Revolution #35, February 19, 2006

voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party,USA

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Spies, Lies, Thugs and Torture

Revolution #035, February 19, 2006, posted at

On January 6, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to justify President Bush' secret program in which the ultra-secret National Security Agency (NSA) spied on private telephone and internet communications by people in the U.S. without any warrant or court approval.

Bush' program is illegal. It is an overt violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (known as FISA). FISA makes criminal any electronic surveillance not authorized by statute and it expressly establishes FISA and specified provisions of the federal criminal code (which govern wiretaps for criminal investigations) as the "exclusive means by which electronic surveillance may be conducted." A letter to Congress from 14 prominent scholars of constitutional law states, "the program appears on its face to violate federal law."

Bush broke the law even though FISA courts are secret and are notorious for rubber-stamping requests for surveillance. For example, in 2004 the government requested 1,758 wiretaps under FISA. Not a single request was denied. FISA even allows the government to engage in electronic surveillance and get approval after the fact.

What Is Known About Bush' Secret Program?

Bush's secret spying program was first exposed in a New York Times article by James Risen and Eric Lichtblau on December 16, 2005. According to officials familiar with the program interviewed by the Times, the NSA is monitoring, without any warrant or court approval, the international communications of 500 Americans (in addition to 5,000 to 7,000 persons outside the U.S.) at any time. Since people are constantly being added or dropped from the monitoring, it is likely that the program has targeted thousands of Americans since it began.

But, as Thomas Powers points out in the New York Review of Books, "The actual volume of intercepted calls is almost certainly a very great deal larger, going beyond communications between known, named persons. Modern eavesdropping seldom mirrors the classic wiretap of yesteryear when FBI agents with earphones might record hundreds of hours of a Mafia chief chatting with his underboss in New York's Little Italy. The idea now is to see if anyone on the phone in New York or New Jersey sounds in any way like a Mafia chief. A dinner of linguine with clams in a known Mafia hangout could be enough to warrant a further look. The al-Qaeda phone book numbers were the crack in the door; follow-up targets are simply numbers or e-mail addresses, leading to other numbers and e-mail addresses, all plucked from the torrents of traffic transmitted by the switching systems of the major American telecommunications companies, which daily handle two billion phone calls and perhaps ten times as many e-mail messages."

This explains another aspect of the program, which was revealed by the Times but has not been widely discussed in the media, that the NSA, besides actually eavesdropping on specific conversations, has combed through large volumes of phone and internet traffic in a large data-mining operation. The Times and USA Today have reported that U.S. telecommunications companies have given the NSA "back-door access" to the switches through which flow much of the world' data and voice communications. And telecommunications companies have assisted in other ways. AT&T, for example, has provided the NSA with a direct hook-up to a database code-named Datona that keeps track of phone numbers on both ends of calls as well as the duration of all land-line calls.

The Regime Strikes Back

Right after the New York Times exposed the NSA spying, Bush lashed back. He claimed that "It was a shameful act" to disclose his illegal spying. And that "The fact that we're discussing this program is helping the enemy."

As we go to press, the New York Times is reporting a "rapidly expanding criminal investigation" aimed at anyone involved in exposing Bush's illegal spying (NYT 2/12/06). And an upcoming article in the right-wing magazine Commentary, which describes itself as a publication for "those who shape public opinion" charges that "What the New York Times has done is nothing less than to compromise the centerpiece of our defensive efforts in the war on terrorism." The Commentary article threatens that the New York Times may be prosecuted for violations of the Espionage Act.

Commenting on the ominous implications of this, civil liberties attorney Glenn Greenwald wrote, "this flamboyant use of the forces of criminal prosecution to threaten whistle-blowers and intimidate journalists are nothing more than the naked tactics of street thugs and authoritarian juntas." (, 2/12/06)

Why Did Bush Violate the FISA Law?

Since FISA courts have pretty much rubber-stamped any request by the government, why does the Bush regime feel the need to violate the FISA rules? One possible answer is they want to be able to spy on domestic dissent and opposition without even the paper trail involved in the FISA process (see sidebar).

Another possible element in this is that a secret program would allow the Bush government to turn the massive technological spying apparatus of the National Security Agency not just against the people or its foreign enemies, but also against its ruling class counterparts and rivals.

When the Senate was hearing testimony on John Bolton' appointment as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Bolton admitted that on at least ten occasions he requested transcripts of conversations with U.S. officials that were taped by the NSA. Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico said at the time that he was concerned that domestic calls between himself and Secretary of State Powell were among those recorded. The hearings on this issue were never concluded after Bush approved Bolton' appointment during a Congressional recess.

Fascist Theory of 'Unitary Executive'

The Bush administration view of executive power, which they call "the unitary executive," is a radical reinterpretation of the functioning of the U.S. political system—essentially arguing that the executive (the President) can trump Congress or the courts. The division of powers between the three branches of government—the executive, the courts, and Congress—have served as a form through which bourgeois democracy maintains a system of "checks and balances" that prevent one section of the ruling class from getting suppressed by other sections of the class (although political suppression has always been a fact of daily life for the oppressed in U.S. society, and takes extreme forms when the system is threatened).

The Bush administration now feels that such checks and balances are too limiting and wants to concentrate power in the executive branch. Newsweek magazine reported ("Palace Revolt," 2/6/06) that Bush' legal advisers believe "that the executive branch was pitifully weakened by the backlash from Vietnam and the Watergate scandal. Fearful of investigative reporters and congressional subpoenas, soldiers and spies had become timid—'risk-adverse' in bureaucratic jargon…"

These are not just academic questions about how the government is organized. The piece in Newsweek about infighting in the administration over interpretations of the unity executive process described a central product of this process, a memo from (at the time) administration lawyer John Yoo:

"The controversial document, which became famous as the 'torture memo' when it leaked two years later, defined torture so narrowly that, short of maiming or killing a prisoner, interrogators had a free hand. What's more, the memo claimed license for the president to order methods that would be torture by anyone's definition—and to do it wholesale, and not just in specific cases. A very similar Yoo memo in March 2003 was even more expansive, authorizing military interrogators questioning terror suspects to ignore many criminal statutes—as well as the strict interrogation rules traditionally used by the military."

Again, these radical changes in constitutional doctrine have horrific real world results. The government is desperately trying to keep secret more photos and video from Abu Ghraib prison. A judge has ordered them released but the government is appealing that decision. Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, who has seen some of those photos and videos, says that among them are videos of young Iraqi children being raped in front of their mothers.

The Dean of Yale Law School, Harold Koh, said after analyzing the Executive Branch's claims of these previously unrecognized powers, "If the President has commander-in-chief power to commit torture, he has the power to commit genocide, to sanction slavery, to promote apartheid, to license summary execution."

Urgently Needed: A Real Opposition

Much of the criticism of the program in Congress is over "how" to conduct massive domestic spying, not over whether it should be done. For example, Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York said, "like everyone else in this room, I want the President to have the legal tools he needs as we work together to keep our nation safe and free, including wiretapping."

If opposition remains confined to top Democratic politicians or other ruling class figures, then it will go nowhere. Already there are the familiar signs of submission and compromise. "I think there are two things going on," Republican Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina was quoted as saying in the February 11 New York Times. "There' an abandonment of you-broke-the-law rhetoric by the Democrats and a more questioning attitude about what the law should be by the Republicans. And that merges for a very healthy debate." Think about the terms of what Graham is calling a "healthy" debate—it is a "debate" where it becomes accepted norms that the president can break any law with impunity, and where the terms of accepted discourse evolve to a discussion of how best to secretly spy on millions of people in service of an agenda of wars of aggression, lies, and torture.

What is urgently needed is for the millions of people who don't want the government spying on every aspect of their lives, who reject the whole direction of American society, to step onto the political stage. There is a deadly dynamic at work as each new outrage comes down from the White House. If these outrages are not challenged and defeated, and if a powerful movement is not built to bring down the Bush regime, then this all becomes a new normalcy and another step down a road to fascism.

If you're looking for the government to protect you—

Many people oppose the government' surveillance program but still think that the government needs to do more to protect people (even if some civil rights have to be sacrificed). This is the thinking that led people not to oppose the mass internment of Japanese Americans during World War 2. Are you really willing to live in a police state, with a government that tortures and wages war against people around the world so you can feel safe?

Bob Avakian spoke sharply to this in his talk with Carl Dix in 2002:

"Both on the moral level, in terms of what stand you're taking—and if you take that stand of 'protect me any way you will, I don't care what you do to people all over the world'—there is the fundamental immorality or reactionary nature of that, on the one hand, and also just in practical terms it's not going to lead to the result you think it will, because the U.S. imperialists have their own agenda and it's not protecting you. The only thing they care about is maintaining the stability of their rule within the U.S. as a base for their whole international system. They don't care about the safety of the people in the U.S. If they did, their police wouldn't be out shooting down people, particularly in the ghettos and barrios, by the hundreds every year. They wouldn't be brutally attacking any kind of opposition to them. That's not their agenda. That's not what they're concerned about, and it's not what's going to result from all this either."

If you think government spying will not be directed against the political opposition, check out this report that aired on MSNBC on December 14, 2005:

WASHINGTON - A year ago, at a Quaker Meeting House in Lake Worth, Fla., a small group of activists met to plan a protest of military recruiting at local high schools. What they didn't know was that their meeting had come to the attention of the U.S. military.

A secret 400-page Defense Department document obtained by NBC News lists the Lake Worth meeting as a "threat" and one of more than 1,500 "suspicious incidents" across the country over a recent 10-month period.

"This peaceful, educationally oriented group being a threat is incredible," says Evy Grachow, a member of the Florida group called The Truth Project….

The Defense Department document is the first inside look at how the U.S. military has stepped up intelligence collection inside this country since 9/11, which now includes the monitoring of peaceful anti-war and counter-military recruitment groups.

