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Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/633/bob-avakian-a-radically-different-leader-en.html

BOB AVAKIAN: A RADICALLY DIFFERENT LEADER—A WHOLE NEW FRAMEWORK FOR HUMAN EMANCIPATION

Bob Avakian (BA) is the most important political thinker and leader in the world today.

| revcom.us

 

Bob Avakian is completely different than the endless stream of bourgeois politicians who are put forward as “leaders,” whose goal is to maintain one variation or another of this system of capitalism-imperialism that is founded on and perpetuates itself through cruel and literally life-stealing exploitation, murderous oppression, and massive destruction, in all parts of the world. BA is a revolutionary who bases himself on the scientific understanding that this system must finally be overthrown through an organized struggle involving millions of people, and replaced with a system that is oriented to and capable of meeting the most fundamental needs of humanity and enabling humanity to become fit caretakers of the earth.

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

BA is the author of the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, an inspiring application of the new communism—a sweeping vision and concrete blueprint for a new socialist society, whose fundamental goal is to bring about a world without classes and class distinctions, a world without exploitation and oppression, and without the destructive divisions and antagonisms among people: a communist world.

Ardea Skybreak, a scientist with professional training in ecology and evolutionary biology, and a follower of Bob Avakian, speaks to the importance of what he has brought forward:

Bob Avakian ... on the basis of decades of hard work [has been] developing a whole body of work—theory to advance the science of communism, to advance the science of revolution, to more deeply explain where the problems come from, what the strategy is for getting out of this mess, what the methods and approaches should be to stay on track and actually build a better world, to build a society that most human beings would want to live in. (From Science and Revolution, On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian, An Interview with Ardea Skybreak)

BA is a leader who is firmly convinced, on the basis of a consistently scientific method and approach, that the goal must be nothing less than all-out revolution, and who at the same time has emphasized:

the new communism thoroughly repudiates and is determined to root out of the communist movement the poisonous notion, and practice, that “the ends justifies the means.” It is a bedrock principle of the new communism that the “means” of this movement must flow from and be consistent with the fundamental “ends” of abolishing all exploitation and oppression through revolution led on a scientific basis. (From Breakthroughs: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summary)

As a revolutionary leader, BA also embodies this rare combination: someone who has been able to develop scientific theory on a world-class level, while at the same time having a deep understanding of and visceral connection with the most oppressed, and a highly developed ability to “break down” complex theory and make it broadly accessible.

A leader like this has never before existed in the history of this country, and this leadership is of tremendous importance for the emancipation of all humanity.

What is urgently needed now is for continually growing numbers of people—in the thousands, and ultimately millions—to become conscious and active followers of BA, building the revolutionary movement, based on the new communism, for which BA provides this unprecedented leadership.

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/482/skybreak-a-communist-statesman-modeling-communist-leadership-en.html

Excerpt from SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION, On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian, An Interview with Ardea Skybreak

A Communist Statesman, Modeling Communist Leadership

March 13, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In the early part of 2015, over a number of days, Revolution conducted a wide-ranging interview with Ardea Skybreak. A scientist with professional training in ecology and evolutionary biology, and an advocate of the new synthesis of communism brought forward by Bob Avakian, Skybreak is the author of, among other works, The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What's Real and Why It Matters, and Of Primeval Steps and Future Leaps: An Essay on the Emergence of Human Beings, the Source of Women's Oppression, and the Road to Emancipation. This interview was first published online at www.revcom.us.

This excerpt from the interview, “A Communist Statesman, Modeling Communist Leadership,” is a ‘must-read-and-review’ for all those concerned with making revolution and bringing into being a radically different and far better world.

Q: I think that that’s a really important point, and it relates to something you said a minute ago, that you felt BA really came across as a statesman in this Dialogue1. And maybe you could explain that a little bit more, because I think that’s a really important point and I know you were saying earlier that you felt like you really got a sense being at this Dialogue, experiencing it, that this is the leader of the revolution, this is somebody who could lead the future society. So I don’t know if you wanted to speak a little more to that.

Ardea Skybreak Science and Revolution excerpts A New Theoretical Framework for a New Stage of Communist Revolution What Is New in the New Synthesis? The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic--A Visionary and Concrete Application of the New Synthesis Serious Engagement with the New Synthesis--The Difference It Could Make An Explorer, a Critical Thinker, a Follower of BA Some Thank Yous That Need To Be Said Aloud Order the book here Download the full interview in PDF format here

AS: Yes, the reason I felt the statesman aspect, too, is that I think we live in a complicated period, that there are a lot of challenges in this period to actually advance the revolutionary struggle, to deal with the actual fight–the “fight the power, and transform the people, for revolution” aspect of things is going on right now in a way it hasn’t for some time, in particular around the police murders. And, look, BA leads the work of the Revolutionary Communist Party, and there’s not a single initiative, I’m sure, of the Revolutionary Communist Party, that doesn’t have the stamp of leadership of BA and of the top leadership of the Party on it, in terms of how it’s unfolded. As you can see from the diversity of things that are taken up by this Party, and as reflected in the website revcom.us, there are a lot of very challenging contradictions to deal with. And that gives only a hint of what this leadership involves.

I don’t think most people have any idea what revolutionary leadership is about. A lot of people think that a leader of revolution is kind of like an “activist” leader, sort of like a leader of a demonstration, what I think of as tactical leadership. But overall revolutionary leadership is not just tactical. Of course there does need to be tactical leadership in various dimensions, and I’m not trying to devalue that. There is very much a need for the kind of person who might be agitating in a demonstration, for instance, helping to put forward a better understanding of what people are fighting about, and leading people, even tactically, in the streets, for instance in a demonstration. But there’s an important point to be made about how the leader of a revolution and the leader of a new society has to be an all-round statesman and has to be more like a strategic commander of the revolution as a whole. And there’s a formulation that’s been put forward recently that a communist leader–and not just the top leadership, but every single revolutionary communist–has to think of themselves and strive to be a strategic leader of the revolution, “a strategic commander of the revolution, not just a tactical leader, and not just a strategic philosopher.” This is very important. In other words, if you’re going to lead a revolution, lead the seizure of state power and become a leader of a new society–and that’s what I mean by statesman–you have to fully recognize and grapple with the complexity of what you’re doing and the many different levels and layers of it, and the many different contradictions among the people. You have to deal with the fact that you don’t have absolute freedom at any given time, and yet you’re trying to move things in a certain direction. You’re trying to be true to your principles, and you’re promoting that openly, but at the same time you’re dealing with the people you’re leading, who often don’t understand, at least not with any depth, what you’re putting forward in leading them, or who tend to distort what you’re putting forward, because they don’t understand things well enough or because they’re being shaped and influenced by other programs, other outlooks and methods.

So strategic leadership is a very, very complex task, and that’s also involved in why, as I mentioned earlier, so many natural scientists are at a complete loss when they try to address social transformations and they suddenly seem to forget everything they ever knew about basic scientific methods! Part of that is also because so many people have a completely wrong view of what actually constitutes overall leadership in the social arena, especially as pertains to revolutionary change. Much of the time they seem to think a political leader is just somebody with a bullhorn in a demonstration. But that’s tactical leadership, that’s not the overall strategic commander type of leadership that can guide an actual overall radical transformation of a whole society through revolution and the building of a whole new kind of society on a fundamentally different economic basis, with everything that flows from that. That kind of multi-faceted leadership is a much more complex task, and most people today frankly have little or no conception of all that it involves.

And there’s the question of dealing with the audiences–if you wanna put it that way, there are many different audiences. You’re not trying to be all things to all people. You are actually trying to meet the objective interests of the international proletariat, by which I mean–it’s not any individual proletarian that’s the question–there’s an international, world-wide class of people who don’t own the means of production, who have no ability to run society under this system, who can really only sell themselves basically, under this capitalist-imperialist system. They have the greatest interest–whether they know it or not as individual proletarians–as a class, they have the greatest interest of any class in actually going in the direction of communism and getting beyond all these class divisions and relations of exploitation and oppression. But is that the only class that’s going to be part of the process? No. The capitalist-imperialist ruling class is a very small segment of world society, or of any given society, but you do have all these other forces that kind of have one foot in one system, while one foot may be aspiring to something better. And those more “intermediate” strata, they tend to not be very constant, they tend to flip from one side to the other on any given day! Add to that the fact that hardly anybody has been given any scientific training, so hardly anybody tries to approach problems with any kind of consistently systematic and rigorous method. So you’ve got people going all over the place, you know, both in their thinking and in their actions. Bob Avakian’s talked about the challenge of “going to the brink of being drawn and quartered,” both in terms of getting to the revolutionary seizure of state power, and in terms of building a new society–that there are so many different kinds of people pulling in different directions, with different and opposing ideas, and so on.

And here’s another reason you need science. How can you know what’s best for society? How can you know what’s best for the majority of humanity? The capitalist-imperialists, they are proceeding on the basis of what’s best for their system. It’s not just a question of corporate greed, it’s not just that. It’s much more than that. They have a system that they need to maintain, a system that is based on profit, and we can talk about the fundamental contradiction of capitalism-imperialism, it might be worth touching on that a little bit. But the point is that they’re trying to keep their system going, but they don’t understand–even the people running this society often don’t even understand the deeper laws of their own system. But if you’re trying to bring into being a whole new kind of society, one that actually more fully meets the objective interests and needs of the vast majority of humanity, you’ve gotta do a lot of work, and you’ve gotta go up against a lot of misconceptions and prejudice and anti-scientific views. You have to deal with that diversity of views and opinions and with people pulling in all sorts of different directions, while at the same time not losing the reins of the process itself. That’s where the strategic commander role comes in. If you are confident in your scientific approach, then you can say with a quite a bit of certitude that you think it is possible to determine what is in fact in the objective interests of the majority of humanity, and what it would take to move in that direction. It’s like if you’re riding a horse. You’ve got your hands on the reins, so you’re not just going to let the horse run to any old place–the horse here being the process, not the people, but the process, right, the revolutionary process. But if you ride a horse and you pull the reins in too tightly, and you pull the horse’s head too hard, and the bit cuts into the horse’s mouth, and you’re not allowing it any kind of free rein, then that horse is going to stop dead in its tracks, or it’s going to buck, and in any case it’s not going to be able to be part of freely moving forward and advancing the process.

So there’s always a tension–the reason there’s a need, as BA has stressed, for “lots of elasticity, on the basis of the solid core” is not, as some people have incorrectly argued, just because the middle strata of people are going to “buck” and cause problems for you, are going be resentful, and so you’ll have to give ’em a bone here or there, to keep ’em from fighting you, or something. No! That would be disgusting. The real reason that you need to build in and allow for some genuine elasticity, on the basis of the solid core, is because society needs it, the process needs it. The revolutionary process itself needs to breathe, the revolutionary society needs to breathe, or it won’t be any good. Both the process of getting to the revolutionary seizure of power, and then the process of building the new society needs to breathe. And if you try to control it all too tightly and too rigidly–even if you happen to be right in what you’re doing at any given time, if you’re too tight and controlling, it’s just going to be discouraging and demoralizing to people, and people are not going to be given the scientific tools to figure it out enough themselves, and you’re going to end up with a repressive society, a rigid society and a rigid process.

And Bob Avakian really understands that, because he’s a good enough scientist to understand the material tension that exists, objectively, between what’s called the solid core, the certitude, the elements that you can actually be confident of, in terms of what’s wrong with the current society and what’s needed in a future society to benefit humanity, while at the same time understanding the need to sort of shepherd the process in such a way that it can encompass and incorporate the widest possible diversity of views and approaches from among the different strata of the masses in society.

I don’t know if I’m expressing this well enough, but he has certainly expressed this very well in many of his writings and talks, and I would encourage people to dig into this whole aspect of solid core with lots of elasticity on the basis of the solid core. And that last part–on the basis of the solid core–is very important to understand. You couldn’t have the right kind of elasticity without the solid core. You don’t wanna end up like you’re trying to herd cats, with everything and everybody going all over the place. There does need to be a solid core. In fact, the more you’ve got a firm handle, a rigorous scientific handle, on that solid core, on that core scientific theory, on that core accumulated knowledge and experience and on that core certitude, the more it should actually be possible to unleash and encourage broad elasticity and initiative among the people, both in the current revolutionary process as well as in the future socialist society, including in relation to the kind of dissent and broad societal ferment which can actively contribute to further advancing society in a good direction.

Q: As you were talking, one thing that is posed is that there is a unity, there is a connection between what you’re saying about the approach of solid core with a lot of elasticity, both in the process of making revolution to get to a future society on the road to communism, and then in that future society itself–there’s a connection between that approach all the way through the process of making revolution and getting to communism and your point about how you could really get a sense in this Dialogue of BA as the leader of that future society. And then there’s the point that you were making earlier, about why would BA do this Dialogue with Cornel West, if he weren’t actually applying and modeling that approach of solid core with a lot of elasticity? And so something I wanted to probe a little further is this point about how BA, in this Dialogue and in his whole body of work, he’s very much pulling no punches, he’s very much putting forward his understanding of the science of communism and of reality, and he’s not trying to finesse or smooth over differences, including with Cornel West, while at the same time he’s also very much recognizing the unity that they have, and the unity that needs to be forged broadly. And he’s taking the approach that there’s a lot that somebody like Cornel West–he has a lot of insights, there’s a lot that he can contribute to this whole revolutionary process, even while they’re very much getting into their differences. So, is there more you wanted to say about the application of solid core with a lot of elasticity even in terms of how BA was relating to Cornel West in this Dialogue?

AS: Well, I think you can see the application and modeling of “solid core with lots of elasticity on the basis of the solid core” in what BA does, both in relation to Cornel West on the one hand, and also what I was trying to say before in relation to the audience–or audiences, plural, because there are many different strata and different viewpoints represented in the audience–and what you see is, you see the certitude based on experience and knowledge. Look, think about in the natural sciences: If somebody happens to emerge who is the most advanced in their field of science, or in a particular development of the natural sciences, at a given time–somebody who is really advanced and really visionary and really is playing a leading role that way–it would be ridiculous for them to come out and just kind of act as if they don’t know what they know, or not struggle with people and not provide the evidence that they’ve accumulated and analyzed over, literally in this case, decades. Right? So even as he’s working with Cornel, he’s also not pulling any punches because, first of all, he respects people enough not to pander or condescend or pretend he doesn’t know what he actually knows. The only people he doesn’t respect are the exploiters and oppressors at the top of society. But he has enough respect for people, even people who might disagree with him in some important ways, to be honest and to explore differences with principle and integrity instead of condescending or pandering to people or pretending to have more agreement than he does.

He’s gonna call it like it is. He’s gonna tell people, including the audience...he knows this audience is holding on to a lot of different views and misconceptions that he thinks are very harmful. Like a lot of these religious views that are holding people back from understanding reality the way it actually is, and from seeing how it could be changed. His position is definitely not neutral–with religion, he’s not just saying look, that’s not where I’m at, but it’s all good, go ahead and believe whatever you’re gonna believe. He’s definitely not saying that. Instead, he’s really struggling with the audience, right down on the ground–he’s saying, you gotta give up some of this religion stuff, because it is actually harmful; it is clouding your understanding of the way reality really is; and, because it’s doing that, it’s actually making it harder for you to see the way forward, and to see how to transform society in a good direction. So you gotta get off this stuff! And he’s saying that to an audience of people, most of whom are religious, especially among the most oppressed–the very people who are most important for, and who most need to step forward to take up, the revolutionary process. He’s got enough respect, enough strategic confidence in people, to tell it like it is.

Now, in the situation where he’s working with Cornel, he’s working with a developed intellectual who’s also got a lot of experience in life, and who has studied many different things himself and analyzed many different philosophies. And BA’s got respect for that process, too. But he’s still going to call it like it is, and he’s going to bring out the evidence. What does it actually say in the Bible? What is the role of religion? Let’s get into it!

Some people might say, Well, I don’t need to hear all this, because I already don’t believe in God. Well, yes, you do need to hear all this, and do you know why? Because billions of people around the planet are deeply influenced by one or another religion, and they approach all of reality through the prism, through the lens, of their particular religion. This is the framework, this is the theoretical framework, if you want to call it that, that most people on this planet apply to try to make sense of the world, and of what’s wrong with it, and what could or couldn’t be done about it. Religion is a very major question, in the United States and all over the world. So Bob Avakian, on the one hand, in the Dialogue, you see him struggling with Cornel, but with a good method, a good warm method, because these are two people who do respect each other and who do like each other but who are just going to honestly tell each other and the audiences where they have some significant differences. And because they have principle and integrity, they’re able to put forward and clarify those important differences, so that the audiences will be better able to grapple with these questions themselves, when they go home and in an ongoing way.

At the same time, what I think Bob Avakian is modeling, with the elasticity part, is: Listen, this revolutionary process, it’s a very rich and complex and diverse process, which does have to involve a wide variety of people. In fact one of the points Bob Avakian has made repeatedly is that, at the time of the revolution and the actual seizure of state power, most of the people involved in the revolution are still going to be religious! In a country like the U.S., there’s no question that this is true. Most people won’t have given up their religion–even if they’ve decided to join in to be part of fighting for revolution and for socialism in different ways, most still won’t have completely broken with all that. And that’s just one example of having a materialist scientific understanding of reality, understanding just how complex it is, how complex the process is. But you’re not going to try to trick people who disagree with you into walking alongside you in the revolutionary process by concealing your views. No, that’s not what you should do. Instead, as a revolutionary communist, you’re going to be honest about those differences. But, if you’re serious about wanting to transform society in the interest of humanity, you’re also going to recognize that the process that you are arguing for, and that you are helping to give strategic leadership to, has to be able to encompass quite a diversity of people, who are not all going to see eye-to-eye with you on a number of different and important questions. And that this will be the case all along the way, even as people increasingly unite together to fight the common enemy, to seize power, and to build the new institutions and organs of a new society.

It’s because he really understands all this that Bob Avakian can, at one and the same time, genuinely and sincerely embrace and feel very warm towards someone like Cornel West (and I believe those feelings are very much reciprocated), and at the same time remain very clear about the importance of speaking to the differences, and speaking to why you need to take up a consistently scientific method and approach if you really want to change society for the better. And so yes, he’ll tell people bluntly why they should give up religion–all religions–because they get in the way of moving forward. It is a fact that all religions all around the world were invented long ago by human beings, to try to explain what they didn’t yet understand and to try to meet needs that can be transcended now. All around the world people invented different sets of supernatural beliefs to try to fill gaps in their understanding of things, in both the natural and social world, and as a mechanism for dealing with such things as death and loss. If you don’t yet have the scientific knowledge to understand how all life evolves, and how there is clear evidence that human beings themselves simply evolved from a long series of pre-existing species, you’re probably going to want to involve some kind of higher supernatural power to explain how we got here! [laughs] Every religion in the world has some of those commonalities. At the same time, they all have their different particular creation myths, and so on. And they have their different holy books, and prophets and stuff like that. And Bob Avakian is saying, Come on now, let’s get serious, let’s actually open up the Bible and see what it says. See, a dogmatic revolutionary might have said, Well, I don’t believe in god, and I think religion’s bad for the people, so I’m not even gonna pay any attention to it. But instead BA’s saying, religion’s a very important problem in the world, it’s a very important question, billions of people believe in some kind of god or some kind of religion, so we have to address this. And he did some homework, too. He did the work. He read the Bible, in its entirety. He knows the Bible. Unlike many people, he can tell you what’s in it. And he can tell you what these religious forces have argued. He can tell you something about the history of how human beings invented a lot of these religions. He can also speak to why people might be motivated to have a moral conscience on the basis of some of the things they learned in church or mosque or temple or whatever. At the same time, he can also show you, scientifically, the harm that it does to cling to this. And that it is not necessary. You can leave that stuff alone. You can just let it go. You can leave those old ways of thinking behind, and you can take up a philosophy and scientific method about transforming the world in the interests of all humanity, which is full of life, full of joy, full of spirit, full of art and culture, and not dead and cold in any way, but that doesn’t have to have these religious and supernatural trappings and all the old stuff that goes along with it.

 


The "Dialogue" referred to here is an event that took place in November 2014 at New York City's historic Riverside Church and was attended by 1900 people: REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion--A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST and BOB AVAKIAN.

 

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/678/fascist-overturn-campaign-what-will-decent-people-do-en.html

The Fascist "#OVERTURN" Campaign And The Fight To Establish New Fascist Norms

What Will The "Decent People" Do?

Updated | revcom.us

 

Editors’ Note: Since this editorial was originally posted early last week, the electoral victory of Joe Biden was further cemented through the official certification of each state’s electors on December 14 and Biden’s victory was acknowledged for the first time by significant Republicans such as Mitch McConnell and others. However, this has not led to Trump and large sections of his fanatical supporters conceding that he has lost, or even backing off their campaign to #Overturn the election. Rather, Trump has stepped up his overt backing of the fascist mobs that have violently rampaged behind the claim that the election was stolen; signaled his public warmth to Michael Flynn, who has been advocating that the election be done over under conditions of martial law; and overall underscored his command to “fight for Trump.” At this point, two outright lunatic fascist congresspeople have even promised to challenge the formal acceptance of the election results by Congress on January 6. As such, the dynamics—and dangers—described in this piece have not only continued, but in some ways have intensified and grown more acute, as has the necessity of good people to shake out of their stupor and respond.

The last several weeks have witnessed an unprecedented campaign against the truth that Joe Biden won the election... and the truth overall.

So let’s start out with the truth. Which is that Biden won, by over 7 million votes of the people and by 74 votes (306 against 232) in the Electoral College. According to Chris Krebs, who had been head of cybersecurity in Trump’s Department of Homeland Security, this election was the “most secure in American history”—a statement, backed by facts, for which he was promptly fired and threatened. According to dozens of court decisions throwing out Republican objections to the voting—including by many Republican judges and even Trump-appointed judges—there was no significant fraud or even honest mistakes in the counting. According to some high-ranking state Republican office-holders in disputed states—secretaries of state in charge of counting the votes, and two governors—Biden won their states.

Biden’s clear-cut victory is one hugely significant truth. To get a sense of just how significant, look around you at what the Trump/Pence regime has been leading for the past several weeks in what Trump himself calls his “overturn” campaign—and what many other people have correctly called out, based on the evidence, as an ongoing attempted coup.

Last week, Trump “consecrated” the array of violent threats, bogus lawsuits, outrageous demagogy, and utter lies that he is deploying to illegally stay in power as the “#OVERTURN” campaign. This campaign signals that there will be no going back to normal—and the “new normal” is not anything that decent people can accept.

The Normalization of Mob Rule

Officials who have stated the simple factual truth that Biden won—from ordinary people who volunteer to count votes to prominent Republican office-holders—have been menaced, fired, threatened with firing, subjected to death threats, had their houses surrounded in the middle of the night by gun-toting chanting mobs, and publicly threatened with death. One Republican office-holder pleaded with Trump to stop stirring up people around the blatant lie that the election was stolen, saying that people are going to get killed; Trump ignored the plea and continued to whip up his mobs.

Think about what it means that today, as we go to press, Electoral College electors in at least one state—Michigan—must enter and exit the meeting under heavy armed security, due to fascist threatsThe fascists are fighting to establish a new normal of mob rule and intimidation of all who oppose them.

And the decent people have done nothing.

The Normalization of Anti-Constitutional Mass Disenfranchisement

126 Republican members of the House of Representatives—60% of their total membership—signed on to a bogus suit filed in the Supreme Court to throw out the results of the elections, including minority leader Kevin McCarthy, as well as 18 Republican state attorneys general (who are the highest law enforcement officials in their states).The lawsuit, filed by the fascist-dominated government of the state of Texas, objected to some of the legally established voting rules in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia and Michigan, claiming that these rules had somehow violated the rights of Texas. This is so groundless that the Supreme Court, now honeycombed with fascists, refused to even hear it.

Think about what it means that these many prominent Republicans are demanding that what are indisputably lawful results of an election be overturned on baseless grounds. The fascists are fighting to establish a new normal of massive disenfranchisement in which the winner is NOT determined by the votes cast, but by what the hard-core fascist bloc of states, acting at the direction of leading fascists, state is in their interests.

And the decent people are doing nothing.

The Further–and Violent—Normalization of Blatant White Supremacy

The Trump overturn campaign has been saturated with the most blatant white supremacy in generations, in the halls of power and in the streets, and this has reached new depths in the past weeks. Their core argument has been that the votes of Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Detroit, and Atlanta—all cities in which there is a very large Black vote—should not be counted. Again, this is not on the basis of any proven fraud whatsoever but rather of the mere suspicion of the possibility of such fraud, which is what the actual case filed by Texas in the Supreme Court argued.

To put it very plainly, the unstated foundation and obvious implication of the argument of these fascists is that “Black votes are not only inherently suspicious but illegitimate and in any close race should be disallowed.” Justice Jill Karofsky on the Wisconsin Supreme Court wrote in a decision around one such Trump effort that “This lawsuit... smacks of racism."

After the pro-Trump rally in Washington, DC, on December 12, 700 Proud Boys rampaged through the streets, terrorizing people; they violently attacked and vandalized Black churches, destroying Black Lives Matter banners in front of the churches, in acts which the minister of one of the churches compared to the cross-burnings of the Ku Klux Klan. And when the Texas lawsuit was turned down, the head of the Texas Republi-fascist party threatened to secede—which evoked the language and ideology of the slave holding side of the U.S. Civil War.

Think about what it means that the police allowed the Proud Boys to rampage, and that no leading Republican—who endlessly and demagogically carry on and wildly exaggerate about vandalism against stores and the removal of reactionary statues—said anything about this. The fascists are fighting to establish a new normal in which openly white-supremacist ideology and actions which prevent, invalidate and throw out Black votes and which attack Black people, political activists, and Black churches are not only okay, but set the terms for all of society.

And the good people are doing nothing.

The Normalization of Conspiracy Theory and Lunatic Epistemology

According to numerous polls, the majority of Republican voters refuse to let go of their belief, in the face of all evidence, that Trump won. Literally insane conspiracy theories—the kind that used to be made fun of as “tin-hat” thinking and that in other countries, when taken seriously, have justified the deaths of millions of people—are believed and spouted by tens of millions of people.

What does it mean when this lunacy gets led and continually reinforced by the White House, Fox News, Republican legislators, the talk radio demagogues, and other fascist power centers, and some of these liars and lunatics are given guest shots on “the regular” media? The fascists are fighting to establish as a new normal epistemology in which “narratives”—in this case the fascist narrative—can “trump” the objective evidence, and grease the way for the worst crimes against humanity.

And the good people are doing nothing.

What Will You Do Now?

Again—it is important that Biden won. As we said in the beginning, look at what these enraged fascists are doing now and think what they might now be doing if Trump had actually won. And if you are taking comfort in the fact that thus far the courts have ruled against the fascists, and thus far the fascist movement headed by Trump has not succeeded in this, think what might have happened had the Biden victory been closer. Think... and then, wake the hell up.

It matters that people voted Trump out—it matters greatly. But the fascists have shown you that they are not going away. They are doubling down and going on the attack for years to come, whether they succeed in their current coup attempt or not (and by the way, the threat is still real). And the Democrats, by their overwhelming silence and by the pitiful peeps of protest that they do make, have shown you that they do not intend to fight them.

Indeed, it is even worse. Biden, along with the New York Times editorial board, are making proposals for bipartisan cooperation. The main problem is not that these proposals have no chance of coming into being—which they almost certainly don’t—and not only that they are promoting deadly illusions about the intent of these fascists—which they are—but that they are promoting the ethos of conciliation with the fascists. In the words of Bob Avakian:

Biden and the Democrats cannot “bring the country together,” as they falsely claim, because there can be no “reconciliation” with these fascists—whose “grievances” are based on fanatical resentment against any limitation on white supremacy, male supremacy, xenophobia (hatred of foreigners), rabid American chauvinism, and the unrestrained plundering of the environment, and are increasingly expressed in literally lunatic terms. There can be no “reconciliation” with this, other than on the terms of these fascists, with all the terrible implications and consequences of that! 

 This new normal—of decent people conciliating with fascists—must also be opposed... thoroughly, uncompromisingly and unceasingly.

The wish to “go back to normal”—a “normal” which at its “best” is a horror for billions of people around the world and tens of millions within the U.S.—is not only indefensible but impossible.

There is no going back.

The simple fact is that if the “decent people” continue to essentially do nothing in the face of this other than get behind Joe Biden’s disastrous plans—if the streets and public square are ceded to the fascists, if all political initiative stays in their hands—then not only won't Biden be able to “bring people together,” not only will his administration be treated as illegitimate by tens of millions, but all of this along with the workings of the capitalist imperialist system itself will strengthen the fascist movement causing great harm—including potentially fueling a return to power.

Which leads to another simple fact: if the decent people do not rouse themselves from their political opium-dream and really ask themselves WHY this fascism has taken such root, WHAT within the structures and dynamics of this society gave rise to it, and HOW can we act to root out this threat... again, this victory will have been squandered. There are answers to this—most importantly in the work of Bob Avakian who has studied this question for decades and given leadership to the movement against it for over 20 years.

The future remains unwritten—and right now, it is acutely in the balance. In the words of the revolutionary rock band The Clash,

“What are we gonna do NOW?”

See the full film, excerpts and Q&A of this film

MAGA Fascists Threaten to Kill, Burn, Rape Officials Who Resist the "Overturn" Campaign

A key part of the gathering fascist momentum has been threats of violence—sometimes anonymous, sometimes “delivered” by armed mobs—against election officials and others, of either party, who reject Trump’s drive to overturn the election. Below is just a sampling of those threats that have been reported in the news media.

Read more


Proud Boys burn banner torn from Asbury United Methodist Church, December 13, 2020, Washington, D.C. Credit: @KristenClarkeJD

Bob Avakian (BA) is the most important political thinker and leader in the world today.

Get Into BA »

 

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Reaching this goal is a real achievement and a victory for the people of the world, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated efforts of many people working creatively and collectively to meet this pressing need: those who donated whether large or small contributions, who fundraised, who spread the campaign, who sent statements, who raised comments, questions, criticisms or suggestions – and of course those who worked so hard on modernizing and upgrading our web technology and presence. It all made a difference!

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During this four month fund drive, Revcom.us continued to incur thousands of dollars of costs each month for our office, maintaining our existing site and other expenses. But thanks to our existing monthly sustainers we were able to meet these expenses and use all the funds raised in the drive to transform the website.

So we encourage all our donors and those who’ve not yet donated to become monthly sustainers at whatever level you can afford.

Remember, humanity’s fate truly hinges on millions taking up the revolutionary science, strategy, and new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian which they can find at revcom.us.

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/679/andy-zee-science-epistemology-a-way-to-know-and-radically-change-the-world-en.html

Talk by Andy Zee:

Life and Death Stakes: Science, Epistemology, Conspiracy, Fascism and a Whole Other Way to Know and Radically Change the World

| revcom.us

 

Editors’ Note: The following is the transcript of the opening presentation by Andy Zee at the December 16 online forum “COVID: A Case Study with Life and Death Stakes: Science, Epistemology, Conspiracy & Fascism,” co-sponsored by RefuseFascism.org and The Revolution Nothing Less Show. The other panelists on the forum were historian Paul Street and emergency physician Phil Rice, and it was moderated by Coco Das of the Refuse Fascism Editorial Board.

