December 30, 2005, posted at

voice of the revolutionary communist party,usa

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John Yoo – Presidential Powers Extend to Ordering Torture of Suspect's Child

December 30, 2005, posted at

John Yoo publicly argued there is no law that could prevent the President from ordering the torture of a child of a suspect in custody – including by crushing that child’s testicles.
This came out in response to a question in a December 1st debate in Chicago with Notre Dame professor and international human rights scholar Doug Cassel.

What is particularly chilling and revealing about this is that John Yoo was a key architect post-9/11 Bush Administration legal policy. As a deputy assistant to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, John Yoo authored a number of legal memos arguing for unlimited presidential powers to order torture of captive suspects, and to declare war anytime, any where, and on anyone the President deemed a threat.

It has now come out Yoo also had a hand in providing legal reasoning for the President to conduct unauthorized wiretaps of U.S. citizens. Georgetown Law Professor David Cole wrote, “Few lawyers have had more influence on President Bush’s legal policies in the ‘war on terror’ than John Yoo.”

This part of the exchange during the debate with Doug Cassel, reveals the logic of Yoo’s theories, adopted by the Administration as bedrock principles, in the real world.

Cassel: If the President deems that he’s got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person’s child, there is no law that can stop him?
Yoo: No treaty.
Cassel: Also no law by Congress. That is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo.
Yoo: I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that.

The audio of this exchange is available online at

Yoo argues presidential powers on Constitutional grounds, but where in the Constitution does it say the President can order the torture of children ? As David Cole puts it, “Yoo reasoned that because the Constitution makes the President the ‘Commander-in-Chief,’ no law can restrict the actions he may take in pursuit of war. On this reasoning, the President would be entitled by the Constitution to resort to genocide if he wished.”

What is the position of the Bush Administration on the torture of children, since one of its most influential legal architects is advocating the President’s right to order the crushing of a child’s testicles?

This fascist logic has nothing to do with “getting information” as Yoo has argued. The legal theory developed by Yoo and a few others and adopted by the Administration has resulted in thousands being abducted from their homes in Afghanistan, Iraq or other parts of the world, mostly at random. People have been raped, electrocuted, nearly drowned and tortured literally to death in U.S.-run torture centers in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantánamo Bay. And there is much still to come out. What about the secret centers in Europe or the many still-suppressed photos from Abu Ghraib? What can explain this sadistic, indiscriminate, barbaric brutality except a need to instill widespread fear among people all over the world?

It is ironic that just prior to arguing the President's legal right to torture children, John Yoo was defensive about the Bush administration policies, based on his legal memo’s, being equated to those during Nazi Germany.

Yoo said, “If you are trying to draw a moral equivalence between the Nazis and what the United States is trying to do in defending themselves against Al Qauueda and the 9/11 attacks, I fully reject that. Second, if you’re trying to equate the Bush Administration to Nazi officials who committed atrocities in the holocaust, I completely reject that too…I think to equate Nazi Germany to the Bush Administration is irresponsible.”

If open promotion of unmitigated executive power, including the right to order the torture of innocent children, isn’t sufficient basis for drawing such a “moral equivalence,” then I don’t know what is. What would be irresponsible is to sit by and allow the Bush regime to radically remake society in a fascist way, with repercussions for generations to come. We must act now because the future is in the balance. The world cannot wait. While Bush gives his State of the Union on January 31st, I’ll find myself along with many thousands across the country declaring “Bush Step Down And take your program with you.”

Send us your comments.


Coming Soon as Book, Summer/Fall 2006 from Insight Press

The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism
Knowing What’s Real—And Why It Matters

by Ardea Skybreak

Revolution #28, December 26, 2005, posted at

Excerpts from an open letter from Ardea Skybreak to the readers of the Revolutionary Worker (now Revolution), May 12, 2002 announcing her forthcoming series on the science of evolution.

Evolution is actually considered to be one of the very bestestablished facts in all of science, and as much of a sure thing as the fact that the earth is not flat or that it goes around the sun. A great many of the advances of modern science were accomplished on the basis of our understanding of evolution, and would not have been possible without it.

And yet, despite all the scientific consensus, the creationists and their anti-scientific rants will simply not go away. Why? And in countries like the United States some of the nuttier proponents of creationism even sit in the halls of power, influence legislation, and are welcomed advisers of presidents. Again, why is that? These are questions we all need to engage...

We live in a society where professional scientists and non-professionals, those with formal education and those who have been offered little or no such education, are usually kept apart and rarely get to interact and learn from each other. We don’t have to accept these divisions.

With its unusually diverse readership, this newspaper is in a position to play an important role in overcoming such divisions.

Grappling with the scientific evidence for evolution and the backwardness of religious fundamentalist creationism is very relevant:

If you are a prisoner in a penitentiary somewhere who is fighting not to be crushed by those conditions and to wrench out of all that madness some real understanding of the way things are (and the way they could be), and is determined to see through all the lies that have been told in order to jail the people’s minds.

If you are somewhere on the outside, bone-tired from just trying to get by, worrying about whether your kids are going to get brutalized or killed by the police, and sick and tired of being told that “things are the way they are because it’s god’s will and there’s nothing you can do about it.” If you are a professional scientist or anyone else who may already “know all about evolution” but who would like to “connect” this question with a much broader and more diverse popular audience, and perhaps also engage the intellectual debate on what is the proper relationship of science and religion from a more radical political and ideological perspective.

If you are a progressive-minded person who may hold some religious beliefs but also wishes to be scientifically informed, can’t stand fanatical fundamentalist zealotry, and wants to further explore the question of the relationship between the science of evolution and religious faith.

If you are one of the RW’s international readers who knows that what is at present a particularly American form of creationist craziness can easily spill its borders, and who recognizes as well that bringing genuine scientific understanding to the hundreds of millions of peasants and other oppressed around the world can help to throw off the burdens of centuries.

If you are anyone else who simply wants to know the truth about the way things are in nature and society.

And if you are a political activist striving to bring a better world into being, it is important to draw the connections between the outrages and abuses of today—including the promotion of religious fundamentalism and creationist attacks on science— and the underlying workings of the system we live under.

We need to help people to see the connections between, for instance, the Christian fundamentalist attacks on abortion clinics in the U.S. and everything that happens to women under Islamic religious fundamentalists like the Taliban; connections between why some people and whole countries are so rich, while hundreds of millions throughout the world are literally starving and billions barely survive in wretched conditions; connections between the ceaseless rush for corporate profits and both the brutal draining of human labor and the critical despoliation of the planet; connections between a system of global exploitation and the openended wars being launched by the U.S. government; connections between this system’s historical and present-day foundations in slavery and national oppression and the blatant aggression with which it sweeps the world to this day. The use of religion to launch broadsides against science in this period in the United States is part and parcel of an overall reactionary agenda designed to shore up and strengthen American imperialism, and this connection too needs to be further explored and popularized among the people.

The battle to defend the science of evolution against the attacks of creationists has been raging for some time in the United States. It is not going away, and it has big implications: not just for science and for religion, but also for the broader political and ideological arenas.

In other words, this stuff matters...

This series will try to speak both to people who have no background in science and to people who already know “the basics” but want to get into some of the more advanced scientific questions. But please don’t hesitate to get into this series even if you’ve “never been into science” or never had a chance to learn anything about evolution. No prior experience necessary! Science really isn’t so mysterious or complicated (though some people want to make it seem that way so they can lord it over other people), and in any case we’ll work on breaking it down as we go (and those who know more should help out those who may know less so we can all move forward).

And, as a matter of fact, those of you who have no scientific training and perhaps little formal education in general could play a particularly important role in this: by struggling to become knowledgeable about evolution and what the religious fundamentalists are up to when they seek to deny the people this wellestablished scientific knowledge, you could do a great deal to help spread a scientific outlook among the people. Many of you have been exposed to a lot of religion and have deep roots and close family and other personal ties within communities where a literal belief in religious scriptures continues to be deeply entrenched and greatly encouraged by the people who run society— whereas, among the masses of people, a scientific understanding of things is generally not promoted or encouraged by those same powers, for reasons that are not too difficult to figure out. You are in a very good position to help bring some light into this situation. Get the word out!

Read the complete open letter and the whole series at

Send us your comments.


"A Leap of Faith" and a Leap to Rational Knowledge: Two Very Different Kinds of Leaps, Two Radically Different Worldviews and Methods

Part 1: Religion Is Religion, Communism Is Scientific

Revolution #28, December 26, 2005, posted at

This is the first article in a 3-part series. This article was written by Bob Avakian in response to a letter that was sent to him that attacked communism and argued against the scientific viewpoint and method, insisting that atheism is just another form of religion. Chairman Avakian addresses a number of points in that letter but focuses on the fundamental difference between a communist and scientific outlook and method on the one hand and, on the other hand, a religious worldview which relies on "leaps of faith."

Originally published in Revolution #10, this article is available in its entirety online at

Organize discussions groups at your school, neighborhood, and workplace to study and wrangle over this crucial article! Send in your comments and questions online at or by regular mail to RCP Publications (P.O. Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654-0486).

Not long ago I received a letter from someone who was provoked by hearing parts of my talk, "God Does Not Exist--We Need Liberation Without Gods," that were played by Michael Slate on Pacifica radio station KPFK in Los Angeles.1 In that letter, there are many distortions. Among other things, the writer of this letter claims that I referred to "Christianity" as an "evil," when in fact what this talk was identifying as "evil" was not Christianity itself but a fanatical biblical-literalist Christian fundamentalism whose political and ideological content indeed amount to a form of fascism (and so is very rightly referred to as Christian Fascism). That talk drew a very clear and firm distinction between this Christian Fascism, on the one hand, and other forms of Christian (and other religious) views, on the other hand. It made a point of emphasizing that, while communists, as scientific atheists, are opposed philosophically and ideologically to all forms of religious worldviews, we recognize and appreciate the fact that among Christians and people with other religious beliefs there are many who have taken important, indeed courageous and inspiring, stands in the struggle against various forms of oppression; that there are many more who can be won to that stand; and that it is vitally important to develop and strengthen unity with such people, even as we continue to struggle with them over questions of world outlook and political objectives.

