians, and 910 state officials, as well as other atrocities and crimes against humanity.

President Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) initiated and authorized the 8-year-long Contra war and was its chief public champion, fondly referring to the Contras as “freedom fighters.”

Wreckage of a plane shot down by Sandinista forces after it had air-dropped supplies to Contras in Nicaragua. (Photo: AP)

Excerpts from the Q&A following the speech:

Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution

Bob Avakian's Answer to People Who Complain about Immigrants Crossing Borders


Q&A: Would Mexico And Central America Still Be the US Backyard After the Revolution?


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Revolution #580 January 28, 2019

The Republican Party Is Fascist
The Democratic Party Is Also a Machine of Massive War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity
This System CANNOT Be Reformed—It MUST Be Overthrown!

Republicans, Democrats and U.S. Crimes Against Humanity: A Chart


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U.S. Wars and Interventions


The Human Cost

The nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, August 1945

Harry Truman (D)

As Japan was suing for peace and World War 2 was coming to an end, on August 6, the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb ever used on the city of Hiroshima. By the end of 1945, between 140,000 and 150,000 people, overwhelmingly civilians, died from the attack and hundreds of thousands more were wounded. On August 9, the U.S. dropped an even more powerful nuclear bomb on Nagasaki, destroying the city and murdering another 70,000 people.1

Military intervention in the Chinese Revolution, 1945-1949

Truman (D)

By 1945, Japan had been defeated, in large part by decades of revolutionary struggle under the leadership of Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party. A civil war soon broke out between China’s revolutionaries and the reactionary Nationalist Party (Kuomintang/KMT) under Chiang Kai-shek. The U.S. funneled billions in aid and military equipment to the KMT. The roughly 100,000 American troops stationed in China advised, trained, organized, and supported Chiang’s forces, even airlifting 500,000 to different battlefronts. Without U.S. backing the KMT would have been defeated more—perhaps much more—quickly. So U.S. intervention prolonged the conflict and contributed significantly to the terrible toll on the Chinese. Between 1945 and 1949, an estimated 2.5 million were killed, millions more were displaced, the economy collapsed, and tens of millions were left destitute.2

Turning Micronesia into a nuclear testing ground, 1946-1962

Truman (D)

Dwight Eisenhower (R)

John Kennedy (D)


From 1946 to 1962, the U.S. turned Micronesia—a region in the Western Pacific Ocean comprising thousands of small islands, including the Marshall Islands—into a nuclear test site which it named the “Pacific Proving Ground.” It carried out its first test by exploding a nuclear bomb over Bikini Atoll in 1946, and between 1947 and 1962 carried out 102 tests over, on, or under the waters of these precious islands. Of these tests, 67 were atomic bombs.

Some islands were evacuated prior to testing and were obliterated. But other tests were carried out on inhabited islands and people were exposed to huge amounts of nuclear fallout and suffered acute radiation illness including nausea, vomiting, burns, hair loss, hypothyroidism, and miscarriages. Some were guinea pigs in a secret medical experiment to study the effects of radiation on human beings. Today, 60 years after nuclear testing, entire islands remain uninhabitable and many islanders still suffer their aftereffects, in some instances with thyroid cancer rates 200 percent above the national baseline.3

Military intervention in Greek civil war, 1947-49

Truman (D)

In 1947, the U.S. took over from Britain, whose troops had spent three years trying to crush the pro-Soviet leftist fighters that had driven the Nazi invaders from many parts of Greece during World War 2. The U.S. armed, trained, and led the reactionary Greek military in a bloody counterinsurgency against these anti-fascist Greek guerrilla fighters who held out for nearly three years, suffering losses of many tens of thousands before their surrender in October 1949. In this “Third Phase” of the Greek civil war, the total deaths were estimated at 158,000 and a million people were forced from their homes (including through U.S.-orchestrated “pacification”). After surrendering, “Almost 100,000 ELAS fighters and communist sympathizers serving in DSE ranks were imprisoned, exiled or executed.” The U.S. then “exercised almost dictatorial control” of Greece in the economic sphere, according to a prominent Greek politician.4

The Korean War,


Truman (D)

Eisenhower (R)

In June 1950, the U.S. orchestrated a United Nations invasion of Korea, and sent over 340,000 American troops. Over the next three years of combat and massive bombings, U.S. and U.S.-led forces killed more than three million people: two million North Korean civilians, 500,000 North Korean soldiers, between 900,000 and a million Chinese soldiers. There were also 1.3 million South Korean casualties, including 400,000 dead.5

Korean War 1950-53: U.S. Army photo depicts the summary execution of 1,800 South Korean political prisoners July 1950 carried out by the U.S.-installed puppet Syngman Rhee.

U.S. nuclear threats against China and North Korea, 1950-1951

Truman (D)

On November 30, 1950, Truman stated publicly that the U.S. was considering using nuclear weapons against Chinese and North Korean forces. That day, the Strategic Air Command was ordered to “be prepared to dispatch without delay medium bomb groups to the Far East ... this augmentation should include atomic capability.” Some in government advocated a “limited war” against China, including air attacks and a naval blockade. Gen. Douglas MacArthur, then in overall command of U.S. forces in Korea, argued for dropping 30 to 50 atomic bombs on Manchuria and Chinese cities. (Truman feared this could end up harming U.S. interests and fired MacArthur in the spring of 1951.)6

CIA coup in Iran, 1953

Truman (D)

Eisenhower (R)

On August 19, 1953, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), along with British intelligence, launched a military coup overthrowing Iran’s popular, elected prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh. In 1951, during an upsurge of protest against British colonialism, Mossadegh had nationalized Britain’s Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.

That day, CIA-organized mobs, joined by the military, took over streets chanting “Long live the Shah! Death to Mossadegh!” Street battles raged. By late afternoon, military units seized control of Mossadegh’s house, breaking the resistance. By evening, 300 lay dead, and Iran’s Mohammad Reza Shah [King] Pahlavi’s throne was secure.

Iran’s nationalist upsurge was crushed. The U.S. replaced Britain as the dominant imperialist power in Iran. Mossadegh’s nationalization was reversed, and U.S. oil giants were cut in on the spoils, reaping enormous profits. The coup embedded Iran as a key military outpost for the U.S. against regional liberation struggles and in its Cold War clash with the Soviet Union.

The Shah ruled as an iron-fisted U.S. puppet for 25 years. Speaking out risked arrest by SAVAK, his U.S.-trained secret police. Thousands were murdered, jailed, or barbarically tortured—they even threatened to torture children in front of their parents. When millions rose against the Shah in 1978-79, he shot down thousands with U.S. backing before being ousted. The 1953 coup and what followed ended up helping pave the way for a new Iranian nightmare: the 1979 founding of the Islamic Republic of Iran.7

U.S. threatens nuclear attack against Iraq’s 1958 revolution

Eisenhower (R)

After the pro-Western Iraqi monarchy was overthrown in a nationalist military coup, the U.S. threatened war against the new republic. U.S. forces, including the Strategic Air Command, were put on worldwide alert, and 70 naval vessels, hundreds of aircraft, and 14,000 Marines were dispatched to neighboring Lebanon, including an atomic unit with artillery capable of firing nuclear shells. Eisenhower had secretly ordered the military to prepare to use nuclear weapons to prevent an Iraqi takeover of Kuwait’s oil fields. In response to U.S. threats and deployments, the Soviet Union began large-scale maneuvers on its borders with Turkey and Iran. “Until the makeup and intentions of the new Republic of Iraq became clear, ‘general war’ was a real possibility,” one journalist summed up.8

Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Eisenhower (R)

John Kennedy (D)

Lyndon Johnson (D)

Richard Nixon (R)

Gerald Ford (R)

The U.S.first sent military advisers, then more than 500,000 troops, and dropped millions of tons of bombs in an effort to defeat the national liberation struggle of the Vietnamese people and prevent either revolutionary China or the imperialist Soviet Union from strengthening their influence in Southeast Asia. By the time the war ended in America’s defeat in April 1975, its military had slaughtered some two million Vietnamese civilians and one million Vietnamese soldiers.9

My Lai massacre.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Planning for nuclear war with the Soviet Union and China, 1950s and ’60s.

Truman (D)

Eisenhower (R)

Kennedy (D)


Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg saw a copy of these war plans in 1961.He later wrote: “The total death toll as calculated by the Joint Chiefs, from a U.S. first strike aimed at the Soviet Union, its Warsaw Pact satellites, and China, would be roughly six hundred million dead. A hundred Holocausts.”10

Murdering the Congo’s Patrice Lumumba, installing the butcher Mobutu, 1961-1997

Eisenhower (R)

Kennedy (D)

Lyndon B. Johnson (D)

Richard Nixon (R)

Gerald Ford (R)

Jimmy Carter (D)

Ronald Reagan (R)

George H.W. Bush (R)

Bill Clinton (D)


On January 17, 1961, a firing squad shot to death the Congolese anti-colonialist leader Patrice Lumumba, just months after he’d been elected prime minister of the newly founded Republic of the Congo. This brutal murder was carried out by Lumumba’s Congolese enemies, but it had been called for by President Eisenhower in August 1960 and organized by CIA Director Allen Dulles, who wrote the CIA station chief in the Congo that Lumumba’s “removal must be an urgent and prime objective.”