My co-panelists have presented compelling evidence of the criminal rejection of and outright opposition to science by the Trump/Pence regime. The regime's electoral defeat has focused up in a profound way how far detached from reality they are. Not only were lawsuits filed by a demented Rudy Giuliani with no evidence—but literally crazy conspiracy QAnon theories were put forward to explain the imagined election theft. QAnon is a shadowy internet super spreader of fascist lunatic theories—such as that the Democratic Party is in reality a child kidnapping operation organized around capturing children to literally suck their blood. After this election we now have QAnon spouters who ran on, won and will represent the Republi-fascist Party of Trump/Pence in Congress. Lunacy like this when laughed at and shrugged off masks the danger to humanity when a huge section of America is completely unhinged from reality and fervently believe their alternate, fact-free, reality as morally superior and existential for their lives. This destruction of truth is a key factor in the forging of a fascist base, a fascist leader, and fascist rule. We have lived it for four years ... and it’s been metastasizing for 40. Trump and Pence will most likely be out soon, even as they are still trying to overturn the election.  Even as they are not yet gone, they can do enormous harm up until when they no longer have their hands on the weapons of state power, but even when they are out of executive power, the fascist danger remains.

Paul Street and Dr. Phil Rice have brought telling evidence that the Trump/Pence fascist regime's refusal to take and foster a scientific approach to the COVID virus has meant that the scientists, medical researchers, frontline health workers as well as the broad masses of people whose role in adopting safe practices to slow the spread of infection was, and still is, decisive until the majority of the people here and around the world are inoculated with a safe and effective vaccine which has led to an appalling criminal number of unnecessary deaths and disease. I want to begin this talk by bringing some additional evidence to the discussion:

[Here, Andy Zee played a minute of video clips: first, the comedian Sarah Cooper doing a bit with Trump's suggesting people take bleach and somehow inject sunlight into their bodies, followed by a 10-second clip of Trump saying that the virus “will just go away”like a miracle.]

We laugh at this, especially at Sarah Cooper's hilarious mouthing of Trump's insanity, but this should be a doorway to a stark confrontation to the horror show that this ignoramus ... this psychopath ... this fascist ... has brought down on humanity. The absurdity of Trump's blathering accomplishes a purpose. A fascist purpose—the effect of which is potentially even deadlier than the cost in death and debilitating illness—because it destroys any sense of what is real and what is not and how to determine what is true—without which people are susceptible to being manipulated including to commit great crimes. Such buffoonery entertains the fascist base who relish the fascist leader's “irreverence” and feel validated in their resentment and desire for revenge against those they have been taught to feel are taking from, and looking down, on them. 

At the same time, the buffoonery captivates while it blinds liberals and progressives to confronting the enormity and the essence of what is going on—the fight at the top of society for a fascist form of rule —the shredding of all pretense of democracy, of a more blatant form of dictatorship of the capitalist system by the leader of the fascist party and the forging of a different cohering set of values of an amalgam of open white supremacy, patriarchy, and xenophobia, cohered with the mythology and program of America First undergirded by a fundamentalist Christian theocracy. 

I said that this has been 4 years and 40 years. Forty years ago, in response to changes in the world and the risings of the 1960s and what were concessions to those struggles resulting in greater recognition of and inclusion of Black people, women, and lesbians and gay people. After President Nixon was forced to resign the presidency, the hard right conservative movement coalesced behind Ronald Reagan. Reagan put forth a messianic mythology of America as a “shining city on a hill” to prepare for actual world war against the then Soviet Union, and at the same time to wage a domestic war on these civil rights gains. A Republican coalition was forged with a strand of biblically literalist Christian evangelical movements to forge a base of what has become a Christian fascist movement which reached power in 2016 through the unholy union of Trump with Mike Pence. This became the core of the organized base of the Trump/Pence regime. These forces have been trained and forged in a belief system that is completely and dangerously disconnected from actual reality. 

This is a movement with a large section who believe in “end times,” in which they believe that they—the faithful—will be raptured, magically transported, up to heaven and thus nothing else matters—to hell with (quite literally) the environment, the danger of nuclear war, and all the people who they regard as other than human, and would just as soon be eliminated. 

This movement has coexisted with a whole culture and fascist media that has been training millions in a mode of thinking of “what benefits us, me, is true, because we/I want it to be so.” With no criteria of actual evidence. This way of thinking—what benefits me, finds expression in their taking the very American concept of the absolute freedom of the individual (which is an undesirable impossibility) as the greatest good. We are living and dying with this in the morally sick and the actual sickening spread of the virus in their refusal to wear masks expressed as “My right to be an asshole, trumps your right to live”—and especially so, if you are Latino, Black or Native American. 

This fascist “belief system” is buttressed by twin pillars of American chauvinism that refuses to look at the history and present-day reality of the U.S., which has put this country in vampire position of sucking the life blood of the rest of the world—children digging in toxic conditions for precious metals for our cell phones in the Congo, or women risking their lives in perilous garment shops of Bangladesh —humanity whose lives and labor are being poured into the wealth of America and its imperialist allies and rivals. Buttressing this is an epistemology in which facts are subordinated to their desire to benefit themselves and take revenge upon those whom they believe stand in the way of their further gorging.

But, wait, we also have to look at the epistemology of the progressive and liberal strata, all those who have been outraged at the Trump/Pence regime, but who over four years overwhelming would not recognize or acknowledge what this regime is—a fascist regime with dire consequences for humanity here and around the world, and who up to this moment have refused not only to recognize fascism, but to act against it in the only way it could really be rocked back on its heels by getting out in the streets in sustained nonviolent protest. While I know that these “decent” people, outraged by the bigotry of the Trumpites, may be made uncomfortable by confronting the reality that their complacency, and putting their faith, in the institutions and normal political processes, particularly the Democratic Party, is also based on the reality of living atop the food chain of capitalism-imperialism. 

Last April, the revolutionary leader Bob Avakian (BA) wrote a piece titled: “Conspiracy Theories, Fascist ‘Certitude,’ Liberal Paralysis, Or A Scientific Approach to Changing The World.” I am going to read a substantive passage from this because it concentrates a great deal of what has plagued the millions of progressive people from acting in the way they should to drive this regime from power. 

Even as people in the medical field are proceeding on the basis of a scientific approach and, in the context of this coronavirus crisis, “liberals” are insisting that it is vitally important now to “listen to the scientists,” for far too long many “liberals” and “progressives” have allowed themselves to become paralyzed by relativist agnosticism, lacking—and often even rejecting the very idea of—certitude (with ridiculous notions like “How can you know what is really true, no one can say that their truth is greater than someone else’s truth,” and so on). Meanwhile, fascist forces, marked by a truly dark ages mentality, and firmly convinced of the “truth” of all manner of lunatic conspiracy theories promoting fascist “values” and objectives, are eagerly embracing callous philistinism, willfully rejecting critical thinking, smugly ignoring, defying and denigrating science and the scientific method.

Put another way, in terms of major trends in society as a whole: Those who have the most certitude are those most out of touch with reality.

Further complicating the situation and an additional dimension to this problem is the fact that, although they do not share but strongly oppose the “values” and objectives of the fascists, many of the basic masses, who are bitterly oppressed under this system, also are suspicious of and even are inclined to reject science and scientifically-grounded analysis. But this also leaves you vulnerable to all kinds of unfounded “conspiracy theories” and other wrong and harmful ideas, including the notion that nothing people do will make a difference because “it’s all in god’s hands.”

There is both great danger and no way forward for the interests of humanity in a society and culture of competing “stories,” or narratives—where you have your narrative, and she has hers, and I have mine. We have different experiences and these can contribute to our understanding the world we live in ... but to really understand the world you need a scientific understanding that starts from the fact that there is one reality that has many layers and complexity, but there is one objective world. Science means gathering evidence and seeking the patterns in that evidence to reveal the connections and pathways to identifying and understanding the underlying causes that give rise to that evidence, and then developing the ways to act on that reality. This is true whether you are a scientist trying to discover the antibodies to prevent the spread of COVID, or, studying the ozone layer to save the environment, or you are applying the scientific method to overcome the exploitation and oppression, the wars, and divisions that plague humanity. 

Bob Avakian goes on to say:

...The truth of something does not depend on who says it, or how it makes you feel. Because something comes from a source you like does not make it true; and because something comes from a source you do not like does not make it untrueAnd truth is not a “popularity contest.” Because a lot of people believe something does not make it true; and because only a few people believe something does not make it untrue.

Truth is objective—which means: Whether something is true or not depends on whether it corresponds to actual reality.... [BA goes on to say:] To sort out what is false from what is true and to stand on solid ground in terms of understanding things, you need the scientific method and approach to reality—and, yes, scientifically-grounded certitude, where such certitude can and must be established.

For a brief example of how we can apply science to society: how can we say that there is a straight line from the Confederacy to the fascism of the Trump/Pence regime? We can start by tracing its development in the history of the U.S.—beginning with slavery written into the U.S. founding documents; its centrality to the development of wealth in the U.S. from the 17th to the 20th century; the betrayal of Reconstruction that ushered in the era of lynching and Jim Crow; through the current era of the New Jim Crow where the police play the role of the KKK; and the open white supremacy that was evidenced in the attempt of the Trump/Pence regime to discard the millions of urban votes of Black people in cities that voted for Biden. There is more than I can go into here, but the point is—just as in the natural world, you go to the evidence, in this case, the history and the underlying economic and political forces that drive this white supremacy all of which is available in articles and films at revcom.us.

The scientific method is at the heart of the work of Bob Avakian and is a defining character of his leadership. BA has qualitatively developed the science of communism, the science of revolution, to chart the path to the emancipation of all humanity. Think about what it would mean if under a totally different system that didn't set people against each other just to survive as that shapes people's thinking today, but instead there was a shared epistemology of basing our lives and decisions on a collective process of discovering and acting on what was actually true? This, as BA has said, is what is needed to get to a world beyond where might makes right. BA has said there is a place where epistemology and morality meet. This is expressed in Bob Avakian's personal character and is a hallmark of the principles of the new communism which completely repudiate the notion that “the ends justify the means,” and that “truth” is just an “instrument” of desired objectives, rather than what it actually is: a correct reflection of objective reality.  

To all who reject the anti-science of the Trump/Pence fascist regime and the dangerous movement they have forged all the way up into the highest reaches of government including dominating the Supreme Court, this talk is a challenge and invitation to be consistent and principled in your recognition of the importance of science and apply it not just to where you feel comfortable in the prevention and curing of COVID, but as BA concludes the article I am citing:  

...follow the truth wherever it leads, particularly when it comes to historical, social and political questions—because where it leads is to demolishing cherished illusions and prejudices of “liberals” regarding the actual role of this “great American democracy,” throughout its history and throughout the world; the actual nature of the system we live under, capitalism-imperialism; and the actual experience of revolutionary struggle against this system, and more particularly the experience of the communist movement and the socialist societies it has brought into being.

A better world is possible. There is a way that everyone can be a part of knowing and changing the world—in opposing the fascism of the Trump/Pence regime, and even more fundamentally in making a radical leap beyond this capitalist-imperialist system (which has given rise to this fascism) through making revolution and bringing into being a far better world—for that future you need the scientific method and approach of the new communism.

RefuseFascism.org

The RNL—Revolution Nothing Less—Show

Third in a series of virtual forums by RefuseFascism.org & The RNL Show:

COVID: A Case Study with Life and Death Stakes: Science, Epistemology, Conspiracy & Fascism

Read more

Watch this important panel discussion:

Listen to this piece on the podcast, Emancipate Humanity with Bob Avakian, or read it below —

"CONSPIRACY THEORIES, FASCIST ‘CERTITUDE,’ LIBERAL PARALYSIS, OR
A SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO CHANGING THE WORLD"

by Bob Avakian

Short Version—The Simple and Basic Truth
Longer Version—The Truth Elaborated

Bob Avakian:
Why We Need A Scientific Method and Approach to Life and Our Struggle

This is a film clip from the 2014 Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian, “Revolution and Religion,” at Riverside Church in New York City. Watch the entire Dialogue here.

 

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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So we encourage all our donors and those who’ve not yet donated to become monthly sustainers at whatever level you can afford.

Remember, humanity’s fate truly hinges on millions taking up the revolutionary science, strategy, and new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian which they can find at revcom.us.

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/654/bob-avakian_fascists-today-and-the-confederacy-a-direct-line-a-direct-connection-between-all-the-oppression-en.html

FASCISTS TODAY AND THE CONFEDERACY:
A DIRECT LINE,
A DIRECT CONNECTION BETWEEN ALL THE OPPRESSION
by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

Recently there has been an uproar at Liberty University, in Lynchburg (!) Virginia, over the fact that its president, Jerry Falwell Jr., who (like many other Christian fundamentalists) had been refusing to wear a mask, then posted a picture of himself wearing a mask with a “blackface” image. This was actually a photo of Ralph Northam (Democratic governor of Virginia) in “blackface” during his college days, and Falwell’s apparent purpose was to use this to ridicule Northam (and, by extension, Democrats, “liberals,” and other enemies of Christian fascists like Falwell). Falwell was apparently “tone deaf” (as the saying goes) to the fact that this “blackface” image would be highly offensive to Black people (and others opposed to racism), and he at first tried to “stonewall” the criticism that arose (and “stonewall” is a very appropriate word here, as it is associated with the Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson). Even when Falwell finally seemed to backtrack and issue an “apology,” it was at least as much a continuation of his attack on Northam as it was any self-criticism. All this has led to an outcry, and some resignations, even from the highly “conservative” students and alumni of this Christian fundamentalist university, which has become a major institution, with tens of thousands of students.

In reading about this, I was reminded of the following from The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!:

There is a direct line from the Confederacy to the fascists of today, and a direct connection between their white supremacy, their open disgust and hatred for LGBT people as well as women, their willful rejection of science and the scientific method, their raw “America First” jingoism and trumpeting of “the superiority of western civilization” and their bellicose wielding of military power, including their expressed willingness and blatant threats to use nuclear weapons, to destroy countries.1

The Direct Line to the Confederacy

Here it is worth repeating these insightful observations from African-American theologian Hubert Locke:

We should make no mistake about what is at stake in this battle with the religious right. It is not happenstance that it is a movement that draws its strength and finds its support principally in the so-called heartland of the nation and especially in its southern precincts. This is the portion of the United States that has never been comfortable with post‑WWII America. The brief period of normalcy after the war was followed within a decade by a pent-up and long overdue racial revolution that overturned centuries of culture and tradition, especially in the South. The disillusionment, two decades later, with an unpopular war in southeast Asia shook the foundations of traditional/conventional patriotism in American life; it was followed in the next decade by a sexual revolution that upset deeply entrenched views among this portion of the American populace about the subordinate place of women in society and the non-place of gay and lesbian persons in American life. These political and social and cultural defeats have now erupted into a pitched battle to turn back the clock on the last half-century and return America to its pre-war purity. It is not without significance that teaching creationism in the schools, for example, is such a prominent part of the religious right agenda. That was a battle the right lost in the mid-1920s but it is not one that the right ever acknowledged losing—just as some die-hards have never acknowledged losing the Civil War. Consequently, the restoration the religious right seeks is one that would recapture a way of life that disappeared in this nation a half‑century ago.2

There is a lot “packed into” that statement, so let’s dig into it. Locke begins by making the point that it is not accidental (not “happenstance”) that Christian fascism in this country is based most strongly in the South (although it also finds significant support in rural areas, and even among sections of people in the suburban areas, in other parts of the country). Why is it the case that its strongest base is among white people in the South?

In my book Away With All Gods!, there is a section in Part Three with the heading “The Bible Belt Is the Lynching Belt: Slavery, White Supremacy and Religion in America.” There I refer to (and quote) some important analysis in the book by Kevin Phillips, American Theocracy. The following is particularly relevant and important:

Phillips reviews how, in the aftermath of the Civil War, although the South was defeated and the slave system was abolished, after the reversal of Reconstruction [in the 1870s] the South “rose again” in terms of political power and influence within the country as a whole. In connection with all this, Phillips points out, a religious mythology arose, and took root widely among white people in the South, that the (white) South had a special covenant with God and was the object of a special design by God to restore it to its proper place, righting the terrible wrong that had been done through the Civil War. Phillips makes the very relevant and telling comparison between southern whites in the U.S. and white settlers (Afrikaners) in South Africa, as well as Protestants in Northern Ireland and the Zionists who founded and rule the state of Israel.... Phillips points out that all these groups, including fundamentalist southern whites, see themselves as people being restored to their rightful, and righteous, relation with God—re-establishing a broken covenant and exercising a special, divinely-established destiny.

But all this is accompanied by a constant sense of insecurity and the reversal of perpetrator and victim, so that these oppressors and terrorizers—including the southern-based white supremacists—devoutly carry the artificial cross of being persecuted, regarding even any minor reduction of their favored position as essentially a threat to their very existence, or at least their purpose for being. As Phillips puts it (in another passage cited in Away With All Gods!), this involves biblical attitudes of “religious intensity, insecure history, and willingness to sign up with an Old Testament god of war for protection.”3

And there is the following from Katherine Stewart’s book The Good News Club, summarizing the views of a former Christian fundamentalist, Rich Lang, who broke with that and became a liberal Christian pastor:

Modern fundamentalism, like fascism in earlier times, he says, involves a strong feeling of persecution, typically at the hands of godless liberals or a religious “other”; the belief that one belongs to a pure race or national group that is responsible for past greatness, suffers unjust oppression in the present, and is the rightful ruler of the world; the impulse to submit unquestioningly to absolute authority; and the relentless drive for power and control. It is, he says, a kind of supremacist movement, with religion rather than race at its core.4

As I have pointed out: “that is the insight of someone very familiar with these Christian Fascists. And the fact is that, in this country, with its whole history of genocide, slavery and racism, any form of fascism, including one basing itself on ‘Christian supremacy’—any urge to ‘restore past greatness’—cannot help but be bound together with white supremacy.5

White supremacy, even of the most grotesque kind, has always been part of the “worldview” and actions of right-wing forces in this country. To get a sense of this, let’s look at the racism of two patriarchs of right-wing politics and ideology: Jerry Falwell Sr. (founder of Liberty University and father of its current president) and William Buckley.

Falwell (Sr.), whose Christian fundamentalism was, in his earlier days, intertwined with old-time southern segregationism, viciously opposed the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and early 1960s. Later, when the upheaval of that time had passed, he “apologized” for that opposition. But then, in the 1980s, during the high point of the struggle of Black people in South Africa against the brutal system of apartheid, Falwell once again opposed and denounced that struggle.

Although from a wealthy northern family and having the bearing not of a crude rural southern “rube” but of a highly-educated intellectual sophisticate, William Buckley, founder of the right-wing magazine National Review, was from the beginning an overt racist. He followed a path very similar to that of Falwell (Sr.): Buckley, too, vigorously and viciously opposed the struggle against overt segregation and white supremacy in the South during the high point of the Civil Rights movement (and he too, later “changed his mind”). And with the same overt racism, he supported European colonialism in Africa and apartheid in South Africa. Buckley regarded the African peoples fighting for liberation from their colonial oppressors after World War 2 as sub-human savages. If, in fact, he had been looking for savagery, he didn’t need to look any further than his own country and the horrific oppression he supported and justified within this country. He might have gotten some valuable education from the following words boldly spoken by abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass in a July 4th speech in 1852: “For revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival”—a statement which, as I have emphasized, “echoes down through time, expressing a profound truth today.”6

What ties together the racism of these two right-wing patriarchs, despite their very different backgrounds and individual personas, is the fact that both were ardent advocates of the brutally oppressive system of capitalism-imperialism—and more specifically of the “peculiar” way in which this system developed in this country, with its foundation in the enslavement of African peoples (and genocide against the first inhabitants of the continent), and the determination that this particular capitalist-imperialist country must remain dominant in the world.

Given the history of this country and the fact that, from its founding, slavery played a crucial part in its development (and that, even after slavery was abolished through the Civil War, white supremacy continued to play a crucial role in perpetuating this system, and maintaining the established “order,” in this country) and given the particular role of the South in all this, it is true both that the South would continue to have a special role in perpetuating white supremacy, and everything bound up with it, and that, in every part of the country, the advocates of this particular American “strain” of capitalism-imperialism would uphold, justify, and in various ways propagate white supremacy.

The “left” (“liberal” or “progressive”) variation of this, among the powers-that-be, speaks in terms of “equality,” “diversity” and “inclusiveness,” while presiding over and perpetuating social relations, built into this system, which actually embody inequality and oppression, and require the repeated use of violent repression to enforce them.

The right-wing version, which has now taken on the full dimensions of outright fascism, more openly and aggressively promotes and insists upon overt white supremacy, male supremacy, and other oppressive relations, with the insistence that these are the traditional ways that this country has been held together and has been made “great”—and that undermining this, even through limited concessions to the struggle against oppression, will lead to the loss of everything that has enabled this country to become (and, up to now, remain) dominant in the world. This is why, despite their significant differences in backgrounds and individual personas, William Buckley and Jerry Falwell (Sr.) would take the same position in opposition to the Civil Rights movement in this country, and to the struggle in Africa against white colonial rule—they both did this out of a combination of deep-seated racism and the fear that these struggles would undermine the “strength” and “cohesion” of this country and the top-dog position of U.S. capitalism-imperialism in the world. This is why, today especially, with the capitalist-imperialist system wreaking havoc on countries and people all over the world, in multiple ways, including through its plundering of the environment, and with the massive migrations this has caused, immigration—that is, preventing and reversing immigration, especially of people from non-European countries (the kinds of countries that Donald Trump has infamously referred to as “shit-hole countries”)—has become such a major focus and target of virulent, and violent, white supremacist action.

All this is why today the political (and literal) descendants of the Buckleys and Falwells viciously seek to not simply maintain, but to carry to even greater extremes, the “traditional” oppressive relations of all kinds that have characterized this system and this country from the beginning. And the massive outpouring that has been sparked by the police murder of George Floyd—because it has powerfully shaken the oppressive “established order” by erupting beyond the bounds of meaningless “conversation” and polite requests regarding racial equality, and by sharply posing big questions about the nature of this society and the history of this country—has been met with frenzied and brutal opposition from the Trump/Pence regime and its fascist “base,” and has been the occasion for the profound rot of this country to come oozing out, including in the unhinged screams of unloosed racists attacking the protests as well as Black people, and other people of color, that they randomly encounter.

The Direct Connection: White Supremacy, Male Supremacy, American Supremacy

Just as white supremacy has been poured into the foundation and woven throughout the fabric of the system in this country, so too has male supremacy been an essential part of the system of capitalism-imperialism, and all exploitative systems, in every age and every part of the world.7 And, just as overt and aggressive white supremacy has been, and remains, an essential part of the ideology and program of right-wing forces in this country, so too has been the insistence on the subordinate position of women. Along with the many different forms of the oppression of women, in countries like the U.S., as well as in the Third World (of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia), there is the fact that a major source of the wealth and corresponding power of the capitalist-imperialist system in this country (and others) is the super-exploitation of women, especially in the Third World. This super-exploitation would not be possible if these masses of women were not maintained in all-around conditions of oppression, deprivation and desperation, enforced with horrific brutality and abuse of all kinds (and one of the major ways women are abused and degraded, in the Third World and in the countries of the so-called “developed world,” including the U.S., is through exploitation in pornography and sex-trafficking, both of which are multi-billion dollar “businesses”).

All of this requires that the relations of male supremacy that have been developed over centuries and millennia be maintained and enforced, even with different variations in different parts of the world and different particular countries. And, here again, religion—and all the more so in its fundamentalist expressions—plays a crucial part. The fact is that

the scriptures, and the notion of god in the scriptures, in the main “monotheistic” (one-god) religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—are patriarchal, male supremacist (with “god” spoken of in male, patriarchal terms—“God, the Father,” and so on). The relations being described and insisted upon are patriarchal, male supremacist relations, with women being kept in an inferior position, often brutally so. These scriptures were written by human beings who lived within patriarchal, male supremacist societies, and the scriptures they wrote reflect this.8

This is why the Christian fundamentalist fascists—for whom the subordination of women (to husbands and to men overall) is an article of faith—are so fanatically opposed to the right to abortion. (The fact that more than a few women are involved in the Christian fascist crusade against abortion, and in support of an overall program that actually involves the systematic suppression and degradation of women—this is not a new phenomenon. Among those who are the targets and victims of oppressive relations, there have always been those who have accommodated themselves to—and even acted as enforcers of—those relations and the “traditions” they embody, because they have not only been cowed and conditioned to accept the inferior position into which these relations cast them, but to actually fear that violating these “traditions” will lead to chaos and ruin.) The Christian fascist zealotry in opposition to abortion is not really about the fraudulent notion that abortion amounts to “killing babies” (the overwhelming majority of abortions are carried out during the early stages of pregnancy, when the fetus is tiny and very undeveloped—and, during the whole period of pregnancy, the fetus is part of, completely integrated with and dependent on the body and bodily functions of the woman: it is not yet an actual independent human being). That this opposition to abortion is not about “killing babies” is demonstrated by (among other things) the fact that these opponents of the right to abortion also oppose, with equal fanaticism, birth control which prevents pregnancy in the first place.

What is really involved is that abortion, and birth control, help to provide women with a certain independence, a freedom to decide whether and when to have children—and, yes, a certain freedom to engage in sexual relations of their own choosing, on the basis of their own desire and volition, without having to be worried about whether they are going to become pregnant when they have neither wanted nor decided to do so. It is this relative independence and freedom that causes a frenzy among Christian fascists, because it runs counter to reducing the role of women to “helpmates” to husbands and breeders of children for those husbands in patriarchal, male-dominated families, and to the subordinate and oppressed position of women in society as a whole.

Just as it is the case that although there are parts of the New Testament of the Bible that can be invoked to “justify” white supremacy—passages that uphold slavery, for example—it is especially in the Old Testament that there is the strongest basis for this, this is also the case with regard to the subordination and oppression of women. And this is why, despite all their rapturous invocations of Jesus, it is the Old Testament (and, to use Kevin Phillips’ apt phrase, the Old Testament “god of war”) that most anchors these Christian fascists in their reactionary fanaticism.

In line with this, although what is involved in the struggle for the rights of LGBTQ people is not entirely reducible to the question of overcoming patriarchy, it is definitely the case that the assertion of patriarchy and male supremacy is very much involved in the Christian fascist opposition to these rights: the insistence that there are only two, absolutely different and separate genders, the whole notion of what is the proper, or “god-ordained,” character of a man and a woman, and of sexual relations that must be limited to those between a dominant man and a subordinate woman (as reflected in the Christian fascist mantra: “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”).

Where you have religious fundamentalism, you are going to have not only the forceful assertion of patriarchy and misogyny (hatred of women) but also aggressive patriotism—and notice that these two words have the same root, referring to allegiance to (and subordination to the authority of) the father(land).And, as we have seen, you are going to have white supremacy and racism.

In the swirling poisonous chaos inside the minds of these Christian fundamentalist zealots (and allied fascists), it is “just one crazy thing after another”: first Black people demanding equality and an end to injustice,...now all people of color complaining about racism...now “illegal aliens” swarming across the border...now women insisting on their right to be independent and equal...now queers, “freaks” and “perverts” wanting to get married, raise children, and use any old bathroom they choose...now they’re tearing down Confederate statues...now they’re going after the National Anthem and burning the American flag...and who knows what’s next?!—“they’re coming for us and everything we hold sacred!”

What ties all this together, in terms of the method of thinking—or non-thinking—of the fascist fanatics is not simply the departure from but the aggressive rejection of the scientific method, and critical rational thinking, and in its place the embrace of all kinds of lunatic conspiracy theories and other demented notions which serve to reinforce their prejudices and paranoia.

In all this we see the “direct connection” between the white supremacy of the Trump/Pence regime and its fascist followers and “their open disgust and hatred for LGBT people as well as women, their willful rejection of science and the scientific method, their raw ‘America First’ jingoism and trumpeting of ‘the superiority of western civilization’ and their bellicose wielding of military power, including their expressed willingness and blatant threats to use nuclear weapons, to destroy countries.”

As Hubert Locke’s statement cited earlier also points out, this is all tied together. And, according to the fascists, in particular the Christian fundamentalist fascists, all the “evil” is concentrated in the fact that “they took God out of the schools” (in the early 1960s, with the Supreme Court decision which, proceeding on the basis of the constitutional separation of church and state, outlawed school-sponsored prayer).

All this is embodied in the program of the Trump/Pence regime, with its declarations about restoring (and keeping) the supposed “greatness” of America. All this is the very real horror they are determined to impose on not just the people in this country but on the world and humanity as a whole.

You Cannot Break the Chains of Oppression by Opposing Only One—You Need to Break All the Chains

Returning to where I began, the fact is that Jerry Falwell (Jr.) and Liberty University stand against liberty and against what a university and education should be all about. The founder of Liberty University, Jerry Falwell (Sr.), was a vehement opponent of the scientific theory of evolution (and the scientific method overall). In opposition to the already well-established truth, and the continually increasing evidence, that all living things on the earth, including human beings, are the result of billions of years of natural evolution, Falwell insisted that everything on the earth is exactly as god created it in the first place. And continuing with this anti-scientific, and dangerous, lunacy, Falwell Jr. is also firmly in the camp of the deniers of climate change and in particular the fact that human activity is playing the decisive role in the accelerating climate crisis. That an institution with someone like the Falwells as its head, and with the kind of anti-scientific indoctrination that flows from their outlook—that this could be accredited as a university is incredible. But, more than that, it is a testament to the bankrupt nature of this whole system in this country, which lends legitimacy to all this and which has spawned a fascist regime not only headed by the narcissistic sociopathic maniac Trump but filled with legions of lunatic Christian fundamentalist fascists, including those holding powerful positions, such as Mike Pence, William Barr, Mike Pompeo, Ben Carson, Betsy DeVos and many others.

Contrast this anti-scientific lunacy with the orientation and approach to education that is set forth in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, a sweeping vision and concrete blueprint for a radically different and far better society and world:

The educational system in the New Socialist Republic in North America must enable people to pursue the truth wherever it leads, with a spirit of critical thinking and scientific curiosity, and in this way to continually learn about the world and be better able to contribute to changing it in accordance with the fundamental interests of humanity.9

It is a good thing that Jerry Falwell Jr.’s exhibition of his racism has been met with outrage and protest, even from among the students and alumni of Liberty University (as well as others). But if this outrage is confined and misdirected into a misguided and fundamentally erroneous notion that this racism is somehow out of keeping with the supposedly positive—but in reality extremely negative—“values” of Liberty University (and the Christian fundamentalism on which it is based), this will result not only in “de-fanging” this outrage but in reinforcing the “package” of reactionary, yes, fascistic, outlook and aims that are represented not simply by Falwell but by the Trump/Pence regime to which he is closely tied and for which he is a relentless advocate and apologist.