The Historical Experience of Socialism, and Communist Principles

Not only does this letter misrepresent what my talk said about religion, but it also contains many other distortions, including on the history of the communist movement internationally and the experience of socialist society. It repeats, in their more crude forms, the attacks and slanders promoted by the ruling class and reactionary politicians, institutions and media, etc., against the Soviet Union, during the time of Lenin as well as Stalin, and against China during the period of Mao's leadership (and it brings up Cambodia under Pol Pot, which in reality was not at all an example of socialism or communism).2 Of course, the historical experience of socialist society and of the communist movement is very complex and is marked by contradiction: in what has been the first round in the existence of socialist states, in the Soviet Union and China, during the 20th century (and in the overall experience of the international communist movement), by far the main aspect has been the inspiring achievements, pointing to and carving out crucial parts of the path toward the abolition of all relations of exploitation and oppression, and toward the eventual emancipation of humanity, all over the globe; but there have also been real mistakes and shortcomings and there have been ways in which at times the actions and even the thinking of communists have failed to correspond and live up fully to the aims, methods, and principles of communism.

This experience is something I have devoted a great deal of attention and effort to analyzing, and drawing important lessons from, even while upholding what in reality has been the main and overwhelming aspect of this experience: its positive and emancipating reality.3 And further excavation and summation (analysis and synthesis, as we communists say) of this experience, while popularizing its great achievements--and drawing lessons for the future from all this--is something that communists throughout the world must continue to take up as a crucial responsibility. (Here it is important to note that, in addition to the work I have done and am continuing to do in this regard, our Party has launched and is leading an effort to Set the Record Straight with regard to this whole experience, and this will increasingly involve putting before growing numbers of people an actual, scientific summation of this experience, as more is continually dug into and summed up about it: its main, positive aspect, as well as the secondary but important summation of significant errors and shortcomings, and the synthesis of the key lessons from all this).

Also among its other distortions, this letter in response to my talk on religion is also fundamentally and crudely wrong in its attempted discussion of communist morality--or its claim that there is no such thing, that communists can have no morality. In a number of writings, and in an extensive way in my book Preaching From a Pulpit of Bones,4 I have spoken to some basic aspects and expressions of communist morality and contrasted its liberating principles with the reactionary and enslaving nature and content of the morality that characterizes the capitalist-imperialist system and "traditional morality" in general, including that based on the actual content of the Bible. (Among other things, the writer of this letter refers, mockingly and with sarcasm, to the idea that "Christians oppress women and homosexuals." Once again, the point is not that "Christians" in general do this but it is an undeniable fact that the Christian Bible promotes the oppression of women and gay people, and if anyone insists on acting according to a literal reading of the Bible, that person will certainly be joining in "oppress[ing] women and homosexuals." To see the truth of this, all you have to do is actually read the Bible, including not only the Old Testament--where it is said that homosexuals must be put to death [Leviticus 20:13] and where it not only defends but calls for the raping of women and carrying them off as prizes of war [to cite just one example: Numbers 31:15-18]--but also the New Testament, for example many of the Epistles of Paul, where he insists on the inferior status of women and demands that they be under the domination of men.)

This letter also baldly asserts that communists can have nothing to say--or nothing that is meaningful (or "intelligent")--about such questions as beauty and love. This, too, is completely wrong. In the Draft Programme of our Party, in our position paper on the question of homosexuality, in our newspaper, Revolution,and in many of my talks and writings--including my memoir, From Ike to Mao and Beyond, My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist and the book Marxism and the Call of the Future (which consists of conversations between me and Bill Martin, a professor of philosophy and radical social theorist, on questions of ethics, history, and politics) as well as the just-published book of mine, Observations on Art and Culture, Science and Philosophy --there is considerable discussion of questions of beauty and love, as well as of ethics and morals, in which the communist viewpoint is clearly expressed (and I will leave it to the reader to consider whether what is said about these questions in those works is meaningful, or "intelligent").

Religion is Religion, Communism is Scientific

But what I want to focus on here--because it is a very important point of distortion which not only characterizes this letter but is much more broadly promoted, particularly by religious fundamentalists, and is the source of considerable confusion and misunderstanding--is the insistence that communism (and atheism generally) is actually just another form of religion and that in fact not only communism but all scientific thinking involves just as much a "leap of faith" as does religion. In this article, I will discuss how this is completely wrong and will examine the crucial differences between religion and "leaps of faith," on the one hand, and science and the scientific method--including communism, with its thorough, systematic and comprehensive scientific outlook and method--on the other hand.

This claim that communism (and more generally a scientific outlook and method) is just another form of religion is concentrated in the following from this letter:

"I hope you're not offended that I call your atheism faith. I'm sure you realize atheism is a faith system too. And since you've pinned you're [sic] hope on its truthfulness, we can call it your religion. How about that!? Bob Avakian is a religious man!"

"You probably realize what most evolutionists don't since no one was there to record the Big Bang, it too is just as much a leap of faith as the biblical version of creation. But no worries, you can always make your case stronger by stating forcefully, Evolution is a fact! "

The heart of the matter here--and what is fundamentally wrong in the viewpoint of the writer of this letter--is the attempt to distort what is involved in the application of a scientific method and approach, in the process of scientific investigation and analysis and in the drawing of scientifically based conclusions. More specifically, what is fundamentally wrong is the attempt to say that the actual leaps that are involved in arriving at rational knowledge of things --including through the application of the scientific method--somehow amount to the same thing as "leaps of faith" that are characteristic of religion. In fact, these are profoundly and radically different kinds of "leaps," and digging into the difference will not only further expose the confusion and outright distortions and misrepresentations in this letter, and in the method of thinking of its author, but much more importantly can help clarify the fundamental difference between a scientific and a religious approach to reality and to changing--or not changing--reality, including human society.

Next issue, part 2: The Leap from Perceptual to Rational Knowledge; Scientific Knowledge and the Scientific Method; A "Leap of Faith" Is a Leap Away From a True Understanding of Reality


1.Audio files of this talk are available online at

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2.As for Pol Pot, in reality, he was not a communist and Cambodia under his rule represents something very different from, and actually opposed to, a revolutionary, socialist country on the road to communism. For analysis, from the communist (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) standpoint, of what was wrong with the Pol Pot regime and how it represented a fundamental departure from communism, see "Condescending Saviours: What Went Wrong with the Pol Pot Regime" in A World To Win (1999/25), available online at

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3.See Conquer the World? The International Proletariat Must and Will in Revolution magazine No. 50 (December 1981), and Dictatorship and Democracy, and the Socialist Transition to Communism , excerpted in the Revolutionary Worker from August 2004 through March 2005. These talks, as well as many more writings and texts of talks by Bob Avakian which deal with many important questions relating to communism and the experience of socialist society so far, are available online at

[Return to article]

4. Preaching from a Pulpit of Bones: We Need Morality, But Not Traditional Morality (Chicago: Banner Press, 1999).

[Return to article]

Send us your comments.


Cracks in the Halls of Power

Dangerous Moves by Bush, and the Need for the People to Act In Their Own Interests

Revolution #28, December 26, 2005, posted at

Some heavy shit is going down in the halls of power. As we go to press, the emerging secret police spying scandal reveals three things:

1. Bush's moves to radically restructure the basic forms under which this country has operated for decades and even centuries are extreme, draconian, and moving full speed ahead.

2. Those drastic moves have the potential to rip open cracks in the power structure in a volatile and unpredictable way.

3. Nothing good will come out of this if the people's interests are not brought forward from below; and something very good can come out of it if people do step forward, and come into the streets in their own interests to politically drown out Bush's upcoming State of the Union address with the message: BUSH STEP DOWN AND TAKE YOUR WHOLE PROGRAM WITH YOU!

* * * * *

There are sharp differences within the ruling class in this country, including over the military quagmire in Iraq that, according to Congressman John Murtha--who has close ties to the military establishment--has "broken" the U.S. military. But these differences are intensely interpenetrating with fundamental questions of the very form through which the ruling class governs .

Let's go back a few weeks, to how Bush responded to Murtha's demand for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq (and to instead terrorize that country through air power, local proxies, and rapid strike forces based in nearby countries):

"And as long as I am commander in chief, our strategy in Iraq will be driven by the sober judgment of our military commanders on the ground."

Bush framed his speeches defending the war with"...As long as I am commander in chief." This was his way of telling an angry public and his ruling class critics that you can gripe and pass all the resolutions you want. I run the army.

The question of the very form under which this country will be ruled was posed again, more sharply, when--after suppressing the story for a whole year--the New York Times revealed that the Bush regime has pissed on even the wildly loose rules in effect for spying on people in this country, by setting up a vast, unsupervised, secret operation to spy on thousands of people in this country. And broke the law in doing so.

Pre-Patriot Act laws already set up a secret court (FISA) that rubber-stamps secret spying on people. And the PATRIOT Act authorizes unrestrained surveillance, secret break-ins to people's homes, and endless wiretaps. None of which was enough for Bush, who authorized even broader secret spying on who knows who, under a program not authorized by any law. In other words, Bush claimed for himself the authority to act outside the law and spy on anyone he chooses--including critics within the ruling class, should he so choose--and to keep this secret.

When a U.S. senator (Russ Feingold) tells you, "This shocking revelation ought to send a chill down the spine of every American," that tells you... just that.

Things get heavier...

When Jim Lehrer asked Bush on his PBS show if he authorized secret spying on thousands of Americans, Bush replied--like Michael Corleone telling his wife in the movie The Godfather to never ask him about his business--"Jim, we do not discuss ongoing intelligence operations."

A day later, Bush recorded an extraordinary televised message where he glared into the camera and broke his "never ask me about my business" rule to openly declare, "I have reauthorized this [spying] program more than 30 times since the September the 11th attacks, and I intend to do so for as long as our nation faces a continuing threat from al Qaeda and related groups." After threatening the Times for "damag[ing] our national security" and saying they broke the law by revealing his secret spy network, Bush went on to redefine what "defending the Constitution" means in terms that exclude congress or courts. Bush's speech was not just lashing out in overt defense of an utterly illegal spy operation on people in the United States, he justified it using norms and processes that constitute major steps in reframing the very way government operates--where the President can authorize anything he wants to, regardless of laws.

Checks and balances? Bush defined his authority as based on his own determination that he wants to do something, along with a rubber stamp from his own appointed advisers--"our nation's top legal officials, including the Attorney General and the Counsel to the President."

Conservative Democrat Dianne Feinstein called all this "astounding" and said it had shattered her confidence in the Bush administration's domestic war against terrorists. Referring to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which sets rules for domestic anti-terrorist operations, she added: "How can any member of this body go out and say that under the Patriot Act we protect rights when the president goes out and says he won't be bound by the ... law?''

"They are saying, 'Trust us, we are following the law.' Give me a break," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.). "Across the country and across the political spectrum, no one is buying it anymore. There is no accountability. There is no oversight…. This is Big Brother run amok."

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said, "We have to resolve the issue to show Americans we are nation of law not outcomes."