Murdering Lumumba, who sought to use the Congo’s vast mineral resources to improve its people’s lives, and then in 1965 installing the brutal regime of Mobutu Sese Seko, turned the Congo into a bulwark for U.S. political and military intervention in Africa for nearly three decades. While global imperialism and Mobutu plundered the country, Congolese suffered hellish enslavement and medieval destitution. “How do I describe ... the feeling of holding in my arms a child half-dead from lack of protein,” one eyewitness wrote, “his hair a sickly orange, his face bloated and puffy, his abdomen an overstretched balloon?” Meanwhile, Carter intervened to save Mobutu in 1977 and 1978, Reagan hailed him as “a voice of good sense and good will,” and George H.W. Bush called him “our best friend in Africa.”11

The Bay of Pigs invasion, 1961

Kennedy (D)

The U.S. attempted to spark the overthrow of Cuba’s government, headed by Fidel Castro, by organizing this invasion by reactionary Cuban exiles. It was defeated, but during the fighting some 2,000 to 6,000 Cuban soldiers, militia personnel, and others were killed, wounded, or went missing.12

Cuban missile crisis, 1962

Kennedy (D)

The U.S. was carrying out secret operations to overthrow the Cuban government (and on another front, had also stationed nuclear missiles threatening the Soviet Union in Turkey). At Cuba’s request, the Soviets placed 36 nuclear-armed missiles in Cuba. The U.S. demanded the missiles be removed, sent U-2 spy planes over Cuba (one was shot down), placed a naval blockade on Cuba, dropped depth charges near a disabled Soviet submarine, considered invading, and put its nuclear forces on DEFCON 2 alert, the highest level short of nuclear war. For 13 days, the world hovered on the brink of nuclear holocaust before the crisis was defused.13

Invasion of Dominican Republic, 1965

Johnson (D)

On April 28, 1965, 22,000 U.S. Marines and other troops invaded the Dominican Republic to crush a just, mass uprising against the country’s pro-U.S. tyranny. Some 3,000 to 4,000 Dominicans were killed, although others estimated that the death toll was as high as 6,000 to 10,000.14

CIA orchestrates bloodbath in Indonesia, 1965-1966

Johnson (D)

For many months, starting at the end of 1965, the reactionary Indonesian military, led by the pro-U.S. General Suharto, as well as other reactionary forces that it unleashed, slaughtered people with wild abandon. This massive bloodbath was set in motion, backed, and orchestrated by the U.S., which provided the military with equipment, weapons, and ultimately tens of billions of dollars. CIA advisers counseled Indonesian generals and provided them with a “hit list” of 5,000, then checked off their names as they were murdered. When the bloodletting ended, at least 500,000, perhaps more than a million, had been killed, including members of the Communist Party of Indonesia, trade unionists, intellectuals, teachers, land reform advocates, ordinary peasants, ethnic Chinese, women, and children. Hundreds of thousands more were arrested and tortured.15

Bombing of Laos, 1965-1973

Johnson (D)

Nixon (R)

During the war in Vietnam, U.S. warplanes dropped two million tons of bombs on the small neighboring country of Laos, more than had been dropped on Germany or Japan during World War 2. These included anti-personnel cluster bombs. There’s been no accounting of those killed or wounded during the bombing, but over 20,000 people have been killed or maimed by unexploded ordinance—including cluster bombs—in the decades since the war ended.16

Bombing of Cambodia, 1969-1973

Nixon (R)

The U.S. also carpet bombed Cambodia during the war in Vietnam, directly or indirectly killing 100,000 to 600,000 Cambodians—mostly civilians. Hundreds of thousands more likely died due to displacement, disease, and starvation in this period. Over two million people, more than 25 percent of its population, were driven from their homes in the countryside.17

Christmas bombing of North Vietnam, December 18-29, 1972

Nixon (R)

The U.S. massively bombed the densely populated cities of Hanoi and Haiphong to force concessions by North Vietnam in negotiations to end the war. It claimed 1,600 Vietnamese civilians were killed, but Vietnamese sources estimate there were 2,300 civilian deaths—about 1,500 in Hanoi alone.18

CIA-organized military coup in Chile, 1973

Nixon (R)

Beginning in the early morning hours of September 11, 1973, the Chilean military, with political guidance and secret backing from the U.S., carried out a coup against the leftist government of Chilean president Salvador Allende. More than 3,000 Chilean people were executed, thousands more were “disappeared,” and tens of thousands tortured; over 140,000 people were rounded up during the coup, and in the few years that followed, as many as one million people out of Chile’s population of 11 million were forced into exile.19

U.S. foments civil war in Angola, 1975-1994


Ford (R)

Carter (D)

Reagan (R)

George H.W. Bush (R)

Clinton (D)

In the 1960s, when the Angolan people were fighting to lift the yoke of Portuguese colonialism, the U.S. backed the Portuguese government’s attempts to crush their struggle—including supplying the colonial regime with napalm. In 1975, when Portugal ended its rule and the Angolan MPLA was set to take power, the U.S. began arming, funding, and militarily assisting the reactionary anti-MPLA butchers of UNITA headed by Jonas Savimbi. The U.S. also backed South Africa’s military intervention in Angola to weaken or overthrow the MPLA government, prevent the Soviet Union or its ally Cuba from gaining a foothold in Southern Africa, and help preserve the apartheid government of South Africa. A savage civil war was unleashed which lasted until 2002. Some 500,000 were killed, over four million were driven from their homes, and the society was devastated. The U.S. rulers only dialed back their support for the civil war in 1993 when the Soviet Union had collapsed. After the war, “80 percent of people have no access to basic medical care. More than two-thirds have no running water. A whole generation of children has never opened a schoolbook. Life expectancy is less than 40 years. Three in ten children will die before reaching their fifth birthday,” the New York Times reported.20

Covertly fueling terror in Mozambique, 1977-1992

Carter (D)

Reagan (R)

George H.W. Bush (R)

Between 1977 and 1992, the U.S. covertly fueled a reactionary war and a barbaric campaign of mass terror in the southern Africa country of Mozambique. This newly independent nation was ruled by the nationalist Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO), which was aided by the Soviet Union. The white settler states of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and South Africa, secretly backed by the U.S., formed, supported, and armed the “Mozambican National Resistance” (RENAMO). Their goal: to force Mozambique to halt support for the just struggle against apartheid South Africa, drive it into the arms of Western imperialism, and prevent the imperialist Soviet Union from gaining a foothold in southern Africa.

RENAMO systematically carried out crimes against humanity as part of a strategy to cripple and destabilize Mozambique’s government. It abducted children to be soldiers. It forced villagers to produce food, transport munitions, and turned village women into sex slaves—devastating agriculture (as well as the country’s infrastructure) and spawning mass starvation and famines which killed hundreds of thousands. It carried out brutal massacres, including the 1987 slaughter of 424 civilians, including hospital patients in the town of Homoine, and directly murdered some 100,000 people in all. U.S. ally South Africa gave RENAMO logistical, military, and financial support, and also carried out direct attacks in Mozambique, including cross-border raids, aerial bombings, sabotage, assassinations, kidnappings, even a 1986 invasion aimed at cutting Mozambique in half in 1986. Between 600,000 and one million died of war-related causes.

The U.S. secretly supported this slaughter—through private parties (the right-wing Heritage Foundation gave RENAMO office space in Washington, DC, for instance) and covert backing for South Africa. Author Mahmood Mamdani summed up, “Simply put, after the defeat in Vietnam and the Watergate scandal, the United States decided to harness, and even to cultivate, terrorism in the struggle against regimes it considered pro-Soviet.”21

Supporting Indonesian genocide in East Timor, 1975-1999

Ford (R)

Carter (D)

Reagan (R)

George H.W. Bush (R)

Clinton (D)

On December 6, 1975, President Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger met with America’s close ally, Indonesian dictator Suharto (who spearheaded the mass slaughter of leftists in 1965 and then staged a military coup in 1967—all with U.S. backing), and green-lighted Indonesia’s invasion of its neighbor, East Timor. “What followed was one of the greatest genocides of the 20th century. It is estimated that up to one-third of the Timorese population was killed through a policy of army massacre and enforced starvation. Many of those who were left were imprisoned and tortured by a military armed and trained by the United States.” The slaughter continued for almost 25 years. In 1999, after the Timorese voted for independence from Indonesia, pro-Indonesia forces murdered about 14,000 people. A few months later, the U.S. president—this time Clinton—was again meeting with Suharto to strengthen ties with his murderous regime.22

U.S. proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, 1979-1989


Carter (D)

Reagan (R)

After the Soviet Union, the U.S.’s main imperialist rival, invaded Afghanistan in 1979, the U.S., along with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, armed, organized, and funded the reactionary Islamic fundamentalist Mujahideen (who later became Afghanistan’s Taliban and Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda) to wage war against the Soviet forces and the Afghan regime it backed. When the Soviets finally pulled out of Afghanistan in 1989, between 800,000 and 1.5 million Afghans (along with 15,000 Soviet soldiers) had been killed in this reactionary bloodbath and five million Afghans, one-third of its population at the time, had been driven out of the country as refugees.23

U.S. threatens tactical nuclear war over Iran, 1980

Carter (D)

During and immediately after the 1979 Iranian revolution, the U.S. and the Soviet Union engaged in a series of high-stakes warnings and threats, backed by military maneuvers and nuclear alerts, to maintain or increase their leverage in Iran. In August 1980, the U.S. warned the Soviets that any move into Iran would lead to a direct military confrontation. Those options included the use of tactical nuclear weapons. For the first time, National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski later wrote, “the United States deliberately sought for itself the capability to manage a protracted nuclear conflict.”24

U.S. backs El Salvador death squads, 1980-92

Carter (D)

Reagan (R)

George H.W. Bush (R)

To crush a guerrilla struggle against its brutal client regime, the U.S. supported, funded, and armed death squads that carried out extra-judicial executions and massacres which killed as many as 75,000 Salvadorans25

Fueling the Iran-Iraq war, 1980-1988

Carter (D)

Reagan (R)

In September 1980, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein invaded Iran with a green light from the U.S. Their common goal—to weaken or topple the new Islamic Republic. The U.S. sold (or had allies sell) arms to Iraq, including the capability to make biological and chemical weapons (which were used against Iran), and provided military intelligence. For a time, the U.S. also supplied Iran with weapons. U.S. machinations prolonged the war and worsened the slaughter: Conservative estimates place the death toll at 262,000 to 367,000 Iranians and 105,000 Iraqis, plus an estimated 700,000 injured or wounded on both sides.26

The U.S.-sponsored Contra war in Nicaragua, 1981-1988

Reagan (R)

George H.W. Bush (R)


After the Sandinistas overthrew the pro-U.S. Somoza dictatorship in 1978, and established friendly ties with the Soviet Union, the U.S. was determined to overthrow them. “For eight terrible long years, the people of Nicaragua were under attack by Washington’s proxy army, the Contras, formed from Somoza’s vicious National Guardsmen and other supporters of the dictator. It was all-out war ... burning down schools and medical clinics, raping, torturing, mining harbors, bombing and strafing.” As many as 50,000 people were killed. In 1990 the U.S. forced a “free election” with the threat of escalated terror if people supported the Sandinista government. It fell. Today, Nicaragua is one of the poorest and most violence plagued nations in the hemisphere.27

U.S.-backed genocide in Guatemala, 1982-1983

Reagan (R)

In 1982, the U.S. backed a military coup by the Christian fanatic General José Efraín Ríos Montt, who then launched a genocidal assault on Guatemala’s indigenous Mayan population. With U.S. aid and support, Guatemala’s military systematically destroyed more than 600 indigenous Mayan villages and slaughtered some 75,000 people. The Guatemalan military regime’s savage, U.S.-supported war against leftist opponents and peasants (which had begun in the 1960s) continued until 1996. During those decades it’s estimated that some 200,000 people were disappeared or killed.28

1982-1983: Armed and backed by the U.S., the Guatemalan military systematically destroyed more than 600 indigenous Mayan villages, and slaughtered some 75,000 people.