There is, in fact, a direct line from the Confederacy to these fascists of today, and a direct connection between all the various forms of oppression that they seek to fortify and viciously enforce. You cannot finally and completely do away with racism and white supremacy without also doing away with patriarchy and male supremacy, and all the other oppressive relations that are interwoven together with white supremacy. And, fundamentally, you cannot abolish all this without abolishing, through an actual revolution, the system of capitalism-imperialism whose basic relations of oppression, exploitation and plunder, of people and the environment, these fascists are seeking to carry to monstrous extremes.10


1. THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible. Video of this October 2017 speech by Bob Avakian is available at revcom.us. [back]

2. “Reflections on Pacific School of Religion's Response to the Religious Right,” by Dr. Hubert Locke, also available at revcom.us—emphasis added. [back]

3. Bob Avakian, Away With All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, Insight Press, 2008, pp. 141-42. The statements by Kevin Phillips cited here are from Kevin Phillips, American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century, Viking Press, 2006.

There is a definite irony in the fact that Phillips was one of the main people responsible for formulating the Republican Party’s “southern strategy,” which was based on the appeal to the racism of white southerners who are characterized by the very kinds of views and sentiments that Phillips describes, critically, here. It seems that Phillips later came to regret at least much of where this “southern strategy” has led, and this book of his contains important exposure and analysis of this. [back]

4. Katherine Stewart, The Good News Club, The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children, PublicAffairs, 2012. [back]

5. THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible. [back]

6. See Revolting Barbarity, Shameless Hypocrisy, For Those Who Cling to the Myth of “This Great American Democracy”: Some Simple Questions. Emphasis has been added here to Douglass’ statement. This article by Bob Avakian is available at revcom.us. [back]

7. In a number of works—and in particular in Break ALL The Chains! Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution (which is available in BA’s Collected Works at revcom.us)—Bob Avakian analyzes the historical and material roots of the oppression of women, in societies divided into exploiters and exploited, the road to the emancipation of women from this oppression, and the pivotal relation of this to the communist revolution with its ultimate goal of emancipating all of humanity from relations of exploitation and oppression. [back]

8. This is from the article “Morality Without Religion, Emancipation That Is Real,” by Bob Avakian, which is available at revcom.us. [back]

9. The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, is available at revcom.us. [back]

10. In Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, Bob Avakian speaks to those crucial questions—analyzing what an actual revolution really involves, the need and the basis for this revolution, how this revolution can be carried out, up against the powerful oppressive and repressive forces of this system of capitalism-imperialism, and what are the goals of this revolution. The text and video of this speech by Bob Avakian are available at revcom.us. [back]

Bob Avakian (BA) is the most important political thinker and leader in the world today.

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A clip from a talk by Bob Avakian:
The direct line from the Confederacy to the fascists of today

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/680/from-a-reader-nasrin-en.html

From a Reader:

Nasrin—If you haven't seen this film yet, you are missing out...

| revcom.us

 

I second the comment by feminist Gloria Steinem on the recently released documentary film Nasrin, about a courageous woman political prisoner in Iran: “Nasrin will make you angry at injustice, and give you hope. This is a must-see film!” Author (The Handmaid’s Tale) Margaret Atwood also gave her strong endorsement, saying, “Nasrin Sotoudeh is an extraordinarily brave woman. I urge you to see this timely and important film!” Jeannette Catsoulis is on point in her review in the New York Times: “[Nasrin’s] courage, like that of so many in this film, is breathtaking.” My translation—if you haven’t seen this film yet, you are missing out on an uplifting, ideological treat.

The film has been officially released into 26 virtual theaters across the U.S. and will be available until January 5, 2021. The list is available on the film’s website and refreshingly includes a breadth of theaters in areas such as Taos, New Mexico; Davis and Larkspur, California; Duluth, Minnesota; Paonia, Colorado; Concord, New Hampshire; Salem, Winston, and Fayetteville, North Carolina; as well as Patchogue and Millerton, New York. There is also a page on the film website for hosting or sponsoring a virtual screening.

The broad response to this film can help break open the needed and urgent international struggle to demand justice and freedom for ALL of Iran’s political prisoners—as was initially called for by the “Burn the Cage Free the Birds” campaign.

As was said at revcom previously, “Nasrin is a powerful movie by filmmakers Jeff Kaufman and Marcia Ross, narrated by Academy Award winner Olivia Colman. It includes an original song performed by internationally known artist Angélique Kidjo. The film traces the defiant and courageous journey of Nasrin Sotoudeh—Iranian lawyer, political prisoner, human rights and women’s rights activist and exceptional human being. It was filmed inside Iran by people risking arrests and imprisonment to bring this inspiring ‘candle in the dark’ to the bright screen.” 

On December 2, Nasrin’s temporary medical release (on November 7) was revoked by the Islamic regime in Iran and she has been sent back to prison, even as she continues to suffer from COVID-19 infection and a severe heart condition. Nasrin was arrested and sent to prison in 2018 for representing the “Girls of Revolution Street”—defending women who were protesting Iran’s law that requires women to wear head scarfs (or hijab). Sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes (!), she put her life on the line and went on a hunger strike to demand freedom for all political prisoners in Iran. Before this, Nasrin had already spent three years in prison (2010-2013) for her work as a human rights attorney.

The New York Times reviewer noted how Nasrin’s model of “implacable selflessness” came through in this film. And the online review by Brian Shaer on the Film Threat website described Nasrin as “unflappable, indestructible, and indefatigable....”

But a larger, insightful lesson is posed in the December 18 LA Times review by Kevin Crust, who writes: “Once upon a time, a documentary such as ‘Nasrin’ could be viewed in the U.S. with a degree of smug ‘can’t happen here’ detachment. Recent events have certainly undermined that assumption and make the already impressive life and work of Nasrin Sotoudeh all the more relevant and essential.”

See also:

We Demand Justice and Freedom for All Political Prisoners in Iran NOW

Read more

Let Us Unite and Fight Together Against Waves of Suppression in Iran.

Read more

 

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Together, WE passed $40,000 in revcom's Winter fundraising campaign to “Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence”!

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/679/frankfurt-germany-protest-condemns-repression-by-the-islamic-republic-of-iran-en.html

Frankfurt, Germany, Protest Condemns Repression by the Islamic Republic of Iran

| revcom.us

 

From participants of the Burn the Cage, Release the Birds (burn_the_cage) campaign:

A protest rally was held in Frankfurt, Germany, on Thursday, December 10, International Human Rights Day. The rally was called for by the “Burn the Cage, Release the Birds” campaign, and was supported by other organizations and some human rights supporters. The purpose of this call was to protest human rights violations in Iran and to condemn the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The demonstration started from the city center and went to the Islamic Republic of Iran embassy. The truck was covered with pictures of political prisoners and was accompanied by live music and the voice of the revolutionary artist Shakib Mosadeq. Demonstrators gathered in front of the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Images of some Iranian political prisoners were also displayed on large screens. Several people spoke at the rally. Mariam Claren, daughter of Nahid Taghavi, an Iranian-German who is one of the political prisoners in Iran, also spoke. She said: “We are gathered here to raise the voice of political prisoners in Iran to the world and to protest against the recent wave of arrests and repression of the Islamic Republic and call on all people and governments to condemn the Islamic Republic and on the world stage.”

 

See also:

At the December 10 demonstration in Frankfurt, revolutionary artist Shakib Mosadeq leads protesters in song as images of political prisoners in Iran are shown on the screen.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/679/bob-avakian-its-not-our-embassy-en.html

Excerpts from From Ike to Mao and Beyond—My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist, a memoir by Bob Avakian

"It's Not Our Embassy!"

| revcom.us

 

Editors’ note: We are sharing excerpts from Bob Avakian’s (BA) memoir, From Ike to Mao and Beyond, regarding the stand taken in support of the Iranian Revolution while BA and the Mao Defendants were themselves up on serious charges as a result of arrests at a powerful demonstration in January 1979 against Deng Xiaoping, who was being hosted triumphally at the White House by then-President Jimmy Carter.1 Throughout 1978 the Iranian Revolution against the regime of the Shah, which had been backed by U.S. Imperialism for several decades, was gaining ground.  By the fall of 1978 that revolution was causing major problems for the U.S. and its puppet Shah. In 1979, over a hundred volunteers had gathered in Washington D.C. to “Turn D.C. Upside Down” in defense of BA and the Mao Defendants, and a major rally of support was held at the Howard Theater on November 19, which BA spoke at. These excerpts give a sense of how BA gave leadership in this situation to carry out a fully internationalist orientation and position. For more about this whole situation, read fuller discussion in the memoir, and actually read the whole memoir.

EXCERPTS FROM PAGES 396-400 FOLLOW:

... This was the period when the Iranian revolution had reached its high point, and driven the Shah of Iran out of the country. I remember a headline in the Chicago Tribune when the Shah was teetering on his throne, just before he fell. This headline declared: “He May Be a Despot, But He’s Our Despot.” That was basically the stand of the Carter administration and the U.S. ruling class, right until the fall of the Shah. The U.S. had put him in power through a CIA coup in 1953, and they maintained him in power for almost three decades. And they were still doing what they could to protect him at the end. Then, after the Shah could no longer maintain his rule in Iran, they brought him into the U.S., after having tried to get a few other countries to take him.

People in Iran suspected the Shah was being given refuge here to prepare a counter-revolution, and a group of Iranian students and youth then seized the U.S. embassy in Teheran. The Iranians occupying the embassy got hold of the records there and proved that many of the embassy employees were spies and CIA agents who were working to undermine and reverse the course of the Iranian revolution and to bring Iran more fully back under the domination of the U.S.

With these students and others occupying the U.S. embassy, Ted Koppel pronounced “America Held Hostage,” and the occupation of the embassy became a big controversial issue in the U.S. There was a big uproar, and the ruling class in the U.S. worked to whip up all kinds of chauvinism toward the Iranian people, including Iranians living in the U.S., and to inflame reactionary sentiments among the American people about the Iranian revolution. This was happening at the same time as our case was getting ready to go to court and as we were working, through the efforts of the volunteers and in an all-around way, to build support for myself and the other Mao Tsetung Defendants and to promote and project the line and objectives of our Party broadly throughout society....

“It’s Not Our Embassy!”

At the same time, we had to take a stand in support of the Iranian revolution. This was something I felt very strongly about, and I spoke about this to the volunteers in D.C. The leadership of our Party was firmly united that it was very important to work to win people away from the whole chauvinist hysteria and mob mentality that was being whipped up. Iranian students in the U.S. were being attacked. When we would go out to do revolutionary work in general, and particularly to talk with people and do agitation about what was happening in Iran, larger numbers of people would gather. Things would get extremely heated, and sometimes there would be physical attacks on our people. But we were very determined that we had to take this on and turn it around, even as we had this major campaign and battle that we had to wage around the case flowing out of the demonstration against Deng Xiaoping.

One of the things that struck me, in reading a number of reports and talking to comrades who were involved in this work, is that while there was this hysteria, mob mentality and chauvinism whipped up against the Iranian people and the Iranians who lived in the U.S., and it was very widespread — the government and the media had put a lot of effort into this—it was also very superficial. When we talked with people about the history of what the U.S. had done in Iran, the torture and oppression to which it had subjected the Iranian people for decades through putting the Shah of Iran in power and keeping him in power since 1953; when we showed why the Iranian people were so angry at the U.S., and how they were determined to fight against the domination of the U.S. in their country—we could puncture this hysteria and quickly things would begin to change. As is so often the case with people who are whipped up around reactionary shit by the ruling class, there wasn’t any depth to it. People were largely acting out of ignorance and not understanding what was motivating the Iranian people, and what had been going on for decades in Iran — all of which had been hidden from people in the U.S....

We had worked closely with the many radical and revolutionary- minded students from Iran who were living and studying in various parts of the U.S. Ironically, they had been sent to the U.S. by the Shah. The Shah had this program to modernize enclaves of the Iranian economy, while the masses of people would be enmeshed and enslaved in deep poverty and oppression. So his government, working with the U.S. government, had financed a lot of these students to go to the U.S. to get training in things like engineering. But, especially because of the nature of the times, many of them had become radicalized —and by and large this was a secular anti-imperialist radicalism, rather than fundamentalist religious militancy. Many of them had become revolutionaries of one kind or another, and the communist and Maoist trend had a lot of initiative among these thousands of Iranian students. We continued to work closely with them and support them as the Iranian revolution developed, although some of them were beginning to go back to Iran to take part directly in the revolutionary upsurge there.

So when I gave this speech at the Howard Theater I talked about this and why it was important that we take a stand in support of the revolution in Iran and the Iranian students here who were coming under attack— it was, once again, a question of internationalism. It was our responsibility to oppose our own ruling class in trying to reinstitute and fasten down more tightly the domination and oppression of the Iranian people. And, as I put it in that speech: “It’s not our embassy, we don’t have an embassy, this is the embassy of the imperialist ruling class and we stand with the Iranian people.”36

This was controversial even among people close to us and among our broader supporters. Some people felt that by taking this stand, in the midst of this whole attack on us, we would be taking on an even bigger burden and bringing down even further repression on ourselves. We recognized this danger but our position was, as I put it in that speech: “If we don’t stand with the Iranian people, then we’re not worth defending. If we don’t uphold our internationalism and our communist principles, then we’re not worth defending.”

 

36. The RCP came out with a transcript of that part of the speech almost immediately after the rally, entitled “It’s Not Our Embassy.” Party members and supporters took this pamphlet out very broadly, generating controversy and through sharp struggle helping to repolarize the terms of debate in a more favorable way. [back]

 


1. After the death of the revolutionary leader Mao Zedong in 1976, Deng Xiaoping led a coup that overthrew socialism in China and restored capitalism. When Deng was invited to visit the U.S., Bob Avakian (BA) and the Revolutionary Communist Party led a demonstration in Washington, DC, against the visit to expose what had happened in China and what Deng represented. The protest, which became an international incident, was viciously attacked by the police. Scores of protesters were brutally beaten and many were arrested, including BA. BA and about a dozen others, who faced what amounted to over 200 years in jail, were known as the Mao Defendants. For much more on this, see Bob Avakian’s memoir, Chapters 21 (“‘A Fitting Welcome” for Deng Xiaoping”) and Chapter 23 (“Stop the Railroad!”).  [back]

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/665/bob-avakian-for-the-liberation-of-black-people-en.html

BOB AVAKIAN FOR THE LIBERATION OF BLACK PEOPLE
AND THE EMANCIPATION OF ALL HUMANITY

| revcom.us

 

One of the things that comes through most powerfully in Bob Avakian’s memoir1 is that a profound hatred for the oppression of Black people has been a defining part of Bob Avakian’s life from the time, as a teenager, he learned about the lives of the Black people with whom he developed deep ties of friendship. Never feeling that, because he is white, “it is not his place” to be involved in the struggle against this oppression—but, on the contrary, determined to contribute whatever he could to this struggle—Bob Avakian (BA), from the time he worked closely with the Black Panther Party in its revolutionary days in the 1960s, has made the liberation of Black people a defining part of his life’s commitment and work. As he developed as a revolutionary communist, and emerged as the foremost revolutionary leader and thinker in the world, this commitment has become even deeper and has been strongly interwoven with a dedication to the emancipation of all humanity from every form of oppression and exploitation.

As BA has written about his life’s work:

Why was I doing the work I was doing? Once again, we’re back to for whom and for what. I wasn’t doing this work for myself. When I was young, in middle school and then even more so in high school, my life got changed in a very major way by coming into contact with people that I hadn’t really known that much before, in particular Black people. I started learning about their situation and how that relates to what goes on in this society as a whole. I was drawn to the culture—not just the music and the art overall, but the whole way of going through the world—of the Black people who became my friends, and the world they introduced me to. And I came to the point of recognizing: these are my people. Now, I knew they had a different life experience than I did. But these are my people—I don’t see a separation—it’s not like there are some other people “over there” who are going through all this and somehow that’s removed from me. These are my people. And then I began to recognize more deeply what people were being put through, the oppression they were constantly subjected to, the horrors of daily life as well as the bigger ways in which the system came down on them. And as I went further through life and began to approach the question of what needs to be done about this, and was introduced to taking up a scientific approach to this, I realized that my people were more than this. I realized that my people were Chicanos and other Latinos and other oppressed people in the U.S.; they were people in Vietnam and China; they were women...they were the oppressed and exploited of the world...and through some struggle, and having to cast off some wrong thinking, I have learned that they are LGBT people as well.

These are my people, the oppressed and exploited people of the world. They are suffering terribly, and something has to be done about this. So it is necessary to dig in and systematically take up the science that can show the way to put an end to all this, and bring something much better into being. You have to persevere and keep struggling to go forward in this way. And when you run into new problems or setbacks, you have to go more deeply into this, rather than putting it aside and giving up.

So this is why I’ve been doing the work that I’ve been doing.2

Bob Avakian grew up in Berkeley, California. Unable, because of a life-threatening illness, to be directly involved in struggles taking place against racial oppression for several years after graduating from high school in 1961, BA nevertheless closely followed and strongly supported the civil rights movement in the early 1960s, and at the same time was influenced by and supportive of the militant stand and role of Malcolm X. This was reflected in an article that BA wrote at the age of 19 in 1962 supporting the struggle of Black people. (This article was submitted to the liberal magazine Saturday Review. Although the article was not published, the editor-in-chief of the magazine, Norman Cousins, personally replied—indicating that, although the magazine had chosen not to publish this article, he recognized that the article spoke, in a strikingly compelling way, to very important questions.)

Having recovered from his illness, in 1964, BA became actively involved in the Free Speech Movement at the University of California in Berkeley, where he was a student. The central issue of this movement was the right of students to carry out activity on the campus in support of the civil rights movement. BA was among the 800 who were arrested during the occupation of the university administration building, which was the high point of the movement and led to winning its demands.

As the civil rights movement increasingly gave way to a more militant Black liberation movement in the second half of the 1960s, BA was strongly influenced by this. He left the university and dedicated his life to working for radical change. As a result of direct contact and discussions with Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, the founders of the Black Panther Party, and getting to know Eldridge Cleaver (who also became a leader of the BPP), BA worked closely with the Black Panther Party from its earliest days and at the height of its revolutionary role and influence.

In 1967, BA attended rallies, and spoke at one of the rallies, held by the BPP in North Richmond to protest the killing there of Denzil Dowell, part of the long and continuing chain of murders of Black people by police.

In 1968, when Huey Newton was facing murder charges as a result of a shoot-out with Oakland cops, BA spoke—along with a number of key figures in the Black liberation movement, including Stokely Carmichael, Rap Brown, James Forman, and leaders of the Black Panther Party— at a Free Huey rally held in the Oakland auditorium on the occasion of Huey Newton’s birthday.

BA worked tirelessly to build support, including among white people, for the demand to “Free Huey!” At a “Free Huey” rally at the courthouse in Oakland where Huey Newton’s trial was being held, BA was arrested for “desecrating” (burning) the American flag.

During this time, at the invitation of BPP leaders, BA wrote a number of articles for the Black Panther newspaper.

At a rally of thousands, led by the Black Panther Party, on May First, 1969, BA spoke of the need for revolution and called on white people in particular to more actively take part in movements for revolutionary change in the U.S., and to support such movements throughout the world.

By the beginning of the 1970s, millions of people in this country were in favor of some kind of revolutionary change, but they faced profound challenges. How could this revolution be made—or was it even possible to make a revolution here, up against such powerful forces of oppression and repression? Which were the key forces that had to be mobilized to have a real chance to carry out such a revolution? What kind of leadership was needed, and what methods and approaches should that leadership be based on? The difficulties in confronting and seeking the answers to these hard questions, combined with brutal and often murderous repression by the powers-that-be, led many revolutionary organizations, including the Black Panther Party, to split and end up departing from the road that could lead to real revolution.

By this time, partly because of the influence of the Black Panther Party, which had popularized the “Red Book” of quotations from the Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong, BA had become convinced not only that revolution was necessary, and was possible, but that it had to be led by a vanguard force that based itself on the scientific method and approach of communism, as it had been developed initially by Karl Marx, then further developed by V.I. Lenin, the leader of the Russian Revolution in the early part of the 20th century, and then in turn further developed by Mao, who led the Chinese revolution and the new, socialist society in China, until his death in 1976. BA led in the formation of the Revolutionary Union at the end of the 1960s, with the aim of working toward the establishment of the vanguard party of revolution, based on the science of communism. During the first part of the 1970s, BA was both the practical leader and the leading theoretician of the Revolutionary Union, writing much of the essays and polemics for its theoretical journal Red Papers. This included major articles, particularly in Red Papers 5 and 6, that involved groundbreaking scientific materialist analysis of the situation of Black people, historically and down to the present—how and why their particular conditions of oppression had changed, from the time of slavery to the present era, and how this objectively put Black people in a potentially powerful position to be a driving force not only for their own liberation but for the communist revolution whose fundamental aim is the abolition of all oppression and exploitation. These articles included powerful polemics, arguing against positions and programs that would not lead to, but would actually work against, this liberation and the revolutionary transformation of the world as a whole.

In 1975, with BA’s leadership, the Revolutionary Communist Party was founded, with the aim of being the vanguard force for the revolution that was, and continues to be, profoundly necessary. Over the decades since then, BA has fought to keep that Party on the revolutionary road and to bring forward new revolutionary forces to revitalize and strengthen the vanguard forces for the revolution that is now, all the more urgently, required. While continuing to provide practical guidance to the revolutionary forces, BA, through summing up the experience (positive and negative) of the communist movement, and drawing from a broad range of human experience, has brought forward a new synthesis of communism (also referred to as the new communism) which, most decisively, has established communism on an even more consistently scientific basis. As BA’s Official Biography explains, the new communism “is a continuation of, but also represents a qualitative leap beyond, and in some important ways a break with, communist theory as it had been previously developed. It provides the basis—the science, the strategy, and the leadership—for an actual revolution and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation.”3

A defining part of this new communism is the emphasis it gives to the struggle for the liberation of Black people, and the relation of this to the ending of all oppression. And this has continued to stand out in BA’s leadership role and work over the decades, up to the present.  At revcom.us there is a special section, Bob Avakian on The Oppression of Black People & the Revolutionary Struggle to End All Oppressionwhich contains clips from films and selections from the writings of BA on this question. The following are just a few examples of important works and leadership by Bob Avakian, over the past few decades, that speak to this decisive question.

The book Reflections, Sketches & Provocations, written by Bob Avakian during the 1980s, contains a number of commentaries, speaking in a number of dimensions to the oppression of Black people and the struggle against this oppression, including support for rebellions following the murder of Black people by police. This book begins with the essay “Hill Street Bullshit, Richard Pryor Routines, and the Real Deal,” which powerfully exposes how terror against Black people, and other oppressed people, is “part of the job” of the police—and is “a reward” for carrying out the role of maintaining the “law and order” that keeps the oppressed in their desperate and miserable conditions. Going deeper, it speaks to how this is rooted in this system of capitalism-imperialism, which has had this oppression built into it from the very beginning.

In the 1990s, BA raised the idea that there should be a day, every year, when people mobilized to protest police brutality, mass incarceration and repression by the government. This proposal was taken up and a broad coalition, including family members of people killed by police, was formed to initiate, in 1996, the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation. At its height, over the next decade, this National Day of Protest, held every October 22nd, rallied thousands of people in dozens of cities across the country. And activities by people who have been part of this coalition have continued since then.

During the past two decades, BA has given a number of filmed speeches, and written articles, essays and books, in which the liberation of Black people and its crucial relation to the communist revolution, aiming for the emancipation of all humanity, has been a major question.

BA’s 2003 speech Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About, begins with a searing exposure and condemnation of lynching, and speaks to the horrific reality of slavery and the oppression of Black people down to today, including the continual murder of Black people by police.3

In 2006, BA gave a series of 7 Talks, in which once again the oppression of Black people, and the struggle for their liberation, is a major theme. One of these 7 Talks, Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy, begins by speaking to the experience of Black people in this country; and the question of slavery and the overall oppression of Black people is, of course, a major part of this talk. It is in Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy that the following is clearly stated:

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

(This is also the very first statement in BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian, the handbook for revolution.)3

At the beginning of BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less!, in 2012, this point is stated emphatically:

Let’s start with just one great crime of this system: police murder—after murder—after murder—of Black people and Latinos, especially youth.3

This is part of the powerful exposure in this speech of the role that continuing murders by police play in enforcing this monstrous system of exploitation and oppression, the system of capitalism-imperialism.

At the beginning of his October 2017 speech The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible,  BA speaks powerfully to the horrors of slavery in this country—including the rape by slavemasters of huge numbers of enslaved women. This speech shows how the murderous oppression of Black people, continuing down to today, is one of the main roots of the fascism that has come to power in this country with the Trump/Pence regime; and, in this speech, BA repeatedly returns to the critical importance of the fight against this oppression.3

BA’s 2018 speech Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution begins this way:

In 2012 in Revolution—Nothing Less! I talked about the outrageous murder of Ramarley Graham earlier that same year—shot down in his own house in the Bronx by the New York City police. He was only 18 years old. Do I have to tell you what “race” he was?! His mother kept saying: “This has to STOP!” And his father repeated over and over: "WHY did they kill my son?! WHY did they kill my son?!" New York cops then loudly rallied around their fellow pig who murdered Ramarley in cold blood, viciously taunting Ramarley's family and loved ones, demonstrating yet one more time the ugly truth that, in the way this country has been built, and for the powers-that-be in this country, the humanity of Black people has never counted for anything—they have never been valued as human beings, but only as things to be exploited, oppressed, and repressed. Six years later, and with cold-blooded murders by police continuing in an unbroken chain, I will say again what I said then: How many more times does this have to happen? How many more times do the tears and the cries of anguish and anger have to pour forth from the wounded hearts of people?! How many more times, when another of these outrageous murders is perpetrated by the police, do we have to hear those words that pour gasoline on the already burning wounds: “justifiable homicide, justified use of force” by police?! How many more?!3

In that 2018 speech, BA not only powerfully exposes once again the horrific oppression that this system of capitalism-imperialism inflicts on Black people, and on other oppressed people in this country and throughout the world, and the grave danger this system poses to the very future of humanity; he also lays out in this speech (and in a more recent article A Real Revolution—A Real Chance To Win, Further Developing the Strategy for Revolution3) the strategic approach that could make it possible for this system to be finally overthrown through a revolution in which millions and millions of people are led to fight to put an end to this system and bring a radically different and much better system into being.

In the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by BA, a sweeping vision and concrete blueprint for that radically different and much better system is set forth. And the principles and means for finally putting an end, at long last, to the oppression of Black people is a major part of that Constitution.3

This year (2020), BA has written as many as 30 articles in which this decisive question—the oppression, and the struggle for the liberation, of Black people—is a recurring subject.3

In the speeches and writings of BA overall, there is not only powerful, penetrating exposure and uncompromising condemnation of brutal and murderous oppression but, even more importantly, there is scientific analysis of how all this is rooted in this system of capitalism-imperialism and of the need, the possibility, and the means for making revolution to overthrow this system and finally put an end to all the outrageous and unnecessary suffering that the masses of humanity are continually subjected to under this system.

***

It is a very precious thing for the oppressed of the earth when they have a leader whose life is dedicated to their emancipation, and who has the determination, and the scientific method, developed over decades, to point the way, and continue to carve out the path, to achieving that emancipation. BA is such a leader. As emphasized in the article Bob Avakian: A Radically Different Leader—A Whole New Framework For Human Emancipation:

As a revolutionary leader, BA also embodies this rare combination: someone who has been able to develop scientific theory on a world-class level, while at the same time having a deep understanding of and visceral connection with the most oppressed, and a highly developed ability to “break down” complex theory and make it broadly accessible.3

One of the things that most distinguishes BA’s role as a revolutionary leader is his willingness—indeed, his insistence—on telling people the truth, even when they may not want to hear it. This comes through in the way BA exposes and refutes unscientific ways of thinking—all kinds of “conspiracy” theories and superstitious ideas—that lead people, including the most bitterly oppressed people, away from understanding the world as it actually is, and keep them from seeing not just the need, but the possibility, of radically changing the world, in a way that will lead to ending oppression. A big problem that BA has taken on, straight-up, is the role of religion as a mental chain on the masses of Black people, and other oppressed people, and the need to break this chain in order to most powerfully wage the struggle to finally be free of all oppression. BA has repeatedly emphasized that, in order to end oppression, “you have to want revolution badly enough to be scientific about it.”

Science means judging whether something is true, or not, by whether there is evidence that it actually corresponds to reality—and not believing something because it makes you feel good to believe it, or not refusing to believe something because it makes you uncomfortable. In the article Conspiracy Theories, Fascist “Certitude,” Liberal Paralysis, Or A Scientific Approach To Changing The World, BA has spoken directly to this problem:

many of the basic masses, who are bitterly oppressed under this system, also are suspicious of and even are inclined to reject science and scientifically-grounded analysis. But this also leaves you vulnerable to all kinds of unfounded “conspiracy theories” and other wrong and harmful ideas, including the notion that nothing people do will make a difference because “it’s all in god’s hands.”3

In the 2014 Dialogue with Cornel West (REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion), which took place during the upsurge of protest and rebellion in response to the murder of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, while speaking to the importance of uniting people broadly in the struggle against oppression, including people who hold religious views, BA also emphasized that the revolution that is needed to finally put an end to oppression must be led with a scientific, not a religious, outlook and method.3

From the start of the article Bob Avakian On Emancipation From Mental Slavery And All Oppression, written this year (2020), BA does not hold back in speaking to these critical questions:

In 1863, mid-way in the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln finally issued the Emancipation Proclamation and, as a result of the Civil War, Black people were formally freed from literal, physical slavery. But today the question is: When, and how, will Black people finally be free from all forms of slavery and oppression? And this poses straight-up this big question:

When will Black people finally emancipate themselves from the mental slavery of religion?!....

Once more, the question is sharply posed: How can Black people be finally and fully emancipated from centuries of oppression, and how does this relate to ending all oppression, of all people, everywhere?

The answer is that the possibility of this is real, but it can happen only on the basis of a scientific approach to changing the world and the scientifically-grounded understanding that this oppression is rooted in and caused by the system of capitalism-imperialism—the same system that is viciously exploiting and murderously oppressing people not just in this country but all over the world and is plundering the natural environmentand that this system must and can be overthrown through an actual revolution and replaced by a radically different and far better system: socialism, whose final goal is a communist world, without any oppression or exploitation of anyone, anywhere.3

****

From his early years, forging close personal ties with Black people and increasingly learning about their lived experience, to his development as this rare leader who has brought forth the most advanced scientific revolutionary theory with the new communism—a defining part of the life and work of Bob Avakian has been the liberation of Black people from centuries of oppression, and the understanding of how this relates to, and is a crucial driving force in, the communist revolution to finally abolish every form of oppression and exploitation, everywhere.

BA himself has expressed this in the following poetically powerful statement:

There is the potential for something of unprecedented beauty to arise out of unspeakable ugliness: Black people playing a crucial role in putting an end, at long last, to this system which has, for so long, not just exploited but dehumanized, terrorized and tormented them in a thousand ways—putting an end to this in the only way it can be done—by fighting to emancipate humanity, to put an end to the long night in which human society has been divided into masters and slaves, and the masses of humanity have been lashed, beaten, raped, slaughtered, shackled and shrouded in ignorance and misery.