Feingold said, "The president believes that he has the power to override the laws that Congress has passed. This is not how our democratic system of government works." And, Feingold said, "He is a president, not a king." Feingold later said, "The issue here is whether the president of the United States is putting himself above the law, and I believe he has done so."

That this question--a government of law, versus a Bush autocracy--is on the table in this kind of way, is a very sharp expression of what's going on.


A historical parallel worth examining--critically and creatively: When former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev tried to radically restructure the forms through which the capitalist rulers of the Soviet Union governed (with his Glasnost project), the whole credibility and legitimacy of the rulers unraveled. Two lessons here: 1) the tearing up of legitimizing norms, and an attempt to institute new ones, led to the unraveling of society on a level that got completely out of control, and 2) nothing good--at all--came out of all that. This is, of course, an analogy, but there is relevance to how that kind of societal crisis can develop, and how nothing good can come out of it if the independent interests of the people are not expressed, and fought for.

Bush's ruling class critics are not in any fundamental way challenging the direction things are going. Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy said: "Our goal is to mend the Patriot Act, not to end it." Senator Barack Obama said the goal is to make sure there is nothing stopping the government from "investigat[ing] suspicious activity (our emphasis)." Even Russ Feingold, the only senator who voted against the Patriot Act in 2001, told CNN that he only wanted to make minor changes in the expiring provisions of the Patriot Act.

So even if the Democrats were to win this round, on their terms, it wouldn’t even result in ending the hated Patriot Act! The government would maintain its greatly increased powers to spy on and repress the people. And much more likely, if things stay on these terms, is that Bush will move the ball further down the field toward a fully fascist restructuring.

On the other hand, and this is critical to grasp--these are times when, irrespective of their agendas, clashes among the rulers could throw big things up for grabs. This clash has already put into the open even more clearly how Bush has been trampling on the laws that do exist, and has been claiming the power to spy on whoever he wants to with no check at all. Exposures like that arouse people and can even drag those who have been passively observing things into political thinking and activity. Whether people come into political life around the deadly terms of the current struggle among the rulers, or whether they step out forcefully in their own interests can make a huge difference in the direction of this society, and the world, for a long time to come.

Bush ended his speech defending his secret spy program by saying, "...And that is exactly what I will continue to do, so long as I'm the President of the United States." That should be taken as a threat... and a challenge!

The revelation of Bush’s illegal, widespread, and secret spying emphasizes all the more WHY his regime must be driven out and why the whole direction of this country must change. And the whole course of events up to now shows why we cannot rely on the Democrats, who intend only to keep this spying and repression--as concentrated, for instance, in the Patriot Act--slightly touched up, within limits that don’t too strongly violate the traditional ways that the ruling class settles disputes among themselves. The time is now to step up our efforts, reach out even more broadly to demand that BUSH STEP DOWN, and to go all-out to support the call from World Can’t Wait to "bring the noise" and politically drown out Bush’s State of the Union address.

Every day counts! Let’s change history--the World Can’t Wait!

Send us your comments.


Who Hated the Bush Step Down Ad in the New York Times? …And what that Tells Us About Why We Must and How We Can Drive Out the Bush Regime

Revolution #28, December 26, 2005, posted at

On Monday, December 12, readers across the United States and around the world opened the New York Times to find a full-page ad, with huge type running from the top to the bottom of the page saying "BUSH STEP DOWN! And Take Your Program With You!"

The ad called on people to "bring the noise" and symbolically and politically "drown out" Bush’s lies during his State of the Union address (which will take place on an as-yet-unset date in January), and to demonstrate the following Saturday in Washington DC. The ad printed the Call "The World Can’t Wait, Drive Out the Bush Regime," signed by well-known actors, authors, activists, musicians, clergy, writers, and others from a wide spectrum of society and diverse views .

The ad drove defenders of the regime nuts. Bill O’Reilly railed that the Times should have banned the Call. "Conservative" guru William F. Buckley compared the World Can’t Wait movement to the convergence of forces that drove President Lyndon Johnson from office. David Horowitz, whose student group acts as shock troops to shut down critical thinking on campus, lied that the State of the Union protests are about people who "want the terrorists to win" getting "inside the U.S. capital." And Christian fundamentalist theocrat Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition called the Call anti-Christian for opposing a narrow hateful brand of Christian fundamentalist theocracy.

O'Reilly, Buckley, Horowitz, and Sheldon raise historical analogies to events like the fall of Joe McCarthy and Lyndon Johnson as warnings to their base that a dangerous (from their perspective) alliance could actually come together to drive Bush from power. And even as they whip up prejudices against revolutionary communists, gays, Muslims, and "Hollywood liberals", they demand that these groups not work together. Because, again, they can envision here the beginning of a societal alignment that might actually drive out the regime. They are scared that this could catch fire, and they want to nip it in the bud.

O’Reilly and Horowitz’ Lies

Appearing on the O'Reilly show, New York State Senator Tom Duane, who signed the World Can’t Wait Call, insisted that O’Reilly admit that the war on Iraq was based on lies."That’s a debate for another day," said O’Reilly, as if whether or not this administration unleashed a horrific war based on lies had nothing to do with the legitimacy of the Bush regime! Duane very correctly insisted, "That’s what you should be debating every day." And when Duane brought up the indictment of the Bush administration for torture, O’Reilly admitted that: "They have a policy, they believe that coercive, coerced interrogations can save us."

O’Reilly opened his show ranting that "The New York Times should have rejected the ad as soon as the group compared the administration to Hitler. That's hate-speech, not rationale discourse." The World Can’t Wait Call says that "People look at all this [what the Bush regime is doing] and think of Hitler -- and they are right to do so. The Bush regime is setting out to radically remake society very quickly, in a fascist way, and for generations to come. We must act now; the future is in the balance." People make comparisons to Hitler because of the unmistakable direction in which this society is heading. From the embedding of Christian fundamentalist theocrats in top positions of power, to launching a war on the world based on lies, to the institutionalization of torture... the ideology and machinery of fascism are being increasingly bolted into place. (See Bush, Hilter and You, Revolution #19.)

Unable or unwilling to refute the content of the call, O’Reilly brought on David Horowitz to lie about and slander World Can’t Wait. Horowitz lied that protesters want to "get inside the U.S. capital" during activities protesting the State of the Union address. These lies are intended in part to scare people away from the protests, and also to set activists up for government investigations and persecution.

As the announcement from World Can't Wait calling for these protests lays out,"We remember how Bush used his State of the Union in 2003 to make his lying case for the war against Iraq. We know that he will want to use it this year to lay out his plans for another year of his literally horrific agenda and set the political terms for the whole country." And, in opposition to that, World Can't Wait called for protests during, and on the Saturday after, the State of the Union address that put the spotlight on the people's demand that BUSH STEP DOWN. The point of these protests is to politically drown out Bush's attempt to re-seize the initiative for his presidency with the demand that he step down and take his program with him--and to make THAT what everyone in society is aligning and realigning around.

Horowitz’ last words were, "until the Democratic Party starts to draw a line it’s going to be in a lot of trouble; they need to get back into the mainstream." Now, it is not actually the case at all that the Democratic Party has aligned with the battle to drive out the Bush Regime. But people like Horowitz and O’Reilly are shrewd and highly placed political operatives, and they do see something that bodes very badly for them in the breadth of forces who have signed on to the Call to drive out the Bush regime at this point, and they have some sense that this is an embryo of a movement that could actually succeed. They are worried that the base of the Democratic Party could get into this, and about the unpredictable ramification that could have all through what is in many respects a political alignment that is fraught with contradictions--as evidenced by the commotion over the Patriot Act .

Buckley’s Historical Parallels

The potential (from his perspective, the danger) of a mix of radicals and "exasperated" liberals to cohere in a movement to drive a president from office was examined in a column by "Conservative" mummy William F. Buckley. ("Exit Eugene McCarthy," 12/14/05).

Buckley identifies a "restless, demanding tone of dissatisfaction expressed today by the radical left" (by which he means alienated sections of the base of the Democratic Party) with the schism that developed in 1968 between the base of the Democratic Party and the Party establishment. That profound discontent, combined with angst in the ruling class at the time over the impending defeat of the U.S. in the Vietnam war, converged to drive out President Lyndon Johnson.

Buckley sounds an alarm over "the goal, almost 40 years later, of the World Can't Wait people." He alerts his audience to the fact that World Can’t Wait wishes "to unseat President Bush for his ‘outrageous lies,’ for his ‘murderous and utterly illegitimate war in Iraq,’ for ‘openly torturing people,’ for working for the establishment of ‘a theocracy,’ and for enshrining ‘greed, bigotry, intolerance, and ignorance.’"

Drawing a historical analogy to the forces that came together to bring about the downfall of Lyndon Johnson in 1968, Buckley warns that World Can’t Wait has drawn support not just from "homeless radicals," but from "recognizable names: Jane Fonda, Ed Begley Jr., Jonathan Kozol, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Grace Paley, Studs Terkel, Gore Vidal, Kurt Vonnegut, Alice Walker."

Narrow Hateful Christian Fundamentalist Theocrat Hates World Can’t Wait

Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition has close ties to the White House, and has been a point man in the fundamentalist assault on gay marriage, including by organizing large conferences of Black ministers in places like South Central L.A. Sheldon warned at his web site that the signers of the World Can't Wait call are a coalition of "Islamists, Marxists, Hollywood Liberals, and Homosexual activist groups --all aligned with the Revolutionary Communist Party." (, 12/13/05). Sheldon claims that the Bush Step Down ad "attacks Christians and Christianity" because the ad contains the language that "Your government is moving each day closer to a theocracy, where a narrow and hateful brand of Christian fundamentalism will rule."

Note what's missing here: Sheldon does not say that he doesn’t believe in "a narrow and hateful brand of Christianity." Nor does he claim that the World Can’t Wait ad is unfair to charge that people like him want to impose a Christian fundamentalist theocracy! Instead he lies that the World Can't Wait call is an "attack [on] Christians and Christianity." But as the World Can't Wait call makes clear, the point is not to be against Christians and Christianity, but against people being forced to follow the biblical interpretations of one strain of people, who claim to be the "true" Christians, as the law of the land--and there are more than a few clergy who have signed on to the call and support World Can't Wait.

Two Lessons...And How to Advance

By dissecting the cries of outrage by O’Reilly, Buckley, Horowitz, and Sheldon, we can see two things:

1. In railing against the World Can’t Wait Call, they uphold the very things the Call challenges people to drive out: torture, repression, war based on lies, and "a theocracy, where a narrow and hateful brand of Christian fundamentalism will rule." Their attacks on the Call provide a sobering confirmation of how extreme things are, and where these forces would take us.

