This week we focus on last Thursday’s anniversary of the attempted fascist coup last January 6, and what it tells us about the state of things today and what we need to be about doing. As our framework in this, we take the new talk from the revolutionary leader and author of the new communism, Bob Avakian, BA: SOMETHING TERRIBLE, OR SOMETHING TRULY EMANCIPATING: Profound Crisis, Deepening Divisions, The Looming Possibility Of Civil War—And The Revolution That Is Urgently Needed, A Necessary Foundation, A Basic Roadmap For This Revolution.
The official commemoration of the anniversary of Trump’s January 6, 2021 failed attempt to carry out a fascist coup was marked by many things. There was Joe Biden’s speech in which he adopted a new tone—calling out Trump’s lies, saying that Trump had pointed “a dagger at the throat of our democracy,” and pledging to “stand in this breach [and] defend this nation” (though he refused to mention Trump by name). There was the public humiliation of the hard-core fascist Ted Cruz by the even more fanatical fascist Tucker Carlson, for Cruz’s daring to say that the January 6, 2021, attempted fascist coup was an act of "terrorism.” There was the fact that the entire fascist Republican Party found one reason or another to boycott the commemoration, with the sole exceptions of the ultra-right-wing but anti-Trump Liz Cheney and her father, the longtime fascist war criminal, torture-architect, and former vice president Dick Cheney, both of whom oppose Trump from an openly reactionary point of view. There was the worried speculation in the days leading up to this by many non-fascist or anti-fascist intellectuals and commentators on the possibility of civil war in the U.S.—long after the fascists had publicly raised the specter of this civil war and begun actively preparing for it.
All this showed, to evoke again the title of BA’s current talk, the profound crisis, the deepening divisions, and the looming possibility of civil war. What it also showed—though this was almost totally absent from any coverage in the “mainstream media”—was the urgent need for revolution.
Revolution vs. Capitulation
Biden’s new tone is as yet unaccompanied by any program to meaningfully oppose the rapid and widespread fascist moves to lock down political power. But even if he does adopt a more “militant” stance against the fascists, as Bob Avakian said in his New Year’s Statement in 2021, Biden “will fail miserably” in his aim of getting these fascists to come back to the old rules and norms for two big reasons.
First, these fascists have shown through word and deed that they have little interest in sticking with the form of rule in this country over the last 150-plus years, in which different sections of the rulers more or less peacefully rotated in and out of office and worked out differences in that framework. They are instead determined to obtain a permanent lock on power either through rigging the electoral process, violent repression and/or vicious mob action or some combination of these two and to impose even more horrific forms of white supremacy, patriarchy and fanatical “America-number-one” chauvinism, accompanied by even more severe repression and brutality.
Second, the fundamental loyalty of the Democrats is to the stability of this system of capitalism-imperialism that bred this fascism, and to U.S. domination of that worldwide system, and they will likely do everything they can to avoid risking that.
What the high-stakes situation facing humanity actually demands—and what neither the Democrats nor any other form of opposition that is out there can provide—is a serious analysis of the roots of the problem in the capitalist-imperialist system and a realistic way to confront not only the immediate and very extreme fascist threat, but the entire crisis of a system that gave rise to this threat. What it urgently requires is a realistic way to not only forestall the horror directly in front of humanity, but to actually wrench a positive future out of this crisis with the real prospect of the billions who now suffer lives of grinding exploitation, brutality, terror, humiliation, needless suffering and early and often horrific death to live lives in which they could really flourish. What it calls for most of all is a clear-cut concept of and strategy to achieve the revolution that humanity actually needs right here in the heart of this brutal, destructive empire—a revolution to emancipate all of humanity.
All that and more is what is in BA’s talk.
Civil War—and Repolarization for Revolution
As noted above, there has been much discussion these past several weeks—prompted in part by the publication of at least several books and the anniversary itself—of the possibility of a civil war from those who, in one way or another, oppose the fascists.
But already last Spring, in A Declaration, A Call To Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution, the revcoms were saying that:
These days there is lot of talk about another civil war, especially from fascists, in government and the broader society, who think they could just carry out a one-sided slaughter of those they hate, including Black people and other people of color, “illegal immigrants,” “uppity women” and those who don’t conform to “traditional” sexual and gender relations and “norms.” This situation needs to be radically changed, to where there are masses of people prepared to defeat these fascists and to do so as part of getting rid of this whole system, which has bred these fascists, along with all the other horrors it continually perpetrates.