 


1. From Ike to Mao and Beyond, My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary CommunistA Memoir by Bob AvakianInsight Press, 2005. [back]

2. Bob Avakian, THE NEW COMMUNISM: The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation, Insight Press, first printing, 2016, pp. 321-22. In addition to THE NEW COMMUNISM, in other recent works by BA—in particular Breakthroughs: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summaryand Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis, Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism—the oppression and the struggle for the liberation of Black people, and its relation to the emancipation of humanity as a whole, is a prominent subject. These works are available at revcom.us.  [back]

3. All of these works are available at revcom.us. (Information about how to acquire the print and e-book editions of BAsics can be found at revcom.us. Audio of the 7 Talks is available in BA’s Collected Works at revcom.us; and Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy has been published in a print edition, the text of which can also be found in BA’s Collected Works at revcom.us.)

The film of the Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian, REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion, is also available in BA’s Collected Works at revcom.us.

The article Conspiracy Theories, Fascist “Certitude,” Liberal Paralysis, Or A Scientific Approach To Changing The World (longer and shorter versions) is available at revcom.us as well.

The importance of Bob Avakian as a revolutionary leader, who has further developed communism as a consistently scientific method and approach, is a central theme in SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION: On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian, An Interview with Ardea Skybreak. Ardea Skybreak is a scientist with professional training in ecology and evolutionary biology, who is also the author of the important book THE SCIENCE OF EVOLUTION AND THE MYTH OF CREATIONISM, Knowing What’s Real And Why It Matters. Each of these books by Ardea Skybreak is published by Insight Press, and the Interview with Ardea Skybreak (SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION) is also available at revcom.us

The following articles, written by Bob Avakian this year (2020), which speak to the oppression of Black people and the struggle to end this oppression, are available as well at revcom.us:

Donald Trump—Genocidal Racist (Parts 1-10) 

Racial Oppression Can Be Ended—But Not Under This System

Police And Prisons: Reformist Illusions And The Revolutionary Solution

Anything But The Truth—Bob Avakian Exposes Lies, Distortions, Distractions and Evasions About the Murderous Oppression of Black People

Lynching, Murder By Police—Damn This Whole System! We Don’t Have To Live This Way!

Bob Avakian On Emancipation From Mental Slavery And All Oppression

Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James And The Whole Truth

Donald Trump Isn’t “Tough,” He’s A Bloated Bag Of Fascist Feces

Bloated Bag Of Fascist Feces Trump Isn’t “Tough”—Part 2: Who Really Has Heart?

Trump And Pigs: A Racist Love Affair

Fucker Carlson, Fascist “Fox News” And The Broadcast Of White Supremacy

Bob Avakian on Black Trump Supporters: What If Jews Had Supported Hitler?!

Bob Avakian On: A Beautiful Uprising: Right And Wrong, Methods And Principles

On Statues, Monuments, And Celebrating—Or Ending—Oppression

Fascists Today And The Confederacy: A Direct Line, A Direct Connection Between All The Oppression

Patriarchy And Male Supremacy, Or Revolution And Ending All Oppression

Sounding Like Southern Segregationists: It’s Not Just Trump—It’s Democrats Too

Bob Avakian Brings Out the Truth: Barack Obama Says Police Murdering Black People Should Not Be Normal—Unless He’s President

Bob Avakian On Ugly Words & Phrases

Bob Avakian On Tulsa Racist Mobs

A Real Revolution--A Real Chance To Win: Further Developing the Strategy for Revolution

[back]

Get to know BA

Bob Avakian (BA) is the most important political thinker and leader in the world today.

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/679/check-it-out-pastor-william-h-lamar-en.html

Check It Out:

Pastor William H. Lamar: "My church will replace our Black Lives Matter sign. Will America replace its racist myth?"

| revcom.us

 

Do you hear what I hear? I hear the imperial American myth in the throes of its own death rattle.

With these words, the Rev. William H. Lamar IV, pastor of the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Washington, DC, opens his response (in the Washington Post) to the December 12 attack on Metropolitan AME, during which a Black Lives Matter banner was torn down and destroyed. The attack on the Metropolitan AME Church and another Black church, Asbury United Methodist, was part of a rampage by MAGA fascists in DC that day and night.

Rev. Lamar lays out a searing indictment of the truth of America’s centuries-old historical myths, linking them to the intensifying reactionary violence of today:

The United States does not like to call itself an empire. But it is. Through military and economic force, the United States extends its narrative, politics and culture throughout the globe for good and for ill....

The myth of the American imperium is deeply rooted in falsehoods and forgetfulness, in intentional historical amnesia and obfuscation. Liberty was not the founding American impulse; genocide was. The blessing of God did not secure this nation’s prosperity. The forced labor of my ancestors did. The founders were not committed to a republic or a democracy. They were committed to a racialized plutocracy led by propertied White males.

Everyone else was excluded by law, custom and violence.

He goes on:

A sign came down on Saturday.... I am deeply disturbed by this incident (one of several incidents targeting houses of worship), but I am more disturbed by the continued mythology of imperial America. This mythology supports those who commit violence against human beings for political ends, deny citizens their right to vote, denigrate sacred spaces and claim as their own whatever they survey....

That is the history written into this nation, into the bodies of those brutalized by this mythology.

Rev. Lamar decries the fact that “The political imagination of this entire nation is captive to a white-supremacist myth. Only a new narrative can change the way we order this society.” And, “This new narrative must question everything if we are serious about imagining a better world.”

Lamar depicts this contention between opposing futures as:

a showdown between the God of the universe, the God of all people, the God incarnate in Jesus Christ, and the god of white supremacy.

One God is for all. The other god is for some. One God has chosen humanity. The other god has chosen whiteness, imperialism and human subjugation....

The United States of America must abandon this god, this story and the violence that flows from fidelity to the same....

A sign came down on Saturday. Metropolitan will replace the sign.

Will the United States replace the story that makes such acts of desecration inevitable?

We communists are atheists, and we do not think, based on a scientific understanding, that divine intervention of any type shapes humanity’s past, present, or future. And we understand that white supremacy is more than a “narrative”—it is a pillar of the economic, political, and social structure of the U.S. from slavery down to today.

But the clear-eyed political and moral challenge of Rev. Lamar is an insightful contribution to impelling ordinary human beings to acknowledge, confront, and act courageously to transform this world of “whiteness, imperialism and human subjugation.”

So check it out, and share with others.


The Black Lives Matter banner is restored at Asbury United Methodist Church, Washington, D.C.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/679/from-a-prisoner-thoughts-about-70-million-people-who-voted-for-trump-en.html

From a prisoner:

Thoughts About 70 million People Who Voted for Trump

| revcom.us

 

Prisoner Revolutionary Literature Fund:

First, let me inform that I have been receiving the Revolution newspaper on a weekly basis. I am grateful for it. Whenever I am done reading I share them with those around me who are interested (and sometimes those who are not interested).

Second, your letter dated November 22, 2020 suggested that I request two books that I’d like to receive. Therefore, I request:

  1. Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal); and
  2. The Communist Manifesto, 1848 (Marx & Engels).

Per your 11/22/20 letter I make the following remarks about why 70 million people voted for Donald Trump.

An important figure in the centuries-long struggle to free Africans in America from the brutal clutches of capitalism/imperialism and the people who are the primary beneficiaries of this horrible treatment remarked that “a people without knowledge of its history is like a tree without its roots.” Marcus Garvey understood that history is important if one is to fully understand his/her place in society and the world. Forsaking history will prevent a comprehension of the present.

So, let’s go back in time to a period when America was born and “great.” Supposedly those who first emigrated to America did so, in large part, to escape religious persecution. They wrote flowery documents about the freedoms they wanted for themselves, all the while perfectly willing to hypocritically (and unashamed of it) deny it to their African counterparts. While all kinds of excuses were created to justify the tyranny they did and would inflict on Africans enslaved in America, including but not limited to bogus science and the 3/5 of a human justification, the driving force was capitalism, the unabashed desire and willingness to brutalize Africans (and Africa) for their profit. This is commonly referred to as America’s “Original Sin.” Personally I object to resorting to religion to explain crimes against humanity committed in service to the system of capitalism/imperialism primarily because these same religious systems encourage the ill-treatment of “others” (Christianity’s “slaves obey your masters”; Islam’s “treat your slaves with fairness”; and Judaism’s insistence that genocide is fine if you are stealing land on the orders of your god).

But I digress. A culture was born in America where white people ruled and dominated Africans. Fast forward to the present and we find ourselves faced with the same culture where a significant portion of white America still insists that they are superior purely by virtue of their whiteness. While this belief is proudly and publicly declared by a vociferous bunch (MAGA scum gangs), the others for any host of reasons are more secretive about their allegiance to white supremacy. While they may not be willing to declare themselves openly (perhaps for fear of judgment or ridicule), they are certainly willing, when the ballot counter’s curtain is pulled shut, to vote their white supremacy. In other words, they are reluctant to voice support for white supremacy in public but more than happy to vote their support for white supremacy in private. This is prima facie evidence that the secret white supremacists represent a threat identical to and even greater than the vociferous, unmasked COVID-19 spitting clowns who show up with guns to intimidate their opponents. The fact that 70 million people voted for Trump is a proof that in public people will not espouse views of white supremacy but in the privacy of the voting booth they will show support for it. The 70 million Trump supporters are the descendants of those who committed America’s Original Sin. The system of capitalism/imperialism is undoubtedly the lifeblood of these horrible creatures. In order to get rid of white supremacy the system it relies on for its survival must be systematically and permanently destroyed (a point and reality littered with numerous contradictions). Otherwise new generations of racists will emerge to abuse new generations of people they view as other.

Thank you for considering this letter. I look forward to your thoughts about it (and certainly this includes criticism, encouragement and suggestions).

In the struggle,

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During this four month fund drive, Revcom.us continued to incur thousands of dollars of costs each month for our office, maintaining our existing site and other expenses. But thanks to our existing monthly sustainers we were able to meet these expenses and use all the funds raised in the drive to transform the website.

So we encourage all our donors and those who’ve not yet donated to become monthly sustainers at whatever level you can afford.

Remember, humanity’s fate truly hinges on millions taking up the revolutionary science, strategy, and new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian which they can find at revcom.us.

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/679/prisoner-why-cant-racial-oppression-be-ended-under-capitalism-en.html

Prisoner Writes on: “Why can’t racial oppression be ended under this system of capitalism?”

| revcom.us

 

Editors’ note: We at revcom.us periodically publish letters from prisoners on revolutionary theory and struggle, as well as other aspects of human experience and thought, including conditions and struggle within the prisons themselves. We appreciate and learn from all correspondence from the prisons.

The following from a prisoner in the Southwest is a follow-up to an earlier letter from this prisoner posted at revcom.us: “In ‘Racial Oppression Can Be Ended—but Not Under This System,’ Bob Avakian perfectly presents the case.” The opinions in the letters we publish are those of the writers and not necessarily those of Revcom.us.

Why can’t racial oppression be ended under this system of capitalism?

It all has to do with the fact that, the origins of capitalism are deeply intertwined with the system of racial slavery. The genocide of the American Indigenous people, and the enslavement of the African people, is what generated that primitive wealth that allowed capitalism to emerge. It is what led to the idea of race and racism to be conceived. In order to divide and to justify the oppression, brutal exploitation, slavery and the genocide of a group of human beings at the hands of other groups of humans for the sole selfish purpose of accumulating wealth.

Racism is not something you find in the biology or nature of human beings. It is a historical invention. It is a consequence of slavery, not the other way around. The enslavement of the African people began as an economic tool that was used as a means to appropriate capital wealth. That is what gave rise to ideas of a racial division between white Europeans who were pursuing such wealth, and people of color, who white Europeans saw as a means to appropriate wealth. The differences in how those two civilizations had developed, one being more advanced than the other (which has nothing to do with the people or race, but through other factors such as location, technology such as the invention of tools and the domestication of animals, and plants etc., inconsequential to what group of people did it first and developed from it and the group of people who were in a different position). This led to believing there was some sort of supremacy to the white race. But it all started with pursuit of wealth and the people of color being the means to that wealth. The horrific and brutal means to get this wealth out of the less developed people was then justified by the invention of race, racism, and ideals of white supremacy.

Those brutal means of appropriating such wealth, like the genocide of the indigenous Americans and the enslavement of the African people, is what allowed the system of capitalism to emerge. That means that racism and racial oppression can be counted among the many features and dynamics that make up the capitalist/imperialist system.

That being the case, you can’t end one without ending the other. If one truly desires to see an end to racism and racial oppression, you would have to get rid of the capitalist system. There is no other way around it. Put it like this: racism and racial oppression are among the many cells that make up the whole body organism of capitalism. There’s not just simply eliminating that single cell you want, because its life blood, its essence is being a part of the main organism. It will always regenerate and even mutate in its adaptation, but never disappear, not unless you destroy the main body organism that it is a part of.

The violence and oppression dished out by the state institutions against Black and Brown people is done to keep those submitting themselves to the exploitation in line, and criminalizing, in order to put or do away with those the capitalist system itself forces society to exclude by the very dynamics and nature of capitalism. Since capitalism is set up to polarize the capital wealth of society to one side, the opposite side is thus condemned to poverty, which consequently results in creating the conditions for crime. So if there’s whole sections of people, specifically Black & Brown people, who while at the same time, being the source of society’s wealth through their forced submission to exploitation are also those who, by a capitalist society inherent racism, can so easily exclude people of color, right after it already used and abused them.

Under capitalism, it is impossible to provide a living to those it is forced to exclude. The state is then tasked with, among many things, two things I’ll point out: It is tasked with expanding the capitalist economy by finding new people and resources to exploit. It is also tasked with keeping in “order” or outright doing away with those it already used up. Being that they are now considered a “drain” to society. It does this “cleaning up of society” by criminalizing those it has excluded and forced into crime or other form of informal economy and even a life of vagabonds.

So the “war on crime” “war on drugs” really translates to a war on Black & Brown people as well as poor people in general. Such a profound contradiction you find in this type of society, the act of waging a “war on crime” when you create, through your chosen means of production, the conditions that create and harbor crime. And when you force these conditions on sections of people through government policy and through consequential machinations of the capitalist system, you’re essentially criminalizing whole sections of people, in this case Blacks, Latinos and Native Americans.

Blacks & Latinos are criminalized as they are segregated into purposely maintained ghettos and barrios, which lack many opportunities at a decent living. In their desperation, are forced to get into crime, like robbing and selling drugs (drugs that the state has purposely made illegal and which the government has been exposed, time and time again, to have a hand, directly and indirectly in these drugs making it to the streets).

It is this segregation, and the deplorable conditions, along with the nature dictated by capitalism that one must adopt to succeed in such society, that played a major role in certain sections of Black & Brown people to develop into the ruthless, cut-throat, money obsessed individuals you find today. Which gives the repressive forces of the state, that excuse, to unleash all manner of violence and terrorism against the Black & Latino oppressed people.

There can be no ending of racial oppression without ending capitalism, as also, there’s no reforming the police. The police, as they have manifested in a capitalist society, are to protect and serve the interests of the state, which serves the interest of capital and the capitalist class. The police are tasked with enforcing the law, the law under capitalism having mainly to do with keeping in order, keeping in check, the people who either step out or are forced out of the formal way of doing things. They also hide or sweep up, the physically visual contradictions of capitalism. Speaking here of the people that develop from poverty. And this the police do so ruthlessly.

The police’s hyper aggressive approach to Black & Brown people has essentially criminalized them. Yes, through racism, but also through economic policy. The limitations of the capitalist system in America, forces Black, Brown and poor people to be regarded as “loose ends to cut” as they get wrongfully blamed for certain economic calamities in Society. When the blame actually lies in the workings of the capitalist system itself.

But truly, when it comes down to it, the police’s violent ruthless approach to Black and Brown people is about also enforcing and establishing the dominance of white supremacy and the capitalist state. Keeping in check, through violence, terror and manipulating the oppressed people. Who, if they were to ever to gain a scientific political consciousness and were to unite and led under scientific leadership could spell the beginning of the end for the capitalist/imperialist system. Knowing this, it is no wonder that there exists in America, a so-called “War on Crime,” “War on Drugs,” and the new “operation legend” which are terms that mask the genocidal intentions of the state against Black & Brown people. A slow genocide carried out by the police through its unrestrained murder of Black & Brown people and also their mass incarceration, preventing a lot of Black & Brown people from reproducing, which is also a form of genocide.

So how can one expect to reform the police under this system when the police is also a dynamic feature of the capitalistic system as they are among the instruments of its enforcement and defense.

Listen to the podcast:

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Racial Oppression Can Be EndedBut Not Under This System

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

During this four month fund drive, Revcom.us continued to incur thousands of dollars of costs each month for our office, maintaining our existing site and other expenses. But thanks to our existing monthly sustainers we were able to meet these expenses and use all the funds raised in the drive to transform the website.

So we encourage all our donors and those who’ve not yet donated to become monthly sustainers at whatever level you can afford.

Remember, humanity’s fate truly hinges on millions taking up the revolutionary science, strategy, and new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian which they can find at revcom.us.

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/265/avakian-preliminary_transformation_into_capital-en.html

"Preliminary Transformation into Capital"... And Putting an End to Capitalism

by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

Editors' Note: The following is from the talk "Why We're in the Situation We're in Today...And What to Do About It: A Thoroughly Rotten System and the Need for Revolution," one of the 7 Talks given by Bob Avakian in 2006. Audio of the 7 Talks, plus the Question and Answer Session, with Concluding Remarks, is available at bobavakian.net. In preparing this for publication, the author has edited and expanded parts of it, and has included subheads and footnotes.

In order to understand what the problem is in the world, there are two words we could focus on.  Those two words are: "preliminary transformation."  These are words that Frederick Engels used in describing how capitalism operates—in explicating Marx's great breakthroughs in uncovering the nature of capitalist production and accumulation. Or, to convey more fully what Marx was getting at, we could expand this focus slightly to include the four words: "preliminary transformation into capital."

Now, what Marx was talking about, and what's crucial to grasp, is that specifically in the sphere of economics—which is the foundation of all societies, and of all systems—in order for anything to be done within the realm of capitalism, and in line with the dynamics of capitalism, social wealth (money or whatever) has to undergo a preliminary transformation into capital. In other words, if you're talking about building housing, for example, under capitalism, this has to be done through the dynamics of how the capitalist system operates—there has to be investment in a way that turns that investment into capital.  Now what do I mean by capital? Most fundamentally: control over and use of the labor power (the ability to work) of others, and the utilization of that labor power to produce profit that is accumulated privately. Let's break that down.

Say, for example, you have a stack of money: how do you make it undergo the "preliminary transformation into capital?"  Money just sitting there doing nothing is not capital—it's just money.  If it were money in the hands of a socialist government, we'd say:  what are the social needs and how do we apply this accumulated wealth to meet those social needs in the context of everything else that we have to take into account?  We wouldn't have to undergo the preliminary transformation into capital. But a capitalist, or a capitalist system, fundamentally cannot do that.  Particular capitalists have to say: how can we invest this in labor power, as well as in raw materials, in means of transportation, and so on, in a way which will be most profitable for us?  The defining feature of capitalism is profit in command—and profit accumulated privately.  That's why Marx referred to the accumulation of surplus value (or profit) as "Moses and the prophets" of the capitalist system.  You have to pursue the accumulation of profit—and it essentially has to take place in the form of private capital and profit in private hands.1

So, in order for something to happen under capitalism—such as, again, housing being built—whatever would be allocated to that has to undergo this preliminary transformation into capital; it has to be transformed into the investment of capital, into the means of production and into labor power, which are under the control of particular capitalists. And then, as the Sherlock Holmes character would say, "the game's afoot."  Then the question is: can you make back what you invested, what you transformed into capital—can you recoup that, plus an additional amount?  You are not operating in the abstract or in a vacuum, you are operating in conditions of competition with other capitalists—and, increasingly under the capitalist system, you are dealing with monopolies, with large scale and international aggregations and associations of capital.  So you cannot just say: "We have a social need, housing, let's apply money to build housing."  You have to undergo that preliminary transformation—to turn things into capital and then see if that capital can be more profitably employed in building housing, or in something else.  And you can lose—when I say "the game's afoot," you can lose the whole thing. You are investing in buildings, and other means of production, and each individual capitalist or aggregate or association of capital is doing the same thing—turning whatever they've accumulated, whatever they have at hand, into capital—not just investing in means of production (such as buildings in which to carry out production) but, again, purchasing labor power, to try to more intensively and extensively exploit the workers who are employed by that capital, whose labor power has been purchased by that capital and is now being used by the capitalist, and is the sole means through which more wealth can be produced and accumulated as capital. You are doing all this in order to complete the process of re-accumulating wealth: recouping your initial investment—but not just that—beyond that, accumulating wealth on a bigger scale.  The point is, you cannot just say: "Let's chart up all the social needs, let's see how much we have available to us and, through a process of political decision-making, let's allocate what we think is the best and wisest allocation of resources to the various social needs we can identify."  You cannot do that under capitalism, because there's that necessary step of "preliminary transformation into capital," and then the drive, the competitive drive—the drive conditioned by competition with other capitalists seeking to do the same thing—to recoup that capital not just on the scale on which it was originally invested (the scale on which you originally transformed things into capital) but on a bigger scale (again, based on the exploitation of wage labor) in order to, in turn, repeat the process, in competition with everyone else doing the same thing.

Capital will, it must, chase the most profitable investment—that is the nature of capitalism—and if it's not most profitable to build housing, you won't do it even if you can identify a great social need.  Or you will not take into account environmental concerns, because (as Raymond Lotta has pointed out a number of times in talks and writings published in Revolution) such environmental concerns are considered "externalities" from the point of view of capitalism.  Such concerns don't figure into the calculations that I was just speaking of.  These are somebody else's concern, somewhere else.

The Government Cannot "Regulate Away" the Fundamental Dynamics of Capitalism

Well, some people might say, the capitalists do have a government and they do have "wise people," above and beyond individual competing capitalists who are conditioned and driven by the need to go through this "preliminary transformation into capital" and then the need to have it reassume the form of capital on a higher level, in the form of profit.  There's a government there—even under capitalism, why can't the government identify the social needs, get the revenue it needs, and then apply the revenue to meet those social needs, even while private capital is doing what it does?  Why can't the government curb and restrict and control capital so that it doesn't get completely out of hand?  Well, let's just briefly walk this through.

Alright, where does the government get its money from (to put it simply, to boil it down to simple terms)?  Well, it can get it by borrowing—but then that has to be repaid, and with interest, so that in and of itself is not a money-making venture for the government. When it sells bonds and similar things for its borrowing activity, those are purchased usually by banks, or other financial institutions, and those bonds have to be repaid with interest. The government could also print more money; in the final analysis, however, simply doing that doesn't create more wealth but contributes to reducing the value of the currency.  Ultimately, in order to meet its financial requirements, the government has to raise revenue that is larger than what it already has.  How does it do that? Through taxes. Now, on what basis does the government tax?  It taxes private citizens, and it does tax businesses and corporations.  And in turn all that cumulative money, from which the government could tax, depends ultimately, under the system of capitalism, on the profitability of capital investment.  If the capitalist economy is not doing well, not profiting, the wages of workers will go down; and therefore, the money you can tax from them will be less. The earnings of the petite bourgeoisie—the small business owners and small traders, and so on—will go down, and the profits of the corporations will go down. And the money you can tax from them will be less.

Ultimately, what the government can raise—even in the sphere in which it might seek to, in a certain sense, "stand above" competing capitalists and address social needs—this still depends upon the profitability of the system, on the operation of capitalism in an overall sense.  It still depends on that process which begins with the preliminary transformation into capital and aims to end up with more capital than was initially invested through that preliminary transformation.  So, even the contexts and the limits and confines within which the government can address social needs depends, in an ultimate and fundamental sense, on the profitability of capitalism.  The government is not free, even within this limited sphere, to say: "What is social need?—let's raise the money and then let's apply it to the social needs."  Because, after all, taxes are in fact in conflict with profitability for discrete, individual aggregations of capital—corporations and banks, and so on.  Taxes are in conflict with that.2 Now, to the degree that capitalists can recognize the larger interests of their class, and to the degree they have the freedom to do so because their profitability is great enough at a particular time, they can, under many circumstances, be prevailed upon to accept certain taxation.  But it's always working against this whole other drive which is fundamental to this system—a drive which takes place not through just one big capitalist sitting somewhere deciding on investments, but through competing aggregations of capital which will drive each other under.

This is not just happening in one country, it's happening internationally—and even if you regulated what the capitalists could do in a particular country, that regulation would break down because of the international dynamics in which capitalism is embedded in this era in particular, this era of capitalist imperialism.  The capitalists in your country would be undermined and driven under by other capitalists, in other countries, who didn't have those constraints on them, if you imposed constraints (such as taxes) beyond a certain point in a particular country.  Plus, capitalism operates on a gigantic scale and speculates on a gigantic scale and is highly parasitic on a whole international level anyway.  And, once again, ultimately—not in a linear or simplistic sense, but ultimately—the economics will determine the politics.  If you constrict and constrain the capitalists too much, there will arise among them conscious representatives who will get rid of you and bring forward other representatives of the ruling class who will not do that to them.  You see this battled out all the time within the ranks of the capitalists and through their political system. There is the political expression of this and then, if you dig more deeply, you can see it in terms of how it goes on behind the scenes—not in open political contestation so much, but behind the scenes.

Why "Life is Not Fair," Under Capitalism...Why the World is the Way It is, and How It Could Be Radically Different

The reason "life is not fair" is because the capitalist system operates according to certain dynamics.  And one of them is that most of the people in the world scramble to have barely enough to eat—or don't succeed in having enough to eat.  That is daily existence for the majority of humanity.  Now, if you step back from it, you would say to yourself: "Well, what could be more basic than the right to eat, what is more essential to life than the basic right to eat—and to have some shelter, and to have clothes—but, in a concentrated sense, the right to eat, what could be more basic?" How can it be that you have a world in which there is no right to eat?  In which the great majority of humanity either does not have enough to eat or has to scuffle everyday to get enough to eat.  How can that be?  Especially amidst all the wealth there is in the world that surrounds and mocks people at every turn.  Once again, materialism, dialectical materialism, teaches us that this is because of the fundamental production relations of capitalism:  the fundamental contradiction of capitalism between the socially produced wealth—wealth that is created by large numbers of people working in networks of production—and the private accumulation of that wealth by aggregations of competing capitalists

This is fundamentally related to the phenomenon that's described by "preliminary transformation into capital." It is driven by the need of capital to reproduce itself, and on an expanded scale—not to reproduce and expand social wealth to be distributed according to the needs of the people, but to reproduce itself as capital on an expanded scale.

There's a vast difference between reproducing wealth on an expanded scale which can be and is applied to meet social needs, and reproducing wealth on an expanding basis as capital.  In understanding that difference you understand fundamental things about why the world is the way it is and how it could be radically different.  

1. Even if we're talking about state capitalism as it existed in the Soviet Union for a time—from the time of Khrushchev, beginning in the mid-1950s, until the end of the Soviet Union itself, at the beginning of the 1990s—even under the state form, while the state played the centralizing and key role in regard to the economy and the accumulation of capital, nevertheless that capital in fact consisted of particular and competing capitals—through different regional ministries, through different sectors of the economy and those who had the predominant influence in those sectors, etc.  So "the one social capital of the state" in turn was made up of many and competing capitals. This has to do with the fundamental nature and dynamics of capitalism, which will assert themselves and have effect once the essential "law" (the "Moses and the prophets") of capitalism—the drive for the accumulation of profit above all else, and in particular above social need—has assumed the commanding role. [back]

2. While taxes do underwrite the vital functions of government that serve the larger, longer-term, and more strategic interests of capital, like the preservation and extension of empire, and while certain government activities may directly or indirectly enhance the overall profitability of capital, it remains the case that taxes are in conflict with profitability for individual aggregations of capital. [back]

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/326/everyones-talkin-about-inequality-lets-talk-about-the-system-causing-it-en.html

Everyone's Talkin' About Inequality—Let's Talk About the System Causing It

Lesson from Bangladesh

January 6, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On April 24, 2013, the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh collapsed and became an instant tomb for more than 1,100 people. Aside from the dead, many others are now maimed for life, their bodies mangled, without arms and legs. The incident became emblematic of a world of inequalities. But what people aren't talking about is why capitalism must generate such inequalities.


April 30, 2013, Bangladesh: Factory worker being pulled from the rubble where more than 1,100 workers died. Photo: AP

Since this disaster, the deadliest in the history of the garment industry, questions have been raised: Who should be responsible to the victims' families? What can be done to prevent this from happening again? What is the culpability of companies like Walmart that outsource to factories in Third World countries?

Many have pointed to the unfair, unsafe, sweatshop conditions of the workers in Rana Plaza: that Bangladesh has one of the lowest costs of labor in the world with the national minimum wage at 21 cents an hour, or $38 per month; that the eight-story building was so shoddily built that workers had reported massive cracks in the walls the day before and refused to work—but factory owners coldly calculated that deadlines were more important than safety so workers were told if they didn't return to work their pay would be cut.

Millions around the world looked at this horrific incident and what it says about the gross inequalities in the world. Many people are not just aware of, but appalled by the fact that we live in a world where so many people live in conditions of misery, poverty, and starvation. Some talk about how capitalism is "greedy" and "unfair" for the majority of people who live on this globe.


April 30, 2013, Bangladesh: An attempt to rescue several factory workers buried in rubble after the Rana Plaza clothing factory collapsed. Photo: AP

But what is really needed—to get at the problem AND the solution—is a lot more discussion and understanding about WHY capitalism, by its very nature, HAS TO generate such inequality and impoverishment. WHY the economic laws that govern the system of capitalism will and can only lead to horrors like what happened in Rana Plaza. That no amount of regulation, reform, compensation, or even capitalists with good intentions who try to treat the workers fairly, is going to fundamentally change this hellish situation. That what is really needed is REVOLUTION to get rid of this system of capitalism, and to replace it with a whole new economic and political system working towards the emancipation of humanity worldwide.

The story of Rana Plaza provides a lesson in exactly this point.

A System at Work

Mango is an international fashion brand based in Spain that ships 60 million garments a year. At the time of the disaster, it had arranged to have 25,000 samples of polo shirts and other items produced at the Phantom Tac factory in Rana Plaza. This factory, a recent New York Times article noted, "could be regarded as an unlikely attempt to prove that a Bangladeshi factory could be socially responsible and make a profit." But let's look at what these efforts to be a "socially responsible" factory really show.

One of the owners of the Phantom Tac factory, David Mayor in Spain, did seem to be trying to do some good things. His fashion clothes, for example, had the motto "clothing with a heart." Mayor said he wanted to show it was possible to run an ethical business in which workers were trained well and treated with respect. He teamed up with a Vatican missionary to offer a training program aimed at poor women in rural Bangladesh who flock to Dhaka, the Bangladesh capital, in search of work. He hired about a dozen of them at his own factory. He wanted consumers to understand how their clothes are made, so he created a website to connect them with workers sewing their clothes. He opened a shop in Dhaka where clothes had a code on the sales tag so that buyers could type this in and learn about the Bangladeshi women who had made the garments they had bought. (See "Clothing Brands Sidestep Blame for Safety Lapses," New York Times, December 30, 2013.)