2. The alarm bells and lies from O’Reilly, Buckley, Horowitz, and Sheldon shed light, from their perspective, on how millions could come together to force the Bush Regime to step down and take its agenda with it. Those of us who hate the Bush Regime and all it stands for should take a lesson from this and sharpen our own understanding of the huge basis for the movement to drive Bush out.

Powerful figures aligned with Bush are feeling vulnerable in relation to the World Can’t Wait call. That emphasizes the urgency of thousands and thousands of people taking the next step, and mobilizing around the State of the Union address.

The New York Times ad calls on people to do two things: On the night of the State of the Union Address, "in large cities and small towns all across the country, join in rallies one hour before Bush's address to make our determination to "Drive out the Bush Regime" the political message of the day." And, during the speech: "BRING THE NOISE. In a cacophony of sound we will drown out his address with music: from drums to violins, from hip hop to classical; and with noise: banging pots and ringing church bells, sounding car horns and lifting our voices."

And, on the Saturday following the State of the Union address, to protest at the White House.

In a profoundly important challenge, the ad declared,"The agenda for 2006 must not be set by Bush, but by the people, in our millions, determined to stop this whole disasterous course."

Send us your comments.


Debra Sweet, WCW National Coordinator: Get Organized for the State of the Union & Raise Money for World Can't Wait

Revolution #28, December 26, 2005, posted at

With the State of the Union speech about six weeks away, Revolution talked with Debra Sweet, national coordinator of The World Can't Wait, about what people need to be doing over the next few weeks to advance the movement to drive the Bush regime out.


We don't yet know the exact date for the State of the Union, but it could be as early as Tuesday, January 24. We're applying for rally permits in Washington DC for any possible date the State of the Union could happen, and we strongly encourage people across the country to do the same. The Atlanta World Can't Wait Committee is gathering at the CNN center, and in New York people will go to Times Square for the "drown out."

The following Saturday, we'll be outside the White House demanding that Bush Step Down. Over this holiday period, bus tickets can be sold so that people commit to getting to DC. Find out how much a bus charter to DC costs, print up tickets, collect the funds, and fill in the date later. People from the western part of the country are investigating airline charters.

Speakers and organizations should be lined up now to endorse these events, to pass resolutions calling for Bush to Step Down, and organize their members to come. Everyone who participated in November 2 should know about these plans and help get the word out. We have new posters, flyers, stickers about the State of the Union, and copies of the New York Times ad available online at

Lots of people go to the movies over the holidays--take the World Can't Wait flyer to movie showings, send the flyers down the rows. and afterward get people to contribute money.

We're not going to force this president out on the cheap, and we intend to raise millions of dollars. Our organizers have had really great experience canvassing door-to-door to raise money. One canvasser in the Northwest who has done canvassing for a living said this was the first time ever he had been invited into people's homes so readily. We have a fund pitch script and other materials available, and I encourage everybody to look at the FAQ's at for help with how to turn people's outrage at Bush's program into financial support for this movement.

One of the most engaging things we've done is to hold house parties around the country. A supporter has put together a film from footage of November 2 events across the country, which can be downloaded and shown to your friends and family over the holidays.

A crew of volunteers is setting up a satellite office in Washington and will be doing outreach across the city, working on a press team, raising funds, and setting up a place for people to find us. Starting Monday, January 2, we need many more volunteers to canvass neighborhoods and schools. Students on winter break should come, and people who can get leave from work should JOIN US. On Monday, January 9, the Senate hearings on the Alito nomination begin. As the month goes on, DC will fill with anti-abortion forces protesting the January 22 anniversary of Roe v. Wade. They must be opposed. We want the demand BUSH STEP DOWN influencing everyone in DC, from the White House to the streets of Anacostia.

Be part of making history! Contact The World Can't Wait for more information at 866-973-4463 or .

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Against the Slanders

Revolution #28, December 26, 2005, posted at

David Horowitz and Bill O'Reilly made a number of wild, unfounded, and slanderous accusations against the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA on O'Reilly's show last Monday night.

Others have noted the cold irony in O'Reilly (who called on the media to refuse to even run paid ads for the Call for January demonstrations demanding that Bush step down) and David Horowitz (who has waged a systematic, well-financed and intimidating campaign to demand that radical or liberal professors be fired for their political views) accusing others of attempting to suppress speech. Suffice it to say that Horowitz accusations have as much as credibility as O'Reilly's defense of the "legality" of the Bush administrations invasion of Iraq.

There is no irony at all, however, in their inventions and distortions of RCP actions and beliefs. There is, instead, an ugly and quite calculated attempt to not only break up the unity of the World can't Wait initiative but also to set up the Party for persecution and outlawing. And that too, as others have also noted, is another example of why it is correct to point to the fascist direction of things, and the urgency to unite and change that direction by driving out the Bush Regime.

To be clear: the RCP thinks there is an urgent need right now, in countries like the U.S. and globally, to build massive political resistance and opposition to what the system of U.S. imperialism is doing--to the many crimes these imperialists have committed and are continuing to commit, and to the widespread and incomparable terror that they inflict on people in the course of that. This has many dimensions, chief among which for us right now is the immediate and pressing need to join together with others to bring forward millions to drive out the Bush Regime, which is the chief representative of U.S. imperialism and is on a course of qualitatively heightening those crimes. In particular we endorse and are working for the call to mount massive political demonstrations around the State of the Union demanding that Bush step down--the call that has so incensed O'Reilly, Horowitz, Buckley, and others. In doing this, we are joining together with many others, from all sorts of different ideologies and viewpoints, uniting around this Call and its basic demand.

As to the charge that the Revolutionary Communist Party "opposes the 'war on terror,'" there is no "war on terror." There is a war for empire, as the lies used to justify the illegal, immoral, and utterly unjust invasion of Iraq reveal. And that is something that millions of people should and do oppose.

The revolution that we stand for--a genuinely emancipating communist revolution--is a struggle that involves millions and millions of people, who are determined to bring about a radical change in society and the world. This communist revolution aims to overturn the grotesque and horrific systems and relations in the world that cause such untold and unnecessary suffering for literally billions throughout the globe. The nature and aim of this revolution is nothing less than the conscious and determined struggle of millions and ultimately billions, throughout the globe, to bring into being a world without exploitation, oppression, and social inequalities. It is a serious thing and it must be approached in a serious way--soberly, with science, commitment, and maturity.

Send us your comments.


How And Why The Christian Fascists Attack the "Mainline" Churches

Revolution #28, December 26, 2005, posted at

Along with their assaults on science, education, art, the judiciary, and every other institution, the Christian Fascists have another target: the churches which disagree with them.

Yes, the Christian Fascists have a systematic plan to seize control of what are called the "mainline" Protestant churches, as well as the National Council of Churches, and to transform them into fascist strongholds. These churches have had a mainstream liberal character for decades, and have been the churches of what used to be called the "establishment"--the elite and upper middle classes of most of the 20th century.

The takeover of these institutions is a very strategic part of the chess game the Christian Fascists are playing; this is a further effort to remove any platform in society from which any dissent at all against the new order can be mounted. In addition, the Christian Fascists derive their claim to legitimacy from their insistence that they represent "Gods word," morality, and people of faith; this makes it all the more pressing for these fascists to undercut, destroy and finally suppress voices from the pulpit that counter that claim.

The Attack Dogs of the Institute for Religion and Democracy

The move to split and take over the mainline churches has been orchestrated by the Institute of Religion and Democracy (IRD). IRD has focused its attack on the United Methodist Church (UMC), Presbyterian Church, USA, and the Episcopal Church. The IRD Executive Summary for 2000 identified these churches as the "bulwark of the Religious Left" and goes on to say that "while comprising only 10% of the organized religious forces in the U.S., [these mainline churches] have exerted a powerful influence in American life throughout the 20th Century, with a disproportionate number of higher income and educated Americans...They have billions of dollars in endowments. They are affiliated with hundreds of colleges, universities, seminaries, academies and charitable outreach centers." The IRD report reads like a corporate hostile takeover strategy and, in fact, that is the intention of the IRD.

The tactics the IRD uses are remarkably similar to those of David Horowitz's right-wing attack dogs against progressive professors in academia. They recruit and train spies and snitches to go to lectures and conferences of liberal clergy and theologians, and to "write them up" in resolutions exposing "misguided church activity and calls for church reform." Then they distribute publications with these accusations about the clergy and leaders directly to the membership of the denomination. These witchhunts target "liberal bishops who decline to uphold church law, especially on issues relating to marriage and sexuality." The IRD offers training and counseling to church members who want to bring charges against clergy.

They have set out to take over leadership positions, especially national policy-setting posts. They proudly admit that they targetted and won a reapportionment of delegates to the Methodist General Conferences so that what they call "declining (and liberal) regions of the church will receive fewer delegates, and growing (and more conservative) regions will receive more." They have also taken aim at the leadership of seminaries and key church agencies that they consider too liberal and replaced them with conservatives.

Besides going after the progressive mainline denominations, the IRD has targetted the National Council of Churches (NCC) and World Council of Churches. The IRD recently went after Bob Edgar, the general secretary of the NCC, for his "strident political advocacy." For the Christian Fascists to oppose "strident political advocacy" is the height of hypocrisy; what they actually oppose is the CONTENT of the NCCs activism. The NCC has come out against the war in Iraq, against U.S. government torture, for the Kyoto global climate accords, for raising the minimum wage, against the Patriot Act, and against the religious right. The IRD also aims to change the NCC program into one that would advocate cutting federal government social welfare programs and replacing them with church-sponsored, private charities. This is part of the Christian Fascist program to institute government-sponsored faith-based programs with mandatory religious indoctrination that blames the people for their poverty and oppression ("God must have done this to you because of your sin").

In short, the IRD is carrying out a coordinated drive to reverse church positions on key issues and bring them into line with the hateful morality of the Christian Fascists and the political program of the Bush regime. The aim to subjugate women under Biblical patriarchy by preventing women from controlling decisions on reproduction and sexuality. Their answer to teen pregnancy and sexuality is abstinence. They are, of course, opposed to abortion and do "exposures" of key mainline leaders and organizations and their funding agencies that support the right to abortion. They are actively promoting a "marriage initiative" that would cut off welfare and force people to marry as the solution to poverty for poor women and children.

They have fought to bar clergy from performing marriage ceremonies for gays and "legitimizing sexual expression outside of heterosexual marriage." And in a chilling self-exposure of what they really stand for, the IRD opposes the demand for laws against hate crimes, especially for hate crimes against gays.