Invasion of Grenada, 1983

Reagan (R)

The U.S. invaded this small island nation to overthrow its leftist government, an action the UN denounced as a “flagrant” violation of international law. U.S. forces killed 45 Grenadians and 25 Cubans working there in support of Grenada’s government, and wounded a total of 396 Grenadians and Cubans.29

America’s complicity in the massacre of Iraqi Kurds, 1987-1988

Reagan (R)

After facilitating Iraq’s development of chemical weapons, the U.S. turned a blind eye and continued to support it when it used them against Iraq’s Kurds. As many as 60,000 were massacred, including an estimated 5,000 in one gas attack at Halabja, according to an Iraq scholar. A Defense Intelligence Agency officer told the New York Times that the Pentagon “wasn’t so horrified by Iraq’s use of gas. It was just another way of killing people—whether with a bullet or phosgene, it didn’t make any difference.”30

The shoot-down of Iran Air Flight 655, 1988

Reagan (R)

On July 2, 1988, at a time the U.S. was seeking to end the eight-year-long Iran-Iraq war, the naval warship USS Vincennes shot down an unarmed Iranian civilian passenger jet—Iran Air Flight 655—as it flew over the Persian Gulf. All 290 passengers on board were killed.31

The invasion of Panama, 1989-1990

George H.W. Bush (R)

On December 20, 1989, the U.S. military invaded Panama with 27,684 troops and 300 aircraft, removing Manuel Noriega and his Panamanian Defense Force from power. Whole neighborhoods were destroyed and an estimated 3,000-6,000 Panamanians—mainly civilians—were killed.32

On December 20, 1989, the U.S. military invaded Panama with 27,500 troops and 300 aircraft, killing thousands of civilians and removing Manuel Noriega. (Photo: AP)

The Persian Gulf War—the U.S. assault on Iraq, 1990-1991

George H.W. Bush (R)

From January 16 to February 27, 1991, the U.S. waged war against Iraq to strengthen its grip on the Persian Gulf and set the tone for the post-Soviet “new world order” it sought to establish. Some 100,000 Iraqi soldiers were killed and another 300,000 wounded. The war also caused the deaths of 70,000 civilians by January 1992.33

U.S.-UN killer sanctions on Iraq, 1990-2003

George H.W. Bush (R)

Clinton (D)

George W. Bush (R)

In the months leading up to the January-March 1991 Persian Gulf War, the U.S. and UN imposed a crippling economic blockade on Iraq. Then, during the attack, U.S. bombers destroyed much of Iraq’s infrastructure, including its electrical, water, and sewage treatment systems. By 1997, the UN reported that more than 1.2 million Iraqis had died as a result of medical shortages caused by the war and sanctions, including 750,000 children under the age of five. A 1999 survey found that twice as many Iraqi children under five were dying than before the Gulf War. That’s roughly 5,000 Iraqi children under five dying each month thanks to U.S. actions.34

Iraq, 2004
Iraqi woman seeks treatment for her three-month-old son suffering from dehydration due to U.S. sanctions. (Photo: AP)

Military intervention in the former Yugoslavia: Bosnia, 1994-95; Serbia, 1999

Clinton (D)

In the 1990s, the multi-national Republic of Yugoslavia was torn apart by the forces of reactionary nationalism, egged on, backed, and manipulated by Germany, Russia, the U.S., and other imperialist powers. A complex series of brutal wars erupted in which over 100,000 died. At various points, NATO—under U.S. command—intervened in order to shape the outcome in U.S. interests, carrying out its own war crimes. In April 1999 alone, NATO planes conducted hundreds of runs, destroying homes, apartment complexes, and bridges, and killing over 100 civilians in Kosovo and Serbia.35

Invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, 2001-present

George W. Bush (R)

Obama (D)

Donald Trump (R)

In October 2001, U.S. forces invaded Afghanistan, drove the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban regime from power, and installed a widely hated, pro-U.S. “Islamic Republic.” But the U.S. has never succeeded in defeating the Taliban or stabilizing the country, and the U.S. air and ground war has continued ever since. By August 2016, some 111,000 people had been killed and over 116,000 injured. More than 31,000 of the dead were Afghan civilians.36

Afghanistan, 2008
Children killed by U.S. airstrike in Kabul, Afghanistan, 2008. (Photo: AP)

Invasion, occupation, and ongoing intervention in Iraq, 2003-present


George W. Bush (R)

Obama (D)

Trump (R)

In 2003, the U.S. invaded Iraq and overthrew Saddam Hussein’s regime based on the lie that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. The U.S. war and occupation sparked armed resistance and led to the rise of reactionary Islamic jihadism and the ethnic-sectarian conflict that continues to this day. From 2003 to 2016, 251,000 Iraqis were killed in the war, including between 168,239 and 187,378 civilians. Other studies estimate that between 1.2 and 1.4 million (and perhaps as many as 2.4 million) have died from the war’s direct and indirect impacts. More than 4.2 million Iraqis had been injured and at least 4.5 million driven from their homes by 2016.37

U.S., British, French war on Libya, 2011

Obama (D)

In March 2011, the U.S., Britain, and France seized on a mass uprising against Muammar Qaddafi’s oppressive, 42-year-long rule, to launch a war. Their goal: overthrow him and tighten their grip on Libya. For the next seven months, the U.S.-led coalition carried out extensive bombing raids and military operations. By October, between 10,000 and 30,000 had been killed and Qaddafi’s regime had been shattered. Libya was turned into a battleground between reactionaries, and life became a nightmare for the people, with shortages of food, water, and electricity. A third of the population had no medical care, and a half-million people were forced to flee from their homes.38

Arming, backing, and enabling the Saudi-led war in Yemen, 2015-present

Obama (D)

Trump (R)

In March 2015, Saudi Arabia, with U.S. arms, technical support, and political backing, launched a war against Yemen’s Houthi movement, which had taken power. Since then, between 57,000 and 60,000 have been killed, mainly by Saudi air strikes. The Saudis have bombed Yemen’s food, water, and medical systems, causing massive hunger and disease. At least 85,000 children have starved to death as a result, and in 2016 and 2017 alone, 113,000 children died of starvation or preventable disease. Now, 14 million Yemenis are on the brink of famine.39

U.S. support for Israel’s wars, 1948-present

Truman (D)

The Nakba (1948). Israel was created by defeating armies from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq in war, and by violently forcing Palestinians from their lands and homes. Between 1947 and 1949, at least 750,000 Palestinians—of a population of 1.9 million—were expelled and made refugees. Zionist forces took more than 78 percent of historic Palestine, ethnically cleansed and destroyed about 530 villages and cities, and killed about 15,000 Palestinians in a series of mass atrocities, including more than 70 massacres. The U.S. supported the foundation of Israel, seeing an opportunity to undercut British influence in the region and strengthen its own. One of Truman’s aides argued that Israel “could become a strategic asset—a kind of stationary aircraft carrier to protect American interests in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.”40


Johnson (D)

1967 War [“Six-Day War”] (June 5, 1967-June 10, 1967). In 1967, Israel launched a preemptive war against Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, crippling their air forces. Israel then carried out a successful ground offensive, seizing the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip from Egypt; the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan; and the Golan Heights from Syria. Egypt’s casualties numbered more than 11,000, with 6,000 for Jordan, and 1,000 for Syria, compared with only 700 for Israel. This overwhelming military victory impressed on U.S. strategic thinkers that Israel was the key ally to ensure American domination in the Middle East. The U.S. began providing Israel cutting-edge weapons and jet fighters, and a massive flood of U.S. military aid that continues to this day. (Since its founding, the U.S. has given Israel a staggering $134 billion in aid—including over $94 billion in military aid—far more than the U.S. has given to any other country.) This established Israel’s military superiority over Arab regimes, and Israel increasingly functioned as an American proxy and attack dog, not only in the Middle East, but around the world.41


Nixon (R)

1973 Arab-Israeli War (October 6, 1973-October 26, 1973) started after a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria fought to regain lands that had been seized by Israel in the 1967 war. The lowest casualty estimate is 8,000 (5,000 Egyptians and 3,000 Syrians) killed and 18,000 wounded. The highest estimate is 18,500 (15,000 Egyptians and 3,500 Syrians) killed. The U.S. fully backed Israel, even putting its nuclear forces on alert as a warning to the Soviets against intervening unilaterally in the war. It saw this (and the June 1967 war) as a way to bludgeon the surrounding Arab countries, and to demonstrate, as then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger put it, “the limits of Soviet influence.” They were also aimed at crushing the Palestinian liberation struggle, then the region’s most revolutionary and broadly influential movement.42


Reagan (R)

1982 Lebanon War (June 1982-September 1982)

Israel Defense Forces invaded southern Lebanon with the goals of expelling the Palestine Liberation Organization, removing Syrian influence over Lebanon, and installing a pro-Israeli Christian government. By the end of the second week, International Red Cross and Lebanese police figures claimed up to 14,000 people died and 20,000 were injured, mostly civilians. During the Siege of Beirut, by late August 1982, Lebanese sources put the death toll in Beirut at 6,776. Lebanese police and international doctors serving in Beirut put the share of civilian casualties at about 80 percent. While some in the Reagan administration may have been concerned about the fallout from Israel’s attack, the U.S. continued to staunchly support Israel overall, including the need to crush the Palestinian resistance and other anti-U.S. forces in the region.43