If you're looking for the government to protect you…

Many people oppose the government' surveillance program but still think that the government needs to do more to protect people (even if some civil rights have to be sacrificed). This is the thinking that led people not to oppose the mass internment of Japanese Americans during World War 2. Are you really willing to live in a police state, with a government that tortures and wages war against people around the world so you can feel safe?

Bob Avakian spoke sharply to this in his talk with Carl Dix in 2002:

"Both on the moral level, in terms of what stand you're taking—and if you take that stand of 'protect me any way you will, I don't care what you do to people all over the world'—there is the fundamental immorality or reactionary nature of that, on the one hand, and also just in practical terms it's not going to lead to the result you think it will, because the U.S. imperialists have their own agenda and it's not protecting you. The only thing they care about is maintaining the stability of their rule within the U.S. as a base for their whole international system. They don't care about the safety of the people in the U.S. If they did, their police wouldn't be out shooting down people, particularly in the ghettos and barrios, by the hundreds every year. They wouldn't be brutally attacking any kind of opposition to them. That's not their agenda. That's not what they're concerned about, and it's not what's going to result from all this either."

If you think government spying will not be directed against the political opposition, check out this report that aired on MSNBC on December 14, 2005:

WASHINGTON - A year ago, at a Quaker Meeting House in Lake Worth, Fla., a small group of activists met to plan a protest of military recruiting at local high schools. What they didn't know was that their meeting had come to the attention of the U.S. military.

A secret 400-page Defense Department document obtained by NBC News lists the Lake Worth meeting as a "threat" and one of more than 1,500 "suspicious incidents" across the country over a recent 10-month period.

"This peaceful, educationally oriented group being a threat is incredible," says Evy Grachow, a member of the Florida group called The Truth Project….

The Defense Department document is the first inside look at how the U.S. military has stepped up intelligence collection inside this country since 9/11, which now includes the monitoring of peaceful anti-war and counter-military recruitment groups.

Excerpts from:

U.S. Constitution: An Exploiter’s Vision of Freedom

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

Revolution #035, February 19, 2006, posted at

The following passages are from the pamphlet U.S. Constitution: An Exploiter's Vision of Freedom (RCP Publications, 1987).

James Madison, who was the main author of the Constitution of the United States, was also an upholder of slavery and the interests of the slaveowners in the United States. Madison, the fourth president of the United States, not only wrote strongly in defense of the Constitution, he also strongly defended the part of the Constitution that declared the slaves to be only three-fifths human beings (that provided for the slaves to be counted this way for the purposes of deciding on representation and taxation of the states--Article I, Section 2, 3 of the Constitution).

In writing this defense, Madison praised "the compromising expedient of the Constitution" which treats the slaves as "inhabitants, but as debased by servitude below the equal level of free inhabitants; which regards the slave as divested of two-fifths of the man." Madison explained: "The true state of the case is that they partake of both these qualities: being considered by our laws, in some respects, as persons, and in other respects as property.... This is in fact their true character. It is the character bestowed on them by the laws under which they live; and it will not be denied that these are the proper criterion." Madison got to the heart of the matter, the essence of what the U.S. Constitution is all about, when in the course of upholding the decision to treat slaves as three-fifths human beings he agrees with the following principle: "Government is instituted no less for protection of the property than of the persons of individuals."1 Property rights--that is the basis on which outright slavery as well as other forms of exploitation, discrimination, and oppression have been consistently upheld. And over the 200 years that this Constitution has been in force, down to today, despite the formal rights of persons it proclaims, and even though the Constitution has been amended to outlaw slavery where one person actually owns another as property, the U.S. Constitution has always remained a document that upholds and gives legal authority to a system in which the masses of people, or their ability to work, have been used as wealth-creating property for the profit of the few.

The abolition of slavery through the Civil War meant the elimination of one form of exploitation and the further development and extension of other forms of exploitation. As I wrote in Democracy: Can't We Do Better Than That?, "despite the efforts of abolitionists and the resistance and revolts of the slaves themselves--and their heroic fighting in the Civil War itself--it was not fought by the Union government in the North, and its president, Lincoln, for the purpose of abolishing the atrocity of slavery in some moral sense.... The Civil War arose out of the conflict between two modes of production, the slave system in the South and the capitalist system centered in the North; this erupted into open antagonism, warfare, when it was no longer possible for these two modes of production to co-exist within the same country."2 The victory of the North over the South in the U.S. Civil War represented the victory of the capitalist system over the slave system. It represented the triumph of the capitalist form of using people as a means of creating wealth. Under a system of outright slavery, the slave is literally the property of the slaveowner. Under capitalism, slavery becomes wage -slavery: The exploited class of workers is not owned by the exploiting class of capitalists (the owners of factories, land, etc.), but the workers are in a position where they must sell their ability to work to a capitalist in order to earn a wage. Capitalism needs a mass of workers that is "free," in a two-fold sense: They must be "free" of all means to live (all means of production), except their ability to work; and they must not be bound to a particular owner, a particular site, a particular guild, etc.--they must be "free" to do whatever work is demanded of them, they must be "free" to move from place to place, and "free" to be hired and fired according to the needs of capital! If they cannot enrich a capitalist through working, then the workers cannot work, they cannot earn a wage. But even if they cannot find a capitalist to exploit their labor, even if they are unemployed, they still remain under the domination of the capitalist class and of the process of capitalist accumulation of wealth--the proletarians (the workers) are dependent on the capitalist class and the capitalist system for their very lives, so long as the capitalist system rules. It is this rule, this system of exploitation, that the U.S. Constitution has upheld and enforced, all the more so after outright slavery was abolished through the Civil War.

But here is another very important fact: In the concrete conditions of the U.S. coming out of the Civil War, and for some time afterward, wage-slavery was not the only major form of exploitation in force in the U.S. Up until very recently (until the 1950s), millions of Black people were exploited like serfs on Southern plantations, working as sharecroppers and tenant farmers to enrich big landowners (and bankers and other capitalists). A whole system of laws--commonly known as Jim Crow laws--were enforced to maintain this relationship of exploitation and oppression: Black people throughout the South--and really throughout the whole country--were subjected to the open discrimination, brutality, and terror that such laws allowed and encouraged. All this, too, was upheld and enforced by the Constitution and its interpretation and application by the highest political and legal authorities in the U.S. And, over the past several decades, when the great majority of Black people have been uprooted from the land in the South and have moved into the cities of the North (and South), they have still been discriminated against, forcibly segregated, and continually subjected to brutality and terror even while some formal civil rights have been extended to them.

Once again, this is in accordance with the interests of the ruling capitalist class and capitalist system. It is consistent with the principle enunciated by James Madison: Governments must protect the property no less than the persons of individuals. In fact, what Madison obviously meant--and what the reality of the U.S. has clearly been--is that the government must protect the property of white people, especially the wealthy white people, more than the rights of Black people. It must never be forgotten that for most of their history in what is now the United States of America Black people were the property of white people, particularly wealthy plantation owners. Even after this outright slavery was abolished, Black people have never been allowed to achieve equality with whites: they have been held down, maintained as an oppressed nation, and denied the right of self-determination. Capitalism cannot exist without the oppression of nations, and this is all the more so when capitalism develops into its highest stage: monopoly capitalism-imperialism. If the history of the United States has demonstrated anything, it has demonstrated this.


Bourgeois ruling classes generally speak in the name of the people, all the people. From their standpoint, it may make a certain amount of sense: They do, after all, rule over the masses of people. But from a more basic and more objective standpoint, their claim to represent all the people is a deception. If it was a deception at the time of the founding of the United States and the adoption of its Constitution, it is all the more so now. For now the rule of the capitalists is in fundamental antagonism with the interests of the great majority of people, not just in a particular country, but all over the world. Now the decisive question is not overcoming economic and political obstacles to the development of capitalism and its corresponding political system. The time when that was on the historical agenda is long since passed. What is now on the historical agenda is the overthrow of capitalism and the final elimination of all systems of exploitation, all oppressive social relations, all class distinctions, through the revolution of the exploited class under capitalism, the proletariat.

To get a very stark sense of just how historically conditioned--how long since outmoded and completely reactionary--are the interests and the paramount concerns of the "Founding Fathers" and their descendants, the ruling imperialists of today, let us consider the fact that, in writing their Constitution, Madison and others "For theoretical inspiration...leaned heavily on Locke and on Montesquieu's Spirit of the Laws. Both writers had insisted on the need for separation of powers in order to prevent tyranny; in Montesquieu's view even the representatives of the people in the legislature could not be trusted with unlimited power."3 In reading over Montesquieu's Spirit of the Laws I could not help but be struck by how thoroughly his frame of reference is that of a bygone age and his outlook that of exploiting classes whose period of historical ascendancy is long since past. As a glaring illustration, consider the following:

If I had to justify our right to enslave Negroes, this is what I would say: Since the peoples of Europe have exterminated those of America, they have had to enslave those of Africa in order to use them to clear and cultivate such a vast expanse of land.

Sugar would be too expensive if it weren't harvested by slaves.

Those in question are black from the tip of their toes to the top of their heads; and their noses so flattened that it is almost impossible to feel sorry for them.

It is inconceivable that God, who is a very wise being, could have placed a soul, especially a good soul, in an all-black body....

One proof of the fact that Negroes don't have any common sense is that they get more excited about a string of glass beads than about gold, which, in civilized countries, is so dearly prized.