The High Stakes

The Christian Fascists insist that to reverse what they see as the "moral downfall" of American society a radical remaking must take place where orthodox religion dominates the society and reinstates the concept of "sin" and God's wrath for sinners. This is the theology that led various major Christian fascist spokesmen to declare that the attacks of September 11, 2001 reflected gods anger at feminists, liberals and gays; or that Hurricane Katrina was god's punishment for the supposed "moral degeneracy" of New Orleans. The IRD aims to make that message uniform throughout the Protestant denominations in the U.S.

As communists, we do not believe in gods, whether literal or metaphorical. Such gods are not real, and belief in them ultimately stands in the way of people figuring out how, by relying on themselves, they can bring in a world without exploitation and oppression (and without, therefore, the "need" for the consolation provided by religion). At the same time, we can and certainly do unite with religious people in various struggles today, appreciating their contributions and insights, and struggling with each other over these questions as we unite for larger ends.

And we also understand very clearly the stakes involved with this Christian Fascist strategy to take over and/or destroy these churches. These are not arcane debates over obscure details of Church doctrine. If the fascists succeed in silencing and eliminating the progressive religious voice and replacing it with the cruel fundamentalist theocratic program, they will transform the organized strength of these churches to serve their deadly fascist cause. And this is integral to their whole strategy, both because of the institutional power of these churches and because they provide a voice that undercuts the Christian Fascists particular claim on legitimacy. The attempts by the Christian fascists to take over these churches and turn them into battering rams for theocracy are part of a strategy to clamp fascist culture and thinking on people in every sphere. They must be recognized as such and opposed by all progressive people.

Here again, we find the example of Martin Niemöller--the German Protestant minister who resisted the Nazis--to be extremely relevant. Hitler too, at a certain stage, moved to dominate the churches of Germany, and Niemöller was among those who resisted and ended up serving eight years in Nazi prisons. The problem, Niemöller strongly pointed out at the end of the war, was that the resistance came too little and too late, with each group only fighting when its own narrowly conceived interests came under fire.

That must not happen this time.

Send us your comments.


Conservative My Ass!
These People Are Nazis!

Revolution #28, December 26, 2005, posted at


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Bush / McCain Deal: Torture, But Say We Don't

Revolution #28, December 26, 2005, posted at

Much was made of John McCain and the Senate "standing up to the Bush Administration" on torture. The McCain Amendment that called on the U.S. to adhere to international conventions against torture passed the Senate by a 90-10 vote despite extraordinary lobbying by Vice President Cheney.

All along, Bush's spokespeople have been saying they were confident something could be "worked out." On December15, McCain and Bush announced that they made a deal that gave both of them what they wanted: torture without worry about prosecution, and with deniability.

The New York Times wrote ("Ban Torture. Period" 12/15), that the compromise wording "actually appears to allow coerced evidence [from torture]." That means people can go to jail (or send others to jail) based on torture-extracted "evidence."And the Times reported that "Lawmakers were also discussing language that would strip United States courts, including the Supreme Court, of the power to review detentions."

In their editorial, the Times said, "Mr. Bush had barely announced his deal with Mr. McCain before Attorney General Alberto Gonzales made it crystal clear that the administration would define torture any way it liked. He said on CNN that torture meant the intentional infliction of severe physical or mental harm, and repeated the word 'severe' twice. He would not even say whether that included 'waterboarding'--tormenting a prisoner by making him think he is being drowned."

It gets worse--if that's possible. Duncan Hunter, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, announced that he will oppose even the loophole-filled McCain/Bush wording unless the White House guarantees in writing that it would have no effect on intelligence-gathering."

Thousands of people abducted from their homes in Afghanistan and Iraq, mostly at random, are being raped, electrocuted, or nearly (or fully) drowned in U.S.-run torture chambers in Afghanistan, Iraq, at Guantánamo, or in secret centers in Europe. Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen, was subjected to isolation designed to drive a person insane. Rape! Drowning! Psychological torture meant to induce insanity! How is this anything but sadistic violence? What can explain this indiscriminate, barbaric brutality except a need to instill widespread fear and terror among people, including the "ordinary Iraqis," who Bush admitted in a recent speech make up the overwhelming majority of those he calls "the terrorists" in Iraq?

The Bush/McCain compromise endorses torture, while providing deniability to the guilty, and convincing the ignorant, including the willfully gullible, that it's not really happening.

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January 20-22, New York City
Second Session of the International Tribunal on Bush Crimes

Revolution #28, December 26, 2005, posted at

Friday, January 20, 5:00 p.m.
The Riverside Church
490 Riverside Drive

Saturday, January 21, 10:00 a.m.
The Riverside Church

Sunday, January 22, 1:00 p.m.
Columbia Univ. Law School

For more information:

The International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration will hold its second session of hearings on January 20-22, 2006. This session will continue the truly historic work of forging a powerful, comprehensive, and highly public case documenting what the Bush regime is doing to the people of the world.

The Commissions successful first session was held in New York on October 21-22 before a distinguished panel of jurists. Experts from the fields of law, diplomacy, environment, history, global health and reproductive rights came together with witnesses from flooded New Orleans, the war zones of Iraq and immigration jails of the U.S. Hundreds of people heard penetrating exposures of the Bush regimes wars of aggression, global apparatus of torture and indefinite detention, suppression of scientific research and warnings of global warming, and genocidal sabotage of efforts to stem the AIDS pandemic. Passionate and painful eyewitness accounts highlighted the special hearing into the Bush administrations criminal actions before, during and after the Katrina disaster.

Much of the remarkable testimony from the first session is available online at

The second session will present all the witnesses, experts, and documentary evidence on the indictments against the Bush Administration. The jury of conscience will consider the evidence and deliver its opinion on each indictment. Their final findings are expected to be released around the time of the Presidents State of the Union Address and the nationwide demonstrations called by The World Cant Wait! Drive Out the Bush Regime!

Send us your comments.


How to Spread REVOLUTION

Revolution #28, December 26, 2005, posted at

Help Revolution newspaper and website reach many, many more people.

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Letters to the Editor:

Recently Revolution began encouraging reader comments with "Comment on this article" links on every page in our web site. Readers can also send comments P.O. Box 3486, Chicago, IL, 60654-0486. Revolution cannot publish or respond directly to all correspondence, but will read your comments with great interest. We reserve the right to reprint submitted comments. Readers submitting comments range from inner city middle-schoolers to academics, from revolutionaries to people with strong disagreements with what they read. Below are a few comments submitted by website readers:

U.S. at War: A History of Shame--The Vietnam War: Destroying the Village in Order to Save It

I couldn't agree with this article more (U.S. at War: A History of Shame--The Vietnam War: Destroying the Village in Order to Save It," Revolution #27), but it's going to make my job as a distributor difficult because "support the troops, bring them home" is something a lot of people around here fall into, that is, the few who oppose the war. This whole mythology has been created about how our country "turned on the soldiers" and "those evil hippies"...I can recall a personal experience at my high school, just before the war got started, I challenged some kid who was going to join the army. A friend of mine made the comment, "you might have to kill children", anyhow, I had teachers screaming at me for "not supporting the troops", when I hadn't even done anything but oppose the war, and this army kid had told me to "go fuck myself", "eat shit", and "die, you communist faggot". The next day I got called down to the office and told off by the principal...

But have no fear, I fully intend to bring this issue of the paper to my home town, and make sure it is heard. People forget all the horrendous things our government did in Vietnam, all they can remember was "we turned on our soldiers"...People need to know the truth about what happened in Vietnam. GREAT ARTICLE!


Great article! ["The Vietnam War: Destroying the Village in Order to Save It"] It's very sad that many American are still ignorant of the truth exposed in this article.


On the Execution of Stanley "Tookie" Williams

Watching the news count down to tookie's execution is sickening. the man clearly broke with his path as founder of the Crips and has become a force for good in society. However, the power establishment is going ahead in killing this guy to show "they're tough on crime" and other BS, namely to intimidate young people and domesticate their aspirations. Actually, the practice of "execution" is a continuation of the old old religious concept of human sacrifice. The theologian and the executioner have been intimates throughout history, and the modern system of execution is no exception. I haven't the words for the sorrow at the loss of this extraordinairy voice who has saved young peoples' lives all over the place. Basta Ya! Enough!


Oh my god, I am here in Australia, and have been following Stanley's case. I can not believe that Gov Schwartzenegger didn't grant clemency. I thought he was a kind forgiving family man that had a heart, but it turns out, all he cares about is the politics in it all, and whats best for his god dam career. I am sickened by his lack of thought. The hell to you Schwartzenegger. Stanley my thoughts and prayers are with you and your loved ones, and thankyou for all the work you have done for the young troubled youth of today, The work you have done is more than any government or politician has ever done for our youth. God bless.




I read the article ("Statement from Joe Veale, for the Revolutionary Communist Speaking Tour on the Execution of Stanley "Tookie" Williams") in my Government Class. I got negative reactions. Especially the part about how "they have no other options but crime." A lot of kids didn't get that. Most kids opposed his execution, but they said the statement was too far out. People have been so programmed to believe that if people are poor it is their own fault. We need to seriously expose this.

On the Murder of Rigoberto Alpizar

I wholeheartedly agree that the murder of Rigoberto Alpizar [Rigoberto Alpizar: Murdered by Homeland Security] was coldblooded murder. I happen to be another person on medication due to chemical imbalances of the brain. The useof firepower on the loading ramp or on the plane is inexcusable. I'll differ from those who say no force is an option, but if the Air Marshals really "care" about protecting passengers, they should be carrying tasers for incidents like this. Two reasons: I'm against
feds carrying firepower, and two, if this happened in a plane and they missed, they could
blow a hole in the plane, producing rapid decompression, which could destroy the plane. As for Mr. Alpizar, he freaked out off his meds and the insane power structure guns him down. Only in America!

Send us your comments.


Contribute to the Prisoners' Revolutionary Literature Fund

Revolution #28, December 26, 2005, posted at

The U.S. government has over two million people in prison, the majority of them young, Black, and Latino.

On the outside--mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters face the heartache of a loved one locked away. Millions of families are deeply and directly effected by the cruel way this system offers no future to the youth, then warehouses them in high-tech dungeons.

The overwhelming majority of prisoners are from the bottom of society--those who have nothing to lose and everything to gain from a proletarian revolution in this country. The system looks at this section of society as dangerous and worthless. But the proletariat sees these brothers and sisters as a potential spark and strength for the revolution.

Already, thousands of prisoners have found a way to to connect with, engage in and contribute to the struggle for revolution. And in the process they are changing themselves and drawing other prisoners, and family and friends on the outside, into the debate and fight to change the world.