George W. Bush (R)

Massacre in Gaza, 2008-09

Between December 27, 2008 and January 19, 2009, Israel waged a war of wanton death and destruction as collective punishment of Gazans after Hamas (an Islamist Party) was voted into power. Between 1,166 and 1,417 people were killed, including 844 unarmed civilians, 281 of them children. On January 9, Democrats and Republicans in both houses of Congress voted overwhelmingly in support of Israel’s actions, declaring—in direct opposition to the findings of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Red Cross, and other humanitarian organizations—that Israel’s armed forces bore no responsibility for the large numbers of civilian casualties from their assault on Gaza.44


Obama (D)

2014 Gaza War (July 8, 2014-August 26, 2014)

2,251 Palestinians were killed, including 1,462 Palestinian civilians, of whom 299 were women and 551 children; and 11,231 Palestinians, including 3,540 women and 3,436 children, were injured, of whom 10 percent suffered permanent disability as a result. Again, both Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate passed resolutions unanimously supporting Israel’s slaughter.45


Trump (R)

2018—the Great March of Return

Weekly protests began March 30, 2018 at Gaza’s border with Israel. They demanded that Israel’s crippling blockade be lifted and Palestinian refugees be given the right to return to their homes stolen by Israel in the 1948 war. The protests were also fueled by the Trump/Pence regime’s decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem—a big “fuck you” to the Palestinian people and a green light for Israeli ethnic cleansing. Unarmed protests have continued since then, and as of October 2018 over 150 Palestinians have been killed in the demonstrations. At least 10,000 others have been injured, including 1,849 children, 424 women, 115 paramedics, and 115 journalists. Of those injured, 5,814 were hit by live ammunition. The Trump/Pence regime responded by blaming the unarmed Palestinians for the violence.46

U.S. drone strikes in Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Somalia, 2002-present


George W. Bush (R)

Obama (D)

Trump (R)

Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, the George W. Bush administration launched the so-called “war on terror”—a global war to retaliate for the attacks and expand and strengthen the U.S. empire. This war went after all manner of states and forces the U.S. rulers considered obstacles or opponents, and America’s drone war became a key component.

Drones deployed from dozens of secret facilities in the Middle East, Africa, and Southwest Asia, directed from operational hubs in the U.S.—where the buttons are pushed and the missiles launched, thousands of miles away from the bloodshed.

Over the next years, tens of millions in Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Somalia came to live in daily danger of terrorist attack—from U.S. drones. People gathered in groups at wedding parties, tribal meetings, or car convoys have been slaughtered by America’s remote-controlled high-tech death machines. In the dehumanizing jargon of the U.S. military, people killed by drones on purpose are referred to as “jackpots” while unintended deaths are referred to as “EKIAs”—“Enemies Killed in Action”—a category that includes women, children, and people bombed in homes or at social gatherings.

The Obama administration greatly stepped up the number of unmanned drone attacks, launching more than 300 against Pakistan alone—six times the number ordered by Bush—as well as dozens more against Yemen, Somalia, and perhaps other countries in the region.

Totals to date:

Minimum Confirmed Strikes: 5,861

Total Killed: 8,289-11,792

Civilians Killed: 758-1,619

Children Killed: 252-36947



1. American Crime Case #97: August 6 and 9, 1945—The Nuclear Incineration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki,, May 23, 2016  [back]

2. American Crime #49: 1950-53— Encircling, Threatening and Attacking the Chinese Revolution,, January 1, 2018; William Blum, Killing Hope – U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II(Common Courage 1995), pp. 21-23; Alpha History, “The Chinese Civil War,” 2018.  [back]

3. American Crime Case #88: “Nuclear Testing in the Pacific,”, July 18, 2016  [back]

4. Blum, Killing Hope, pp. 34-39; “Greek Civil WAR (1946-1949),” The Apricity.  [back]

5. American Crime #93: U.S. Invasion of Korea—1950,, June 13, 2016.  [back]

6. American Crime #49: 1950-53— Encircling, Threatening and Attacking the Chinese Revolution,, January 1, 2018.  [back]

7. Case #98: 1953 CIA Coup in Iran: Torture and Repression – Made in the U.S.A.,”, May 16, 2016  [back]

8. Larry Everest, Oil, Power & Empire – Iraq and the U.S. Global Agenda (Common Courage, 2004), pp. 65-67  [back]

9. American Crime #96: Vietnam, March 16, 1968 – The My Lai Massacre,, May 23, 2016.  [back]

10. Daniel Ellsberg, The Doomsday Machine – Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, p. 3  [back]

11. “Case #73: The CIA-Directed Murder of Patrice Lumumba,”, November 7, 2016; Rogue State, pp. 137-138; see also, Stephen R. Weissman, “What Really Happened in Congo - The CIA, the Murder of Lumumba, and the Rise of Mobutu,” Foreign Affairs, July/August 2014; “Zaire: An African Horror Story,” Atlantic, August 1993; “LOOKING BACK IN ANGER: LIFE IN MOBUTU'S ZAIRE,” Washington Post, June 1, 1997  [back]

12. American Crime #45: The Bay of Pigs Invasion, 1961,, February 12, 2018  [back]

13. The Nuclear Close Calls: The Cuban Missile Crisis, Atomic Heritage Foundation, June 15, 2018.  [back]

14. American Crime #68: The 1965 U.S. Invasion of Dominican Republic, #476, January 28, 2017.  [back]

15. American Crime Case 100: "1965 Massacre in Indonesia,",  May 2, 2016.  [back]

16. Killing Hope, p. 88; “The Bombing of Laos: By the Numbers,” ABC NEWS, September 6, 2016 6  [back]

17. American Crime Case #47: The Bombing of Cambodia, 1969-1973, #526, January 15, 2018  [back]

18. American Crime Case #34: America's 1972 Christmas Bombings North Vietnam,, December 17, 2018.  [back]

19. American Crime Case #57: The 1973 CIA Coup in Chile,, October 22, 2017;William Blum, Rogue State – A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower (Common Courage, 2000), p. 143  [back]

20. Rogue State, p. 147; Killing Hope, pp. 249-257; “Apartheid in South Africa: Decades of Serving the U.S. Empire,”, December 9, 2013; Polgreen, Lydia, "Angolans Come Home to 'Negative Peace,'" New York Times, July 30, 2003  [back]

21. Mahmood Mamdami, “Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: A Political Perspective on Culture and Terrorism,” American Anthropologist, Sept 2002; Mozambique: Civil war, World Peace Foundation, August 7, 2015; “Evolution of political events in the Southern African region,” Extracts from APARTHEID TERRORISM - Destabilisation report by the Commonwealth Secretariat, 1989 (from “A Crime Against Humanity—Analysing the Repression of the Apartheid State,” posted at South African History Online (SAHO).  [back]

22. “Massacre: The Story of East Timor,” Democracy Now!, November 12,1997  [back]

23. Oil, Power & Empire, p. 90; The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, 1979-1989,  [back]

24. Oil, Power & Empire, pp. 91-93, Ellsberg, p. 321  [back]

25. American Crime Case #38: The U.S. Backs El Salvador’s Death Squad Government, 1980 to 1992,”, July 9, 2018.  [back]

26. Oil, Power & Empire, p. 99  [back]

27. Rogue State, P. 146-147; “Legacy of Civil Wars - In Central America, Reagan Remains A Polarizing Figure,” Washington Post, June 10, 2004  [back]

28. American Crime Case #95: Reagan's Butcher Carries Out Genocide in Guatemala,, #441, May 30, 2016  [back]

29. Cole, Ronald (1997). “Operation Urgent Fury: The Planning and Execution of Joint Operations in Grenada”  [back]

30. Oil, Power & Empire, pp. 113-114  [back]

31. Oil, Power & Empire, p. 111  [back]

32. American Crime Case #43: The U.S. Invasion of Panama, 1989-1990,, April 23, 2018  [back]

33. American Crime Case #32: The 1991 Persian Gulf War, "Operation Desert Storm",, December 17, 2018.   [back]

34. American Crime Case #76: U.S.-UN Sanctions On Iraq,"A Legitimized Act of Mass Slaughter,, #461, October 17, 2016.  [back]

35. "Yugoslavia: The American Way of War - "Destroying the Village to Save It,Revolutionary Worker #1003, April 25, 1999.  [back]

36. Costs of War -- Update on the Human Costs of War for Afghanistan and Pakistan, 2001 to mid-2016, Watson Institute, Brown University.  [back]

37. American Crime Case #70: Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2003,, December 5, 2016; and "Iraq conflict has killed a million Iraqis: survey," Reuters, January 30, 2008; "1.3 million children displaced by Iraq's war with Islamic State: UNICEF," Reuters, January 19, 2018; "The Staggering Death Toll in Iraq," Medea Benjamin, Nicolas J. S. Davies, AlterNet, March 15, 2018.  [back]

38. American Crime Case #35: The U.S.-NATO War on Libya,, September 3, 2018  [back]

39. “85,000 Children in Yemen May Have Died of Starvation,” New York Times, November 21, 2018; “Yemeni children die as warring sides block aid deliveries: UNICEF,” Reuters, NOVEMBER 2, 2018; “Saudi Arabia Escalates Genocidal, American-Backed War in Yemen-U.S. Rulers Maneuver as 14 Million Yemenis on Brink of Starvation,”, November 26, 201.  [back]

40. Oil, Power & Empire, p. 61; McDowall, David; Claire Palley (1987). The Palestinians. Minority Rights Group Report no 24. p. 10; The Nakba did not start or end in 1948-Key facts and figures on the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. 23 May 2017,  [back]

41. "Six Day War,' Encyclopaedia Britannica, November 26, 2018.  [back]

42. Gawrych, George (2000). The Albatross of Decisive Victory: War and Policy Between Egypt and Israel in the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli Wars; Herzog, Encyclopaedia Judaica, Keter Publishing House, 1974, p. 87; Oil, Power & Empire, p. 56, Ellsberg, p. 321.  [back]