It is impossible that these people are men; because if we thought of them as men, one would begin to think that we ourselves are not Christians.4

Let the "Founding Fathers" and their descendants draw theoretical inspiration from the likes of Montesquieu! Let them defend slavery and modern-day exploitation on the ground of property rights, taking their lead from the likes of James Madison, the main author of the Constitution.As for the proletariat, our goal is "Marx's view of the complete abolition of bourgeois property relations--and all relations in which human beings confront each other as owners (or non-owners) of property rather than through conscious and voluntary association."5 For the exploiting classes, and in a system under their rule, the "bottom line" is to reduce the masses of people to mere wealth-creating property--and today, under the domination of the imperialists, the greatest of all exploiters, the mass of humanity is treated as merely a means to amass even greater wealth and power in the hands of, and for the profit of, so few. And at what cost! This cost must be measured in massive human suffering, degradation, and destruction. Imagine the even greater cost in human suffering, degradation, and destruction that will have to be paid unless and until the oppressed and exploited victims of this system, who are the great majority of humanity, rise up and overthrow this system and finally put an end to all social relations of exploitation and oppression.

In conclusion, The Constitution of the United States is an exploiters' vision of freedom. It is a charter for a society based on exploitation, on slavery in one form or another. The rights and freedoms it proclaims are subordinate to and in the service of the system of exploitation it upholds. This Constitution has been and continues to be applied in accordance with this vision and with the interests of the ruling class of this system: In its application it has become more and more fully the instrument of bourgeois domination, dictatorship, oppression, conquest, and plunder.

Our answer is clear to those who argue: Even if The Constitution of the United States is not perfect, it is the best that has been devised--it sets a standard to be striven for. Our answer is: Why should we aim so low, when we have The Communist Manifesto to set a far higher standard of what humanity can strive for--and is capable of achieving --a far greater vision of freedom.

Quotes from James Madison are from the Federalist Paper No. 54 in The Federalist Papers (New York: New American Library, 1961), pp. 336-341.

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2. Bob Avakian, Democracy: Can't We Do Better Than That? (Chicago: Banner Press, 1986), pp. 110-11.

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3. Edward Conrad Smith, editor, The Constitution of the United States with Case Summaries (New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1979), p. 13.

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4. Charles Montesquieu, De L'Esprit Des Lois, Paris: Garnier, 1927, livre 15, chapitre 5, "De L'Esclavage Des Negres" ( The Spirit of the Laws, book 15, chapter 5, "On the Enslavement of Negroes"), my translation.

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5. Avakian, Democracy, p. 212.

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Revolution Interview

Dahr Jamail: Eyewitness to U.S. War Crimes in Iraq

Revolution #035, February 19, 2006, posted at

The Revolution Interview is a special feature to acquaint our readers with the views of significant figures in art, theater, music, literature, science, sports and politics. The views expressed by those we interview are, of course, their own, and they are not responsible for the views expressed elsewhere in Revolution and on our website.

During the January session of the International Commission, Revolution conducted an interview with Dahr Jamail, who provided gripping testimony for the Commission on the charge of war crimes of the Bush Regime. Dahr Jamail is a highly respected independent journalist who went to Iraq in July 2003 and spent a total of eight months there. He was an eyewitness in Fallujah during an April 2004 siege of that city by the U.S. military. During the November 2004 siege by the U.S. he was unable to get into Fallujah but interviewed doctors and refugees who came out of the city describing the horror they saw. He writes for the Inter Press Service, Asia Times, The Nation, Islam Online, the Guardian, and the Independent, among others.

Revolution: What do you think are some of the most important things for our readers to understand about the situation of the Iraqi people today?

Dahr Jamail: What I talked about [in the testimony for the Commission] was, in sum, the total destruction of a sovereign country by the U.S. military under orders from their commander-in-chief, George Bush. It was a country that back in the late '70s, early '80s, had the best medical system in the Middle East. They had more PhDs per capita than any other country on the planet. They had a very solid infrastructure. In regards to women's rights in the Middle East, it was one of the more progressive places for a woman to be—not to say it was the bastion of women's rights, but comparatively in the Middle East, aside from probably Lebanon, it was the best place, as far as education and women's rights and respect, for a woman to be.

Flash forward to the invasion and occupation of Iraq and now, coming up on three years of occupation. The infrastructure is in total shambles. Women now, if they even leave their homes, better go out with an abaya – a face cover — and certainly a hijab. Unemployment's over 50 percent, the medical system's in total shambles. Ambulances and medical workers and hospitals themselves are being targeted by the U.S. military. It's their standard operating procedure now, in combat zones, to target the medical infrastructure. Collective punishment is now standard operating procedure. In Haditha, Fallujah, Al Qaim, Ramadi, Samarra, Saniya, just to name a few off the top of my head, the standard policy is: if the U.S. is getting attacked a lot in the area, cut the water and electricity to the city, prohibit medical supplies from going in or out of the city, and use snipers quite often to deliberately target anything that moves in the city at certain times, impose curfews – this is the standard procedure now. Now it's common. It first started in Fallujah where people started describing their city as a concentration camp or a "big jail" after the U.S. siege and the "security measures" then imposed on the city by the U.S. military. Well, that now is what we are hearing from people in Saniya, from people in Ramadi, from people in Samarra and Al Qaim and Haditha, in other areas around and even some areas of the capital city.

Iraq's destroyed. The occupation, there's no end in sight—there's permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq. There is not going to be a total withdrawal ever, if this administration gets its way. They want to certainly reduce the number of troops in Iraq, but there is no plan for withdrawal, there's permanent bases. When I say permanent I mean swimming pools, movie theaters, McDonald's, Pizza Hut, AT&T phone home centers, concrete barracks – I mean permanent. They call them enduring bases.

Revolution: You compared what the U.S. occupation forces did in Fallujah with what happened in Spain during the Spanish Civil War in the case of the bombing of the city of Guernica.

Dahr Jamail: Exactly. I co-authored a piece for the Guardian with Jonathan Steele, and we called it "This Is Our Guernica," because really Fallujah—the same thing happened essentially: the whole city was collectively punished, it was bombed to the ground. Seventy percent of it was absolutely destroyed, but it's been a dismal failure, in that now attacks continue almost daily in Fallujah against Iraqi security forces and U.S. soldiers. People there absolutely hate the United States. Now they hate the military, they can't tolerate them in their city. Attacks will continue without a doubt, and they are. But it can't be understated, the harshness, the brutality, of the methods being used in Fallujah, and Fallujah is just a model. So when we talk about Fallujah, that's just the starting point. Again, the aforementioned cities are included in this now—not to the severity of Fallujah, but very similar tactics. Now in Fallujah, residents have to get retina scans and fingerprints and a bar code to go in and out of the city; curfews are in place; there's no reconstruction. And this policy for one degree or another is being imposed in other cities as well.

Revolution: How do you see the potential impact of this tribunal? What do you think it can contribute to what people need to understand in order to be more galvanized and compelled to act against many of these crimes against humanity and war crimes?

Dahr Jamail: I think it's a very important contribution that this tribunal will make, to bringing the issue of war crimes and that people like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice – all these people are war criminals—to put this into people's consciousness, to talk about reinvigorating the public debate, to talk about not just impeachment, but that these people need to be brought to justice. They need to be put on trial. And to reinvigorate the public debate with this language. And with the findings of this tribunal, I would love to see indictments filed as a result of this. But I think that more realistically for the general public this is a valuable contribution to put this language back into the debate: of war criminals, impeachment, trials, the Nuremberg Charter, the Geneva Convention, violations of international law. Along with what's happening here with people in the U.S, like we were just hearing with the CCR [Center for Constitutional Rights] folks, that people need to be keenly aware of this. Because we are living in a police state, and these people have essentially usurped the courts, they have thrown out parts of the Constitution that would block their furthering of their own agenda. And it's critical now, I mean we are at that point where this is sort of a last stand the people of this country might have in the next couple of years to try to pull things back under control. Otherwise, I feel like we're in Germany in the mid-'30s.

Black History Month

A History of Oppression and Resistance

Part 1: From Slavery to Civil War

Revolution #035, February 19, 2006, posted at

(Click picture for larger image)


Black people did not "come to this country seeking a better life." They were kidnapped from their homes in Africa, dragged in chains and loaded onto slave ships--treated not like human beings but like things, commodities to be traded and used to enrich others. Tens of millions of enslaved Africans died before even reaching America, so terrible were the conditions on the slave ships. Those who survived the trip and were then sold to plantation owners were treated like pieces of machinery. Slaveowners commonly referred to the slaves as "talking tools." That is how Black people were treated for the first 250 years of their experience in America.


The "founding fathers" of the USA defended slavery and upheld the interests of the slaveowners against the slaves. This is true of "the father of his country," George Washington, who was himself a slaveowner, and it is true of the men who wrote the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of the United States --men like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.


African peoples, and the native peoples in North America, were treated as something less than human--as though they were "beasts" or "savages" who never had reached and never could reach the "high level of civilization" of the Europeans. The fact that, both in Africa and in North America, there were highly developed societies and cultures long before Europeans came to dominate these places--this basic truth was denied and "written out of history" by the European conquerors and enslavers.


Black people's own major and heroic role in fighting against slavery is denied or downgraded by the "official histories." The facts are that there were over 200 slave revolts, including the more famous ones led by Nat Turner in Virginia and Denmark Vesey in South Carolina, as well as other revolts that were covered up and written out of history by the slavemasters.


What about the Civil War that finally ended slavery? Once they were allowed to, masses of Black people flooded into the northern (Union) army in that war and fought courageously and with great sacrifice on the front lines--even though they were still subjected to segregation and discrimination, even down to the level where their pay as soldiers was only about half that of the white soldiers! Nearly 200,000 Blacks fought in the Union army and one out of every five (almost 40,000) gave their lives in this fight.


The Civil War came about because of the clash between two different economic and social systems--slavery, based on plantation farming in the South; and capitalism, based on factory and other wage-labor centered in the North. Things had gotten to the point where these two systems could no longer peacefully coexist within the same country.


The slaveowners and the capitalists were battling each other for control of the country, they were battling each other as the USA expanded westward. This expansion was carried out by slaughtering the native peoples and grabbing their lands and waging a war to steal a huge chunk of land from Mexico.