All this, of course, took money to set up. It took money to finance the rural training program. It took money to set up the shop in Dhaka. A woman was hired to develop the website. So what happens when someone like Mayor tries to "do something good" like this in the whole setup of capitalism?

Well, first of all, Mayor was not operating in a vacuum. He had to go up against all kinds of other capitalists all over the world who are trying to make a profit just like him. Other capitalists who are not spending this extra money on "socially conscious" projects.

Think of all the different companies around the world making clothes. There's a lot of anarchy here—uncertainty, disorder, and chaos.

By the time Mr. Mayor had set up his factory in Rana Plaza, he had already bought machinery, the cotton for the shirts, and bought people's labor to work and was paying them wages for that. He had already invested all that, and that money was gone—it was now embodied in the machinery, the raw materials, and the wages. So the only way he could get that back—plus end up with more capital in the form of more money, or profit—was to exploit the people working for his company—to have them produce more value than all the money he had invested in the first place. Then he had to sell the products, the shirts, in order to realize his profit.

BUT here's where the anarchy of capitalist commodity production and exchange comes in. Every capitalist is competing with all the other capitalists doing the same thing all over the world, facing the same compulsion to "expand or die," to beat out your competitors—or go under. And this requires cutting costs at every step along the way.

The fact of the matter is: The capitalists who aren't doing extra socially conscious projects like training programs for young girls in rural Bangladesh or connecting consumers in the West with factory workers in the Third World—which cost money—are going to have a competitive edge over someone like Mayor. So eventually Mayor will have to either stop such programs or go under.

In a 2008 interview in the World Trade Review, Mayor said he'd figured out that he would have to charge an extra 10 cents per piece to really improve the lives of his workers. And he said, "When you are a manufacturer negotiating orders with buyers that 10 cents becomes very important, it is very competitive and 10 cents becomes a lot."

In fact, Mango set up production in Bangladesh at Rana Plaza in order to cut costs to be more competitive. The New York Times noted: "Technology and investment are transforming the upper end of the industry, enabling Mango and other brands to increase sales, manage global inventories with pinpoint precision and introduce new clothes faster than ever—all as consumers now expect to see new things every time they visit a store. But these brands depend on factories in developing countries like Bangladesh, where wages are very low and the pressure to work faster and cheaper has spawned familiar problems: unsafe buildings, substandard work conditions, and repeated wage and labor violations."

While Mayor was trying to carry out some socially conscious projects, workers at the Phantom Tac factory said deadline pressures were relentless. Managers hid excessive overtime or other wage violations. There were violations of child labor. Conditions in the factory deteriorated as the company began to focus on winning larger orders. Right before the building collapse, under pressure to meet orders, workers were forced to work through the night. Workers were told if they complained they'd lose their job. (Reuters, "Bangladesh disaster crushes owner's ideal of clothes with a conscience," June 16, 2013)

Mayor's factory was just a small part of Mango's worldwide operations where a big part of its "growth strategy" has been placing a premium on efficiency, cost and speed. No room here for any extra "socially responsible" costs.

Eventually Mayor had to tighten expenses at his factory in Rana Plaza. He stopped funding the training program for women in the rural areas. The person developing the consumer website left.

Now, 200 of the men and women who worked in Mayor's factory—bent over their machines for 12 or more hours a day for barely enough to live on—are dead and others are now living with bodies crushed beyond repair.

Mayor has disappeared and his business partner in Bangladesh is in jail in connection with the building collapse.

*****

The 4,500 garment factories in Bangladesh and the 3.6 million garment workers in Bangladesh who are mostly women are part of a $1 trillion global clothing industry. Garment manufacturing in Bangladesh is a $20 billion industry. It is the mainstay of the country's economy, employing 40 percent of the country's industrial workforce. Bangladesh is the second-largest exporter of garments in the world (after China)—garments account for 80 percent of the country's exports. The bulk of these exports, 60 percent, go to Europe; 23 percent go to the United States—more than to any other individual nation.

In the business of making clothes, just like any other business, a capitalist has to get a bigger and bigger share of the market. Each one has to keep fighting to outdo their competitors or go under—and have to continually cheapen costs in order to stay alive. This means seeking out the lowest, most exploitative wages. This means cutting costs wherever possible—even if it means shoddy and dangerous working conditions. This means denying workers any kind of organizing rights. This means violating safety codes that if followed would require spending money.

The needless deaths of the workers in Rana Plaza teach us a lesson about the problem AND the solution.

There is no such thing as capitalism without inequality, without exploitation, without misery, without horrific disasters like what happened in Rana Plaza. This hellish situation is dictated by the very nature and laws of how this system must and can only operate. And yes, no amount of regulation, reform, compensation, or capitalists with good intentions who try to treat the workers fairly, is going to fundamentally change this hellish situation. What is really needed IS revolution to get rid of this system of capitalism, and to replace it with a whole new economic and political system working towards the emancipation of humanity worldwide.

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/avakian/science/05ba-science...revolution-the-basic-contradictions-and-dynamics-of-capitalism-en.html

The Science...Actual Revolution title image

Download PDF of entire work

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

This excerpt comes from the section titled "I. Method and Approach, Communism as a Science."

Excerpt from the section:
The Basic Contradictions and Dynamics of Capitalism

This gets us to the basic point of why anarchy is the principal form of motion, and the driving force, of capitalism and its fundamental contradiction. Now what do we mean by anarchy? There are a lot of different ways that anarchy or anarchism is expressed—some people proclaim themselves anarchists, and we’ll talk about them. But anarchy, basically, means something—a thing or a process—which is not consciously regulated. It might be regulated in some way, but it’s not consciously regulated in the society overall. So let’s talk about anarchy and how it fits into this capitalist system—why anarchy of production is the main driving force of capitalism, and why this driving force of anarchy forces the capitalists to constantly intensify the exploitation of the people who are working as their wage slaves—the proletarians, the people without means of production who have to sell their labor power—and why the capitalists are constantly going from one part of the world to another to find people they can exploit even more ruthlessly. What needs to be understood—and right now is very little understood—is that it’s not just that they’re greedy, but that there are driving compulsions that the capitalists themselves are under, which force them to constantly do these things, including to more intensely and viciously exploit the people who are working under their command.

Now, in the polemic by Raymond Lotta in Demarcations #3, “On the ‘Driving Force of Anarchy’ and the Dynamics of Change,” an important statement of mine is cited, which gets to the heart of this, so I’m going to get into some of this and break it down a bit. It begins:

It is the anarchy of capitalist production which is, in fact, the driving or motive force of this process [of capitalist production], even though the contradiction between the bourgeoisie and proletariat is an integral part of the contradiction between socialized production and private appropriation.

That’s the first sentence of this statement, and let’s stop there for a minute, because there’s a lot packed into that. What does it mean, “the contradiction between socialized production and private appropriation”? Well, we talked about what socialized production is: a lot of people working on a production process, not a bunch of individuals each producing things with their own means of production—their own little plot of land, or their own tools, or whatever. So that’s the socialization of production.

But while production under capitalism is carried out in this kind of socialized way, the people who control it and appropriate the products of it, and make the profit from it, are individuals, or corporations, groupings of capitalists. So, thousands and ultimately millions of people work in this process socially, but a small number of people in different aggregates, different groupings of corporations and other forms of capitalism, takes the products as their private property and sells them, accumulating for themselves the profit that comes from doing that. The people who do the work in a socialized way don’t get the product that they work on. That goes to a capitalist (or group of capitalists) that pays them a wage; and then, as previously discussed, they have to go out and buy other things, other commodities. So you don’t work in an auto plant and, at the end of the day, you can say, “Well I’ve worked here three weeks, I think I’ve produced the value of a car, so I’m gonna drive it home.” How many years in prison would you get for that? So, it’s private appropriation on the basis of socialized production. That’s the fundamental contradiction at the heart of capitalism. But what I quoted, just a minute ago, says that it’s the anarchy of capitalist production which is the driving force of this process. And then that statement goes on to elaborate: “While the exploitation of labor-power is the form by and through which surplus value is created and appropriated, it is the anarchic relations between capitalist producers, and not the mere existence of propertyless proletarians or the class contradiction as such, that drives these producers to exploit the working class on an historically more intensive and extensive scale.” And: “This motive force of anarchy is an expression of the fact that the capitalist mode of production represents the full development of commodity production and the law of value.”

What does this mean? Well, I have talked about what commodities are, and how, under capitalism, in general things are produced not to be used directly by the people who produce them, but as things to be exchanged in society (and the world) as a whole, through a whole network of relations that are held together by money (or things which act as a stand-in for money). This is what it means to say that the capitalist mode of production represents the full development of commodity production. OK, so far maybe so good. But what about this law of value? The law of value says this: the value of any product—that is, any commodity, anything produced and exchanged—is equal to the amount of socially necessary labor time to produce that particular commodity. And the reason that anarchy is at the heart of this, is that all these capitalists are engaging in commodity exchanges with each other, as well as commodity exchanges with consumers, and it’s all tied together by this law of value—that’s what regulates it in the ultimate sense, even as it’s a bunch of different capitalists accumulating privately, in competition with each other, in the same field of production or in different fields of production, or in the realm of finance, and so on. But, once again, underneath all this is this socialized process of production.

Now, if it were the case that you just had one big group of capitalists exploiting people, and you didn’t have this whole commodity system, then this one big group of capitalists could regulate things and keep all this madness from happening, where people are thrown out of work, plants are closed down, corporations go from one part of the world to another, with all the consequences of that for people. I mean, look at Detroit. I made this point, in Revolution—Nothing Less!19 that, after the rebellion in Detroit in 1967, all of a sudden the ruling class said, “Ooh we got a big problem here in Detroit, we’ve got all these Black people without jobs, they’re being discriminated against, and brutalized by the police, we better go out and hire a bunch of them, give them a well-paying job in the auto plants”—and they went out and hired thousands of Black people right after the rebellion. Now all those jobs are gone. Detroit is a basket case where large parts of the people in the city can’t even consistently get clean water. Why? Because of the dynamics of capitalism—the unregulated character, the anarchic character of capitalism, where these different aggregates of capitalists, privately appropriating socially produced wealth unto themselves, in different segments, are in competition not only with each other in a particular country but are in competition with capitalists all over the world, and therefore they are constantly having to change the way they produce things, constantly having to shift the arena, or the part of the world in which they’re operating, in order to try to outcompete each other, with the threat of going under if they aren’t more efficient than the others. If they don’t more efficiently exploit people, they will go under, or be reduced to second-class capitalist status, on the verge of going under, even if they’re billion dollar corporations.

When I was a kid, for example, Sears was a big department store. When I was really young they even had the Sears Roebuck catalog: You didn’t order things with your smart phone, you got a catalog and ordered things through the mail from the catalog. Well now, Sears is still around, but it’s not big like Walmart or something, because Walmart came in, found cheaper ways to do things, paying people low wages in the South, then expanding into many parts of the world, particularly the Third World. It’s got operations in places like Bangladesh. The factory that collapsed on the women and killed them in scores, and the fires in the factories there that killed hundreds, were making products for Walmart, and that’s why Walmart could sell them more cheaply than Penney’s or Sears or whatever, and so Penney’s and Sears are in danger of going under—and forget about K-Mart, it’s just kind of limping along.

Or there is the situation with the major supermarket chain A&P, which we now hear is going under. And where is Radio Shack now? Or, to go further back, where is the Kaiser automobile (there is Kaiser Health Care, but where is the car that Kaiser used to make)?

These are just a few examples—many others could be cited. This is an expression of the anarchy of capitalism—it’s not all regulated from one center, it’s all these different capitalists in fierce competition with each other, even sometimes huge groupings of capitalists controlling billions of dollars but always under the threat of going under if they can’t do things more profitably than others who are in the same field, or in some other field, who then buy them up or drive them out of business altogether.

This is the nature of capitalism. Things are constantly changing. I once made this comment to people: You know, things are going along in the economy and then some twit invents an app, and then all of a sudden everything changes. One of these guys coming out of Stanford, or wherever, invents some new device, some new technology, that both makes it possible, and at the same time makes it more and more necessary, to do something through the Internet, more productively and efficiently; and then some of the previous ways of doing things get undermined. Think about Uber and taxis. Uber is undercutting the taxi business, and you had this big thing in France where all the taxi drivers were trying to burn down Uber, because it’s putting all the taxi drivers out of work. Well, this is just an example, again, of the anarchy of capitalism. Somebody comes up with a new innovation for how to organize the production or the distribution of things more efficiently, with greater profit, with less costs of production—and BOOM, the people who had their money in the more traditional way of doing things, even if they’d been doing well for a while, may go under.

These are the basic dynamics of capitalism. For the reasons I’ve been speaking to, there is the continual competition, with even big fish getting eaten up by more efficient “sharks.” And, at the same time, all these capitalists are linked, and ultimately regulated, by the law of value—they’re all tied together by the reality, expressed as the law of value, that the value of things produced is equal to the amount of socially necessary labor time that goes into their production. And this contradiction—capitalists, or groups of capitalists, that exist and operate as separate units of capital, while at the same time they are bound together by, and forced ultimately to proceed on the basis of, the law of value—this is what leads to the anarchy of capitalism, what leads to anarchy being the driving force of capitalism and the key expression of capitalism’s fundamental contradiction, between socialized production and private appropriation. That anarchy is what drives the capitalists to exploit and oppress people in all the ways that we’re all too familiar with, including giving not a damn if you worked for them for 30 years and your children are dependent completely on the wages or salary that you earn—if it’s more profitable to shove you out the door and go somewhere else, that’s just the rules of the game, baby, too bad for you, because it’s do that or die on the part of the capitalists, because they’re in competition with a whole bunch of other capitalists.

As a sharp illustration of this, there was a very good article20 on the revcom.us site about this capitalist who had investments in Bangladesh but who wanted to be a socially-conscious capitalist. This article ran down all the ways in which he tried to do things differently, do them in a way that would not so viciously exploit the women working in the plants that he owned—not have them in such horrific conditions, give them more social benefits—and how he was forced to give that up by this very driving force of anarchy, by the competition from other capitalists doing things in more efficient, more ruthless ways. So even though he was a good-hearted capitalist—and that may sound like an oxymoron (a contradiction in terms), but he was actually a good-hearted capitalist—still, he couldn’t keep up his “kind capitalism” because of the basic dynamics of what drives capitalism.

This is very important to understand, because it shows why you can’t reform this system. You can’t, for example, get capitalists to act more responsibly toward the environment. Look at Obama. He’s the “green president.” Yet he’s opened up all this oil drilling in all these new areas, which is going to heighten the environmental disaster that’s already developing, because the U.S.—that is, the ruling class, the capitalist-imperialists that Obama represents —they are in competition with other capitalists all around the world for sources of oil, and to be able to produce oil more cheaply. And oil is a strategic resource that has everything to do with military power. Militaries run on oil, and the U.S. military is one of the world’s largest, if not the largest, consumer of oil. So, even if Obama wanted to be an “environmental president,” in a real sense, the dynamics of this capitalist system wouldn’t allow him to do that. This is what so many people don’t understand. They constantly are deceived, and deceive themselves, because they don’t understand the fundamental dynamics and “rules” of the system they live under and how that sets the terms for what is, and is not, possible in terms of changing things. Even if something seems to make a lot of sense and to be rational from the point of view of the needs and interests of humanity as a whole, if it doesn’t fit into those dynamics of capitalism, if it can’t be made to work through the relations and dynamics of capitalism, it won’t happen under this system. And that’s why the situation with the environment is getting worse and worse. Yet, here you have someone like Jared Diamond who wrote this overall very good book, Guns, Germs, and Steel,21 talking about why the world’s the way it is, and why it came to be that in some parts of the world people have a lot more technology and power, while in other parts of the world people have much less and are oppressed by the people who have more, and so on. He has a certain amount of materialism, even some dialectics thrown in there, but then when he looks at the environment,22 he sees the desperate situation with the environment, the tremendous havoc that’s being wreaked on the environment, and the fact that it’s almost reaching a tipping point where it won’t be possible to undo this, and what does he come up with? The idea that we have to go convince the heads of these corporations that it’s in their interests, it’s in accordance with their bottom line, to be more rational about the environment—that’s what he comes up with! He just completely throws out the kind of basic understanding that went into Guns, Germs, and Steel, even with certain limitations in that book. He just deceived himself because, even though he had a certain understanding to a certain level, he didn’t really deeply grasp the basic dynamics of how this system works and how you can’t change it into something else just by talking to people about what would be better for the earth and for the people of the earth, in the abstract. This, once again, gets to the fundamental question of why this system cannot be reformed and why you have to have a completely different system in order to address these social problems of such great magnitude, like the environment, or the oppression of women, or the oppression of different nations and peoples.

Now, it’s not that the contradictions of the economic system—the fundamental contradiction of capitalism, between socialized production and private appropriation, and within that the driving force of anarchy—it’s not that this is the only significant part of reality, the only significant contradiction in this society or in the world as a whole. There are other very important contradictions which have a certain life and a certain dynamic of their own. For example, the oppression of women: As I have pointed out, this arose way before capitalism. And so did the oppression of one group of people by others, in a number of different forms. But at this point, with the system of capitalism, with its tentacles reaching out and ensnaring the whole world within its overall dynamics, all these different contradictions now take place within the fundamental framework of the capitalist system. So while these different social contradictions have to be addressed in their own right, and they have their own dynamics—and you can’t simply say, “If we want to get rid of the oppression of women, we just have to change the economic system,” you have to do a lot more than that—still, in regard to such things as the oppression of women, and even as you’re addressing this in its own right, ultimately what you’re able to do will be determined by what the character of the economic system is, because it’s fundamentally the functioning of the economic system that sets the basic terms, and the basic limits, of what can take place. So even if a problem didn’t arise with the capitalist mode of production, it is now taking place within a world where the dynamics of that economic system fundamentally and ultimately set the stage and the terms within which you are operating.

To summarize this crucial point, we could put it this way: Ultimately, the mode of production sets the foundation and the limits of change, in terms of how you address any social problem, such as the oppression of women, or the oppression of Black people or Latinos, or the contradiction between mental work and manual work, or the situation with the environment, or the situation of immigrants, and so on. While all those things have reality and dynamics in their own right, and aren’t reducible to the economic system, they all take place within the framework and within the fundamental dynamics of that economic system; and that economic system, that mode of production, sets the foundation and the ultimate limits of change in regard to all those social questions. So, if you want to get rid of all these different forms of oppression, you have to address them in their own right, but you also have to fundamentally change the economic system to give you the ability to be able to carry through those changes in fundamental terms. To put it another way: You have to have an economic system that doesn’t prevent you from making those changes, and instead not only allows but provides a favorable foundation for making those changes.

19. BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! Bob Avakian Live. Film of a talk given in 2012. For more on this film and to order the DVD set, go to revcom.us. [back]

20. “Everyone's Talkin' About Inequality—Let's Talk About the System Causing It: Lesson from Bangladesh,” Revolution #326, January 12, 2014. Available at revcom.us. [back]

21. Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (W.W. Norton & Company, 1999). [back]

22. Jared Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (Viking, 2005). [back]

 

Contents

Publisher's Note

Introduction and Orientation

Foolish Victims of Deceit, and Self-Deceit

Part I. Method and Approach, Communism as a Science

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

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

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

Part III. The Strategic Approach to An Actual Revolution

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

Part IV. The Leadership We Need

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

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

Appendix 2:
Framework and Guidelines for Study and Discussion

Notes

Selected List of Works Cited

About the Author

 

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/680/understanding-the-world-to-make-revolution-and-emancipate-humanity-en.html

Understanding the world...to make revolution and emancipate humanity

Updated | revcom.us

 

How Do We Know What’s True?

Bob Avakian:
Why We Need A Scientific Method and Approach to Life and Our Struggle

This is a film clip from the 2014 Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian, “Revolution and Religion,” at Riverside Church in New York City. Watch the entire Dialogue here.

What Is Capitalism, Part One

What Is Capitalism, Part Two

Dictatorship and Democracy, Part One

Democracy — Concentrating Some Essential Understanding

An excerpt from Bringing Forward Another Way by Bob Avakian

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Read the entire work:

From the Preamble to the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (emphasis added):

In contrast to the way in which the capitalist-imperialist state serves and enforces the interests of a small ruling group of exploiters, the New Socialist Republic in North America, with the continuing leadership of the Revolutionary Communist Party, bases itself on, and proceeds from, the fundamental interests of those most bitterly exploited and oppressed under the old system, and the masses of people broadly, and provides the means for them to play an increasingly widening role in the exercise of political power and the functioning of society in accordance with those interests—in order to carry forward the struggle to transform society, with the goal of uprooting and finally eliminating all oppressive and exploitative relations among human beings and the destructive antagonistic conflicts to which these relations give rise....

Read the whole Preamble, including the first paragraph which sets the context, here.

Break ALL The Chains, Unleash the Fury of Women As A Mighty Force for Revolution!

"The Subjugation of Women and the Division of Society Into Masters and Slaves, Exploiters and Exploited" A clip from BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

The Strategic Importance of the Struggle for the Emancipation of Women

Excerpt from the The New Communism, by Bob Avakian

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Special issue of Revolution

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

During this four month fund drive, Revcom.us continued to incur thousands of dollars of costs each month for our office, maintaining our existing site and other expenses. But thanks to our existing monthly sustainers we were able to meet these expenses and use all the funds raised in the drive to transform the website.

So we encourage all our donors and those who’ve not yet donated to become monthly sustainers at whatever level you can afford.

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/680/from-a-prisoner-revolutionary-political-consciousness-en.html

From a prisoner:

"How Revcom.us and Bob Avakian Helped Transform My 'Criminal Consciousness' to a Revolutionary Political Consciousness"

| revcom.us

 

I have been incarcerated for over 18 years. I was given 46 years to life under California’s draconian 3-strike law for a high speed chase which resulted in an injury.

This unjust sentence further fueled my anger, hate, and frustration for a system who has dismissed Black, Brown and even White lives as insignificant. And it further alienated me to a harmful “criminal consciousness.” I use the term “criminal consciousness” because as a “criminal,” I did have a consciousness. It was just misguided. It was based on anger and raw emotion from being followed, profiled, stopped, beaten, and harassed. As a young Black man I was aware and conscious of what this country felt about me. So my consciousness was built and based on abuse and mistreatment, it just had an angry emotion and misguided actions attached to it. But Revcom.us and Bob Avakian helped me turn my “criminal consciousness” to a revolutionary one. Here’s how they did it...

While not in any way condoning my criminal behavior/actions, they understood my energy and frustration. They told me that it could be re-directed in a positive revolutionary way. Initially I thought they were crazy. I felt no one understood. So I challenged them. With history, facts, and explanations that I hadn’t heard before they helped me see that my “criminal consciousness” could be turned around and used. Through hundreds of newsletters covering over a 10-year period, my prior “criminal consciousness” has been transformed to a revolutionary political consciousness. So it can be done. I think part of the way they were able to help transform me and countless others is their approach. They weren’t judgmental. Understanding and reaching people where they are, is I think their secret ingredient.

Another good thing is how they see value in people who society has thrown away. Revcom.us and Bob Avakian show those in prison they have value. And to people who have been told they are nothing, this is a big deal. Also I credit Revcom.us and Bob Avakian for engaging and including people from different walks of life. Respectfully and honestly disagreeing on some points, but agreeing on the goal is something else I think is good. Too many organizations are dismissive of people they don’t agree 100% with. And you lose a lot of people like that.

Another good thing I like is that they often show, print, and publish inmates’ words and writings. This is good because we feel like we are part of something. Many of us led the criminal lives we led because we didn’t feel part of anything. Amerika didn’t want us or accept us or understand us. So we went where we would feel wanted and accepted. And by showing our work, Revcom.us and Bob Avakian is saying “We understand you, we want you and accept you.” And with this kind of genuine relationship, there can be nothing but progress.

Revcom.us and Bob Avakian are providing valuable lessons, if people would pay attention. They are reaching people the WORLD needs, but can’t reach. Those of us in prison can and do have the ability to improve society. Look what George Jackson, Malcolm X and countless others have done and still are doing. Amerika sees a “prison.” Revcom.us and Bob Avakian see a university with many willing but misguided students. Looking at me and viewing me as a student, instead of a criminal, can bring out the best in me. It can further transform and re-shape my negative, destructive, and harmful criminal ways, to positive, productive and meaningful actions.

This is true “rehabilitation.” This system offers no meaningful “rehabilitation.” The public school system failed us and taught us we are nothing. No wonder many drop out. If you’re taught you’re nothing, you often act like you’re nothing. Many of us only acted how we were taught and treated. Public schools confused and angered us. Revcom.us and Bob Avakian woke us up, accepted us, and transformed us.

In closing, Revcom.us and Bob Avakian are saving lives. Because if many of us were left in the state we were in, Amerika would have a worse problem. I would encourage many other organizations to follow in the ways of Revcom.us and Bob Avakian. Because if you can successfully transform a “criminal consciousness” to a political revolutionary one, you have the very allies needed to make meaningful change. And it won’t happen without us. Thank you.

Bob Avakian Straight-Up on the Revolution... and the Gangs

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

Learn more about the film here.

Bob Avakian (BA) is the most important political thinker and leader in the world today.

Get Into BA »

THE PRISONERS REVOLUTIONARY LITERATURE FUND

Graphic imagePRLF is an educational literature fund that sends Revolution newspaper (www.revcom.us), works from Bob Avakian, and other revolutionary and scientific literature to hundreds of prisoners across the U.S.

To donate to the work of the PRLF, go HERE.

 

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Together, WE passed $40,000 in revcom's Winter fundraising campaign to “Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence”!

Reaching this goal is a real achievement and a victory for the people of the world, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated efforts of many people working creatively and collectively to meet this pressing need: those who donated whether large or small contributions, who fundraised, who spread the campaign, who sent statements, who raised comments, questions, criticisms or suggestions – and of course those who worked so hard on modernizing and upgrading our web technology and presence. It all made a difference!

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

During this four month fund drive, Revcom.us continued to incur thousands of dollars of costs each month for our office, maintaining our existing site and other expenses. But thanks to our existing monthly sustainers we were able to meet these expenses and use all the funds raised in the drive to transform the website.

So we encourage all our donors and those who’ve not yet donated to become monthly sustainers at whatever level you can afford.

Remember, humanity’s fate truly hinges on millions taking up the revolutionary science, strategy, and new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian which they can find at revcom.us.

You’ve read this article and now you need to be part of making sure revcom.us is able to make an urgently needed leap and transformation.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/680/parasitism-pandemic-needless-horrors-of-a-lopsided-world-en.html

Parasitism, Pandemic, and the Needless Horrors of a Lopsided World

Letter from a member of the Revolution Tour

| revcom.us

 

I was reading a couple of articles in the New York Times a few days ago.1 One was about the desperate lack of PPE (personal protective equipment) for front line health workers in the U.S. and a few pages later one about the production of some of that PPE in Malaysia under horrible conditions.2 It really illustrated some of what Bob Avakian (BA) was pointing to in his summation from BREAKTHROUGHS: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summary that an increasingly globalized capitalism:

relies to a very great degree for production and for maintaining the rate of profit on a vast network of sweatshops, particularly in the Third World of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, while capitalist activity in the capitalist-imperialist “home countries” is increasingly in the realm of finance and financial speculation, and the “high end” of (not the production of the basic physical materials for) high tech, as well as the service sector and the commercial sphere (including the growing role of online marketing). As Lenin phrased it, this puts the “seal of parasitism” on the whole of societies such as the U.S.

I thought these two articles were real-world, “grabbed from the headlines” illustrations of the process and that parasitism and the tightly entwined but profoundly unequal relationship BA is talking about.

As the Times article “Ten Months Have Passed. Protection Is Still Scant” reports, unbelievable as it might seem, nine months into this pandemic, there is STILL a shortage of PPE for front line workers in the U.S., including medical staff in hospitals around the country. In Minnesota, health care workers are forced to use N95 masks that have been sterilized again and again even though, as a cardiac nurse reports, the masks sag after 2-3 shifts, leaving gaps for the virus to get through.

To quote the article, “‘Our days are filled with fear and doubt,’” Mr. Rubesch [a cardiac nurse] said. ‘It’s like driving a car without seatbelts.’” The article goes on to explain the shortages as being the result of several things: skyrocketing global demand and the Trump regime’s hands-off approach to the production and distribution of PPE—“That has left states and hospitals to compete for limited supplies.” Later in the article is the story of a manufacturer of N95 masks in Texas who offered to ramp up his production in January when he first began to think these shortages might be a problem, but he didn’t hear anything back for months.

Under this economic system, this mode of production, production is determined by the anarchy of various producers scrambling for a larger share of the market with no plan, no thinking, no priorities based on people’s actual needs, no matter how urgent those needs are. So part of this situation is because foreign equipment is cheaper to produce (as the next article which I will get to is a vivid picture of), but even on their own terms they aren’t able to meet people’s health needs with this mode of production and all the disarray and anarchy that flows from that.

Those immediately involved—health care workers, public health experts and so on—are hoping that the new Biden administration will “put an end to profiteering” and the shortage of PPE that has “pitted states and deep-pocketed hospital chains against nursing homes and small rural hospitals.” We shall see. And even if they are able to at least temporarily solve those problems, new ones will be spawned by the underlying contradictions of everything being produced as a commodity, something to sell not because it is needed but to satisfy the relentless competitive drive for profit.

The resulting morality is deadly and nauseating. “Price gouging has become the norm, and scores of desperate institutions have been duped into buying counterfeit products.” Single-use gloves are essential for medical care but the prices have soared from $30 a case before the pandemic to $300 a case currently. There are problems in the “free-wheeling distribution system” which “enables [note: not just allows but enables] hoarding by wealthy hospital chains.”

Then the article notes that part of the problem is that the supply networks are “overly reliant on overseas manufacturers.” And that “problem” leads to these “solutions” by the incoming Biden administration: “create financial incentives and ‘buy American’ policies to boost the handful of domestic companies that make PPE.” The article goes on to quote industry executives to say that the only way to ensure a reliable supply of high-quality PPE items is to “recognize the sector as essential for national security, similar to the Pentagon’s approach for ensuring companies that make fighter jet components and military uniforms remain viable even in peacetime.”

So here is a problem: not enough PPE for health care workers who are risking their lives to save other people’s lives on a daily basis—and what is the solution of the capitalist-imperialists, both fascist and the Democrats? It is to define that as a national security problem and solution. This has the benefit, to them, of reinforcing and bolstering American chauvinism in the face of a deadly pandemic, training people in the U.S. to identify their “personal interests, prospects and status with the dominant position of—and the plundering of the world and the masses of humanity by—U.S. capitalist imperialism.”(Bob Avakian, Hope for Humanity on a Scientific Basis: Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism)

Global Supply Chains and a Lopsided World

Where does this PPE come from and how is it produced? We need to step back further, beyond the U.S. borders to a country in Asia like Malaysia, to see how the horrible impact in the U.S. is based on a deadly expression of imperialism in parts of the rest of this lopsided world. The other New York Times article—“Arming Globe with PPE, But Not Its Sick Workers”—tells about Top Glove in Malaysia, which controls about a fourth of the rubber glove market in the world.