43. Fisk, Robert (2001). Pity the Nation: Lebanon at War. Oxford University Press; Molly Dunigan (28 February 2011). Victory for Hire: Private Security Companies’ Impact on Military Effectiveness. Stanford University Press. pp. 103.  [back]

44. Al-Mughrabi, Nidal, “Israel tightens grip on urban parts of Gaza,” Archived 9 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine; Noam Chomsky, “Exterminate all the Brutes”: Gaza 2009.  [back]

45. "Key figures on the 2014 hostilities - Data featured in the Report of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict," United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Occupied Palestinian Territory, June 23, 2015; "U.S. Senate Unanimously Approves Resolution Giving Full Support of Israel on Gaza," HAARETZ, July 20, 2014  [back]

46. “U.S.-Israeli Massacre Kills 60 Palestinians and Wounds Over 2,700 
Everyone Must Stand Up and Protest Against These Crimes Against Humanity!
,”, May 14, 2018;, Seven Protesters Killed, Two of Them Children, and 257 Injured at Friday Demonstrations in Gaza, Al Mezan Center For Human Rights, September 29, 2018; “Total US Foreign Aid to Israel 1949-Present,  [back]

47. Drone Warfare, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.  [back]



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Revolution #580 January 28, 2019

Trump’s Wall Is a Fascist Monstrosity and Must NOT Go Up...
But the “Border Security” of the Democrats Is ALSO a Machinery of Heartless Persecution, Demonization, and Deportation

| Revolution Newspaper |


Since the publication of the below article, the crisis around the wall and the government shutdown has heightened. The situation remains in flux, and we will cover major developments as they might occur.

Trump doubled down with his January 8 Oval Office address and his threats to use executive power to build the wall without Congressional approval.This signifies another big step in the fascist remolding this regime is undertaking.

At the same time, the Democrats have continued their tack of essentially accepting the basic terms of Trump. For all their stern faces and charges of Trumpian irresponsibility, they, like Trump, cover over the fundamental guilt of the U.S. imperialist system for driving people from their home countries and the essentially illegitimate character of U.S. borders in the first place. They, like Trump, frame the argument as one of how to repress and control these desperate immigrants rather than what must be done to the system that has created this.

They too “change the subject” to the suffering that is being brought down on people within the U.S. through this shutdown. They pit that against what is being done to our immigrant brothers and sisters on the border (and within the U.S.). To be clear: that suffering is real, and the fact that people who are going hungry and sick, or who are a paycheck away from being homeless, now face even worse privation, is indeed criminal and extremely ugly. But the Democrats are opportunistically using this to shift focus away from the larger crime being committed around immigration.

The conflicts between Trump and the Democrats are in fact real conflicts over how to handle immigration, as the article below points out. But at this point, they also touch very directly on “norms of rule.” That is, Trump is changing the “rules of the game” that the imperialists generally adhere to—rules that both govern relations among themselves and afford a level of civil and democratic rights to masses of people. And this has serious implications.

But as the article also points out, this system has no answer, and both sides are united, above all, on saving this system. The challenge before those who are infuriated and anguished over what they see at the border is not to choose between oppressors, but to grapple seriously with what is said below on the roots of the crisis; what is laid out in the accompanying article on the Democrats’ history and current stance on this question; and what it will take to end this—revolution.

* * * * *

Donald Trump has shut down the government to get his wall on the border. This fascist wall must not be built, period. If this wall gets funded, in whatever form and with whatever concessions, it will represent a major escalation in the attack on immigrants. Even if it is seen as “symbolic”—and that will be what the Democrats tell you when and if they cut a deal with Trump—what it will symbolize will be that the tens and hundreds of millions of people seeking refuge from conditions created by this imperialist system are subhumans who must and will be kept out of the “gated community” of the very countries at fault for the disasters. Symbols are symbols because they mean something. After all, forcing Jews in Nazi Germany to wear “yellow stars” could be seen as “symbolic”—but what did they symbolize? A program of genocide.

The imperialist system oppresses the vast majority of the world’s peoples and nations. That system grinds up the labor and lives of billions of people daily into their machinery of capital. That system wages wars that create havoc and tears apart the social fabric in those countries. That system destroys the environment in those countries, turning whole areas of the world into deserts through global warming. That system has no answers for the crisis it has created.

Trump, and the whole fascist tide around the world, is one reaction to this. But how do the Democrats—who, yes, are like the Republicans, a political institution serving this imperialist system—oppose this? By proposing their own program for “border security”—that is, for keeping out and holding down immigrants—with high tech sensors and drones in what they say is the “21st-century way” of doing this.

In other words, the Democrats are united with Trump on using tools of repression and intimidation to prevent people fleeing U.S.-created oppression in their home countries from seeking asylum here. The accompanying article—on what these Democrats have actually done when they have been in power and what they actually propose to do now—shows that they have, if anything, been even more bloody than Trump (while being more discreet about it). Where they differ now is on two main points:

One, the demonization of immigrants is at the very core of the fascist program of Trump, part of a whole thrust to “make America white again.” Trump wants the wall as a high-profile, easy-to-understand way to dramatize his highly repressive assault on immigrants more generally. We should not forget that even as now the Democrats and even many anti-immigrant groups downplay the importance of the wall, it is a fact that border walls are one part of brutally enforcing apartheid and separation and that the existing U.S.-Mexican border wall, much of which was constructed by Democratic president Bill Clinton, has been a site of brutality and terror against immigrants. Trump is using the controversy over the wall to mobilize and stoke the fascist base.

The Democrats go at this differently. They aim to maintain the support of those who are either victimized by or revolted by this program of ethnic cleansing, and keep them thinking and acting within the bounds or horizons of the current system. So while they too carry out highly repressive and even murderous policies on the border, they want to as much as possible keep their repressive policies out of the public eye. At the same time, they also want to promote a multilateralist multiculturalism, opening up immigration to those they regard as necessary to their economy and the projection of the U.S. role internationally. Thus, when they say that the wall is immoral—which is how those whom they see as their base feel about it—what they really mean is that it is “bad optics.” As the accompanying chart makes clear, it was the plan proposed by Bill Clinton that has ended up trapping and killing some 8,000 immigrant human beings in the desert over the past 20-plus years.

Two, the Democrats actually argue that their form of keeping immigrants out (sensors, drones, informant networks) is more effective than the wall.

So, yes, the wall—and behind that the whole program and mentality being promoted by the Trump/Pence regime—must be thoroughly rejected and stopped. But it won’t be stopped by the Democratic representatives of a system that created 65 million refugees in the world—or a party that agrees with Trump on the need for “border security” while regularly trampling on the sovereignty of the very countries that the U.S. dominates and oppresses through wars and proxy wars for the dominance of the U.S. over the planet.

Why should we let ourselves be bound, and bounced around, between the choices that they and their system give you—between the contending forces of a capitalist-imperialist dictatorship, competing over who can better carry out that dictatorship? Where has this gotten us? And where has this gotten the desperate people now suffering in unbearably crowded shelters in Tijuana or “icebox” detention centers in Texas or trapped in the U.S.-created and maintained killing fields of Honduras or El Salvador—after all these years?

No human being is illegal. What we need—and what we need to openly proclaim and fight for—is a world without borders, which means a world beyond all forms of exploitation, oppression and the violent antagonistic conflicts between people. What we need is REVOLUTION!


Watch these excerpts from the speech by Bob Avakian Why We Need an Actual Revolution and How We Can Really Make Revolution and from the Q&A following the speech

The Democratic Party: “A Major Instrument of This Monstrously Oppressive System”

Q&A: Bob Avakian's Answer to People Who Complain about Immigrants Crossing Borders

Watch the whole speech, spread it, fund it

Find out more about this speech—and get organized to spread it »

A three-year-old boy, Aylan Kurdi, drowned when the small rubber inflatable boat carrying his family from Syria to Greece capsized, September 2015.

Mexican police at the Mexico-U.S. border attack Central American caravan migrants as they attempt to cross border, November 2018. (Photo: AP)

Tens of thousands of migrants attempting to escape war and famine in countries in northern Africa cross the Mediterranean seeking asylum in European countries. (Photo: AP)

Syrian refugee carries a baby over border fence at Syrian-Turkish border. June, 2015. (Photo: AP)

Afghan refugees who fled their country due to war and famine wait to get registered in Peshawar, Pakistan, August 2017. (Photo: AP)

Some 80% of the people in Yemen are in desperate need of basic necessities due to long-term extreme poverty drastically worsened by U.S.-backed Saudi Arabian attacks and fighting among other reactionary forces. Here, people get drinking water in the streets of Sana’a. (Photo: YouTube/United Nations)

The Imperialist System Has Created 65 Million Refugees Through Economic Plunder and Disruption, Ecological Catastrophe, and War.

This System Cannot Be Reformed—It MUST Be Overthrown!




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Revolution #580 January 28, 2019

USA Backs Coup in Venezuela, Makes the Godfather Look Like Mary Poppins

| Revolution Newspaper |


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.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:3

Over the last week politicians and media have been spewing honeyed bullshit over their direct efforts to overthrow a government in Venezuela. They insist that the United States must intervene in support of the Venezuelan people who want their constitution and democracy followed.

This has nothing to do with humanitarianism or democratic rights. This is a well-orchestrated coup to deepen the U.S.’s bloody grip on Latin America and pull a pesky thorn out of its side. This is gangsterism pure and simple—another American crime. And once again, they’re trying to fool you with the well-worn-out “democracy” line.

In the midst of a deepening political and economic crisis—made intolerably worse by U.S. economic warfare—hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated last week against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. Maduro is the inheritor of the legacy of Hugo Chávez, who used Venezuela’s oil as a lever not for “socialism” but to get a better position in the overall imperialist system. And the U.S. has been working ever since to smash Venezuela’s teeth and get their head more fully under the U.S. boot.

Addressing the thousands of protestors, Juan Guaidó, president of the National Assembly and key leader in the anti-Maduro opposition, declared the Maduro regime illegitimate and announced himself president.

Just minutes after Guaidó’s declaration, Trump recognized him as interim leader, and declared his National Assembly was “the only legitimate branch of government duly elected by the Venezuelan people.” Both U.S. National Security Adviser and unrepentant war criminal John Bolton and defender-of-all-things-democratic Donald Trump have threatened a military intervention to oust Maduro, saying, “All options are on the table.”