Anyone who is serious and honest knows that the enslavement and exploitation of Black people has been a big part of building up the wealth and power that the rulers of this country have in their hands--wealth and power that these suckers use to further exploit and oppress people here and all over the world. And anyone who is honest and serious knows that for revolution to have a chance in this country--a revolution to do away with all this oppression and exploitation and to change society from bottom to top--Black people must play and will play a big part in this revolution.



The text in this centerfold is from "Cold Truth, Liberating Truth: How This System Has Always Oppressed Black People, and How All Oppression Can Finally Be Ended," which can be found online at

Cheers & Jeers

Revolution #035, February 19, 2006, posted at

Cheers to Rev. Joseph Lowery for speaking some truths about George W. Bush—right to his face. At the Feb. 7 funeral at a church near Atlanta, Lowery—former president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference—gave a eulogy for Coretta Scott King. With George and Laura Bush sitting on the same stage, Lowery said:

"She extended Martin's message against poverty, racism and war. She deplored the terror inflicted by our smart bombs on missions way afar. We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there. But Coretta knew and we knew that there are weapons of misdirection right down here. Millions without health insurance. Poverty abounds. For war billions more but no more for the poor."

Lowery's words were greeted by a standing ovation and heard by millions of TV viewers.

What About You?

Sustain Revolution!

Revolution #035, February 19, 2006, posted at

In issue #33, we announced that Revolution newspaper was launching an ambitious fund drive to raise $50,000 in sustainer pledges over the next five weeks! The initial response to this drive has provided a revealing look at how people rely on this newspaper. Readers, ranging from civil liberties attorneys to retirees on fixed incomes, from professors to proletarians have sent money and/or made plans to take up collections to help sustain this paper.

What about you?

Readers get from Revolution a perspective they can find only in a newspaper that represents the outlook of the class of people on this planet with nothing to lose, no stake in the present order, and no need or desire to pull punches or cover up the abuses of the system. From that perspective, Revolution readers also get exposed to a unique panorama of protest and rebellion from all kinds of people--from progressive clergy to rebellious artists, from the people on the bottom of society to defectors from the power structure.

Revolution newspaper reveals not just the atrocities and outrages that are covered up by the establishment media, and not just the scope and range of dissatisfaction and resistance in society, but also why things are the way they are, and how revolutionary change is possible. In that light, this paper connects hundreds of thousands of people, now, with Bob Avakian.

Bob Avakian is the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. And he is more than that: he's an innovative and critical thinker who has taken Marxism to a new place; he's a provocative commentator on everything from basketball to religion, doo-wop music to science; and he's a pit-bull fighter against oppression who's kept both his solemn sense of purpose and his irrepressible sense of humor. Revolution newspaper is proud to be an important way that people in this country and around the world connect with Bob Avakian.

A solid base of financial sustainers is especially important now, when so much is at stake, and when Bush--as a concentration of the horrors of this system--is steering a course with such dangers for the people but also with the potential to create openings for revolutionary struggle. With a sustainer base, we can expand and improve our coverage, dramatically increase our distribution, improve the look and accessibility of our print and web editions, fulfill the requests of prisoners for subsidized subscriptions, and radically increase our impact on society.

So far, only a small percentage of regular readers of Revolution have responded to this fund drive challenge. As we said when we announced this fund drive: You rely on us, and we take that seriously. But we also rely on you.

We are asking every reader of Revolution, online and in our print edition, to sustain this paper on a regular basis in one of two ways: By going to, clicking on the Sustain link, and then using your credit card to commit to $5, $10, $20, $40 a month or more. Or, for those who cannot contribute by credit card, send check or money order to:

RCP Publications Sustainer Drive
PO Box 3486 Merchandise Mart
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One form this could take is that groups of basic people, of all nationalities, collect a set amount each month and turn it in through their regular distributor, or send it to RCP Publications.

And, when you sign up to donate on line, or send us your check or money order, add a note telling us, and everyone else, why you sustain Revolution.

Open Letter to Readers of Revolution

Thousands, including yourself, look to Revolution for its unique perspective, the exposures, analysis, and stories which won't be found anywhere else. Revolution "holds no punches," representing the outlook of the class with nothing to lose but its chains. But this newspaper doesn't just reveal all that is wrong with the present world order, it brings to light why things are this way and how they could be radically different--in the interests of humanity. As a reader, you are aware of the major theoretical and political contributions of RCP Chairman Bob Avakian toward the cause of communism and the emancipation of humanity. This is challenging and thought provoking content which millions need to be able to learn about and grapple with. A big part of that happening is up to you.

In December I covered a debate in Chicago at which one of the architects of Bush's torture policy, John Yoo, upheld the President's right to torture children. I wasn't the only journalist in the room, but Revolution was the paper to break this story. Many of you read about this and were horrified and at the same time saw the crucial importance of this story getting out. Revolution has continued to hammer at the torture question exposing how U.S. policy on torture is about terrorizing the people of the world.

We were able to bring to light the John Yoo child torture story because I was in Chicago during that debate. But only a few weeks ago I was sent on assignment to New York to help cover the invaluable testimony at the Bush Crimes Commission, and found myself scrambling for airfare to make the trip. If you have read the ongoing coverage of this tribunal, ask yourself how critical is it that this information gets out, especially in these times. There is a lot more we could do--how important is it to you?

You are aware that we are living in times when so much is at stake, real dangers and potential opportunities, including for revolutionary change. Revolution, voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, has a crucial role to play in all this. As someone who is honored to contribute to this paper and takes very seriously getting the truth out to the people, I again urge you to sustain Revolution, commit to $5, $10, $20, $40 a month or more. Do it by credit card or check or money order. And when you do write us a blurb we can print that lets the world know why you are sustaining Revolution.

In Struggle,

Revolution Correspondent Philip Watts


All sustainers who sign up to contribute $5/month or more online (or who make a single online credit card donation, or send a check or money order contribution for $60 or more) can get a copy of Bob Avakian's collection "The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era" free. If you send a check or money order, and want the pamphlet, let us know where to send it.

$10-a-month sustainers and above (or those of you who make a single online credit card donation, or send a check or money order contribution for $120 or more) can also receive the "Wanted Poster" t-shirt! If you send a check or money order, and want a free t-shirt, let us know where to send it, and indicate your size (S, M, L, XL, XXL).

$25 a month sustainers (or those of you who make a single online credit card donation, or send a check or money order contribution for $300 or more) can also receive the book of your choice from this list: From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist,A Memoir by Bob Avakian; Observations on Art and Culture, Science, and Philosophy by Bob Avakian; Preaching from a Pulpit of Bones: We Need Morality But Not Traditional Morality by Bob Avakian; Dispatches from the People's War in Nepal by Li Onesto; or Oil, Power, & Empire: Iraq and the U.S. Global Agenda by Larry Everest. If you send a check or money order, let us know where to send the T-shirt and book, indicate your book selection, and indicate your T-shirt size (S, M, L, XL, XXL).

On the Occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the People's War in Nepal: A Fight for the Future at the Top of the World

by Li Onesto

Revolution #035, February 19, 2006, posted at

I traveled to Nepal in 1999, when the People's War was in its beginning years. I remember crossing the border into Rolpa with much excitement--knowing this district had already become the stronghold of the revolution. In village after village, I was inspired by young guerrilla soldiers, party leaders, women organizers, peasant farmers, and martyrs' families--who told me they were fighting for liberation in Nepal as part of the world revolution.

When I left Nepal, a leader in the CPN(M) told me, "The first part of your trip is coming to an end. But ahead of you is the second part of your journey--to take all that you have seen, heard and learned and make it known to the world." And so I have worked since my trip, to let people know about the People's War in Nepal--and to counter all the lies and disinformation that has been thrown out in the media to try and discredit and distort the real character and aims of the Maoist struggle in Nepal.

My initial series of articles about my trip and the extensive interview I did with Prachanda, the Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), were originally published in the Revolutionary Worker (now Revolution newspaper). My book, Dispatches from the Peoples War in Nepal, came out at the beginning of 2005 and a Nepali edition of this book was recently published in Kathmandu. Dispatches, in its entirety, as well as selected chapters, and the Prachanda interview, have been translated and circulated in many languages throughout the world. I have given lectures throughout the United States and Europe and, wherever I have gone, people are truly inspired when I tell them what I have seen and how the Peoples War has grown and developed to the point where it now controls most of the countryside. People are given real hope when they hear about the transformations going on in the base areas and are tremendously inspired when they see how women have been unleashed to play a huge role in this revolution. They see a living example of the "hope of the hopeless" in how the Maoists are leading people to bring about real and liberating social, economic, and cultural changes in the base areas--and how the People's War is fighting to do away with women's oppression, the discrimination of minority nationalities, and the whole oppressive caste system.

Many people have also learned about the Peoples War in Nepal through my photographs. At one exhibit of my photos, an African American woman from the south side of Chicago said, "These people are really, really fighting for something. They're living primitively but I'm quite sure they're proud of what they have. You can look into their eyes and see they're proud, strong people. And the youth--the children, the young girls. It's just breathtaking to see them all fighting together for one cause instead of fighting each other, like we are over here. It's just beautiful. I wish I could go over there and see what it's like.... I know it's hard for those people. But it's good to see that they have that inner brilliance that outshines, so that they fight and go on."

In today's world, where a small handful of rich imperialist countries dominate and exploit poor, third world countries--it gives people great heart and joy to see a genuine liberation struggle in Nepal, determined to end foreign domination.

The People's War in Nepal is taking place in an intensifying world situation where the aims and ambitions of the U.S. crusade to attain unrivaled world hegemony have been setting the terms for much of international relations, including how the U.S. (and other powers) look at their necessity and freedom to intervene in Nepal. Under the so-called "war on terrorism" the U.S., UK, India, and other foreign powers have given political and military support to the reactionary state power in Kathmandu.