The workers, who live in dormitories 20 to a single room, produce 220 million disposable gloves a day for “roughly $300 a month in salary.” They produce these gloves wearing masks “soaked in sweat,” never receiving the results from any COVID tests that were given, working week after week of overtime. Under these conditions, it is hardly surprising that these workers are suffering from “a ferocious outbreak of Covid-19.” Of their 11,215 employees, 5,700 in a single complex have tested positive since November. And Top Glove fired both a whistleblower who warned about the unsafe conditions as well as a quality assessor from their own company who circulated photos of the lack of social distancing at the work place.

This is what is happening to the workers in the production of the PPE that are shipped off to health care workers in the U.S. As heartbreaking as what’s happening to health care workers in the U.S. is, the relationship of the U.S. to Malaysia, and to the other countries the U.S. capitalist-imperialist system sucks its profit from, is one of U.S. parasitism, feeding off the labor of people where U.S. capital has its network of sweatshops, mines, refineries, and agri-businesses.

Because all of the things people produce to live, all that humanity creates, all the necessities of life have to go through this capitalist-imperialist mode of production, with its heartless and irrational systems, this is the world the masses of people have to try and live their lives in. The values, the ideas, the morality that support this system are the values, ideas, and morality that are fostered and given backing by this system.

Bob Avakian reveals the underlying reality of this capitalist-imperialist system in his article “Capitalism-Imperialism—The Suffocation of Seven Billion—And the Profound Need for a World on New Foundations”:

This system crushes and deadens the human spirit as well as grinding away the life—or outright stealing the life—of billions of people in every part of the world.

Think of the tremendous waste—and outright destruction—of human potential that results from this. All this is the consequence of the fact that the world, and the masses of humanity, are forced to live under the domination of this system of capitalism-imperialism.

All this is the basis on which a relatively small part of the people within this country, and a very small part of humanity as a whole, has the conditions and the “freedom” to develop and apply their initiative and creativity—only to have this serve, under this system, to reinforce the “lopsided,” highly unequal and profoundly oppressive conditions in the world as a whole and for the masses of people in the world.

And all this is completely unnecessary.

The interests of humanity can’t be served through this system of capitalism-imperialism, this mode of production, this way of organizing the needs of society, but could be with a whole different way of producing economic and production relations, and a morality, ethos, and resulting unleashing of creative ideas from humanity around the world for the good of all. This will take an actual revolution by the masses of people in their millions to do this. And the new society that is possible to build after that is concentrated in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America.

Take your outrage at the present world, and your hopes and dreams for a better future, or a future at all given what this planet and humanity face, dig into what the leader of the movement for an actual revolution is saying by reading Bob Avakian at revcom.us. And get into the movement for revolution, contributing your ideas, your energy, and struggling to understand the world and how to change it more deeply as you do, to be part of actually making this better world possible.

 


1. “Ten Months Have Passed, Protection Is Still Scant” (Online headline, “Health Care Workers Still Face Daunting Shortages of Masks and Other P.P.E.”), December 20, 2020; “Arming Globe With P.P.E., But Not Its Sick Workers” (Online headline, “A Company Made P.P.E. for the World. Now Its Workers Have the Virus”), December 20, 2020; both from the New York Times. [back]

2. Personal protective equipment, PPE, is protective clothing and equipment designed to protect the wearer’s body from injury or infection. For people working in health care during this pandemic, PPE includes gloves, gowns, eye/face protection (goggles, face shields), and N95 filter masks. [back]


The workers at Top Glove factory in Malaysia live in dormitories, 20 to a single room, produce 220 million disposable gloves a day for "roughly $300 a month in salary." (Photo: AP)

Afghan workers make PPEWorkers in an Afghanistan make protective gear that will be shipped off to the United States. (Photo: AP)

Nurses Protest lack of PPENurses at UCI Medical Center, Orange, California, protest desperate lack of PPE (personal protective equipment) for front line health workers, April 2020. (Photo:AP)

Read more

CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

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Together, WE passed $40,000 in revcom's Winter fundraising campaign to “Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence”!

Reaching this goal is a real achievement and a victory for the people of the world, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated efforts of many people working creatively and collectively to meet this pressing need: those who donated whether large or small contributions, who fundraised, who spread the campaign, who sent statements, who raised comments, questions, criticisms or suggestions – and of course those who worked so hard on modernizing and upgrading our web technology and presence. It all made a difference!

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

During this four month fund drive, Revcom.us continued to incur thousands of dollars of costs each month for our office, maintaining our existing site and other expenses. But thanks to our existing monthly sustainers we were able to meet these expenses and use all the funds raised in the drive to transform the website.

So we encourage all our donors and those who’ve not yet donated to become monthly sustainers at whatever level you can afford.

Remember, humanity’s fate truly hinges on millions taking up the revolutionary science, strategy, and new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian which they can find at revcom.us.

You’ve read this article and now you need to be part of making sure revcom.us is able to make an urgently needed leap and transformation.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/avakian/science/09ba-science...epistemology-and-morality-en.html

The Science...Actual Revolution title image

Download PDF of entire work

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

This excerpt comes from the section titled "I. Method and Approach, Communism as a Science."

Excerpt from the section:
Epistemology and Morality, Objective Truth and Relativist Nonsense

Now, let’s return to the question of epistemology—and more specifically, epistemology and morality. I have made the point—and this is also in BAsics26—that there is a place where epistemology and morality meet.27 What does that mean? It means that, if you come to understand certain things, then the question poses itself: what do you do about what you’ve come to understand? Do you follow it, or do you turn away from it, or adulterate it, water it down and change it into something else? These are the places where epistemology and morality meet. And this doesn’t happen just once, it happens repeatedly in life and in an ongoing way, for everyone. The challenges repeatedly pose themselves. As you’re learning about life and the world, what do you do with what you’re learning?

This brings us back to a scientific approach to the truth, especially as this is posed, once again, against wrong ways of approaching the world—and, in particular, let’s talk some more about relativism. This is out there in a big way, and it’s openly promoted, especially in academia—maybe I’ve got a “jones” about this, but not without good reason—you get this nonsense that, not only is there no objective reality, but that the mere claim that there is objective reality, and that you can come to know it, is a “totalitarian” concept. If you haven’t heard this yet, well, you won’t have to wait very long before you do. This is all over the place, in one form or another, but this is particularly so in academia, especially in this form: “To talk about the truth, that’s a totalizing concept—it’s not leaving room for other people’s ideas, it’s totalitarianism, it’s frightening—that’s what led to all the bad problems of the twentieth century, people talking and acting in that way, as if there’s objective reality and there’s truth that corresponds to objective reality.”

But, to go back to what was said earlier, there is in fact objective reality—and truth is in fact a correct reflection of, or in correspondence with, actual objective reality. That’s what truth is. And, yes, it’s true, nobody can ever know all of the truth about everything, and we should always be open to the idea that what we understand to be true about any particular thing may not be fully correct, or may even turn out to be essentially wrong. But we are not, and we should not be, agnostics: “Oh, who knows what’s true, you can’t really tell anything about the real world.” No. We proceed from the real world, we interact with the real world, we test our ideas against the real world, and we draw scientific conclusions from that, based on evidence and based on synthesizing, drawing the patterns in reality that emerge and can be identified from the accumulation of evidence. This is very important for us to insist upon.

Actually, when you think about it, everybody who’s a relativist is a relativist until it really matters to them. “I don’t believe that anybody can really tell what objective truth is. But, you know, for the last few weeks I haven’t been feeling well, so I went to the doctor. And the doctor tells me, ‘I’m gonna run some tests.’ And then they call me back later and say, ‘We ran some tests and it turns out you’ve got a problem with your kidney.’ Well, who are you to say I’ve got a problem with my kidney?” That’s not the way people, even the most diehard relativists, proceed when it really matters to them. Then they all of a sudden discover that there’s actually a real world and actually people who understand it and have something to say about what you might do to change it.

This relativism is not a correct way to approach reality or to understand reality, and it does great harm when people insist on it. It is not “totalitarian” to say that there is objective reality, that we can engage it and we can transform it. We can learn about it, and, yes, keep on learning, and keep on refining what we’ve learned, and maybe even discard some things. But there is an accumulation of knowledge by proceeding in this kind of way, with this kind of method and approach. And you don’t, and won’t, get anywhere you need to go by denying and opposing this approach to reality and truth.

Here’s another example of how people are relativists until it really matters to them. The most relativist person becomes a parent. They have a little kid. The little kid wants to walk across the street, right in the middle of traffic. “Well, that’s your reality, little Johnny or little Susie: if you don’t think those cars exist, I don’t want to force you to believe that they do.” No! “Stay here on the sidewalk, you can’t walk out in front of those cars, those cars are real. That’s true.” “Mommy/daddy you’re totalitarian.”

We have to understand: this is not a way that people can or should actually go through the real world. And we really have to go after this relativism, because it’s doing a great deal of harm. It’s keeping people from not only engaging and learning about the world, but from acting on all the horrible outrages that are going on. It’s paralyzing them, telling them that they can’t be certain about anything, or it’s not their “place,” because of this relativist identity politics. It’s somebody else’s “place” to do something about that, and how dare you care about and act about something which is “my property,” my oppression that belongs to me. I heard about how somebody went on campus with one of the posters showing all the people who’ve been killed by the police, and someone came up and said, “I don’t like that poster, you’re making me feel unsafe.” Oh, boo-hoo! What about the masses of people in the world, who aren’t safe? What about the women who can’t go through the world and be safe? What about the masses of people in the inner cities being shot down by the police, being tormented and tortured by just the daily workings of this system every day? What about what’s happening with the environment? What about the little children that their parents send from Central America to cross the border by themselves into this country because of the havoc that imperialism is wreaking on their countries, and they find this horrific treatment they get upon coming here? What about all that, while you’re trying to carve out a little safe haven for yourself, a little privileged place where you can be safe? How ‘bout we get into the real world and talk about what’s really going on and what needs to be done? Cut out all this boo-hoo shit, and let’s talk about what really needs to happen to have a kind of world where the masses of people can feel safe and can breathe.


26. Bob Avakian, BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian (RCP Publications, 2011). Available as a free e-book at revcom.us. [back]

27. BAsics 5:11

“There is a place where epistemology and morality meet. There is a place where you have to stand and say: It is not acceptable to refuse to look at something—or to refuse to believe something—because it makes you uncomfortable. And: It is not acceptable to believe something just because it makes you feel comfortable.”

BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian [back]


 

 

 

Contents

Publisher's Note

Introduction and Orientation

Foolish Victims of Deceit, and Self-Deceit

Part I. Method and Approach, Communism as a Science

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

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

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

Part III. The Strategic Approach to An Actual Revolution

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

Part IV. The Leadership We Need

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

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

Appendix 2:
Framework and Guidelines for Study and Discussion

Notes

Selected List of Works Cited

About the Author

 

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/644/bob-avakian-this-republic-ridiculous-outmoded-criminal-en.html

THIS REPUBLIC—RIDICULOUS, OUTMODED, CRIMINAL

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

The story is frequently told, by enthusiasts of “this great American democracy,” that at the time of the founding of the country Benjamin Franklin was asked: “What kind of government do we have?” And he replied: “A Republic—if you can keep it.” And it has been “kept” for more than 200 years since then. But the question is now posed more sharply than ever: Is it worth keeping—should any decent person want to keep it?

In the present day, the ridiculous and outmoded nature of this republic stands out, and this is all the more glaring in the context of the developing coronavirus crisis. As just one dimension of this, there is the fact that this particular American bourgeois (capitalist) republic is divided into 50 states, and there are repeatedly conflicts between the different states and between the states and the federal government in their approaches to this coronavirus crisis, which interfere with and undermine a rational unified approach to dealing with this crisis—and this would be the case even if there were not the irrational, anti-scientific Trump and Pence and their fascist regime presiding over the federal government, although of course this regime has only made things far worse.

The fact that this particular bourgeois republic is ridiculous, and in its present form is outmoded even on its own terms, is also expressed in the way that national elections are held—with the head of state (the president) chosen not through direct popular vote but through an electoral college made up of electors chosen through voting in, once again, 50 separate states. (This set-up is also closely related to the fact that the “United States” at its founding contained a number of southern states which rested on a slave-based economy, and one of the main reasons for having the electoral college was to protect the interests of those states and their slave-owning ruling classes—something which went along with the provision in the Constitution that counted slaves as in effect three-fifths human beings, and most fundamentally as property.)

How ridiculous and outmoded this governmental system is (again, even on its own bourgeois terms) can also be seen in the fact that, as part of this set-up, each state elects two people to the Senate, even while some states have far greater populations than others. (It is the case today that states with 30 percent of the population elect 70 percent of the Senators, while the great majority of the population, the remaining 70 percent, is “represented” by only 30 percent of the Senators.)

Many have argued for various remedies to this situation, including abolishing the electoral college and having the president (and vice president) elected directly by popular vote. But, first of all, those who gain advantage in this situation—those who may lose the popular vote but might still win the electoral college count (and these days, this is likely to be Republicans)—are not going to simply give up their advantage.

And, with regard to the “lopsided” way in which the Senate is constituted, relative to the population in the states (the 30/70 vs.70/30 ratios referred to), there is no easy way to change this—and in fact, if anything it will become even more lopsided—fundamentally because the present “configuration” (or “distribution”) of the population in this country is grounded in major changes that have taken place in the economy over many, many decades: the increasing role of agribusiness and a great decline in the relative role of small farms and the number of people engaged in farming; and overall the heightened parasitism of this country, so that increasingly the actual production of things consumed is carried out through a vast international network of sweatshop super-exploitation, especially in the Third World of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, while the sectors abbreviated as “FIRE” (finance, insurance, and real estate), as well as high tech, play an increasingly significant role, along with services, in the economic activity carried out within this country itself. So, for those—particularly those concentrated in urban areas—who have a legitimate complaint regarding the disproportion between the population and how the Senators are selected, there is no realistic remedy since, given where the “FIRE” and high tech sectors have, for significant reasons, come to be concentrated, it would not be possible (or practical) to change the way the population is distributed (and concentrated) within this country without doing what is also not possible (and is not desired by people in the urban areas): changing the economy back to how it was constituted and how it functioned many, many generations ago, without the same degree of extreme parasitism there is today that allows for the high standard of living of significant sections of the population, including among the middle class (even as many others in the middle class were insecure and struggling economically even before the coronavirus crisis hit, to say nothing of the tens of millions of people subjected to dire poverty, and brutal oppression, in this country). And, once again, people in the smaller states with a representation in the Senate that is disproportionate to (larger than) the size of their populations are very unlikely to agree to having the Senate be chosen in some way that makes it correspond more to population (for example, having it be more like the House of Representatives, with a Senator representing not a state—with two for every state—but instead representing a population of a certain size), thereby eliminating the advantage the less populated states now have and giving the predominance to the urban areas with the larger populations.

And then, related to all this, there is that fascist Trump/Pence regime and (as I have analyzed in The Deadly Illusion of “Normalcy” and the Revolutionary Way Forward) the many ways in which its outlook and priorities actually sabotage a rational, scientifically based approach to dealing with the coronavirus crisis (and problems in general). And, beyond that: “This crisis with the coronavirus has brought into sharp relief the reality that the capitalist system is not simply out of step with but is in fundamental conflict with, and a direct obstacle to, meeting the needs of the masses of humanity.”1

Outmoded—and Criminal

It is not just that the particularly American bourgeois republic is outmoded, as well as ridiculous, “on its own terms,” but more fundamentally that the whole capitalist system is outmoded and criminal, and the American variant of this system is particularly criminal—and has been from its very founding. The fact is—a fact which cannot be ignored, evaded, or “explained away” without falling into accommodation and complicity with monstrous crimes—that this is a country founded on the enslavement of millions of African people and genocide against the original inhabitants of North America.

These monstrous crimes of slavery and genocide, and an attempt to rationalize and justify them, were enshrined in the founding documents of this country. As noted, the Constitution institutionalized and codified slavery, and as I have put it:

There would be no United States as we now know it today without slavery. That is a simple and basic truth.2

In the Declaration of Independence, among the things for which the King of England is condemned, is the accusation that he promoted slave rebellions (“excited domestic Insurrections amongst us”) and “endeavoured to bring on the Inhabitants of our Frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages.”3

And the monstrous crimes committed by the rulers of this country—and built into the very structures, relations, dynamics, and functioning of this system—have not only continued over the centuries since the country was first founded but have greatly expanded, subjecting literally billions of people, and countries all over the world, to merciless exploitation, murderous oppression, and the massive destruction of war, including the use of nuclear weapons at the end of World War 2. In sum, while many “liberals” join with the likes of Ronald Reagan in declaring this country “a shining city on the hill,” a beacon of liberty for the world, the truth is that:

This is a country founded on slavery and genocide, which has continued to viciously exploit and oppress people—and to carry out murderous invasions and coups, while ravaging the environment—with terrible consequences for the masses of people, in every part of the world.4

Putting an end to this ridiculous, outmoded, and criminal system, through a revolution aiming to bring into being a far better society, and world, is the challenge that must be confronted, and taken up, by all people of conscience who are willing to face—or who have no choice but to face—the reality of what this system is, and what it means to allow this system to continue existing and to dominate the world and determine the condition and the fate of humanity.5

 


1. The Deadly Illusion of “Normalcy” and the Revolutionary Way Forward is available at revcom.us.  [back]

2. BAsics 1:1 (BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian).

Additional comments by the author:

Various apologists of “this great American democracy” point out that, after all, the United States had a Civil War which put an end to slavery—as if this somehow eliminates, or at least “softens” the terrible experience of slavery. (Some have even descended so far into moral degeneracy as to claim that Black people in America should be “grateful” for slavery being ended in this way—after more than two centuries of this slavery!) It is true that the Civil War ended up leading to the emancipation of the slaves. And it is for this reason that I have pointed out that, after this country was founded, and its independence consolidated, the Civil War is the only just war this country has ever fought (on the part of the Union side) while, instead of glorifying this war (as they frequently do with wars they wage) they often bemoan it as a tragedy—“pitting brother against brother.” This ignores the fact that, once they were enabled and allowed to do so, nearly 200,000 Black people fought in the Union Army during the Civil War, dying at a higher rate than their white counterparts—and those Black freedom fighters hardly regarded the whites in the Confederate Army, who were fighting to maintain slavery, as their “brothers”!

It is also another searing indictment of this whole system in this country that, only a decade after the Civil War, with the federal government putting an end to Reconstruction in the South, Black people were once again subjected to the most horrific atrocities, through the system of “Jim Crow” segregation, lynching and overall terror carried out by the Ku Klux Klan, with the backing and often the direct involvement of the authorities and the “legal system” in the South in particular. And, even with some concessions wrenched out of this system through the Civil Rights movement after World War 2, the fact is that Black people in this country have continued to be subjected to systematic oppression and continuing terror, now carried out mainly by the police, in all parts of the country.

The American Crime series at revcom.us chronicles and highlights many—though far from all—of the major and monstrous crimes committed by this system and its ruling class(es), throughout its history and throughout the world.  [back]

3. Bob Avakian has written the following regarding the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson:

It is sometimes claimed that Jefferson was actually opposed to slavery and wanted to see an end to it. And you can find statements by Jefferson where he says that slavery is in fact a blight and that it will have negative consequences for some time to come. There have also been misinterpretations of what Jefferson wrote about slavery. To take one important example, there are passages he wrote in drafts of the Declaration of Independence—some of which did not, but some of which did, make it into the final version of that Declaration—where the King of England and the British government were strongly condemned for supposedly imposing the slave trade on the United States. Now, there were, in fact, ways in which Jefferson and the slaveowning class in Virginia generally were opposed to aspects of the international slave trade, even while they themselves were involved in selling slaves to other states and to slaveowners in other territories. In this, the essential motivation of these Virginia slaveowners was that they didn’t want the price of a slave being driven down, since they themselves had become major sellers of slaves within America itself. This is, fundamentally, the reason that they were opposed to the continuation—once they did oppose it—of the international slave trade. They viewed this above all in terms of property, and supply and demand in relation to selling this particular kind of property—human beings. So, here again, Jefferson acted in the interests of the slave-owning class, and his “agrarian society” turned out to be a slaveowning plantation system—not a society of small independent yeomen.

This is of course related to, and in an overall sense part of, the larger contradiction between Jefferson’s lofty sounding statements in the Declaration of Independence about the equality of all men (note: all men) and their “inalienable rights” and, on the other hand, the glaring fact that Jefferson not only owned slaves himself but consistently acted on behalf of the class of slaveowners and the institution of slavery, even while voicing certain moral qualms about slavery and musings about its long-term consequences for the new American republic. (Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy, available in BA’s Collected Works, at revcom.us, emphasis in the original.)  [back]

4. Bob Avakian On Impeachment, Crimes Against Humanity, Liberals and Lies, Provocative and Profound Truths, available at revcom.us.  [back]

5.  In Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, Bob Avakian speaks substantially to those questions; and the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, provides a sweeping vision and a concrete blueprint for a radically different, socialist society, aiming for the final goal of a communist world, with the abolition of all exploitation and oppression. These works are also available at revcom.us.  [back]


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So we encourage all our donors and those who’ve not yet donated to become monthly sustainers at whatever level you can afford.

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/640/bob-avakian-the-deadly-illusion-of-normalcy-en.html

THE DEADLY ILLUSION OF "NORMALCY" AND THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY FORWARD

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

Even before the coronavirus became a worldwide pandemic, a New York Times columnist wrote about the lure of boredom—arguing that, after the years of Trump madness, having a sleep-inducing president (like Joe Biden) might be just what is needed. The impact of the coronavirus has reinforced and strengthened this tendency toward a “yearning for normalcy,” especially on the part of the section of the ruling class represented by the NYT and that section of society, particularly among the more formally educated middle strata, that for some time has, to a significant degree, identified with what is represented by the NYT.

But, in fundamental terms, this notion of a “return to normalcy” is an illusion that will be exploded by the nature and workings of the system of capitalism-imperialism to which the masses of humanity are subjected.

In the context of this current crisis, the exploitative and oppressive relations built into this system are asserting themselves in a pronounced way, within this country and internationally, just as they have in previous crises. For example, when Hurricane Katrina hit, in New Orleans and surrounding areas in 2005, even as broad sections of people suffered, it was poor Black people who were hit in the most devastating ways, because of the oppression and savage inequalities to which they were already subjected and because of the not-so-benign neglect and often malign actions of those in power. The same has been true with regard to AIDS—it is those who have been discriminated against and denigrated who have suffered the most—and the lop-sided burden of suffering has been especially pronounced on an international scale, with people in sub-Saharan Africa in particular enduring tremendous devastation.

Even as broad swaths of the population will be hit by the coronavirus, this inequality will once again have its effect in this country in relation to the current crisis—as immigrants, prisoners, the homeless, people in poor communities, particularly among the oppressed nationalities, and others who are subordinated, degraded and despised by the “normal workings” of this system and the powers that be, will be subjected to disproportionate suffering.1

And internationally the same dynamics apply in an even greater way. As I have pointed to previously:

we live in a world where large parts of humanity live in stark poverty, with 2.3 billion people lacking even rudimentary toilets or latrines and huge numbers suffering from preventable diseases, with millions of children dying every year from these diseases and from starvation, while 150 million children in the world are forced to engage in ruthlessly exploited child labor, and the whole world economy rests on a vast network of sweatshops, employing large numbers of women who are regularly subjected to sexual harassment and assault, a world where 65 million refugees have been displaced by war, poverty, persecution, and the effects of global warming.2

It is those, worldwide, who are maintained in these conditions who will be hit hardest in this crisis, as they have been in the past.

All this, combined with the continuing and rapidly deepening climate crisis, rooted in the dynamics of this system and increasingly posing an existential threat to all of humanity, will drive masses, millions and ultimately billions, of people to even further desperation, and no one on the planet will be able to avoid the repercussions and effects of all this.

The Immediate Dangers, the Fundamental Problem and the Revolutionary Solution

Several years ago, I pointed out:

Today, while the U.S. is, and loudly proclaims itself to be, the world’s number one superpower, it is riddled with sharpening contradictions, and facing growing challenges, within the country and internationally, and this has brought forth a fascist regime that now holds the reins of power, with the finger of a demented bully on the nuclear button—a regime that, without exaggeration, threatens not just greatly heightened suffering for the masses of humanity but the very existence of humanity itself.3

And, in a number of other countries, fascism has continued to gain strength, as a response—a fanatical, lunatic, and violent reaction—to changes being driven fundamentally by the necessities and dynamics of the capitalist-imperialist system and the fact that this system does not have, and cannot have, any positive resolution to all this. Despite what many (especially many “liberals”) would like to believe, the notion that especially in times of crisis like this “we are all in this together” is in conflict with and is refuted by reality and specifically is not adhered to by the fascist forces. For example, gun sales in this country have skyrocketed even higher amidst this crisis, as “Second Amendment types” stock up even further on lethal weapons to “protect themselves” from “criminals” (and, on the part of many, to prepare themselves for the “civil war” they see coming). To refer again to the insights of African-American theologian Hubert Locke, what is involved with the fascist movement in this country is not just some abstract battle for the “hearts and minds” of people but a deadly serious struggle for power, with the aim—on the part particularly of the Christian fundamentalist driving force of this fascism—of “seizing the reins of government, manipulating the courts and judicial decisions, controlling the media, and making incursions into every possible corner of our private lives and relationships, so that what the religious right perceives as the will of God will reign in America.”4

This is why the commonly propagated notion that what has given rise to the sharp polarization in this country, and the madness associated with Trump, is a “departure from civility,” or more specifically that it flows from a failure on the part of educated middle class “liberals” to communicate with and try to understand the views of people in the “heartland”—all this is not only completely erroneous but actually a dangerous delusion. Writing a little more than 20 years ago, in her book Mobilizing Resentment, based on her extensive investigation into the right-wing movement in this country, Jean Hardisty recounts how, even where her efforts to engage in civil and friendly conversation with people of this kind would initially be returned with a certain superficial kindliness, as the conversation progressed she would repeatedly be subjected to the “brutal intolerance” that would come to the fore on the part of these right-wingers. As she graphically puts it: “when I give rightists the benefit of the doubt, out of respect for their right to their own worldview, they reward me every time with a kick in the teeth.” She sums up that what we are dealing with is

a well-financed, well-coordinated, savvy movement that has developed brilliant techniques of manipulation and has captured and molded a hospitable moment in history. The right’s quest for political power has become a frightening reality.5

And things have only gotten worse, and the danger this poses even greater, in the 20 or so years since Hardisty wrote this.

In very immediate terms, the outlook and methods as well as the priorities of the fascists, as concentrated in the Trump/Pence regime—with the appointment of the anti-scientific Pence to head government efforts around COVID-19; Trump’s initial denial of the scope and danger posed by this virus and his continuing lies about this; his gross American chauvinism, pitting this country against the rest of the world; his repeated tendency to recklessly deny medical science and ignore the recommendations of medical experts where it runs counter to his own narrowly conceived and dangerously shortsighted interests and objectives; and more—all this amplifies and fortifies the barriers that the “normal functioning” of the capitalist-imperialist system places in the way of a systematic and coordinated approach to combating the coronavirus. At the same time, there is the question of whether Trump will actually recognize the results of the election in November if (even in the electoral college count, as well as in the popular vote) he is not the winner—or whether there will even be an election, since it is not unthinkable that Trump would “delay” (or even outright cancel) the election, declaring that in the context of the coronavirus crisis it is too dangerous to have an election!

All this must be resisted and overcome to the greatest extent possible, while at the same time recognizing that it will require a radical transformation of society, and ultimately the world as a whole, to remove the powerful restraints that this system places on human beings and their ability to act in common to confront and transform the necessity they face, in an ongoing way and acutely so in times of crisis.

Whatever happens in regard to the elections that are scheduled to be held this November, and however the coronavirus crisis is resolved—or if it is not really resolved but becomes part of “cascading crises,” with one crisis leading to another... and another—there will be no returning to some idealized notion of “normalcy.” And, while there is certainly a legitimate and positive desire on the part of people everywhere to get beyond the scourge of this virus, taking into account what is the actual situation for the masses of humanity under the “normal” domination of this system, no one should desire a return to the “normalcy” dictated by the capitalist-imperialist system.

Underlying the immediate crisis, and the danger posed by the Trump/Pence regime and its fanatical fascist “base,” there is the more fundamental reality of the capitalist-imperialist system and the consequences of allowing this system to continue to dominate the world and determine the conditions of the masses of humanity and indeed the very fate of humanity itself. This crisis with the coronavirus has brought into sharp relief the reality that the capitalist system is not simply out of step with but is in fundamental conflict with, and a direct obstacle to, meeting the needs of the masses of humanity. Even as the capitalists and governments representing their interests have been forced to take certain emergency steps that in some ways run counter to the inherent dynamics of their system (such as massive intervention by the government in the functioning of the economy), the ways in which this system constitutes an obstacle to dealing with this crisis continue to assert themselves—including not only such perverse actions as the hoarding by some of vital medical and other supplies, in order to drive up the price, but also the fact that the creation of wealth under this system proceeds on the basis of ruthless exploitation and the impoverishment of masses of people throughout the world, while even in the “wealthier” countries there is significant poverty and large parts of the population live paycheck-to-paycheck and are only one serious crisis away from disaster; the ongoing rivalry between different capitalists (or associations of capital), with their private ownership of the means of production (land, raw materials, technology, factories and other structures) and private, competitive accumulation of wealth acts as a hindrance to necessary cooperation and the production of things that may be urgently needed but are not productive of private profit—and the whole ideology of advancing one’s interests at the expense of others, the individualism that is fostered by this system and is promoted to an extreme currently in this country, runs counter to and undermines inclinations toward cooperation and, yes, sacrifice for the greater good. Despite the dedicated efforts of many well-meaning people, even if the immediate crisis with the coronavirus is resolved, this will be done on the basis of intensifying the contradictions built into this system and the suffering of the masses of humanity who are already exploited and oppressed under this system.

All of this stands in sharp contrast with what is needed to deal in a truly meaningful way with crises like that occasioned by the coronavirus, and to meet the fundamental needs of humanity on an ongoing basis. It stands in sharp contrast to the socialist system envisioned in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, where there is social, not private, ownership of the means of production, social wealth is produced through cooperation not exploitation and is increasingly distributed in accordance with the needs of the people, not those of competing capitalists, and there is a government that represents and is geared to meeting the fundamental interests of humanity, and promotes that outlook among the people and involves them in the process of governance toward that end—not a government that is an extension of and can only represent the demands and dynamics of capital, with all the anarchy and ruthless exploitation that involves, within particular countries and on an international scale.6

Beyond the borders of any particular country, there is the great importance and potentially very positive role and impact of internationalism, which can only be really and fully realized with the overcoming of the barriers erected to international unity and cooperation by the workings of the capitalist-imperialist system—which is international in its scope of operations (that is, its exploitation) but consists of competing capitalists and rival capitalist states.7

Overcoming all this can be—and can only be—accomplished through the communist revolution and the increasing establishment of socialist countries in the world, proceeding on an internationalist basis and carrying out the economic, social and political transformations, as well as transformations in the ways of thinking and culture of the people, that will enable humanity to leap beyond the constraints and the terrible consequences which are imposed by the “normal” functioning of the capitalist-imperialist system and are greatly intensified in situations of crisis. This unprecedented revolution will make it possible for people to engage reality, and to confront crises, in a truly cooperative way as members of a world community of freely associating human beings, not separated and pitted against each other by divisions of country, class, nationality (or “race”), gender and other oppressive relations.