Thousands of prisoners read Revolution. Hundreds of them have subscribed to it -- despite the authorities targeting and harassing many of them, and in some cases, putting them in isolation. Revolution readers in prison form study circles of discussion and controversy. When such groups are broken up by the authorities, they find ways to regroup. When Revolution readers get transferred to another prison, their subscription and revolutionary activity goes with them. Many are dreaming of the day when they will get out, so they can hook up with others and join the struggle for revolution on the outside.

The Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund (PRLF) receives about 20 letters and requests for subscriptions every week. Each prisoner subscription costs $20 per year and all of them need to be filled, and urgently.

PRLF also needs funds to fill prisoners requests for Bob Avakians works and other Marxist-Leninist-Maoist literature. In order to fullfill all the requests for subscriptions and literature we need tens of thousands of dollars a year.

Finally, PRLF needs money to help wage the battle against censorship. Prison authorities in some states, violating the systems own laws and court rulings, have been censoring entire issues of Revolution, one after the next. This censorship aims to sever the vital link between the prisoners and the vanguard party.

Donate now. Donate regularly. Help shine the light of revolution behind the prison walls.


People need to stop teaching about ghosts

I would like to thank you for sending me so much useful information about the problems in the world. I especially be liking your articles on God. People do really need to stop teaching about ghosts. It's sad that so many people still falls for those money scams. I was glad to start reading your papers that made me sit down and think truly about God in the world. And now I know that I was a fool to have ever let those Christians trick me like that.

So I do everything that I can to teach the people about these scams. Then I let so many people read your paper. You know we are in a prison system who make more money off us than any system in the world. But they don't let us make any money to help ourselves or our family. So it's hard to get other inmates to order your paper. Every money they get have to be spent to get the things that we need to survive up in here. Then they work me seven days a week. And don't even give me a sandwich. It's hard! Then they don't want to let nobody out of prison. They say that they do, but those are the people who was going home in months anyway. It's all a trick. I got a life sentence, with a ten years parole date and they are twenty-two months behind, for a robbery that they don't even know if it took place or not. With no evidence. The police who testified against me got sent to prison for twenty something charges (that I was filing on beforehand) and they still don't want to let me go or just give me another trial.

Thank you,


Lively debates and raising consciousness

In Solidarity,

Previously I was on your mailing list in early 2005. I have since been transferred to my present location. Although I do not have a subscription I am writing to ask if it would be possible to receive the RCP papers again. Before when I used to receive them, Bob Avakian's in-depth analysis and the reports from A World to Win sparked lively debates around current issues which were previously strongly censored by the mainstream press. I hope that I can again utilize the RCP papers to raise conscious levels and have meaningful discussions. I just hope that I can receive the RCP papers again. I am indigent or I would pay the $18 for a year subscription.

Yours in struggle,


You walk the walk

In struggle, your 'rade,

Just had you all on my mind to stop in to say a few (more) things. Firstly, you do definitely deserve the role of vanguard party. I never really battled that logic, you definitely do walk the walk. No, for me, my hesitation more revolved around my personal sentiment that I would love to see a communist voice of the Afrikan diaspora. I won't go into all that, but that had a lot to do with it.

What resolved this contradiction for me is the international aspect of revolution. In other words, who needs revolution the most? We all need revolution "the most." And too, it can't be Afrikans first, not even oppressed Afrikans first. In building ties, solid core, united front, etc. it must be revolutionaries first, conscious communists first. In actual revolution it must be when and wherever we seize an opportunity. Communist really must get in where they fit in -- even though even with that there's still a back and forth. Sometimes we must fit in where we get in.

Nonetheless I must admit the RCP played a major role in helping me bring myself to the next level.

After reading Sunsara's article, "Strange Encounters," [] I really had to own my shit. I can't be guided by the revolutionary ideal but instead must always uphold the revolutionary idea. "The final aim must guide all our work." It should have said, the final aim must guide all our work... period.

I couldn't see myself nowhere save for next to Sunsara, the RCYB, the RCP. It's not about nothing else. It's about revolution.

Had to say that. I couldn't have gotten this far alone. I couldn't had grown so much without the RCP. I will need a lot more hands-on help. I don't mean to be so needy. I know you all have a big enough plate and you've already done so much for me, but I really do need your help.

I am now dealing with other people's hearts and minds and I wouldn't accept failing them... I will need some books. We can send stamps and I would need you to critique some of our essays. I really could use some real back and forth, we could.

Well let me tilt the red rose, for now, as always stay 10 toes down and keep it dialectic.

In struggle, your 'rade,


Surprised with such truth

The following letter was received in Spanish and translated by Revolution:


I'm a POW from the cause. I'm housed in XXX and "I'm a lifer..." A fellow comrade introduced me to one of your newspapers and I was surprised with such truth and it was so well written that I read it a few times over. I've always been a socialist, a communist sympathizer, from an early age. Before I knew what it meant.

Well I'm going to get to the point. I don't like to waste anybody's time. How can I get a hold of some of your wonderful publications and others like yours? But for somebody like me, who's short on ends? Do you help comrades with free RCP newspapers? And if so, I would very much like to get on board!

Thank you for your time.

Que Viva RCP!!

Hope for the future

The following was sent to Revolution in response to the call for donations for PRLF:

I am the mother of a man who is receiving your publication via these donations. I just wanted to say thank you for offering this opportunity to him. Your publication has given him the desire to make changes in the world when he is finally released and

has given him hope for the future. I am extremely low income myself and unable to contribute. But I wanted to say thank you to all of you at RCP for your continued support

of my son.

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Thousands Protest at San Quentin

Revolution #28, December 26, 2005, posted at

About 5,000 people gathered at the gates of San Quentin prison in the San Francisco Bay Area on Monday night, December 12 to protest the execution of Stanley "Tookie" Williams. The red light over San Quentin showed that the prison was on lockdown for the execution. It was a diverse crowd: Black youth from San Francisco and the East Bay and Latino high school youth from San Jose; celebrities like Mike Farrell, Joan Baez, Sean Penn and others; religious forces opposed to the death penalty; former political prisoners; attorneys; people from human rights groups like Amnesty International, and college students.

At 12:30 a.m. people heard that Stanley Williams had been pronounced dead. Some were stunned and silent, others cried, and some chanted against the death penalty. A U.S. flag went up in flames. Rev. Charles Newsome, president of the Richmond chapter of the NAACP, walked through the gathering with a megaphone saying, "I'm tired of my people dying. It's time to do something about it. We talk, but we keep dying. They want us to keep talking. It's time to do something."

On the online version of the Black newspaper SF Bayview (12/14/05), Wanda Sabir wrote: "Not in our name, a slogan made popular at the start of the Iraq war, took on additional meaning as each of us silently considered the language of capital punishment: 'The people of the state of California.' Unless one consciously disassociates herself from the acts of terror committed on her behalf, then silence equals complicity. 'Ignorance of the law,' as we're told, 'is no excuse.' Neither is ignorance of harm committed by such laws in one's name by elected officials, whether they were the representatives of one's choice or not."

In the final hour before the execution, a message from Stanley Williams was read, requesting that people remember the lyrics of "Strange Fruit," Billie Holiday's searing blues ballad about southern lynching. And KPFA, the Pacifica radio network station, concluded its live broadcast of the protest outside San Quentin with the song.

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Richard Pryor: 1940-2005

Revolution #28, December 26, 2005, posted at

We will miss the great comedian Richard Pryor. We will miss his biting humor, unsparing honesty, and deep feeling for the masses. We will miss his openness to life and people, his defiance and his ability to capture the humor and truth in the life of the masses. But the universe of characters he gave us will continue to live on--still instantly recognizable and heart-stopping hilarious. As Mudbone, perhaps Pryor's most unforgettable character says, "the truth is gonna be funny, but it's gonna scare . . . folks."


Y'all know how Black humor started, it started on the slave ships, you know. Cat was on his way over here, rowing. You know dude said, what you laughing about? He said, yesterday I was a king.

They having a bicentennial--200 years. Going to have Bicentennial nigger. They will, they'll have some nigger 200 years old in black face, with stars and stripes on his forehead, little eyes, lips just a shining. And he'll have that lovely white folks expression on his face, but he's happy. He happy cause he been here 200 years. He says, I'm just so thrilled to be here.

[Music starts, "Glory, glory, hallelujah..."]

Over here in America, I'm so glad y'all took me out of Dahomey. Yuk, yuk, yuk, yuk...

I used to could live to be 150, now I dies of high blood pressure by the time I'm 52. And that thrills me to death. I'm just so please America is going to last. Yuk, yuk, yuk...

They brought me over here in a boat. There were 400 of us come over here. Yuk, yuk, yuk, yuk...

360 of us died on the way over here. Yuk, yuk, yuk, yuk...

But I love that. Yuk, yuk, yuk, yuk...

That just thrills me so. Yuk, yuk, yuk, yuk...

I don't know, you white folks are just so good to us. Yuk, yuk, yuk, yuk...

Got over here, another 20 of us died from disease. Yuk, yuk, yuk, yuk...

Ah, but you didn't have no doctors to take care of us, I'm so sorry you didn't. Upset you all some too didn't it. Yuk, yuk, yuk, yuk...

Then they split us all up. Yes, siree. Took my momma over that way, took my wife that way, took my kids over yonder. Yuk, yuk, yuk, yuk...

I'm just so happy. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do if I don't get 200 more years of this.Yuk, yuk, yuk, yuk...

[Music swells...]

Lord have mercy. Yes, siree. I don't know where my old momma is now. She up yonder in that big white folks in the sky. Yuk, yuk, yuk, yuk...

Y'all probably done forgot about it. Yuk, yuk, yuk...

[Voice changes to serious and music stops]

But I ain't never going to forget about it.

Richard Pryor, from Bicentennial Nigger*


* This material is reproduced here as it was performed by Richard Pryor at the time, including the use of the word "nigger"; this is for the sake of accuracy and not out of any disrespect for his feeling, after a trip to Africa, that he should no longer use the word "nigger" because it is dehumanizing.

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Socialism is Much Better Than Capitalism and Communism Will Be A Far Better World

The Soviet Experiment: The Social Revolution Ushered in by Proletarian Power

Revolution #28, December 26, 2005, posted at

From 1917 until the early 1950s, the Soviet Union was either fighting wars, preparing for wars, or dealing with the aftermath of war. No other modern state has endured this kind of perpetual ordeal. And this profoundly conditioned the development of the revolution, the policy choices made by its leadership, and the struggles in society and the struggles within the Party leadership.