U.S. officials have arrogantly declared that they will not allow the Maoists to come to power in Nepal--even though it is clear the People's War has massive support from the overwhelming majority of people in the country. The U.S. government and mainstream media lie about the People's War in Nepal--distorting and slandering the aims and goals of the revolution, in order to justify their backing of a brutal regime that is carrying out horrible crimes against the people. This underscores the importance of people here in the U.S. exposing and opposing any and all U.S. intervention in Nepal.

As Bob Avakian, Chairman of the RCP,USA said, "The U.S. arrogantly proclaims that it will not allow the people of Nepal to liberate themselves and take control of their own country. And of course this has to be taken very seriously, not only by the people leading that revolution in Nepal, our comrades there. But also by all of us who want to see people liberated in the world. And there is a special duty for us here because this is our arrogant imperialist power, whether it works through India or with India, or in some other way or directly intervenes at some point, which is determined to drown that in blood...We cannot allow the U.S. imperialists to declare and to act on the declaration that the people of Nepal cannot carry through and achieve complete liberation there. It is our responsibility to let people know about this, to expose what theyre doing and to support politically on a massive scale this struggle in Nepal because its carrying the future for all of us."

When the Peoples War was launched in 1996, it defied all odds and bravely set out on the path of the Maoist New Democratic Revolution--a path that remains relevant for oppressed countries throughout the world. And in a "short" ten years, the Communist Party of Nepal has achieved tremendous success--not only in the military struggle against the reactionary Nepalese government, but in the building of peoples power and new forms of revolutionary power in the liberated base areas.

The mobilization of millions of people to exercise peoples power, to work at building the outlines of a future socialist society--even as the Peoples Liberation Army is battling the reactionary U.S. and India-backed Royal Nepalese Army--this is a breathtaking and historic achievement.

Many people in the United States are surprised when they hear about the success of the Peoples War in Nepal. The government here tells us all the time that "communism is dead"--that socialism was "tried and failed" and therefore capitalism is the "best of all possible worlds." But anyone can look around at the state of the planet and see how the system of imperialism causes tremendous misery and suffering for the masses of people. And the socialist revolutions in the Soviet Union and China represented the first historic efforts to build societies free of exploitation and oppression. While they were eventually defeated and reversed, the lessons from these revolutions, summing up their overwhelmingly positive achievements, as well as their shortcomings, are crucial to the advance of proletarian revolution throughout the world.

In this light, the Peoples War in Nepal is a real inspiration for all those who dream of a better world.

In Nepal, two futures are presenting themselves, and sharply colliding. One is a continuation, in one form or another, of the current society, dominated by backward class forces aligned with the whole international imperialist system and enforcing extremely oppressive and exploitative economic, political, and social relations. The other future is a path led by the proletariat, of breaking out of this whole order, of leading a New Democratic Revolution, establishing a socialist society, building new economic, political, and social relations, and continuing the revolution to do away with all exploitation and oppression.

I look forward to the day when I can return to Nepal--to a new revolutionary socialist Nepal, no longer dominated and oppressed by foreign powers, where the masses of people can be fully mobilized to consciously build a whole new liberating society, as part of the world revolution.

Reporter's Notebook

Voices from the Feb. 4 "Bush Step Down!" Protest

Revolution #035, February 19, 2006, posted at

Thousands came together in Washington DC on a rainy February 4 to declare The World Can't Wait...Drive Out The Bush Regime - Bush Step Down And Take Your Program With You! A reporting team from Revolution talked with dozens of people to find out why they had come and where they came from. Some of the reporting team rode on buses from Chicago to DC, where we conducted many of our interviews. We asked people to speak to the seriousness of the times and the need for resistance, as they see it.

We were struck by the diversity of those who came and the seriousness with which they took their purpose. Some had just found the World Can't Wait movement and jumped in eyes wide open, attending the first protest of their lives. While others we met were long time activists. Many we talked to had come as individuals. We met people who were taking their voices to the streets for the first time in 30 years. These are some of their comments.

Curtis, a young Black Katrina survivor from New Orleans now residing in DC, told Revolution: "I was looking on the Internet--gotta deal with FEMA, FEMA was bullshitting on the Internet. So I went to CNN and I saw an article about World Can't Wait and I went to their website and I was like ‘I gotta get with these people, man.’ My reason for being here is that I'm an evacuee, I had to leave all my stuff back in New Orleans and that don't feel good... There's more things going on than the hurricane but it's hard for me to overlook that because there's still people dying at Lake Pontchartrain [New Orleans], there's still people floating around dead--that sounds like genocide to me! With him [Bush] in... I'm scared, man, to be perfectly honest--I'm a grown man and I ain't scared of nothing. But when he gets on TV and can bark lies and be proud of that, that's not a good thing."

Elizabeth, a white woman from Peoria, Illinois, who works for the American Red Cross blood services, had just found out about the demonstration in DC days prior and went on line to buy a bus ticket. "I think that there's this notion in America that all we can do is get out and vote. That's the catchphrase, get out and vote, and there's so much more than that. I think, sometimes I feel like that doesn't make a difference at all, the getting out and voting part, it's what you do at a local level, and what you stand for and what you stand up against, and having the courage to do all of that matters more than signing a ballot."

Julia, an artist and senior at Chicago's Lincoln Park High, told us she is an avid reader. She found out about the demonstration in DC during the November 2nd World Can't Wait protest.. "I felt a certain responsibility to express my discontent with a lot of the things this administration does. I felt if I couldn't do something like this then I would be sort of not supporting myself, not supporting what I believe, and I thought it would be an amazing experience, I've never done anything like this."

Ladonna and her friend Audrey, two young Black women and Chicago State University students, had literally just heard about the trip to DC after watching the State of the Union address. Ladonna explained why she got on the bus: "I'm young, it's time for young people to start stepping up, being more active about what's going on for the future...and hopefully I can influence more people my age to become active in situations like this. It's time to take that stand and I felt like this was the perfect opportunity."

There was a real sense of how people have been seeing themselves in relationship to this movement. Tori, a woman who came with her partner from San Francisco, told us, "If we were able to make it to DC, why wouldn't we, why wouldn't we join the movement? I really was thinking about it, we can all go to these easy protests that are right next door and feel like we've done our job, but it's really something that we live, instead of like, this once every so often, that it's actually is going to cost us a change in our life; it's going to be an inconvenience and are we willing to have that inconvenience in our life so that we can make some positive changes for our community...instead of people living as individuals and trying to get their own gain. I want to see a socially minded community and that is sort of what I'm feeling that I'm seeing. There needs to be a lot more people spreading this message."

As part of learning the sentiments of people we asked about the comparison of Bush to Hitler made in the World Can't Wait call.

George, an older man from the Du Page County [Illinois] Democrats, shared with us this story: "I went out to Yellowstone National Park this past summer, and the best part of the trip was that I stopped in Sauk Centre, Minnesota at the Sinclair Lewis Museum. [Sinclair Lewis] is a Nobel Prize winner, wrote a book that no one knows about in 1934, entitled 'It Can't Happen Here.' It said when fascism comes to the United States it will be wrapped in an American flag and carrying a cross. So that hit me like a ton of bricks and I said, yeah, well it's slow, but incrementally we're in trouble right now in terms of civil liberties, this is just like Watergate, all this business about if Osama Bin Laden calls the United States, we wanna know about it, you think we're dealing with children? You actually think they're gonna use a cell phone to call their sleeper cell? This is domestic spying just like Watergate but thirty years later, know you have high tech, access to phone conversations, cellular and otherwise, they’re basically spying on their political enemies, so next election you have another swift vote or a flip flop, they can listen in on the Democratic Party all they want, and call it domestic surveillance or surveillance in anticipation of some attack from a foreign terrorist organization but basically, its big brother watching, that's what it boils down to."

Alexis, an Egyptian American Loyola University student who came with her sisters and father, joked, "A family that brings down the Bush regime together, stays together." She commented, " 'If you're not with us, you're against us', this is why [Hitler] could condemn Germans who weren't pro-NAZI, it's the same thing, all this patriotism..."

Terry, a woman in her 50's from the Chicago suburbs, said she hadn't been to a demonstration in 30 years. A self-described former hippie, she spoke bitterness of working with, then being betrayed by her local Congressperson after working for him. She heard the WCW ad every twenty minutes on Air America radio and decided to get involved. She told us, "The more I understand what's going on the more frightened I get. Because I really do understand that this country is quickly sliding towards a fascist state whether anyone wants to acknowledge it or not. As [Hitler] took over, people, just like now, were going ‘that can't happen here.’ It's all ‘good, that can't happen here’ and it did. Most people in this country just want to be comfortable, go about their lives and have their family and their friends and pay their bills. But you can't afford to be complacent anymore because very quietly everything is being stripped away in the name of terror. And they are going to play this as long as they can, they are going to keep people afraid as long as they can, so that they can do whatever the fuck they want. And I'm not down with that."

We talked with James, a WCW organizer from Southern California, and a Massachusetts student, Usher. In speaking to the comparison of Bush to Hitler, Usher said, "At first I was like ‘wow, that is a strong statement’ and it bothered me cuz I was like ‘Bush has yet to kill millions of people,’ but it is the direction that it's going and that is the important part. And it becomes scarily similar when you look at what was actually going on at the beginning of Hitler’s time in power. The more you look at it the more and more you see, and it's no longer that radical of a statement to make."

James added, "I’m right on board with that…I sat in during the [Bush Crimes] tribunal and some of the testimony there just blew me away, like what we were doing to these Abu Ghraib prisoners. The first thing Hitler got rid of when he was appointed to power was women’s right to choose, the appointment of Alito, if this doesn’t happen, if we don’t make this work I’m sure if that’s gonna be the first thing to go."