There’s been a lot of talk about human rights violations and how Guaidó is some sort of heroic fighter against unconstitutional tyranny. The reality is that Mafia Boss USA has plans for a new subservient government and has made the Venezuelan people an offer they cannot refuse.  

The gamble made by Chávez and then Maduro—that they could use their oil to get a better position in the world imperialist system—fell apart when oil prices went down. The Venezuelan economy went into crisis. But the U.S. has been turning the screws on the Venezuelan people to create a situation so intolerable that they beg for U.S. intervention. Let’s talk about who should really be held accountable for the crisis.

The Chávez-Maduro Road Is Part of the Problem, Not Part of the Solution

Venezuela, with the largest oil reserves in the world, has long been dominated as a gas station for U.S. imperialism. This has created a lopsided and distorted society with a highly technical oil sector and an overall backwards economy with huge numbers of people unemployed and living in slums. Chávez and Maduro are not “socialist.” They attempted to angle for a "better deal" with like-minded countries to improve their bargaining position and get a bigger share of the oil profits, and then used some of that wealth to fund social welfare programs among the poor.

But Venezuela didn’t really break with the relations of imperialism and left many of the backward social relations within Venezuela intact: Almost nine million people remained locked into slums. Women remained subordinated and degraded—abortion is banned in Venezuela. As for the environment, Venezuela is the largest CO2 emitter in Latin America.

This leads to a very important point: the road promoted by Chávez is part of the problem and NOT part of the solution. It is a dead end trap that leaves imperialism itself untouched.

But despite still being locked within this oppressive system, this “art of the deal” was too much for the U.S. to tolerate in what they so arrogantly regard as their “backyard.” The U.S. imperialist ruling class—and this includes both the Trump/Pence regime and the Democrats, almost all of whom are on board with this coup attempt—is determined to put Venezuela, and all of Latin America, back in what the U.S. regards as “its place.” That’s what’s really behind all the honeyed words these politicians spew to justify regime change and all the misery and suffering they are consciously subjecting tens of millions of people to.

We need a whole new world—beyond the division of the world into a handful of imperialist powers who exploit, dominate, and bludgeon the whole rest of humanity... a world moving to eliminate all forms of oppression and exploitation, and all the relations between people and the ideas that are founded on and reinforce that exploitation and oppression. And as part of fighting for that revolution, we need to oppose the current vicious—and highly risky—threats and actions being carried out by U.S. imperialism against Venezuela.

People scavenging for food in Venezuela. Photo: AP

Venezuelans are mass migrating out of the country. Above: Venezuelan migrants in Tumbes, Peru. (Photo: AP)

Q&A: Would Mexico And Central America Still Be the US Backyard After the Revolution?


Q&A: Bob Avakian's Answer to People Who Complain about Immigrants Crossing Borders

Excerpts from “Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution”
A speech by Bob Avakian

Watch the whole speech, spread it, fund it

Find out more about this speech—and get organized to spread it


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Revolution #580 January 28, 2019

An excerpt from:

From Ike to Mao and Beyond

My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist

A memoir by Bob Avakian

| Revolution Newspaper |


Chapter Twenty-one

“A Fitting Welcome” for Deng Xiaoping

The booklet1 from the Mao Memorial was barely published when we faced the question of defending Mao’s legacy in practice as well as theory. After the coup and then the consolidation of a new revisionist, capitalist regime in China headed by Deng Xiaoping, the U.S. imperialists saw a big opening to further develop their relations with China, to more firmly bring China into the U.S. camp and open China up more fully to imperialist domination and exploitation. So a visit was arranged where Deng Xiaoping would come and hold meetings with the U.S. president at the time, Jimmy Carter.

Confronting Deng

As Maoists, and in particular as Maoists within the U.S. itself, this was a political and ideological gauntlet that was being thrown down to us. We recognized that we had a responsibility to do something that would make a clear statement against this, and we decided to mobilize people from around the country to go to Washington, D.C. when Deng Xiaoping was there, to demonstrate and to create public opinion as much as we could, through the mainstream media but also through our own means — leaflets and publications of various kinds — to expose what had happened in China and what Deng Xiaoping represented, and to uphold the revolutionary banner of Mao.

So that’s what we did.

Deng Xiaoping came in January 1979, and he was staying in the Blair House, which is near Lafayette Park and the White House. We had a rally in a church and then we left to go on the march through the streets of D.C. to politically confront Deng Xiaoping, to make as powerful a statement as we could in opposition to what he represented and to raise the banner of Mao. We marched with Red Books and banners upholding Mao and opposing Deng Xiaoping and the revisionist coup, and our main slogan — which I still remember ringing through the streets of D.C. as we marched — was: “Mao Tsetung Did Not Fail, Revolution Will Prevail!”

I remember very vividly people in the largely Black neighborhoods of D.C. coming out of their houses as we marched through, at first to see what was happening; but then — as they would hear the slogans we were chanting, and as they would see some of the banners with pictures of Mao and people marching while waving Red Books — a number of them ran back into their houses and came out with their own Red Books. Some joined the march, while many others lined the route of the march — a number of them were waving Red Books and others were shouting encouragement and in other ways indicating support for what we were doing. This was very inspiring and strengthened our resolve to stand up in the face of the revisionist coup in China and the way the U.S. was moving to further its support for the direction in which Deng was taking China.

As we began the march, it was already very clear that the authorities really didn’t like this demonstration. And as we got to the area of Lafayette Park, the police unleashed a violent attack, beating as many people as they could, and finally succeeded in breaking up the march. They especially went after the women, brutally beating them; some were so disfigured from being hit with billy clubs and pummeled in the face that you could hardly recognize them, in some cases even for weeks afterward. Some people came very close to being permanently disabled or even killed. The assault the police unleashed was extremely vicious, and over eighty people in that demonstration, including myself, were arrested. I know some people who even to this day have kept the Red Book that they carried in that demonstration — their own blood was shed onto the Red Book, and they have proudly kept that as a blood-stained memento of the revolutionary and internationalist act of holding this demonstration, and upholding the revolutionary banner of Mao, in the face of these attacks.

While a number of us were arrested and taken to jail, some others who needed medical attention were driven around in paddy wagons for a long time before they were taken to the hospital. I and most of the people arrested with me spent the first night in jail handcuffed and chained outside our cells because we were continuing to chant revolutionary slogans and this pissed off the jailers. The men were held separately from the women but the lawyers who came forward to defend us told us inspiring stories about how the women continued to chant revolutionary slogans and shout from one cell to the other in Spanish, so the jailers couldn’t understand exactly what they were saying, and how, in general, the women kept up their revolutionary spirit in the jail cells.

The Carter government, and the ruling class in general, was infuriated by this demonstration. Beyond the way the whole thing disrupted “business as usual” in the capital city, it politically disrupted what they were doing, it drew attention to the questions we were raising, and from a number of angles it politically embarrassed them. After all, here was this powerful demonstration against Deng Xiaoping — and other things happened around the same time, like two reporters from the Revolutionary Worker disrupting Deng’s White House press conferenceby waving Red Books in his face and denouncing him as a revisionist — and this seized the spotlight, so to speak.

The demonstration, and the activities surrounding it, became an international incident. This was before the Internet and satellite news and all that kind of thing, but news of what we did went out over news services all over the world, and I later talked to people from many parts of the world for whom this demonstration was a very important and inspiring event. And that was part of what we were doing also — we were fulfilling our internationalist responsibility to let people know that, right in the U.S., there are people who uphold the banner of Mao and oppose what Deng Xiaoping represents and how he has taken China back to the hell of capitalism.

That’s part of the reason why they unleashed this vicious police attack. Initially, they only charged us with misdemeanors; then they came back with heavier charges for a smaller number of us who were arrested — we were now charged with felonies, like assault on police officers. If we had been convicted and been given the maximum sentence for all of this, it would have amounted to over two hundred years in jail. In other words, they decided that in response to what we’d done they needed to come down with even more heavy political repression. So then, facing these heavy legal charges, there was a need to mount both a legal defense — but more importantly a political defense.

Pranking the Parrots

Before getting into the seriousness of that, I want to briefly touch on something a little bit lighter — though with its own sharp edge. There was another group, the October League, which then turned itself into a party and called itself the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist), or CP(M-L). They had gone right along with the coup in China and in their newspaper, The Call, they had put out all this stuff just parroting whatever was said by the revisionist leadership in China. The CP(M-L) leader, Mike Klonsky, had run right over to China and met with Hua Guo-feng, who nominally was the head of the government and nominally led the coup — though it was really Deng Xiaoping behind it — and there was a picture of Klonsky in the Peking Review, all dressed up and shaking hands with Hua Guo-feng. Some people in the movement at that time, like the Guardian newspaper, tried to turn things inside out and upside down and say that the reason that we didn’t support the coup in China was because Klonsky got there first and got the mantle, so to speak, from Hua Guo-feng, and we were supposedly pissed off about that; and so, according to this distorted version of things, it was our competitiveness with the CP(M-L) that led us to take a position against the coup.

I have outlined in some detail the position that I held, and that others in leadership of the Party who weren’t part of this Menshevik faction held, from the time of the coup in China; and I have summarized the basis for our position as well as the whole way we unfolded the struggle within the Party around this and why, in large part because of this Menshevik faction, it took us quite a period of time to get to where we could arrive at a final determination on this issue through a Central Committee meeting and then unite the whole Party around it. Those of us who held this position felt that what Klonsky had done, in rushing to embrace the coup, was disgusting — we were strongly inclined to oppose what had happened in China, and we recognized that Klonsky had just acted uncritically and unthinkingly, since there hadn’t been any time to study and analyze the momentous events in China before he showed up in Peking and was shaking Hua Guo-feng’s hand. But his visit is obviously not what motivated us to take the opposite position.