 


1. Materials posted at revcom.us, including communiqués from the revolutionary communists (revcoms) and the interview with Lenny Wolff on the Michael Slate radio show, speak to how this dynamic is already being expressed in this current crisis.  [back]

2. Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make RevolutionThe text and video of this speech by Bob Avakian are available at revcom.us.  [back]

3. THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible. Video of this speech by Bob Avakian is available at revcom.us.  [back]

4. Reflections on Pacific School of Religion's Response to the Religious Right, by Dr. Hubert Locke, also available at revcom.us.  [back]

5. Jean Hardisty, Mobilizing Resentment, Conservative Resurgence From The John Birch Society To The Promise Keepers, Beacon Press Books, 1999, pp. 5, 6, 8.  [back]

6. The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, is available at revcom.us.  [back]

7. In the section “Globalization, the Nationality of Capital, and the Imperialist Nation‑State,” in Notes on Political Economy: Our Analysis of the 1980s, Issues of Methodology, and The Current World Situationpublished by the Revolutionary Communist Party (available online at revcom.us), there is an analysis of this major contradiction in the world today:

In the imperialist era, the circuits of capital become internationalized—and accumulation grows ever more global in reach and process. But imperialist capital remains anchored to national markets and national state formations....

In short, the anarchy bound up with global processes of capitalist development creates new problems of "control." The contradiction between internationalized accumulation and the national character of capital, far from being transcended, is intensified.

As “Notes” further states:

At the same time, capital requires an apparatus (the imperialist state) and the military wherewithal (which means a military industry) to secure the international environment within which it can globally thrive.  [back]

See the full film, excerpts and Q&A of this film

See also:

Reflections on Pacific School of Religion's Response to the Religious Right

by Dr. Hubert Locke

Reposted October 7, 2019. Originally posted January 29, 2006

Read more

Watch BA's whole speech:

Watch clips from speech

 

 

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Together, WE passed $40,000 in revcom's Winter fundraising campaign to “Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence”!

Reaching this goal is a real achievement and a victory for the people of the world, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated efforts of many people working creatively and collectively to meet this pressing need: those who donated whether large or small contributions, who fundraised, who spread the campaign, who sent statements, who raised comments, questions, criticisms or suggestions – and of course those who worked so hard on modernizing and upgrading our web technology and presence. It all made a difference!

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

During this four month fund drive, Revcom.us continued to incur thousands of dollars of costs each month for our office, maintaining our existing site and other expenses. But thanks to our existing monthly sustainers we were able to meet these expenses and use all the funds raised in the drive to transform the website.

So we encourage all our donors and those who’ve not yet donated to become monthly sustainers at whatever level you can afford.

Remember, humanity’s fate truly hinges on millions taking up the revolutionary science, strategy, and new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian which they can find at revcom.us.

You’ve read this article and now you need to be part of making sure revcom.us is able to make an urgently needed leap and transformation.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/641/bob-avakian-conspiracy-theories-or-a-scientific-approach-short-version-en.html

CONSPIRACY THEORIES, FASCIST "CERTITUDE," LIBERAL PARALYSIS, OR
A SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO CHANGING THE WORLD

(Short Version—The Simple and Basic Truth)

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

The coronavirus crisis has brought home very sharply the importance of science—the scientific method and approach to understanding and changing the world. But there is a big problem in how people have been trained and conditioned to think (or not think). While many “liberals” and “progressives” have, for far too long, allowed themselves to become paralyzed by ridiculous notions like “How can you know what is really true, no one can say that their truth is greater than someone else’s truth,” and so on, fascist forces, marked by a truly dark ages mentality, are firmly convinced of the “truth” of all manner of lunatic conspiracy theories promoting fascist “values” and objectives.

Put another way, in terms of major trends in society as a whole: Those who have the most certitude are those most out of touch with reality.

Further complicating the situation and an additional dimension to this problem is the fact that, although they do not share but strongly oppose the “values” and objectives of the fascists, many of the basic masses, who are bitterly oppressed under this system, also are suspicious of and even are inclined to reject science and scientifically-grounded analysis. But this also leaves you vulnerable to all kinds of unfounded “conspiracy theories” and other wrong and harmful ideas, including the notion that nothing people do will make a difference because “it’s all in god’s hands.”

The answer to all this is not giving up on understanding reality, or simply believing what sounds like it makes sense, or what is said by someone you know, or what gives you comfort (at least for a while). The truth of something does not depend on who says it, or how it makes you feel. Because something comes from a source you like does not make it true; and because something comes from a source you do not like does not make it untrue. And truth is not a “popularity contest.” Because a lot of people believe something does not make it true; and because only a few people believe something does not make it untrue.

Truth is objective—which means: Whether something is true or not depends on whether it corresponds to actual reality. (On some levels, the truth of things is obvious—for example, the truth that if it is raining hard and you are exposed to the rain for any length of time, you will get wet. But there are deeper levels to things, and the truth about them is more complex and requires more developed knowledge—for example, what causes rain, why it is raining where you are and not somewhere else, and so on. But in all cases, on all levels, the fact remains: Whether something is true or not depends on whether it corresponds to actual reality.) To sort out what is false from what is true and to stand on solid ground in terms of understanding things, you need the scientific method and approach to reality—and, yes, scientifically-grounded certitude, where such certitude can and must be established.

Ardea Skybreak, a professionally trained scientist and an advocate of the new communism as a further advance in the science of revolution, has made the point that science is not just somebody’s opinion but involves and requires investigating reality and systematizing what is learned through this process. She emphasizes that “Science is an evidence-based process” and

Science is very different than religion or mysticism, or things like that, which try to explain reality by invoking imaginary forces and which provide no actual evidence for any of their analyses. By contrast, science requires proof. It requires evidence.1

If you don’t judge things by whether there is compelling evidence for them—and if you don’t evaluate what people claim by weighing it against what the evidence shows about the actual reality—you can end up believing almost anything! Or, as Skybreak puts it:

Without science you are at the mercy of being manipulated, of having your thinking manipulated and not being able to tell what’s right from what’s wrong, what’s true from what’s false.2

Skybreak emphasizes the point that science is not mysterious, but is something that anyone can learn and apply. She also speaks to the fact that there has been bad science (including bad science used for racist purposes) but that you can and should use good science—the actual methods of science—to understand reality and expose and refute bad science. As she puts it, in simple and basic terms: “Whether you want to cure a disease or make a better society, you need that scientific evidence‑based process.”3

Opposing the scientific method and approach—and denying the possibility of arriving at important truths by applying this method and approach—can only lead to bad, sometimes extremely bad, results, leaving people weighed down by all kinds of ignorance and prejudice, depriving people of the ability to understand and change the world in a fundamentally positive direction. When, for example, Jonas Salk announced that he had finally developed a vaccine to deal with the terrible disease polio, should the response actually have been to be suspicious of this claim and reject it without even looking into it? Should people actually respond in that way if, or when, a vaccine is developed for COVID-19?! Examples of this kind could be cited almost endlessly.

It is worth repeating the very important point emphasized by Ardea Skybreak:

Whether you want to cure a disease or make a better society, you need that scientific evidence‑based process.

And specifically in terms of making a better society—in opposing the fascism of the Trump-Pence regime, and even more fundamentally in making a radical leap beyond this system of capitalism-imperialism (which has given rise to this fascism) and bringing into being a far better world—you need the scientific method and approach of the new communism.

 


1. SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION, On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian, An Interview with Ardea Skybreak, emphasis in the original. Ardea Skybreak is a professionally trained scientist in the field of ecology and evolutionary biology and an advocate of the new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian. Skybreak is also the author of the very important book The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What’s Real and Why It Matters, Insight Press, 2006. The entire interview with Ardea Skybreak (SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION) is available at revcom.us.

In this interview Skybreak goes in some depth into how Bob Avakian, in summing up the historical experience of the communist movement and drawing from a broad range of human experience, has brought forward a new communism that embodies a further leap in the application of a scientific method and approach to the question of how a better society and world, free of exploitation and oppression, can actually be brought into being. This new communism is a continuation of, but also represents a qualitative leap beyond, and in some important ways a break with, communist theory as it had been previously developed and has put communism on an even more consistently scientific basis, providing the strategy and leadership for an actual revolution and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation.

In a number of works, and in particular the book THE NEW COMMUNISM, The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation, and Breakthroughs: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summary (which is available at revcom.us), Bob Avakian speaks to what is new in the new communism and its relation to previous communist theory.  [back]

2. SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION.  [back]

3. SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION.  [back]

BOB AVAKIAN: A RADICALLY DIFFERENT LEADER—
A WHOLE NEW FRAMEWORK FOR HUMAN EMANCIPATION

Bob Avakian (BA) is the most important political thinker and leader in the world today.

Read more

Watch BA's whole speech:

Watch clips from speech

 

 

Follow: @TheRevcoms
Read: www.revcom.us
Watch: youtube.com/TheRevComs

 

Together, WE passed $40,000 in revcom's Winter fundraising campaign to “Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence”!

Reaching this goal is a real achievement and a victory for the people of the world, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated efforts of many people working creatively and collectively to meet this pressing need: those who donated whether large or small contributions, who fundraised, who spread the campaign, who sent statements, who raised comments, questions, criticisms or suggestions – and of course those who worked so hard on modernizing and upgrading our web technology and presence. It all made a difference!

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

During this four month fund drive, Revcom.us continued to incur thousands of dollars of costs each month for our office, maintaining our existing site and other expenses. But thanks to our existing monthly sustainers we were able to meet these expenses and use all the funds raised in the drive to transform the website.

So we encourage all our donors and those who’ve not yet donated to become monthly sustainers at whatever level you can afford.

Remember, humanity’s fate truly hinges on millions taking up the revolutionary science, strategy, and new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian which they can find at revcom.us.

You’ve read this article and now you need to be part of making sure revcom.us is able to make an urgently needed leap and transformation.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/641/bob-avakian-conspiracy-theories-or-a-scientific-approach-long-version-en.html

CONSPIRACY THEORIES, FASCIST "CERTITUDE," LIBERAL PARALYSIS, OR
A SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO CHANGING THE WORLD

(Longer Version—The Truth Elaborated)

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

The coronavirus crisis has brought home very sharply the importance of science—the scientific method and approach to understanding and changing the world. But there is a big problem in how people have been trained and conditioned to think (or not think). Even as people in the medical field are proceeding on the basis of a scientific approach and, in the context of this coronavirus crisis, “liberals” are insisting that it is vitally important now to “listen to the scientists,” for far too long many “liberals” and “progressives” have allowed themselves to become paralyzed by relativist agnosticism, lacking—and often even rejecting the very idea of—certitude (with ridiculous notions like “How can you know what is really true, no one can say that their truth is greater than someone else’s truth,” and so on). Meanwhile, fascist forces, marked by a truly dark ages mentality, and firmly convinced of the “truth” of all manner of lunatic conspiracy theories promoting fascist “values” and objectives, are eagerly embracing callous philistinism, willfully rejecting critical thinking, smugly ignoring, defying and denigrating science and the scientific method.

Put another way, in terms of major trends in society as a whole: Those who have the most certitude are those most out of touch with reality.

Further complicating the situation and an additional dimension to this problem is the fact that, although they do not share but strongly oppose the “values” and objectives of the fascists, many of the basic masses, who are bitterly oppressed under this system, also are suspicious of and even are inclined to reject science and scientifically-grounded analysis. But this also leaves you vulnerable to all kinds of unfounded “conspiracy theories” and other wrong and harmful ideas, including the notion that nothing people do will make a difference because “it’s all in god’s hands.”

The answer to all this is not giving up on understanding reality, or simply believing what sounds like it makes sense, or what is said by someone you know, or what gives you comfort (at least for a while). The truth of something does not depend on who says it, or how it makes you feel. Because something comes from a source you like does not make it true; and because something comes from a source you do not like does not make it untrue. And truth is not a “popularity contest.” Because a lot of people believe something does not make it true; and because only a few people believe something does not make it untrue.

Truth is objective—which means: Whether something is true or not depends on whether it corresponds to actual reality. (On some levels, the truth of things is obvious—for example, the truth that if it is raining hard and you are exposed to the rain for any length of time, you will get wet. But there are deeper levels to things, and the truth about them is more complex and requires more developed knowledge—for example, what causes rain, why it is raining where you are and not somewhere else, and so on. But in all cases, on all levels, the fact remains: Whether something is true or not depends on whether it corresponds to actual reality.) To sort out what is false from what is true and to stand on solid ground in terms of understanding things, you need the scientific method and approach to reality—and, yes, scientifically-grounded certitude, where such certitude can and must be established.

Science is not another “dogma”—another untested and unproved “set of beliefs”—it is the opposite of that. Conclusions based on the application of the scientific method are obviously important, but science is not just some “collection of conclusions,” and still less is it a set of “precepts” which are not drawn from reality and are out of keeping with reality, or which once reflected reality but have become frozen and “ossified” and no longer correspond to a changing reality. Science is above all and most essentially a method. In this regard the following, from an interview with Ardea Skybreak, a professionally trained scientist and an advocate of the new communism as a further advance in the science of revolution, is very relevant:

So I think it might be worth starting a little bit by talking about what is science, to demystify it a little bit. I mean, science deals with material reality, and you could say that all of nature and all of human society is the province of science, science can deal with all that. It’s a tool—science—a very powerful tool. It’s a method and approach for being able to tell what’s true, what corresponds to reality as it really is. In that sense, science is very different than religion or mysticism, or things like that, which try to explain reality by invoking imaginary forces and which provide no actual evidence for any of their analyses. By contrast, science requires proof. It requires evidence. It is an evidence‑based process. That’s very important. Science is an evidence‑based process.1

If you don’t judge things by whether there is compelling evidence for them—and if you don’t evaluate what people claim by weighing it against what the evidence shows about the actual reality—you can end up believing almost anything! Or, as Skybreak puts it:

Without science you are at the mercy of being manipulated, of having your thinking manipulated and not being able to tell what’s right from what’s wrong, what’s true from what’s false.2

And:

Whether you’re talking about the material reality of a disease, of a natural ecosystem, or of a social system that human beings live under, science allows you to analyze its components, its history, how it came to be the way it is, what it’s made of, what are its defining characteristics and underlying contradictoriness (and we’ll come back to that) and therefore also what is the basis for it to change, or to be changed, if your intent is to change it. Whether you want to cure a disease or make a better society, you need that scientific evidence‑based process.3

Skybreak emphasizes the point that science is not mysterious, but is something that anyone can learn and apply. She also speaks to the contradiction that sometimes people are turned off to science, partly because they have been given the wrong sense of what science is, and

Another reason people are sometimes turned off by science is because there has been bad science....sometimes in the course of history science has been used to promote the idea that some races are inferior to other races....Well, that’s junk science. In fact you can use rigorous scientific methods to prove that that was all bad science. It’s not just “morally” bad—it is that, but it’s also scientifically bad—it’s completely false and you can use good science to prove that.4

As I have put it, in line with the essential point made by Skybreak:

It is the “good science”—the scientific method and approach of proceeding from the evidence about reality to understand how reality actually is, why it is the way it is, and how it is changing and could be changed further—that we need to consistently apply if we want to transform the world to uproot oppression and exploitation.5

Consistently Applying a Scientific Method, Following the Truth Wherever It Leads

Far too often, and with no small amount of irony, educated middle class “liberals,” “progressives” and the “woke” act as if they are asserting some profound truth when they reject the very notion of “truth” and decry and denounce as dogmatic (or even tyrannical) those who say that they have arrived at certain definite truths. But, once again, opposing the scientific method and approach—and denying the possibility of arriving at important truths by applying this method and approach—can only lead to bad, sometimes extremely bad, results, leaving people weighed down by all kinds of ignorance and prejudice, depriving people of the ability to understand and change the world in a fundamentally positive direction. And is this approach—of denying the possibility or desirability of knowing the truth and denouncing those who say they have brought forward definite important truths—is this really valid and viable, something people can or should stick with? When, for example, Jonas Salk announced that he had finally developed a vaccine to deal with the terrible disease polio, should the response actually have been to be suspicious of this claim and reject it without even looking into it, and to criticize (or even ostracize) Salk for having the nerve to claim that he arrived at an important truth (an understanding of the disease polio and how to combat it)? Should people actually respond in that way if, or when, a vaccine is developed for COVID-19?! Examples of this kind could be cited almost endlessly.

As I have emphasized, speaking to what is a fundamental epistemological principle of the new communism:

The truth is an actual correct reflection of reality, including in its motion and development. And, of course, it is true that nobody can ever have all of the truth. That’s part of understanding reality correctly, part of the scientific method. But...it is true that you can come to definite and definitive determinations about the reality of many particular things, even while you always have to be open to learning more, and to the possibility that some of what you thought to be true may not turn out to be true, or new developments occur which mean that the world has changed in such a way that your understanding has to be modified. That’s all part of the scientific method as well. When we talk about the truth, we’re not talking about THE TRUTH as an absolute and final truth, but we are also not talking about a narrative. We’re talking about a scientific approach to understanding reality and then, on that basis, transforming it. And the scientific approach to that process of analyzing and synthesizing reality can come to important definitive conclusions, even as this is an ongoing process which is never complete because you can never grasp all of reality—including because it’s constantly changing and because there will always be aspects of reality that human beings will not even have penetrated at any given time, let alone come to understand.6

There is a definite connection between the relativism and agnosticism of far too many educated middle class “liberals” and their reluctance, if not stubborn refusal, to recognize the fascist danger posed by the Trump-Pence regime for what it is and what is required in the face of this—which is a determined struggle against this fascism, a struggle that does not rely or depend upon the “mainstream” section of the ruling class (as represented by institutions like the Democratic Party) and the system they serve, which has given rise to this fascism (out of whose basic contradictions this fascism has arisen as an attempt at a resolution of these contradictions within the confines of this system and in the most extreme terms).

Even more fundamentally, there is a definite connection between the relativism and agnosticism of such “liberals” and their resistance or stubborn refusal to apply a consistently scientific evidence-based approach, and on this basis to follow the truth wherever it leads, particularly when it comes to historical, social and political questions—because where it leads is to demolishing cherished illusions and prejudices of “liberals” regarding the actual role of this “great American democracy,” throughout its history and throughout the world; the actual nature of the system we live under, capitalism-imperialism; and the actual experience of revolutionary struggle against this system, and more particularly the experience of the communist movement and the socialist societies it has brought into being.

It is in deeply engaging these questions, and drawing from many different dimensions of human experience, that I have brought forward a new communism, which is a continuation of, but also represents a qualitative leap beyond, and in some important ways a break with, communist theory as it had been previously developed and which has put communism on an even more consistently scientific basis, providing the strategy and leadership for an actual revolution and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation.

In regard to all this, it is worth repeating the very important point emphasized by Ardea Skybreak:

Whether you want to cure a disease or make a better society, you need that scientific evidence‑based process.

And specifically in terms of making a better society—in opposing the fascism of the Trump-Pence regime, and even more fundamentally in making a radical leap beyond this capitalist-imperialist system (which has given rise to this fascism) and bringing into being a far better world—you need the scientific method and approach of the new communism.

 


1. SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION, On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian, An Interview with Ardea Skybreak, emphasis in the original. Ardea Skybreak is a professionally trained scientist in the field of ecology and evolutionary biology and an advocate of the new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian. Skybreak is also the author of the very important book The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What’s Real and Why It Matters, Insight Press, 2006. The entire interview with Ardea Skybreak (SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION) is available at revcom.us.

In this interview Skybreak goes in some depth into how, in summing up the historical experience of the communist movement and drawing from a broad range of human experience, Bob Avakian has brought forward a new communism that embodies a further leap in the application of a scientific method and approach to the question of how a better society and world, free of exploitation and oppression, can actually be brought into being. As this article points out, the new communism “is a continuation of, but also represents a qualitative leap beyond, and in some important ways a break with, communist theory as it had been previously developed and which has put communism on an even more consistently scientific basis, providing the strategy and leadership for an actual revolution and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation.”

In a number of works, and in particular the book THE NEW COMMUNISM, The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation (Insight Press, 2016) and Breakthroughs: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summary (which is available at revcom.us) Bob Avakian speaks to what is new in the new communism and its relation to previous communist theory.  [back]

2. SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION  [back]

3. SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION  [back]

4. SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION  [back]

5. Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution. The text and video of this speech by Bob Avakian are available at revcom.us.  [back]

6. Breakthroughs: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summaryavailable at revcom.us.  [back]

BOB AVAKIAN: A RADICALLY DIFFERENT LEADER—
A WHOLE NEW FRAMEWORK FOR HUMAN EMANCIPATION

Bob Avakian (BA) is the most important political thinker and leader in the world today.

Read more

Watch BA's whole speech:

Watch clips from speech

 

 

Follow: @TheRevcoms
Read: www.revcom.us
Watch: youtube.com/TheRevComs

 

Together, WE passed $40,000 in revcom's Winter fundraising campaign to “Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence”!

Reaching this goal is a real achievement and a victory for the people of the world, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated efforts of many people working creatively and collectively to meet this pressing need: those who donated whether large or small contributions, who fundraised, who spread the campaign, who sent statements, who raised comments, questions, criticisms or suggestions – and of course those who worked so hard on modernizing and upgrading our web technology and presence. It all made a difference!

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

During this four month fund drive, Revcom.us continued to incur thousands of dollars of costs each month for our office, maintaining our existing site and other expenses. But thanks to our existing monthly sustainers we were able to meet these expenses and use all the funds raised in the drive to transform the website.

So we encourage all our donors and those who’ve not yet donated to become monthly sustainers at whatever level you can afford.

Remember, humanity’s fate truly hinges on millions taking up the revolutionary science, strategy, and new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian which they can find at revcom.us.

You’ve read this article and now you need to be part of making sure revcom.us is able to make an urgently needed leap and transformation.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/657/bob-avakian-capitalism-imperialism-the-suffocation-of-seven-billion-en.html

CAPITALISM-IMPERIALISM—THE SUFFOCATION OF SEVEN BILLION— AND THE PROFOUND NEED FOR A WORLD ON NEW FOUNDATIONS

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

The rulers of this country, and those who represent their interests, are forever boasting about the supposed “freedom, initiative and creativity” that, according to them, the capitalist system (and only the capitalist system) makes possible, and the great wealth this has created for people in this country especially. And they continually slander communism as a repressive system where people have no freedom and their initiative and creativity is not encouraged and rewarded but stifled and suppressed. All this is fundamentally wrong and completely upside-down.

First of all, the wealth that these people boast about is extremely unevenly distributed, even within this country, where a very small percentage of the people control the great bulk of the wealth. But, beyond that and more essentially, this wealth rests on a foundation of unspeakable crimes against humanity, historically and right up to the present time. To begin with:

The USA is a country which established its territory and built the foundation of its wealth through the armed conquest of land, genocide, slavery, and ruthless exploitation of successive waves of immigrants to America.1

And today, “the wealth and power of the U.S. rests today on a worldwide system of imperialist exploitation”—an international network of sweatshops, mines and corporate-controlled farms—“that ensnares hundreds of millions, and ultimately billions, of people in conditions hardly better than those of slaves.”2

This system of capitalism-imperialism—a system resting on ruthless exploitation, and super-exploitation, of masses of people, and marked by the cut-throat competition between major capitalist enterprises and financial institutions, and rivalry between capitalist states—suffocates the freedom, initiative and creativity of billions of human beings (the great majority of the more than seven billion people on the earth) including the huge numbers of children who are slaving away at near-starvation wages, and the vast masses of people who have been uprooted from the countryside, throughout the Third World (of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia) and are crowded into swelling shantytown slums in rapidly expanding urban areas, where most can only survive by hustling in the “informal” economy, legal and illegal.

The freedom, creativity and initiative of literally billions of women is suffocated and suppressed, often with extreme brutality, under this system, with the patriarchal male supremacy that is built into it.

Tens of millions of people have died, and countries have been devastated, in wars directly waged by rival imperialists (such as World Wars 1 and 2), or wars in which they have backed contending local forces—all to gain (or maintain) control of strategic parts of the world, in the bloody pursuit of key natural resources, markets, and domination of populations whose desperation leaves them vulnerable to life-stealing exploitation.

Here is a “snapshot” of the ugly reality beneath all the grand talk about the “greatness” of this system of capitalism-imperialism:

we live in a world where large parts of humanity live in stark poverty, with 2.3 billion people lacking even rudimentary toilets or latrines and huge numbers suffering from preventable diseases, with millions of children dying every year from these diseases and from starvation, while 150 million children in the world are forced to engage in ruthlessly exploited child labor, and the whole world economy rests on a vast network of sweatshops, employing large numbers of women who are regularly subjected to sexual harassment and assault, a world where 65 million refugees have been displaced by war, poverty, persecution, and the effects of global warming.3

And the very future of humanity is seriously, and increasingly, endangered by this system with its accelerating destruction of the environment as well as its ever-present threat of nuclear annihilation.

Within the U.S. itself (this “richest of all countries”) tens of millions, especially in the inner cities, are living in conditions of severe deprivation, with many denied the opportunity to find work at a “living wage,” or denied the opportunity to be employed at all (in the regular “formal economy”) while they are also subjected to discrimination in education, housing, health care, and every other dimension of society—with all this enforced through continual police terror, punctuated repeatedly by outright murder.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has both highlighted and heightened the profound inequalities, in the world as a whole, and within this country, as people who were already bitterly oppressed and impoverished, and denied access to decent health care, have been hit hardest by this pandemic.

And, even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, with its crushing effects on the livelihood of masses of people, tens of millions in this country who had been regularly employed were living paycheck-to-paycheck, striving to provide for loved ones and hoping to provide a better future for their children, with many saddled with huge debt and only a serious health crisis away from financial ruin, while their work created wealth for a capitalist (or capitalist corporation) dictating the conditions of work, treating people as cogs in a machine or in many cases the extension of a machine—whether on an assembly line or a computer—work that, in these conditions, can only be alienating and mind-numbing.

In these (and countless other) ways, this system crushes and deadens the human spirit as well as grinding away the life—or outright stealing the life—of billions of people in every part of the world.

Think of the tremendous waste—and outright destruction—of human potential that results from all this. All this is the consequence of the fact that the world, and the masses of humanity, are forced to live under the domination of this system of capitalism-imperialism

All this is the basis on which a relatively small part of the people within this country, and a very small part of humanity as whole, has the conditions and the “freedom” to develop and apply their initiative and creativity—only to have this serve, under this system, to reinforce the “lopsided,” highly unequal and profoundly oppressive conditions in the world as a whole and for the masses of people in the world.

And all this is completely unnecessary.

Revolution, the New Communism and the Unleashing of Human Potential

Even under these conditions imposed by this outmoded, monstrous system of capitalism-imperialism, creativity bursts through repeatedly in many different ways—and notably in music, literature and other expressions of art and culture—from every part of society and every part of the world, including among those most downpressed and despised by this system and its rulers. Think of how much greater this creativity could be—and all the ways it could be unleashed to meet the needs of the masses of people, materially as well as culturally—if the ways in which billions are chained down and suffocated by this system were shattered and cast off through revolution.

Through the decades of work I have carried out, drawing crucial lessons from the previous experience (positive but also negative) of the communist movement and a wide range of human experience, I have developed a more consistently scientific communist theory, the new communism, which provides the basis for leading this revolution: the methods and principles, and the strategy for carrying out this revolution and, in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, a sweeping vision and concrete blueprint for a radically different and much better society, on an entirely new foundation—a radically different economic system (mode of production) based not on exploiting the masses of people but on unleashing their creativity and initiative to do away with exploitation and oppression of every kind.4 With this socialist mode of production the means of production (land, raw materials, machinery and other technology, factories and other physical structures, and so on) will be publicly owned (not privately owned by capitalist exploiters locked in chaotic and destructive competition and rivalry). This public ownership will make it possible to marshal and utilize the resources of society in a planned and flexible way, to meet people’s needs, both materially (for food, shelter, health care, and so on) and culturally and intellectually, in a continually expanding wayand to respond in a timely way to unforeseen developments and emergencies, while supporting the revolutionary struggle worldwide toward the goal of eliminating all exploitation and oppression everywhere with the achievement of communism throughout the world.

With this mode of production, people’s initiative and creativity will be encouraged and fostered, and there will be the basis for people to apply this initiative and creativity, in unprecedented ways, in the interests of the masses of people, and ultimately all of humanity: Everyone will be able to work and to acquire the basis for a decent life, while contributing to the development of society on the road to overcoming exploitation, inequality and oppression—contributing through their ideas as well as their work—without being forced into relentless competition with each other in order to survive, or striving to advance at the expense of others (a poisonous way of thinking that will be continually struggled against).

It is a fundamental understanding and principle of communism, which is given great emphasis in the new communism, that people are the most important productive force—not just as “producers” of the social wealth but also as conscious participants in the planning and overall development of the economy, not only for the benefit of the people in the particular country but most fundamentally to serve the revolutionary transformation of the entire world toward the goal of communism. And:

The development of the socialist economy has as its source and relies upon the initiative and work, intellectual as well as physical, of the masses of people, of the members of society broadly, in conditions which are increasingly freed from relations of exploitation, and with the aim of overcoming all vestiges and aspects of such relations, and the effects of such relations, not only in... [a particular socialist country] but everywhere on the earth.5

Along with, and fundamentally on the basis of, this radically different mode of production, there will be radically different political institutions and processes, and an ongoing struggle to transform the social relations which have embodied oppression, with the goal of abolishing and uprooting all relations of oppression as well as exploitation. There will be a radically different approach to education and culture—one which fosters and unleashes the scientific curiosity and artistic creativity of masses of people and “embraces” all this and enables it to contribute, “through many divergent paths, to the advance along a broad road toward the goal of communism.”6 There will be a radically different relation with the rest of the world—not exploiting and super-exploiting people around the world but supporting the struggle everywhere to throw off the rule of exploiters and oppressors and advance toward the goal of eliminating and uprooting all exploitation and oppression. And there will be a radically different relation with the environment—where human beings, instead of being chained to a system that plunders and destroys the rest of nature, are working together to be fit caretakers of the earth.

This will be a new society aiming for a whole new world, without the suffocation, suppression, and disfiguring of the potential for the masses of humanity to understand and change the world in accordance with what are in fact the fundamental interests of humanity—to live in a world where no part of humanity is subordinated to and dictated to by another part, and where all of humanity is no longer dictated to by the fundamental workings and dynamics of a system that requires antagonistic relations among people, enforced with the continual threat and use of massive violence, where the masses of humanity are no longer reduced to merely a means to make wealth for a small number who rule over them, or are cast off as “surplus” populations that can no longer be exploited in this way.