In the spirited march, we shared an umbrella with Daya, a young Black corporate computer technician from New Jersey. He heard about World Can't Wait on two radio stations. The added factor of torrential rains seemed to cement in his determination. "I'm also terrified as to what the Bush Regime is doing, the way the whole entire world is working, I'm one of the people who says, I'm a concerned citizen, I think I should be out here. Could be 100% true the only difference between Bush and Hitler is so far Bush hasn't turned on the American people and start killing them left and right, so maybe we should, like, get him out of office before that happens."

When the march ended, protesters boarded the bus to go back home, triumphant, drenched, exhausted, and energized. Pulling away from the capitol chanting "Bush Step Down, Bush Step Down." Many talked into the night, reflecting on the day. Some of our team rode back on a bus to Chicago.

We talked with Brad, a member of the United Auto Worker's Union in his late 30’s. He told us "this country is going backwards, we are losing everything that people before us have fought for and got and it's all being taking away now and on top of that what we're doing around the world, used to be I heard the national anthem and I cried out of pride, now I cry because I'm embarrassed." He talked about the 30,000 auto workers to be laid off and the growing trend of de-unionization under Bush. He said, in reference to the day, "I got the fire rekindled in me. I found like-minded people. We all toughed it out, standing in the cold rain for so long. I'm going to spread this message into other unions."

Jack and Gene O'Mally, an older couple, had driven from Indiana to catch the bus in Chicago. Jack said, "I've got 14 grandchildren and I'm afraid Bush has screwed their future. This is the first rally we've been to and we would like to thank the organizers."

A young punk rock Latina woman who called herself Anti reflected on the day, "Youth of today see the world as it should be, not as it is. Bush is evil and I think we need to give our youth a hand for coming out. I was fearful of the future, but I want to turn that around so Bush is afraid of us."

International Tribunal Finds Bush Regime Guilty of Crimes Against Humanity

Revolution #035, February 19, 2006, posted at

On February 2 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, the International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration delivered its preliminary findings. The findings were read out by Ajamu Sankofa, executive director of the Physicians for Social Responsibility-NY and former national secretary of Blacks for Reparation in America.

The findings were based on five days of public testimony in New York in October and January. The work of the Commission brought together former government officials, experts in international law, human rights monitors, and victims of the crimes under investigation. It was a Commission of great legal, ethical, and moral credibility based on its integrity, its rigor in the presentation of evidence, and the stature of its participants. Based on the testimony, evidence, and documents submitted, the Commission delivered its preliminary findings that the Bush administration was guilty of crimes against humanity.

On the first charge of committing wars of aggression, the Commission found: "The evidence is overwhelming that the Bush Administration authorized and is conducting a war of aggression against Iraq in violation of international law, including The Nuremberg Principles, Geneva Conventions of 1949, the United Nations Charter, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In doing so, the Bush Administration has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity."

On the indictment for illegal detention and torture, the Commission found: "There was substantial evidence submitted through testimony and documents that the Bush Administration committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in conducting its 'War Against Terror.' It did this by developing and implementing policies and practices that violated international law and international human rights to force information from detainees and to punish those whom it believes may be 'enemy combatants.'"

On the indictment for destruction of the global environment: "The testimony of scientists and the scientific reports and other documents submitted during the inquiry support a conclusion that the Bush Admministration has committed crimes against humanity by its environmental policies and practices."

On the indictment around criminal neglect after Katrina: "The evidence of the Bush Administration's conscious and deliberate faillings in preventing the foreseeable devastation, including death toll, caused by Hurricane Katrina, particularly in New Orleans, and its failure to respond efficiently and appropriately after the Hurricane was overwhelming. Its failures constitute crimes against humanity."

Text of the indictments and preliminary findings, audio and text files of testimonies, and other information can be found at

We Dare Not Speak Its Name

by Rev. Rich Lang

Revolution #035, February 19, 2006, posted at

As part of the analysis and exposure of the growing and powerful Christian fascist movement in this country, Revolution is highlighting the voices of religious thinkers and writers as well as clergy people who are sounding the alarm on this danger. The views expressed by these religious people are, of course, their own, and they are not responsible for the views expressed elsewhere in Revolution and on our website.

The following article by Rev. Rich Lang, pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church in Seattle, Washington, is published here with the author's permission.

So when do we use the word? When do we actually say it? When do we, as clergy, take up the ministry of Ezekiel, and warn our people of that which is coming (Ezekiel 33:19)?

So far we have refused to say the word. So far we have not been so bold as to take up Ezekiel's ministry. Perhaps we are afraid that even if we sounded the alarm our people wouldn't listen nor would they understand (Isaiah 6). And so, because of our silence, our people are assaulted by fears and suspicions drifting into sleep, moving step by inevitable step into the abyss traveled by all other empires before ours (Revelation 18).

The signs are clearly all around us. The mission and purpose of the United States is now that of a permanent war economy patrolling the globe and exterminating the infidels (1 Samuel 8). The office of the president, with the acquiescence of the Congress, is fast becoming the office of a supreme leader who can change law through "signing statements" and extinguish law through an assumption of war powers. We have become a nation that practices torture. We have become a nation that targets and kills civilians. We have become a nation that disappears people. We imprison people without trial. We monitor what we say, who we say it to, when we say it, where we say it. All of this in the name of freedom and all of this disguised as justice. All of this covered with the silence and blessing of the clergy who will not blow the trumpet.

The signs are clearly all around us. We have students spying on their professors. We have government agencies spying on us. We have our computer transactions monitored. We have our children accosted by military recruiters at school, through the mail, through the media, at the mall. Meanwhile the price of war rises into the multiple billions even as spending cuts slice through the poor and the working class. But, from the pulpit, we dare not speak its name: this name that has become the reality of our time.

Within the Church there is an irreconcilable divergence emerging (1 John 2:1819). At its extremes we see the birth of Patriot Pastors in Ohio even as liberal churches become targets for IRS investigations. We see Justice Sundays and the growth of theocratic nationalism even as more are jailed because of their faith-based resistance to the further production of war. From the pulpits of the nation the Sermon on the Mount, Christian identification with the poor, the declaration to love our enemies are all replaced with strategies of church growth or manipulations to infiltrate political parties. Congregations insist that clergy dare not speak its name. Congregations insist that clergy stay embedded in their role as chaplain and golf partner. They insist that clergy provide comfort and offer therapeutic guidance. And clergy, with paycheck in hand, and a desire for career advancement in heart, oblige their congregations with false words of "peace, peace" (Jeremiah 8).

But when does it get said? When do we clergy preach I Samuel 8, Isaiah 6, Jeremiah 8, Ezekiel 33, 1 John 2, Revelation 18? When do we prepare our people for the next act of terrorism and the next seizure of power? When do we clergy declare that allegiance to a military security state committed to permanent war is idolatry? When do we cease our support for the regime that sends troops out to oppress, dominate and die while it chants the empty slogan "support our troops"?

When, in other words, will clergy name the disease that is our present reality? When do we speak of it from the pulpit? What are we waiting for? What other signs do we need? Are we waiting for the inevitable arrests of dissidents? Are we waiting for the next invasion, and then the next? Are we waiting for further heresy trials, further church harassment, further cultural friction? Are we waiting until the waters of the coming economic flood finally bubble up under our own chins? When do we dare blow the trumpet and warn our people? When do we dare cast aside the comforts of popularity, prosperity, and privilege so that we finally speak its name? And having spoken it from the pulpit, from the Bible study, from out of each pastoral visit we make, having spoken the Word then perhaps we can lead our people in doing that which only the Church can do: casting out the demon while repenting for the sin of this republic now turned empire. Just like Jesus encountering the man in the tombs, we must begin this exorcism by naming its name: some might call it militarism but I think it is better understood as fascism (Mark 5).

January 25, 2006

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

Part 10: The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China - Not Fanatical Purge, But the Socialist Road vs. the Capitalist Road

Raymond Lotta

Revolution #035, February 19, 2006, posted at

Editor's note: Revolution is serializing the speech "Socialism Is Much Better Than Capitalism, and Communism Will Be A Far Better World" by Raymond Lotta.

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Communism and Socialism
Part 3: The Bolsheviks Lead a Revolution That Shakes the World
Part 4: The Soviet Experiment: The Social Revolution Ushered in by Proletarian Power
Part 5: The Soviet Experiment: Building the World's First Socialist Economy
Part 6: The Soviet Experiment: World War 2 and Its Aftermath
Part 7: Mao's Breakthrough — The Revolution Comes to Power
Part 8: Mao's Advance — Breaking with the Soviet Model
Part 9: The Great Leap Forward

Lotta is on a national speaking tour as part of the Set the Record Straight project. Information on upcoming speaking dates and related materials are available at www.

Because of the food crisis and industrial dislocations that occurred during the difficult years of the Great Leap Forward, a time when the Soviets had also suddenly withdrawn aid and technical assistance, it was necessary to make certain economic and organizational adjustments. But this gave openings to conservative forces in the Communist Party--who in fact had opposed and even tried to undermine the Great Leap.

By the early 1960s, these conservative forces were gaining ground and strength. They wanted to use profit measures to decide investment priorities. They wanted to consolidate an elite-based educational system. Keep in mind that the higher-educational system in post-1949 China was greatly influenced by the Soviet model of hierarchy, specialization, and recruitment of "better-trained" students. The conservative forces were very much entrenched in the cultural realm. The cultural sphere remained a stronghold of tradition. Opera, a highly popular art form, was still dominated by old feudal themes and characters.

These conservative forces pushed to focus health care resources in the cities at the expense of the countryside. They told workers and peasants to forget politics--leave that to "competent" party leaders--and just keep your nose to the grindstone and think about your livelihoods.

These neo-capitalist forces had a coherent program—and by the mid-1960s they were maneuvering to seize power.