Anyway, we thought it would be good — it would make an important point, and also involve some fun — to ridicule the position Klonsky and the CP(M-L) had taken, and their basic approach to things. So we put out a phony issue of The Call which parroted and slightly, but only slightly, exaggerated the ridiculous positions that they were taking on China. For example, at the time we put out this parody of The Call, the Chinese revisionists were beginning to attempt to improve their relations with the Dalai Lama. And so in this “Call” we put out, we had an article which talked about a meeting between the Chinese leadership and the Dalai Lama and how there was so much emotion generated over the wonderful things that had been done by the Dalai Lama. The article said that, for this ceremony, they brought drums that had been made with human skin in Tibet under the rule of the Dalai Lama to celebrate the occasion. And this was referring to a very real fact of history — things of this kind had been done under the rule of the supposedly “benevolent” Lamas, including this Dalai Lama, and in writing this parody we made a point of referring to this reality and to the torment and the horrendous oppression and literal torture the masses of Tibetan people suffered under the rule of the Lamas.

Despite widespread misconceptions about this — due in large part to the “repackaging” of the Dalai Lama to make him appear as a worldly (or “other-worldly”) wise man of peace and benevolence, and the promotion of this myth in the mainstream media — the truth is that, under the rule of these Lamas, the masses of people in Tibet were brutally exploited in conditions of feudal serfdom: they were denied health care and education and punished severely if they tried to get access to these things, with the flaying off of their skin a common punishment. And, of course, the oppression of women in that society was even more extreme. So, even as we were doing a parody of The Call, and inventing this scene involving the Chinese revisionists and the Dalai Lama, we pointed to the reality of what life had actually been like for the masses of Tibetan people under the rule of the Dalai Lama and his predecessors.

The Battle in the Legal Arena

Returning to the heavy legal attacks that were coming down on us, I’ve said that political defense and political mobilization was the key thing in terms of defeating them. But it was also necessary, of course, to battle in the legal arena. I did an interview, for example, with a reporter from the Washington Post — which the Washington Post never ran, but which we published as part of a pamphlet.2 At one point, this reporter said: “I guess you see this as a ‘win-win’ situation for you — if you get convicted, that will prove that the system is repressive; and if you get off, then that will be a victory for you.”

I answered emphatically: “No, that is not the way we see it at all. This is an attack from the state, and we have to beat back and defeat this attack; in the course of that yes, of course, we will be exposing the system, and if we succeed in mobilizing masses of people and fighting in the legal arena and beating back this attack and defeating it, that doesn’t prove that ‘the system works,’ it proves that we were able to prevail in a very intense battle against the system.” So that’s what we set out to do, and it required a lot of attention to the legal arena as well as to the political battle on the part of the Party in general and on my part in particular.

When the government came after us, they apparently believed that we either would just capitulate or else would act like crazy maniacs and fanatics whom nobody could understand or in any way identify with. And we proved that was not the case. But I think that, at the start, this attitude existed to a certain degree even among the lawyers who came forward to take up our defense — or at least they were a bit concerned about whether we would just be sort of “lunatic revolutionaries” or whatever. We were able to dispel that and to make clear to them that we took this very seriously and recognized that there was a need to apply correct tactics and have good sense in battling in the legal arena, even while sticking to and being guided by our larger principles.

A lot of this came down to breaking-the-ice kinds of things, even on a personal level. For example, one time I was talking to one of the lawyers about maybe getting together to go over the legal case and he said he was busy and couldn’t do something that evening, and I asked, “Oh, where are you going?” He told me he was going to the Washington Bullets basketball game. And I said, “Great, I’m gonna be going to a few games myself while I’m here in D.C.” So we started talking about basketball, and then he saw that I was a “regular human being,” at the same time as I was clearly a revolutionary and a communist, and that I didn’t conform to some sort of weird notion he may have had about revolutionaries and communists.

These were good-hearted liberal and progressive lawyers, but they still had these misconceptions, and of course some differences developed between us over legal strategy and tactics, which we had to do our best to struggle out in a good way. For example, at one point they wrote up a brief to present to the court as part of this case, and I read it over and wrote a lengthy critique of it. But I didn’t just slam it — I pointed out what I thought were the good points in it but also the weaknesses and things that should be done differently. And here, of course, the legal training I’d gotten ever since I was a little kid, at the dinner table and in other ways — such as sitting in the courtroom and watching my dad argue some of his cases, and the whole way in which, directly and indirectly, so to speak, he had schooled me in a lot of the legal arena — came in handy and I was able to contribute through this critique and in other ways to developing and sharpening the legal strategy, as well as the overall political strategy.

My Family Grows Closer

By this time, my relations with my parents had become closer again, but on an even better basis than they’d been before. There had been a gap that had opened between us when I’d become a radical and then a revolutionary and a communist. My parents never came to fully share my political and ideological outlook. My mother in particular remained very religious, although to a significant degree that expressed itself in her being a compassionate, generous person; and my father was somewhat religious also. But by this time they had developed a growing understanding of and respect for what I was trying to do.

They saw me as a person of integrity, who stuck to my principles and who had high ideals, as they put it — someone who was trying to change the world for the benefit of humanity — and they respected the fact that I stood up for that in the face of repression and attack, and that I stuck to it and had not given up in the face of difficulty. Having gone through the whole period of the ’60s, and as a result of some struggle between us, they had become much more aware of the larger injustices in American society and many of the injustices the U.S. perpetrated around the world. And they were very sickened by this as well. So we’d grown closer again on this basis, through a process of development and some struggle, and even a period of a some estrangement between us. A little later, around 1980, I actually wrote a letter to my parents setting forth some important aspects of my principles as a communist and how I saw them applying to a number of different things, acknowledging that they didn’t agree with all of this and that we had differences, but that I wanted to spell out for them how I viewed these things.3

Right after I was arrested in the demonstration against Deng Xiaoping, at the beginning of 1979, my father, who had been a judge for a number of years and was something of a public person, was contacted by the Washington Post, and asked for his comment on this. I think they expected they would be able to play on contradictions — believing that my father would distance himself, or even attack me. But, instead, he said that both he and my mother were proud of me. He didn’t talk about the particular event — the demonstration that led to the arrest — but he spoke in a general way: “We’re very proud of him for his principles and the way he’s sticking to them.” This meant a great deal to me personally, and it was also an important statement in a broader sense.

My dad also gave me some general legal advice about this case. He was incensed at the whole indictment. He commented many, many times: “This is the most ridiculous and outrageous thing I’ve ever seen — look at all these charges where you and others are accused of ‘assault on an unidentified police officer.’ I’ve never heard of such a thing — how can you defend yourself against a charge of assaulting an unknown, unidentified person?!” To him it represented the whole outrageous character of the indictment to begin with, coming on top of this assault that the police had launched against the demonstration, and he frequently talked to his friends and legal associates about this as an example of political prosecution and persecution.

I remember thinking very soon after I got arrested that he might be contacted. And I didn’t want my parents to be surprised and caught off guard if they were asked for a statement. So, as soon as I was able to do so after being arrested, I sent a message through a lawyer to someone I trusted, asking them to contact my parents and let them know what had happened. But sometimes people would make crank calls to my parents, and sometimes people who claimed to be speaking on my behalf, but were probably actually working for the government, would ask my parents all kinds of questions about me. As a result, my parents were understandably wary about phone calls from people they didn’t know, and I was aware of that. I tried to figure out a way that I could let them know that this person was really calling on my behalf. Then I remembered one of my father’s favorite stories, about when he was in law school in the Bay Area and had gone with his uncle in San Francisco to an open-air farmer’s market, and there was this guy hawking tomatoes at a fruit and vegetable stand. He was saying: “Step right up and get your ripe tomatoes, the most beautiful tomatoes — fresh from the farm, great juicy, plump tomatoes.” This guy was going on and on like that, and then he saw my uncle and my father gravitating toward this fruit and vegetable stand where he was doing this hawking; he was a friend of my father’s uncle, and he didn’t want them to be taken in, so he changed his spiel, to work in a warning that only they would understand: “Step right up,” he said this time, “get your tomatoes; absolutely the best tomatoes in the world, ‘dardun tapeh’ brand — great tomatoes.”

Well, in Armenian, “dardun tapeh” means: “take ’em home and throw ’em in the garbage.” So this was his way of letting my father’s uncle and my father know, “Don’t buy these tomatoes; I gotta sell these tomatoes as if they’re really great, but in fact they’re terrible.” So I sent this message to the person who was contacting my parents on my behalf: “When you call my parents, ask to speak to my father, say that you’re calling on my behalf, and that this is not a ‘dardun tapeh’ call, and then he’ll know that you really have talked to me and are calling on my behalf.” And this worked very well.

The Preliminary...Railroad

Before the trial, we had a preliminary hearing, and that was also a real lesson and another thing that outraged my parents and in particular my father, given his legal training and background. The preliminary hearing is supposed to determine whether the prosecution can establish “probable cause” that the defendant was engaged in an unlawful act and therefore has to stand trial for that offense. But, being aware that this had been a political demonstration, at the start of the hearing the judge felt obliged to say that it wasn’t sufficient to show that the defendants were present at the demonstration — that would not be evidence of a crime, because demonstrating itself is legal, Constitutionally-protected activity — it was necessary to show, under these circumstances, that there was probable cause that the defendants had engaged in specific unlawful acts. Otherwise, he was indicating, he would dismiss the charges.

Then, we went through a couple of days of hearings and the prosecution didn’t have any concrete evidence or testimony that pointed to any specific acts committed by anyone — they couldn’t identify particular people with specific acts. This went along with the whole approach of charging us with “assault on an unidentified police officer”; the frame-up nature of the whole thing was very clearly on display. So what was the judge going to do? Well, at the end of the hearing, after listening to all this and hearing absolutely no concrete evidence pointing to any defendant committing any specific act, the judge solemnly said: I have listened to the testimony and evidence, and I am satisfied that it has been established that each and every one of the defendants was present when unlawful acts were committed, and therefore I find probable cause to continue with prosecution.

In other words, after it had been shown that the prosecution couldn’t meet the standard of proof that the judge had established at the beginning of the hearing, he simply threw out that standard and ruled for the prosecution anyway. It was clearer than ever that, while we could lose this battle through legal mistakes, we could not win this merely by mounting the best possible legal defense.