This new society and world will not be some kind of “utopia” where all problems and difficulties have “magically disappeared”—and it will not come as a “gift” from some non-existent god—but will be the result of the struggle of masses of people to cast off unbearable exploitation and oppression, and to transform themselves and their thinking in close inter-connection with this struggle to transform their conditions—struggle led by those who have taken up the scientific method and approach of the new communism and are winning growing numbers of people to themselves take up and apply this scientific method and approach to transforming the world in an increasingly conscious way on the basis of their voluntary initiative and cooperation.

All this will involve whole new dimensions of freedom, and unleashed initiative and creativity of the masses of humanity, on this whole new foundation, with radically different institutions and relations among people, and radically different ways of thinking that correspond to these emancipating relations among people.

 


1. From The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! In The Name of Humanity We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible. Video of this speech by Bob Avakian is available at revcom.us.  [back]

2. BAsics 1:4 (Basics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian). This statement by Bob Avakian is originally from Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy, which is available in BA’s Collected Works at revcom.us.  [back]

3. This is from Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make RevolutionVideo and the text of this speech by Bob Avakian are available at revcom.us.  [back]

4. The strategy for revolution is spoken to in depth in the speech by Bob Avakian Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution (video and the text of which are available at revcom.us), and further thinking on this is contained in A Real Revolution—A Real Chance To Win, Further Developing the Strategy for Revolution (which is also available at revcom.us). The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, is also available at revcom.us.  [back]

5. From Article I, Section 2, sub-section A2, page 19 of the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. The principles and guidelines for the development of the socialist economy are more fully laid out in Article IV of this Constitution.  [back]

6. From the “Preamble” to the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America.  [back]

Bob Avakian (BA) is the most important political thinker and leader in the world today.

Get Into BA »

See also:

Four Months Into the Global COVID-19 Health and Economic Crisis...
Notes on the Utter Cruelty and Obscene Irrationality of Capitalism-Imperialism

by Raymond Lotta

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The New Communism

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CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

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Together, WE passed $40,000 in revcom's Winter fundraising campaign to “Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence”!

Reaching this goal is a real achievement and a victory for the people of the world, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated efforts of many people working creatively and collectively to meet this pressing need: those who donated whether large or small contributions, who fundraised, who spread the campaign, who sent statements, who raised comments, questions, criticisms or suggestions – and of course those who worked so hard on modernizing and upgrading our web technology and presence. It all made a difference!

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

During this four month fund drive, Revcom.us continued to incur thousands of dollars of costs each month for our office, maintaining our existing site and other expenses. But thanks to our existing monthly sustainers we were able to meet these expenses and use all the funds raised in the drive to transform the website.

So we encourage all our donors and those who’ve not yet donated to become monthly sustainers at whatever level you can afford.

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/646/bob-avakian-on-emancipation-from-mental-slavery-all-oppression-en.html

Bob Avakian On
EMANCIPATION
FROM MENTAL SLAVERY AND ALL OPPRESSION

| revcom.us

 

In 1863, mid-way in the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln finally issued the Emancipation Proclamation and, as a result of the Civil War, Black people were formally freed from literal, physical slavery. But today the question is: When, and how, will Black people finally be free from all forms of slavery and oppression? And this poses straight-up this big question:

When will Black people finally emancipate themselves from the mental slavery of religion?!

We have seen the possibility of a world without oppression powerfully expressed in the not-too-distant past, during the radical upsurge that took place within this country and throughout the world during the 1960s and early 1970s.1 Within this country, the struggle of Black people was at the forefront of all this, and as that struggle became more radical in opposition to the system itself, and groups like the Black Panther Party, driven by the impatience and daring of Black youth, grew and gained influence, the advanced role of the struggle for Black liberation exerted an even more powerful positive role. And, as a very significant part of the widely and strongly held conviction that it was not only necessary but possible to put an end to the nightmare that had been endured for so long:

among Black people—who we’re always told are just sort of inherently religious—there was a massive turning away from religion, especially among the youth. Why? Because people were filled with hope, they didn’t believe that there was no hope for a better world. They were full of hope for a better world right in this world. And so, among Black people, there was, on the part of the youth in particular, a major turning away from religion and from all the old conventions that went along with religion that were conservatizing influences holding down the people.2

Hard Truths, Emancipating Truths

But the great promise of the 1960s radical upsurge, and the hopes that it raised, were not realized—fundamentally because things did not go all the way to an actual revolution. And, over the decades since then, through conscious policy by the ruling powers to foster the growth of more bourgeois and petit bourgeois strata among Black people, while at the same time maintaining and containing the masses of Black people in conditions of deprivation, oppression and vicious repression, this bitter reality has resulted:

Among the basic masses of people, including Black people (not the more middle class strata being developed through conscious ruling class policy, but the masses of oppressed people), there was a tremendous amount of demoralization and sense of defeat, and the introduction (including through deliberate ruling class policy and action) of massive amounts of drugs further intensified the desperate conditions of the basic masses and further reinforced the sense of demoralization. A lot of people were dying or being reduced to broken wretches on the basis of turning to drugs out of despair—the lack of hope, or the death, in immediate terms, of the hope that inspired so many people, on a real basis, through the course of the 1960s upsurge, which had now ebbed and been transformed. And this situation was made even more desperate and demoralizing with the growth of gangs in the ghettos and barrios of this country (as well as internationally), with youth drawn to the gangs in conditions of increasing deprivation and desperation and what was for most the illusion of getting rich, with the orientation of “get rich or die trying,” fueled by the growth of the drug trade and the influence of the putrid culture promoted throughout society that fostered and extolled the exploitation and degradation of others as the means for making it big, whether on Wall Street and on the world stage, or on the streets in the neighborhoods of the inner city.3

In the face of all this, amidst a feeling of fatalistic hopelessness, there has been, on the part of large numbers of Black people, a retreat into religion. It is often claimed that religion is what has allowed Black people to endure and persevere through all the trials and tribulations—the very real horrors—they have been subjected to throughout their experience in America, and that this remains the case now. But this is a logic of defeat—it rests on the underlying assumption (spoken or unspoken) that the system will basically remain as it has been, and that Black people will continue to be despised and discriminated against, persecuted, brutalized and terrorized, and the best they can hope for is to somehow survive, and strive to thrive, through all this—or, if you suffer in this life but you “get right with the Lord,” or submit to Allah, you will be rewarded in some “next life.”

Once more, the question is sharply posed: How can Black people be finally and fully emancipated from centuries of oppression, and how does this relate to ending all oppression, of all people, everywhere?

The answer is that the possibility of this is real, but it can happen only on the basis of a scientific approach to changing the world and the scientifically-grounded understanding that this oppression is rooted in and caused by the system of capitalism-imperialism—the same system that is viciously exploiting and murderously oppressing people not just in this country but all over the world and is plundering the natural environmentand that this system must and can be overthrown through an actual revolution and replaced by a radically different and far better system: socialism, whose final goal is a communist world, without any oppression or exploitation of anyone, anywhere.

As I have put it, expressing a simple and basic truth: “in fundamental terms, we have two choices: either, live with all this—and condemn future generations to the same, or worse, if they have a future at all—ormake revolution!”4

And, in relation to this, I have also spoken to this profound truth:

There is the potential for something of unprecedented beauty to arise out of unspeakable ugliness: Black people playing a crucial role in putting an end, at long last, to this system which has, for so long, not just exploited but dehumanized, terrorized and tormented them in a thousand ways—putting an end to this in the only way it can be done—by fighting to emancipate humanity, to put an end to the long night in which human society has been divided into masters and slaves, and the masses of humanity have been lashed, beaten, raped, slaughtered, shackled and shrouded in ignorance and misery.5

But here is another way that, in fundamental terms, there are two choices: either cling to the mental slavery of religion and remain oppressed, or cast off the mental chains of religion while rising up to fight with a real chance to get finally and fully free, in putting an end to all oppression and exploitation.

Religion may seem to give people comfort in the face of the oppression and anguish they are forced to endure, or to make people feel that with religion they can keep from “doing wrong”—or, even though they may “do wrong,” they still have some worth. And it is true that, for some people, their religious views are a motivation to fight against various forms of oppression, and many people who approach things from a religious standpoint have insights and knowledge that it is important to know about and learn from. But it is also true that, as a way of thinking and a guide to acting, religion relies on the invention of supernatural beings that do not exist but which are said to ultimately shape and control reality, including the fate of human beings. Religion calls on people to submit to those imaginary supernatural beings (or, to very human authorities speaking in the name of those imaginary supernatural beings) and to follow scriptures that in reality do not lead to ending oppression but actually promote and reinforce all kinds of degradation and horror. (This is something I have illustrated very concretely in the book Away With All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, particularly with regard to the three main monotheistic [one-god] religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.6) In this way religion stands in direct opposition to taking up a consistently scientific approach to understanding reality and waging a scientifically-grounded fight to end all oppression.

This is why the powers-that-be, whose very existence, wealth and power rest on oppression and exploitation, continually promote religion. It is why the very same slavemasters who prohibited Black people from learning to read (and severely punished those who did) actively encouraged their slaves to take up religion and get down on their knees in prayer. And it is why today, the ruling powers in this country are only too willing to provide a platform for, and parade around, any Black people who are inclined to engage in passionate “god-talk.” This may be painful to hear, but the question is: is it true, or not? Think about it.

It is neither possible nor principled—and no one should ever try—to force people to give up beliefs they hold at any given time. In the most fundamental terms, emancipation—from every form of slavery and oppression—must be the voluntary and conscious act of people. But there is a great need and importance to waging ideological struggle, in a principled way but as sharply as necessary, to win people to take up a scientific approach to understanding, and changing, the world and break with ways of thinking that actually contribute to keeping them, and others, oppressed.

Again, it is true that many religious people take part now in important struggles against oppression; and it is also true that many religious people will be among the millions taking part in the revolution to do away with this whole oppressive system. But this revolution, and the continuing struggle to end all oppression and bring about real and complete emancipation, must be led by those, among the most oppressed, and others as well, who have taken up a scientific approach to changing the world and have cast off the mental slavery of religion, along with every other way of thinking that promotes, or at least rationalizes and objectively justifies, oppression.

A bitter truth is this:

Oppressed people who are unable or unwilling to confront reality as it actually is, are condemned to remain enslaved and oppressed.7

But, an even greater, emancipating truth is this:

The notion of a god, or gods, was created by humanity, in its infancy, out of ignorance. This has been perpetuated by ruling classes, for thousands of years since then, to serve their interests in exploiting and dominating the majority of people and keeping them enslaved to ignorance and irrationality.

Bringing about a new, and far better, world and future for humanity means overthrowing such exploiting classes and breaking free of and leaving behind forever such enslaving ignorance and irrationality.8

 


1. In HOPE FOR HUMANITY ON A SCIENTIFIC BASISBreaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism (available at revcom.us), Bob Avakian speaks to this major change taking place during the 1960s:

In the 1960s, masses of people all over the world, including in this country, were filled with hope and determination about the prospect of bringing into being a radically different and better world. Throughout the Third World, there were liberation struggles aimed at throwing off the yoke of colonial oppression that had been imposed on them for decades, generations and even centuries. And in the imperialist countries themselves—including, in particular, the U.S.—the generation that came of age in the 1960s had both the understanding of the need and a real belief in the possibility of bringing a radically different and better world into being, and was not interested in hearing all the arguments about why things had to be the way they are.  [back]

2. HOPE FOR HUMANITY ON A SCIENTIFIC BASIS.

In Bob Avakian Responds to Mark Rudd on the Lessons of the 1960s and the Need for an Actual Revolution (available at revcom.us), this point is emphasized:

in moving from the limitations of the civil rights movement to the more advanced position of demanding Black liberation and linking this with liberation struggles in the Third World, those Black revolutionaries exerted a powerful positive force in influencing the movements of those times, including among educated youth, toward a more revolutionary orientation, even as that orientation was (in the parlance of those times) a “mixed bag,” involving a complex of conflicting tendencies, including the revolutionary communism that was coming from China as well as various revolutionary nationalist and other contradictory trends.  [back]

3. HOPE FOR HUMANITY ON A SCIENTIFIC BASIS.  [back]

4. In the speech Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, from which this quote is drawn, Bob Avakian speaks to those crucial questions. The text and video of this speech are available at revcom.us. And in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, (available at revcom.us) there is a sweeping vision and a concrete blueprint for a socialist society aiming for the final goal of communism throughout the world.  [back]

5. This statement, along with other works by Bob Avakian speaking to the oppression of Black people and the road to their full emancipation, is available at revcom.us.  [back]

6. Bob Avakian, Away With All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, Insight Press, 2008.  [back]

7. BAsics 4:1 (BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian).  [back]

8. BAsics 4:17, emphasis added.  [back]

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/680/trump-summons-fascist-mobs-to-dc-january-6-en.html

These Lunatics Are Serious—Are You?

Trump Summons Fascist Mobs to DC to Stop January 6 Election Certification

| revcom.us

 

If this were a normal year, it wouldn't even be news when the Senate and Congress meet on January 6 to formally certify the well-established fact that Joe Biden beat Donald Trump handily in the 2020 election. Most elections, the January 6 congressional certification passes as a mere formality.

But this is not a normal election.

Yes, Biden DID win—decisively. And yes, the Electoral College—despite Trump’s demagogy, threats and bribes—DID certify Biden as the winner. And yes, the courts DID decisively throw out Trump’s utterly groundless lawsuits. But Trump continues on the warpath. And this, unfortunately, is not a joke. One way or another, it will have consequences.

Trump Calls the Fascist Mobs Back to DC

This year on January 6, Donald Trump—the fascist president of the United States—is stoking the reactionary rage of his rabid base of MAGA mobs and white supremacist street-fighters with deranged conspiracy theories of a stolen election. He is calling them into the streets of DC in record numbers to a rally he promises will—and this IS a quote—“be wild.”

At the last #Overturn rally held in DC, MAGA fascists and Proud Boys savagely assaulted counter-protesters and bystanders. They targeted Black churches, openly tearing down their Black Lives Matters signs and setting them ablaze in a scene that Rev. Dr. Ianther M. Mills described as “reminiscent of cross burnings” (a signature of the Ku Klux Klan terror). In this context, Trump's call can only be understood as an urging of the same and worse.

This year as January 6 approaches, Trump is lashing out at Republicans in the Senate and Congress, pressuring them to override the votes of millions by refusing to certify the election. In his usual way, Trump attributed to his opponents what he is actually doing, claiming that the Democrats would have treated an electoral loss as an “act of war, and fight to the death.” Then he castigated Senate Majority Leader McConnell for not doing the same. Already, several unhinged, fact-denying, fascist Congresspeople have promised to do so.1 And while most Republicans have thus far refused to follow Trump’s urging to disrupt the January 6 certification, Trump is whipping up resentment against them for this at a time when mobs of his supporters are already showing up armed at the homes of elected officials who don't fall in line with Trump's coup.2

To state what should be obvious: Even if Trump doesn’t succeed in preventing the certification of the election on the 6th, this is unprecedented and dangerous. It is FASCIST. At minimum, Trump and his fascist movement will emerge further battle-hardened, aggrieved, and hungry for vengeance. This must not be normalized or ignored.

Yet, that is precisely what is happening. The decent people of this country are silent. They are passive. They are looking the other way. Unless this starts to change, humanity's future is in serious peril.

Every decent person needs to take up the challenge of confronting this deeply and contributing to a collective effort to turn this around.

Trump’s Fascist Attempt to Overturn the Election Is Doing Damage—Now and for the Future

Too many people are evaluating this unprecedented and many-sided fascist assault on the election and the planned rampage in DC on the 6th only in terms of whether or not it might “succeed” in the short term. They point to Trump’s overwhelming electoral defeat and the way that the courts have shot down his claims of electoral fraud to insist that his threats regarding January 6 are even more far-fetched and therefore dismissible, perhaps even laughable.

But this is akin to standing behind a wall that is being repeatedly hit with a battering ram, smugly chuckling when each blow only leaves a crack or sends a few splinters flying through the air... all while ignoring that the wall is weakening, the foundation rotting, and the mob outside is growing harder and more determined.

For one thing, no one can say when and if the wall might come down. While it is not the most likely outcome at this point that Trump will succeed in overturning the election or otherwise staying in power, no one—not Trump, not Biden, not you who are reading this—can be completely sure at this point. But even if he doesn’t succeed in staying in office past January 20, this fascist movement is gaining strength and initiative, with profoundly dangerous implications both long term and near-term.

Think What It Means... for Now, and for the Future

Think what it means that fascist terror has been normalized to such a degree that a a mob of over a hundred fascists, some with firearms, stormed the Oregon state-house on December 21 and it wasn’t even a major news story.3 Or that a Trump campaign surrogate can casually say things like: “January 6 is a big day. If you get a stimulus check, you might want to go out and spend it on guns and ammo because it could come down to that.” A former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence compared the threatening rhetoric of many close to Trump to the language that leads to “radicalized terrorist cells in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.”

Think what it means that outrageous fascist maneuvers once believed to be “unthinkable”—like calling out the military against domestic protest or declaring martial law to overturn an election—must now and going forward be treated as real possibilities. A recent example: Trump invited Michael Flynn to the White House and, according to CNN and the New York Times, asked his aides about Flynn's proposal that Trump re-do the election under conditions of martial law. According to reports, “ranking officers have discussed what they would do if the president declared martial law.”

Think what it means that the overwhelming majority of Trump voters—a population numbering in the many millions—actually believe the conspiracy theory-driven LIE that the election was stolen from Trump! And that this LIE centers on supposed voter fraud concentrated in urban, heavily Black-populated areas. Not only are these people completely inoculated against any facts or evidence that contradict that and any other fascist LIE Trump might tell them, they are convinced to their core that Trump was betrayed and victimized by the institutions, laws, and norms of government that obstructed his fascist coup. All this is already fueling—and will continue to fuel—a growing fascist determination to further assault and shatter these institutions and norms and carry out violence driven by white supremacy, misogyny, and hatred of immigrants.

A defeated coup, when backed by a battle-hardened determined core of millions, with tens of millions more believing that their opposition—i.e., Biden—is in power illegitimately, has the potential to reemerge, especially when that opposition is demobilized and oblivious to the threat.

It is unacceptable—a real problem that must be confronted and actively worked on and transformed—that the millions of decent people who correctly voted in overwhelming numbers against Trump are silent in the face of all this, letting it fester and worsen.

There Can Be No “Reconciliation” with These Fascists

The most conspicuous thing about the Democrats through all of this is their near-total silence about any of it. In fact, it is far easier to find the spattering of Republicans who will condemn the mobs, threats of death and other violence, and attempts at a coup than it is to find sharp denunciation from the Democrats or any attempt by them to organize serious resistance inside Congress or to call for masses into the streets to stand against this attempted fascist coup.

Instead, they are busy talking about “national healing” and common ground. As Biden put it in a recent tweet: “After a year of pain and loss, it’s time to unite, heal, and rebuild.” But as Bob Avakian has pointed out:

...there can be no “reconciliation” with these fascists—whose “grievances” are based on fanatical resentment against any limitation on white supremacy, male supremacy, xenophobia (hatred of foreigners), rabid American chauvinism, and the unrestrained plundering of the environment, and are increasingly expressed in literally lunatic terms. There can be no “reconciliation” with this, other than on the terms of these fascists, with all the terrible implications and consequences of that!

It is necessary for the interests of the people—of this country and around this world—to be asserted and fought for by growing numbers of decent people who uncompromisingly reject and repudiate the whole fascist program of America-first, white supremacy, male supremacy, and hatred of foreigners. This requires stepping outside of—and acting in opposition to the political terms set by—the normal political channels and the terms being fought for by these Democrats.

There Is Leadership, and Work to Do, to Turn This Around

There are reasons, rooted in the nature of the system of capitalism-imperialism that we live under and the massive changes and crisis this system has brought about on a world scale and in this country, that this fascism has emerged and is not going away even in the face of electoral defeat. There are reasons, also rooted in this system and its dynamics, that the Democrats are determined to seek common ground and stability for their system, rather than call out and take on these fascists and the threat they pose to humanity's future. Bob Avakian (BA) has done unparalleled work, much of which can be found on this resource page, to scientifically examine these reasons and their implications.  

Understanding those reasons—and on the basis of that understanding, what to do about them and how to go about changing the situation we face—is essential for the storms ahead. To not dig into that work that BA has done is to insist on flying blind into the hurricane when the stakes for humanity are far too high to do so.

It is extremely important that RefuseFascism.org, an organization that unites people from very diverse political perspectives to work to mobilize the millions of decent people in this country in nonviolent mass protest to stop a fascist America, has put out the call for people to find creative ways to express their opposition to this fascist marauding on January 6. We urge our readers to join in that effort as well as to learn from the important forums RefuseFascism.org has held to understand this situation and the way forward.

Finally, we urge you to talk with others you know and to write to us with your thinking and ideas on how we transform this situation so that it is no longer the case that decent people are silent as fascism gains momentum and threatens humanity's future.

E-mail: revolution.reports@yahoo.com
@therevcoms

 


1. These include Alabama Representative Mo Brooks, senator elect Tommy Tuberville who said he is considering the idea, and QAnon conspiracy theorist and Georgia congressperson-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene who said, “I’ve got President Trump’s back.”  [back]

2. See “MAGA Fascists Threaten to Kill, Burn, Rape Officials Who Resist the ‘Overturn’ Campaign,” at revcom.us.  [back

3. As reported by Oregon Public Broadcasting, the fascists pushed their way through the doors to the state Capitol in Salem, demanding an immediate “reopening” of the economy and calling for the arrest of the governor. Some carried guns and bear spray, and most were not masked.  [back]


Proud Boys with their deranged conspiracy theory that Trump won the election at the "Million MAGA March." Washington, D.C. Photo: AP


Proud Boys burn banner torn from Asbury United Methodist Church, Washington, D.C., December 12, 2020. Credit: @KristenClarkeJD

RADICAL CHANGE IS COMING:
WILL IT BE EMANCIPATING, OR ENSLAVING— REVOLUTIONARY, OR REACTIONARY?

by Bob Avakian

Read more

* * *

See also:

Bob Avakian on:
The Need to Drive Out the Fascist Trump/Pence Regime and
the Fundamental Need for Revolution —

Videos and Articles

See the full film, excerpts and Q&A of this film

A Pledge to the People of the World: In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America.

 

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Together, WE passed $40,000 in revcom's Winter fundraising campaign to “Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence”!

Reaching this goal is a real achievement and a victory for the people of the world, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated efforts of many people working creatively and collectively to meet this pressing need: those who donated whether large or small contributions, who fundraised, who spread the campaign, who sent statements, who raised comments, questions, criticisms or suggestions – and of course those who worked so hard on modernizing and upgrading our web technology and presence. It all made a difference!

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

During this four month fund drive, Revcom.us continued to incur thousands of dollars of costs each month for our office, maintaining our existing site and other expenses. But thanks to our existing monthly sustainers we were able to meet these expenses and use all the funds raised in the drive to transform the website.

So we encourage all our donors and those who’ve not yet donated to become monthly sustainers at whatever level you can afford.

Remember, humanity’s fate truly hinges on millions taking up the revolutionary science, strategy, and new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian which they can find at revcom.us.

You’ve read this article and now you need to be part of making sure revcom.us is able to make an urgently needed leap and transformation.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/680/fundraising-livestream-the-get-organized-for-an-actual-revolution-tour-en.html

| revcom.us

 

Announcing a Fundraising Livestream for the Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour –
SUNDAY, JANUARY 10

3 pm PST / 6 pm EST
facebook.com/therevcoms
youtube.com/therevcoms

 

To supporters, friends, and comrades of the Revolution Tour... and to ALL those who want to see a new, different and better world,

Welcome to 2021! 

The Revolution Tour is carrying forward into the New Year its mission to put revolution on the map, and to bring forward the new communism and the leadership of Bob Avakian so that it becomes a real and growing force. 

In the course of this tumultuous and challenging year, major strides have been taken. And we on the Tour intend to impact the political terrain in a major way in 2021. 

2020 saw a capitalist-imperialist system up against its limits, with answers neither to the long-range crises it has created that have put the lives of billions and possibly the future of humanity at risk, nor to the immediate horrors of the COVID pandemic and the rise of fascism in the U.S. and other parts of the world. 

The Revolution Tour fought to bring forward a whole different and much better future in the face of that:

Your support was crucial in all of this; and your continued—or first-time—support is needed now to carry this forward even as the Tour is taking time to dig deeply into that experience and analyze its most important lessons in order to prepare to go out more boldly and with more impact in the new year 2021.

To do that, we need your support. We are transforming the world and doing new things, struggling to break through—and most of all, we are learning as we go. 

Go now to revcom.us for a page of sights and sounds from the Tour. And tune in on Sunday, January 10, for a fundraising webinar reviewing the year past and looking toward the future.

Find out more about The Get Organized for an Actual Revolution Tour >>

How to Donate to the National Revolution Tour

  • Venmo: “@RevolutionTour”
  • CashApp: $revtour
  • Send a check or money order,
    payable to RCP Publications,
    memo line: National Revolution Tour. Mail to:
    • RCP Publications
      Box 3486, Merchandise Mart
      Chicago, IL 60654-0486

 

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/680/revolution-tour-sights-n-sounds-2020-en.html

Sights and Sounds of The National Revolution Tour 2020

| revcom.us

 

The COVID Pandemic

The Beautiful Rising

Minneapolis


The Revcoms in Minneapolis

Los Angeles

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Portland, Oregon

From Bob Avakian


The Revolution Club, Chicago taking BA and the revolution to the masses on the South Shore.


(Read the 10-part series)

The 2020 Elections

August 1, 2020 —
STATEMENT BY BOB AVAKIAN
ON THE IMMEDIATE CRITICAL SITUATION,
THE URGENT NEED TO DRIVE OUT
THE FASCIST TRUMP/PENCE REGIME,
VOTING IN THIS ELECTION, AND
THE FUNDAMENTAL NEED FOR REVOLUTION

Read more


The Refuse Fascism Handmaids brigade at the Supreme Court, part of a series of creative and bold nonviolent actions in DC and across the country that reached millions with a challenge to confront the reality that Trump is already stealing the election.

Find out more about The Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour >>

 

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/680/dire-situation-for-irans-political-prisoners-urgent-need-for-protest-en.html

Dire Situation for Iran's Political Prisoners and the Urgent Need for Worldwide Protest

| revcom.us

 

As Iran’s Islamic regime was preparing to ramp up a new wave of vicious repression, Amnesty International (AI) issued a detailed report, "Trampling Humanity: Mass Arrests, Disappearances and Torture Since Iran’s 2019 November Protests." A press release about the report opened with these bullet points about the situation:

What follows is a snapshot, the tip of the iceberg, to give an indication of the scale and scope of the horrific wave of repression by the theocratic regime in Iran in just the past two months.

Since the AI report mentioned above, the situation has become ever more dire with an alarming increase in death penalties quickly given and carried out in the cases of political prisoners in recent months. A recent mass international outcry followed the December 12 hanging of 47-year-old dissident blogger/journalist Rouhollah Zam. He was targeted by the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) regime for favorably reporting on the protests inside Iran in 2017 and 2019. Rouhollah Zam had been living in exile in Paris since 2011 but was lured to Iraq where he was kidnapped and taken to Iran in October 2019, jailed, and given a sham trial that included a tortured confession in sealing his death sentence, even as his father is a member of the IRI regime.

The category of political prisoners is very broad. The Iranian regime’s crackdown this October included environmentalists, students, members of minority nationalities (e.g., Kurds, Arabs etc.) women’s right activists, teachers, labor union movement activists/organizers, artists, intellectuals, journalists, and just about anyone who can be deemed as opposing the regime in some way, and often on fabricated evidence or tortured confessions.

The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) reported last week that the IRI has greatly intensified executions of political prisoners. For example, three young Baloch (or Baluch)* men accused of belonging to militant Sunni Muslim groups were executed on December 23. There may be several more waiting this same fate. Executions are carried out even as lawyers are in the process of appealing their defendants’ sentence.

According to the CHRI website, also in late December, the IRI stepped up going after members of the Iranian Writers Association (IWA), such as detaining poet Amin Moradi. His lawyers suspect he will soon be charged with the typical “national security” charges. His arrest follows the October 2020 jailing of three senior IWA members, also on bogus charges after unjust trials.

In late November, both AI and the CHRI highlighted the case of 66-year-old political prisoner, German-Iranian dual national and women’s right activist Nahid Taghavi. She was arrested at her parent’s home in Tehran on October 16 and held in solitary confinement, denied family or attorney visits, needed medication and medical care. AI’s report sounded an alarm that she was being tortured. In mid-December, BBC highlighted the dangerously uncertain fate of a number of dual nationals now in the IRI prisons, including that of Taghavi as well as many others 

The detailed September AI report cited above has gruesome illustrations of some of the torture techniques used by the IRI—reminiscent of photos of America’s own torture techniques such as at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, the U.S. base at Guantánamo, Cuba, and numerous secret CIA “black sites” stretching across the globe. To paraphrase filmmaker Jeff Kaufman (Nasrin), commenting during the PEN/Ms panel discussion of his film, the answer to repression by the IRI is NOT for the U.S. to attack Iran. That is, the horror being perpetuated by the IRI on the Iranian people must be opposed—and any U.S. war threats/moves or vicious sanctions on Iran must be opposed, especially by people in this country.

As Bob Avakian said in the seminal work Bringing Forward Another Way:

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

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

This scientific understanding mandates acting on the internationalist responsibility of people living in the U.S. to actively join the struggle for a rising chorus of condemnation of the IRI’s waves of repression to demand freedom and justice for all of Iran’s political prisoners NOW along with active opposition to any war threats/moves by the U.S. against Iran.

 


* These are inhabitants of the region of Balochistan in southern Iran. They speak the Rakhshani and Sarawani dialects of Balochi, an Iranian language. Its 2 million population mainly inhabit mountainous terrains that has allowed them to maintain a distinct cultural identity as a minority nationality inside Iran.  [back]

December 10 protest in Frankfurt, Germany, in support of political prisoners in Iran

See also:

NO to U.S. War on Iran! Free All Political Prisoners In Iran!
A Resource Page

Read more

Update on the Situation with Political Prisoner Nahid Taghavi 

This press statement is from Marian Claren, daughter of Nahid Taghavi, a German-Iranian dual national who is being held at Evin Prison in Iran.

December 28, 2020:

My mother, Nahid Taghavi’s health is deteriorating rapidly. In her latest call to my uncle on December 27th, she told him she is now taking Metformin which is a medicine for Type 2 diabetes. For the last 3 years, my mother has been successfully controlling her blood sugar through an effective diet and exercise programme which involved 2 to 3 hours of walking in fresh air every day. Now, after 73 days in solitary confinement in Evin Prison and the stress of 73 days of interrogations, her diabetes has returned after 3 years. Doctors say if my 66 year old mother’s diabetes is not brought under control, it will lead to kidney damage, nerve problems, heart attack and stroke. Enough is enough. She has to be released immediately and unconditionally!

 

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Remember, humanity’s fate truly hinges on millions taking up the revolutionary science, strategy, and new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian which they can find at revcom.us.

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