Lies About the Cultural Revolution

Now one of the biggest distortions about the Cultural Revolution is that it was Mao Tsetung's fanatical purge of any and all he disliked. The reactionary book Mao: The Unknown Story argues that Mao was taking sadistic revenge on party leaders who dared to cross him…that the Cultural Revolution was a grand scheme of terror and manipulation. These are gross lies.

First of all, Mao was not inventing enemies. Powerful bourgeois forces were in fact organizing to take power and to set up a system of state capitalism. If you think this is far-fetched or that Mao was paranoid--take a look at China today. Look at how China has become a sweatshop paradise for international capitalism.

Second, the Cultural Revolution was the furthest thing from a purge and mass bloodletting. Mao analyzed that Stalin’s purges did not solve the problem of preventing counter-revolution in the Soviet Union. The masses were left passive. They were not for the most part politically and ideologically mobilized. Relying on these kinds of administrative measures does not enable the masses to gain the ability to distinguish between programs and outlooks that would propel society towards communism, and programs and policies that would take society down the road back to capitalism. For Mao the challenge was how to unleash the masses to play their decisive, conscious role in taking society forward.

Mao had been searching for a solution to the problem of the revolution going stale and facing the danger of getting turned back. As he said in 1967, "In the past we waged struggles in rural areas, in factories and the cultural field, and we carried out the socialist education movement. But all this failed to solve the problem because we did not find a form, a method, to arouse the broad masses to expose our dark aspects from below."1 Mao was grappling with a world historic problem of communist revolution. Bob Avakian puts it this way: "How do you deal with the intensification of attempts to overthrow the rule of the proletariat, while at the same time giving expression to the fact that the dictatorship of the proletariat must be rule by the masses of the people, and this must take concrete and institutionalized form--and that the more this state is strengthened, the more it has to be qualitatively different than all previous forms of state."2 In other words, how do you prevent counter-revolution in a way that is consistent with the means and goals of communist revolution?

I’ll get to the actual experience of the Cultural Revolution. But first we have to explore some theoretical questions posed by the challenge of continuing the revolution under socialism.

Mao emphasized the importance of theory. He said political and ideological line is decisive. This refers to how we understand the world in order to change it: theoretical understanding of the laws governing the actual motion and development of society and the world, and the policies that reflect that understanding.

Those leaders in the Communist Party who wanted to take China down a capitalist road were developing theory and arguments for their program. Against them stood Mao, who was leading the revolutionary forces and making an historic contribution to the understanding of the dynamics of socialist society. This clash of theoretical perspectives was a crucial part of the class struggle in revolutionary China.


1. Quoted in the "9th National Party Congress Report," from 9th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (Documents), Peking: FLP, p. 27.

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2. From "Part 11: Life and Death Situations...The Exercise of Power and the Rights of the People,"; in the series "On Proletarian Democracy and Proletarian Dictatorship: A Radically Different View of Leading Society," available online at

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From A World to Win News Service

Editorial: The anti-Islam Cartoons Controversy—Not About "Freedom of Speech"

Revolution #035, February 19, 2006, posted at

The following is excerpted from a World to Win News Service article:

6 February 2006. A World to Win News Service. Last September the editor of a rightwing Danish newspaper, the Jyllands-Posten, commissioned cartoonists to draw pictures of Muhammad, and published a dozen of them. As he has explained in interviews, he deliberately set out to affront observant Muslims, many of whom believe that it is wrong to depict the face of those they consider prophets. But more than that, some of these drawings are very deliberately insulting to Islam as a religion and to those who believe in it, depicting it as the faith of mad bombers and bloodthirsty barbarians. Taken as a whole, they are meant to humiliate and demean a large part of the earth’s population.

In January, a self-styled Christian magazine in Norway rekindled the controversy by reprinting the cartoons. Since then, newspapers in France and Germany, among other countries, have done the same, all in the name of "freedom of the press."

But "freedom of the press" or "freedom of expression" is the last thing this controversy is about.

It is probably no coincidence that the center of the storm is Denmark, a country with one of Europe’s most openly anti-immigrant governments (despite the fact that Denmark has one of Western Europe’s lowest percentages of immigrants) and troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is even less likely to be mere accident that the cartoons were reprinted in France. Their publication by a so-called left newspaper following their appearance in the pages of a more rightist tabloid simply illustrates the degree to which racism has become accepted by the official political mainstream. This situation has become even worse after the revolt of immigrant working-class youth that shook the country late last year. France’s Prime Minister Sarkozy has adopted the kind of anti-immigrant discourse formerly reserved for neo-Nazis. These cartoons fit in very well in a society where Parliament passed – twice – a law requiring schools to teach the "benefits" of French colonialism, which presumably includes the slavery that accompanied it.

The cartoons were also eagerly taken up in Germany, where traditional anti-immigrant policies have taken a leap. Now Muslim applications for citizenship in Bavaria can be rejected on the basis of test questions about the applicant’s tolerance, for instance, of other ethnic groups and gay people, that would leave much of Germany seriously underpopulated if the same standards were applied to the native-born. Some people argue that the publication of these cartoons should be met with "tolerance." But this whole affair is a demonstration of officially backed intolerance against "the other," the ones who are not like "us"--people who were forced to leave their homelands by the conditions imposed by imperialist countries like France, Germany, Denmark, and the U.S. in the first place, and whose labor is a large part of what has made these countries rich.

The deliberate offence was directed not so much at Muhammad as against people who might have a child called Muhammad. As long as they bear an "Islamic" name or certain complexions, they are never going to be treated like white children named Christian, no matter what their beliefs may be. The Danish constitution makes Lutheranism the official religion and states that the government must protect, financially support, and administer the Evangelical Lutheran Church. In real, if not legal terms, Christianity is just as much the official religion in France and Germany--not to mention the USA, where many of George W. Bush’s leading supporters (and the president himself) believe he was chosen to be U.S. president by god.

How can anyone accept the expressions of solidarity with these newspapers (and the governments that support them) in the name of "freedom of speech" from the Bush government, which last week had the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq arrested, handcuffed and dragged off for wearing an anti-war T-shirt at a speech by the president?

It is also true that the response against these cartoons has been manipulated for reactionary ends. Egypt’s government, a wholly owned American subsidiary, deliberately took to the forefront against the cartoons in an effort to pull the rug out from under the feet of the Islamic opposition. The attacks on embassies in Lebanon and Syria are very much intertwined with the jockeying for power of various reactionary forces in those countries. In Syria, the opposition to the government the U.S. seeks to kick out is more likely to have been behind these attacks than the secular regime. It seems particularly ridiculous that the anti-cartoon banner has been most waved in Iraq by Muqtada Sadr, who seems very happy to call for attacking Danish troops instead of those of the U.S., with whom he has tried to avoid conflict and may want to come to an agreement.

As can be seen in Iraq and Afghanistan, where fundamentalist Islamic regimes have been brought to power by American guns, and in a less obvious but no less real way in all of the countries of the Middle East, the U.S. and other imperialists have played a double game with religion. They raise the banner of Christian holy war for their own people when convenient and no less conveniently encourage the rise of Islamic religious fundamentalism in the countries they dominate as a way to confine the resistance of the people to narrow religious channels and often to impose compliant regimes.

Maoists are against these cartoons not for religious reasons but because they are an expression both of the domination of much of the earth’s people by the rulers of a handful of imperialist powers and of the oppression their system is based on. By exposing and opposing these Nazi-like incitements to religious hatred from a revolutionary viewpoint, we can strengthen the unity of the world’s people against these rulers and build understanding freed from the shackles of any religion.

From a World to Win News Service

European March for Women’s Liberation in Iran

Revolution #035, February 19, 2006, posted at

The following is an excerpt from a World to Win News Service article:

30 January 2006. A World to Win News Service. On the occasion of 8 March, International Women’s Day, the women of the Campaign for the Abolition of All Misogynist, Gender-Based Legislation & Islamic Punitive Laws in Iran have planned a march to start 4 March in Frankfurt (Germany) and end 8 March in The Hague (the Netherlands). The organizers hope that people of many different nationalities, including Kurds, Germans, Turks, Iranians, East Europeans, and others, will join it in the cities along the way. The marchers will move on foot through city centers and then travel by car caravan to the next stop. They will hold marches and demonstrations on successive days in Frankfurt, Mainz, Cologne, and Dusseldorf before arriving in The Hague, where welcoming rallies are being prepared. There they will march through the city, focusing their protest on the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the International Criminal Court, the end point of the march, chosen as a symbolic site to bring out the support the world’s imperialist powers have given, some openly and some in other ways, to prop up the criminal regime in Iran.

The call for this march begins like this: "If you are against death by stoning! If you are against forced veiling! If you are against the prosecution and imprisonment of women! If you are against lashing a woman’s body! If you are against any form of patriarchy! If you are against the medieval laws of Iran’s Islamic Republic of Iran imposing inequality on women!--Join the great walk against anti-women laws in Iran’s Islamic Republic on 8 March 2006!"

This campaign has united a core group of hundreds of Iranian and international women activists and personalities who have long been fighting for women’s rights, including some who have spent many years in the dungeons of the Islamic Republic. More than a hundred women and men fighting for women’s rights in Europe and elsewhere in the world have signed the call. Iranian women’s groups and individual activists, academicians and artists in exile, among them the 8 March Women’s Organization (Iran-Afghanistan), have been the backbone of this effort. So far it has been able to unite a broad array of Iranian opposition movement in exile, from communist and labor movement activists to progressive democrats.

For the last 27 years these Islamic laws have deprived women of their most basic rights as human beings and intensified the marginalization of women, creating a gender segregation that has made society a hell for all and forcing many women into suicide, prostitution, and drug addiction. Women are setting fire to themselves in increasing numbers. These laws represent and impose a state of semi-slave social relations on women. They have strengthened the already brutal patriarchal and male supremacist relations in the country. A vast apparatus of morality police has been set up to keep an eye on women and punish them if they violate these medieval moral codes of conduct. This is the dark ages in the 21st century.