It would be nice to be able to build a new society in ideal conditions. But the oppressed and their revolutionary leadership do not get to choose the larger circumstances in which they find themselves. Russia was a backward country. It was only a generation out of serfdom. The Russian Revolution was a mass phenomenon, and it drew support from the peasants. But the fact remained: an urban-based revolution had taken place in a peasant country. The revolution was confronted with the need to win the peasants and extend the revolution to the countryside. It faced backward social movements in society. This was not a polite PTA meeting. This was a society wracked by war; it was a society on a road of transformation where no one had gone before.

By 1918, reactionary political and military forces were mounting a counterrevolution to restore the old order. Seventeen countries, including the United States, which landed troops in Siberia, put together an army of intervention to aid the counterrevolution. The Bolsheviks took over a war economy on the verge of collapse and led the masses to defend and advance the revolution. The revolution achieved victory in the civil war. But this came at great cost--war casualties, disease, and economic dislocation.

The new proletarian state was fighting for its life. A social revolution was fighting for its life.

The anti-communist histories slander the Bolshevik Revolution and the communist project as a primal obsession with power. The codeword is "totalitarianism." Communists, we are told, seek to establish total control over a docile population. But lets look at what this new class power was actually used for.

Emancipating Women

The dictatorship of the proletariat was used to overcome the oppression of women. In 1918, a new marriage law turned marriage into a civil ceremony. In the old society, marriage had to be sanctioned by the church. Divorce was made easy to secure. Men were legally stripped of their authority over wives and children. Adultery was dropped as a criminal offense. Women now received equal pay in jobs. Maternity hospital care was provided free. And in 1920, the Soviet Union became the first country in modern Europe to make abortion legal. In the newspapers and schools there was lively debate about sex roles, marriage, and family. Science fiction novels imagined new social relations.

Old oppressive and patriarchal customs were criticized and challenged. In the new republics of Central Asia, women were encouraged and able to cast off the veil that had been forced on them for generations. Rather than being held down by family, church, and the state, women were now empowered to fight for their emancipation. Think about the significance of all this when we look at the state of the world today. No society up to that point had ever tried to transform its gender system so completely.

Overcoming the Oppression of Minority Peoples

This new proletarian power was used to overcome the oppression of minority peoples. The Bolshevik revolution created the worlds first multinational state based on equality of nationalities. The new socialist state recognized the right of self-determination for the former oppressed nations of the old Tsarist empire. In a 1917 decree, all minority nationalities were granted the right to instruction in native languages in all schools and universities.

The determination to address problems was real, as were the measures taken. For instance, many minority nationalities with non-written languages were supplied with alphabets. The Soviet state devoted considerable resources to the mass production of books, journals, newspapers, movies, folk music ensembles, and museums in the minority regions. The nationalities policy called for indigenous leadership in the new national territories--not outside Russian administrators. And party leaders and government, school, and enterprise administrators were trained from among the oppressed nationalities. The Russians had long been the dominant and oppressor nationality. Now Russian territory was being assigned to non-Russian republics; now Russians were asked to learn non-Russian languages. The persecution of the Jews was ended. This spirit of combating national oppression permeated the early Soviet Union. It was one of the defining features of the new society and state.

The new Soviet state launched national educational and health campaigns. No country in the period between World War 1 and World War 2 matched the Soviet Unions increase in the ratio of doctors to population. The literacy rate rose from 30 percent to over 80 percent in 1939.

At the time, where else in the world were things like this happening? Nowhere. But we know what the situation was in the United States. Segregation was the law of the land. Jim Crow was in full effect. When Paul Robeson, the great African-American actor, singer, and radical, first visited the Soviet Union, he was deeply impressed by the revolutions efforts to overcome racial and national prejudice. Ethnic minorities weren't being lynched in the Soviet Union as Black people were right then in the U.S. South. The U.S. and the Soviet Union were two different worlds.


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Nepal: parliamentary parties and Maoists sign agreement against king

Revolution #28, December 26, 2005, posted at

The following is taken from an article from A World To Win News Service

5 December 2005. A World to Win News Service. In recent weeks dramatic changes have taken place in the political landscape of Nepal. On November 21 an announcement was made of an agreement between the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), which has been leading a peoples war in that country for the last ten years, and seven political parties that oppose King Gyanendra. The seven parties had been represented in the parliament dissolved by Gyanendra last February and most had taken part in various governments since 1990. On December 3, Nepals capital Kathmandu witnessed the largest demonstration since 1990 as tens of thousands of people took to the streets to demand the abolition of the monarchy. A three-month cease-fire declared in September by the CPN(M) (but not respected by the reactionary Royal Nepal Army) was extended for an additional month.

Nepals parliament was established after the 1990 peoples movement attacked the old political system in Nepal in which no political parties were permitted. Different factions of the Nepal ruling class were represented in parliament through various political parties, including some phony communist parties (revisionists) that at different times occupied important government functions, and the Nepal Congress Party, which has a long history of subservience to the ruling class of neighboring India. These parliamentary parties have been vicious opponents of the peoples war--they openly supported the Royal Nepal Army (RNA) in trying to crush the revolution. So the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the opposition parties and the Maoists against the king represents a major political turning point.

Despite the fact that the parliamentary parties were united against the revolution, the divisions in parliament and the few remaining rights that existed in Nepal were obstacles for the reactionary classes to organize their strength for a final fight to the death with the Maoists. This is why, in February 2005, King Gyanendra declared emergency rule, abolished parliament, and took power directly into his own hands. While the U.S. and British imperialists as well as the Indian state made noises about deploring the demise of democracy in Nepal, in fact they were hoping that the palace and the army would be able to deliver a knockout blow to the revolution.

However, the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) led by the Maoists has been able to withstand the blows of the RNA and win some impressive victories since emergency rule was established. One of the most important was the capture and destruction of a major army base in the village of Pili in Kalicot, Western Nepal, in August. The kings inability to deliver the promised military victory over the revolution has intensified the turmoil in Nepals ruling classes, including in the formerly subservient parliamentary parties. And the elimination of the few remaining democratic rights has driven even more sections of the people in the cities into firm opposition to the monarchy.

In any revolutionary process the fundamental question is state power, and specifically which class or alliance of classes controls the state. In Nepal today the war is essentially a war between two state powers, the old feudal comprador-bureaucrat regime led by the king and backed up by the RNA, and the newly emerging power of the masses of people led by a proletarian political party, the CPN (Maoist), and backed up by the strength of the Peoples Liberation Army. Ultimately victory will be determined by one of these states destroying the other. This truth is not lost on the enemies of the revolution. In fact, the U.S. ambassador to Nepal recently said that the Maoists must "enter into peace negotiations with the government in good faith, abandon their weapons, and come into the political mainstream. Until these steps are taken, the Maoists cannot be treated as a legitimate political party."

The CPN (Maoist) knows that the reason the parliamentary parties have come out in opposition to the autocratic monarchy is the strength of the revolution itself. Contrary to some press accounts and some wishful thinking by the parliamentary parties, the MOU does not contain a pledge by the Maoists to disarm. As Mao Tsetung summed up, "without a peoples army, the people have nothing."

The imperialists and the reactionary regimes of India and China are also carefully watching these developments and trying to influence them. The U.S. and Britain would like the parliamentary parties to unite with the king against the revolution. India is playing a double game. According to press accounts, India (which has a great deal of influence over some of the Nepali parliamentary forces) allowed the meetings between the Maoists and the opposition parties to take place on its territory, yet it is continuing to hold several major CPN(M) leaders in prison and gives aid to the RNA. The reactionary Chinese regime recently agreed to sell weapons to the Royal Nepal Army.

It can be sure that the months ahead will see complex and fierce class struggle as the revolution closes in on the decrepit and tottering monarchy and the question of the future Nepali state comes into sharper focus.

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Hurricanes, climate change and global warming

Part 1: Natural Climate Change

Revolution #28, December 26, 2005, posted at

November 21 and 28 2005. A World to Win News Service. While the U.S. government has insisted that global warming doesn't exist, most scientists are convinced otherwise. Some researchers say global warming was a major factor in the deadly series of hurricanes (as the violent tropical storms or cyclones that hit the Americas are called) that struck the Caribbean, Central America and the U.S. recently. At the Montreal international summit on climate change , the first such meeting since the 1997 Kyoto summit, the U.S. continued to refuse to recognise the dangers or even the existence of global warming, which an attending UK scientist declared is as perilous to the future of humanity as weapons of mass destruction. Observers at the opening of the Montreal meeting of 190 countries had little hope that it would make real progress in achieving international agreements to limit greenhouse gas emissions, the main factor in the rapid rise in world temperatures. Even though the targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions agreed to at Kyoto are criminally inadequate (the goal is to reduce emissions to 5 percent below the 1990 level by 2012), so far actual emissions have increased, not decreased even the European Union, which supported Kyoto, has failed to meet its target.

What is the link between global warming and tropical storms? What are the causes of global warming? To what extent is global warming caused by human activity, and what can be done about it? How dangerous is global warming? Why do the rulers of the U.S. and other major powers refuse to take serious action even as disaster stares mankind in the face? These questions are addressed in this article, which is being run in five parts.


The international science journal Nature reported that possible links between hurricane formation and global warming are a contentious issue in climate policy. The depth of the divide between supporters and sceptics was already apparent in January, when U.S. meteorologist Chris Landsea resigned from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) an organisation working with the United Nations Environmental Programme. Landsea was protesting against statements made by his panel colleague, Kevin Trenberth, who had argued for a link between global warming and storms in a press conference.

Nature wrote, "Trenberth's view is supported by the most recent and solid analysis of hurricane destructiveness over the past 30 years, by leading U.S. hurricane researcher Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts." Emanuel had concluded that "future warming may lead to an upward trend in tropical cyclone destructive potential, and... a substantial increase in hurricane-related losses in the 21st century."

Long before Hurricane Katrina, the IPCC stated in its 2001 assessment report: "There is some evidence that regional frequencies of tropical cyclones may change... There is also evidence that the peak intensity may increase by 5% to 10% and precipitation rates [rain] may increase by 20% to 30%. There is a need for much more work in this area to provide more robust results." In August 2005 the Gulf of Mexico was a striking 2-3°C warmer than it usually is at this time of year. Hurricanes are powered by the energy they draw from warm water. Katrina sucked so much heat energy from the Gulf that water temperatures dropped dramatically after the storm, in some regions from 30°C to 26°C.

Julian Heming, hurricane expert at the Met Office in Exeter, UK, says that a longer-term record is needed to establish a firm link between global warming and more powerful hurricanes. He said, "I would say that this paper corroborates the widely held view in the scientific community that whilst global warming may not be having any impact on the frequency of tropical cyclones or even the proportion which reach hurricane strength, it may have an impact on the small proportion of tropical cyclones which attain the highest strength (category 4 and 5)." This was the strength of Katrina.