What we need is “repolarization for revolution”—making real revolution an active and increasingly powerful force of first thousands, and then millions, of people organized to work for and win more and more people to this revolution—radically changing the “terrain” on which the revolution will be fought.
In his new talk BA takes the discussion further and deeper, getting into different ways that things could develop and different challenges this would pose to the revolutionary forces. This new talk gives real guidance on HOW to re-polarize a civil war into a liberating revolution, and how to identify and handle the complex challenges involved in that.
In fact, in an overall way this talk lays out a roadmap of:
- HOW the bitter and explosive conflict at the top of society could lead to something terrible but—if we act, beginning now—also holds the possibility for an emancipating revolution;
- HOW for everyone who sees the need for this revolution the priority right now must be to bring forward "a revolutionary people, from among the most bitterly oppressed, and all parts of society, first in the thousands and then in the millions, as a powerful revolutionary force, organized from the start and consistently with a country-wide perspective, impacting all of society and changing the terms of how masses of people see things and how every institution has to respond. Everything must be focused now on actually bringing forward and organizing this revolutionary force.”
- HOW there must be a huge struggle with how people think, shaking them out of their fatalism and despair, their fleeing to religion or their narrow identity politics, their seeking for self above all, whether “respectably” or out in the streets… a massive struggle, in sum, between reform or capitulation in one form or another, and revolution;
- HOW there must not only be resistance against outrages like police murder, the ripping away of the right to abortion, the terror, repression and outright murder being visited upon the immigrants forced to flee here by what this country and its system has done all over the world, the onrushing destruction of the environment… but also the taking up of active defense of all those who come under assault by the fascist mobs or any oppressive force.
- HOW all of this must and can be for revolution, nothing less—not another round of the murderous cycle of capitalism-imperialism, in whatever new wrappings it will try to come in, but a whole new world—a socialist system designed to support revolution worldwide and overcome the scars of the past, taking care of the environment and working toward a communist society without exploitation, without oppression of any kind, indeed without any antagonistic conflicts whatsoever between groups of people. That vision is possible—and there is a sweeping vision and concrete blueprint embodied in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, by Bob Avakian where you can see this real alternative… what we must be fighting for in the struggles to come.
Let’s Popularize This Talk—and Implement It!
Last week, BA’s talk was posted on the website of the largest Spanish language newspaper in the U.S., La Opinión. Along with the talk was an op-ed a few days later by Michelle Xai, a leader of the Revolution Club in Los Angeles, calling on people to read it and take it up. To those of you reading this now—those who see the need for people to hear a voice providing the real way forward and not more of the same or even worse—we need to learn from this and creatively seek out the ways to multiply this example and get this talk to a much, much broader audience.
More than that: we need, all of us, to set ourselves to implementing this roadmap. The National Tour to Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution is working on this now and all are welcome with their ideas, creativity, questions, spirit and initiative on what it means to make this roadmap a reality. Go here for ways to plug into this.
This issue of the revcom.us website contains other important articles. The most imperative thing is, as stressed above, to dig into and continue to dig into the new talk by BA, SOMETHING TERRIBLE, OR SOMETHING TRULY EMANCIPATING. Also of real importance is Sunsara Taylor’s notice of an upcoming announcement this week concerning plans for mass struggle to defend the right to abortion appearing here, and the entire set of articles and quotes that go with it.
We are also re-running the more scientific map of the so-called blue-red divide—that is, the areas of the country in which fascist strength is concentrated vis-à-vis the areas in which those who oppose these fascists tend to live. As noted, talk of civil war is intensifying—and this question is addressed from several angles in a way that nobody else even comes close to in SOMETHING TERRIBLE, OR SOMETHING TRULY EMANCIPATING—and it’s important to get a real picture of the ways in which different people aligned with political forces are intertwined, as well as separated.
There are also observations from readers on some important contradictions within the armed forces and the supply chain crisis, an update on the important efforts to support, defend and free the political prisoners in Iran, and a brief alert on the dangerous contention between the U.S. and Russia in Ukraine, as well as Russian imperialist moves in Kazakhstan.