What Makes This Campaign Important

The campaign’s call for the abolition of these laws and its overall stand has the potential to unite the majority of the women while at the same time targeting the heart of the religious regime. The success of this campaign can be a strong blow to the IRI since it targets the very foundations of this theocratic state. Furthermore, since these laws have their roots in centuries-old traditions, the struggle against them is a struggle against these traditions and the prevailing social relations they are based on. And this would encourage women and the whole society to fight for higher goals.

The campaign appeals to all people, especially women from all over the world, to express their solidarity and see this struggle as theirs. As the campaign explains in one of its leaflets: "The American government… has declared that it seeks to liberate the women of the Middle East from the yoke of Islamic fundamentalism. This is a ridiculous claim that makes a mockery of real liberation and is an insult to the women of the Middle East. The march of events in Afghanistan and Iraq should have helped those who were taken in by these self-styled liberators of Middle Eastern women to realize how badly they were fooled. If anyone still believes that George Bush and his ilk are liberators of women, please talk to American women fighting to prevent him from taking away their right to abortion as well as against the efforts of the Christian fascists to dominate every aspect of the lives of women in the U.S. What George Bush is taking away from the women in the USA he will not deliver to women in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan or any other country."

The U.S.’s drive for global hegemony and the challenges that it has faced have moved Iran toward the center of the world situation. In this context, the position that this women’s movement is putting forward could play an important role in helping to make the international line-up in relation to Iran and in Iran itself more favorable to the people’s interests and a revolutionary solution, instead of one imposed by imperialism.

"Celebrate 8 March 2006 with us and help us to build the independent ranks of women against U.S. imperialism as well as the reactionary states governing these countries."

(For more information, go the campaign’s web site:

Back from Iraq—and Shot by the Police

Revolution #035, February 19, 2006, posted at

On January 29, Elio Carrion, a 21-year-old on leave from Air Force, was in a car being driven by his friend when they crashed into a fence in a neighborhood in Chino, 40 miles east of Los Angeles.

The two friends had just left a party celebrating Carrion's return from a six-month tour in Iraq. It is not clear what happened before the crash — but it is very clear what happened when a sheriff deputy arrived, because the late-night encounter was taped by someone that lives in the neighborhood.

In the video you see Carrion on the ground, his face illuminated by the flashlight of the sheriff hovering above him, just a few feet away, his gun pointed at Carrion. You can imagine a similar scene happening in Iraqi cities like Fallujah or Mosul. In fact, cable news channels have brought images like these to people all across the world: Images of heavily armed U.S. soldiers breaking down doors in the middle of the night, holding M-4 rifles above the heads of defenseless Iraqis.

According to the L.A. Times, the sheriff was yelling profanities at Carrion, telling him to "shut up." The sheriff then ordered Carrion to "Get up, get up." In the video you can see Carrion following the deputy's orders and hear him say that he was unarmed and in the military. At one point, Carrion says, "I'm here on your side." But his words, in this situation, meant nothing to the man holding the gun. In Iraq Carrion was part of the military that occupies an oppressed country and treats the masses of people as "the enemy"; and then he returned home to become the enemy.

"I'm going to get up," Carrions says in the video. But as he pushes himself up, the sheriff fires his weapon at him, striking him three times. Mariela Carrion, Elio's wife, later said that her husband was also kicked in the head, handcuffed and dragged after he was shot.

But this was not the end of the outrage. Elio Carrion was taken to the hospital as a result of three bullet wounds, one of which shattered his femur (the large bone extending from the pelvis to the knee). The day after he was supposed to be released from the hospital, detectives arrived to Carrion's parents' house without warning and demanded to know where he was.

And like in some other cases of police brutality caught on film, the man who taped the encounter, Jose Luis Valdez, is now sitting in jail, arrested days later after the shooting on an eight-year-old warrant in Florida. His fate is not yet known -- he is a Cuban citizen and was taken to a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office after his arrest.

Meanwhile, the man who shot Carrion is walking around on paid administrative leave with no charges pressed against him, even though his murderous actions were caught on video.

The mainstream media has been doing their part to make sure the cop goes unpunished, putting on police officials and other talking heads to defend his actions with remarks like, "He was nervous" and "He really meant to say 'Get down,' not 'Get up,'" or that the deputy did what he did because he feared for his life (even though he was the one holding the gun).

Elio Carrion joined the Air Force straight out of high school and served obediently in Iraq. And, on that night in Chino, Elio Carrion did everything he was "supposed" to do in these situations--he obeyed commands, he didn't move without permission, and he told the deputy "I'm going to get up now," hoping that he wouldn't surprise or startle the man holding the gun. And he was shot anyway! Think about what this tells you about how this system views people, especially Blacks, Latinos, and other oppressed nationalities. This is a blatant and cold-blooded statement: "We'll shoot whoever we want, for whatever reason and in whatever circumstances we want, and there's nothing you can do about it."

Hurricanes, climate change, and global warming

Part 4: What is to be done?

Revolution #035, February 19, 2006, posted at

November 28, 2005. A World to Win News Service. While the U.S. government has insisted that global warming doesnt 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 recognize 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. See earlier issues for:

Part 1: Natural Climate Changes

Part 2: Man-made Climate Changes

Part 3: How dangerous is global warming?

From what has been shown by scientific research, especially over the last 30 to 40 years, the future of Earth is in the balance if human beings conduct business as usual. However, despite the possible bleak outcomes of human activity over the last 150 years, as Mark Maslan of the Environmental Change Research Centre, Department of Geography, University College in London has said, global warming is not necessarily the "end of the world."

While global warming is a multidimensional problem that challenges the very existence of human civilization, at the same time there are multifaceted solutions that could be effective if they had the will, creativity, and organized strength of billions of people behind them. It is true that some elements contributing to global warming, such as greenhouse gases that last a long time in the atmosphere, would continue to have adverse effects on the environment for decades even if steps to eliminate new emissions were taken immediately. Some have caused even irreversible damages--for instance, the melted Antarctic glaciers and parts of Greenlands ice sheets are gone, if not forever, at least until the next ice age. Biodiversity is threatened badly. But taking a fatalistic attitude would be as bad as ignoring the problem and waiting for disaster to strike.

Technical solutions and the development of environmentally friendly policies are within human reach--such as decreasing the amount of greenhouse gases produced, and especially reducing and finally phasing out the emission of carbon dioxide altogether, just as was done with the fluoride gases used in industry and household products. Why arent huge resources being devoted to the research and development of clean renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydropower? Even a relatively simple refitting of existing coal-powered energy plants, the worst single source of greenhouse gases, could cut their carbon dioxide emissions by almost half immediately.

One problem is that what can be done and what cannot be done today depends on how any given solution fits in with a global imperialist system based on profit. Because of competition between various capitalists, the basic law is expand or die. Making instantaneous profit no matter what--no matter the cost to human beings and their environment--is the basic operating mode of capitalism. The cost involved in fixing problems, and the immediate need for profit, places gigantic obstacles in the way of implementing long-term solutions.

No company, nor in the end any capitalist country, wants to devote vast resources to something whose cost would reduce overall profitability to deal with a problem that is just coming over the horizon. Its true that countries, and especially the imperialist countries ruled by a handful of monopoly capitalists, spend huge amounts of money on unproductive endeavors like armaments and war, but that is forced on them by the competition between them and the hope of gaining (or losing) competitive advantage in relation to other groups of capitalists. The way countries like the U.S. see it, massive investment to deal with global warming would just drag down their economies in relationship to the competition--other imperialist countries. This, in turn, is one reason why the other imperialist countries dont want to act unless the U.S. does, and why they are willing to accept the U.S.s inaction as an excuse for their own passivity.

The IPCC diagram below depicts the correlation between carbon dioxide emission and the economic output (Gross Domestic Product) of the U.S., the former Soviet Union (really an imperialist country since the 1950s, long before it collapsed) and Japan.

(Click here for larger image)

That is why even a flawed agreement such as Kyoto Protocol calling for only an 8% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to bring them down to their 1990 level by 2012, and which so far has not been implemented, has been rejected and sabotaged by the U.S., and was given, at best, lukewarm approval by the European Union.

This brings up a second reason why more hasnt been done about global warming, and why some governments--like the Bush administration--have tried to deny the problem exists. First, capital is rooted in nation-states, and second, the world is divided into imperialist countries and the third world countries they prey on. If this situation is accepted as necessarily eternal, that is a basic obstacle to being able to even think properly about how to solve a global problem.

For instance, the U.S. says it will not commit itself to reducing gas emissions unless third world countries do likewise. Other imperialist countries have followed suit in using the unwillingness of countries like China, India and Brazil to make such an agreement as another excuse for their own refusal to take more serious measures. This is hypocritical for two reasons. The first, obviously, is that the U.S. has been by far the worlds biggest polluter, followed by the other imperialist countries, especially if viewed in terms of their role in how the world got into this mess over the last century and a half. But the second and even more substantive reason is this: the huge shift of the worlds manufacturing to third world countries, with China first and foremost among them, is not due to the development of economies in those countries that would benefit the people. Nowhere is this more obvious than in China, where since capitalism was brought back after a reactionary coup following the death of Mao Tsetung, that countrys "development" has turned it into the worlds sweatshop. Tens of millions of Chinese proletarians work 12 and even 16-hour days seven-days-a-week at survival wages to manufacture products for the Japanese, American, and European markets and bring enormous profits for the capitalists based in those countries. It is imperialist finance capital that demands Chinas breakneck industrial development with no regard to the welfare of the people of the country and the world. This has contributed greatly towards shifting the pollution from West to East and from North to South. The problem with industrial pollution in the third world lies not just in those countries but even more in the whole existing web of world capitalist relations that need to be overthrown and uprooted to save the planet.

To be continued.

NEXT WEEK--Part 5: The Future Is at Stake