While the link between global warming and hurricanes is emerging as a new controversial issue among scientists and much more research is required in this area, most scientists, to one degree or another, agree on certain facts about climate change and global warming that have emerged so far.

Natural climate changes

The Earth's atmosphere has dramatically changed since the planet formed 4.5 billion years ago. As scientists learn more about the atmosphere, they realise climate change is not a one-time, one-dimensional phenomenon. Major geological events have shaped the atmosphere that we live on today. The Earth's crust began to solidify about 4.0 billion years ago. About 3.5 billion years ago the Earth began to be inhabited by diverse organisms, first in the form of primitive single cells, with some of them then evolving to multi-cellular organisms. These and other forms of life have played a dynamic role in changing the atmosphere and the Earth as a whole.

An oxygen revolution began about 2.5 billion years ago. Primitive single-cell organisms use the Sun's energy to split water molecules (photosynthesis), producing the nutrients they need and releasing oxygen as a by-product. This release of oxygen changed the Earth's atmosphere profoundly. It made possible the evolution of aerobic [air-breathing] organisms other kinds of micro-organisms, plants and eventually animals that use oxygen to extract energy from food. This was not an easy or quick adaptation by any means. The process occurred during the almost 2 billion years that the primitive single-cell organisms had the whole Earth to themselves. After that, the interaction between plants that take in carbon dioxide and animals that take in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide was part of what has kept the proportions of these two gases in balance for millions of years.

Another event that changed the climate dramatically was the landmass movement known as Pangaea. About 250 million years ago, the Earth's land, formerly one single mass, began to split into northern (Laurasia) and southern (Gondwana) landmasses. Later on continental drift separated the landmass into the modern continents. India collided with Eurasia about 10 million years ago, forming the Himalayas, the tallest and youngest mountain range on Earth. These mountains drastically changed the Earth's atmosphere by capturing moisture and acting as a barrier against wind blowing from one continent to the other.

Also, external forces have influenced the atmosphere and the planet greatly. About 65 million years ago, an asteroid or comet struck what is now the Caribbean Sea near the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, creating an enormous horseshoe-shaped crater. The impact and its immediate effects killed most of the plants and animals in North America within minutes. A cloud of hot vapour and debris blocked out the Sun's rays, radically changing the atmosphere of the Earth. This caused the extinction of land animals and plants around the globe. The impact may have been one of a series of events that contributed to a global cooling trend at that time.

The Earth's history has been marked by alternating periods of relative cold when much of the northern and southern hemisphere is covered by glaciers, and relatively warmer periods when these glaciers retreat back toward the pole. The present interglacial period, called the Holocene, started about 10,000 years ago and is an example of the rare warm conditions that occur between each ice age. In less than 4,000 years global temperature increased by 6 C, the sea level rose by 120 metres, the amount of carbon in the atmosphere increased by a third, and atmospheric methane doubled. As the Earth warmed, in response to these changing climatic conditions human beings began to domesticate animals and grow crops. The first private property and exploitation also appeared and society became divided into classes with opposed interests. Humanity was to become an agent of climate change the likes of which the Earth had never seen in 4.5 billion years. Later, with the rise of capitalism and the explosive expansion of industry that it brought about starting around the beginning of the 19th century, human beings began to change their environment even more quickly and dramatically.

To be continued.

Next week: Man-made Climate Change

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Behind Israel's Gaza Pullout

The Harsh Reality of Occupied Palestine

Revolution #28, December 26, 2005, posted at

One year ago. Iman al-Hams, a 13-year-old Palestinian girl was on her way to school. She inadvertently crossed into an Israeli-declared security zone in the Gaza Strip.

Realizing her mistake, she began to run. On tape, the Israeli watchtower can be heard identifying her: "A girl about 10, shes behind the embankment, scared to death." Moments later she was shot by an army sniper. An Israeli officer, identified only as Captain R, declared that he was going out "to confirm the kill." Nearing the girl, he shot her twice in the head, began to walk away, then turned back and emptied the magazine of his automatic rifle into her body. Captain R can be heard on tape "clarifying" his actions for the benefit of his troops: "This is commander. Anything thats mobile, that moves in the zone, even if its a 3-year-old, needs to be killed."

This is what it means to be Palestinian under Israeli occupation.

After the tape surfaced Captain R did face charges--illegal use of his weapon and two other minor offenses. Part of his defense was that killing wounded Palestinians--referred to as "confirming the kill"--was standard practice in the Israeli army. On November 15 he was acquitted of all charges.

This is the meaning of the rule of law in occupied Palestine.


Nowhere have the shocking and harsh realities of Palestinian existence been more apparent than in Gaza, a narrow strip of land, just 140 square miles total (about twice the area of Washington, DC), bordered by Egypt and Israel, and in recent years the site of a seemingly endless series of lockdowns, destruction, and violence by the Israeli army. Well over 1,100 Gazans have been killed over the past five years, at least half of them unarmed civilians. Some 250 Palestinian children have been killed in Gaza, including 92 children younger than fourteen.

Shuqri Salman Hussein al-Maqadmeh, in his home one night in one of Gazas refugee camps in March 2003, barely survived a missile fired by one of the drone aircraft the Israeli army uses for targeted assassinations. "Then I felt an enormous explosion, like an earthquake, and found myself under the ruins. The southern wall of the room, which separates our house from that of our neighbor, collapsed on top of us. I heard my wife say, Help me, Shuqri, help the children, and then she was silent." He was able to pull his children from the rubble of his house, but his wife was dead. [Jessica Montell in TIKKUN, May/June 2004]

In recent years Gaza became known as "one big prison," as Israel closed down the borders. And even within this tiny territory, large areas were taken over for Israeli settlements. Even larger areas were declared off limits to Palestinians, who might be shot, like Iman al-Hams, if they were found there or even if they strayed too near. Although Gaza borders the Mediterranean, the shoreline was off limits for Palestinians. Countless children grew up in this seaside territory without ever being able to glimpse the sea.


Given this state of affairs, the past three months have seemed to many to bring good news. After dismantling the settlements in Gaza, Israel withdrew its troops and military installations from the territory in September, and a few weeks ago an agreement was reached on opening some border crossings into and out of Gaza.

TV images showed Palestinians crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, without the presence of Israeli soldiers, for the first time in decades. With the opening of the border crossing at Rafah, the only outlet from Gaza that doesnt lead to Israel, teenagers crossed into Egypt to shop for the first time in their lives, and families separated by the border were able to reunite. 1,500 people crossed during the first day alone. An Egyptian woman who had married a Palestinian wept as she hugged daughters shed not seen in seven years and met her two young grandchildren. A banner over the entrance to the crossing terminal read: "Rafah crossing: the gateway to freedom."

Behind this real joy, though, there is a darker reality. Although Palestinian guards examine passports and luggage, they are not really in charge. Overseeing them are police from the European Union, and every action in the terminal is recorded on video--and beamed to a site where Israeli officials watch. Less than a week after the crossing was opened on November 21, nominally "under Palestinian control," the Israeli Defense Minister threatened to shut it down again.

Secretary of State Condleezza Rice, who helped broker the agreement that led to the opening, termed it a great step forward on the U.S. official policy of "the roadmap toward two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace." The reality is, however, that Israeli disengagement from Gaza is not a step toward peace, let alone freedom, for those who live there. The "Agreement on Movement and Access" brokered by Rice, along with the Israeli Gaza pullout in September, is part of a strategy to solidify and legitimize Israeli control and to fragment the Palestinian people into small enclaves (often called bantustans, after a similar means of fragmenting the people used by the former apartheid government in South Africa).

In Gaza, despite the withdrawal of troops and settlers from the territory, effective Israeli control continues in a different form. Israel controls the airspace and seacoast, and Gaza depends on Israel for water, electricity, sewerage, and imports. Even its currency is Israeli-issued. And finally: the Israeli army may still strike inside Gaza at any time, including to assassinate anyone Israel chooses to designate a "terrorist"-- as it has done several times since its "withdrawal," including two missile attacks last week which killed three Palestinians and wounded sixteen others, including several children.


Israels official Gaza pullout plan states that "the process of disengagement will serve to dispel claims regarding Israels responsibility for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip." Another purpose is to serve as a fig leaf to distract from Israeli annexation of vast areas of the West Bank, where at least 42 existing settlements are being expanded, 6,400 new settlement houses are planned, and colleges, hotels, and commercial areas are being built for use by Israelis. A system of highways and by-passes for settler-only use effectively imprisons and isolates Palestinian areas from each other, and a parallel system of tunnels connect settlements with each other and with Israel. The vast separation or apartheid wall under construction by Israel, now about 35% completed, will leave 46 percent of the West Bank under direct Israeli control, with the rest consisting of Palestinian enclaves (with Gaza too as a separated enclave), each isolated from the other. (For maps of the wall and settler highways and tunnels see

The official Gaza Disengagement Plan states that while on the one hand Israeli settlements would be withdrawn from Gaza, " the West Bank, there are areas which will be part of the state of Israel, including major Israeli population centers, cities, towns and villages, security areas and other places of special interest to Israel." This may in fact be the first time that plans for the annexation and incorporation into Israel of large parts of the West Bank have been so explicitly put forward in an official document. Yet you will search a long time for any mention of this fact in all the voluminous coverage of the Gaza withdrawal in the mainstream U.S. press.

In more recent comments, Sharon said that Israel intends to keep not only the large settlements in the West Bank, but the string of small settlements in the Jordan Valley on the west side of the West Bank. And Tzipi Livni, another Israeli official close to Sharon, has recently made explicit (for anyone who doubted the fact) that Israels planned future border will follow the route of the apartheid wall.


Sharon, meanwhile, has moved to form a new political party, Kadima, billed as "centrist" between the "left" Labor Party and "right" Likud. This has also generated hope among some. Could Sharon, despite a long history to the contrary, now become an architect of peace and Palestinian nationhood?

No. The spectrum represented by these parties in Israel involves close agreement on strategic aims, with some slight differences on tactics. And it is the brutal shape of those strategic aims (aims which are shared by the rulers of this country), which is vividly revealed by the fact that Sharon can be put forward as a centrist.

Secretary of State Rice recently praised Sharon for making "the crucial contribution to peace." Think about it. This is the man who led Israels brutal invasion of Lebanon in 1982, and presided over the massacre of as many as 3,000 Palestinian and other civilians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut.

We hear that Israel is a bastion against anti-semitism. But how can the violent dispossession and oppression of another people contribute to anything just? And the state of Israel exists as an enforcer for the world's sole superpower. Why, instead, shouldn't all justice-loving people unite with a struggle for a democratic, secular Palestine?

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