1. The booklet being referred to is "The Loss In China And The Revolutionary Legacy of Mao Tse-Tung," which was a speech given by Bob Avakian in September, 1978, to over 2,500 people. [back]

2. Bob Avakian Speaks on the Mao Tsetung Defendants’ Railroad and the Historic Battles Ahead, RCP Publications, 1981. [back]

3. This letter was actually published as a pamphlet, Communists Are Rebels. [back]


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Revolution #580 January 28, 2019

The Shutdown: A Trumpian "Cave-In"? Or the Logic Of GENOCIDE!

| Revolution Newspaper |


There is nothing sacred to us about the USA, as it is presently constituted, or about the borders of the U.S. as they are presently constituted. Quite the opposite.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 3:20

The shutdown of the government, which erupted over Trump’s proposed wall on the border, has temporarily ended. Democrats and Republicans are negotiating, with Trump set to make the major “State of the Union” speech next week, with a new deadline for a budget deal in mid-February.

The fact that Trump has been forced to end the shutdown and go to negotiations is being hyped as a big cave-in. In fact, while Trump’s particular tactic did not work in the immediate sense—no, he did not get the funding yet—in fact, the whole fascist agenda on immigrants moved forward.

First off, we should be clear: these negotiations are struggle within the ruling class—over how vicious the repression of immigrants should be, how best to carry out this repression, and where this will “fit into” the new social and political “norms” now being fought out. Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker and highest-ranking Democrat, has already been giving ground. She has increasingly upped the Democrats’ spending proposals for “border security” (translation: militarization of the border) to match Trump’s. Instead of making a big deal out of how “immoral” the wall would be, she has shifted to focusing her objections on demanding more “evidence-based” measures to carry out this repression.1

Through this struggle, Trump has doubled down on his fascist rhetoric and has continued his threats to use executive power to bypass congressional approval for building the wall, including threats to declare a national emergency, the implications and consequences of which could go beyond the question of immigration. To call this a “cave-in” as many Democrats and their media mouthpieces have done is somewhat mind-boggling.

WHY Is This Even Happening? A System That Sucks Blood All Over the World

In opposing the shutdown, the Democrats directed people's attention away from the refugees now suffering terribly at the U.S.-Mexico border, and away from the millions of immigrants in this country who are now detained or who have to live with the fear of deportation hanging over their heads in an increasingly hostile atmosphere where their humanity is constantly called into question. They train you to think only about the suffering of U.S. citizens—of the federal workers and independent contractors who were left without a means to make a living, of those who are in desperate conditions, of those who are going hungry or are sick, who now face even more hardship because of the shutdown. This suffering is real and criminal, and should be opposed. But the Democrats made a show of doing this to divert people's attention from the crimes this system is committing against immigrants. In doing this, they are training you to think that American lives matter more than other people's lives.

Meanwhile, no one dares ask WHY people come here from all over the world, lest they expose the bloody hands of U.S. imperialism as a driving force in all this. No one dares ask what is the solution to a world where people are driven, by the workings of imperialism, to risk their lives and suffer tremendous hardship, to escape their situations.

This country rests at the top of a system of imperialism. This system has caused 65 million people to flee their homelands because of the ways their societies have been made unlivable by imperialism, whether by economic plunder and disruption, wars for empire, or the accelerating ecological catastrophe. The U.S. has conducted coup after coup, backed brutal dictators, torn apart the social fabric in one country after another, using its military and economic power to intimidate, murder, and sentence to death whole sections of humanity all as part of gaining its riches and maintaining its position at the top of this cutthroat imperialist system. At the same time, this system both has a hunger for immigrant labor while at the same time the growing number of immigrants from oppressed nations has the potential to undermine the core white Christian “identity” of America and the whole feeling of white superiority that has bound the dominant white nationality together since before the founding.

In sum: the U.S. rulers have no real answers to the chaos and suffering they have unleashed, other than more and even worse suffering.

Your Options as Dictated by This System: “Build the Wall and Crime Will Fall” vs. Drones and Sensors

One response to the intensifying refugee crisis is what is represented by Trump and the whole fascist tide we are seeing around the world. Since the start of his campaign to “Make America White Again,” Trump has launched a comprehensive attack on immigrants, making this question a linchpin and a battering ram for advancing the fascist program overall. The fascists in power in this country have made concrete advances in their attacks on immigrants (through policies like the “Muslim Ban” and the ending of TPS2) and are whipping up a fascist base that sees the “browning” of this country as an existential threat to America's existence and its ability to maintain its position at the top. The racist border wall has become a concrete way of enforcing this repressive assault and a symbol for the genocidal program they aim to advance.

On the other side, we have the Democrats who also promote enforcing border security through drones and high-tech sensors. The Democrats unite with the fascists on keeping many immigrants out and more generally maintaining a repressive atmosphere especially among those doing low paid labor, but they want to do this under the radar as they promote a multilateral multiculturalism—they want to accept the “respectable” immigrants (aka those who can be profitably exploited by this system) or who can “contribute” as technicians, managers, scientists, professionals, and capitalists. They also want to maintain the appearance of “enlightenment” they've projected throughout the world. They have a just as bloody a record of draconian assaults on immigrants—just look at the measures passed under Clinton and the Deporter-in-Chief, Obama (see the recent article “How the Democratic Party Has Persecuted and Deported Millions—and Murdered Thousands—with Their ‘Moral’ Immigration Policy”)—but they want to make you think they care about the humanity of immigrants and oppressed people, peddling the lie that they think the wall is immoral to corral your outrage into the dead-end solutions provided by the very same system that got us into this mess.

An Assault on Immigrants with Genocidal Logic

The Democrats have people celebrating a supposed setback for Trump. On one level, it is true that the Trump regime was unable to immediately get its way with the shutdown. But these Democrats hyping up the celebration want you to forget Trump may still declare a state of emergency, push for another shutdown, or figure out other ways to take the offensive.

On a deeper level, Trump actually moved the fascist agenda forward in two important and destructive ways. First, as the accompanying box shows, attacks on immigrants have actually intensified during this period. Second, and even more important, the terms of the debate further shifted in the direction of the fascists. Things have quickly gone from “the wall is immoral” to arguing over whether it’s the most effective, “evidence-based” way, to repress people whom the U.S. itself has reduced to desperate situations and driven out of their countries.

The increased militarization of the border, and the fascist wall in particular, are a way of enforcing the assault on immigrants, forcing them to make even more dangerous crossings through the desert—thousands of people have died in the past 25 years because of the barriers built by the Democrat Clinton and the Republican Bush.

AND the wall is a symbol for the fascist genocidal program. It will stand like the monuments to the slave master generals that were built after the Civil War, a symbol that drove home to Black people their subordinate position. Symbols matter A LOT. Years before the Holocaust, Nazi officials forced Jews to wear the Yellow Star as a prelude to the mass deportations to ghettos and later to the death camps in Eastern Europe. Imagine the opposing section of the German ruling class opposing Hitler's systematic implementation of this symbol on the basis that “we need more evidence-based” ways to control Jews. This is a symbol of further “other-izing” a whole section of the population. Deepening the rift between who is considered human and who is considered dispensable, and—to quote Pat Robertson, a prominent Christian fascist member of the coalition headed by Trump—“a stain upon society.” The terms get set and reset with advances and setbacks along the way, but accepting these terms leads us right into the jaws of fascism.  

We need to break out of these terms and dead-end solutions proffered by this system and its representatives for whom fascism is merely a matter of taste. We need a revolution to overthrow this system, to build a world beyond these blood-soaked borders, where humanity is working together to overcome ALL the oppressive divisions among people. That is the only way to get beyond the system of imperialism which grinds people down all over the planet, driving them from their homelands and forcing them to cross oceans and deserts, risking death to escape the devastation and destruction in their countries even in the “most democratic” of times.


1. While the wall is “immoral,” to put it mildly, it is striking that Pelosi never voiced such reservations when Democratic president Bill Clinton initiated funding for walls and fences on the border, and her fellow leader Schumer had voted for them. [back]

2. TPS, Temporary Protected Status, provides a legal status to immigrants in the U.S. from a small number of designated countries who are deemed unable to safely return to their homelands because of natural disasters or armed conflicts. TPS temporarily protects people from deportation even though they lack legal status as permanent residents, and enables them to obtain work permits. [back]

Lost In The Hype: What Is REALLY Happening to Immigrants in the USA

Lost in the hype about Trump’s supposed cave-in to Pelosi, lost even in the exposure of how the shutdown messed over government workers and masses of people more broadly, is the basic reality of one group of people: the immigrants themselves, driven from their homelands by the workings of this system and the policies of the U.S. rulers, with thousands now languishing at the U.S.-Mexico border, tens of thousands in detention, and millions living in the shadows and demonized.

While this struggle has been going on—and while the Democrats have directed people’s attention elsewhere, to what is being done to Americans (which is, to be clear, in many instances itself extremely unjust), they have not exposed what continues to be done to immigrants, during this shutdown.

  • The regime has targeted various political leaders, including securing a conviction against immigrant's rights advocates for leaving water in the desert for people crossing the border.
  • ICE expanded their definition of “criminal alien” to include immigrants who have traffic tickets.
  • ICE dramatically increased workplace raids in 2018—beginning by targeting 7-11 stores across the country. This includes the largest workplace raid of the year where 300 agents from across the South stormed a trailer manufacturer facility with weapons drawn in Texas and arrested 160 people. In 2018, the number of workers arrested increased by 800%; of employers, 82%.
  • Last week a “pilot” program was announced declaring that in California asylum-seekers will be returned to Mexico to await their eventual hearings before an immigration judge, implying that people who are already in the U.S. awaiting hearings will be sent to Mexico. People will have to find a way to survive in dangerous border towns, where smugglers cruise the shelters, offering to get people across the border undetected through even more dangerous routes for a price that is increasignly skyrocketing. This pilot program is expected to expand to other states as well.
  • 98% of the applications to waive the Muslim ban due to “undue hardship,” are denied, including for situations like that of a seven-year-old Somali boy who was prevented from reuniting with his mother after his father died.
  • Two children died in the custody of Border Patrol: an eight-year-old migrant boy from Guatemala—Felipe Alonzo-Gomez and Jakelin Maquin, seven years old, died waiting for medical care.

Sources Available


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